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THE CEDAR BIRD, OR CHERRY BIRD.
This common native wanderer, which in the summer extends
its migrations to the remotest unpeopled regions of Canada,* is also found throughout the American continent to Mexico, and parties occasionally even roam to the tropical forest of Cayenne. In all this extensive geographical range, where great elevation or latitude tempers the climate so as to be favorable to the production of juicy fruits, the Cedar Bird will probably be found either almost wholly to reside or
the season of reproduction. Like its European representative (the Waxen Chatterer,) it is capable of braving considerable degree of cold, for in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
some of these birds are seen throughout the winter, where as well as in the early part of the summer and fall, they are killed and brought to market, generally fat, and much esteemed as food. Silky, softness of plumage, gentleness of disposition, innocence of character, extreme sociability, and an innate inextinguishable love of freedom, accompanied by a constant desire of wandering, are characteristic traits in the physical and moral portrait of the second as well as the preceding species of this pecu. liar and extraordinary genus.
Leaving the northern part of the continent, situated beyond the 40th degree, at the approach of winter, they assemble in companies of twenty to a hundred, and wander through the Southern States and Mexico to the confines of the equator, in all of which countries they are now either common or abundant. As observed by Audubon, their flight is easy, continued, and often performed at a considerable height; and they move in flocks or companies, making several turns before they alight. As the mildness of spring returns, and with it their favorite food, they re-appear in the Northern and Eastern States about the beginning of April, before the ripening of their favorite
* Seen by Mr. Say near Winipique river in latitude 50, and by Mr. Drummond on the south branch of the Saskatchewan.
THE BOHEMIAN WAX-WING, OR WAXEN CHATTERER.
fruits, the cherries and mulberries. But at this season, to repay the gardener for the tithe of his crop, their natural due, they fail not to assist in ridding his trees of more deadly enemies which infest them, and the small caterpillars, beetles, and various insects now constitute their only food; and for hours at a time they may be seen feeding on the all-despoiling Canker-worms, which infest our Apple trees and Elms. On these occasions, silent and sedate, after plentifully feeding, they sit dressing their feathers, in near contact on the same branch to the number of five or six; and as the season of selective attachment approaches, they may be observed pluming each other, and caressing with the most gentle fondness; a playfulness, in which, however, they are even surpassed by the contemned Raven, to which social and friendly family our Cedar Bird, different as he looks, has many traits of alliance.
THE BOHEMIAN WAXWING, OR WAXEN CHATTERER.
The Bohemian Waxwing, or Waxen Chatterer, is only occas onally seen in England during severe frosts, at which time flocks of them sometimes arrive. One of these birds was shot at Oxford in the winter of 1846. It is very com. mon in Norway and Russia, and is plentiful in North America. The name of Waxwing is given to it from the singular appendages to the secondary quill feathers, bearing much blance to a drop of red sealing-wax pressed on
Berries of all kinds, especially those of the dog-rose and the hawthorn, form the principal food of this bird; but it is related that when in captivity it rejects scarcely any vegetable substance, but loses at the same time all its vivacity and social habits. The note of the Waxwing is not unlike that of the Thrush, but it is very weak and more uncertain than the notes of that beau.
THE BOHEMIAN WAXWING.
tiful songster. While singing it agitates the crest on its head, but shows scarcely any of that swelling in the throat so preceptible in the Canary and other singing birds.
The length of the bird is rather more than eight inches.
THE JAPANESE CHATTERER.
This is a species found in Japan, with naked nostrils, and without the usual wax-like appendages to the wings which give this genus the name of Waxwing. It is ash-colored, with an ash-colored and red crest.
OF THE SWALLOWS IN GENERAL.
The bill of the Swallow is short broad at the base, small at the
somewhat bent. The nostrils are open. The tongue is short, broad, and cloven. The tail, except in one species is forked; and the wings are long. The legs are short, and (except in four species, in which they are all placed forward) the toes are placed three before and one behind.
Swallows are easily distinguished from all other birds,
not only by their general structure, but by their twittering voice, and their manner of life. They fly with great rapidity, seldom walk, and perform all their functions either on the wing or sitting. By means of their wide mouth they easily catch insects in the air, or on the surface of the water; and on these they subsist.
Naturalists have been much divided in their opinions respecting the migration of the Swallow tribe from this country.
That the actual migration of the Swallow tribe does take place, has been fully proved from a variety of well-attested facts; most of which have been taken from the observation of navigators who were eyewitnesses of their flights, and whose ships have sometimes afforded to them resting-places in their toilsome journeys.
