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

[Plate CXIV. Black-headed finch. (Phonipara zena.) cont.],   pp. 173-174

Page 173

Townsend's Fly-oatching Thrush, or Solitair. (Myiadestes townsendii.)
Fig. i8.
Dr. J. S. Newberry has given a very interesting account of this
bird. Noticing its occurrence is the Des Chutes Basin, he con-
tinues: II It does not inhabit dense forests, nor prairies entirely
destitute of trees, but chooses surfaces covered with a scattered
growth of pine and cedar. We first met with it in the canon of
Mptolyas River, at the base of Mt. Jefferson. As we picked our
way with infinite difficulty down the side of this gorge, my atten-
tion was attracted by the delightful song of, to me, a new bird, of
which a few were sitting in the pines and cedars which, by a pre-
carious tenure, held a footing on the craggy face of the cliff. The
song, so clear, full, and melodious, seemed that of a Mimus; of
the bird I could not see enough to judge of its affinities. The next
day we followed down the river in the bottom of the canon; all
day the deep gorge was filled with a chorus of sweet sounds from
hundreds and thousands of these birds, which, from their monoto-
nous color, and their habit of sitting on the branch of a tree pro-
jecting into the void above the stream, or hanging from some beet-
ling crag, and flying out in narrow circles after insects, precisely
in the manner of Flycatchers, I was disposed to associate with
them. Two days afterward, in the canon of Psucseeque Creek,
of which the terraced banks were sparsely set with low trees of
the western cedar, I found these birds numerous, and had every
opportunity of hearing and seeing them, watching them for hours
while feeding and singing, and procuring specimens of both male
and female. With the first dawn of day they began their songs,
and at sunrise the valley was vocal with their notes. Never, any-
where, have I heard a more delightful chorus of bird-music. Their
song is not greatly varied, but all the notes are particularly clear
and sweet, and the stream of pure gushing melody is as spontan-
eous and inspiring as that of the Song Sparrow."
Mountain Mooking-bird, or Mocker; Sage Thrasher. (Oreossofites mon-
Fig. 19.
T'Ais splendid singer makes his home in the Rocky Mountain
regions of the United States. Mr. Ridgeway carefully observed
the habits of this species and says, that it is a bird peculiar to the
artemisia wastes of the Great Basin, being a characteristic species
of the region between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Moun-
tains. It is exclusively an inhabitant of the " sage brush," and
partial to the lower portions of the country, though it is not un-
frequent on the open slope of the mountains. A more unappro-
priate term than "Mountain Mocking-Bird" could hardly have
been chosen for this species, as its predilection for the valleys, and
the fact that its song is entirely its own will show. In his opinion
the term Sage Thrasher would be more appropriate. When sing-
ing the birds were generally seen sitting upon the summit of a
" sage " bush, faintly warbling, in the course of the song turning
the head from side to side in a watchful manner. Upon being ap-
proached, they would dart downward, seemingly diving into the
bush upon which they had been perched, but upon a close search
the bird could not be found, until it was heard again singing a
hundred yards or more in the direction from which I had ap-
proached. When the pairing season was at hand, the songs of the
males become greatly improved, increasing in sweetness and vivac-
ity, and full of rapturous emotion; their manners also became
changed, for they have lost all their wariness.
Hermit Thrush; Rocky Mountain Hermit Thrush; Audubon's Thrush.
(Turdus pallasi, var. auduboni.)
Fig. 20.
This bird is a Rocky Mountain variety of the typical species, re-
presented on Plate XXXVI, fig. 5, page 48.
Cape St. Lucas Robin. (Turdus migratorius, var. confinis.)
Fig. 21.
A Cape St. Lucas variety of the typical bird, represented on
Plate LXVII, fig. 4, page 97.
Wilson's Thrush; Tawny Thrush; Veery. (Turdusfuscesceus.)
Fig. 22.
Wilson's Thrush is our Eastern North American species, pass-
ing its winters in Florida and the West Indies, Central and South
America. According to Maynard, its note is uttered at irregular in-
tervals, sometimes loud, sometimes soft, and even changing in the
direction from which it comes. According to Ridgeway it is timid,
distrustful and retiring; delighting in shady ravines, the edges of
thick close woods, and occasionally the more retired parts of gar-
dens; where if unmolested, it will frequent the same locality year
after year. Their song consists of an inexpressibly delicate me-
tallic utterance of the syllables ta-wee?' ah, ta-wee?' ah, tuil' ah,
tuil' ah, accompanied by a firm trill which renders it truly seduc-
Oregon Thrush. (Turdus swainsoni, var. ustulatus.)
Fig. 23.
This bird is a Pacific Coast variety of the typical species, figure
24, of this Plate.
Swainson's Thrush; Olive-backed Thrush; Swamp Robin. (.Turdus
Fig. 24.
This species is met with over nearly the whole of North America,
and during the migrating time, which is usually in April and Oc-
tober, it is very abundant. Like other members of its family, it is
a good singer, resembling that of the Wood Thrush. According
to Ridgeway, its song of lamentation, when robbed of its young, is
full of indescribable pathos and beauty, haunting one who has
overheard it long after. The nest is usually placed in a low tree
or bush, and the eggs are blue, with numerous reddish spots.
Zenaida Dove. (Zenaidaamabilis.)
Fig. 25.
This rare species was obtained by Audubon, on the Florida Keys,
where it was a transient visitor. They are said by him to have
the habits of the Ground Dove. Their flight resembles them, and
is seldom higher than the tops of the mangroves, and never to any
considerable distance, except during their migrations. Though
they alight on trees with ease, and can walk well among their
branches, they spend the greater portion of their time on the
ground, and walk well there, walking or running in search of food
with lightness and celerity, and invariably roost on the ground.

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