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

[Plate LXVI. Kittiwake gull. (Larus tridactylus.) cont.],   pp. 95-96

Page 95

motion. Their food consists of surface fish, small bivalves, and
aquatic insects; while its name is taken from the peculiar cry with
which, in the breeding season, it assails any intruder on its domain.
According to Faber's Icelandic Ornithology, its swarms are so nu-
merous on Grimsoe that they darken the sun when they fly, deafen
the ear when they scream, and deck the green-capped rocks with
a white covering when they breed.
Florida Jay. (Cyanocitta floridana.)
Fig. 2.
But few birds have so limited a range as this beautiful Jay, it
having never been discovered outside the State of Florida, and
even there is confined to growths of scrub oak alone. Its nest is
composed of dry sticks loosely plaited together, leaving interstices
so large that the bird may be seen between them, and is lined with
fine rootlets and the fibers of the dwarf-palmetto. The eggs are
from four to six, light blue in color, sparingly sprinkled with rufous
spots, and measuring about i.o5 by .80 inches. But one brood is
raised during the season. Its food consists of snails, insects, va-
rious fruits and berries, the acorns of the oak, and the seeds of the
sword-palmetto. Its flight resembles that of the Canada Jay, and
while its notes are more frequently uttered than those of the Blue
Jay, they are much softer. According to Audubon, it is easily
kept in a cage, when it will feed on fresh or dried fruit such as figs
and raisins, and the kernels of various nuts, securing the food beneath
its feet and breaking it to pieces before swallowing. A pair kept
in confinement were fed upon rice and all kinds of dried fruit, and
when, after dinner, the cage door was opened, would fly to the
table and feed on the almonds that were given them and drink claret
diluted with water. Both attempted to imitate particular sounds,
but in a very imperfect manner.
Bahama Creeper. (Certhiola bahamensis.)
Fig. 3.
This bird belongs to the West India Islands, and is occasionally
found upon the Keys of the southeast coast of Florida. Nothing
seems to be known regarding its habits. That they resemble those
of allied species is very probable, but, in the absence of any re-
corded facts, we simply give a life-like representation of the bird.
Bachman's Finch. (Peucaa bachmani.)
Fig. 4
Until recently, the range of this bird was supposed to be confined
to the States of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Mr. Ridge-
way reports it as breeding in Southern Illinois, and it is probably
common throughout the Southern States. It receives its name from
the distinguished naturalist and associate of Audubon, Dr. John
Bachman, who was the first to notice it and to study its habits. It
is not a shy bird, but it has a habit, after giving utterance to its me-
lodious notes, of plunging into the tall broom grass that is invariably
found near its haunts. Dr. Bachman regarded this bird as the
finest singer of all the Sparrow family; and Mr. Ridgeway tells us
that the song is one of the finest he has ever heard, resembling the
sweet chaunt of the Field Sparrow, only stronger, and varied with
a clear, high, and musical strain, resembling the syllables "thee-
eeeee-til-lut, lut-lut." Its nest is made on the ground, concealed
in tufts of thick grass, composed of wiry species of coarse grasses
and without lining. The eggs are four in number, of a pure, clear
white, and measure about .74 by .6o inches. Its food consists of
fine seed, small berries, and coleopterous insects.
Red-oookaded Woodpecker. (Picus borealis.)
Fig. S.
This bird is confined to the Southeastern Atlantic States, extend.
ing, though rarely, north and west to Pennsylvania and Texas.
According to Audubon, the nest is usually found bored in a decayed
stump, about thirty feet from the ground. The eggs are from four
to six in number, pure white, elliptical in shape, and measuring
about .95 by .70 inches. When the young are hatched, and before
they are able to fly, they crawl out of the hole and wait on the
branches for their parents to bring them food until they are able to
shift for themselves. It glides up and sideways on the branches
and trunks of trees with great celerity, excelling all other Wood-
peckers in this respect, and constantly giving utterance to short,
shrill cries that may be heard at a considerable distance. These
cries are also kept up while on the wing, and during the love-season
are incessant and much more vigorous. It is a pugnacious bird,
defending its rights to the last. Audubon once captured one, but,
as it refused to accept food from his hands, it was allowed its free-
dom. While in his possession it would crawl up the wall, which
was brick and unplastered, and eat the stray spiders and other in-
sects lodged in the crevices.
Red-breast Merganser-Fishing Duck. (Mergus serrator.)
Fig. 6.
This bird is common throughout the Northern Hemisphere, fre-
quenting the estuaries and rivers of Great Britain. In winter it is
met with on nearly every unfrozen stream of the Union. Audubon
tells us that it breeds in many parts of our Middle and Eastern
States, and that he found the female in charge of her brood twice
in Kentucky; and that in the States of New York, Massachusetts,
and Maine, it is by no means a rare occurrence to meet with the
nest of this bird along the borders of small secluded lakes. It is
an expert diver, at the least alarm diving beneath the water and
swimming long distances, and when it approaches the surface
first thrusting out its head for the purpose of reconnoitering. Its
flight is strong and very rapid, and capable of being sustained for
long distances. According to Audubon, it is so gluttonous that it
frequently has to disgorge before it is enabled to fly, and that some
kept in confinement died from overeating. Its nest is built accord-
ing to latitude and the earliness of the season, from the first of
March until the middle of May, and is usually placed within a
short distance of the margin of fresh water. It is composed of dry
weeds, mosses of various kinds, and lined with down from the
breast of the female. The eggs vary from six to ten, are of a dull
yellow cream-color, and measure about 2.50 by i.62 inches. As
soon as the young are hatched, they betake themselves to the water,
and need but the briefest lesson to become the most expert of divers.
The flesh of this bird is very tough, and has a most decided fishy
Liftle Blaok-headed Duck-Blue-bill-Broad-bill-Soaup-duok. (Fuli-
,gala afnis.)
Fig. 7.
This Duck inhabits the whole of North America, breeding from
the extreme Northern States northward, wintering from the Middle
States southward, and is found in great abundance on the Ohio,
Missouri, and Mississippi rivers. It arrives at its winter quarters
about the first of October, and leaves from the first of March to the
middle of April. Its nest is exceedingly rude, consisting of the
merest excavation and surrounded by a few sticks. The eggs are
ovoidal in form, of a dirty pale drab color, and measure about 2.25

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