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

Plate LXXI. Steller's jay. (Cyanurus stellerii.),   pp. 101-104


Page 101


VARIED THRUSH-DWARF THRUSH-STELLER'S JAY-BLACK-BIRD.
May, and reaches the State of Maine and the British Provinces by
the end of that month. On its return, besides settling in the
Southern States, it spreads over the provinces of Mexico, from
whence individuals in spring migrate, by the vast prairies, and
along the shores of the western parts of the Union, entering Can-
ada in that direction in the first days of June; . . . breeds in
the eastern parts of Maine and in the British Provinces of New
Brunswick and Nova Scotia." Maynard says: "'The Orange-
crowned Warblers are lively little birds, usually frequenting hum-
mocks and the underbrush which grows about them. I think they
rarely visit the pine woods. These birds are very unsuspicious
and may be approached quite nearly, but when alarmed will utter
a quick, sharp chirp, and instantly conceal themselves in the
nearest thicket."
Varied Thrush-Oregon Robin. (Turdus navius.)
Fig. zI.
The Chicago Field," a superior journal, published in the
interest of the sportsman, contains a very interesting account of
this species, written by Dr. Elliott Coues. We extract as follows:
" In the United States, it seems to have been first noticed by two
American naturalists, Thomas Nuttall and J. K. Townsend, who
found it in Oregon. The first named of these obs'erved its arrival
on the Columbia River from the North in October, when it was
flirting through the forests in small flocks, maintaining perfect
silence, and proving very timid and difficult to approach. It winters
in that region, and has a pleasing song before it departs for its
northern summer home. Dr. J. G. Cooper and Dr. George Suck-
ley, the well known naturalists, have given us more extended notices
of the Oregon Robin. They found it common in Oregon and
Washington Territories during the spring, autumn, and winter,
and occasionally saw it in the dark spruce forests in June and July.
They describe it as much more shy and retiring than the common
Robin, and as having an entirely different song. During severe
winter weather, it becomes more familiar, often coming about the
houses and feeding on the ground in company with the common
Robin. It is known to the settlers as the ' spotted,' 'painted,' and
golden Robin, and is always conspicuous by the black crescent
on the breast. . . . It inhabits North America, part of the
Rocky Mountains, from high Arctic regions in Alaska to the ex-
tremity of Southern California, unless at a considerable altitude in
the Sierra Nevada and Coast Ranges, the latitude of San Francisco
perhaps, being about as far south as it is at all common. In this
great extent of country the bird appears as a winter visitor, arriving
in the fall and departing in the spring, in all the region south of
the Columbia River, while north of this point it occurs in summer,
nesting and rearing its young."
Dwarf Thrush. (Turdus nanus.)
Fig. 12.
This bird is a variety of the species Hermit Thrush, or Ground
Swamp Robin. It is met with west of the Rocky Mountains, and
is also accredited to Pennsylvania. Dr. Coues says: " There is
unquestionably but a single species of Hermit Thrush in North
America. It is impossible to draw any dividing line between the
so-called species, and, in fact, it is sufficiently difficult to predicate
varietal distinction."
PLATE LXXI.
Steller's Jay. (Cyanurus stelleriL)
Fig. i.
This species was found by Steller at Nootka. It is frequently
met with in the western part of North America. Nuttall, in his~
interesting account of this bird, says: "We first observed this bird
in our western route in the Blue Mountains of the Oregon, east of
the Walla-Walla. Here they were scarce and shy, but we met
them in sufficient abundance in the majestic pine forests of the Co-
lumbia, where, in autumn, their loud and trumpeting clangor was
heard at all hours of the day, calling out djay, djay, and some-
times chattering and uttering a variety of other notes very similar
to those of the common Blue Jay. They are, however, far more
bold, irritable, and familiar. Watchful as dogs, a stranger no
sooner shows himself in their vicinity than they neglect all other
employment to come round, follow, peep at, and scold him, some-
times with such pertinacity and irritability as to provoke the sports-
man, intent on other game, to level his gun against them in mere
retaliation. At other times, stimulated by curiosity, they will fol-
low you in perfect silence, until something arouses their ready ire,
when the djay, djay, pay, pay, is poured upon you without inter-
mission till you are beyond their view. So intent are they on vo-
ciferating, that it is not uncommon to hear them busily scolding,
even while engaged with a large acorn in the mouth."
The food consists of insects, acorns, and pine seeds, found along
the Pacific. The nest consists of mud, roots, and twigs, and lined
with root fibers. The eggs, usually four, are of a pale green color,
with small olive-brown dots.
Yellow-headed Black-bird. (XanthocephAalus icderocefpAalus.)
Fig. 2.
Prince Bonaparte first published an account of this bird in his
continuation of Wilson's American Ornithology in I825. It is ac-
knowledged to be one of the handsomest Black-birds to be met
with in North America. It is abundant in the Western States, es-
pecially so on the prairies and marshes from Illinois and Wisconsin
westward. It also reaches eastward to British America, retiring
as soon as cold weather approaches.
The Yellow-headed Black-birds, as usually met with, gather
together in large flocks, and in their habits and characteristics re-
semble the Red-wing Black-birds. They frequently make good
use of their long, strong legs and large claws by appearing on the
ground in search of food. In the spring their food consists of in-
sects and their larvae, which they dig out of the soil with their
bills, and in the fall chiefly on the seeds of vegetables. According
to Nuttall, "' they are very active, straddle about with a quaint
gait, and now and then, in the manner of the Cow Bird, whistle
out, with great effort, a chuckling note sounding like ko-kukkle-'ait,
often varying into a straining squeak, as if using their utmost en-
deavor to make some kind of noise in token of sociability. Their
music is, however, even inferior to the harsh note of the Cow
Bird.
"[ The nest," says Coues, "I is placed in a tuft of upright
reeds or
rank grasses, some of which pass through its walls, fastening it se-
curely, like that of a Marsh Wren, though it may sway with the
motion of the rushes. Probably, to render it light enough to be
supported on such weak foundation, no mud is used in its composi-
tion; the structure is entirely woven, and plaited with bits of dried
reeds and long, coarse, aquatic grasses, not lined with any different
material, although the inside strands are the finer. . . . The
whole thing measures five or six inches across, and is nearly as
deep. The eggs may be from three to six in number; two selected
io1


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