Page:Auk Volume 13-1896.djvu/153

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°i8q6 J Merriam, Some Birds of Southern California. i i c tongues, in which he has set forth the subject with great fairness and excellent judgment, and with whose conclusions I fully agree. It seems, however, pertinent to call attention to the fact that what is true of the tongue is equally true of many other parts of the avian structure, as the bill, the feet, the wings, the tail, the sternum, the principal hones of the limbs, various internal organs, etc. In some cases the hill, the foot, or the sternum, as in the case of the tongue of a Woodpecker, would suffice for the reference of the owner to its proper order, or family, or even genus, while in other cases such parts, when isolated from the rest of the bird, would give no certain indication of its affinities. Particularly is this true of the bill, which, like the tongue, is so intimately concerned with the nature of the food and the manner of its procurement. Indeed, in the case especially of conirostral and dentirostral birds, one might easily be in doubt as to any one of half a dozen quite distinct groups, as witness the old genera Muscicapa, Turdus, Fringilla, Emberiza, Sylvia, etc., under which species of entirely different families were combined until long after the close of the Linnsean period. All this simply goes to emphasize again the well-known fact that no single organ, or even a single set of characters, osteological or otherwise, can be taken as the basis of a system of classification, or even be relied on to furnish sure evidence of relationship, unless within narrow limits. Probably Mr. Lucas could quite as easily show that the taxonomic value of almost any other organ was nearly if not quite s small, when taken by itself, as that of the tongue. — J. A. Allen.] NOTES ON SOME OF THE BIRDS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. BY FLORENCE A. MERRIAM. The following notes were made during the spring migration and nesting seasons of 1889 and 1894, at Twin Oaks, San Diego County, California. Twin Oaks is the post-office for the scattered ranches of a small valley at the foot of the Granite Mountains, one of the coast ranges. It is forty miles north of San Diego, and twelve miles from the Pacific. As the surrounding country is mainly treeless, its fauna is restricted, but this valley has a