Birds Vol 1 #6 – The Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Baltimore Oriole for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897, From Col. F. M. Woodruff.

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. June, 1897 No. 6

*

THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE.

imgb

ALTIMORE Orioles are inhabitants of the whole of North America, from Canada to Mexico. They enter Louisiana as soon as spring commences there. The name of Baltimore Oriole has been given it, because its colors of black and orange are those of the family arms of Lord Baltimore, to whom Maryland formerly belonged. Tradition has it that George Calvert, the first Baron Baltimore, worn out and discouraged by the various trials and rigours of temperature experienced in his Newfoundland colony in 1628, visited the Virginia settlement. He explored the waters of the Chesapeake, and found the woods and shores teeming with birds, among them great flocks of Orioles, which so cheered him by their beauty of song and splendor of plumage, that he took them as good omens and adopted their colors for his own.

When the Orioles first arrive the males are in the majority; they sit in the spruces calling by the hour, with lonely querulous notes. In a few days however, the females appear, and then the martial music begins, the birds’ golden trumpeting often turning to a desperate clashing of cymbals when two males engage in combat, for “the Oriole has a temper to match his flaming plumage and fights with a will.”

This Oriole is remarkably familiar, and fearless of man, hanging its beautiful nest upon the garden trees, and even venturing into the street wherever a green tree nourishes. The materials of which its nest is made are flax, various kinds of vegetable fibers, wool, and hair, matted together so as to resemble felt in consistency. A number of long horse-hairs are passed completely through the fibers, sewing it firmly together with large and irregular, but strong and judiciously placed stitching. In one of these nests an observer found that several of the hairs used for this purpose measured two feet in length. The nest is in the form of a long purse, six or seven inches in depth, three or four inches in diameter; at the bottom is arranged a heap of soft material in which the eggs find a warm resting place. The female seems to be the chief architect, receiving a constant supply of materials from her mate, occasionally rejecting the fibers or hairs which he may bring, and sending him off for another load more to her taste.

Like human builders, the bird improves in nest building by practice, the best specimens of architecture being the work of the oldest birds, though some observers deny this.

The eggs are five in number, and their general color is whitish-pink, dotted at the larger end with purplish spots, and covered at the smaller end with a great number of fine intersecting lines of the same hue.

In spring the Oriole’s food seems to be almost entirely of an animal nature, consisting of caterpillars, beetles, and other insects, which it seldom pursues on the wing, but seeks with great activity among the leaves and branches. It also eats ripe fruit. The males of this elegant species of Oriole acquire the full beauty of their plumage the first winter after birth.

The Baltimore Oriole is one of the most interesting features of country landscape, his movements, as he runs among the branches of trees, differing from those of almost all other birds. Watch him clinging by the feet to reach an insect so far away as to require the full extension of the neck, body, and legs without letting go his hold. He glides, as it were, along a small twig, and at other times moves sidewise for a few steps. His motions are elegant and stately.


THE BALTIMORE ORIOLE.

About the middle of May, when the leaves are all coming out to see the bright sunshine, you may sometimes see, among the boughs, a bird of beautiful black and orange plumage.

He looks like the Orchard Oriole, whose picture you saw in May “Birds.” It is the Baltimore Oriole. He has other names, such as “Golden Robin,” “Fire Bird,” “Hang-nest.” I could tell you how he came to be called Baltimore Oriole, but would rather you’d ask your teacher about it. She can tell you all about it, and an interesting story it is, I assure you.

You see from the picture why he is called “Hang-nest.” Maybe you can tell why he builds his nest that way.

The Orioles usually select for their nest the longest and slenderest twigs, way out on the highest branches of a large tree. They like the elm best. From this they hang their bag-like nest.

It must be interesting to watch them build the nest, and it requires lots of patience, too, for it usually takes a week or ten days to build it.

They fasten both ends of a string to the twigs between which the nest is to hang. After fastening many strings like this, so as to cross one another, they weave in other strings crosswise, and this makes a sort of bag or pouch. Then they put in the lining.

