Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/90

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62
BIRD OF WASHINGTON.

chase it with a view to carry it to Europe, but the price put upon it was above my means.

My excellent friend Richard Harlak, M. D. of that city, speaking of this bird in a letter dated "Philadelphia, August 19, 1830," says, "That fine specimen of Washington Eagle, which you noticed in Braxo's museum, is at present in my possession. I have deposited it in the Academy, where it will most likely remain." I saw the specimen alluded to, which, in as far as I could observe, agreed in size and markings exactly with my drawing, to which, however, I could not at the time refer, as it was, with the whole of my collection, deposited in the British Museum, under the care of my ever kind and esteemed friend J. G. Children, Esq. of that Institution.

The glands containing the oil used for the purpose of anointing the surface of the plumage were, in the specimen represented in the plate, extremely large. Their contents had the appearance of hog's lard, which had been melted and become rancid. This bird makes more copious use of that substance than the White-headed Eagle, or any of the tribe to which it belongs, excepting the Fish-hawk, the whole plumage looking, upon close examination, as if it had received a general coating of a thin clear dilution of gum-arabic, and presenting less of the downy gloss exhibited in the upper part of the White-headed Eagle's plumage. The male bird weighs 14½ lb. avoirdupois, and measures 3 feet 7 inches in length, and 10 feet 2 inches in extent.


Falco Washingtonii.


Adult Male. Plate XI.

Bill shortish, very deep, compressed; upper mandible with the dorsal outline forming the third of a circle, rounded above, sloping and flattish on the sides, nearly straight with a slight obtuse process, on the acute, overlapping edges, the tip deflected, trigonal, acute, at its lower part perpendicular to the gap line; lower mandible convex in its dorsal outline, with inflected acute edges, which are deflected at the end. A naked cere, in the fore part of which are the oblong, oblique, nearly dorsal, open nostrils, which have a process from the anterior margin. Head rather large, flat above. Neck robust, of ordinary length. Body ovate. Feet rather short, with the leg long, the tarsus short, rounded,