Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 The Bobolink
 The cat bird
 Black capped titmouse
 American crossbill
 The red-headed woodpecker
 Long-tailed titmouse
 The ferruginous thrush
 American quail, or patridge
 The butcher bird
 The kingfisher
 The flamingo
 Back Cover

Group Title: Casket of juveniles ;, 6
Title: The book of birds
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00064141/00001
 Material Information
Title: The book of birds
Series Title: Casket of juveniles
Physical Description: 64 p. : ill. ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Brayman, James O., 1815-1887
Johnson, J.M ( Printer , Binder )
Blakeman & Mason ( Publisher )
Publisher: Blakeman & Mason
Breed, Butler & Co.
Place of Publication: New York
Manufacturer: J.M. Johnson
Publication Date: [18--]
Subject: Birds -- Juvenile literature -- North America   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1871
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
Summary: Describes the physical characteristics and habitats of eleven North American birds.
Statement of Responsibility: by the editor of "The Youth's Casket."
General Note: Bound by J.M. Johnson.
General Note: Baldwin Library copy contains inscription dated 1871.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00064141
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002222365
notis - ALG2607
oclc - 30259529

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Title Page
        Page 3
        Page 4
    The Bobolink
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    The cat bird
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Black capped titmouse
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    American crossbill
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    The red-headed woodpecker
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
    Long-tailed titmouse
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
    The ferruginous thrush
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
    American quail, or patridge
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    The butcher bird
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
    The kingfisher
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
    The flamingo
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text





The Baldwin Lbrary
m omro










Printer and Binder,


ERE, my little friends we have a picture of
the Bobolink, as he is called in the north-
ern and eastern states; in Pennsylvania and
the southern states, he goes by the name of the
Rice and Reed Bird.
The arrival of the Bobolink is the sure har-
binger of. approaching summer. He is wel-
comed by old and young. The plowman stops
his team to listen to its first song, and the
school-boy lingers by the road-side to catch a
glimpse of a long absent favorite, and with joy
beholds it soaring across the meadows, saluting


his ears with the full melody of its voice,
which sounds sweeter than ever, after the cold
and stormy winter that has just passed.
About the middle or latter part of May, they
commence building their nest, which is fixed
on the ground in a tuft of grass. The eggs
are five or six, of a dull white, inclining to
olive, scattered over with small spots of lilac
"The song of the male," says Nuttall, in his
Manual of Ornithology, "continues with little
interruption as long as the female is sitting,
and his chant, at all times very familiar, is both
singular and pleasant. Often, like the Skylark,
mounted, and hovering on the wing, at a small
height above the field, as he passes along from
one tree-top or weed to another, he utters such
a jingling medley of short variable notes, so
confused, rapid, and continuous, that it appears


almost like the blending song of several differ-
ent birds. Many of these tones are very agree-
able, but they are delivered with such rapidity
that the ear can scarcely separate them. The
general effect, however, like all the simple ef-
forts of nature, is good, and when several are
chanting forth in the same meadow, the concert
is very cheerful, though monotonous, and some-
what quaint. Among the few phrases that can
be distinguished, the liquid sound of Bob-o-lee,
or Bob-o-link, Bob-o-lirke, is very distinct. To
give an idea of the variable extent of song,
and even an imitation, in some measure, of the
chromatic period and air of this familiar and
rather favorite resident, the boys of New Eng-
land make him spout, among others,.the follow-
ing ludicrous dunning phrase, as he rises and
hovers on the wing near his mate: "Bob-o-
link, 'Bob-o-li-nk, 'Tom Denny, 'Tom Denny.-


' Comepay-me-the- two-and- six-pence- you've-owed-
more- than- a- year -and- a-half- ago -'tshe 'tshe
'tshe, 'sh 'th 'tshe' modestly diving at the same
instant down into the grass, as if to avoid
altercation. However childish this odd phrase
may appear, it is quite amusing to find how
near it approaches to the time, and expression
of the notes, when pronounced in a hurried
The color of the male, when in full song, is
black, with patches of white on his wings and
back. In this dress he is sometimes called the
"Skunk" Blackbird, as his colors very much
resemble that animal. The latter part of July,
or first of August, he loses his song, and ex-
changes his colors of black and white, for one
of yellowish brown, when he appears like alto-
gether a different species, and is not easily dis-
tinguished from the females and young birds.