Of course, it swings and rocks when the wind blows, and what a nice cradle it must be for the baby Orioles?

Orioles like to visit orchards and eat the bugs, beetles and caterpillars that injure the trees and fruit.

There are few birds who do more good in this way than Orioles.

Sometimes they eat grapes from the vines and peck at fruit on the trees. It is usually because they want a drink that they do this.

One good man who had a large orchard and vineyard placed pans of water in different places. Not only the Orioles, but other birds, would go to the pan for a drink, instead of pecking at the fruit. Let us think of this, and when we have a chance, give the birds a drink of water. They will repay us with their sweetest songs.


Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Male by Nature's Hues

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Male by Nature’s Hues

Lee’s Addition:

I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

The Baltimore Oriole is in the Icteridae – Oropendolas, Orioles & Blackbirds Family. They are slimmer and smaller than an American Robin.

This bird received its name from the fact that the male’s colors resemble those on the coat-of-arms of Lord Baltimore. Like all icterids called ‘oriole’, it is named after an unrelated, physically similar family found in the Old World: the Oriolidae. At one time, this species and the Bullock’s Oriole, (Icterus bullockii), were considered to be a single species called the Northern Oriole.

The male oriole is slightly larger than the female. Adults have a pointed bill and white bars on the wings. The adult male is orange on the underparts, shoulder patch and rump. All of the rest of the male is black. The adult female is yellow-brown on the upper parts with darker wings, and dull orange on the breast and belly.

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Female by Nature's Hues

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) Female by Nature’s Hues

The Baltimore Orioles, a Major League Baseball team in Baltimore, Maryland, were named after this bird. It is also the state bird of Maryland.

Song of an Oriole – by xeno-canto.org (recorded by Robin Carter)

The male sings a loud flutey whistle that often gives away the bird’s location before any sighting can be made.

Baltimore Orioles forage in trees and shrubs, also making short flights to catch insects. They mainly eat insects, berries and nectar, and are often seen sipping at hummingbird feeders. Oriole feeders contain essentially the same food as hummingbird feeders, but are designed for orioles, and are orange instead of red and have larger perches. Baltimore Orioles are also fond of halved oranges, grape jelly and, in their winter quarters, the red arils of Gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba).

*

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 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

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Snowy Owl

Previous Article – The Loggerhead Shrike

Sharing The Gospel

Links:

Introducing our newest photographer – Nature’s Hues by John Jeevaratnam

*

Birds Vol 1 #6 – The Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Loggerhead Shrike for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. June, 1897 No. 6

*

THE LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE.

imga1

RAMBLER in the fields and woodlands during early spring or the latter part of autumn is often surprised at finding insects, grasshoppers, dragon flies, beetles of all kinds, and even larger game, mice, and small birds, impaled on twigs and thorns. This is apparently cruel sport, he observes, if he is unacquainted with the Butcher Bird and his habits, and he at once attributes it to the wanton sport of idle children who have not been led to say,

 

With hearts to love, with eyes to see,
With ears to hear their minstrelsy;
Through us no harm, by deed or word,
Shall ever come to any bird.

If he will look about him, however, the real author of this mischief will soon be detected as he appears with other unfortunate little creatures, which he requires to sustain his own life and that of his nestlings. The offender he finds to be the Shrike of the northern United States, most properly named the Butcher Bird. Like all tyrants he is fierce and brave only in the presence of creatures weaker than himself, and cowers and screams with terror if he sees a falcon. And yet, despite this cruel proceeding, which is an implanted instinct like that of the dog which buries bones he never seeks again, there are few more useful birds than the Shrike. In the summer he lives on insects, ninety-eight per cent. of his food for July and August consisting of insects, mainly grasshoppers; and in winter, when insects are scarce, mice form a very large proportion of his food.

The Butcher Bird has a very agreeable song, which is soft and musical, and he often shows cleverness as a mocker of other birds. He has been taught to whistle parts of tunes, and is as readily tamed as any of our domestic songsters.

