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

Plate CIV. Gould's, or Samuel's song sparrow. (Melospiza melodia, var. gouldii.),   pp. 153-156


Page 153


SONG-SPARROW S-SPARROWS-FINCHES-BUNTINGS.
PLATE CIV.
Gould's, or Samuel's Song Sparrow. (Melospiza melodia, var. gozdii.)
Fig. x.
This variety is a resident of the coast region of California. Its
chief distinctive character is its small size.
Heerman's, or California Song Sparrow. (Melosfiiza melodia, var. heer-
mnei.)
Fig. 2.
This bird is the counterpart of the common Eastern Song Spar-
row. It has been found in California as far north as San Fran-
cisco, and to the south and southeast to San Diego, and the Mo-
han river. According to Dr. Cooper, it is found in every locality
where there are thickets of low bushes and tall weeds, especially in
the vicinity of water, and, whenever unmolested, it comes about
the gardens and houses with all the familiarity of the common
Song Sparrow.
Laconte's Sparrow, or Bunting. (Coturniculus iecontei.)
Fig. 3.
Thia rare species was procured by Audubon in his expedition to
the Yellowstone. He speaks of its having very curious notes,
iwhich he describes as of a sharp, querulous nature, and a general
habit o keeping only among the long, slender, green grasses that
here and there grew up in patches along the margins of the
creeks. So closely did it keep in the coverts to which it resorted,
that it was very difficult to force it to rise on the wing, when only
it could be procured.
Kodiak Song Sparrow. (Melospiza melodia, var. insignis.)
Fig. 4
This variety is met with from Kodiak and Oonatashka, and rep-
resents the extreme extent of the variations of Song Sparrows.
Mexican Purple Finoh. (Carjpodacus frontalis, var. hasmorrhousc.)
Fig. S.
This variety is a resident of the table lands of Mexico. Its
habits and characteristics are similar to the common House Finch
(Carpodacus frontalis), Plate CI, fig. 5, page 148.
Dusky Redpoll Finch. (-Egiothus linaria, var. fuscesceus.)
Fig. 6.
This variety, it is thought, is based upon the midsummer plum-
age of the Redpoll Linnet. Plate XLVIII, fig. 9, page 69.
Brewster's Linnet, or Finch. (Linota favirostris, var. berwsteri.)
Fig. 7.
This bird was lately obtained by Mr. William Brewster, in Wal-
tham, Massachusetts. Nothing was observed by him regarding
its habits.
Ochrous-headed Bunting; Baird's Bunting, or Sparrow. (Centroxyx
ochrocephalus.)
Fig. 8.
This little species was, until lately, considered a very rate oird,
some thirty years having passed since Audubon's party to the Yel-
lowstone River-1843-obtained a single specimen. Dr. Coues,
who, in company with Mr. Aiken, took the second specimen, says:
" Baird's Bunting is extremely abundant in Dakota, in some
places outnumbering all other birds together. I did not see it
immediately along the Red River, but at once encountered it be-
yond the low Pembina range of mountains, thirty or forty miles
west of the river, as soon as I came upon the high prairie. This
was the second week in July, when I shot some young birds just
fledged, though the great majority were then breeding. In two
days, July I4 and 15, I took thirty specimens, and more might
have been procured; during the summer about seventy-five were
preserved, showing all stages. Almost without exception my
earlier specimens were males, which attracted attention as they sat
singing on the low bushes of the prairie, the females lying con-
cealed in the grass, incubating or attending to the young. The
song is peculiar, consisting of two or three distinct syllables, in a
mellow, tinkling tone, running into an indefinite trill; it may be
suggested by ziJ5-zizp-zip-zr-r-r-r. In their general appearance
and habits, the birds are so nearly the same as the Savanna Spar-
rows that it was two or three days before 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. I think it probable that a second brood
is usually reared each season, as I have shot equally young birds
six weeks apart. After the duties of incubation, the plumage is
renewed, it having become greatly worn and faded. When the
young are all on the wing, they associate together with their par-
ents, in loose straggling troops, mixing freely with the Chestnut-
collared Buntings and the Sky-larks. Their numbers sensibly
diminish in September, and they apparently move south during
the month, as I saw none after the ist of October. In September,
in this latitude, there is a good deal of cold weather, and not un-
frequently a heavy snow-fall, sending the more delicate birds away
early. The birds feed upon various seeds, as usual, as well as
upon insects, even sizable grasshoppers, which in this region seem
to be eaten by almost every bird and animal."
Mr. Henshaw, of Wheeler's expedition of 1873, also discovered
this species in Arizona, where he says he found them very nu-
merous.
A nest discovered by Mr. Allen, on Big Muddy Creek, Dakota,
was built on the ground, and consisted of grasses and weed-bark,
circularly disposed, about four inches across outside. It contained
five fresh eggs, which measured o.8o by o.65, of a dull white
color, irregularly speckled with light reddish-brown.
Sea Shore, San Diego, or Beaked Sparrow. (Passerculus rostratus.)
Fig. 9.
The habitat of this quiet and unsuspicious bird is confined to the
sea-coast of Southern California. Dr. Heerman first met with it,
in i85E, in the neighborhood of San Diego, in company with other
species. Whenever he met with this bird, he found it near low,
sandy beaches, and the heavy sedge-grass which abounds on the
shores, its food consisting of marine insects and seeds thrown
up by the tide, the sedge-grass affording them easy and immediate
concealment, when alarmed or pursued. Its note consists of a
shnrt. shamr chirn.
lag


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