Birds Vol 2 #6 – The Volume II. July to December 1897 – Index

Yellow-Breasted Chat (Icteria virens) by USGS

Yellow-Breasted Chat (Icteria virens) by USGS

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VOLUME II. JULY TO DECEMBER, 1897.

INDEX.

Anhinga, or Snake Bird, Anhinga Anhingapages  Page  26-27
Avocet, American, Recurvirostra Americana 14-15
Audubon, John James 161
Bird Song JulSep
Bird MiscellanyBird Miscellany Plus 195-235
Blue Bird, Mountain, Sialia arctica 203-205
Bunting, Lazuli, Passerina amoena 196-198-199
Chimney Swift, Chætura pelagica 131-133
Captive’s Escape 116
Chat, Yellow-Breasted, Icteria virens 236-238-239
Cuckoo, Yellow-Billed, Coccyzus americanus 94-95
Dove, Mourning, Zenaidura macrura 111-112-113
Duck, Canvas-back, Athya valisneria 18-20
Duck, Mallard, Anas boschas 10-11-13
Duck, Wood, Aix Sponsa 21-23-24
Eagle, Baldheaded, Haliœtus lencocephalus 2-3-5
Flamingo, Phœnicopterus ruber 218-221
Flycatcher, Vermillion, Pyrocephalus rubineus mexicanus 192-193
Gold Finch, American, Spinus tristis 128-129-130
Goose, White-fronted, Anser albifrons gambeli 166-168-169
Grackle, Bronzed, Quiscalus quiscula 228-230-231
Grosbeak, Evening, Cocothraustes vespertina 68-70-71
Grouse, Black, Tetrao tetrix 217-220-223
Heron, Snowy, Ardea candidissima 38-39
How the Birds Secured Their Rights 115
Humming Bird, Allen’s Selasphorus alleni 210-211
Humming Bird, Ruby-Throated, Trochilus colubris 97-100-103
Junco, Slate Colored, Junco hyemalis 153-155
Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus 156-158-159
Kingfisher, European, Alcedo ispida 188-190-191
Kinglet, Ruby-crowned, Regulus calendula 108-110
Lark, Horned, Otocoris alpestris 134-135
Lost Mate 126
Merganser, Red-Breasted, Merganser serrator 54-55
Nuthatch, White-Breasted, Sitta carolinensis 118-119
Old Abe 35
Ornithological Congress 201
Osprey, American, Pandion paliœtus carolinenses 42-43-45
Partridge, Gambel’s, Callipepla gambeli 78-79
Phalarope, Wilson’s, Phalaropus tricolor 66-67
Pheasant, Ring-Necked, Phasianus torquatus 232-233
Phœbe, Sayornis phœbe 106-107
Plover, Belted Piping, Aegialitis meloda circumcincta 174-175
Plover, Semipalmated Ring, Aegialitis semi-polmata 6-8-9
Rail, Sora, Porzana Carolina 46-48-49
Sapsucker, Yellow-bellied, Sphyrapicus varius 137-140-143
Scoter, American, Oidemia deglandi 32-33
Skylark, Alauda arvensis 61-63-64
Snake Bird, (Anhinga) Anhinga anhinga 26-27
Snowflake, Plectrophenax nivalis 150-151-152
Sparrow, English, Passer domesticus 206-208-209
Sparrow, Song, Melospiza fasciata 90-91-93
Summaries (See each bird)
Tanager, Summer, Piranga rubra 163-165
Teal, Green winged, Anas carolinensis 213-214-215
The Bird’s Story 224
Thrush, Hermit, Turdus Aonalaschkae 86-88-89
To a Water Fowl 76
Tropic Bird, Yellow-billed, Phaethon flavirostris 184-186-187
Turkey, Wild, Meleagris gallopava 177-180-183
Turnstone, Arenaria interpres 170-171
Verdin, Auriparus flaviceps 226-227
Vireo, Warbling, Vireo gilvus 138-141
Vulture, Turkey, Catharista Atrata 72-73-75
Warbler, Blackburnian, Dendroica blackburnia 123-125
Warbler, Cerulean, Dendrœca caerulea 178-181
Warbler, Kentucky, Geothlypis formosa 50-51-53
Warbler, Yellow, Dendroica æstiva 83-85
Woodcock, American, Philohela minor 28-30-31
Wren, House, Troglodytes ædon 98-101-104
Wood Pewee, Contopus Virens 144-146-147-
Yellow Legs, Totanus flavipes 58-60

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How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:17 NKJV)

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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Next Article – TBA

The Previous Article – The Yellow-breasted Chat

Wordless Birds

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Vol 2, #6 – The Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) for Birds Illustrated

Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) for Birds Illustrated

From col. F. M. Woodruff. Copyrighted by
chicago colortype co. Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT.

I am often heard, but seldom seen. If I were a little boy or a little girl, grown people would tell me I should be seen and not heard. That’s the difference between you and a bird like me, you see.

It would repay you to make my acquaintance. I am such a jolly bird. Sometimes I get all the dogs in my neighborhood howling by whistling just like their masters. Another time I mew like a cat, then again I give some soft sweet notes different from those of any bird you ever heard.

In the spring, when my mate and I begin house-keeping, I do some very funny things, like the clown in a circus. I feel so happy that I go up a tree branch by branch, by short flights and jumps, till I get to the very top. Then I launch myself in the air, as a boy dives when he goes swimming, and you would laugh to see me flirting my tail, and dangling my legs, coming down into the thicket by odd jerks and motions.

It really is so funny that I burst out laughing myself, saying, chatter-chatter, chat-chat-chat-chat! I change my tune sometimes, and it sounds like who who, and tea-boy.

You must be cautious though, if you want to see me go through my performance. Even when I am doing those funny things in the air I have an eye out for my enemies. Should I see you I would hide myself in the bushes and as long as you were in sight I would be angry and say chut, chut! as cross as could be.

Have I any other name?

Yes, I am called the Yellow Mockingbird. But that name belongs to another. His picture was in the June number of Birds, so you know something about him. They say I imitate other birds as he does. But I do more than that. I can throw my voice in one place, while I am in another.

It is a great trick, and I get lots of sport out of it.

Do you know what that trick is called? If not, ask your papa. It is such a long word I am afraid to use it.

About my nest?

Oh, yes, I am coming to that. I arrive in this country about May 1, and leave for the south in the winter. My nest is nothing to boast of; rather big, made of leaves, bark, and dead twigs, and lined with fine grasses and fibrous roots. My mate lays eggs, white in color, and our little ones are, like their papa, very handsome.

Yellow-Breasted Chat (Icteria virens) WikiC

Yellow-Breasted Chat (Icteria virens) WikiC


THE YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT.

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COMMON name for this bird, the largest of the warblers, is the Yellow Mockingbird. It is found in the eastern United States, north to the Connecticut Valley and Great Lakes; west to the border of the Great Plains; and in winter in eastern Mexico and Guatemala. It frequents the borders of thickets, briar patches, or wherever there is a low, dense growth of bushes—the thornier and more impenetrable the better.

“After an acquaintance of many years,” says Frank M. Chapman, “I frankly confess that the character of the Yellow-Crested Chat is a mystery to me. While listening to his strange medley and watching his peculiar actions, we are certainly justified in calling him eccentric, but that there is a method in his madness no one who studies him can doubt.”

By many observers this bird is dubbed clown or harlequin, so peculiar are his antics or somersaults in the air; and by others “mischief maker,” because of his ventriloquistic and imitating powers, and the variety of his notes. In the latter direction he is surpassed only by the Mockingbird.

The mewing of a cat, the barking of a dog, and the whistling sound produced by a Duck’s wings when flying, though much louder, are common imitations with him. The last can be perfectly imitated by a good whistler, bringing the bird instantly to the spot, where he will dodge in and out among the bushes, uttering, if the whistling be repeated, a deep toned emphatic tac, or hollow, resonant meow.

In the mating season he is the noisiest bird in the woods. At this time he may be observed in his wonderful aerial evolutions, dangling his legs and flirting his tail, singing vociferously the while—a sweet song different from all his jests and jeers—and descending by odd jerks to the thicket. After a few weeks he abandons these clown-like maneuvers and becomes a shy, suspicious haunter of the depths of the thicket, contenting himself in taunting, teasing, and misleading, by his variety of calls, any bird, beast, or human creature within hearing.

All these notes are uttered with vehemence, and with such strange and various modulations as to appear near or distant, in the manner of a ventriloquist. In mild weather, during moonlight nights, his notes are heard regularly, as though the performer were disputing with the echoes of his own voice.

“Perhaps I ought to be ashamed to confess it,” says Mr. Bradford Torrey, after a visit to the Senate and House of Representatives at Washington, “but after all, the congressman in feathers interested me most. I thought indeed, that the Chat might well enough have been elected to the lower house. His volubility and waggish manners would have made him quite at home in that assembly, while his orange colored waistcoat would have given him an agreeable conspicuity. But, to be sure, he would have needed to learn the use of tobacco.”

The nest of the Chat is built in a thicket, usually in a thorny bush or thick vine five feet above the ground. It is bulky, composed exteriorly of dry leaves, strips of loose grape vine bark, and similar materials, and lined with fine grasses and fibrous roots. The eggs are three to five in number, glossy white, thickly spotted with various shades of rich, reddish brown and lilac; some specimens however have a greenish tinge, and others a pale pink.

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Summary:

YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT.Icteria virens.

Range—Eastern United States to the Great Plains, north to Ontario and southern New England; south in winter through eastern Mexico to Northern Central America.

Nest—In briar thickets from two to five feet up, of withered leaves, dry grasses, strips of bark, lined with finer grasses.

Eggs—Three or four, white, with a glossy surface.


Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) by Daves BirdingPix

Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) by Daves BirdingPix

Lee’s Addition:

Like a crane or a swallow, so I chattered; I mourned like a dove; My eyes fail from looking upward. O LORD, I am oppressed; Undertake for me! (Isa 38:14 NKJV)
Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. (Psa 96:1 NKJV)

The Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) is a large songbird in the Muscicapidae – Chats, Old World Flycatchers Family. They are one of 313 members of that family. Another one of the Lord’s beautiful creatures. I haven’t seen that many, but they would sure be a delight to see.

Identification Tips: From USGS

Length: 6.25 inches
The largest warbler
Thick bill
White spectacles
Yellow throat and breast
Whitish belly and undertail coverts
Olive upperparts
Fairly long tail
Dark legs
Females and males similar in plumage
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Yellow-Breasted Chat (Icteria virens) USGS

Yellow-Breasted Chat (Icteria virens) USGS

The song of this bird is an odd, variable mixture of cackles, clucks, whistles and hoots. Their calls are harsh chak’s. Unlike most warblers, this species has been known to mimic the calls of other birds. Thus, less experienced field birdwatchers sometimes overlook chats after mistaken their song for species such as Gray Catbirds and Brown Thrashers, which share similar habitat preferences and skulking habits, though are generally much more abundant. During the breeding season, Chats are at their most conspicuous as they will usually sing from exposed locations and even fly in the open while gurgling their songs.


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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – Volume II. July to December 1897 Index

The Previous Article – More Bird Miscellany

Sharing The Gospel

Links:

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Vol 2, #6 – More Bird Miscellany

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) in nest ready to eat ©WikiC

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) in nest ready to eat ©WikiC

BIRD MISCELLANY.

Knowledge never learned of schools
Of the wild bee’s morning chase,
Of the wild-flowers’ time and place,
Flight of fowl and habitude
Of the tenants of the wood;
How the tortoise bears his shell;
How the woodchuck digs his cell;
And the ground-mole makes his well;
How the robin feeds her young;
How the oriole’s nest is hung.
—Whittier.


Mangrove Warbler (Dendroica petechia) (aka Yellow) by Anthony747

Mangrove Warbler (Dendroica petechia) (aka Yellow) by Anthony747

Consider the marvelous life of a bird and the manner of its whole existence…. Consider the powers of that little mind of which the inner light flashes from the round bright eye; the skill in building its home, in finding its food, in protecting its mate, in serving its offspring, in preserving its own existence, surrounded as it is on all sides by the most rapacious enemies….

When left alone it is such a lovely little life—cradled among the hawthorn buds, searching for aphidæ amongst apple blossoms, drinking dew from the cup of a lily; awake when the gray light breaks in the east, throned on the topmost branch of a tree, swinging with it in the sunshine, flying from it through the air; then the friendly quarrel with a neighbor over a worm or berry; the joy of bearing grass-seed to his mate where she sits low down amongst the docks and daisies; the triumph of singing the praise of sunshine or of moonlight; the merry, busy, useful days; the peaceful sleep, steeped in the scent of the closed flower, with head under one wing and the leaves forming a green roof above.
—Ouida.


Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans) on nest by Nikhil

Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans) on nest by Nikhil

THE BIRD’S STORY.

“I once lived in a little house,
And lived there very well;
I thought the world was small and round,
And made of pale blue shell.

I lived next in a little nest,
Nor needed any other;
I thought the world was made of straw,
And brooded by my mother.

One day I fluttered from the nest
To see what I could find.
I said: ‘The world is made of leaves,
I have been very blind.’

At length I flew beyond the tree,
Quite fit for grown-up labors;
I don’t know how the world is made,
And neither do my neighbors.”


Lee’s Addition:

By them the birds of the heavens have their home; They sing among the branches. (Psalm 104:12 NKJV)

These three miscellaneous articles give various lessons. The Bird Miscellany informs us that book learning only goes so far, then you need to go out and observe what is going on around you. Same way with bird watching. You can read all the books, but you won’t become a birdwatcher until you go watch birds.

The second segment talks of a peaceful bird just enjoying its life. Last, the Bird’s Story reminds us of growing up.

Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14 NKJV)

Better is a dry morsel with quietness, Than a house full of feasting with strife. (Proverbs 17:1 NKJV)

If you have an opinion, leave a comment. Always interesting to hear different points of view.

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The Yellow-breasted Chat

The Previous Article – The Ring-necked Pheasant

Gospel Presentation

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Vol 2, #6 – The Ring-necked Pheasant

Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) "Ring-necked" for Birds Illustrated

Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) “Ring-necked” for Birds Illustrated

From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE RING-NECKED PHEASANT.

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E are fortunate in being able to present our readers with a genuine specimen of the Ring-Necked species of this remarkable family of birds, as the Ring-Neck has been crossed with the Mongolian to such an extent, especially in many parts of the United States, that they are practically the same bird now. They are gradually taking the place of Prairie Chickens, which are becoming extinct. The hen will hatch but once each year, and then in the late spring. She will hatch a covey of from eighteen to twenty-two young birds from each setting. The bird likes a more open country than the quail, and nests only in the open fields, although it will spend much time roaming through timberland. Their disposition is much like that of the quail, and at the first sign of danger they will rush into hiding. They are handy and swift flyers and runners. In the western states they will take the place of the Prairie Chicken, and in Ohio will succeed the Quail and common Pheasant.

While they are hardy birds, it is said that the raising of Mongolian-English Ring-Necked Pheasants is no easy task. The hens do not make regular nests, but lay their eggs on the ground of the coops, where they are picked up and placed in a patent box, which turns the eggs over daily. After the breeding season the male birds are turned into large parks until February.

The experiment which is now being made in Ohio—if it can be properly so termed, thousands of birds having been liberated and begun to increase—has excited wide-spread interest. A few years ago the Ohio Fish and Game Commission, after hearing of the great success of Judge Denny, of Portland, Oregon, in rearing these birds in that state, decided it would be time and money well spent if they should devote their attention and an “appropriation” to breeding and rearing these attractive game birds. And the citizens of that state are taking proper measures to see that they are protected. Recently more than two thousand Pheasants were shipped to various counties of the state, where the natural conditions are favorable, and where the commission has the assurance that the public will organize for the purpose of protecting the Pheasants. A law has been enacted forbidding the killing of the birds until November 15, 1900. Two hundred pairs liberated last year increased to over two thousand. When not molested the increase is rapid. If the same degree of success is met with between now and 1900, with the strict enforcement of the game laws, Ohio will be well stocked with Pheasants in a few years. They will prove a great benefit to the farmers, and will more than recompense them for the little grain they may take from the fields in destroying bugs and insects that are now agents of destruction to the growing crops.

The first birds were secured by Mr. E. H. Shorb, of Van Wert, Ohio, from Mr. Verner De Guise, of Rahway, N. J. A pair of Mongolian Pheasants, and a pair of English Ring-Necks were secured from the Wyandache Club, Smithtown, L. I. These birds were crossed, thus producing the English Ring-Neck Mongolian Pheasants, which are larger and better birds, and by introducing the old English Ring-Neck blood, a bird was produced that does not wander, as the thoroughbred Mongolian Pheasant does.

Such of our readers as appreciate the beauty and quality of this superb specimen will no doubt wish to have it framed for the embellishment of the dining room.

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Summary:

RING-NECKED PHEASANT.Phasianus torquatus. (Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) - Today)

Range—Throughout China; have been introduced into England and the United States.

Nest—On the ground under bushes.

Eggs—Vary, from thirteen to twenty.


Pheasant (Phasianus colchius) by Robert Scanlon

Pheasant (Phasianus colchius) by Robert Scanlon

Lee’s Addition:

“As a partridge that broods but does not hatch, So is he who gets riches, but not by right; It will leave him in the midst of his days, And at his end he will be a fool.” (Jer 17:11 NKJV)

What a lovely creation from the Creator. The male is especially beautiful and brightly feathered. The Common Pheasant is in the Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies. Family which currently has 182 species. Partridges are also part of the family and are closely related.

It is native to Asia and has been widely introduced elsewhere as a game bird. In parts of its range, namely in places where none of its relatives occur such as in Europe (where it is naturalized), it is simply known as the “pheasant”. Ring-necked Pheasant is both the name used for the species as a whole in North America and also the collective name for a number of subspecies and their intergrades which have white neck rings.

It is a well-known gamebird, among those of more than regional importance perhaps the most widespread and ancient one in the whole world. The Common Pheasant is one of the world’s most hunted birds; it has been introduced for that purpose to many regions, and is also common on game farms where it is commercially bred. Ring-necked Pheasants in particular are commonly bred and were introduced to many parts of the world; the game farm stock, though no distinct breeds have been developed yet, can be considered semi-domesticated. The Ring-necked Pheasant is the state bird of South Dakota, one of only three U.S. state birds that is not a species native to the United States.

There are many colour forms of the male Common Pheasant, ranging in colour from nearly white to almost black in some melanistic examples. These are due to captive breeding and hybridization between subspecies and with the Green Pheasant, reinforced by continual releases of stock from varying sources to the wild.

The adult male Common Pheasant of the nominate subspecies Phasianus colchicus colchicus is 24–35 in. in length with a long brown streaked black tail, accounting for almost 20 in. of the total length. The body plumage is barred bright gold and brown plumage with green, purple and white markings. The head is bottle green with a small crest and distinctive red wattle. P. c. colchicus and some other races lack a white neck ring.

Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) ©WikiC Female

Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) ©WikiC Female

The female (hen) is much less showy, with a duller mottled brown plumage all over and measuring 20–25 in. long including a tail of around 8 in. Juvenile birds have the appearance of the female with a shorter tail until young males begin to grow characteristic bright feathers on the breast, head and back at about 10 weeks after hatching.

