Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
THE COERULEAN WOOD-WARBLER.
SYLVICOLA COERULEA, Wils.
So scarce is this bird in the Middle Districts, that its discovery in the
State of Pennsylvania has been made a matter of much importance. Its habits are
consequently very little known, even at the present day, and it would appear
that only a few individuals have been seen by our American ornithologists, one
of which, a young female, has been figured by the Prince of MUSIGNANO.
It arrives in the lower parts of the State of Louisiana, in company with
many other species of Warblers, breeds there and sets out again about the
beginning of October. It is as lively as most species of its genus, possesses
the same manner of flight, moves sidewise up and down the branches and twigs,
frequently changing sides, and hangs to the extremities of bunches of leaves or
berries, on which it procures the insects and larvae of which its food is
principally composed. The liveliness of its notes renders it conspicuous in
those parts of the skirts of the forests which it frequents; and its song,
although neither loud nor of long continuance, is extremely sweet and mellow.
I have no precise recollection of the time when I first made a drawing of
this pretty little bird, but know this well, that a drawing, which I had of it
was one of the unfortunate collection destroyed by the rats at Henderson. In
Louisiana, where it is as numerous as other Sylviae, I have several times shot
five or six during a single walk, towards the end of August, when the young are
nearly full coloured.
The nest is placed in the forks of a low tree or bush, more frequently on a
dog-wood tree. It is partly pensile, projecting a little above the twigs to
which it is attached, and extending below them for nearly two inches. The
fibres of vines and of the stalks of rank herbaceous plants, together with
slender roots, compose the outer part, being arranged in a circular manner. The
lining consists entirely of the dry fibres of the Spanish moss. The female lays
four or five eggs, of a pure white colour, with a few reddish spots at the
larger end. When the female is disturbed during incubation, she trails along
the twigs and branches, with expanded tail and drooping wings, and utters a
plaintive note, resembling in all these circumstances the Blue-eyed Warbler. I
am not sure that they raise more than one brood in a season. When the young
abandon the nest, their plumage partakes of a greenish tinge, and no difference
can be perceived between the sexes without dissection. The little family move
and hunt together, and exhibit much pleasure in pursuing small insects on wing,
which they seize without any clicking sound of their bill. They seem at this
period to evince a great partiality for trees the tops of which are thickly
covered by grape vines, amongst the broad leaves of which they find ample
supplies of food. They also sometimes alight on the tall weeds, and pick a few
of their seeds. The males or females do not assume the full brilliancy of their
plumage until the following spring.
In the course of my late journey to the Texas I found the Azure Warbler
entering the United States from Mexico, early in April, when it was in perfect
plumage. On an island on which we landed, about an hour before sunset, some
hundreds had stopped to pass the night, the appearance of the weather being
threatening. My friend EDWARD HARRIS and my son shot a number of them. Next
day few were seen, and in about a week they had all proceeded eastward. The
whole breadth of our country, from the Atlantic shores to those of the Pacific,
is visited by this bird, which was found along the Columbia river at Fort
Vancouver by Mr. TOWNSEND. The most eastern point at which I have known it to
be procured is the neighbourhood of Pictou, Nova Scotia. It is not mentioned by
As to the Sylvia rara, my doubts regarding its specific distinction from
Sylvicola coerulea, are as great as ever, especially as no one has found its
nest. I mentioned this to the Prince of MUSIGNANO, who has placed it in his
list as the young of Sylvia azurea.
COERULEAN WARBLER, Sylvia coerulea, Wils. Amer. Orn.,
vol. ii. p. 141. Male.
BLUE-GREEN WARBLER, Sylvia rara, Wils. Amer. Orn.,
vol. iii. p. 119. Young.
SYLVIA AZUREA, Bonap. Syn., p. 85.
SYLVIA RARA, Bonap. Syn., p. 82.
COERULEAN WARBLER, Sylvia azurea, Bonap. Amer. Orn.,
vol. ii. p. 27. Female.
AZURE WARBLER, Sylvia azurea, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. i. p. 255, Male;
vol. v. p. 456.
BLUE-GREEN WARBLER, Sylvia rara, Aud. Orn. Biog.,
vol. i. p.258. Young Male.
Wings long, with the outer three quills nearly equal, the first and second
longest; tail slightly emarginate, upper parts of a fine light blue, brighter on
the head, the back marked with longitudinal streaks of blackish; a narrow band
of black from the forehead along the lore to behind the eye; two conspicuous
white bands on the wings, formed by the tips of the secondary coverts and first
row of small coverts; quills black, margined with pale blue; tail-feathers
black, edged with blue, all with a white patch on the inner web near the end;
lower parts white, with a band of dark bluish-grey across the fore neck, and
oblong spots of the same along the sides. Female with the upper parts light
bluish-green, the lower and a streak over the eye very pale yellow. Young of
both sexes like the female.
Male, 4 1/2, 8.
From Texas to Nova Scotia. Columbia-river. Rather common. Migratory.
ILEX DAHOON, Mich., Fl. Amer., vol. ii. p. 228. Pursch, Fl. Amer.,vol. i. p. 117.--TETRANDRIA TETRAGYNIA, Linn.--RHAMNI, Juss.
This species of holly is distinguished by its elliptico-lanceolate leaves,
which are thick, leathery, shining, and reflected at the margin, and its
corymboso-paniculate, lateral and terminal peduncles. The berries are globular
and bright red.
THE SPANISH MULBERRY.
CALLICARPA AMERICANA, Willd., Sp. Pl., vol. i. p. 619.
Pursch, Fl. Amer.,vol. i. p. 97.
--TETRANDRIA MONOGYNIA, Linn.--VITICES, Juss.
A perennial herbaceous plant, with oval, serrate leaves, which are downy
beneath; sessile cymes of red flowers, and globular red berries, arranged
apparently in dense whorls. It grows in dry gravelly or sandy soil in Virginia,
Carolina, and Louisiana.