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Audubon's Wood-Warbler


Audubon's Wood-Warbler


The definitive website on wildbirds & nature



Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.

VOLUME II.

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Bird Call
Family
Genus

AUDUBON'S WOOD-WARBLER.
[Yellow-rumped Warbler (see also Yellow-Crowned Wood-Warbler).]

SYLVICOLA AUDUBONII, Townsend.
[Dendroica coronata.]

PLATE LXXVII.--MALE AND FEMALE.

This species, so very intimately allied to Sylvia coronata, that an observer might readily mistake the one for the other, was discovered by Mr. TOWNSEND, who has done me the honour of naming it after me. He states, that "the Chinook Indians know it by the name of 'Fout-sah,' and that it is very numerous about the Columbia river, arriving there in the middle of March, and remaining to breed, but disappearing in the end of June. In the beginning of October it is again seen, with its plumage renewed. Its voice so nearly resembles that of the Chestnut-sided Warbler as to render it difficult to distinguish them. It keeps in the most impervious thickets, and is always silent when engaged in seeking its food." Mr. NUTTALL has favoured me with the following animated account of it.

"This elegant species, one of the beautiful and ever-welcome harbingers of approaching summer, we found about the middle of April, accompanying its kindred troop of Warblers, enlivening the dark and dreary wilds of the Oregon. The leaves of the few deciduous trees were now opening rapidly to the balmy influence of the advancing spring, and flowers but rarely seen even by the botanist, sent forth their delicious fragrance, and robed in beauty the shady forests and grassy savannahs. But nothing contributes so much life to the scene as the arrival of those seraphic birds, the Thrushes and Warblers, which, uniting in one wild and ecstatic chorus of delight, seemed to portray, however transiently, the real rather than the imaginary pleasures of paradise. Nor in those sad and distant wilds were the notes of the gilded messenger of summer (Sylvia aestiva) the less agreeable that I had heard them a thousand times before. The harmonies of Nature are not made to tire, but to refresh the best feelings of the mind, to recall the past, and make us dwell with delight upon that which best deserves our recollection. But what was my surprise to hear the accustomed note of the Summer Yellowbird delivered in an improved state by this new Warbler, clad in a robe so different but yet so beautiful. Like that species, also he was destined to become our summer acquaintance, breeding and rearing his offspring in the shady firs by the borders of the prairie openings, where he could at all times easily obtain a supply of insects or their larvae. On the 8th of June the young of this species, at that time so much like those of the Yellow-Rump, were already out in small roving and busy flocks, solicitously attended and occasionally fed by the still watchful parents. We may notice in this species as a habit, that, unlike many other birds of its tribe, it occasionally frequents trees, particularly the water-oaks and the lower branches of those gigantic firs, which attain not uncommonly a height of 240 feet. In the branches of the latter, near a cliff, opening on a prairie by the banks of the river Columbia, I have reason to believe that a pair of this fine species had a nest, as great solicitude was expressed when I several times accidentally approached the place."

I have given figures of the male and female, taken from specimens obtained by Mr. TOWNSEND on the Columbia.

SYLVIA AUDUBONII, AUDUBON'S WARBLER, Townsend, Journ. Acad. Nat. Sc. Philadelphia, vol. vii. p. 190.
AUDUBON'S WARBLER, Sylvia Audubonii, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 52.

Outer four quills nearly equal, second longest; tail slightly emarginate. Male with the upper parts bluish ash-grey, streaked with black; crown, rump, upper part of throat, and a patch on the sides of the body, rich yellow; first row of small coverts largely tipped, and secondary coverts broadly margined and tipped with white, which thus forms a conspicuous patch on the wing; quills and tail brownish-black, narrowly margined with greyish-white; a patch of white on the inner webs of all the tail-feathers, but on the central reduced to a mere edging; a small white spot on each of the eyelids; loral space and cheek black; lower part of neck anteriorly, fore part of breast, and sides, variegated with black and white or ash-grey, the latter colours margining the feathers; the rest of the lower parts white. Female without the yellow spot on the crown, although the feathers there are tinged with that colour at the base; upper parts light brownish-grey, streaked with dusky; lower parts whitish, tinged with brown, and streaked with dusky; throat and rump yellow, but of a lighter tint than in the male, and but slight indications of the yellow patch on the sides; there is much less white on the wings, and the white patches on the tail-feathers are of less extent.

In size, form, and proportion, this species and Sylvicola coronata are almost precisely similar; and their colours are almost exactly alike, the only remarkable difference in this respect being, that the throat of the present species is yellow, while that of the former is white.

Male, 5 3/4, wing, 3 1/12.

Columbia river, northward. Common. Migratory. THE STRAWBERRY TREE.

EUONYMUS AMERICANUS, Willd., Sp. Pl., vol. i. p. 1132. Pursch, Fl. Amer., vol. i. p. 168.

This beautiful shrub, which attains a height of five or six feet, is common in most parts of the United States, growing in low or swampy ground, and in shady places, is characterized by having the branches quadrangular, the leaves subsessile, elliptico-lanceolate, acute, and serrate. The fruit is large, round, tuberculate, of a scarlet colour, and very ornamental.

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