In the USA, Common Pheasants are widely known as “Ring-necked Pheasants“. More colloquial North American names include “chinks” or, in Montana, “phezzens“. In China, meanwhile, the species is properly called zhi ji (雉鸡) – “pheasant-fowl” –, essentially implying the same as the English name “Common Pheasant”. Like elsewhere, P. colchicus is such a familiar bird in China that it is usually just referred to as shan ji (山雞), “mountain chicken”, a Chinese term for pheasants in general.

There are about 30 subspecies in five (sometimes six) groups. These can be identified according to the male plumage, namely presence or absence of a white neck-ring and the color of the uppertail (rump) and wing coverts.

Common Pheasants feed solely on the ground but roost in sheltered trees at night. They eat a wide variety of animal and vegetable type-food, like fruit, seeds and leaves as well as a wide range of invertebrates, with small vertebrates like snakes, lizards, small mammals, and birds occasionally taken.

Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) ©WikiC Egg

Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) ©WikiC Egg

The males are often accompanied by a harem of several females. Common Pheasants nest on the ground, producing a clutch of around ten eggs over a two-three week period in April to June. The incubation period is about 23–26 days. The chicks stay near the hen for several weeks after hatching but grow quickly, resembling adults by only 15 weeks of age.

Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) ©WikiC Chick One Hour Old

Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) ©WikiC Chick One Hour Old

Two links, one to a photo and the other to information that I do not like, but it happens:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Game_birds_Borough_Market.jpg - Game birds at Borough Market in London.

http://www.featherstore.com/English-Ringneck-Pheasant-Tails-10-12-p/erpt1.htm - Tail feathers for sale.

One remark to these is that Our Heavenly Father knows when they fall.

… And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s leave (consent) and notice. (Mat 10:29 AMP)

My other remark is that, like the Partridge, they are “Clean” birds and are allowed to be eaten. I can handle that, but those that only hunt them for a plaque on their wall or feathers for a hat, for me, it is sad.

Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the LORD, for the king of Israel has come out to seek a single flea like one who hunts a partridge in the mountains. (1Sa 26:20 ESV)

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – More Bird Miscellany

The Previous Article – The Bronzed Grackle

Gospel Message

Links:

Ring-necked Pheasant – All About Birds

Common Pheasant – Wikipedia

Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies. Family

Birds of the Bible – Partridge

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Vol 2, #6 – The Bronzed Grackle

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) "Bronzed Grackle" for Birds Illustrated

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) “Bronzed Grackle” for Birds Illustrated

From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE BRONZED GRACKLE.

You can call me the Crow Blackbird, little folks, if you want to. People generally call me by that name.

I look something like the Crow in the March number of Birds, don’t I? My dress is handsomer than his, though. Indeed I am said to be a splendid looking bird, my bronze coat showing very finely in the trees.

The Crow said Caw, Caw, Caw! to the little boys and girls. That was his way of talking. My voice is not so harsh as his. I have a note which some people think is quite sweet; then my throat gets rusty and I have some trouble in finishing my tune. I puff out my feathers, spread my wings and tail, then lifting myself on the perch force out the other notes of my song. Maybe you have seen a singer on the stage, instead of a perch, do the same thing. Had to get on his tip-toes to reach a high note, you know.

Like the Crow I visit the cornfields, too. In the spring when the man with the plow turns over the rich earth, I follow after and pick up all the grubs and insects I can find. They would destroy the young corn if I didn’t eat them. Then, when the corn grows up, I, my sisters, and my cousins, and my aunts drop down into the field in great numbers. Such a picnic as we do have! The farmers don’t seem to like it, but certainly they ought to pay us for our work in the spring, don’t you think? Then I think worms as a steady diet are not good for anybody, not even a Crow, do you?

We like nuts, too, and little crayfish which we find on the edges of ponds. No little boy among you can beat us in going a-nutting.

We Grackles are a very sociable family, and like to visit about among our neighbors. Then we hold meetings and all of us try to talk at once. People say we are very noisy at such times, and complain a good deal. They ought to think of their own meetings. They do a great deal of talking at such times, too, and sometimes break up in a fight.

How do I know? Well, a little bird told me so.

Yes, we build our nest as other birds do; ours is not a dainty affair; any sort of trash mixed with mud will do for the outside. The inside we line with fine dry grass. My mate does most of the work, while I do the talking. That is to let the Robin and other birds know I am at home, and they better not come around.
Yours,
Mr. Bronzed Grackle.


THE BRONZED GRACKLE.

First come the Blackbirds clatt’rin in tall trees,
And settlin’ things in windy congresses,
Queer politicians though, for I’ll be skinned
If all on ’em don’t head against the wind.
—Lowell.

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Y the more familiar name of Crow Blackbird this fine but unpopular bird is known, unpopular among the farmers for his depredations in their cornfields, though the good he does in ridding the soil, even at the harvest season, of noxious insects and grubs should be set down to his credit.

The Bronzed Grackle or Western Crow Blackbird, is a common species everywhere in its range, from the Alleghenies and New England north to Hudson Bay, and west to the Rocky Mountains. It begins nesting in favorable seasons as early as the middle of March, and by the latter part of April many of the nests are finished. It nests anywhere in trees or bushes or boughs, or in hollow limbs or stumps at any height. A clump of evergreen trees in a lonely spot is a favorite site, in sycamore groves along streams, and in oak woodlands. It is by no means unusual to see in the same tree several nests, some saddled on horizontal branches, others built in large forks, and others again in holes, either natural or those made by the Flicker. A long list of nesting sites might be given, including Martin-houses, the sides of Fish Hawk’s nests, and in church spires, where the Blackbirds’ “clatterin’” is drowned by the tolling bell.

The nest is a coarse, bulky affair, composed of grasses, knotty roots mixed with mud, and lined with fine dry grass, horse hair, or sheep’s wool. The eggs are light greenish or smoky blue, with irregular lines, dots and blotches distributed over the surface. The eggs average four to six, though nests have been found containing seven.

The Bronze Grackle is a bird of many accomplishments. He does not hop like the ordinary bird, but imitates the Crow in his stately walk, says one who has watched him with interest. He can pick beech nuts, catch cray fish without getting nipped, and fish for minnows alongside of any ten-year-old. While he is flying straight ahead you do not notice anything unusual, but as soon as he turns or wants to alight you see his tail change from the horizontal to the vertical—into a rudder. Hence he is called keel-tailed.

The Grackle is as omnivorous as the Crow or Blue Jay, without their sense of humor, and whenever opportunity offers will attack and eat smaller birds, especially the defenseless young. His own meet with the like fate, a fox squirrel having been seen to emerge from a hole in a large dead tree with a young Blackbird in its mouth. The Squirrel was attacked by a number of Blackbirds, who were greatly excited, but it paid no attention to their demonstrations and scampered off into the wood with his prey. Of their quarrels with Robins and other birds much might be written. Those who wish to investigate their remarkable habits will do well to read the acute and elaborate observations of Mr. Lyndes Jones, in a recent Bulletin of Oberlin College. He has studied for several seasons the remarkable Bronze Grackle roost on the college campus at that place, where thousands of these birds congregate from year to year, and, though more or less offensive to some of the inhabitants, add considerably to the attractiveness of the university town.

The breeding habitat is open and semi-open areas across North America east of the Rocky Mountains. The nest is a well-concealed cup in dense trees (particularly pine) or shrubs, usually near water; sometimes, the Common Grackle will nest in cavities or in man-made structures. It often nests in colonies, some being quite large. Bird houses are also a suitable nesting site. There are 4-7 eggs.

This bird is a permanent resident in much of its range. Northern birds migrate in flocks to the southeastern United States.

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Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) by Raymond Barlow

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) by Raymond Barlow

Summary:

BRONZED GRACKLE.Quiscalus quiscula æneus. (Now Common Grackle)

Range—Eastern North America from the Alleghenies and New England north to Hudson Bay, west to the Rocky Mountains.

Nest—In sycamore trees and oak woodlands a coarse bulky structure of grasses, knotty roots, mixed with mud, lined with horse hair or wool.

Eggs—Four to six, of a light greenish or smoky-blue, with lines, dots, blotches and scrawls on the surface.


Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) ©©Eric Begin

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) ©©Eric Begin at Flickr

Lee’s Addition:

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mat 6:26 NKJV)

The “Bronzed Grackle” is actually a subspecies of the Common Grackle. They are in the Icteridae – Oropendolas, Orioles & Blackbirds Family which has 108 members (IOC 3.4). In that family, there are 11 different Grackles. What a beautiful creation from the Lord. When this bird is out in the sun, it just shines.

The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; (Num 6:25 NKJV)

Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes. (Psa 119:135 NKJV)

Adult Common Grackles measure from 28 to 34 cm (11 to 13 in) in length, span 14–18 in (36–46 cm) across the wings and weigh 74–142 g (2.6–5.0 oz).[2] Common grackles are less sexually dimorphic than larger grackle species but the differences between the sexes can still be noticeable. The male, which averages 4.3 oz (122 g), is larger than the female, at an average of 3.3 oz (94 g).

Adults have a long, dark bill, pale yellowish eyes and a long tail; its feathers appear black with purple, green or blue iridescence on the head, and primarily bronze sheen in the body plumage. The adult female, beyond being smaller, is usually less iridescent; her tail in particular is shorter, and unlike the males, does not keel in flight and is brown with no purple or blue gloss. The juvenile is brown with dark brown eyes.

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) Chick ©WikiC

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) Chick ©WikiC

The common grackle forages on the ground, in shallow water or in shrubs; it will steal food from other birds. It is omnivorous, eating insects, minnows, frogs, eggs, berries, seeds, grain and even small birds and mice. Grackles at outdoor eating areas often wait eagerly until someone drops some food. They will rush forward and try to grab it, often snatching food out of the beak of another bird. Grackles prefer to eat from the ground at birdfeeders, making scattered seed an excellent choice of food for them. In shopping centers, grackles can be regularly seen foraging for bugs, especially after a lawn trimming.