The nest is usually found on the outer limbs of trees, often from fifteen to thirty feet from the ground. It is made of long strips of the inner bark of bass-wood, strengthened on the sides with a few dry twigs, stems, and roots, and lined with fine grasses. The eggs are often six in number, of a yellowish or clayey-white, blotched and marbled with dashes of purple, light brown, and purplish gray. Pretty eggs to study.

Readers of Birds who are interested in eggs do not need to disturb the mothers on their nests in order to see and study them. In all the great museums specimens of the eggs of nearly all birds are displayed in cases, and accurately colored plates have been made and published by the Smithsonian Institution and others. The Chicago Academy of Sciences has a fine collection of eggs. Many persons imagine that these institutions engage in cruel slaughter of birds in order to collect eggs and nests. This, of course, is not true, only the fewest number being taken, and with the exclusive object of placing before the people, not for their amusement but rather for their instruction, specimens of birds and animals which shall serve for their identification in forest and field.

The Loggerhead Shrike and nest shown in this number were taken under the direction of Mr. F. M. Woodruff, at Worth, Ill., about fourteen miles from Chicago. The nest was in a corner of an old hedge of Osage Orange, and about eight feet from the ground. He says in the Osprey that it took considerable time and patience to build up a platform of fence boards and old boxes to enable the photographer to do his work. The half-eaten body of a young garter snake was found about midway between the upper surface of the nest and the limb above, where it had been hung up for future use.


Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) by Daves BirdingPix

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) by Daves BirdingPix

Lee’s Addition:

“That path no bird of prey knows, and the falcon’s eye has not seen it. (Job 28:7 ESV)

What a surprise about a week or so ago when I looked out at my feeders/fountain area. There were 4 Loggerhead Shrikes around the fountain and chasing each other around the tree. That is the first time they have visited our yard. Saw my first Loggerhead out in Louisiana years ago. They can confuse you at first look with a Northern Mockingbird, which is what I thought I was looking at at the fountain.

Loggerhead Shrikes are in the Laniidae – Shrikes Family which at the time has 33 members. The family name, and that of the largest genus, Lanius, is derived from the Latin word for “butcher”, and some shrikes were also known as “butcher birds” because of their feeding habits. Note that the Australasian butcherbirds (Artamidae family) are not shrikes.

Most shrike species have a Eurasian and African distribution, with just two breeding in North America (the Loggerhead and Great Grey shrikes). There are no members of this family in South America or Australia, although one species reaches New Guinea. The shrikes vary in the extent of their ranges, with some species like the Great Grey Shrike ranging across the northern hemisphere to the Newton’s Fiscal which is restricted to the island of São Tomé.

They inhabit open habitats, especially steppe and savannah. A few species of shrike are forest dwellers, seldom occurring in open habitats. Some species breed in northern latitudes during the summer, then migrate to warmer climes for the winter.

The Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) is a passerine bird. It is the only member of the shrike family endemic to North America; the related Northern Shrike (L. excubitor) occurs north of its range but also in the Palearctic.

The bird has a large hooked bill; the head and back are grey and the underparts white. The wings and tail are black, with white patches on the wings and white on the outer tail feather. The black face mask extends over the bill, unlike that of the similar but slightly larger Northern Shrike.

The bird breeds in semi-open areas in southern Ontario, Quebec and the Canadian prairie provinces, south to Mexico. It nests in dense trees and shrubs. The female lays 4 to 8 eggs in a bulky cup made of twigs and grass. There is an increase in average clutch size as latitude increases.

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) by ©Wiki

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) by ©Wiki

The shrike is a permanent resident in the southern part of the range; northern birds migrate further south. They are considered a bird of prey even though they have weak legs and feet. The bird waits on a perch with open lines of sight and swoops down to capture prey. Its food is large insects and lizards . Known in many parts as the “Butcher Bird,” it impales its prey on thorns or barbed wire before eating it, because it does not have the talons of the larger birds of prey.

The population of this species has declined in the northeastern parts of its range, possibly due to loss of suitable habitat and pesticide use.

“Loggerhead” refers to the relatively large head as compared to the rest of the body.

