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

Plate LXXXVIII. Black ptilogonys--black-crested flycatcher. (Phaenopepla nitens.),   pp. 131-132

Page 132

the interval passes through so many changes that the variety of
appearance it presents has given rise to the various names under
which these birds have been described. The flight of this species
is rapid. The Mango frequents gardens as well as forests, and is
very common in Rio Janeiro in some seasons and equally scarce at
others. The nest, according to Gould, is a round cup-shaped
structure, placed near the extremity of a small horizontal branch,
and is composed of any cottony or similar material that may be at
hand, bound together with cobwebs, and ornamented with numer-
ous small pieces of lichen. The eggs are white, and two in num-
ber, half an inch long by three-eighths of an inch in breadth.
" Wishing to keep one of these birds alive," says Gould, "
stationed myself near a blossoming papau tree, one evening, with
a gauze ring-net in my hand, with which I darted at one, and
though I missed my aim, the attempt so astonished it that it ap-
peared to have lost its presence of mind, so to speak, flitting hur-
riedly hither and thither for several seconds before it flew away.
The next morning I again took my station, and stood quite still,
the nest being held up close to an inviting branch of blossoms; the
Humming Birds came near in their course round the tree, sipped
the surrounding flowers, eyeing the net hanging in the air for a
moment near the fatal cluster without touching it, and then, arrow-
like, darting away. At length one, after surveying the net, passed
again round the tree, and in approaching it the second time and
perceiving the strange object not to have moved, he took courage
and began to suck. I quite trembled with hope; in one instant the
net was struck, and before I could see anything, the rustling of
his wings within the gauze told me that the little beauty was a cap-
tive. I brought him in triumph to the house and caged him, but
he was very restless, clinging to the sides and wires, and fluttering
violently about. The next morning, having gone out on an ex-
cursion for a few hours, I found the poor bird on my return dying,
having beaten himself to death. I never again took this species
Blaok-headed Goldfinch. (Chrysomitris magellanica.)
Fig. 3.
Of this species, Audubon says: " While residing at Henderson,
on the Ohio, I, one cold morning in December, observed five males
of this species on the heads of some sunflowers in my garden, and,
after watching them for a little time, shot two of them. The rest
rose high in the air, and were soon out of sight. Considering the
birds very nearly allied to our common American Goldfinch, I was
surprised to find the head black at that season. Their notes re-
semble those of the Pine Finch, Linaria pinus, but in their man-
ner of feeding, as well as in their flight, they precisely resembled
the American Goldfinch, Carduelis tristis. All my subsequent
endeavors to meet this species failed."
Blaok-ohinned Humming-bird. (Trochilus alexandri.)
Fig. 4.
This species is very closely allied to the Ruby-throated Hum-
ming-bird of Eastern North America, the difference consisting
in the color of the chin and the shape of the tail. The tail in the
male is nearly even, or slightly rounded, instead of being decidedly
forked. The females of the two species are very similar, and can
scarcely be distinguished. Whilst the Ruby-throated Humming-
bird is confined to the east of the Rocky Mountains, this species is
confined to the west of the same range. Cooper, in his Ornithology
of California, says: " I observed none of this species in the Col-
orado Valley, and in coming westward first saw them along the
Morgan river on the third of June. I also found one of their nests
there, built in a dark willow thicket in a fork of a tree about eight
feet from the ground. I have since found several more nests near
Santa Barbara, all of them built near the end of hanging branches
of the sycamore (platanus), constructed entirely of white down
from the willow or sycamore catkins, agglutinated by the bird's
saliva, and attached in the same way to the branch on which they
rested. These were built in April, and early in May I found sev-
eral containing two white eggs, like those laid by all Humming-
birds, oblong in shape, and alike at each end; size, 0.5i by 0.32.
Dr. Hurman found their nests as far north as Sacramento, and
south to Guaymas. I have never seen the species in places ex-
posed to the cold sea-winds, where others are found. It is a less
interesting and conspicuous bird than the larger species found in
this state, and probably not often recognized, though its small size
is alone sufficient to distinguish it.
" During the progress of the Northwestern Boundary Survey, Mi.
J. K. Lord, of the British commission, was so fortunate as to find
this species between the Cascade and Rocky Mountains, near lati-
tude 490, where they arrived toward the end of May, and fre-
quented the vicinity of lakes, pools, and swamps where the birch
tree grows. The sap excluded from the bark of this tree attracted
numbers of insects, on which this Humming-bird chiefly fed. He
found the nests in high forks of branches of the birch or alder."
Mexioan Wren-White-throated Wren. (Catherpes mexicanus.)
Fig. 5.
Until lately, the range of the White-throated Wren has been
from the United States border, thence southward. Mr. Aiken re-
ports it found in winter in Colorado, among large masses of rock
on the faces of cliffs.  Mr. Allen remarks that "The White-
throated Wren is one of the most noteworthy birds of those re-
~markable localities near Colorado City, known as ' Monument
Park,' and the ' Garden of the Gods.' When alone, I observed it
in Colorado. Equally with the Rock Wren, it is a lover of cliffs
and bare rocky exposures.  Wherever it occurs, at least in the
breeding season, its presence is sure to be known by its loud ring-
ing notes. At the localities above named it seemed to delight in
the reverberation of its notes from the high sandstone walls that
give to the Garden of the Gods its peculiar picturesqueness." Ac-
cording to Prof. Sumichrast, it is very common on the plateau of
Mexico, " where it probably has its center of propagation," and
it is also found in the temperate region of the department of Vera
Cruz. " In Orizaba, it nests in the houses; its nest, very skill-
fully wrought with spiders' webs, is built in the crevices of old
walls, or in the interstices between the tiles under the roofs of
Dr. Coues says: " The note of the species is one of the most
striking I ever heard; for a bird of its size, it sings with wonderful
strength and clearness, uttering a peculiar ringing whistle, the odd
intonations of which are exaggerated in the echoes awakened
among the fastnesses of the rocks. It is a very active, sprightly
bird, leaping and fluttering among the rocks almost incessantly."
Oregon Towhee. (Pipiio macutatus, var. oregonus.)
Fig. 6.
This species is very similar to the Chewink, Towhee Bunting
or Marsh Robin, which will be noticed by a comparison of the
figures of the two species. The Chewink is represented on Plate
LVI., Fig. 8. " The note of the Oregon Towhee," says Coues,
" is entirely different, the words ' towhee' and 'chewink' being
an attempt to imitate the sound, while the cry of the western varie-
ties of macuslatus is exactly like the scolding mew of a Catbird."
The Oregon Towhee is met with on the Pacific ccast.

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