Along with some other species of grackles, the common grackle is known to practice “anting,” rubbing insects on its feathers to apply liquids such as formic acid secreted by the insects. (See Birdwatching – Anting)

This bird’s song is particularly harsh, especially when these birds, in a flock, are calling. Songs vary from, year round “Chewink Chewink” to a more complex breeding season “Ooo whew,whew,whew,whew,whew” call that gets faster and faster and ends with a loud “Crewhewwhew!” It also occasionally sounds like a power line buzzing. The grackle can also mimic the sounds of other birds or even humans, though not as precisely as the mockingbird, which is known to share its habitat in the Southeastern United States.

By Chris Parrish xeno-canto

In the breeding season, males tip their heads back and fluff up feathers to display and keep other males away. This same behavior is used as a defensive posture to attempt to intimidate predators. Male common grackles are less aggressive toward one another, and more cooperative and social, than the larger boat-tailed grackle species.

Grackles tend to congregate in large groups, popularly referred to as a plague. This enables them to detect birds invading their territory, and predators, which are mobbed en masse to deter the intruders.

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula quiscula) - Purple Form By Dan'sPix

Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula quiscula) – Purple Form By Dan’sPix

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The Ring-necked Pheasant

The Previous Article – The Verdin

Falling Plates

Links:

Common Grackle - All About Birds

Common Grackle – Wikipedia

Common Grackle - National Geographic

Common Grackle - IBC Video

Common Grackle – xeno-canto

Icteridae – Oropendolas, Orioles & Blackbirds Family

Birdwatching – Anting)

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Vol 2, #6 – The Verdin

Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) for Birds Illustrated

Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) for Birds Illustrated

From col. F. M. Woodruff. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE VERDIN.

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DAINTY little creature indeed is the Yellow-headed Bush Tit, or Verdin, being smaller than the largest North American Humming Bird, which inhabits southern Arizona and southward. It is a common bird in suitable localities throughout the arid regions of Northern Mexico, the southern portions of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and in Lower California. In spite of its diminutive size it builds a remarkable structure for a nest—large and bulky, and a marvel of bird architecture. Davie says it is comparatively easy to find, being built near the ends of the branches of some low, thorny tree or shrub, and in the numerous varieties of cacti and thorny bushes which grow in the regions of its home.

The nest is globular, flask-shaped or retort shape in form, the outside being one mass of thorny twigs and stems interwoven, while the middle is composed of flower-stems and the lining is of feathers. The entrance is a small circular opening. Mr. Atwater says that the birds occupy the nests during the winter months. They are generally found nesting in the high, dry parts of the country, away from tall timber, where the thorns are the thickest. From three to six eggs are laid, of a bluish or greenish-white or pale blue, speckled, chiefly round the larger end, with reddish brown.

Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) ©WikiC

Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) ©WikiC


“The woods were made for the hunters of dreams,
The brooks for the fishers of song.
To the hunters who hunt for the gunless game
The woods and the streams belong.
There are thoughts that moan from the soul of the pine,
And thoughts in the flower-bell curled,
And the thoughts that are blown from the scent of the fern
Are as new and as old as the world.”

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Summary:

VERDIN.Auriparus flaviceps. Other name: “Yellow-headed Bush Tit.”

Range—Northern regions of Mexico and contiguous portions of the United States, from southern Texas to Arizona and Lower California.

Nest—Globular, the outside being one mass of thorny twigs and stems interwoven, and lined with feathers.

Eggs—Three to six, of a bluish or greenish white color, speckled with reddish brown.


Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) by Daves BirdingPix

Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) by Daves BirdingPix

Lee’s Addition:

but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.” (Mar 4:32 NKJV)

Verdins are in the Remizidae – Penduline Tits Family which only has 12 members. The Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) is a species of penduline tit. It is the only species in the genus Auriparus, and the only species in the family to be found in the New World.

The Verdin is a very small bird. At 4.5 inches in length, it rivals the American Bushtit as one of the smallest passerines in North America. It is gray overall, and adults have a bright yellow head and rufous “shoulder patch” (the lesser coverts). Unlike the tits, it has a sharply pointed bill.

Verdins are insectivorous, continuously foraging among the desert trees and scrubs. They are usually solitary except when they pair up to construct their conspicuous nests. Verdins occasionally try to obtain tidbits of dried sugar-water from hummingbird feeders.

Verdins are permanent residents of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, ranging from southeastern California to Texas, throughout Baja California and into central Mexico, north of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt.

The common name of the family reflects the tendency of most species to construct elaborate pear-shaped nests. These nests are woven from spiderweb, wool and animal hair and soft plant materials and is suspended from twigs and branches in trees. The nests of the African genus Anthoscopus are even more elaborate than the Eurasian Remiz, incorporating a false entrance above the true entrance which leads to a false chamber. The true nesting chamber is accessed by the parent opening a hidden flap, entering and then closing the flap shut again, the two sides sealing with sticky spider webs.

Verdins are known to build two types of nest; one for raising chicks and one for the winter, which has thicker insulation. A nest built in the summer has the opening toward the prevailing winds.

Following are a series of photos showing Verdins working on their nests. (From Verdin and Nest Photographs and Sound Recording @Earle Robinson)

Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) Building Nest 1 ©Earle Robinson

Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) Building Nest ©Earle Robinson

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Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) Building Nest 2 ©Earle Robinson

Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) Building Nest ©Earle Robinson

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Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) Building Nest 3©Earle Robinson

Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) Building Nest ©Earle Robinson

(Wikipedia and other internet sources)

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The Bronzed Grackle

The Previous Article – The American Flamingo

Wordless Birds

Links:

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Vol 2, #6 – The American Flamingo

American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) for Birds Illustrated

American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) for Birds Illustrated

From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE AMERICAN FLAMINGO.

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N this interesting family of birds are included seven species, distributed throughout the tropics. Five species are American, of which one reaches our southern border in Florida. Chapman says that they are gregarious at all seasons, are rarely found far from the seacoasts, and their favorite resorts are shallow bays or vast mud flats which are flooded at high water. In feeding the bill is pressed downward into the mud, its peculiar shape making the point turn upward. The ridges along its sides serve as strainers through which are forced the sand and mud taken in with the food.

The Flamingo is resident in the United States only in the vicinity of Cape Sable, Florida, where flocks of sometimes a thousand of these rosy vermillion creatures are seen. A wonderful sight indeed. Mr. D. P. Ingraham spent more or less of his time for four seasons in the West Indies among them. He states that the birds inhabit the shallow lagoons and bays having soft clayey bottoms. On the border of these the nest is made by working the clay up into a mound which, in the first season, is perhaps not more than a foot high and about eight inches in diameter at the top and fifteen inches at the base. If the birds are unmolested they will return to the same nesting place from year to year, each season augmenting the nest by the addition of mud at the top, leaving a slight depression for the eggs. He speaks of visiting the nesting grounds where the birds had nested the previous year and their mound-like nests were still standing. The bird’s nest in June. The number of eggs is usually two, sometimes only one and rarely three. When three are found in a nest it is generally believed that the third has been laid by another female.

The stature of this remarkable bird is nearly five feet, and it weighs in the flesh six or eight pounds. On the nest the birds sit with their long legs doubled under them. The old story of the Flamingo bestriding its nest in an ungainly attitude while sitting is an absurd fiction.

The eggs are elongate-ovate in shape, with a thick shell, roughened with a white flakey substance, but bluish when this is scraped off. It requires thirty-two days for the eggs to hatch.

The very fine specimen we present in Birds represents the Flamingo feeding, the upper surface of the unique bill, which is abruptly bent in the middle, facing the ground.

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Summary:

AMERICAN FLAMINGO.Phœnicopterus ruber.

Range—Atlantic coasts of sub-tropical and tropical America; Florida Keys.

Nest—Mass of earth, sticks, and other material scooped up to the height of several feet and hollow at the top.

Eggs—One or two, elongate-ovate in shape, with thick shell, roughened with a white flakey substance, but bluish when this is scraped off.


American Flamingos Many With Foot Up by Lee at Gatorland

American Flamingos Many With Foot Up by Lee at Gatorland

Lee’s Addition:

Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. (Psalms 96:6 AMP)

The American Flamingo is a member of the Phoenicopteridae – Flamingos Family which has six (6) species. We were just at Gatorland, in Orlando, today and were able to see and photograph some American Flamingos. (The photos are today’s – Forgot that this next article was about the Flamingo, so these were very handy.)

The American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is a large species of flamingo closely related to the Greater Flamingo and Chilean Flamingo. It was formerly considered conspecific with the Greater Flamingo, but that treatment is now widely viewed as incorrect due to a lack of evidence. It has also been known as the Caribbean Flamingo, but the species’ presence in the Galápagos makes that name problematic. It is the only flamingo which naturally inhabits North America.

Adult American Flamingoes are smaller on average than Greater Flamingoes but are the largest flamingoes in the Americas. They measure from 47 to 57 in (120 to 145 cm) tall. The males weigh an average of 6.2 lb (2.8 kg), while females average 4.9 lb (2.2 kg). Most of its plumage is pink, giving rise to its earlier name of Rosy Flamingo and differentiating adults from the much paler Greater Flamingo. The wing coverts are red, and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black. The bill is pink and white with a restricted black tip, and the legs are entirely pink. The call is a goose-like honking.

