Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/462

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Sylvia pensilis, Lath.


This beautiful bird absents itself from the State of Louisiana only for two months in the year, December and January. When they return in the beginning of February, they throw themselves by thousands into all the cypress woods and cane-brakes, where they are heard singing from the 6rst of March until late in autumn, sometimes in November.

Their habits are very different from those of the Warblers, and are more in general accordance with those of the Certhiæ. They move up and down, sidewise and spirally, along the trunks, branches, and even twigs of the tallest and largest Cypresses, or such other trees as are found intermingled with them. They are extremely active, in fact, fully as much so as the little Brown Creeper itself. Like it, they suddenly leave the uppermost branches or higher parts of the trunks, and diving downwards alight on the roots, and renew their search after small insects and larvæ. I never saw any of them pursue insects on wing.

The nest of this species is prettily constructed. Its outer parts are composed of grey lichens and soft mosses, the interior of silky substances and a few fibres of the Spanish moss. The female lays four pure white eggs, having two or three purple dots near the larger end. I think they raise two broods during their stay in Louisiana, but cannot speak of this as certain. The nest is placed on a horizontal branch of a Cypress, twenty, thirty, or even fifty feet above the ground, and is with difficulty discovered from below, as it resembles a knot or a tuft of moss.

The song of the Yellow-throated Warbler would please you, kind reader. Of this I have not a doubt, as it is soft and loud, and is continued for two or three minutes at a time, not unlike that of the Painted Finch, or Indigo Bird. As it is heard in all parts of our most dismal Cypress Swamps, it contributes to soothe the mind of a person whose occupation may lead him to such places. I never saw this species on the ground. The male and the female are nearly alike in plumage, but the young birds, which hunt for insects in company, in the manner