BIRDS OF NEW ENGLAND AND EASTERN NEW YORK - HOFFMANN

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MOURNING WARBLER. Geothlypis philadelphia
5.63 in.

Ad. ♂.— Head and neck bluish-gray, mixed with black on the throat; breast black; back, wings, and tail brown, tinged with green in strong light; belly bright yellow.♀.– Head, neck, and breast brown, or brownish-gray; back, wings, tail, and belly as in ♂.

Nest, on or near the ground. Eggs, white, spotted with brown or reddish-brown. .

The Mourning Warbler is a rare migrant through southern and central New England and the Hudson Valley, occurring late in May or early in June. In migration, the bird frequents dry, bushy banks. On Mount Greylock in Massachusetts, on the higher Catskills, and from central Vermont and New Hampshire northward, the bird is a somewhat local summer resident, nowhere very common. It frequents clearings and burnt tracts, where in the thickets of mountain maple under fallen trees it searches for food, or utters its rather striking song. It also sings from the tops of small trees, and occasionally delivers an outburst in the air. The song may be written thurree, thurree, thurree, generally followed by two or three lower notes. Whether the accent is on the first or second syllable is hard to tell, but a throaty quality, and the presence of the letter 1, characterize the song, and a glance at the gray, black, and yellow of the singer identifies him at once.


CONNECTICUT WARBLER. Geothlypis agilis [Oporornis Agilis]
5.40 in.

Ad. ♂.– Head, neck, and upper breast ash-gray; ring around eye white; back, wings, and tail brown, tinged with greenish-yellow in strong light; belly bright yellow. Ad. ♀ and Im.— Upper parts, wings, and tail brown, tinged with greenish-yellow in strong light; throat and upper breast brownish; rest of under parts yellow; ring around eye brownish-white.

The Connecticut Warbler is a rare fall migrant through New England and the Hudson Valley, occurring in the latter half of September and in early October. In the swamps about Fresh Pond in Cambridge, Mass., it is sometimes common. In such places it feeds in the jewel-weed (Impatiens), great masses of which grow in the wet soil. In western Massachusetts it occurs in rather dry lanes. It is more leisurely in its behavior than its relative the Maryland Yellow-throat, and when disturbed often flies to some low limb near by, where it sits quietly. An adult in full plumage is rare, but the bird may always be distinguished from the female Maryland Yellow-throat by its throat, which is brownish where the other species is yellow, and by its bright yellow under parts. If the bird is seen at close range, a whitish eye-ring is visible.



KENTUCKY WARBLER. Geothlypis formosa
5.40 in.

Ad. ♂.– Crown and stripe from bill along side of throat black; line over eye and under parts bright yellow; back, wings, and tail brown, tinged with greenish-yellow in strong light. Ad. ♀ .— Similar, but the black veiled with gray.

Nest, of dried leaves on the ground. Eggs, white, spotted with brown or reddish-brown.

The Kentucky Warbler is a rather common, though local, summer resident of the lower Hudson Valley as far north as Sing Sing. It arrives early in May and leaves late in August. It frequents low damp woods, spending most of its time on or near the ground. Its song is loud and bright, and resembles the syllables tweedle, tweedle, tweedle. The Maryland Yellow-throat has been taken for the Kentucky Warbler; the yellow line over the eye is the distinguishing mark of the latter.

[graphic]

Kentucky warbler



LOUISIANA WATER-THRUSH. Seiurus motacilla [Parkesia motacilla]
6.28 in.

Ad.— Upper parts grayish-brown; line over the eye pure white; under parts white, tinged in strong light with buffy; throat unspotted; breast and flanks streaked with black.

Nest, placed under the bank of a stream or under the roots of an overturned tree. Eggs, white, spotted with reddish-brown.

The Louisiana Water-thrush is a summer resident of Berkshire County, Mass., of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and the lower Hudson Valley. It is rare in Berkshire County, local in Rhode Island and northern Connecticut, but fairly common in southern Connecticut and along the Hudson; it even penetrates the Catskills, following the mountain streams. It arrives in the middle of April, often a fortnight before the northern species, and leaves before September. Though it does to some extent frequent swampy woods and sluggish woodland streams, as at Englewood, N. J., yet its favorite haunts are clear mountain brooks, where it trips over the stones, or utters its wild ringing song from the branches of the overhanging trees. Like its relative, it has a habit of wagging the tail as it walks.

