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

Plate XC. Golden-crowned sparrow, yellow-crowned finch, or yellow-crowned sparrow. (Zonotrichia coronata.),   pp. 135-136

Plate XCI. Glossy, or bay ibis. (Ibis falcinellus, var. ordii.),   p. 136

Page 136

small trees, in which they are busily engaged, with their chirping
call, which resembles the words "1 thshish, tshist, tsii, twee,"
search for their insect food. They are constant residents of
the Pacific coast of the United States, east to the Sierra Nevada.
Bullook's Oriole. (Icterus bullockii.)
Fig. 9.
This beautiful bird is an inhabitant of the wooded portions of the
Rocky Mountains, to the Pacific, and southward along the table-
lands of Mexico, and is said to extend its migrations in summer to
British America. It is a near relative of the well known favorite,
the Baltimore Oriole:
Dr. Coues, American Naturalist (vol. 5, page 68o), says:
"All the Orioles are wonderful architects, rearing pensile nests
of soft, pliable, fibrous substances, with a nicety and beauty of
finish that human art would vainly attempt to rival. These ele-
gant fabrics are hung at the end of slender twigs, out of reach
of ordinary enemies; and though they may swing with every
breath of wind, this is but cradle-rocking for the callow young, and
it is a rude blast, indeed, that endangers the safety of their leafy
"eLittle time passes after their arrival, before the modestly-
attired females rambling silently through the verdure, are singled
out and attended each by her impetuous consort, who sings his
choicest songs, and displays the powers she admires most. His
song is an elegant paraphrase of the Baltimore's, with all its rich-
ness and variety, though an ear well skilled in distinguishing
birds' notes can readily detect a difference. Their courtship
happily settled, the pair may be seen fluttering through the thicket
they have chosen in eager search for a building-place; and when
a suitable one is found, no time is lost in beginning to weave their
future home. It is a great mistake to suppose that birds of the
same species always build in the same way. Though their nests
have a general resemblance in the style of architecture, they differ
greatly according to their situation, to the time the birds have be-
fore the nest must be used for the reception of the eggs, and often,
we are tempted to think, according to the taste and skill of the
builders. In their work of this sort, birds show a remarkable power
of selection, as well as of adapting themselves to circumstances;
in proof of which, we have only to examine the three beauti-
ful specimens now lying before us. Each is differently constructed;
and while all three evince wonderful powers of weaving, one of
them in particular, is astonishingly ingenious, displaying the united
accomplishments of weaving and basket-making. Before proceed-
ing, we may premise that the idea of the nest is a sort of bag or
purse, closely woven of slender, pliant substances, like strips of
fibrous bark, grasses, hair, twine, etc., open at the top, and hung
by its rim in the fork of a twig, or at the very end of a floating
spray. The eggs of this species are four or five in number, and
rather elongated in form, being much pointed at the smaller end."
Blue Crow.
Maximilian's Jay. Cassin's Jay.
(Gymnokitta cyano.
Fig. to.
The favorite resorts of this species are the barren districts east
of the Sierra Nevada, among the junipers, the berries of which
afford them food. The following interesting account of this spe-
cies was written by Dr. Coues, and appeared in the "1 Ibis," I872:
" For many years this species was considered a rarity, to be
highly prized, and may still remain among the desiderata of many
or most European collectors; but of late a great many specimens
have been gathered, notably in California, by the late Captain
John Feilner, and in Arizona, by myself. Prince Maximilian's
original examples are stated to have come from one of the tributa-
ries of the Upper Missouri, which locality, if not beyond the bird's
ordinary range, is certainly far from its centre of abundance. In
the matter of altitude, the present species has not been proven to
occur so high up as Clarke's Crow has; but the evidence is only
negative. It breeds at or near its limit of altitude, descending in
winter to the lower border of the pine-belt, if not a little beyond.
"At Fort Whipple, in Arizona, where my observations were
made, the bird may be considered a permanent resident. Though
we did not observe it breeding in the immediate vicinity, we found
newly-fledged young in the neighboring higher mountains, show-
ing that it nests there. Like most of its tribe-in fact, like most
birds largely subsisting on varied animal and vegetable substances
-it is not strictly migratory, except, perhaps, at its highest point
of dispersion. A descent of a few thousand feet from mountain-
tops appears to answer the purpose of the southward journeying
most migratory species perform, as far as food is concerned, while
its hardy nature enables it to endure the rigors of winter in regions
frequently snow-bound. It feeds principally upon juniper berries
and pine seeds; also upon acorns, and probably other small, hard
" Notwithstanding its essentially corvine form, the habits of this
bird, like its colors, are rather those of Jays. It is a garrulous
and vociferous creature, of various and curiously modulated chat-
tering notes when at ease, and of extremely loud, harsh cries
when in fear or anger. The former are somewhat guttural, but
the latter possess a resonance different both from the hoarse
screams of Cyanura macrolotha (Long-crested Jay) and the
sharp, wiry voice of the Cyanocitta  (Jays).  Like Jays, it is a
restless, impetuous bird, as it were of an unbalanced, even frivo-
lous, mind; its turbulent presence contrasting strongly with the
poised and somewhat sedate demeanor of the larger black Corva
(Crow). With these last, however, it shares a strong character-
its attitudes when on the ground, to which it habitually descends,
being Crow-like; and its gait, an easy walk or run, differing en.
tirely from the leaping progression of the true Jays. It shares a
shy and watchful disposition with its relatives on both sides of the
family; its flight is most nearly like that of the Picicorvus (Clark's
Crow). It is highly gregarious, in the strict sense of the term.
Immense as the gatherings of Crows frequently are, these birds
seem to associate rather in community of interest than in obedience
to a true social instinct; each individual looks out for himself, and
the company disperses for cause as readily as it assembles.  It is
different with these small Blue-Jay Crows; they flock sometimes
in surprising numbers, keep as close together as Blackbirds, and
move as if by a common impulse. As usual, their dispersion is
marked, if not complete, at the breeding season; but the flocks re-
assemble as soon as the yearlings are well on wing, from which
time until the following spring hundreds are usually seen together.
On one occasion, at least, I witnessed a gathering of probably a
thousand individuals.
"The nest and eggs of this bird apparently remain unknown."
Glossy, or Bay Ibis. (Ibisfakinellus, var. ordii.)
Fig. 1.
This species has a general distribution within the warmer sec-
tions of North America. It is mostly to be seen along our lakes
and rivers and especially along the coast, and specimens have been
met with as far north as Massachusetts and Ohio. In summer,
the Glossy Ibis subsists chiefly upon larvae, worms, and insects
of various kinds. seizing their nrev with great dexteritv tven whe-n
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