American Flamingos with foot up

American Flamingos with foot up at Gatorland

Flamingos often stand on one leg, the other tucked beneath the body. The reason for this behavior is not fully understood. Recent research indicates that standing on one leg may allow the birds to conserve more body heat, given that they spend a significant amount of time wading in cold water. However, the behaviour also takes place in warm water. As well as standing in the water, flamingos may stamp their webbed feet in the mud to stir up food from the bottom. (It definitely was warm today-95 degrees)

Young flamingos hatch with greyish reddish plumage, but adults range from light pink to bright red due to aqueous bacteria and beta-Carotene obtained from their food supply. A well-fed, healthy flamingo is more vibrantly coloured and thus a more desirable mate; a white or pale flamingo, however, is usually unhealthy or malnourished. Captive flamingos are a notable exception; many turn a pale pink as they are not fed carotene at levels comparable to the wild.

American Flamingo Beak at Gatorland by Lee

American Flamingo Beak at Gatorland by Lee

Flamingos filter-feed on brine shrimp and blue-green algae. Their beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they eat, and are uniquely used upside-down. The filtering of food items is assisted by hairy structures called lamellae which line the mandibles, and the large rough-surfaced tongue.

American Flamingo Beak cropped

American Flamingo Beak cropped

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The Verdin

The Previous Article – The Black Grouse

Gospel Presentation

Links:

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Vol 2, #6 – The Black Grouse

Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) for Birds Illustrated

Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) for Birds Illustrated

From col. C. E. Petford. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE BLACK GROUSE.

Alone on English moors I’ve seen the Black Cock stray,
Sounding his earnest love-note on the air.
—Anon.

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ELL known as the Black Cock is supposed to be, we fancy few of our readers have ever seen a specimen. It is a native of the more southern countries of Europe, and still survives in many portions of the British Islands, especially those localities where the pine woods and heaths afford it shelter, and it is not driven away by the presence of human habitation.

The male bird is known to resort at the beginning of the nesting season to some open spot, where he utters his love calls, and displays his new dress to the greatest advantage, for the purpose of attracting as many females as may be willing to consort with him. His note when thus engaged is loud and resonant, and can be heard at a considerable distance. This crowing sound is accompanied by a harsh, grating, stridulous kind of cry which has been compared to the noise produced by whetting a scythe. The Black Cock does not pair, but leaves his numerous mates to the duties of maternity and follows his own desires while they prepare their nests, lay their eggs, hatch them, and bring up the young. The mother bird, however, is a fond, watchful parent, and when she has been alarmed by man or a prowling beast, has been known to remove her eggs to some other locality, where she thinks they will not be discovered.

The nest is carelessly made of grasses and stout herbage, on the ground, under the shelter of grass and bushes. There are from six to ten eggs of yellowish gray, with spots of light brown. The young are fed first upon insects, and afterwards on berries, grain, and the buds and shoots of trees.

The Black Grouse is a wild and wary creature. The old male which has survived a season or two is particularly shy and crafty, distrusting both man and dog, and running away as soon as he is made aware of approaching danger.

In the autumn the young males separate themselves from the other sex and form a number of little bachelor establishments of their own, living together in harmony until the next nesting season, when they all begin to fall in love; “the apple of discord is thrown among them by the charms of the hitherto repudiated sex, and their rivalries lead them into determined and continual battles, which do not cease until the end of the season restores them to peace and sobriety.”

The coloring of the female is quite different from that of the male Grouse. Her general color is brown, with a tinge of orange, barred with black and speckled with the same hue, the spots and bars being larger on the breast, back, and wings, and the feathers on the breast more or less edged with white. The total length of the adult male is about twenty-two inches, and that of the female from seventeen to eighteen inches. She also weighs nearly one-third less than her mate, and is popularly termed the Heath Hen.

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Summary:

BLACK GROUSE.Tetrao tetrix. Other name: “Black Cock.” (or Lyrurus tetrix)

Range—Southern Europe and the British Islands.

Nest—Carelessly made, of grasses and stout herbage, on the ground.

Eggs—Six to ten, of yellowish gray, with spots of light brown.


 Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) Cock ©WikiC

Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) Cock ©WikiC

Lee’s Addition:

Like the partridge that gathers a brood which she did not hatch and sits on eggs which she has not laid, so is he who gets riches by unjust means and not by right. He will leave them, or they will leave him, in the midst of his days, and at his end he will be a fool. (Jeremiah 17:11 AMP)

The Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix or Lyrurus tetrix) is a member of the Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family. There are twelve Grouse in the family of Turkeys, Partridges, Ptarmigans, Snowcocks, Francolins, Quail, Tragopans, Pheasants and even Peafowl in that family along with a few others. A total of 182 species are found in the Phasianidae Family.

(From Wikipedia with editing) – The Black Grouse or Blackgame (Tetrao tetrix) is a large game bird in the grouse family. It is a sedentary species, breeding across northern Eurasia in moorland and bog areas near to woodland, mostly boreal. The Black Grouse is closely related to the Caucasian Grouse.

The female is greyish-brown and has a cackling call. She takes all responsibility for nesting and caring for the chicks, as is typical with gamebirds.

Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) Egg ©WikiC

Black Grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) Egg ©WikiC

The Black Grouse is one of the many species first described in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, and still bears its original binomial name. Both Tetrao and tetrix come from Ancient Greek words referring to some form of game bird.

The male and female are sometimes referred to by their folk names, Blackcock and Greyhen respectively. These names first occur in the literature with John Ray in 1674. Heathcock and Heathhen are also common names.

Black Grouse is a large bird with males being around 21 in (53 cm) long and weighing 2.2–3.2 lb (1,000–1,450 grams) and females approximately 16 in (40 cm) and weighing 1.7–2.4 lb (750–1,110 grams). The cock is very distinctive, with black plumage, apart from red wattles and a white wingbar, and a lyre-shaped tail, which appears forked in flight. His song is loud, bubbling and somewhat dove-like.

Black Grouse can be found across Europe (Swiss-Italian-French Alps specially) from Great Britain (but not Ireland) through Scandinavia and Estonia into Russia. In Eastern Europe they can be found in Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Romania and Ukraine. There is a population in the Alps, and isolated remnants in Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. It formerly occurred in Denmark, but the Danish Ornithological Society (DOF) has considered it extinct since 2001.

Black grouse have a very distinctive and well-recorded courtship ritual or game. At dawn in the spring, the males strut around in a traditional area and display whilst making a highly distinctive mating call. This process is called a lek – the grouse are said to be lekking. In western Europe these gatherings seldom involve more than 40 birds; in Russia 150 is not uncommon and 200 have been recorded.

The tails of black-cocks have, since late Victorian times, been popular adornments for hats worn with Highland Dress. Most commonly associated with Glengarry and Balmoral or Tam O’Shanter caps, they still continue to be worn by pipers of civilian and military pipe bands. Since 1904, all ranks of the Royal Scots and King’s Own Scottish Borderers have worn them in their full-dress headgear and that tradition is carried on in the dress glengarries of the current Scottish-super regiment, The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The American Flamingo

The Previous Article – The Green-winged Teal

Gospel Message

Links:

Black Grouse – xeno-canto.org

Black Grouse – Wikipedia

Black Grouse – ARKive

Black Grouse – IBC

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Vol 2, #6 – The Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) for Birds Illustrated

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) for Birds Illustrated

THE GREEN-WINGED TEAL.

Just a common Duck?

No, I’m not. There is only one other Duck handsomer than I am, and he is called the Wood Duck. You have heard something about him before. I am a much smaller Duck, but size doesn’t count much, I find when it comes to getting on in the world—in our world, that is. I have seen a Sparrow worry a bird four times its size, and I expect you have seen a little boy do the same with a big boy many a time.

What is the reason I’m not a common Duck?

Well, in the first place, I don’t waddle. I can walk just as gracefully as I can swim. Your barn-yard Duck can’t do that. I can run, too, without getting all tangled up in the grass, and he can’t do that, either. But sometimes I don’t mind associating with the common Duck. If he lives in a nice big barn-yard, that has a good pond, and is fed with plenty of grain, I visit him quite often.

Where do I generally live?

Well, along the edges of shallow, grassy waters, where I feed upon grass, seeds, acorns, grapes, berries, as well as insects, worms, and small snails. I walk quite a distance from the water to get these things, too.

Can I fly?

Indeed I can, and very swiftly. You can see I am no common Duck when I can swim, and walk, and fly. You can’t do the last, though you can the first two.

Good to eat?

Well, yes, they say when I feed on rice and wild oats I am perfectly delicious. Some birds were, you see, born to sing, and flit about in the trees, and look beautiful, while some were born to have their feathers taken off, and be roasted, and to look fine in a big dish on the table. The Teal Duck is one of those birds. You see we are useful as well as pretty. We don’t mind it much if you eat us and say, “what a fine bird!” but when you call us “tough,” that hurts our feelings.

Good for Christmas?

Oh, yes, or any other time—when you can catch us! We fly so fast that it is not easy to do; and can dive under the water, too, when wounded.

Something about our nests?

Oh, they are built upon the ground, in a dry tuft of grass and weeds and lined with feathers. My mate often plucks the feathers from her own breast to line it. Sometimes she lays ten eggs, indeed once she laid sixteen.

Such a family of Ducklings as we had that year! You should have seen them swimming after their mother, and all crying, Quack, quack, quack! like babies as they were.

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Bob-Nan

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Bob-Nan


THE GREEN-WINGED TEAL.

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HANDSOME little Duck indeed is this, well known to sportsmen, and very abundant throughout North America. It is migratory in its habits, and nests from Minnesota and New Brunswick northward, returning southward in winter to Central America and Cuba.

The green wing is commonly found in small flocks along the edges of shallow, grassy waters, feeding largely upon seeds of grasses, small acorns, fallen grapes or berries, as well as aquatic insects, worms, and small snails. In their search for acorns these ducks are often found quite a distance from the water, in exposed situations feeding largely in the night, resting during the day upon bogs or small bare spots, closely surrounded and hidden by reeds and grasses.