At this season of the year they congregate in
large flocks, and do great damage to the oat-
fields, to the constant annoyance of the farmer;
but, the first cold nights, they disappear for the
south, where they find a plenty of their favor-
ite food in the rice-field, and along the reedy
shores of the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers.
They there become very fat, and are eagerly
sought after, and killed in great numbers, by
the sportsmen, and sold in the markets of the
southern cities, where their flesh is esteemed
very highly.




HERE, we have a picture of the Cat Bird,
its nest, and eggs. It is a very common
and very numerous species, in this part of the
United States; and one as well known to all
classes of people, as his favorite briers, or
blackberry bushes. In spring or summer, on
approaching thickets or brambles, the first sal-
utation you receive, is from the Cat Bird; and
a stranger, unacquainted with its note, would
instantly conclude that some vagrant, orphan
kitten had got bewildered among the briers
and wanted assistance: so exactly does the call
of the bird resemble the voice of that animal.


Unsuspicious, and extremely familiar, he seems
less apprehensive of man, than almost any
other of our summer visitants; for whether in
the woods, or in the garden, where he fre-
quently builds his nest, he seldom allows you
to pass without approaching to pay his re-
spects, in his usual way.
About the middle of April, the Cat Bird
first arrives, and by the beginning of May, has
already succeeded in building his nest. The
place chosen for this purpose, is generally a
thicket of briers or brambles, a thorn-bush,
thick vine, or the fork of a small sapling; no
great solicitude is shown for concealment,
though few birds appear more interested for
the safety of their nest and young. In passing
through the woods in summer, I have some-
times amused myself with imitating the violent
chirping or squeaking of young birds, in order


to observe what different species were around
me; for such sounds, at such a season, in the
woods, are no less alarming to the feathered
tenants of the bushes, than the cry of fire or
murder in the streets is to the inhabitants of a
large and populous city. On such occasions of
alarm and consternation, the Cat Bird is the
first to make his appearance, not singly, but
sometimes half a dozen at a time, flying from
different quarters to the spot. At this time
those who are disposed to play with his feelings
may almost throw him into fits, his emotion
and agitation are so great, at the distressful
cries of what he supposes to be his suffering
young. Other birds are variously affected;
but none show symptoms of such extreme suf-
fering. He hurries backward and forward,
with hanging wings and open mouth, calling
out louder and faster, and actually screaming


with distress, till he appears hoarse with his ex-
ertions. He attempts no offensive means; but
he bewails-he implores-in the most pa-
thetic terms with which nature has supplied
him, and with an agony of feeling which is
truly affecting. Every feathered neighbor
within hearing, hastens to the place, to learn
the cause of the alarm, peeping about with
looks of consternation and sympathy. At any
other season the most perfect imitations have
no effect whatever on him.
"Mr. Bartram says, I observed a conflict, or
contest, between a Cat Bird and a snake. It
took place in a gravel walk in the garden, near
a dry wall of stone. I was within a few yards
of the combatants. The bird pounced or
darted upon the snake, snapping his bill; the
snake would then draw himself quickly into a
coil, ready for a blow; but the bird would


cautiously circumvent him at a little distance,
now and then running up to, and snapping at
him; but keeping at a sufficient distance to
avoid a blow. After some minutes, it became
a running fight, the snake retreating; and, at
last, he took shelter in the wall. The Cat Bird
had young ones in the bushes near the field of
The Cat Bird is one of our earliest morning
songsters, beginning generally before break of
day, and hovering from 'ush to bush, with
great sprightliness, when there is scarce light
sufficient to distinguish him. His notes are
more remarkable for singularity than for