*

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 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

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Baltimore Oriole

Previous Article – The Ring-billed Gull

Wordless Birds

Links:

Loggerhead Shrike – Wikipedia

Loggerhead Shrike – All About Birds

Lanidae – Shrike Family

*

Birds Vol 1 #6 – The Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Ring-billed Gull for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897, From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. June, 1897 No. 6

*

THE RING-BILLED GULL.

imgt

HE Ring-billed Gull is a common species throughout eastern North America, breeding throughout the northern tier of the United States, whose northern border is the limit of its summer home. As a rule in winter it is found in Illinois and south to the Gulf of Mexico. It is an exceedingly voracious bird, continually skimming over the surface of the water in search of its finny prey, and often following shoals of fish to great distances. The birds congregate in large numbers at their breeding places, which are rocky islands or headlands in the ocean. Most of the families of Gulls are somewhat migratory, visiting northern regions in summer to rear their young. The following lines give with remarkable fidelity the wing habits and movements of this tireless bird:

“On nimble wing the gull
Sweeps booming by, intent to cull
Voracious, from the billows’ breast,
Marked far away, his destined feast.
Behold him now, deep plunging, dip
His sunny pinion’s sable tip
In the green wave; now highly skim
With wheeling flight the water’s brim;
Wave in blue sky his silver sail
Aloft, and frolic with the gale,
Or sink again his breast to lave,
And float upon the foaming wave.
Oft o’er his form your eyes may roam,
Nor know him from the feathery foam,
Nor ’mid the rolling waves, your ear
On yelling blast his clamor hear.”

This Gull lives principally on fish, but also greedily devours insects. He also picks up small animals or animal substances with which he meets, and, like the vulture, devours them even in a putrid condition. He walks well and quickly, swims bouyantly, lying in the water like an air bubble, and dives with facility, but to no great depth.

As the breeding time approaches the Gulls begin to assemble in flocks, uniting to form a numerous host. Even upon our own shores their nesting places are often occupied by many hundred pairs, whilst further north they congregate in countless multitudes. They literally cover the rocks on which their nests are placed, the brooding parents pressing against each other.

Wilson says that the Gull, when riding bouyantly upon the waves and weaving a sportive dance, is employed by the poets as an emblem of purity, or as an accessory to the horrors of a storm, by his shrieks and wild piercing cries. In his habits he is the vulture of the ocean, while in grace of motion and beauty of plumage he is one of the most attractive of the splendid denizens of the ocean and lakes.

The Ring-billed Gull’s nest varies with localities. Where there is grass and sea weed, these are carefully heaped together, but where these fail the nest is of scanty material. Two to four large oval eggs of brownish green or greenish brown, spotted with grey and brown, are hatched in three or four weeks, the young appearing in a thick covering of speckled down. If born on the ledge of a high rock, the chicks remain there until their wings enable them to leave it, but if they come from the shell on the sand of the beach they trot about like little chickens. During the first few days they are fed with half-digested food from the parents’ crops, and then with freshly caught fish.

The Gull rarely flies alone, though occasionally one is seen far away from the water soaring in majestic solitude above the tall buildings of the city.

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) Lk Hollingsworth by Lee

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) Lk Hollingsworth by Lee


Lee’s Addition:

The Ring-billed Gull is a member of the Laridae Family in the Charadriiformes Order. They are mentioned in Bible’s New King James Version as one of the birds not to eat.

the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after their kinds; (Deuteronomy 14:15 NKJV)

See Bible Birds – Sea Gulls and Birds of the Bible – Sea Gulls

We see them on a frequent basis here in Central Florida. They not only like the many lakes here in Polk County, but also many of the parking lots. Of course as you head to either of our shores, Gulf or Atlantic, many more are seen.

Ring-billed Gull (Winter Adult), Tampa Bay, Florida

*

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 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

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Loggerhead Shrike

Previous Article – The Black-crowned Night Heron

Wordless Birds

Links:

Laridae – Gulls, Terns and Skimmers

Ring-billed Gull – All About Birds

Ring-billed Gull – Wikipedia

Field Guide: Birds of the World – Larus delawarensis (Ring-billed Gull Photos)

*

Birds Vol 1 #6 – The Black-crowned Night Heron

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. June, 1897 No. 6

*

black-crowned night heronblack-crowned night heron.
From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.

