Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
THE YELLOW-THROATED WOOD-WARBLER.
SYLVICOLA PENSILIS, Lath.
This beautiful bird absents itself from the State of Louisiana only for two
months in the year, December and January. When they return in the beginning of
February, they throw themselves by thousands into all the cypress woods and
cane-brakes, where they are heard singing from the first of March until late in
autumn, sometimes in November.
Their habits are very different from those of the Warblers, and are more in
general accordance with those of the Certhiae. They move up and down, sidewise
and spirally, along the trunks, branches, and even twigs of the tallest and
largest cypresses, or such other trees as are found intermingled with them.
They are extremely active, in fact, fully as much so as the little Brown Creeper
itself. Like it, they suddenly leave the uppermost branches or higher parts of
the trunks, and diving downwards alight on the roots, and renew their search
after small insects and larvae. I never saw any of them pursue insects on wing.
The nest of this species is prettily constructed. Its outer parts are
composed of grey lichens and soft mosses, the interior of silky substances and a
few fibres of the Spanish moss. The female lays four pure white eggs, having
two or three purple dots near the larger end. I think they raise two broods
during their stay in Louisiana, but cannot speak of this as certain. The nest
is placed on a horizontal branch of a cypress, twenty, thirty, or even fifty
feet above the ground, and is with difficulty discovered from below, as it
resembles a knot or a tuft of moss.
The song of the Yellow-throated Warbler would please you, kind reader. Of
this I have not a doubt, as it is soft and loud, and is continued for two or
three minutes at a time, not unlike that of the Painted Finch, or Indigo-bird.
As it is heard in all parts of our most dismal cypress swamps, it contributes to
soothe the mind of a person whose occupation may lead him to such places. I
never saw this species on the ground. The male and the female are nearly alike
in plumage, but the young birds, which hunt for insects in company, in the
manner of Creepers or Titmice, do not acquire the yellow on the throat, nor the
full brilliancy of their plumage, until the first spring.
These birds confine themselves to the Southern States, seldom moving
farther towards the Middle Districts than North Carolina. They do not even
ascend the Mississippi farther than the Walnut Hills. They are abundant in the
neighbourhood of the Red river, and probably do not go farther south than
Mexico, during their short absence from the United States.
Happening to shoot several of these birds on a large chinquapin tree,
growing on the edge of a hill close to a swamp, I have put a male on one of its
twigs, which is furnished with a few fruits quite ripe and ready to leave their
husks. In the Southern States this tree is rare. It generally prefers elevated
places,.and rocky declivities, with an and soil. The wood resembles that of the
chestnut, but the trees being generally small, little use is made of it as
timber. The fruit is eaten by children. This tree is abundant along the
greater part of the range of the Alleghanies and its branches.
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, Sylvia flavicollis, Wils. Amer. Orn.,
vol. ii. p. 64.
SYLVIA PENSILIS, Bonap. Syn., p. 79.
YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER, Sylvia pensilis, Aud. Orn. Biog.,vol. i. p. 434.
Outer three quills almost equal, second quill longest, fourth shorter than
first; tail slightly emarginate. Male with the upper parts light greyish-blue;
the forehead black, the crown spotted with the same; a white line over the eye;
secondary coverts and first row of small coverts largely tipped with white;
quills greyish-black, margined with light greyish-blue; tail-feathers of the
same colour, the outer three with a patch of white on the inner web at the end;
loral space, a band under the eye, ear-coverts, a band down the side of the
neck, and numerous oblong spots on the sides of the body, black; throat bright
yellow; rest of lower parts white. Female similar, but with the tints paler.
Male, 5 1/2, 8 1/2.
From Texas to New Jersey. In the interior along the Mississippi to
Natchez. Common. Migratory.
CASTANEA PUMILA, Willd., Sp. Pl., vol. iv. p. 461.
Pursch, Flor. Amer., vol. ii. p. 625.
Mich., Arbr. Forest. de l'Amer. Sept., vol. ii. p. 166.
Pl.7.--MONOECIA POLYANDRIA, Linn.--AMENTACEAE, Juss.
This species of chestnut is characterized by its oblong, acute, sharply
serrated leaves, which are whitish and downy beneath. The fruit is very
agreeable, and is a favourite food of squirrels, and birds of different species,
such as Pigeons, Jays, Turkeys and Woodpeckers.