iTms little fellow is the victim of the Butcher
S Bird, of which we told you in the last num-
ber of the Casket. He is a great favorite with
all, being among the few birds that remain
with us during the whole year, in winter
approaching the house to pick up crumbs of
bread, and the refuse of the pantry. At such
times, he becomes very tame. You may see
him almost any day, at this season of the year,
whether you live in town or country, as he
seldom fails of visiting the wood-pile, apple-
tree, currant or rose bushes, and sometimes
resting upon the window sill, and if a few


crumbs of bread are thrown out to him, he is
sure to renew his visit, bringing some of his
companions with him, when it is very curious
and amusing, to see how cheerful and happy
they are, while, with their little naked feet,
they hop about on the snow, and among the
frozen branches, often repeating their few lively
notes, which sound very much like pronounc-
ing the words chick-a-de-de.
This bird is found as far north as the region
of Hudson's Bay, where they are seen in great
numbers about the habitations of the traders
in winter, in search of food.
About the middle of April they build their
nest, choosing the deserted hole of a squirrel
or woodpecker. The female lays from six to
eight eggs, and raises two broods in a year.


WE presume that few of our little readers
have ever seen the very remarkable bird
which is represented in the foregoing picture.
On first glancing at his crossed bill, from
which he derives his name, one is likely to
pronounce it deformed. But by observing the
dexterity with which he detaches the seeds of
the pine-tree from the cone, it seems peculiarly
adapted to the purpose of procuring food.
The summer residence of these birds is far
to the north, from which they visit us in the
fall and winter, when they may be seen in
flocks, feeding on the seeds of the hemlock and
white pine. They cling to the twigs in all



sorts of postures, and go through the operation
of feeding in a quiet and business-like manner,
each one attending to his own affairs. It is,
indeed, a pleasant sight to see the little crea-
tures fluttering among the twigs, all in con-
stant action, like so many bees on a cluster of
flowers. They have a loud, sharp, and not un-
musical note; chatter as they fly ; alight dur-
ing the prevalence of deep snows, before the
door of the hunter, and around the house,
picking off the clay with which the logs are
plastered. At such times they are so tame as
only to settle on the roof of the cabin when
disturbed, and in a moment after, descend and
feed, as before.
The time of breeding is, perhaps, the most
remarkable circumstance connected with this
bird. A friend of ours informs us that on cut-
ting down pine trees in the month of February,


he has discovered their nests and eggs. We
have ourselves often seen the old birds feeding
their young in the latter part of February, but
supposed them to be late birds of the preced-
ing year. Mr. Bechstein, in his book of cham-
ber birds, says: "They build in the upper
branches of firs and pines, and make their
nests of the delicate twigs of those trees;
within the outer wall of this nest is a thick
layer of ground-moss, followed, inwardly, by a
lining of very delicate coral moss. The female
lays from three to five eggs, which are grayish
white, and surrounded at the thick end with a
coronal of reddish brown spots, lines, and dots.
The heating quality of their food protects, at
this season, both young and old from the cold :
the young are fed from the crop, like all the



T ERE is, perhaps, no bird in North America
more generally known than this. His tri-
colored plumage, red, white and black, glossed
with steel blue, is so striking and characteristic,
and his predatory habits in the orchards and
cornfields, added to his numbers, and fondness
for hovering along the fences, so very notori-
ous, that almost every child is acquainted with
the red-headed woodpecker. In the immediate
neighborhood of our large cities, where the old
timber is chiefly cut down, he is not so fre-
quently found; and yet, at this present time,
(June, 1808,) I know of several of their nests