THE BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON.

imgt

HAT a beautiful creature this is! A mounted specimen requires, like the Snowy Owl, the greatest care and a dust tight glass case to preserve its beauty. Dr. Coues’ account of it should be read by those who are interested in the science of ornithology. It is a common bird in the United States and British Provinces, being migratory and resident in the south. Heronries, sometimes of vast extent, to which they return year after year, are their breeding places. Each nest contains three or four eggs of a pale, sea-green color. Observe the peculiar plumes, sometimes two, in this case three, which spring from the back of the head. These usually lie close together in one bundle, but are often blown apart by the wind in the form of streamers. This Heron derives its name from its habits, as it is usually seen flying at night, or in the early evening, when it utters a sonorous cry of quaw or quawk. It is often called Quawk or Qua-Bird.

On the return of the Black-Crowned Night Heron in April, he promptly takes possession of his former home, which is likely to be the most solitary and deeply shaded part of a cedar swamp. Groves of swamp oak in retired and water covered places, are also sometimes chosen, and the males often select tall trees on the bank of the river to roost upon during the day. About the beginning of twilight they direct their flight toward the marshes, uttering in a hoarse and hollow tone, the sound qua. At this hour all the nurseries in the swamps are emptied of their occupants, who disperse about the marshes along the ditches and river shore in search of food. Some of these nesting places have been occupied every spring and summer for many years by nearly a hundred pair of Herons. In places where the cedars have been cut down and removed the Herons merely move to another part of the swamp, not seeming greatly disturbed thereby; but when attacked and plundered they have been known to remove from an ancient home in a body to some unknown place.

The Heron’s nest is plain enough, being built of sticks. On entering the swamp in the neighborhood of one of the heronries the noise of the old and young birds equals that made by a band of Indians in conflict. The instant an intruder is discovered, the entire flock silently rises in the air and removes to the tops of the trees in another part of the woods, while sentries of eight or ten birds make occasional circuits of inspection.

The young Herons climb to the tops of the highest trees, but do not attempt to fly. While it is probable these birds do not see well by day, they possess an exquisite facility of hearing, which renders it almost impossible to approach their nesting places without discovery. Hawks hover over the nests, making an occasional sweep among the young, and the Bald Eagle has been seen to cast a hungry eye upon them.

The male and female can hardly be distinguished. Both have the plumes, but there is a slight difference in size.

The food of the Night Heron, or Qua-Bird, is chiefly fish, and his two interesting traits are tireless watchfulness and great appetite. He digests his food with such rapidity that however much he may eat, he is always ready to eat again; hence he is little benefited by what he does eat, and is ever in appearance in the same half-starved state, whether food is abundant or scarce.


Black-crowned Night Heron at Lake Hollingsworth By Dan

Black-crowned Night Heron at Lake Hollingsworth By Dan

Lee’s Addition:

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax nævius) Crown and back greenish black lower back, wings and tail ashy; head with two or three rounded white plumes, except just after breeding season. Young. Grayish brown streaked with white; below white streaked with blackish; outer webs of primaries, pale rufous. Notes. An explosive qûawk.

Range.—Western hemisphere; breeds in North America north to New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba, and Oregon; winters from California and Gulf States southward.

Frequently several nests will be found in the same tree, and I have counted as many as fifty nests in view at the same time. In large swamps in the south they generally nest at a low elevation, while in the marshes of Wisconsin and Minnesota, large colonies of them nest on the ground, making their nest of rushes. Like all Heronries, those of this species have a nauseating odor, from the remains of decayed fish, etc., which are strewn around the bases of the trees. Their eggs number from three to five and are of a pale bluish green color. Size 2.00 × 1.40. 4 eggs. Nest of sticks, about thirty feet up in a pine tree. Many other nests (From the Bird Book)

Adults are approximately 64 cm (25 in) long and weigh 800 g (28 oz). They have a black crown and back with the remainder of the body white or grey, red eyes, and short yellow legs. They have pale grey wings and white under parts. Two or three long white plumes, erected in greeting and courtship displays, extend from the back of the head. The sexes are similar in appearance although the males are slightly larger. Black-crowned Night Herons do not fit the typical body form of the heron family. They are relatively stocky and about 25 in tall (63 cm) with shorter bills, legs, and necks than their more familiar cousins the egrets and “day” herons. Their resting posture is normally somewhat hunched but when hunting they extend their necks and look more like other wading birds.

