Studer, Jacob Henry, 1840-1904. / Birds of North America
Plate XCIV. Baird's sparrow. Baird's bunting. (Centronyx bairdii.), p. 140
OYSTER-CATCHER-SPARROW-FlNCH-BU NTINGS. Black Oyster-catcher. Bachman's Oyster-catcher. (Hamat01us niger.) Fig. 9. This bird, as stated by those who have observed it, is restricted to the Pacific Coast. Its food consists of mollusks and insects. The habits of this species are similar to the Oyster-catcher (HEana- topus palliatus), figured on Plate XLII, and described on page 58. PLATE XCIV. Baird's Sparrow. Baird's Bunting. (Centronyx Aairdii.) Fig. x. For a long time, this was considered a very rare bird. We be- lieve it was about thirty years between the time of its first discovery and the observing and taking of it by Dr. Coues in Dakota, and by Mr. Allen in Colorado. It is now considered an abundant species in the region of its migrations, which takes in the central plains, north to the British provinces, south to New Mexico and Arizona, east nearly to the Red River of the North, West to the Rocky Mountains. "The song," says Coues, "is peculiar, consisting of two or three distinct syllables, in a mellow, tinkling tone, running into an indefinite trill; it may be suggested by zip-zip-zip-zr-r-r-r. In their general appearance and habits, these birds are so nearly the same as the Savannah Sparrows, that it was two or three days be- fore I learned to distinguish them at gunshot range. They do not go in flocks; yet there is a sort of colonization among them; for we may ride a mile or two over the prairie without seeing any, and then come upon numerous pairs, breeding together." The nest, according to Allen, " is a slight structure of grasses and weed- bark, circularly disposed, about four inches across outside. It contained five fresh eggs, most nearly resembling those of the Bay-winged Bunting, but smaller, and decidedly more rounded. They measure o.8o by o.65. The ground is dull white, speckled all over, but very irregularly, with light reddish brown (pale sienna), and have a few larger blotches of the same and a darker shade, owing to heavier laying on the pigment." Green-tailed Finch. Blanding's Finch. (Pipilo chlorurus.) Fig. 2. This is one of our abundant species, that is usually met with in the regions of the Southern Rocky Mountains, accompanied by others of the fringillian birds. In a late communication to Dr. Coues, Mr. Allen observes: "This is one of the most interesting birds met with in the wooded portions of the great central plateau of the continent. In the mountains of Colorado, it ranges from the foot-hills up to the limit of trees, and throughout the mountain valleys is one of the more common species. It affects the moister thickets, near the streams, and possesses a peculiar and very pleasing song. In habits or notes, it has but little resemblance to the group of Towhees with which it is commonly associated by systematic writers, presenting in these respects far more resemblance to the group of Sparrows so familiarly represented in the Atlantic States by the common White-throat, from which it only differs structurally in its relatively longer tail." Mr. Trippe's notes upon the same subject will be read with in- terest: "The Green-tailed Finch is abundant throughout Clear Creek county, from its lower valleys up to within 700 or 800 feet of timber-line, breeding throughout; but is most numerous, dur- ing the breeding season, from 7,500 to 9,oo0 feet. It arrives at Idaho early in May, and soon becomes abundant, remaining till the close of September, or early part of October. It is a sprightly, active little bird, with something Wren-like in its movements and appearance. It is equally at home among the loose stones and rocks of a hill-side (where it hops about with all the agility of the Rock Wren), and the densest thickets of brambles and willows in the valleys, amidst which it loves to hide. It is rather shy, and prefers to keep at a good distance from any suspicious object; and if a cat or dog approaches its nest, makes a great scolding, like the Cat-bird, and calls all the neighbors to its assistance; but if a person walks by, it steals away very quietly, and remains silent till the danger is passed. It has a variety of notes, which it is fond of uttering; one sounds like the mew of a kitten, but thinner and more wiry. Its song is very fine, quite different from the Towhee's, and vastly superior to it. It builds its nest in dense clumps of brambles, and raises two broods each season, the first being hatched about the middle of June." Chestnut-collared Lark Bunting. Chestnut-collared Longspur. Black- bellied Longspur. (Plectrophanes ornatus.) Fig. 3. This is another of our abundant species, that is to be met with in the interior of the British provinces, and the whole of the Mis- souri region. " Mr. Allen sends me the following notice, prepared for this work (Birds of the Northwest, by Dr. Coues): ' The Chestnut- collared Bunting was found on the plains about Fort Hays, in considerable abundance. They live in summer in large scattered colonies, generally many pairs being found at the same locality, while they may not be again met with in a whole day's travel. We found them very shy for so small birds, and were obliged to obtain all our specimens (some thirty in number) by shooting them on the wing at long range. They breed, of course, on the ground, constructing a rather slight but neat nest of dry grass and the stems of small plants. The eggs appear to be commonly five in number, blotched and streaked with rusty on a white ground, full sets of which were obtained the first week in June. This species has the curious habit of circling round the observer, with buoyant, undulatory flight, generally high in the air, and usually keeping all the while well out of range, uttering, meanwhile, its rather sharp but musical call-notes. I met with it, in winter, from Fort Hays westward, nearly to the Colorado line, indicating that it is resident here the whole year. We failed to meet with it, how- ever, about Cheyenne, in August, or anywhere to the westward of Western Kansas; neither does it appear in Mr. Aiken's list of the birds observed by him near Canon City, Colorado, nor in Mr. Holden's list of the birds seen by him in the vicinity of Sherman.' Maccown's Bunting; or Longspur. (Plectrofihanes maccowrnii.) Fig. 4. This species was first discovered by Captain Maccown, in West- ern Texas. It is met with in the middle province of the United States, thence north to the Black Hills, and east to Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico. Its habits and notes are very similar to the last-named species-Chestnut-collared Lark Bunting. Painted Lark Bunting. Painted Longspur. (Plectrophanes #ictts.) Fig. S. This is one of our uncommon species, and, when met with, is usually in company with the Chestnut-collared Lark Bunting. They are alsn verv similari their h~fh .-A ---- -1.nf5rUl arI1U I 140 __ -.1 ___ - ____ . __J ... -44" r,&JL"A a1JFC41i211%;C.
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