Birds Vol 1 #1 – Nonpareil – Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) - Drawing

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) – Drawing

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. January, 1897 No. 1

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THE NONPAREIL

I am called the Nonpareil because there is no other bird equal to me.

I have many names. Some call me the “Painted Finch” or “Painted Bunting.” Others call me “The Pope,” because I wear a purple hood.

I live in a cage, eat seeds, and am very fond of flies and spiders.

Sometimes they let me out of the cage and I fly about the room and catch flies. I like to catch them while they are flying.

When I am tired I stop and sing. There is a vase of flowers in front of the mirror.

I fly to this vase where I can see myself in the glass. Then I sing as loud as I can. They like to hear me sing.

I take a bath every day and how I do make the water fly!

I used to live in the woods where there were many birds like me. We built our nests in bushes, hedges, and low trees. How happy we were.

My cage is pretty but I wish I could go back to my home in the woods.

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“Sweet warblers of the sunny hours,
Forever on the wing,
I love thee as I love the flowers,
The sunlight and the spring.

They come like pleasant memories
In summer’s joyous time,
And sing their gushing melodies,
As I would sing a rhyme.

In the green and quiet places,
Where the golden sunlight falls,
We sit with smiling faces
To list their silver calls.

And when their holy anthems
Come pealing through the air,
Our hearts leap forth to meet them
With a blessing and a prayer.

Amid the morning’s fragrant dew,
Amid the mists of even,
They warble on as if they drew
Their music down from heaven.

How sweetly sounds each mellow note
Beneath the moon’s pale ray,
When dying zephyrs rise and float
Like lovers’ sighs away!”

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

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THE NONPAREIL.

So full of fight is this little bird, that the bird trappers take advantage of his disposition to make him a prisoner. They place a decoy bird on a cage trap in the attitude of defense, and when it is discovered by the bird an attack at once follows, and the fighter soon finds himself caught.

They are a great favorite for the cage, being preferred by many to the Canary. Whatever he may lack as a songster he more than makes up by his wonderful beauty. These birds are very easily tamed, the female, even in the wild state, being so gentle that she allows herself to be lifted from the nest. They are also called the “Painted Finch” or “Painted Bunting”. They are found in our Southern States and Mexico. They are very numerous in the State of Louisiana and especially about the City of New Orleans, where they are greatly admired by the French inhabitants, who, true to their native instincts, admire anything with gay colors. As the first name indicates, he has no equal, perhaps, among the songsters for beauty of dress. On account of this purple hood, he is called by the French “Le Pape”, meaning The Pope.

The bird makes its appearance in the Southern States the last of April and, during the breeding season, which lasts until July, two broods are raised. The nests are made of fine grass and rest in the crotches of twigs of the low bushes and hedges. The eggs have a dull or pearly-white ground and are marked with blotches and dots of purplish and reddish brown.

It is very pleasing to watch the numerous changes which the feathers undergo before the male bird attains his full beauty of color. The young birds of both sexes during the first season are of a fine olive green color on the upper parts and a pale yellow below. The female undergoes no material change in color except becoming darker as she grows older. The male, on the contrary, is three seasons in obtaining his full variety of colors. In the second season the blue begins to show on his head and the red also makes its appearance in spots on the breast. The third year he attains his full beauty.

Their favorite resorts are small thickets of low trees and bushes, and when singing they select the highest branches of the bush. They are passionately fond of flies and insects and also eat seeds and rice.

Thousands of these birds are trapped for the cage, and sold annually to our northern people and also in Europe. They are comparatively cheap, even in our northern bird markets, as most of them are exchanged for our Canaries and imported birds that cannot be sent directly to the south on account of climatic conditions.

Many a northern lady, while visiting the orange groves of Florida, becomes enchanted with the Nonpareil in his wild state.

imgsWEET warblers of the sunny hours,

Forever on the wing,
I love thee as I love the flowers,
The sunlight and the spring.

They come like pleasant memories
In summer’s joyous time,
And sing their gushing melodies,
As I would sing a rhyme.

In the green and quiet places,
Where the golden sunlight falls,
We sit with smiling faces
To list their silver calls.

And when their holy anthems
Come pealing through the air,
Our hearts leap forth to meet them
With a blessing and a prayer.

Amid the morning’s fragrant dew,
Amid the mists of even,
They warble on as if they drew
Their music down from heaven.

How sweetly sounds each mellow note
Beneath the moon’s pale ray,
When dying zephyrs rise and float
Like lovers’ sighs away!”

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©WikiC

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©WikiC


Lee’s Addition:

The Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris), as it is called today, is in the Cardinalidae – Grosbeaks, Saltators & Allies Family of the Passeriformes or Songbirds Order. My first encounter with one was while I was sitting at my computer and looking out the window and a male Painted Bunting was on my feeder. I did a double-take. I have loved this bird every since. It is one of my favorites. Their colors remind me of our promise of the rainbow.

I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:13-16 NKJV)

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 January 1897 No 1 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 January 1897 No 1 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited – Introduction

The above article is the first article in the monthly serial that was started in January 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

An index of all the birds and the links will become active as the articles are “Revisited” here.

Next article – The Resplendent Trogon (Quetzel)

Wordless Birds

Links

Painted Bunting Species Account – Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Painted Bunting – Passerina ciris – USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
Painted Bunting – Wikipedia
Painted Bunting Information – South Dakota Birds and Birding

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One thought on “Birds Vol 1 #1 – Nonpareil – Painted Bunting

  1. Wow! I didn’t know anything about the Painted Bunting until reading this article. It is so beautiful. But, as usual, it’s the male that gets all the beautiful colors —– not fair!!! Why is it that the male and female don’t look pretty much the same? And if one HAS to be prettier, then why can’t it be the lady?

    Like

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