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) on nest by Nikhil Devasar

These birds stand still at the water’s edge and wait to ambush prey, mainly at night or early morning. They primarily eat small fish, crustaceans, frogs, aquatic insects, small mammals and small birds. During the day they rest in trees or bushes. N. n. hoactli is more gregarious outside the breeding season than the nominate race. (Wikipedia)

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) ©WikiC

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) ©WikiC

Now there is a case of almost biting off more than you can chew.

The Night Herons are in the Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns Family of the Pelicaniformes Order. There are 72 species in the family.

*

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 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

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Ring-billed Gull

Previous Article – The Mockingbird

 

Sharing The Gospel

Links:

Black-crowned Night Heron – Wikipedia

Black-crowned Night Heron – All About Birds

Bible Birds – Herons

Birds of the Bible – Herons

Herons and Egrets by Dan

*

Birds Vol 1 #6 – The Mocking Bird

Mockingbird for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Mockingbird for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897, From col. F. M. Woodruff.

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. June, 1897 No. 6

*

THE MOCKING BIRD.

Some bright morning this month, you may hear a Robin’s song from a large tree near by. A Red Bird answers him and then the Oriole chimes in. I can see you looking around to find the birds that sing so sweetly. All this time a gay bird sits among the green leaves and laughs at you as you try to find three birds when only one is there.

It is the Mocking Bird or Mocker, and it is he who has been fooling you with his song. Nature has given him lots of music and gifted him with the power of imitating the songs of other birds and sounds of other animals.

He is certainly the sweetest of our song birds. The English Nightingale alone is his rival. I think, however, if our Mocker could hear the Nightingale’s song, he could learn it.

The Mocking Bird is another of our Thrushes. By this time you have surely made up your minds that the Thrushes are sweet singers.

The Mocker seems to take delight in fooling people. One gentleman while sitting on his porch heard what he thought to be a young bird in distress. He went in the direction of the sound and soon heard the same cry behind him. He turned and went back toward the porch, when he heard it in another direction. Soon he found out that Mr. Mocking Bird had been fooling him, and was flying about from shrub to shrub making that sound.

His nest is carelessly made of almost anything he can find. The small, bluish-green eggs are much like the Catbird’s eggs.

Little Mocking Birds look very much like the young of other Thrushes, and do not become Mockers like their parents, until they are full grown.

Which one of the other Thrushes that you have seen in Birds does the Mocking Bird resemble?

He is the only Thrush that sings while on the wing. All of the others sing only while perching.

THE MOCKING BIRD.

imgt

HE Mocking Bird is regarded as the chief of songsters, for in addition to his remarkable powers of imitation, he is without a rival in variety of notes. The Brown Thrasher is thought by many to have a sweeter song, and one equally vigorous, but there is a bold brilliancy in the performance of the Mocker that is peculiarly his own, and which has made him par excellence the forest extemporizer of vocal melody. About this of course there will always be a difference of opinion, as in the case of the human melodists.

So well known are the habits and characteristics of the Mocking Bird that nearly all that could be written about him would be but a repetition of what has been previously said. In Illinois, as in many other states, its distribution is very irregular, its absence from some localities which seem in every way suited being very difficult to account for. Thus, according to “Birds of Illinois,” while one or two pairs breed in the outskirts of Mount Carmel nearly every season, it is nowhere in that vicinity a common bird. A few miles further north, however, it has been found almost abundant. On one occasion, during a three mile drive from town, six males were seen and heard singing along the roadside. Mr. H. K. Coale says that he saw a mocking bird in Stark county, Indiana, sixty miles southeast of Chicago, January 1, 1884; that Mr. Green Smith had met with it at Kensington Station, Illinois, and that several have been observed in the parks and door-yards of Chicago. In the extreme southern portion of the state the species is abundant, and is resident through the year.

