Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/205

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THE WORM-EATING WARBLER.

Sylvia vermivora, Lath.

PLATE XXXIV. Male and Female.


The nest of this active little bird is formed of singular materials, being composed externally of dried mosses and the green blossoms of Hickories and Chestnut-trees, while the interior is prettily lined with fine fibrous roots, the whole apparently rather small for the size of the occupants. About the middle of May the female lays four or five eggs, which are cream-coloured, with a few dark red spots near the larger end, leaving a circular unspotted part at the extremity. The nest is usually placed between two small twigs of a bush, not more than eight or nine feet from the ground, and sometimes only four or five.

The flight of the Worm-eating Warbler resembles that of the Crested Titmouse, being of short duration, and accompanied with the same rustling noise, which is occasioned by the rather concave formation of their wings.

It merely passes through Louisiana in spring, appearing there as early as the beginning of April, and extends its migrations to the borders of Lake Erie, where I shot several in autumn. It is probable that it proceeds farther north. It returns through Louisiana about the end of October, only remaining a few days on its passage.

It is an inhabitant of the interior of the forests, and is seldom found on the borders of roads or in the fields. In spring they move in pairs, and, during their retrograde marches, in little groups, consisting each of a family, seven or eight in number; on which account I am inclined to believe that they raise only a single brood in the year. They are ever amongst the decayed branches of trees or other plants, such as are accidentally broken off by the wind, and are there seen searching for insects or caterpillars. They also resort to the ground, and turn over the dried leaves in quest of the same kind of food. They are unsuspecting, and will suffer a person to approach within a few paces. When disturbed, they fly off to some place where withered leaves are seen. They have only a few weak notes, which do not deserve the name of song. Their industry, however, atones for this defect, as they are seen continually