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

Plate LXXII. American barn swallow, barn swallow. (Hirundo horreorum.),   p. 104


Page 104


AMERICAN REDPOLL-TOWHEE:-FINCH-BARN SWALLOW
Waxwing easily accustoms itself to life in a cage, and in some in-
stances has been known to live for nine or ten years in confine-
ment, feeding principally upon vegetables, salad, white bread,
groats, or bran steeped in water."-Brehm.
Coues says:
"The singularly erratic movements of this species are well
known, but not so easily accounted for, since the exigencies of the
weather and scarcity of food do not seem sufficient, in every in-
stance, to explain the case. It seems, however, most nearly par-
allel with that of the Wild Pigeon. The occasional occurrence of
the bird in small numbers in winter, through New England and
the other Atlantic States, as far as Philadelphia, is noticed in the
records above quoted. The only Eastern United States region
where it seems to be of regular occurrence in winter is the vicinity
of the Great Lakes. Mr. T. Mcllwraith reports (Proc. Ess. Inst.
v, i866, 87) that at Hamilton. Canada West, it is a winter visitant,
'sometimes appearing in vast flocks, and not seen again for several
years.' We also have advices from Kansas, and from the Colorado
valley, latitude 350. We have no United States reccrd from the
Pacific coast, but Dr. Cooper gives an interesting note in his later
work, above quoted. I It is probable,' he says, ' that they reside,
during summer, about the summits of the loftiest mountains of the
interior ranges, if not in the Sierra Nevada, as I have seen them
in September at Fort Laramie, and the specimen obtained on the
Colorado was a straggler from some neighboring mountains. It
appeared January ioth, after a stormy period, which had whitened
the tops of the mountains with snow, and was alone, feeding on
the berries of the mistletoe, when I shot it."'
American Mealy Redpoll, Mealy Redpoll Linnet. (.w-giothus canescens.)
Fig. to.
This is one of our rare species. In summer it is met with in the
Arctic regions. Their note is somewhat similarto the Lesser Red-
poll Linnet, but more clear and distinct. Nuttall says:
"They are full of activity and caprice while engaged in feeding,
making wide circles and deep undulations in their flight. Like
Titmice also, they frequently feed and hang to the twigs in re-
versed posture."
"1 In their habits," says Audubon, " I could see no difference
be-
tween them and the common Redpoll; but their notes, although in
some degree similar, as is usually the case in all birds of the same
family, differed sufficiently to induce me to believe that this mealy-
colored bird is quite distinct from the species above mentioned,
although very nearly allied to it. I wish it were in my power to
describe this difference of modulation, which seems to me still vi-
brating in my ear, but I can not, and therefore must be content
with assuring you that the notes of the two birds are as nearly the
same, and yet as distinct, as those of the American Gold-finch and
the European bird of the same name. Removing from one spot to
another with the peculiar activity and capriciousness of the Linnet
family, they would fly from one portion to another of the wild nat-
ural meadow on which I watched them nearly an hour before I
shot them; alight here and there, peck at the berries a few mo-
ments, and suddenly, as if affrighted, rise, perform various wide
and circling flights in deep undulations, and at once alighting, re-
pose for a short while. Like Titmice, and often with downward
inclined head, they fed, chattered to each other, and then, resting
for an instant, plumed themselves."
Arotio Towhee, Arctic Spotted Towhee, or Arctic Ground Finch. (Pip3ilo
arcticus.)
Fig. it.
This pretty species of Finch is mostly confined to the Rocky
Mountains. It is retired, but not a shy or distrustful bird in its
habits.
" We found this familiar bird," says Nuttall,-" entirely confined
to the western side of the Rocky Mountains. Like the common
Towhee, it is seen to frequent the forests amidst bushes and thick-
ets, where, flitting along or scratching up the dead leaves, it seems
intent on gaining a humble livelihood. It is, at the same time,
much more shy than the common kind, when observed flying off
or skulking in the thickest places, where it is with difficulty fol-
lowed. In a few minutes, however, the male, always accompany-
ing his mate, creeps out, and at first calls in a low whisper of
recognition, when, if not immediately answered, he renews his
plaintive pay, pay, or pay, payay, until joined by her; but, if the
nest be invaded, he comes out more boldly, and reiterates his com-
plaint while there remains around him the least cause of alarm.
When undisturbed, during the period of incubation, he frequently
mounts a low bush in the morning, and utters, at short intervals,
for an hour at a time, his monotonous and quaint warble, which is
very similar to the notes of the Towhee; but this latter note (towhee),
so often reiterated by our humble and familiar Ground Robin, is
never heard in the western wilds, the present species uttering in
its stead the common complaint, and almost mew of the Cat Bird.
On the I4th of June I found the nest of this species, situated in
the shelter of a low shrub on the ground, in a depression scratched
out for its reception. It was composed of a rather copious lining
of clean wiry grass, with some dead leaves beneath as a founda-
tion; the eggs were four, newly hatched, very closely resembling
those of the Towhee, thickly spotted over, but more so at the largei
end, with very small, round, and numerous reddish-chocolate
spots. As usual, the pair showed great solicitude about their nest,
the male in particular approaching boldly to scold and lament at
the intrusion."
Lincoln's Pinewood Finch, Lincoln's Sparrow, Lincoln's Finch. (Me.
lospiza lincolnii.)
Fig. 12.
This is one of our northern species, first discovered by Audubon
in Labrador. Their habits and characteristics are very similar to
that of the Song Sparrow. It is most usually met with mounted
on the topmost twig of some tree or tall shrub near streams in the
sheltered valleys of that cold and desolate region. There it gives
full play to its song for hours at a time; then again it is in the
midst of a thicket, hopping from branch to branch, until it gets to
the ground in search of its fare of insects and berries. Its flight
is low and rapid. As soon as it discovers that it is being watched,
it takes to wing, and moves off swiftly to a distant retreat.
" I found it," says Audubon, "1 mostly near streams, and always
in the small valleys, guarded from the cold winds so prevalent in
the country, and which now and then nip the vegetation and de-
stroy many of the more delicate birds. Like any other species of
the genus, Lincoln's Finch is petulant and pugnacious. Two
males often chase each other until the weaker is forced to abandon
the valley and seek refuge in another. On this account I seldom
see more than two or three pairs in a tract seven or eight miles in
extent."
PLATE LXXII.
American Barn Swallow, Barn Swallow. (ZHirundo harrcormm.)
Fig. z.
Swallows have been observed as long back as the time of An-
acreon, and in his thirty-third ode he describes it as follows:
"Lovely Swallow, once a year,
Pleased you pay your visit here;
104


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