The Mocking Bird does not properly belong among the birds of the middle or eastern states, but as there are many records of its nesting in these latitudes it is thought to be safe to include it. Mrs. Osgood Wright states that individuals have often been seen in the city parks of the east, one having lived in Central Park, New York city, late into the winter, throughout a cold and extreme season. They have reared their young as far north as Arlington, near Boston, where they are noted, however, as rare summer residents. Dr. J. A. Allen, editor of The Auk, notes that they occasionally nest in the Connecticut Valley.

The Mocking Bird has a habit of singing and fluttering in the middle of the night, and in different individuals the song varies, as is noted of many birds, particularly canaries. The song is a natural love song, a rich dreamy melody. The mocking song is imitative of the notes of all the birds of field, forest, and garden, broken into fragments.

The Mocker’s nest is loosely made of leaves and grass, rags, feathers, etc., plain and comfortable. It is never far from the ground. The eggs are four to six, bluish green, spattered with shades of brown.

Wilson’s description of the Mocking Bird’s song will probably never be surpassed: “With expanded wings and tail glistening with white, and the bouyant gayety of his action arresting the eye, as his song does most irresistably the ear, he sweeps around with enthusiastic ecstasy, and mounts and descends as his song swells or dies away. And he often deceives the sportsman, and sends him in search of birds that are not perhaps within miles of him, but whose notes he exactly imitates.”

Very useful is he, eating large spiders and grasshoppers, and the destructive cottonworm.

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) By Dan'sPix

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) By Dan’sPix


Lee’s Addition:

Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter. (Ecclesiastes 10:20 ESV)

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7 KJV)

Mockingbirds belong to the Mimidae – Mockingbirds, Thrashers Family and are a passerine or perching bird. The name says alot about the bird because it is known to copy or mimic other birds and sounds.  Up to 200 songs have been learned by some. They can also drive you crazy when they sing outside your bedroom window at 3 AM. When they have young, they love to sing. At least the one outside our window did. It is our State Bird here in Florida. Other states, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas also claim them as their State Bird.

Mockingbirds are medium sized and have “Mockingbirds have small heads, a long, thin bill with a hint of a downward curve, and long legs. Their wings are short, rounded, and broad, making the tail seem particularly long in flight.” (All About Birds)

Northern Mockingbird males establish a nesting territory in early February. If a female enters his territory, the male will pursue the female with initial aggressive calls and, if she becomes interested, with softer calls. Once the pair is established, their song becomes more gentle. Northern Mockingbirds tend to be monogamous, and the female may return to the same male from the previous season.

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) eggs ©WikiC

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) eggs ©WikiC

Both the male and female are involved in the nest building. The male does most of the work, while the female perches on the shrub or tree where the nest is being built to watch for predators. The nest is built approximately three to 10 feet above the ground. The outer part of the nest is composed of twigs, while the inner part is lined with grasses, dead leaves, moss or artificial fibers. The eggs are a light blue or greenish color and speckled with dots.] Three to five eggs are laid by the female, and she incubates them for nearly two weeks. Once the eggs are hatched, both the male and female feed the chicks.

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) Juvenile ©WikiC

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) Juvenile ©WikiC

The birds aggressively defend their nest and surrounding area against other birds and animals. When a predator is persistent, mockingbirds from neighboring territories, summoned by a distinct call, may join the attack. Other birds may gather to watch as the mockingbirds harass the intruder. In addition to harassing domestic cats and dogs they consider a threat, it is not unheard of for mockingbirds to target humans. They are absolutely unafraid and will attack much larger birds, even hawks. One famous incident in Tulsa, Oklahoma involving a postal carrier resulted in the distribution of a warning letter to residents.

