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

Plate LXVIII. American or red flamingo. (Phoenicopteri roseus.),   pp. 97-98


Page 97


CANADA JAY-ROBIN-HOUSE SPARROW-FLAMINGO.
It is claimed that he not only knows how to count as high as five,
but also knows when Sunday arrives. But this latter accomplish-
ment is confined to the Crow of the old world, as some of our
American sportsmen have about as much regard for Sunday as they
have for the rights of the animal himself.
Canada Jay. (Perisoreus canadensis.)
Fig. 3.
The Canada Jay is common throughout the northern part of
North America, breeding from New England, New York, and
Minnesota, northward, and is a rare straggler in the Middle At-
lantic States during the winter months. Its nest is built on the
limbs of trees, and is quite bulky, measuring from four to six inches
across, and from three to four in depth. It is woven on a rude
platform of sticks, and consists of fine mosses neatly felted together
and lined with feathers. The eggs are usually three, the ground
color of a grayish-white, marked all over with several shades of
olive-brown, and measuring about I.20 by .70 inches. The Canada
Jay is a very bold and familiar bird, and has been known to fly
down and steal his dinner from a hungry dog. It hoards whatever
food it may not require for immediate consumption, hiding it be-
tween layers of bark, and in other convenient places. Its musical
accomplishments are confined to a squeaking noise, though it is
sometimes known to chatter. Audubon, in speaking of their mu-
sical efforts, says that they have an odd way of nodding their
heads and jerking their body and tail, while they emit their cui-
riously diversified notes, which at times resemble a low sort of mew-
ing, at others, the sound given out by an anvil when lightly struck
with a hammer. They raise but one brood in a season, and occupy
the same nest from year to year.
Robin or Robin Redbreast. (Turdus mzgratorius.)
Fig. 4.
The Robin is probably the most familiar of all the birds of North
America. Its range extends from the plateau of Mexico to Green-
land, and is bounded east and west by the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans. In winter it is most abundant in the Southern States, but
its migration is due to the supply of food rather than the severity
of the climate, and where wild berries are abundant it will remain
through the winter, though the ground may be covered with snow,
and the thermometer reach the freezing point of mercury.
The Robin arrives in the Eastern States from the middle to
the 25th of April. Some of them pair immediately, and commence
house-building before the snow has fully disappeared. By the 20th
of May the full-fledged young were seen turned out to care for
themselves. Others are not in such haste to woo, and almost any
day from the first to the middle of May, the most careless observer
may witness ferocious contests between the males for the possession
of some waiting and no doubt willing maid. The nest is extrava-
gant in size, and rather bungling in workmanship, constructed first
of thick layers of moss, straw, weeds, and roots, in which a cavity
is rounded, plastered with mud, and then lined with fine grasses
and kindred material. Dr. C. C. Abbott, in the Popular Science
Monthly, describes thirty-two of these nests, which he had gathered
for the purpose of comparison. Eleven of these corresponded with
the foregoing description, while the remaining ones varied in a
greater or lesser degree. He says: ", Taking a careful survey of
the whole thirty-two nests, they suggested at once an ordinary vil-
lage; there were handsome structures, such as opulence builds,
and very modest ones, such as those in straightened circumstances
are compelled to occupy." This dissimilarity he attributes to the
different temperament of birds.
When the nests are finished, from four to six eggs are laid. These
are of a bright uniform greenish-blue color, liable to fade in the
sunlight, and measuring about I.25 by .88 inches. The female is
usually about eleven days in incubating.  Eight days after the
young are hatched, their eyes are open, and in eleven days they
are fully fledged. The care of the parents does not cease with the
young birds leaving the nest, but is continued a few days after.
Two broods are raised in a season.
'ile food of the Robin consists largely of earthworms, and the
large family of insects that burrow in the earth preparatory to their
transformations.  In their season, it is very fond of strawberries
and cherries; but it is very possible that there would not a cherry
grow fit to eat were it not for this and other birds, and its contri-
butions in this direction are scant pay for the immense good it does
House, Domestic, or European Sparrow. (Pyrgita domestica..
Fig. 5.
The rapid distribution of the English Sparrow throughout the
United States will soon make it the most familiar of our birds.
First introduced in i858 in Portland, Maine, it has been constantly
tending toward the West. No climate seems too severe for their
abode. Inhabitants of all Europe from Sweden to Italy, of Mo-
rocco, Algiers, Egypt, and Persia, they have at last taken the New
World as by storm. The spot chosen for a nest is some hole or
cavity or crack in a wall or chimney or other convenient place,
though always availing themselves of the bird-houses when they
are obtainable. The nest is very bulky, and is composed of straw,
stalks of small plants, rags of woolen or cotton, and lined with
feathers and other soft material. The eggs vary from four to six,
are grayish-white in color, more or less covered with longitudinally
oblong spots of pale gray and grayish-black, and measure about
.88 by .72 inches. This bird is very tame and fearless, and will
allow the nearest approach without evincing any uneasiness. Dur-
ing the winter months they keep together in flocks of from fifty to
a hundred, and have little difficulty in picking a living out of the
streets of our cities and villages. Its flight is undulated and rapid,
and when on the ground it advances by hops and leaps. In summer
it rolls in the dirt, and basks in the sun like our domestic fowl. The
musical accomplishments of these birds are few. Their utterances
are confined to a single note; but on a bright winter morning, in
the absence of all other singers, the effect is quite cheering, if not
charming. Like the Robin, they are very fond of angle-worms,
and, not being so expert in digging, they frequently rush in upon
their American brother and steal the dainty morsel from his very
mouth.
There has been considerable discussion regarding the real utility
of the English Sparrow. Nearly all the writers on ornithology in
the Old World condemn him. Among his most strenuous cham-
pions in the United States is Dr. Brewer, of Boston, a careful ob-
server, and an authority in all matters pertaining to the science.
Whatever may be the conclusions arrived at, they will be too late
to affect the English Sparrow himself. He has made this country
his own; and a bird that can stand a climate where the thermometer
frequently reaches thirty degrees below zero is not one easy to
exterminate.
PLATE LXVIII.
Amerioan or Red Flamingo. (PhoenicoPteri roseus.)
The American Flamingo is to be found mostly in the tropical re-
gions. Dr. Brehm says: "' Naturalists are at present acquainted
with about half a dozen species, and although the history of some
of them is far from complete, enough is known to induce us to be
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