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of its middle toe, which is curiously furnished with a serrated claw.”

We have no doubt that Mr. White describes what he saw; but he did not see the bird strike with its talons like a falcon, and never would: its limbs are weak, small, and incapable of being protruded with rapid energy, and its foot is as incapable of grasping. No; its wide and bristle-fringed gape is its instrument of seizing its prey. What then did it do when it bent its head to its claw ? The bird was feeding on the chafers without any doubt, and these insects have hard wing-cases, which the bird does not swallow. Now, secured

between the mandibles of the Goatsucker, as taken in the act of flying, the open wing-cases of these insects may be supposed to be kept in their extended position by the compression of the row of fringes projecting from the sides of the mouth; and we suspect that to assist in tearing away these hard shelly parts by means of this claw, previously to swallowing the rest of the body, was the reason of the action referred to. Thus would this claw in like manner assist in removing similar rejected parts of other insects, as the wings of moths, also kept steady and incapable of fluttering by the fringe of bristles ; and it might even be called into use to arrange the bristles themselves, if intertangled or discomposed by the struggles of a powerful captive. These, however, are mere suggestions.

The favourite haunts of this interesting bird are the skirts of woods and plantations, or the clustered trees around a country mansion or farm-house. During the day it sits in quiet repose sheltered among the densest foliage, till evening rouses all its vigorous energies. It takes little pains with the building of a nest, often incubating on the bare ground among the heath or furze, or among the brushwood of a coppice, and not unfrequently in the hole of a tree, or on the ledge of a rock: the eggs are two in number, regularly marbled with brown and gray on a white ground.

Most of the popular names of this bird are significant enough; that of Goatsucker appears to have arisen from vulgar error, the width of its gape having led to the idea of its draining the udders of the smaller cattle. The time of the arrival of this bird is May, and it departs in September. It is diffused over the whole of the middle and southern districts of Europe, whence it passes to Africa to take up its winter quarters. Its plumage is beautifully diversified with a rich commingling of gray, black, brown, rufous, and yellowish, in dots, dashes, and zigzag bars, producing an effect beyond the power of the pencil to imitate. Length ten inches.

America presents two examples in particular of great interest. CHUCK-WILL'S-WIDOW, (Caprimulgus Carolinensis, Briss.) is the name by which one is universally recognised, and which has been given to it from its singular notes. “ About the middle of March,” says Audubon, “ the forests of Louisiana are heard to echo with the well known notes of this interesting bird. No sooner has the sun disappeared, and the nocturnal insects emerge from their burrows, than the sounds, “chuck-will's-widow,' repeated with great clearness and power six or seven times in as many seconds, strike the ear.” In a still evening it may be heard at the distance of nearly a mile, so full and emphatic is the pronunciation.

The flight of this curious bird is light and graceful. Like our British goatsucker, it appears to be silent when on the wing, and only utters its singular sentence while resting on its perch, "a fence-stake or the decayed branch of a tree in the interior of the woods.” These notes, with occasional interruptions, while gambolling in pursuit of its

prey, it continues after sunset for two or three hours together, and again for a considerable time before the dawn of day, raising and lowering its head alternately in quick succession as each note is uttered. Attracted in the midst of its unvaried repetition by passing insects, it ceases, and launches into the air, and wheels and turns and doubles with the most admirable address;

sweeping over the cotton-fields or the sugar plantations, cutting all sorts of figures, mounting, descending, and sailing with


so much ease and grace, that one might be induced to call it the fairy of the night.Soon after dawn these birds retire to their haunts, the hollow of a decayed tree or some similar situation, where they may remain in undisturbed repose. If discovered and invaded in their retreat, they open and shut their bills with a snapping sound, hiss, ruffle

up the feathers of their bodies, and try to shuffle out of reach. Deep glens, ravines, and pine-swamps are their favourite localities, such places not only affording them abundant means of concealment, but teeming with their insect food.