within the boundary of the city of Philadel-
phia. Two of these are in buttonwood-trees
and another in the decayed limb of an elm.
The old ones, I observe, make their excursions
regularly to the woods beyond the Schuylkill,
about a mile distant; preserving great silence
and circumspection in visiting their nests -pre-
cautions not much attended to by them in the
depths of the woods, because there the prying
eye of man is less to be dreaded. Toward the
mountains, in the vicinity of creeks and rivers,
these birds are abundant, especially in the lat-
ter end of summer. Wherever you travel in
the interior at that season, you hear them
screaming from the adjoining woods, rattling
on the dead limbs of trees, or on the fences,
where they are perpetually seen flitting from
stake to stake, on the roadside, before you.
Wherever there is a tree, or trees, of the wild


cherry, covered with ripe fruit, there you see
them busy among the branches: and, in pass-
ing orchards, you may easily know where to
find the earliest apples, by observing those
trees on or near which the red-headed wood-
pecker is skulking; for he is so excellent a
connoisseur in fruit, that wherever an apple
or pear is found broached by him, it is sure
to be among the ripest and best flavored:
when alarmed, he seizes a capital one, by
striking his open bill deep into it, and bears
it off to the woods. When the Indian corn
is in its rich, succulent, milky state, he attacks
it with great eagerness, opening a passage
through the numerous folds of the husk, and
feeding on it with voracity. The girdled, or
deadened timber, so common among cornfields
in the back settlements, are his favorite re-
treats, whence he sallies out to make his


depredations. He is fond of the ripe berries
of the sour gum, and pays pretty regular
visits to the cherry-trees, when loaded with
fruit. Toward fall, he often approaches the
barn or farm-house, and raps on the shingles
and weather-boards: he is of a gay and frolic
some disposition; and half a dozen of the fra-
ternity are frequently seen diving and vocifer-
ating around the high, dead limbs of some
large tree, pursuing and playing with each
other, and amusing the passenger with their
gambols. Their note, or cry, resembles that
of a species of tree-frog which frequents the
same tree, and it is sometimes difficult to dis-
tinguish- the one from the other.
Notwithstanding the care which this bird
takes to place its young beyond the reach of
enemies, within the hollows of trees, yet there
is one deadly foe, against whose depredations


neither the hight of the tree, nor the depth
of the cavity, is the least security. This is
the black snake, who frequently glides up the
trunk of the tree, and, like a skulking savage,
enters the woodpecker's peaceful apartment,
devours the eggs or helpless young, in spite of
the cries and fluttering of the parents; and,
if the place be large enough, coils himself up
in the spot they occupied, where he will some-
times remain several days. The eager school-
boy, after hazarding his neck to reach the wood-
pecker's hole, at the triumphant moment when
he thinks the nestlings his own, and strips his
arm, launching it down into the cavity, and
grasping what he conceives to be the callow
young, starts with horror at the sight of a
hideous snake, and almost drops from his giddy
pinnacle, retreating down the tree with terror
and precipitation. Several adventures of this


kind have come to my knowledge; and one
of them was attended with serious consequences,
where both snake and boy fell to the ground;
and a broken thigh, and long confinement, cured
the adventurer completely of his ambition for
robbing woodpeckers' nests.

_______ I



uR tall hedge-rows and copses are frequented
by a very amusing little bird, the long-
tailed titmouse. Our boys call it the long-
tailed tom-tit, long-tom, poke-pudding, and
various other names. It seems the most rest-
less of little creatures, and is all day long in a
state of progression from tree to tree, from
hedge to hedge, jerking through the air with its
long tail, like a ball of feathers, or threading
the branches of a tree, several following each
other in a little stream; the leading bird ut-
tering a shrill cry of twit, twit, twit, and away
they all scuttle to be first, stop for a second,
and then are away again, observing the same


order and precipitation the whole day long.
The space traveled by these diminutive crea-
tures in the course of their progresses from the
first move till the evening roost must be con-
siderable; yet, by their constant alacrity and
animation, they appear fully equal to their daily
task. We have no bird more remarkable for
its family association than this. It is never seen
alone, the young ones continuing to accompany
each other from the period of their hatching
until their pairing time in spring. Its food is
entirely insects, which it seeks among mosses
and lichens, the very smallest being captured
by the diminutive bill of this creature. Its nest
is as singular in construction as the bird itself.
SEven in years long passed away, when a nest-
ing boy, I strung my plunder on the benty
grass, it was my admiration; and I never see it
now without secretly lauding the industry of