On land this Duck moves with more ease and grace than any other of its species except the Wood Duck, and it can run with considerable speed. In the water also it moves with great ease and rapidity, and on the wing it is one of the swiftest of its tribe. From the water it rises with a single spring and so swiftly that it can be struck only by a very expert marksman; when wounded it dives readily.

As the Teal is more particular in the selection of its food than are most Ducks, its flesh, in consequence, is very delicious. Audubon says that when this bird has fed on wild oats at Green Bay, or soaked rice in the fields of Georgia or Carolina, it is much superior to the Canvas back in tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.

G. Arnold, in the Nidologist, says while traveling through the northwest he was surprised to see the number of Ducks and other wild fowl in close proximity to the railway tracks. He found a number of Teal nests within four feet of the rails of the Canadian Pacific in Manitoba. The warm, sun-exposed banks along the railway tracks, shrouded and covered with thick grass, afford a very fair protection for the nests and eggs from water and marauders of every kind. As the section men seldom disturbed them—not being collectors—the birds soon learned to trust them and would sit on their nests by the hour while the men worked within a few feet of them.

The green-winged Teal is essentially a fresh-water bird, rarely being met with near the sea. Its migrations are over the land and not along the sea shore. It has been seen to associate with the Ducks in a farmer’s yard or pond and to come into the barn-yard with tame fowls and share the corn thrown out for food.

The nests of the Teal are built upon the ground, generally in dry tufts of grass and often quite a distance from the water. They are made of grass, and weeds, etc., and lined with down. In Colorado under a sage brush, a nest was found which had been scooped in the sand and lined warmly with down evidently taken from the bird’s own breast, which was plucked nearly bare. This nest contained ten eggs.

The number of eggs, of a pale buff color, is usually from eight to twelve, though frequently sixteen or eighteen have been found. It is far more prolific than any of the Ducks resorting to Hudson’s Bay, and Mr. Hearn says he has seen the old ones swimming at the head of seventeen young when the latter were not much larger than walnuts.

In autumn the males usually keep in separate flocks from the females and young. Their notes are faint and piping and their wings make a loud whistling during flight.

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Summary:

GREEN-WINGED TEAL.Anas carolinensis.

Range—North America, migrating south to Honduras and Cuba.

Nest—On the ground, in a thick growth of grass.

Eggs—Five to eight, greenish-buff, usually oval.


Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) by Ian

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) by Ian

Lee’s Addition:

Of all clean birds ye shall eat. (Deuteronomy 14:11 KJV)

Unfortunately, at least for me, people do eat ducks and teals. I prefer to go birdwatching and only “shoot” the birds with my camera. They just seem too pretty to harm, but I can’t condemn those who eat them. I do have a problem with those who only kill them to hang them on a wall. Anyway.

The Green-winged Teals are in the Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans - Family which has currently 172 species of which 24 are Teals. Are North American ones, according to Sibley’s, are the Green-winged, Blue-winged and the Cinnamon Teals.

The Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) or (Anas crecca carolinensis) is a common and widespread duck that breeds in the northern areas of North America except on the Aleutian Islands. It was considered conspecific with the Common Teal (A. crecca) for some time but the issue is still being reviewed by the American Ornithologists’ Union; based on this the IUCN and BirdLife International do not accept it as a separate species at present. However, nearly all other authorities consider it distinct based on behavioral, morphological, and molecular evidence.

This dabbling duck is strongly migratory and winters far south of its breeding range. It is highly gregarious outside of the breeding season and will form large flocks. In flight, the fast, twisting flocks resemble waders.

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Daves BirdingPix

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Daves BirdingPix

This is the smallest North American dabbling duck. The breeding male has grey flanks and back, with a yellow rear end and a white-edged green speculum, obvious in flight or at rest. It has a chestnut head with a green eye patch. It is distinguished from drake Common Teals (the Eurasian relative of this bird) by a vertical white stripe on side of breast, the lack of both a horizontal white scapular stripe and the lack of thin buff lines on its head.

The females are light brown, with plumage much like a female Mallard. They can be distinguished from most ducks on size, shape, and the speculum. Separation from female Common Teal is problematic. In non-breeding (eclipse) plumage, the drake looks more like the female.

It is a common duck of sheltered wetlands, and usually feeds by dabbling for plant food or grazing. It nests on the ground, near water and under cover. It is plentiful enough to make it a species of Least Concern if it were; it is far more plentiful than the Common Teal. It can be seen in vast numbers in the Marismas Nacionales of western Mexico, a main wintering area.

This is a noisy species. The male has a clear whistle, whereas the female has a feeble “quack”.

All three Green-winged Teal subspecies occur in the northern hemisphere during summer and in winter extend to northern South America, central Africa, southern India, Burma, and the Philippines. In North America, ssp.carolinensis occurs across the continent and is joined in the Aleutian Islands by ssp. nimia, which remains there throughout the year. Anas crecca breeds in Iceland, Europe, and Asia. It is also seen occasionally during the winter in North America along the Atlantic Coast. The American green-winged teal winters from southern Alaska and southern British Columbia east to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and south to Central America. It also winters in Hawaii.

The American green-winged teal breeds from the Aleutian Islands, northern Alaska, Mackenzie River delta, northern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Labrador south to central California, central Nebraska, central Kansas, southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, and the Maritime Provinces. Nesting chronology varies geographically. In North Dakota, Green-winged Teal generally begin nesting in late April. In the Northwest Territories, Canada, Green-winged Teal begin nesting between late May and early July. At Minto Lakes, Alaska, Green-winged Teal initiate nesting as early as June 1 and as late as July 20. 

Green-winged Teal lay 5 to 16 eggs. The incubation period is 21 to 23 days. They often fledge 34 to 35 days after hatching or usually before 6 weeks of age. Young Green-winged Teal have the fastest growth rate of all ducks. Male Green-winged Teal leave females at the start of incubation and congregate on safe waters to molt. Some populations undergo an extensive molt migration while others remain on or near breeding grounds. Females molt on breeding grounds.

Green-winged Teal are among the earliest spring migrants. They arrive on nesting areas almost as soon as the snow melts. In early February, Green-winged Teal begin to depart their winter grounds, and continue through April. In central regions Green-winged Teal begin to arrive early in March with peak numbers in early April.

In northern areas of the United States, Green-winged Teal migrating to wintering grounds appear in early September through mid-December. They begin migrating into most central regions during September and often remain through December. On their more southerly winter areas, Green-winged Teal arrive as early as late September, but most do not appear until late November.

Green-winged Teal inhabit inland lakes, marshes, ponds, pools, and shallow streams with dense emergent and aquatic vegetation. They prefer shallow waters and small ponds and pools during the breeding season. Green-winged Teal are often found resting on mudbanks or stumps, or perching on low limbs of dead trees. These ducks nest in depressions on dry ground located at the base of shrubs, under a log, or in dense grass. The nests are usually 2 to 300 feet (6–91 m) from water. Green-winged teal avoid treeless or brushless habitats. Green-winged teal winter in both freshwater or brackish marshes, ponds, streams, and estuaries. As they are smaller birds, they tend to stay in the calmer water.

Green-winged Teal, more than any other species of duck, prefer to seek food on mud flats. They usually eat vegetative matter consisting of seeds, stems, and leaves of aquatic and emergent vegetation. Green-winged Teal appear to prefer the small seeds of nutgrasses, millets and sedges to larger seeds, but they also consume corn, wheat, barley, and buttonbush seeds. In marshes, sloughs, and ponds, Green-winged Teal select the seeds of bulrushes, pondweeds, and spikerushes. To a lesser extent they feed upon the vegetative parts of muskgrass, pondweeds, widgeongrass and duckweeds. They will occasionally eat insects, mollusks, and crustaceans.[8][10] Occasionally during spring months, Green-winged Teal will gorge on maggots of decaying fish which are found around ponds.

Common predators of Green-winged Teal include humans, skunks, red foxes, raccoons, crows, and magpies.

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Daves BirdingPix

Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) by Daves BirdingPix

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The Black Grouse

The Previous Article – The Allen’s Humming Bird

Falling Plates

Links:

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Vol 2, #6 – The Allen’s Humming Bird

Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) for Birds Illustrated

Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) for Birds Illustrated

Allens Humming Bird.
From col. F. M. Woodruff. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

ALLEN’S HUMMING BIRD.

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HE Humming birds, with their varied beauties, constitute the most remarkable feature of the bird-life of America. They have absolutely no representatives in any other part of the world, the Swifts being the nearest relatives they have in other countries. Mr. Forbes says that they abound most in mountainous countries, where the surface and productions of the soil are most diversified within small areas. They frequent both open and rare and inaccessible places, and are often found on the snowy peaks of Chimborazo as high as 16,000 feet, and in the very lowest valleys in the primeval forests of Brazil, the vast palm-covered districts of the deltas of the Amazon and Orinoco, the fertile flats and savannahs of Demarara, the luxurious and beautiful region of Xalapa, (the realm of perpetual sunshine), and other parts of Mexico. Many of the highest cones of extinct and existing volcanoes have also furnished great numbers of rare species.

These birds are found as small as a bumble bee and as large as a Sparrow. The smallest is from Jamaica, the largest from Patagonia.

Allen’s Hummer is found on the Pacific coast, north to British Columbia, east to southern Arizona.

