Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/107

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

hangs like a Titmouse, and searches the cups of even the smallest flowers for its favourite insects.

I am inclined to think that it raises two broods in a season, having seen and shot the young on the trees, in Louisiana, early in May, and again in the beginning of July. The nest is small, formed of lichens, beautifully arranged on the outside, and lined with the cottony substances found on the edges of different mosses. It is placed in the fork of a small twig, and so far towards the extremity of the branches as to have forced me to cut them ten or fifteen feet from it, to procure one. On drawing in the branch carefully to secure the nest, the male and female always flew toward me, exhibiting all the rage and animosity befitting the occasion. The eggs are pure white, with a few reddish dots at the larger end, and were in two instances four in number. It was several years before I discovered one of these nests, so small are they, and so difficult to be seen from the ground.

This species is found throughout the United States, and may be considered as one of the most beautiful of the birds of those countries. It has no song, but merely a soft, greatly prolonged twitter, repeated at short intervals. It returns southward, out of the Union, in the beginning of October.

Sylvia americana, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 520.—Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 33.

Yellow-backed Warbler, Lath. Synops. vol. iv. p. 440.

Blue Yellow-back Warbler, Sylvia pusilla, Wils. Americ. Ornith. vol. iv. p. 17. Pl. 28. fig. 3. Male.

Adult Male. Plate XV. Fig. 1.

Bill longish, depressed at the base, nearly straight, tapering to a point. Nostrils basal, oval, half concealed by the feathers. Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, acute behind, longer than the middle toe; toes scutellate above, free; claws arched, slender, compressed, acute.

Plumage blended, glossy. Wings longish, little curved, the first quill longest. Tail slightly forked, of ordinary length, the twelve feathers rather narrow and obtuse. A few longish bristles at the base of the upper mandible.