these tiny architects. It is shaped like a bag,
and externally fabricated of moss and different
herbaceous lichens, collected chiefly from the
sloe and maple; but the inside contains such a
profusion of feathers, that it seems rather filled
than lined with them, a perfect feather-bed I
remember finding fourteen or sixteen pea-like
eggs within this downy covert, and many more
were reported to have been found. The exces-
sive labor of the parent birds in the construc-
tion and collection of this mass of materials is
exceeded by none that I know of; and the
exertions of two little creatures in providing
for, and feeding, with all the incumbrances of
feathers and tails, fourteen young ones, in such
a situation, surpasses in diligence and ingenuity
the efforts of any other birds, persevering as
they are, that I am acquainted with.



T is is the brown thrush, or thrasher, of the
Middle and Eastern States, and the French
mocking bird of Maryland, Virginia, and the
Carolinas. It is the largest of all our thrushes,
and is a well-known and very distinguished
songster. About the middle or 29th of April,
or generally about the time cherry-trees begin
to blossom, he arrives in Pennsylvania, and, from
the tops of the hedgerows, sassafras, apple or
cherry-tree, he salutes the opening morning with
his charming song, which is loud, emphatical,
and full of variety. At that serene hour, you
may plainly distinguish his voice fully half a


mile off. Early in May he builds his nest,
choosing a thornbush, low cedar, thicket of
briers, dog-wood sapling, or cluster of vines, for
his situation, generally within a few feet of the
ground. Outwardly, it is constructed of small
sticks; then layers of dry leaves, and, lastly,
lined with firn, fibrous roots, but without any
plaster. The eggs are five, thickly sprinkled
with ferruginous grains, on a very pale bluish
ground. They generally have two broods in a
season. Like all birds that build near the
ground, he shows great anxiety for the safety
of his nest and young, and often attacks the
black snake in their defense: generally, too,
with success, his strength being greater, and his
bill stronger and more powerful, than any other
of his tribe within the United States. He is
accused, by some people, of scratching up the
hills of Indian corn, in planting time; this may


be partly true; but, for every grain of maize
he pilfers, I am persuaded he destroys five hun-
dred insects; particularly a large dirty-colored
grub, with a black head, which is more pernici-
ous to the corn, and other grain and vegetables,
than nine-tenths of the whole feathered race.
YThe thrasher is a welcome visitant in spring,
to every lover of rural scenery and rural song.
In the months of April and May, when our
woods, hedgerows, orchards, and cherry-trees,
are one profusion of blossoms, when every ob-
ject around conveys the sweet sensations of joy,
and Heaven's abundance is, as it were, shower-
ing around us, the grateful heart beats in unison
with the varying, elevated strains of this excel-
lent bird ; we listen to its notes with a kind of
devotional ecstacy, as a morning hymn to the
greai and most adorable Creator of all. The
human being, who, amidst such scenes, and in


such seasons of rural serenity and delight, can
pass them with cold indifference, and even con-
tempt, I sincerely pity; for abject must that
heart be, and callous those feelings, and de-
praved that taste, which neither the charms of
nature, nor the melody of innocence, nor the
voice of gratitude or devotion, can reach.
Concerning the sagacity and reasoning fac-
ulty of this bird, my venerable friend, Mr. Bar-
tram, writes me as follows -"I remember to
have reared one of these birds from the nest,
which, when full grown, became very tame and
docile. I frequently let him out of his cage to
give him a taste of liberty. After fluttering
and dusting himself in dry sand and earth, and
bathing, washing, and dressing himself, he would
proceed to hunt insects, such as beetles, crickets,
and other shelly tribes; but, being very fond
of wasps, after catching them, and knocking


