Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
HELINAIA CELATA, Say.
PLATE CXII.--MALE AND FEMALE.
This species is seen in the company of Sylvicola coronata and Sylvicola
petechia, both in the Southern States where it passes the winter, and while
crossing the Union in early spring on its way to those North-eastern Districts
where it breeds. It leaves Louisiana, the Floridas, and the Carolinas from the
in the Middle States about the beginning to the end of April; is seen in the
Middle States, about the 10th of May; and reaches the State of Maine and the
British provinces by the end of that month. On its return, besides settling in
the Southern States, it spreads over the provinces of Mexico, from whence
individuals in and along the shores of the western parts of the Union, entering
Canada in that direction in the first days of June. The Orange-crowned Warbler
is thus very widely distributed over North America. I met with none, however,
between Halifax and Labrador, nor did I see one in the latter country.
In the summer months, it manifests a retiring disposition, keeping among
the low brushwood that borders the rivers and lakes of the Northern Districts.
While in the south, however, where it is rather common near the sea-shore, it is
less cautious, and is seen, in considerable numbers, in the orange groves around
the plantations, or even in the gardens, especially in East Florida. Like the
Sylvicola petechia, it plays about the piazzas, skipping on wing in front of
the clapboarded house, in quest of its prey, which it expertly seizes without
alighting, or without snapping its bill, except during the disputes that occur
among the males, as the spring advances. You find it among the branches of the
Pride-of-China, a tree that ornaments the streets of the southern cities and
villages, as well as on trees bordering the roads. From these it descends into
the smilaxes, rose-bushes, and other shrubs, all of which yield it food and
shelter. At the approach of darkness, it enters among the foliage of the
evergreen wild orange and wild peach, where, with the Sylvicola petechia and
Sylvicola coronata, it quietly passes the night. Its food principally consists
of insects, partly caught on the wing, but chiefly along the branches and twigs,
where the little depredator seeks them out with great activity.
The flight of this bird is short, rather low, and is performed by gently
curved glidings. When ascending, however, it becomes as it were uncertain and
The Orange-crowned Warbler breeds in the eastern parts of Maine, and in the
British provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Its nest is composed of
lichens detached from the trunks of trees, intermixed with short bits of fine
grass, and is lined with delicate fibrous roots and a proportionally large
quantity of feathers. The eggs, which are from four to six, are of a pale green
colour, sprinkled with small black spots. The nest is placed not more than from
three to five feet from the ground between the smaller forks of some low fir
tree. Only one brood is raised in the season, and the birds commence their
journey southward from the middle of August to the beginning of September.
In autumn, it nearly loses the orange spot on its head, there being then
merely a dull reddish patch, which is only seen on separating the feathers. In
the breeding season, the part in question becomes as bright as you see it in the
plate, in which are represented a pair of these birds, on a twig of the great
huckleberry. The young do not shew any orange on the head until the following
SYLVIA CELATA, Say, Long's Exped., vol. i. p. 169.
SYLVIA CELATA, Bonap. Syn., p. 38.
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, Sylvia celata, Bonap. Amer. Orn., vol. i. p. 45.
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, Sylvia celata, Nutt. Man., vol. i. p. 413.
ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, Sylvia celata, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. ii. p. 449.
Bill longish, slender, straight, tapering to a very sharp point. Nostrils
basal, oval, feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus compressed, covered
anteriorly with a few long scutella, sharp-edged behind, longer than the middle
toe; toes scutellate above, free; claws arched, slender, compressed, acute.
Plumage blended, the feathers soft and tufty. Wings rather short, the
second and third quills longest. Tail slightly emarginate, of ordinary length,
the twelve feathers rather narrow, and tapering broadly to a point.
Bill dusky above, pale greyish-blue beneath. Iris hazel. Feet and claws
dusky. The general colour of the plumage above is dull brownish-green, the rump
and tail-coverts light yellowish-green, the edge of the wing at the flexure
yellow. On the crown is a spot of bright reddish-orange, more distinct when the
feathers are raised. The under parts are of a dull olivaceous yellow, the lower
tail-coverts bright yellow. The quills and tail-feathers dark brown, slightly
margined with paler.
Length 5 1/2 inches, extent of wings 7 11/12; bill along the ridge 5/12,
along the edge 1/2; tarsus 9/12.
Bill and feet of the same colour as in the male, the former inclined to
yellowish-grey beneath. The female wants the orange spot on the crown, but in
other respects resembles the male in colour, although the rump and upper
tail-coverts are of a darker tint.
Length slightly less than that of the male.
THE HUCKLEBERRY OR BLUE-TANGLES.
VACCINIUM FRONDOSUM, Willd., Sp. Pl., vol. ii. p. 352. Pursch, Flor.
Amer., vol. i. p. 285.--DECANDRIA MONOGYNIA, Linn.--ERICAE, Juss.
Leaves deciduous, ovato-oblong or lanceolate, entire, smooth, glaucous
beneath, resinous; racemes lax, bracteate; pedicels long, filiform,
bracteolate; corollas ovato-companulate, with acute laciniae and included
anthers. The flower is white, the calyx green, the berry globular and of a
bluish-black colour. It varies greatly in the form of the leaves, as well as in
stature, sometimes attaining a height of six or seven feet.
Huckleberries form a portion of the food of many birds, as well as of
various quadrupeds. Of the former, I may mention in particular the Wild Turkey,
several species of Grouse, the Wild Pigeon, the Turtle-dove, some Loxias, and
several Thrushes. Among the latter, the Black Bear stands preeminent, although
Racoons, Foxes, Opossums, and others destroy great quantities. When the season
is favourable, these berries are so thickly strewn on the twigs, that they may
be gathered in large quantities, and as they become ripe, numerous parties
resort to the grounds in which they are found, by way of frolicking, and spend
the time in a very agreeable manner.