Like our British species the Chuck-will's-widow is a bird of migratory habits, visiting Georgia in March, and Virginia early in April.“ In the Chickasaw country, and throughout the whole of the Mississippi territory (says Wilson) I found the present species very numerous in the months of April and May, keeping up a continued noise during the whole evening, and in moonlight throughout the whole night.” This bird forms no nest, but the eggs are deposited in a little cavity prepared by moving aside the dead leaves and grass, so as to receive them ; they are two in number, of a dull olive colour, speckled with brown. Thus enveloped in surrounding leaves and tangled weeds, they are very difficult to discover ; but what is very remarkable, if discovered and touched, they are removed by the parents to another and more secure situation. Of this fact Mr. Audubon assures us, informing us that the opinion among the farmers was that they were carried away somehow under the wing, but that the negroes asserted that the parent birds pushed the young or the eggs along with their bills. To ascertain the truth, he undertook to watch the result of an experiment himself; these are his words—“ When the Chuck-will'swidow, either male or female (for each sits alternately) has discovered that the eggs have been touched, it ruffles its feathers and appears extremely dejected for a minute or two, after which it emits a low murmuring cry, scarcely audible to me as I lay concealed at a distance of not more than eighteen or twenty yards. At this time I have seen the other parent reach the spot, flying so low over the ground that I thought its little feet must have touched it, as it skimmed along, and, after a few notes and some gesticulations, all indicative of great distress, take an egg in its large mouth, the other bird doing the same, when they would fly off together, skimming closely over the ground until they disappeared among the branches and trees. But to what distance they remove their eggs I have never been able to ascertain, nor have I ever had an opportunity of witnessing the removal of the young. Should a person, coming upon the nest when the bird is sitting, refrain from touching the eggs, the bird returns to them and sits as before. This fact I have also ascertained by observation.” The colours of the plumage of this elegant bird consist of yellow, ferruginous and blackish brown, blended and mingled together; the head and back are dark brown, minutely mottled with yellowish red, and longitudinally streaked with black. Wings barred with yellowish red and brownish black; with which latter colour they are minutely sprinkled. Tail similarly barred and sprinkled. Length twelve inches. This species leaves the United States about the middle of August.

A still more celebrated species than the foregoing is the WHIP-POOR-WILL, ( Caprimulgus vociferus, Wilson,) which has also gained its name from its peculiar notes. The Whip-poor-will is a migratory bird, and visits the United States on the approach of spring, preferring the more barren and mountainous parts; accordingly, says Audubon, " the open barrens of Kentucky, and the country through which the Alleghany ridges pass, are more abundantly supplied with it than any

other regions. Yet whenever a small tract of country thinly covered with timber occurs in the middle districts, there the Whip-poor-will is heard during the spring and early autumn. Like its preceding congener, its flight is rapid and silent, and displays quick turns and zigzag evolutions ; thus it skims over the ground by moonlight in pursuit of beetles, moths, and other insects, keeping up the chase at intervals during the whole of the night, till the first beams of the sun warn it to retire to its secluded resting-place. During the day it reposes on some fallen trunk, or log, or even on the ground, and may be approached with a little precaution, so sound is its repose; added to which, its eyes are dazzled by the light, so that its actions are undecided and tardy. In dull weather, however, it is much more alert, and skims away on the approach of an intruder.

On the arrival of these birds, their voices are heard, as evening sets in, in every wood and coppice, resounding with shrill accents through the stillness of twilight, and again before the break of day. Should the moonlight be clear, they continue throughout the whole night, with only occasional intermissions. Audubon, in his entertain. ing style, says, " The Whip-poor-will continues its lively song for several hours after sunset, and then remains silent until the first dawn of day, when its notes echo through every vale, and along the declivities of the mountains, until the beams of the rising sun scatter the darkness that overhung the face of nature. Hundreds are often heard at the same time in different parts of the woods, each trying to outdo the others; and when you are told that the notes of this bird may be heard at the distance of several hundred yards, you may form an idea of the pleasure which every lover of nature must feel during the time when the chorus is continued.”

There appears to be a general feeling of good-will to this bird, so that it is seldom molested; besides, its rapidity and irregularity of flight, in conjunction with the obscurity of the time of its activity, render it difficult to be shot. As is the case with its congeners, the Whippoor-will makes no nest, but deposits its eggs on the ground, among retired thickets, and the matted luxuriance of herbage and withered leaves; the young are covered with down, so as to look like little mouldy patches, as if a bit of decayed wood lay amidst the leaves ; and it would appear that, if disturbed, they are in some way or

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