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

[Plate XXXVII. The blue-gray gnatcatcher. (Polioptila cærulea.) cont.],   pp. 51-52

Page 51

This bird is four and a half inches long, and seven and a half
inches broad. Front, upper part of the head, and back verditer-
blue, with a few streaks of black on the upper part of the back.
Wings and tail black, edged with pale blue. Tail forked; a white
spot in the five lateral feathers on each side; the two middle more
slightly marked with the same. From the eye backward a line of
dusky blue. Bill dusky above, light blue below. Legs and feet
light blue.
The Mourning Warbler. (Geothlypisphikadelphia.)
Fig. 4.
This very rare species of Warbler was first discovered by Wil-
son. In its habits of frequenting marshy ground, and flitting
through low bushes, in quest of insects, it appears very similar to
the Maryland Yellow-throat. The discoverer, however, also dis-
tinguished it more importantly by the novelty of its sprightly and
pleasant warble. Nuttall says: " It possessed all the manners of
the common species, was equally busy in search of insects in the
low bushes, and, at little intervals, warbled out some very pleasant
notes, which, though they resembled the lively chant of the Mary-
land Yellow-throat, even to the wetitshee, yet they were more
agreeably varied, so as to approach in some degree the song of
the Summer Yellow-bird."
This species is five inches long and seven inches broad. Bill is
brownish-black above, and dusky below; iris hazel; head of a
dull brownish slate color; the back, head, and tail a deep greenish-
olive; the tips of the wings and the center of the tail-feathers are
brownish; crescent of the breast formed of alternate transverse
lines of pure white and deep black; below, pure yellow. Legs
and feet (as in the Maryland Yellow-throat) pale flesh-color.
The Bay-breasted or Autumnal Warbler. (Dendroica castanea.)
Fig. 5.
This is another very rare species of Warbler. According to
Bonaparte, discovered and first described by Wilson. It is an
active insect-hunter, and keeps much toward the tops of the high-
est trees, where it darts about with great activity, and hangs from
the twigs, with fluttering wings. It has many of the habits and
manners of the Titmouse.
This species is five inches long, and ten and one-half inches
broad. Bill black; iris hazel; the crown a very bright bay; be-
neath, except the sides, dull yellowish-white; hind head and back
streaked with black, on a grayish-buff ground; wings brownish-
black, with two bars of white; tail forked, brownish-black, edged
with ash. Behind the eye is a broad oblong spot of yellowish-
white, inclining to buff. Legs dusky, and the claws are extremely
sharp-pointed, for easy climbing and hanging.
The Prairie Warbler. (Dendroica discolor.)
Fig. 6.
This species is considered abundant in the Middle and Southern
States, and east as far as Massachusetts. It may generally be
found in sparse low woodlands, cedar thickets, and old fields
grown up to scrub-pines. It is remarkable for its quaint and cu-
rious song. Their slender filing notes, which are uttered every
half-minute, resemble the suppressed syllables 'tsh, 'tsh, 'tsA, 'tsh&d,
beginning low and gradually growing louder, having nearly the
same slender whistle as the species Black-poll Warbler.  It is
said to be an expert fly-catcher, constantly darting into the air in
pursuit of winged insects.
Maynard, in his valuable work, "r The Birds of Florida," says:
-The Prairie Warblers were very abundant in the dense thickets
on the islands of Key West during the autumn and early winter of
I87o. They frequented the drier portions of the Key, but did not
sing. A little later, in February, I found them common in the
mangrove swamps along the coast of the mainland.  .
Although these birds are found in localities of this description in
Southern Florida, those which migrate northward pass over the
drier portions of the state, and I found them associating with other
Warblers in the thickly-wooded hammocks on Indian River. In
Massachusetts, however, they prefer an entirely different kind of
country, for they are always found in dry fields which have partly
grown up to bushes. Here they build their nests, in June, com-
monly placing them in a bush but a few feet from the ground.
The song of the Prairie Warbler is singular, and quite unlike that
of any other member of the family, for the birds trill a species of
musical scale, commencing low down and ascending rapidly. The
notes are indescribable, but, if once heard, will not easily be for-
The Prairie Warbler is about five inches long and seven inches
broad. Above, yellow-olive, inclining to green, and considerably
brighter on the crown; a few pale-bay spots, mingled with the
olive on the upper part of the back. From the nostrils, over and
under the eye, yellow; lores black-below, rich yellow; vent pale
yellow; wings dusky; coverts edged and tipped with pale yellow;
the primaries and greater wing-coverts edged and tipped with light
yellow; the second row of coverts is wholly yellow; the lesser
coverts olive; the tail is brownish-black, but lighter on the edges;
the three outer feathers are broadly spotted with white.
The Golden-crowned Thrush or Oven-bird. (Sciurus aurocapillus.)
Fig. 7, Male. Fig. 8, Female.
A very common species of Eastern North America, Alaska,
Mexico, and the West Indies. It may be found mostly in open
woodland, devoting much of its time on the ground, rustling
among the leaves. During summer it may be found throughout
the forests of the United States and Canada, arriving in the Middle
and Northern States about the beginning of May or last of April,
and departing for tropical America, Mexico, Jamaica, Hispaniola,
and other West India islands early in September. According to
Nuttall: " The Golden-crowned Thrush, shy and retiring, is never
seen out of the shade of the woods, and sits and runs along the
ground often like the Lark. It also frequents the branches of
trees, and sometimes moves its tail in the manner of the Wagtails.
It has few pretensions to song, and, while perched in the deep and
shady part of the forest, it utters, at intervals, a simple, long reit-
erated note of 'ishe, tshe, tshe, tshe, tshe, rising from low to high
and shrill, so as to give but little idea of the distance or place from
whence the sound proceeds, and often appearing, from the loud-
ness of the closing cadence, to be much nearer than it really is.
As soon as discovered, like the Wood-thrush, it darts at once tim-
idly into the depths of its sylvan retreat. During the period of
incubation, the deliberate lay of the male, from some horizontal
branch of the forest-tree, where he often sits usually still, is a
'ishe, te tshc, M tshe, TV tshee, gradually rising and growing louder.
Toward dusk in the evening, however, it now and then utters a
sudden burst of notes, with a short, agreeable warble, which ter-
minates commonly in the usual 'tshe, te tshe. Its curious oven-
shaped nest (whence the name ' Oven-bird') is known to all the
sportsmen who traverse the solitary wilds which it inhabits. This
ingenious fabric is sunk a little into the ground, and generally sit-
uated on some dry and mossy bank contiguous to bushes, or on an
uncleared surface. It is formed with great neatness of dry blades
of grass, and lined with the same. It is then surmounted by a
thick inclined roof of similar materials; the surface scattered with
leaves and twigs, so as to match the rest of the ground, and an
entrance is left at the side." According to Wilson: " When

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