During May, both the northern and the southern species occur in southern New England and the Hudson Valley. The southern species may then be distinguished by the pure white line over the eye and by the unspotted throat. Its song, generally described as wilder than that of the northern species, and the call-note, may both be distinguished by a practiced ear, but a beginner must depend for identification either on the time of year, or on the white line over the eye and the unspotted throat. A Water-thrush seen in southern New England or New York between the tenth of June and the first of August will, almost undoubtedly, be the southern species. (See following species.)


[NORTHERN] WATER-THRUSH. Seiurus [Parkesia] noveboracensis
6.04 in.

Ad. — Upper parts dark brown; line over the eye whitish, buffy in a strong light; under parts buffy; everywhere spotted with black.

Nest, on or near the ground. Eggs, white, spotted with reddishbrown.

The Water-thrush is a common migrant through southern and central New York and New England during May, and again in August and September. It breeds locally in Worcester County, Mass., and near Dublin, N. H., and commonly in northern New England and New York, frequenting the swampy edges of lakes, swampy woods, or the pools in mountain streams. In migration it may be found in any low, wet ground, under trees or bushes, picking its way along the edges of the water, constantly wagging its tail. Its song is loud and clear and may be represented by the syllables tuit twit tuit twee twee twee oo, very staccato, and the last notes going down the scale. The callnote is a clear, metallic chip. (See preceding species.)

OVEN-BIRD. Seiurus aurocapillus
6.17 in.

Ad.— Upper parts brown; crown dull orange, edged with black; breast and sides spotted with black.

Nest, a bulky structure of dry leaves and stalks, on the ground, with the opening at the side. Eggs, white, spotted with reddishbrown.

The Oven-bird is a common summer resident throughout New England and New York, arriving early in May and lingering through September. It inhabits woodland of every sort, if there are open spaces under the trees where it may walk over the ground in search of food. It prefers, however, dry open woods of deciduous trees. Here its loud song, Teacher, TEACHER, TEACHER, TEACH, to modify Mr. Burroughs's version, is one of the first sounds to attract the ear. When uttering it, the bird is generally perched on a rather high limb, but at other times it walks with pinkish feet over the dry leaves or along some low limb, with a constant upward tilt of the tail. Towards evening and at intervals during the night, one is surprised, while walking in or near woodland, by a burst of rather rapid music from a bird high overhead, and as he shoots earthward a few phrases remind one of the teacher teach of the Oven-bird. This is the famous flight-song of the Oven-bird, not rare, but rarely heard, unless one happen to live in the very woods. Its alarm-note is a vigorous tschuk. When the brooding female is frightened off the nest, she tries to draw the intruder away from the spot by fluttering helplessly along the ground, trailing behind her an apparently broken wing.

[graphic]

Oven-bird



PRAIRIE WARBLER. Dendroica [Setophaga] discolor.
4.75 in.

Ad. ♂.— Upper parts with a strong greenish tinge, when seen in strong light; when the bird is seen from above, reddish-brown markings show in the middle of the back; forehead, a line over eye, and a spot below eye yellow; spot in front of eye and stripe below eye black; wing-bars yellowish; breast bright yellow with black streaks down the sides. Ad. ♀.— With less, sometimes no reddish-brown on the back. Im.— Upper parts olive-green; under parts yellow; no wing-bars.

Nest, in a bush or low tree, generally lined with horse-hair. Eggs, white, speckled with dark brown, chiefly about the larger end.

The Prairie Warbler is a summer resident of southern New England and Long Island, but is rare in northern New Jersey and in the lower Hudson Valley; it is not found north of Massachusetts, except in a few stations in the Merrimac Valley, nor does it occur, so far as I know, in the interior of the State. It is found in dry, scrubby second-growth, especially on sandy soil. It is abundant on Martha's Vineyard and on parts of Cape Cod, but rare or only locally common over most of its range. It arrives early in May, and leaves in September.

The Prairie Warbler's song is a series of sharp, thin notes running rapidly up the scale. They may be distinguished from the Parula's notes by their thinness; the Parula's voice is wheezy, nor would it be often heard in the hot, dry situations in which the Prairie Warbler delights.

The Canada Warbler, the Black and Yellow, and the rare Cape May also have yellow under parts streaked with black. Only in the Prairie Warbler, however, is the black confined to the sides. The Canada Warbler, moreover, chooses low, wet places, even on migration, and in summer the breeding areas of the two birds hardly overlap.

[graphic]

Prairie Warbler




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