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

Plate XCIV. Baird's sparrow. Baird's bunting. (Centronyx bairdii.),   p. 140

Page 140

Black Oyster-catcher. Bachman's Oyster-catcher. (Hamat01us
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.
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
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