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thirty or forty miles below Philadelphia; but is rather rare in Pennsylvania. This circumstance is a little extraordinary; since, from its size, and stout make, it would seem more capable of braving the rigors of a northern climate than any of the others. It can, however, scarcely be called migratory. In the depth of winter I found it numerous in Virginia along the shores and banks of the James river and its tributary streams, and thence as far south as Savannah. I also observed it on the banks of the Ogechee; it seemed to be particularly attached to the borders of cypress swamps, deep hollows, among piles of old decaying timber, and by rivers and small creeks. It has all the restless jerking manners of the Wrens, skipping about with great nimbleness, hopping into caves, and disappearing into holes and crevices like a rat, for several minutes, and then reappearing in another quarter. It occasionally utters a loud, strong, and singular twitter, resembling the word chirr-rup, dwelling long and strongly on the first syllable; and so loud that I at first mistook it for the Red-bird, L. cardinalis. It has also another chant, rather more musical, like “ Sweet William, Sweet William,” much softer than the former. Though I cannot positively say, from my own observations, that it builds in Pennsylvania, and have never yet been so fortunate as to find its nest; yet, from the circumstance of having several times observed it within a quarter of a mile of the Schuylkill, in the month of August, I have no doubt that some few breed here, and think it highly probable that Pennsylvania and New York may be the northern boundaries of their visits, having sought for it in vain among the states of New England. Its food appears to consist of those insects and their larvæ that frequent low damp caves, piles of dead timber, old roots, projecting banks of creeks, &c. &c. It certainly possesses the faculty of seeing in the dark better than day birds usually do; for I have observed it exploring the recesses of caves, where a good acute eye must have been neccessary to enable it to distinguish its prey.
In the southern states, as well as in Louisiana, this species is generally resident; though in summer they are more numerous, and are found rather farther north than in winter. In this last season their chirrupping is frequently heard in gardens soon after day-break, and along the borders of the great rivers of the southern states, not far from the sea coast.
The Great Wren of Carolina is five inches and a quarter long, and seven broad; the whole upper parts are reddish brown, the wings and tail being barred with black; a streak of yellowish white runs from the nostril over the eye, down the side of the neck, nearly to the back; below that a streak of reddish brown extends from the posterior part of the eye to the shoulder; the chin is yellowish white; the breast, sides and belly a light rust colour, or reddish buff; vent feathers white, neatly barred with black; in the female plain; wing coverts minutely tipt with white; legs and feet flesh coloured, and very strong; bill three-quarters of an inch long, strong, a little bent, grooved and pointed, the upper mandible bluish black, lower light blue; nostrils oval, partly covered with a prominent convex membrane; tongue pointed and slender; eyes hazel; tail cuneiform, the two exterior feathers on each side three quarters of an inch shorter, whitish on their exterior edges, and touched with deeper black; the same may be said of the three outer primaries. The female wants the white on the wing coverts; but differs little in colour from the male.
In this species I have observed a circumstance common to the House and Winter Wren, but which is not found in the Marsh Wren; the feathers of the lower part of the back, when parted by the hand, or breath, appear spotted with white, being at bottom deep ash, reddish brown at the surface, and each feather with a spot of white between these two colours. This, however, cannot be perceived without parting the feathers.
[Plate XII. —Fig. 4.]
Motacilla palustris (regulus minor), BARTRAM, p. 291.-PKALE's
Museum, No. 7282.
This obscure but spirited little species has been almost overlooked by the naturalists of Europe, as well as by those of its own country. The singular attitude in which it is represented will be recognized by those acquainted with its manners, as one of its most common and favourite ones, while skipping through among the reeds and rushes. The Marsh Wren arrives in Pennsylvania about the middle of May, or as soon as the reeds and a species of Nymphea, usually called splatter-docks, which grow in great luxuriance along the tide water of our rivers, are sufficiently high to shelter it. To such places it almost wholly limits its excursions, seldom venturing far from the river. Its food consists of flying insects, and their larvæ, and a species of green grasshoppers that inhabit the reeds. As to its notes it would be mere burlesque to call them by the name of
song. Standing on the reedy borders of the Schuylkill or Delaware, in the month of June, you hear a low crackling sound, something similar to that produced by air bubbles forcing their way through mud or boggy ground when trod upon; this is the song of the Marsh Wren. But as among the human race it is not given to one man to excel in every thing, and yet each, perhaps, has something peculiarly his own; so among birds we find a like distribution of talents and peculiarities. The little bird now before us, if deficient and contemptible in singing, excels in the art of design, and constructs a nest, which, in durability, warmth and convenience, is scarcely inferior to one, and far
superior to many, of its more musical brethren. This is formed outwardly of wet rushes mixed with mud, well intertwisted, and fashioned into the form of a cocoa nut. A small hole is left twothirds up, for entrance, the upper edge of which projects like a pent house over the lower, to prevent the admission of rain. The inside is lined with fine soft grass, and sometimes feathers; and the outside, when hardened by the sun, resists every kind of weather. This nest is generally suspended among the reeds, above the reach of the highest tides, and is tied so fast in every part to the surrounding reeds, as to bid defiance to the winds and the waves. The eggs are usually six, of a dark fawn colour, and very small. The young leave the nest about the twentieth of June, and they generally have a second brood in the same season.
The size, general colour, and habit of this bird of erecting its tail, gives it, to a superficial observer, something of the appearance of the common House Wren, represented in Plate VIII of this work; and still more that of the Winter Wren, figured in the same plate; but with the former of these it never associates; and the latter has left us some time before the Marsh Wren makes his appearance. About the middle of August they begin to go off, and on the first of September very few of them are to be seen. How far north the migrations of this species extend I am unable to say; none of them to my knowledge winter in Georgia, or any of the southern states. The Marsh Wren is five inches long, and six in extent; the
le upper parts are dark brown, except the upper part of the head, back of the neck, and middle of the back, which are black, the two last streaked with white; the tail is short, rounded, and barred with black; wings slightly barred; a broad strip of white passes over the eye half way down the neck; the sides of the neck are also mottled with touches of a light clay colour on a whitish ground; whole under parts pure silvery white, except the vent, which is tinged with brown; the legs are light brown; the hind claw large, semicircular, and very sharp; bill slender, slightly bent; nostrils prominent; tongue narrow, very tapering, sharp pointed, and horny at the extremity; eye hazel. female almost exactly resembles the male in plumage.