Mr. Langille, in “Our Birds in their Haunts,” beautifully describes their flights and manner of feeding. He says “There are many birds the flight of which is so rapid that the strokes of their wings cannot be counted, but here is a species with such nerve of wing that its wing strokes cannot be seen. ‘A hazy semi-circle of indistinctness on each side of the bird is all that is perceptible.’ Poised in the air, his body nearly perpendicular, he seems to hang in front of the flowers which he probes so hurriedly, one after the other, with his long, slender bill. That long, tubular, fork-shaped tongue may be sucking up the nectar from those rather small cylindrical blossoms, or it may be capturing tiny insects housed away there. Much more like a large sphynx moth hovering and humming over the flowers in the dusky twilight, than like a bird, appears this delicate, fairy-like beauty. How the bright green of the body gleams and glistens in the sunlight. Each imperceptible stroke of those tiny wings conforms to the mechanical laws of flight in all their subtle complications with an ease and gracefulness that seems spiritual. Who can fail to note that fine adjustment of the organs of flight to aerial elasticity and gravitation, by which that astonishing bit of nervous energy can rise and fall almost on the perpendicular, dart from side to side, as if by magic, or, assuming the horizontal position, pass out of sight like a shooting star? Is it not impossible to conceive of all this being done by that rational calculation which enables the rower to row, or the sailor to sail his boat?”

“What heavenly tints in mingling radiance fly,
Each rapid movement gives a different dye;
Like scales of burnished gold they dazzling show,
Now sink to shade, now like a furnace glow.”

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Summary:

ALLEN’S HUMMING BIRD.Selasphorus alleni.

Range—Pacific coast, north to British Columbia, east to southern Arizona.

Nest—Plant down, covered with lichens.

Eggs—Two, white.


Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) ©USFWS

Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) ©USFWS

Lee’s Addition:

I know and am acquainted with all the birds of the mountains, and the wild animals of the field are Mine and are with Me, in My mind. (Psalms 50:11 AMP)

Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. (Job 40:10 KJV)

Hummingbirds are very special to me and this Allen’s Hummingbird is no exception. I am always amazed at how the Lord created all these fantastic birds. They are so small, compared to most other birds. There little feet are a delight to see. They belong to the Trochilidae – Hummingbirds Family which has 341 species currently.

The Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) is a species of hummingbird. The Allen’s Hummingbird is a small bird, with mature adults reaching only 3 to 3½ inches (75 to 90 mm) in length. The male Allen’s has a green back and forehead, with rust-colored rufous flanks, rump, and tail. The male’s throat is also an iridescent orange-red. The female and immature Allen’s Hummingbirds are similarly colored, but lack the iridescent throat patch, instead having a series of speckles on their throat. Females are mostly green, featuring rufous colors only on the tail, which also has white tips. The immature Allen’s Hummingbirds are so similar to the female Rufous Hummingbird that the two are almost indistinguishable in the field. Both species’ breeding seasons and ranges are common factors used to differentiate between the two species in a particular geographical area. They belong to the Trochilidae – Hummingbirds  Family which has 341 species currently.

Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) at flower ©WikiC

Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) at flower ©WikiC

The Allen’s Hummingbird is common only in the brushy woods, gardens, and meadows of coastal California from Santa Barbara north, and a minuscule portion of lower Oregon. The nominate race of Allen’s Hummingbird is migratory, and winters along the Pacific coast of central Mexico. A second race is a permanent resident on the Channel Islands off southern California. (“It has a longer wing, tail, and bill“) This population colonized the Palos Verdes Peninsula of Los Angeles County in the 1960s and has since spread over much of Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

The courtship flight of the male Allen’s Hummingbird is a frantic back and forth flight arc of about 25 feet (7.5 m) similar to the motion of a swinging pendulum, followed by a high-speed dive from about 100 feet (30 m). The male is also highly aggressive and territorial. Hot-tempered despite its diminutive stature, a male Allen’s Hummingbird will chase any other males from its territory, as well as any other hummingbird species, and they have even been known to attack and rout predatory birds several times larger than themselves such as kestrels and hawks.

The Allen’s Hummingbird constructs its nest out of plant fibers, down, and weed stems, coating the nest with lichens to give it structure. The nest is placed above ground on a tree branch or the stalk or stem of a plant. The female lays two white eggs, which she will incubate for 15 to 17 days. The young will leave the nest about three weeks after hatching. The mother will continue to feed the fledglings for several more weeks, then the young are left to fend for themselves.

Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) ©WikiC

Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) ©WikiC

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The Green-winged Teal

The Previous Article – The English Sparrow

Wordless Birds

Links:

Allen’s Hummingbird – Wikipedia

Allen’s Hummingbird - All About Birds

Allen’s Hummingbird - Hummingbirds Net

Allen’s Hummingbird - WhatBird

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Vol 2, #6 – The English Sparrow

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) "English Sparrow" for Birds Illustrated

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) “English Sparrow” for Birds Illustrated

From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE ENGLISH SPARROW.

“Oh, it’s just a common Sparrow,” I hear Bobbie say to his mamma, “why, I see lots of them on the street every day.”

Of course you do, but for all that you know very little about me I guess. Some people call me “Hoodlum,” and “Pest,” and even “Rat of the Air.” I hope you don’t. It is only the folks who don’t like me that call me ugly names.

Why don’t they like me?

Well, in the first place the city people, who like fine feathers, you know, say I am not pretty; then the farmers, who are not grateful for the insects I eat, say I devour the young buds and vines as well as the ripened grain. Then the folks who like birds with fine feathers, and that can sing like angels, such as the Martin and the Bluebird and a host of others, say I drive them away, back to the forests where they came from.

Do I do all these things?

I’m afraid I do. I like to have my own way. Maybe you know something about that yourself, Bobbie. When I choose a particular tree or place for myself and family to live in, I am going to have it if I have to fight for it. I do chase the other birds away then, to be sure.

Oh, no, I don’t always succeed. Once I remember a Robin got the better of me, so did a Catbird, and another time a Baltimore Oriole. When I can’t whip a bird myself I generally give a call and a whole troop of Sparrows will come to my aid. My, how we do enjoy a fuss like that!

A bully? Well, yes, if by that you mean I rule around my own house, then I am a bully. My mate has to do just as I say, and the little Sparrows have to mind their papa, too.

“Don’t hurt the little darlings, papa,” says their mother, when it comes time for them to fly, and I hop about the nest, scolding them at the top of my voice. Then I scold her for daring to talk to me, and sometimes make her fly away while I teach the young ones a thing or two. Once in a while a little fellow among them will “talk back.” I don’t mind that though, if he is a Cock Sparrow and looks like his papa.

No, we do not sing. We leave that for the Song Sparrows. We talk a great deal, though. In the morning when we get up, and at night when we go to bed we chatter a great deal. Indeed there are people shabby enough to say that we are great nuisances about that time.

House Sparrow by Ray's Wildlife Photography

House Sparrow by Ray’s Wildlife Photography

THE ENGLISH SPARROW.

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HE English Sparrow was first introduced into the United States at Brooklyn, New York, in the years 1851 and ’52. The trees in our parks were at that time infested with a canker-worm, which wrought them great injury, and to rid the trees of these worms was the mission of the English Sparrow.

In his native country this bird, though of a seed-eating family (Finch), was a great insect eater. The few which were brought over performed, at first, the duty required of them; they devoured the worms and stayed near the cities. With the change of climate, however, came a change in their taste for insects. They made their home in the country as well as the cities, and became seed and vegetable eaters, devouring the young buds on vines and trees, grass-seed, oats, rye, and other grains.

Their services in insect-killing are still not to be despised. A single pair of these Sparrows, under observation an entire day, were seen to convey to their young no less than forty grubs an hour, an average exceeding three thousand in the course of a week. Moreover, even in the autumn he does not confine himself to grain, but feeds on various seeds, such as the dandelion, the sow-thistle, and the groundsel; all of which plants are classed as weeds. It has been known, also, to chase and devour the common white butterfly, whose caterpillars make havoc among the garden plants.

The good he may accomplish in this direction, however, is nullified to the lovers of the beautiful, by the war he constantly wages upon our song birds, destroying their young, and substituting his unattractive looks and inharmonious chirps for their beautiful plumage and soul-inspiring songs.

Mrs. Olive Thorne Miller in “Bird Ways” gives a fascinating picture of the wooing of a pair of Sparrows in a maple tree, within sight of her city window, their setting up house-keeping, domestic quarrel, separation, and the bringing home, immediately after, of a new bride by the Cock Sparrow.

She knows him to be a domestic tyrant, a bully in fact, self-willed and violent, holding out, whatever the cause of disagreement, till he gets his own will; that the voices of the females are less harsh than the males, the chatter among themselves being quite soft, as is their “baby-talk” to the young brood.

That they delight in a mob we all know; whether a domestic skirmish or danger to a nest, how they will all congregate, chirping, pecking, scolding, and often fighting in a fierce yet amusing way! One cannot read these chapters of Mrs. Miller’s without agreeing with Whittier:

“Then, smiling to myself, I said,—
How like are men and birds!”

Although a hardy bird, braving the snow and frost of winter, it likes a warm bed, to which it may retire after the toils of the day. To this end its resting place, as well as its nest, is always stuffed with downy feathers. Tramp, Hoodlum, Gamin, Rat of the Air! Notwithstanding these more or less deserved names, however, one cannot view a number of homeless Sparrows, presumably the last brood, seeking shelter in any corner or crevice from a winter’s storm, without a feeling of deep compassion. The supports of a porch last winter made but a cold roosting place for three such wanderers within sight of our study window, and never did we behold them, ’mid a storm of sleet and rain, huddle down in their cold, ill-protected beds, without resolving another winter should see a home prepared for them.

Summary:

ENGLISH SPARROW.Passer domesticus. Other names: “European Sparrow,” “House Sparrow.”

Range—Southern Europe. Introduced into and naturalized in North America, Australia, and other countries.

Nest—Of straw and refuse generally, in holes, boxes, trees, any place that will afford protection.

Eggs—Five to seven.


House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) by Daves BirdingPix

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) by Daves BirdingPix

Lee’s Addition:

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:29-32 KJV)

Sparrows are mentioned in four passages in Scripture; the one above, Psalm 84:3, Psalm 102:7 and Luke 12:6,7.