them about to break their wings, he would lay
them down, then examine if they had a sting,
and, with his bill, squeeze the abdomen to clear
it of the reservoir of poison before he would
swallow his prey. When in his cage, being very
fond of dry crusts of bread, if, upon' trial, the
corners of the crumbs were too hard and sharp
for his throat, he would throw them up, carry,
and put them in his water dish to soften; then
take them out and swallow them. Many other
remarkable circumstances might be mentioned
that would fully demonstrate faculties of mind;
not only innate, but acquired ideas, (derived
from necessity in a state of domestication,)
which we call understanding and knowledge.
We see that this bird could associate those
ideas, arrange and apply them in a rational
manner, according to circumstances. For in-
stance, if he knew that it was the hard, sharp


corners of the crumb of bread that hurt his
gullet, and prevented him from swallowing it,
and that water would soften and render it easy
to be swallowed, this knowledge must be ac-
quired by observation and experience, or some
other bird taught him. Here the bird per-
ceived, by the effect, the cause, and then took
the quickest, the most effectual, and agreeable
method to remove that cause. What could the
wisest man have done better ? Call it reason,
or instinct, it is the same that a sensible man
would have done in this case.
"After the same manner this bird reasoned
with respect to the wasps. He found, by ex-
perience and observation, that the first he at-
tempted to swallow hurt his throat, and gave
him extreme pain ; and, upon examination, ob-
served that the extremity of the abdomen was
armed with a poisonous sting; and, after this


discovery, never attempted to swallow a wasp
until he first pinched his abdomen to the ex-
tremity, forcing out the sting, with the recep-
tacle of poison."

=I --

Ii ..fx IL \Y 4'" ,'




HIS well-known species inhabits the whole
of North America. They rarely frequent
the forest, and are most numerous in the vicin-
ity of a well cultivated plantation, where there
is plenty of grain. When not too much perse-
cuted by the sportsmen, they become almost
half domesticated. In winter they approach
the barn, and mix with the poultry to glean up
a subsistence. At this time, the gun and the
trap make great havoc among them.
The quail begins to build early in May. The
nest is made on the gioound, usually at the bot-
tom of a thick tuft of grass that shelters and


conceals it. The materials are leaves and fine
grass. It is well covered above, and an open-
ing is left on one side for an entrance. The
young leave the nest as soon as they are freed
from the shell, and are conducted about by the
female in search of food. In this situation,
should the little family be unexpectedly sur-
prised, the mother instantly throws herself in
the path, fluttering and beating the ground, as
if sorely wounded; using every artifice to en-
tice the passenger in pursuit of herself, and ut-
tering certain peculiar notes of alarm, well un-
derstood by the young, which dive separately
among the grass, and secrete themselves till
the danger is over. This well-known trick, nine
times in ten, is successful; and the parent, hav-
ing decoyed the pursuer to a safe distance, re-
turns, by a circuitous route, to collect and lead
off her young.


The eggs of the quail have been frequently
placed under the hen, and hatched and reared
with as equal success as her own. The hen,
however, ought to be a very good nurse, for the
young partridges are very restless and vagrant,
and often lose themselves and disappear. Those
that survive, acquire all the familiarity of com-
mon chickens. Two of those birds that were
brought up by a hen, when abandoned by her,
associated with the cows, which they regularly
followed to the fields, returned with them when
they came home in the evening, stood by them
while they were milked, and again accompanied
them to the pasture. They remained during
the winter, lodged in the stable, but as soon as
spring came, they disappeared.
The partridge has sometimes been employed
to hatch the eggs of the common domestic hen.
Several hen's eggs were substituted in place of


