Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/475

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( 447 )

THE AUTUMNAL WARBLER.

Sylvia autumnalis, Wils.

PLATE LXXXVIII. Male and Female.


The Autumnal Warbler was so named by Mr Wilson, on account of its appearing in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, where only it was seen by that writer, during its migration from the Northern States, where it breeds, to the confines of Mexico, its winter residence.

This species makes its appearance in great numbers, in the lower parts of Louisiana, early in March, and remains there for a few days along with many others. At this season, it passes from the high top of one tree to that of another, with great activity. In about a week after its first appearance, none are to be seen. It moves towards the northernmost of our Eastern Districts, as the season advances, and does not stop until it reaches the remote parts of the State of New York, many individuals, however, forcing their way still farther.

I have found it breeding in the immediate vicinity of the Cayuga Lakes, and on the borders of Lake Champlain, in retired parts of the woods, which it seems to prefer during the summer months. I have also found it in the lofty forests of that portion of Pennsylvania usually called the Great Pine Swamp. The nest, like that of many other Sylviæ, is partially conical and pensile, and is formed of the soft bark of vines, lined with the down of various plants. The eggs are from four to six, of a white colour, tinged with red, and sprinkled with brownish dots at the larger end. The nest is usually placed in the slender fork of a low bush. I have found the female sitting as late as the 20th of August, and therefore conclude that this species raises two broods in the season, although I have had no opportunity of finding the nest and eggs at an earlier period.

The food of the Autumnal Warbler consists of small insects, many of which it procures whilst on wing. It also searches with great industry among the leaves and along the twigs. Its habits are precisely similar to those of other Warblers. Its flight is short, unequal, and yet quick. It rises in the air to some distance, and returns towards the spot which it