THE CHIMNEY SWALLOW.
THE CHIMNEY SWALLOW.
THE CHIMNEY SWALLOW.
During the summer months this Swallow takes up its residence in this country, building its nest generally in the insides of our chimneys, a few feet from the top. This nest is composed of mud mixed with straw and hair, and lined with feathers. It lays four or five eggs, and has two broods in the
The progressive method by which the young ones are intro. duced to their proper habits, is very curious. They first, but not without some difficulty, emerge from the shaft: for a day or two they are fed on the chimney. top; and then are conducted to the dead, leafless bough of some neighboring tree, where, sitting in a row, they are attended by the parents with great assiduity. In a day or two after this, they are strong enough to fly, but they continue still unable to take their own food. They therefore play about near the place, where the dams are watching for flies; and, when a mouthful is collected, at a certain signal, the dam and the nestling advance, rising towards each other, and meeting at an angle; the young.one all the while uttering such a short quick note of gratitude and complacency, that a person must have paid very little regard to the wonders of nature, who has not remarked this scene.
As soon as the dam has disengaged herself from the first brood, she immediately commences her preparations for a second, which is introduced into the world about the middle or latter end of August.
During every part of the summer, the Swallow is a most instructive pattern of unwearied industry and affection : from morning to night, while there is a family to be supported, she spends the whole time in skimming along, and exerting the most sudden turns and quick evolutions : avenues, and long walks under hedges, pasture-fields, and mown meadows where cattle graze, are her delight, especially if there are trees interspersed, because in such spots insects most abound. When a fly is taken, a smart snap from her bill is to be heard, not unlike the noise of the shutting of a watch-case; but the motion of the mandibles is too quick for the eye.
The Swallow is the excubitor to the House-Martins and other little birds, announcing the approach of birds of prey : for as soon as a Hawk or an Owl appears the Swal! )w calls, with a shrill alarming note, a)'
his own fellows and the Martins about him; who pursue in a body, and strike their enemy, till they have driven him from the place, darting down upon his back, and rising in a perpendicular line in per. fect security. This bird will also sound the alarm, and strike at cats when they climb on the roofs of houses, or otherwise approach the nests.
Wonderful is the address, Mr. White justly observes, which this adroit bird exhibits in ascending and decending with security through the narrow passage of a chimney. When hovering over the mouth of the funnel, the vibrations of its wings acting on the confined air, occasion a rumbling like distant thunder. It is not improbable that the dam submits to the inconvenience of having her nest low down in the shaft, in order to have her broods secure from rapacious birds; and particularly from Owls, which are frequently found to fall down chimneys, probably in their attempts to get at the nestlings.
Professor Kalm, in his Travels in America, says, that a very reputable lady and her children related to him the following story respecting these birds, assuring him at the same time that they were all eye-witnesses to the fact :-* A couple of Swallows built their nest in the stable belonging to the lady; and the female laid eggs in the nest, and was about to brood them. Some days afterwards the people saw the female still sitting on the eggs : but the male flying about the nest, and sometimes settling on a nail, was heard to utter a very plaintive note, which betrayed his uneasiness. On a nearer examina. tion, the female was found dead in the nest; and the people flung her body away. The male then went to sit upon the eggs; but after being about two hours on them, and perhaps finding the business too troublesome, he went out, and returned in the afternoon with another female, which sat upon the nest, and afterwards fed the young
ones, till they were able to provide for themselves.”
At Camerton Hall, near Bath, a pair of Swallows built their nest on the upper part of the frame of an old picture over the chimney-piece ; entering through a broken pane in the window of the room. They came three years successively; and in all probability would have con. tinued to do so, had not the room been put in repair, which prevented their access to it.
Another pair were known to build for two successive years on the handles of a pair of garden shears, that were stuck up against the boards in an out-house ; and therefore must have had their nest spoiled whenever the implement was wanted. And what is still more strange, a bird of the same species built its nest on the wings and body of an Owl, that happened to hang dead and dry from the rafter of a barn and so loose as to be moved by every gust of wind. This Owl, with the nest on its wings, and with eggs in the nest, was taken as a curi. osity to the museum of Sir Ashton Lever. That gentleman, struck with the singularity of the sight, furnished the person who brought it with a large shell, desiring him to fix it just where the Owl had hung. The man did so; and in the following year a pair of Swallows, probably the same, built their nest in the shell, and laid
eggs. “By the myriads of insects, which every single brood of Swallows destroy, in the course of a summer, these birds defend us in a great