those of a partridge, and she brought out the
whole, and was to be seen in various parts of
the plantation, with her brood of chickens. On
these occasions, she exhibited her usual alarm,
and practiced her usual manoeuvres for their
preservation. Even after they were consider-
ably grown, and larger than their nurse, she
continued to lead them about. The manners
of these chickens had all the slyness and timid-
ity of young partridges; running" with great
rapidity, and concealing themselves in the grass
on the slightest alarm. Soon after this, they
disappeared, having probably been destroyed by
dogs, by the gun, or by birds of prey.
The common call of the partridge consists
of two notes, and is similar to the sound pro-
duced by pronouncing the words Bob White."
It feeds upon grain, seeds, insects, and berries
of various kinds. Buckwheat and Indian corn


are particular favorites. Like all the rest of
the gallinaceous tribe, it flies with a loud, whin-
ing sound, occasioned by the shortness, concav-
ity, and rapid motion of its wings, and the
comparative weight of its body. The flesh of
this bird is peculiarly white, tender and deli-
cate. w
The partridge is nine inches long. It is of a
red-brown color, sprinkled with black. The
under parts are white, spotted with black, and
the sides of the neck spotted with white. The
female differs, in having the chin and sides of
the head yellowish-brown, in which dress it has
been described as a different kind. There is,
however, only one species known within the
United States.


I-- -- - ~ -


THE character and disposition of this bird is
plainly visible in his countenance, and in
all his movements. He is the most courageous,
fierce, and cruel bird of his size, carrying on a
constant warfare and butchery among the
smaller birds, and the whole insect tribe. A
propensity in which he seems to indulge more
for sport or pleasure, than to satisfy hunger.
We have seen him spend hours together in
catching grasshoppers and beetles, sticking
them upon thorns, and leaving them to wither
in the sun.
Our first acquaintance with the Butcher
Bird, was in the early part of December, 1847,


directly after a heavy fall of snow. We stood
watching a Titmouse that was busily engaged
in picking among the branches of a tree. He
approached so close that we could have reached
him with a common walking stick, when a
movement on our part caused him to take
wing for a neighboring tree some few rods
distant. He immediately returned, pursued by
what we afterward learned to be the Butcher
Bird, and passed within a foot of our head.
They made a few circular motions through the
air, when the Titmouse received a blow from
Sthe powerful beak of his pursuer and fell, but
was instantly seized upon by the Butcher Bird,
who, after munching his throat in order to
make sure work of him, deliberately tore out
his entrails, and devoured them, in the manner
represented in the above engraving.
This bird is by no means numerous in this


state; and is seldom seen in summer, as he re-
tires to the most mountainous regions to breed,
but on the approach of cold weather, descends
to the more cultivated parts of the country,
and at times takes up his winter-quarters in
the midst of our villages, where we first be-
came acquainted with him.
It builds a large and compact nest, in the
upright fork of a small tree, composed out-
wardly of dry grass and lined with feathers.
The female lays six eggs of grayish white,
thickly marked at the great end with spots
and streaks of reddish brown. She sits fifteen
days. The young are produced early in June.



THOSE of our young friends who live in the
country, and who love to ramble by the
side of brooks and larger streams, are no
doubt familiar with the feathered fisher, whose
portrait is here given. He is called the
Kingfisher, for the reason, we suppose, that he
is one of the most successful of birds in catch-
ing fish, which is his principal article of food.
The Kingfisher is found in all parts of the
United States. Wilson, in his ornithology,
tells us that amidst the roar of the cataract,
or ov3r the foam of the torrent, he sits perched
upon an overhanging bough, and glances his
eyes in every direction, looking down into the


water for his prey, which he seizes with a sud-
den, circular plunge. IHe courses along the
winding of the brook or river, at a small
height above the surface. He delights in visit-
ing mill-dams, as there he is sure to find what
he is in search of. Rapid streams, with high
perpendicular banks, are also favorite places of
resort for this bird; not only because in such
places small fish are most exposed to view, but
because the steep and high banks are the cho-
sen places for his nest. Into these he digs
with his bill and claws, from two to five feet,
where the nest is built. The eggs are of a
pure white color, and there are generally four
.or five of them in each nest.
The Kingfisher feeds almost entirely on fish,
is generally fat, and is relished by some as
good eating. When full-grown, he is from ten
to twelve inches in length, and from fifteen to