We have written about the Sparrows numerous times in our Birds of the Bible – Sparrow articles. They belong to the Passeridae – Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches Family. The House Sparrow does not always have the best of reputations, as mentioned above and in some of the articles. Just remember one thing:

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And [yet] not one of them is forgotten or uncared for in the presence of God. But [even] the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm; you are of greater worth than many [flocks] of sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7 AMP)

Think about that! God really cares!

WhatBird has these interesting facts; “These birds return to their birthplace after every migration (a characteristic known as philopatric). Because of this, local populations have adapted to the color of their habitat resulting in 15 distinct subspecies in the West.” It also says, “The Old Testament Bible associates the symbol of the sparrow with loneliness and solitude, while the New Testament views it as a sign of insignificance. Poor House Sparrow.” (WhatBird)

The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. A small bird, it has a typical length of 16 cm (6.3 in) and a weight of 24–39.5 g (0.85–1.39 oz). Females and young birds are coloured pale brown and grey, and males have brighter black, white, and brown markings. One of about 25 species in the genus Passer, the House Sparrow is native to most of Europe, the Mediterranean region, and much of Asia. Its intentional or accidental introductions to many regions, including parts of Australia, Africa, and the Americas, make it the most widely distributed wild bird.

The House Sparrow is strongly associated with human habitations, and can live in urban or rural settings. Though found in widely varied habitats and climates, it typically avoids extensive woodlands, grasslands, and deserts away from human development. It feeds mostly on the seeds of grains and weeds, but it is an opportunistic eater and commonly eats insects and many other foods. Its predators include domestic cats, hawks, owls, and many other predatory birds and mammals.

Because of its numbers, ubiquity and association with human settlements, the sparrow is culturally prominent. It is extensively, and usually unsuccessfully, persecuted as an agricultural pest, but it has also often been kept as a pet as well as being a food item and a symbol of lust and sexual potency, as well as of commonness and vulgarity. Though it is widespread and abundant, its numbers have declined in some areas.

The plumage of the House Sparrow is mostly different shades of grey and brown. The sexes differ: the female is mostly buff, and the male has bolder markings and a reddish back.[8] The male has a dark grey crown from the top of its bill to its back, and chestnut brown on the sides of its head. It has black around its bill, on its throat, and on the spaces between its bill and eyes (lores). It has a small white stripe between the lores and crown and small white spots immediately behind the eyes (postoculars), with black patches below and above them. The underparts are pale grey or white, as are the cheeks, ear coverts, and stripes at the base of the head. The upper back and mantle are a warm brown, with broad black streaks, while the lower back, rump and uppertail coverts are greyish-brown.

The male is duller in fresh non-breeding plumage, with whitish tips on many feathers. Wear and preening expose many of the bright brown and black markings, including most of the black throat and chest patch, called the “bib” or “badge”. The badge is variable in width and general size, and some scientists have suggested that patches signal social status or fitness.

The female has no black markings or grey crown. Its upperparts and head are brown with darker streaks around the mantle and a distinct pale supercilium. Its underparts are pale grey-brown. The juvenile is similar to the female adult but deeper brown below and paler above. Juvenile males tend to have darker throats and white postoculars.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Eggs ©WikiC

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Eggs ©WikiC

The House Sparrow can be confused with a number of other seed-eating birds, especially its relatives in the genus Passer. Many of these relatives are smaller, with an appearance that is neater or “cuter”, as with the Dead Sea Sparrow. The dull-coloured female can often not be distinguished from other females, and is nearly identical to the those of the Spanish and Italian Sparrows. The Eurasian Tree Sparrow is smaller and more slender with a chestnut crown and a black patch on each cheek. The male Spanish Sparrow and Italian Sparrow are distinguished by their chestnut crowns. The Sind Sparrow is very similar but smaller, with less black on the male’s throat and a distinct pale supercilium on the female.

As an adult, the House Sparrow mostly feeds on the seeds of grains and weeds, but it is opportunistic and adaptable, and eats whatever foods are available. It can perform complex and unusual tasks to obtain food, such as opening automatic doors to enter supermarkets, clinging to hotel walls to watch vacationers on their balconies,[109] and nectar robbing kowhai flowers. In common with many other birds, the House Sparrow requires grit to digest the hard seeds it eats. Grit can be either stone, often grains of masonry, or the shells of eggs or snails; oblong and rough grains are preferred.

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The Allen’s Humming Bird

The Previous Article – The Mountain Bluebird

Sharing The Gospel

Links:

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Vol 2, #6 – The Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) for Birds Illustrated

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) for Birds Illustrated

From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD.

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N an early number of Birds we presented a picture of the common Bluebird, which has been much admired. The mountain Bluebird, whose beauty is thought to excel that of his cousin, is probably known to few of our readers who live east of the Rocky Mountain region, though he is a common winter sojourner in the western part of Kansas, beginning to arrive there the last of September, and leaving in March and April. The habits of these birds of the central regions are very similar to those of the eastern, but more wary and silent. Even their love song is said to be less loud and musical. It is a rather feeble, plaintive, monotonous warble, and their chirp and twittering notes are weak. They subsist upon the cedar berries, seeds of plants, grasshoppers, beetles, and the like, which they pick up largely upon the ground, and occasionally scratch for among the leaves. During the fall and winter they visit the plains and valleys, and are usually met with in small flocks, until the mating season.

Nests of the Mountain Bluebird have been found in New Mexico and Colorado, from the foothills to near timber line, usually in deserted Woodpecker holes, natural cavities in trees, fissures in the sides of steep rocky cliffs, and, in the settlements, in suitable locations about and in the adobe buildings. In settled portions of the west it nests in the cornice of buildings, under the eaves of porches, in the nooks and corners of barns and outhouses, and in boxes provided for its occupation. Prof. Ridgway found the Rocky Mountain Bluebird nesting in Virginia City, Nevada, in June. The nests were composed almost entirely of dry grass. In some sections, however, the inner bark of the cedar enters largely into their composition. The eggs are usually five, of a pale greenish-blue.

The females of this species are distinguished by a greener blue color and longer wings, and this bird is often called the Arctic Bluebird. It is emphatically a bird of the mountains, its visits to the lower portions of the country being mainly during winter.

Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the autumn leaves lie dead;
They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbits’ tread.
The Robin and the Wren are flown, and from the shrubs the Jay,
And from the wood-top calls the Crow all through the gloomy day.
—Bryant.

Summary:

MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD.Sialia arctica. Other names: “Rocky Mountain” and “Arctic Bluebird.”

Range—Rocky Mountain region, north to Great Slave Lake, south to Mexico, west to the higher mountain ranges along the Pacific.

Nest—Placed in deserted Woodpecker holes, natural cavities of trees, nooks and corners of barns and outhouses; composed of dry grass.

Eggs—Commonly five, of pale, plain greenish blue.


Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) by Daves BirdingPix

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) by Daves BirdingPix

Lee’s Addition:

…In the LORD put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? … If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. … For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.
(Psalms 11:1,3,4,7 KJV)

The Mountain Bluebird belongs to the Turdidae – Thrushes Family and as such have Thrush characteristics. Since blue is my favorite color, the bluebirds are some of my favorites. The Lord has used such variety in His coloration, that I am happy that blue was one of them. We have also the Eastern and Western Bluebirds plus the Asian and Philippine Fairy-bluebirds.

The Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) is a medium-sized bird weighing about 1.1 ounces (30 g) with a length from 6.3–7.9 in (16–20 cm). They have light underbellies and black eyes. Adult males have thin bills that are bright turquoise-blue and somewhat lighter beneath. Adult females have duller blue wings and tail, grey breast, grey crown, throat and back. In fresh fall plumage, the female’s throat and breast are tinged with red-orange; brownish near the flank contrasting with white tail underparts. Call is a thin few; Song is warbled high chur chur.

The mountain bluebird is migratory. Their range varies from Mexico in the winter to as far north as Alaska, throughout the western U.S. and Canada. Northern birds migrate to the southern parts of the range; southern birds are often permanent residents. Some birds may move to lower elevations in winter. They inhabit open rangelands, meadows, generally at elevations above 5,000 feet. Contrary to popular belief, mountain bluebirds are not a species of concern in the United States. The turn around in mountain bluebird numbers is due to the overwhelming efforts of landowners in the West to provide nest boxes for these birds. At one time, mountain bluebird numbers were threatened because of increased agricultural activities destroying habitats.

These birds hover over the ground and fly down to catch insects, also flying from a perch to catch them. They mainly eat insects, over 90%, and berries. They may forage in flocks in winter, when they mainly eat grasshoppers. Mountain bluebirds will come to a platform feeder with live meal worms, berries, or peanuts.

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) by Ian Montgomery nest

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) by Ian Montgomery nest

Their breeding habitat is open country across western North America, including mountain areas, as far north as Alaska. They nest in pre-existing cavities or in nest boxes. In remote areas, these birds are less affected by competition for natural nesting locations than other bluebirds. Mountain bluebirds are a monogamous breed. The male can be seen singing from bare branches. The singing takes place right at dawn, just when the sun rises. Females usually build the nests themselves. Eggs: pale blue and unmarked, sometimes white. Clutch Size: 4-5 eggs. Young are naked and helpless at hatching and may have some down. Incubation normally last 14 days and the young will take about 21 days before they leave the nest. Both males and females fiercely protect the nest.

It is the state bird of Idaho and Nevada.

Mountain bluebirds are cavity nesters and can become very partial to a nest box, especially if they have successfully raised a clutch. They may even re-use the same nest, though not always. Providing nest boxes is a great way to observe these beautiful birds. Mountain bluebirds will not abandon a nest if human activity is detected close by or at the nest. Because of this, mountain bluebirds can be easily banded while they are still in the nest.

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) by Margaret Sloan

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) by Margaret Sloan

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Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) by Ian Montgomery

Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) by Ian Montgomery

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The English Sparrow

The Previous Article – The Ornithological Congress

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