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

[Plate LXXXVII. Arkansas goldfinch. (Chrysomitris psaltria.) cont.],   p. 131

Page 131

it is changed into a quick cheer, cheer. This Goldfinch is even
more gregarious than the common American Goldfinch (C. tristis),
large flocks associating together as early as the beginning of June.
His habits greatly resemble the C. trist s. He was first discovered
in Long's expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in i823, and is a
rather rare bird.
Lawrence's Goldfinch. (Chrysomitris ?awrenci.)
Fig. 2, Male. Fig. 3, Female.
This little bird is very common throughout California, where it
frequents bushy hillsides, eating the buds and seeds of the low
bushes with great avidity. They are very gregarious, associating
in large flocks. This Goldfinch's favorite breeding place is in the
fork of a bush or stunted oak, and is composed of fine grasses,
lined with hair and feathers. It is a very ingenious and beautiful
piece of mechanism, about one and a half inches in height, and
three inches in diameter. The walls are closely matted together
with feathers, vegetable and animal wools, and are soft, warm, and
thick. The eggs run from four to five in number, and vary greatly
in size, ranging from .8o by .46, to .58 by .45 inches. The eggs
are either pure white or faintly touched with a delicate green tint.
His song is very sweet and pleasing, some of his notes resembling
those of a Canary, though more subdued. He has been seen in
San Francisco as late as December, and probably winters in the
very southern parts of California.
Gairdner's Woodpecker. (Picus gairdnri.)
Fig. 4.
The habitat of this Woodpecker is confined to the Pacific coast
of the United States, extending back to the Rocky Mountains.
His plumage grows darker, and with less of white, as he ap-
proaches Western Oregon and Washington Territory. He com-
mences to excavate his nest about the middle of May, selecting
some smallish tree for the purpose. He firsts cuts a hole in the
solid wood as circular as if described with a pair of compasses.
From this, the hole is excavated, running down in an oblique di-
rection from six to eight inches. This hole is roomy and capacious,
the walls very smooth and polished. The eggs are from five to six
in number, nearly spherical in shape, pure white, and measure
.96 by .85 inches. He is a very familiar and unsuspicious bird,
paying little or no attention to man; he is also a very industrious
bird, employing all his time in searching the bark of trees, for the
purpose of ferreting out the insects which hide within their crevices.
His flight is undulating, and he greatly resembles in all his ways
the Downy Woodpecker of the East.
California Valley Quail. (Lofihortyx ca1#fornicu.)
Fig. 5, Male. Fig. 6, Female.
This beautiful species is found in all the valleys of California
and Oregon. Its favorite abiding places are the prairies and grain
fields of the cultivated districts, and the thickets which border upon
streams, where coveys ranging from twenty to one hundred will
frequently be met with, except during the breeding season, when
they are only found in pairs. Like his eastern brother, he is very
fond of sitting upon some stump, and in the early morning whist-
ling out his peculiar call. This call resembles kuck-kuck-kuck-
ka; the first three notes repeated rapidly, the last prolonged with a
falling inflection. His nest is made in the open field, or at the foot
of some small shrub, and is composed of grasses arranged with
more or less care. Sometimes no attempt at nest-making is under-
taken, the eggs being laid on the bare sand. They vary in num-
ber, ranging from twelve to sixteen; they also vary in size and
markings. They are sharply pointed at one end and rounded at
the other, the ground color of a creamy white, with markings of
all shades of olive, chestnut, and drab, and measure from 1.30 by
r.oo, to I.i8 by .95 inches. In Wilkes' expedition, specimens
were taken alive in Oregon, and by a route equal to the circumfer-
ence of the globe, were taken to Washington, where they produced
one brood of young. Dr. Newberry tells us that they are suscep-
tible of domestication, and would be a pretty ornament for parks
and lawns in the Atlantic states, where they would probably thrive.
He also says that as a game bird they are inferior to the eastern
Quail, though, perhaps, of equal excellence for the table. It does
not lie as well to the dog, and does not afford as good sport. It
also takes a tree more readily. In 1857 it was introduced into
Washington Territory, where it increased largely. In hunting,
when flushed from the ground, it invariably flies to the trees, if in
a wooded country, where it squats so closely lengthwise on a branch
that it is hardly distinguishable. An attempt has been made to in-
troduce them into Long Island, but they were all exterminated by
gunners after the first season.
Black Ptilogonys-Blaok-orested Flycatcher. (Phacnojepla nites.)
Fig. z.
This species is to be met with in the valley of the Colorado and
southward. Its powerful and well-modulated song is very pleasant
to the ear. Cooper says: This bird, which is in habits and appear-
ance much more like the Flycatchers than the Waxwings, is yet
connected with the latter more closely in structure, and has even
some sweet notes, indicating a greater affinity to the Oscines than
to the Clamatores.
They prefer the vicinity of the trees on which the mistletoe
grows, as its berries form much of their food during the whole
year, but they also watch for insects from the summit of some low
tree, occasionally flying after one and pursuing it in a zigzag course,
very much like the Sayornis nigricans. They almost constantly
utter a loud cry of alarm or warning, and when pursued are very
wild, requiring much artifice in winter to shoot them. If wounded,
they conceal themselves so fully in the thick tufts of mistletoe as to
be found with much difficulty.
When at rest, they have the same habit as the Pewees of jerking
the tail and erecting their crest. When flying, the white spot on
the spread wings becomes very conspicuous; and in the deserts
along the Majoor river, every thicket of mesquite was frequented
by one or more of them, some being constantly on the wing in their
gyrating flight after insects, giving some appearance of life to those
otherwise desolate regions in winter.
Mango Humming-bird-Black-throated Humming-bird.  (Lampornis
Fig. 2.
The Mango, we learn from M. Boucier, though one of the most
widely-spread members of its family, is only to be met with in hot
localities (straggler to Florida), and whenever it occurs in the in-
terior of a country, it is invariably in the warmest valleys. In dis-
position it is wild and quarrelsome, for although it lives in societies,
several always being together, it is continually engaged in fighting
with its companions and in driving away all other birds that ap-
proach the trees in which it is breeding. The adult does not as-
sume its perfect plumage antil the end of the second year, and in

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