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 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

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Black-crowned Night Heron

Previous Article – The Yellow-throated Vireo

ABC’s of the Gospel

Links:

Mimidae – Mockingbirds, Thrashers Family

Northern Mockingbird – Wikipedia

Northern Mockingbird – All About Birds

*

Birds Vol 1 #6 – The Yellow-throated Vireo

Yellow-throated Vireo for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Yellow-throated Vireo for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897 – From col. F. M. Woodruff.

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. June, 1897 No. 6

*

The Yellow-throated Vireo

imgt

HE popular name of this species of an attractive family is Yellow Throated Greenlet, and our young readers will find much pleasure in watching its pretty movements and listening to its really delightful song whenever they visit the places where it loves to spend the happy hours of summer. In some respects it is the most remarkable of all the species of the family found in the United States. “The Birds of Illinois,” a book that may be profitably studied by the young naturalist, states that it is decidedly the finest singer, has the loudest notes of admonition and reproof, and is the handsomest in plumage, and hence the more attractive to the student.

A recognized observer says he has found it only in the woods, and mostly in the luxuriant forests of the bottom lands. The writer’s experience accords with that of Audubon and Wilson, the best authorities in their day, but the habits of birds vary greatly with locality, and in other parts of the country, notably in New England, it is very familiar, delighting in the companionship of man. It breeds in eastern North America, and winters in Florida, Cuba and Central America.

The Vireo makes a very deep nest, suspended by its upper edge, between the forks of a horizontal branch. The eggs are white, generally with a few reddish brown blotches. All authorities agree as to the great beauty of the nest, though they differ as to its exact location. It is a woodland bird, loving tall trees and running water, “haunting the same places as the Solitary Vireo.” During migration the Yellow-throat is seen in orchards and in the trees along side-walks and lawns, mingling his golden colors with the rich green of June leaves.

The Vireos, or Greenlets, are like the Warblers in appearance and habits. We have no birds, says Torrey, that are more unsparing of their music; they sing from morning till night, and—some of them, at least—continue theirs till the very end of the season. The song of the Yellow-throat is rather too monotonous and persistent. It is hard sometimes not to get out of patience with its ceasless and noisy iteration of its simple tune; especially if you are doing your utmost to catch the notes of some rarer and more refined songster. This is true also of some other birds, whose occasional silence would add much to their attractiveness.

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) by Anthony 747

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) by Anthony 747


Lee’s Addition:

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (Mark 1:35 KJV)

The Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) is a small American songbird.

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) singing ©nebirdsplus

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) singing ©nebirdsplus

Adults are mainly olive on the head and upperparts with a yellow throat and white belly; they have dark eyes with yellow “spectacles”. The tail and wings are dark with two white wing bars. They have thick blue-grey legs and a stout bill that is hooked. The sexes are similar and juveniles are similar to adults. They are 5-5.5 in. long.

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) ©WikiC up close

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) ©WikiC up close

Their breeding habitat is open deciduous woods in southern Canada and the eastern United States. They make a thick cup nest attached to a fork in a tree branch. They usually lay 3-5 creamy white eggs with a few spots. Other than breeding times, they are mostly solitary birds.

They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. (Psalms 107:4 KJV)

These birds migrate to the deep southern United States, Mexico and Central America. They are very rare vagrants to western Europe. There is one record from Britain in Kenidjack Valley Cornwall September 20-27 1990. There is also a sight report from Germany.

They forage for insects high in trees. They also eat berries, especially before migration and in winter when they are occasionally seen feeding on Gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba) fruit.

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) ©WikiC

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) ©WikiC

The Yellow-throated Vireo is part of the Vireonidae – Vireos, Greenlets Family which has 63 species in 6 genus. They are in the Vireo genus which 31 species. There are no subspecies of this bird.

***

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 June, 1897 No 6 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 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

*

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Mockingbird

Previous Article – The Bird Song

Gospel Message

Links:

Vireonidae – Vireos, Greenlets Family

Yellow-throated Vireo – South Dakota Birds and Birding

Yellow-throated vireo Vireo flavifrons – USGS

Yellow-throated Vireo – All About Birds

Yellow-throated Vireo – Wikipedia

*