twenty from the tip of one wing to the other.
The back and upper parts are blue, or perhaps
rather a bluish-slate color. Around the neck
is a collar or ring, of pure white, which reaches
before to the chin. The head is large and
crested. The feathers are long and narrow,
black in the center. On the under side there
is a good deal of white, and the sides, under
the wings, are variegated with blue. The
female is a little different from the male, being
sprinkled all over with spots of white; the
bands of blue around the upper part of the
breast, are of a reddish color. The head is of a
much darker blue than the back, and the white
feathers on the skin and throat, are of a fine,
glossy texture, like beautiful satin.
On the whole, the kingfisher may be called
a beautiful bird. See, how he sits perched up
there on that branch. I have seen him sit thus


for..hours, by the side of a stream, looking in-
tently downward. All at once he would spring
from his resting-place, and dart swiftly down
into the water, and when he rose again, he
would have an unfortunate fish in his strong
bill. He would then fly away with a great
clattering noise, to some safe retreat, where he
would enjoy the eating of his prey; or, per-
haps, carry it to the nest, to feed his mate
and little ones



THIs is, perhaps, the most remarkable of
waterfowl; it is one of the tallest, and the
most beautiful. The body, which is of a beau-
tiful scarlet, is no bigger than that of a swan;
but its legs and neck are of such an extraor-
dinary length, that when it stands erect, it is
six feet six inches high. Its wings, extended,
are five feet six inches from tip to tip ; and it is
four feet eight inches from tip to tail. The head
is round and small, with a large bill seven
inches long, partly red, partly black, and
crooked like a bow. The legs and thighs,
which are not much thicker than a man's fin-
ger, are about two feet eight inches high; and


its neck nearly three feet long. The feet are
feeble, and united by membranes, as in those
of the goose. Of what use these membranes
are it does not appear, as the bird is never seen
swimming, its legs and thighs being sufficient
to bear it into those depths where it seeks its
This extraordinary bird is now chiefly found
in America, but was once known on all the
coasts of Europe. It is still occasionally met
with on the shores of the Mediterranean. Its
beauty, its size, and the peculiar delicacy of its
flesh, have been such temptations to destroy or
take it, that it has long since deserted the
shores frequented by man, and taken refuge in
countries that are as yet but thinly peopled.
When the Europeans first came to America,
and coasted down along the African shores,
they found the Flamingoes on several shores


on either continent, gentle, and no way dis-
trustful of mankind. When the fowler had
killed one, the rest of the flock, far from at-
tempting to fly, only regarded the fall of their
companion in a kind of fixed astonishment:
another and another shot was discharged ; and
thus the fowler often leveled the whole flock,
before one of them began to think of escaping.
But at present it is very different; and the
Flamingo is not only one of the scarcest, but
one of the shyest birds in the world, and the
most difficult of approach. They chiefly keep
near the most deserted and inhospitable shores;
near salt water lakes and swampy islands.
Their time of breeding is according to the
climate in which they reside: in North Amer-
ica they breed in summer; on the other side
,of the line they take the most favorable season
of the year. They build their nests in exten-


sive marshes, and where they are in no danger
of surprise. The nest is not less curious than
the animal that builds it. It is raised from the
surface of the pool about a foot and a half,
formed of mud, scraped up together, and hard-
ened by the sun, or the heat of the bird's
body; it resembles a truncated cone, or one
of the pots which we see placed on chimneys;
in the top it is hollowed out to the shape of
the bird, and in that cavity the female lays her
eggs, without any lining but the well cemented
mud that forms the sides of the building. She
always lays two eggs, and no more; and as
her legs are immoderately long, she straddles
on the nest, while her legs hang down, one on
each side, into the water. It is long before
the young ones are able to fly; but they run
with amazing swiftness


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