Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
TRICHAS MARILANDICA, Linn.
PLATE CII.--MALE, FEMALE, AND YOUNG MALE.
The notes of this little bird render it more conspicuous than most of its
genus, for although they cannot be called very musical, they are far from being
unpleasant, and are uttered so frequently during the day, that one, in walking
along the briary ranges of the fences, is almost necessarily brought to listen
to its whitititee, repeated three or four times every five or six minutes, the
bird seldom stopping expressly to perform its music, but merely uttering the
notes after it has picked an insect from amongst the leaves of the low bushes
which it usually inhabits. It then hops a step or two up or down, and begins
Although timid, it seldom flies far off at the approach of man, but
instantly dives into the thickest parts of its favourite bushes and high grass,
where it continues searching for food either along the twigs, or among the dried
leaves on the ground, and renews its little song when only a few feet distant.
Its nest is one of those which the Cow Bunting, Molothrus (Icterus)
pecoris, selects, in which to deposit one of its eggs, to be hatched by the
owners, that bird being similar in this respect to the European Cuckoo. The
nest, which is placed on the ground, and partly sunk in it, is now and then
covered over in the form of an oven, from which circumstance children name this
warbler the Oven-bird. It is composed externally of withered leaves and grass,
and is lined with hair. The eggs are from four to six, of a white colour,
speckled with light brown, and are deposited about the middle of May. Sometimes
two broods are reared in a season. I have never observed the egg of the Cow
Bunting in the nests of the second brood. It is less active in its motions than
most birds of the genus, but makes up this deficiency by continued application,
it being, to appearance, busily employed during the whole of the day. It does
not chase insects by flying after them, but secures them by surprise.
Caterpillars and spiders form its principal food.
Although this species is found throughout the Union, the Middle States seem
to attract and detain more individuals, during the breeding season, than any
others. Very few breed in Louisiana. In Kentucky, however, many breed in the
barrens. The neighbourhood of swamps and such places is their favourite ground,
but every field provided with briar patches or tall weeds harbours some of them.
It leaves the Central Districts about the middle of September. The male bird
does not attain its full colouring until the first spring, being for several
months of the same tints as the female.
The twig on which the males are seen, is commonly called in Louisiana the
wild olive. The tree is small, brittle and useless. It bears an acid fruit,
which is sometimes employed as a pickle, and eaten when ripe by some people.
This bird was published in my Ornithological Biography erroneously as a new
species. Of this I informed my friends Dr. BACHMAN, Mr. HARRIS, and Dr. BREWER;
and afterwards the Prince of MUSIGNANO. I have nothing to add to my account of
its habits. It was found on the Columbia river by Mr. TOWNSEND, several of
whose specimens I have seen. I also found it in the Texas in April. No mention
is made of it in the Fauna Boreali-Americana; and I saw none in Labrador or
Newfoundland. The eggs of this species measure 5 1/2 eighths in length, by four
and a half eighths, and are rather pointed at the small end.
The roof of the mouth is flat, posteriorly with two ridges, anteriorly with
a middle prominent and two very slight lateral ridges; its width 3 twelfths.
The tongue is 4 1/2 twelfths long, sagittate and papillate at the base, thin,
concave above, tapering to a deeply slit and slightly lacerated point. The
oesophagus is 1 inch 7 twelfths long, its greatest width 2 twelfths. The
stomach is rather small, elliptical, 4 1/2 twelfths long, 3 1/2 twelfths broad;
its lateral muscles moderate, the lower very thin; the epithelium longitudinally
rugous. The intestine is 5 inches long, its greatest width 1 twelfth; the coeca
1 twelfth long, and about a third of a twelfth wide, their distance from the
extremity 7 twelfths.
The trachea is 1 1/4 inches long, 1 twelfth broad at the top; its rings 60;
its muscles as usual. Bronchial rings 15.
MARYLAND YELLOW-THROAT, Sylvia Marilandica, Wils. Amer. Orn., vol. i.p. 88, Male; vol. ii. p. 163, Female.
SYLVIA MARILANDICA, Bonap. Syn., p. 85.
MARYLAND YELLOW-THROAT, Nutt. Man., vol, i.
YELLOW-BREASTED WARBLER, or MARYLAND YELLOW-THROAT, Sylvia Trichas, Aud.
Orn. Biog., vol. i. p. 121, Adult; vol. v. p. 463.
ROSCOE'S YELLOW-THROAT, Sylvia Roscoe, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. i. p. 124.
Bill of ordinary length, tapering, slender, nearly straight, acute.
Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half-closed by a membrane. Head and neck
of ordinary size, the latter short. Body rather short. Feet longish, slender;
tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly with a few scutella, the
uppermost long; toes scutellate above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate
size; claws slender, compressed, acute, arched.
Plumage loose, blended. Wings very short, the first quill longest. Tail
Bill dark brown. Iris dark hazel. Feet flesh colour. A broad band of
black across the forehead, including the eyes, and terminating in a pointed form
half-way down the neck; behind which is a narrower band of very pale blue; a
slender white streak under the eye. Fore part of the neck bright ochre-yellow,
the rest of the under parts pale brownish-yellow, fading into white on the
abdomen and under tail-coverts. Upper parts dull greyish-olive, on the head
tinged with red. Inner webs of the quills deep brown.
Length 5 1/4 inches, extent of wings 5 1/2; bill along the ridge 5/12;
along the gap 2/3; tarsus 11/12.
The female has the upper parts lighter, the under parts tinged with
reddish-brown, and wants the two bands on the head, which is of a pale
THE SNOW-DROP TREE, SILVER-BELL TREE, OR WILD OLIVE.
HALESIA TETRAPTERA, Willd. Sp. Pl., vol. ii. p. 849. Pursch, Flor. Amer.,vol. ii. p. 448.
MONADELPHIA DECANDRIA, Linn.--GUAIACANAE, Juss.
Leaves ovate, acuminate, serrate; flowers with twelve stamina; the fruit
rhomboidal. It grows in shady woods, generally near rivers.