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

Plate LVI. Cedar bird. (Ampelis cedrorum.),   pp. 81-PL. LVI

Page 82

have disappeared, and with their tufted crowns, beautiful plumage,
and supple movements, make a most attractive picture. From
their great fondness for cherries, they have received the name of
Cherry-bird, and have suffered much unjust persecution from the
same cause, for they are entitled to a most generous repast in return
for their services in keeping in check the myriad insect life. They
are particularly fond of the destructive canker-worm which makes
such havoc with apple and elm trees. Although arriving at their
breeding places early, it is not until about the first of July that they
commence building their nests. This curious anomaly in bird life
has awakened the curiosity of all ornithologists. Their nests are
large and bulky, composed of a variety of materials, twigs, coarse
grass, and stems of vegetables, in which they lay five or six eggs, of
a light slate color, tinged with olive, and marked with dark purple
blotches, measuring about .85 by .70 of an inch.
Black-throated Bunting. (BEusjiza americans.)
Fig. 2.
A rare bird throughout New England, but unusually abundant in
the West, this little Bunting is usually found in open fields. It arrives
in New York the last of May, and immediately commences to build
its nest, which consists of coarse grasses and stems, lined with a finer
and kindred material. It is sometimes built upon the ground, more
frequently a little above, in low bushes like blackberry brambles
and wild roses. In the West they frequently mat together the tops
of coarse prairie grasses, and construct their nests upon it. They
usually lay five eggs of a uniform light blue color, varying in size.
During the summer they destroy immense numbers of caterpillars,
beetles, canker-worms, and other destructive insects, varying their
diet with the seeds of coarse grasses and weeds. They are always
found in pairs, and even when preparing to migrate, keep up this
isolated family relation. Their song is more constant than musical.
The note is a chip-chi5-che-che-che, which they keep repeating
over and over until it becomes wearisome.
Tit-lark-American Pipit. (Anthus ludovicianus.)
Fig. 3.
The Tit-lark or American Pipit is one of the most abundant and
widely distributed of North American birds. Its range extends
from Florida to the arctic regions, from the Atlantic to the Pacific
oceans. It builds its nest about the middle of May, seeking open,
bare, and exposed situations, usually the sides of some steep and
precipitous chasm. Here, in some natural cavity, it gathers dry
mosses and with coarse grass makes a nest about six inches in
diameter, loosely put together, with a cavity of about two inches
in the center. The eggs are from four to six, dark chocolate in
color, with small lines and streaks in black, measuring .75 by .62.
The flight of this bird is easy and beautiful; while upon the ground
it moves with great rapidity, jerking its tail like the Water-thrush.
Its song is clear, mellow, and very sweet, more subdued when on the
wing than when at rest. Its food is varied; in the interior consist-
ing of insects and small seed, while on the banks of rivers or on
the seashore they devour crustaceous and small shells, resorting at
low tides to muddy flats, and in company with the small Sand-
pipers, finding abundance of food. During incubations both birds
sit in the same nest close together, and abandon it only at the last
moment of danger, and when driven from it they flutter only a few
feet, uttering loud cries of lamentation, in which they are joined
by their companions.
The Shore Lark. (Eremfphail alpestris.)
Fig. 4
The Shore Lark has a very extended range, and breeds from
Texas to Labrador. Where circumstances are favorable, it re-
mains the year round, even when the winters are of unusual
severity. During the season of wooing, the male bird has the
habit of rising almost perpendicularly in the air, wheeling up and
up in irregular circles until nearly out of sight, singing at intervals
a sweet and somewhat varied song, and then descending to the
very spot from whence he arose. At this season the male bird is
also very pugnacious, engaging in frequent battles, in which sev-
eral will join at the same time, fluttering, biting, and tumbling
over each other in a confused manner. It is most emphatically a
ground bird, never alighting upon trees, and its song, which is
alike short and sweet, is uttered when at rest and when on the
wing. It usually selects some mossy bed in which to build its
nest, which it hollows out and fills with fine grasses and a final
lining of feathers. Its eggs are from four to five in number, gray-
ish in color, covered with spots of purplish-lavender. Before they
can fly, the young, which in no way resemble their parents, leave
their nests, and nimbly follow them for the purpose of being fed.
The parent birds are very solicitous for their offspring, and will
follow a ravisher of their nest long distances, uttering the most
plaintive cries. At the approach of danger they flutter away,
feigning lameness, endeavoring to lead the intruder away from
their young. Their food consists of insects, the seeds of grasses
and the blossoms of small flowers, and, when near the shore, of
Connecticut Warbler. (Oporornis agilis.)
Fig. 5.
Wilson first discovered this rare and beautiful bird in the State
from whence it derives its name, and during the many years which
have intervened since his untimely death, but little additional in-
formation has been gained. Audubon found but two specimens, and
these in New Jersey. Within a few years it has been discovered in
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and in Illinois. It is exceed-
ingly active in its habits, constantly hopping from one low bush to
another, and emitting, without ceasing, the single note-tweet.
It is very fond of a small water-spider which it pursues, skimming
the water after the manner of the Swallow. It also seeks its food
in old fields, among dry, rank weeds, and in swampy places.
Fox-colored Sparrow. (Passerella iliaca.)
Fig. 6.
Throughout all the Northern and Western States, the Fox-
colored Sparrow is only a bird of passage, and is not known to
breed in any State in the Union. They winter in the vicinity of
Washington and throughout the South. They begin their northern
pilgrimage, which is performed entirely by day, some time in
March, and return again to winter-quarters in October. They fly
in small flocks of about a dozen, in a low but rapid, undulatory
manner, and haunt the outskirts of low thickets and the edges of
moist woods. They breed in the wooded districts of the fur
countries, and during this season the plumage of the male bird
becomes sometimes an almost brilliant red. At this timef the male
also develops the most charming musical capabilities, his song be-
coming loud, clear, and melodious, unsurpassed by any of the
family of Finches. The nest is constructed on the ground and in
trees, and is composed of coarse hay, lined with similar material
of a finer quality, mixed with mosses and the hair of deer. They
=&%s sa"r:1 lu Ul G1 1 DI VI UIC biru, and when on the ground are

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