Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/424

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372
AUDUBON

paid me a visit, and very generously offered to change our whale-boat for a large one, and his pilot boat for ours; the industry of this man is extraordinary. The specimen of Uria troile drawn with a white line round the eye[1] was a female; the one without this line was a young bird. I have drawn seventeen and a half hours this day, and my poor head aches badly enough. One of Captain Billings' mates told me of the Procellarias breeding in great numbers in and about Mount Desert Island rocks, in the months of June and July; there they deposit their one white egg in the deepest fissures of the rocks, and sit upon it only during the night. When approached whilst on the egg, they open their wings and bill, and offer to defend themselves from the approach of intruders. The Eider Ducks are seen leaving the islands on which they breed, at daybreak every fair morning, in congregated flocks of males or females separately, and proceed to certain fishing grounds where the water is only a few fathoms deep, and remain till towards evening, when the females sit on their eggs for the night, and the males group on the rocks by themselves. This valuable bird is extremely abundant here; we find their nests without any effort every time we go out. So sonorous is the song of the Fox-colored Sparrow that I can hear it for hours, most distinctly, from the cabin where I am drawing, and yet it is distant more than a quarter of a mile. This bird is in this country what the Towhee Bunting is in the Middle States.

June 22. I drew all day at an adult Gannet which we brought from the great rock of which I have spoken; it was still in good order. Many eggs of the Arctic Tern were collected to-day, two or three in a nest; these birds are as shy here as all others, and the moment John and

  1. This is the so-called Bridled Guillemot, Uria ringvia. The white mark is not characteristic of sex, age, or season. The bird is not specifically distinct from Uria troile.—E. C.