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

[Plate XLVI. The long-billed curlew- -sickle-bill. (Numenius longirostris.) cont.],   p. 63

Page 63

The White-rumped Sandpiper. (Tringa &onapartei.)
Fig. 3.
Along the Atlantic coast this species is very abundant. It also
penetrates far into the interior. It winters in the Southern States
and Greenland, and is migratory through the United States and in
the eastern provinces. During such times it will be found with
other kindred species along the sea-shore and in the muddy flats
back of the beaches. " Its general habits," says Dr. Coues, "
much like those of its allies, though it has some traits of its own,
among them a peculiarly low, soft 'tweet,' and a remarkable fa-
miliarity, or rather heedlessness. It may be distinguished, even
at a distance, by its white upper tail-coverts, which show conspic-
uously when not covered by the folded wings." It is a very lively
little bird, running nimbly and fast along the water's edge, some-
times standing still for a moment, wagging its tail, and then starts
to running, occasionally stopping to pick up food, which consists of
insects, worms, etc. The flight of this bird is usually low; at
times it is seen flying in an air or a slanting line across the water,
and then again it may be seen skimming along the surface, its
long wings making a considerable angle downward from the body.
This species is about seven inches long, and about twelve inches
The Green Black-capped Fly-catcher. (Myiodioctes pjusillus.)
Fig. x.
This active little species was first observed by Wilson in some
of the Eastern States of North America. It is generally familiar
and unsuspicious, and may be found in great numbers in the
bushes or thickets bordering on the streams, actively engaged in
hunting insects. At intervals it utters its song, which consists of
quite an animated warble. "1 It has," says Audubon, " all
habits of a true Fly-catcher, feeding on small insects, which it
catches entirely on the wing, snapping its bill with a smart clicking
sound. It frequents the borders of the lakes, and such streams as
are fringed with low bushes, from which it is seen every moment
sallying forth, pursuing its insect prey for many yards at a time,
and again throwing itself into its favorite thickets.
"1 The nest is placed on the extremity of a small horizontal
branch, among the thick foliage of dwarf firs, not more than from
three to five feet from the ground, and in the center of the thickets
of those trees so common in Labrador. The materials of which
it is composed are bits of dry moss and delicate pine twigs, agglu-
tinated together and to the branches or leaves around it, and be-
neath which it is suspended, with a lining of extremely fine and
transparent fibers. The greatest diameter does not exceed three
and a half inches, and the depth is not more than one and a half.
The eggs are four, dull white, sprinkled with reddish and brown
dots toward the large end, where the marks form the circle, leav-
ing the extremity plain.  .. . , . They raise only one brood in
the season. The young males show their black cap as soon as
they are fully fledged, and before their departure for the south."
"I The female," says Wilson, " is without the black crown,
ing that part of a dull yellow-olive, and is frequently mistaken for
a distinct species.  From  her great resemblance, however, in
other respects, to the male,  .  .  .  she can not hereafter be
The length of this species is four and five-eighths inches, and in
extent it is six and a half inches.
The Pine Warbler. (Dendroeca pixa.)
Fig. 2.
This species, which is most generally to be observed in the pine
groves, actively passing over from the limbs to the branches, in
like manner as other Warblers, seizing insects on the wing, is
a very early visitor from the south, in the spring, and remains late
in the fall. This bird is by no means confined to the pine forests,
as it has been observed in similar situations as other Warblers are
to be found. Mr. Allen gives the following account of its resorts:
" During the last weeks of April and the early part of May, they
frequent open fields, obtaining much of their food from the ground.
A little later they retire to the pine forests, where they
almost exclusively remain during summer, keeping mostly in the
tops of the taller trees. During a few weeks, about October ist,
they again come about the orchards and fields."
" While walking," says Maynard, " in the piny woods of Florida,
one will suddenly observe that the trees over his head are filled
with birds, when, but a moment before, not a living thing was to
be seen, and his ears will be saluted by a variety of sounds. Be-
sides the loud, harsh notes of the Woodpeckers or Nuthatches,
and the mellow whistle of the Bluebirds, the slowly given trill of
the Pine Warblers will occasionally be heard. There are hun-
dreds of these little birds in every passing flock, yet but few of
them ever sing. They are extremely active, now searching for
insects among the swaying foliage of the high pines overhead, then
clinging to the brown trunks to peer into the crevices of the bark,
or alighting on the ground among the grass. But the birds do
not remain long in one spot, and soon pass on. Thus these great
avian waves are constantly passing over the barrens through the
entire winter, and generally more than half the birds of which
they are composed are Pine Warblers. Of all the thousands of
this species which spend the colder season in Florida but few re
main to breed, and by the middle of March the greater portion
leave for the north. They arrive in New England in early April,
and by the ist of May begin to construct their nests, which are
commonly placed in a fork of the topmost limb of a pine tree.
They keep close watch of their homes, and when any one chances
to approach them, will chirp loudly; but although the collector can
thus ascertain when he is in the vicinity of a nest, he will find that
the birds have been careful to place it in such a position that it can
not be seen from below; therefore it is exceedingly difficult to dis-
cover. I have frequently searched a long time for a nest, and then
been obliged to abandon the attempt to find it, although I was con-
fident, by the actions of the birds, that it was near."
During this season the males have a louder song than when in
the south. It consists of several short notes, which commence
low, but increase in volume and end abruptly. After leaving the
nests, the young follow their parents, and are thus found in small
companies until after the molt, which takes place in August;
then several families will come together, and the flocks thus
formed will increase in size until the ist of October, when the
Pine Warblers depart for the south, arriving in Florida about the
middle of November. The length of this species is five and a
half inches, and the extent eight and three-quarter inches.
The Blue Golden-winged Warbler. (Helminthophaga chrysoetera.)
Fig. 3.
This is one of our rare and beautifully marked species of War-
bler. It is usually met with in pairs, and appears to be every-
where uncommon. The higher branches of trees, in the vicinity
of swampy land, appear to be its favorite hunting places. It may
be seen seeking its food quite diligently along the branches and
among the twigs, moving by short leaps, and stopping often to

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