^ t^ 12.0


I; I

U 116









(716) •72-4503

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Cone's Key, NA.Birds.
















Ackermann&Co. Lith* Boston.

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F. stes and LAURIAT

J 884.

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North American Birds.





S(conl) lEDitton, l^cbiscli to Datt, anH Snttrelg Stttorttttn:













Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by

F. W. Putnam and Elliott Coues, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by

F. W. Putnam and Elliott Coues, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

Copyright, 1882, By Estes and Lauriat.

Copyright, 1884, Bv Estes and Lauriat.

University Press: John Wilson and Son, Cambridge.



Nestor of American Ornithologists,

€:i)ts; SBotk,


£s iDe0uateti»







§4 §5


§2. 5 3.



Title '

Dedication "'

Contents ^

Historical Peefacb ^i



§ 1. Implements for collecting, and their use 1

§ 2. Dogs 9

§ 3. Various suggestions and directions for field-work 9

\ 4. Hygiene of coUectorship 19

§ 5. Registration and labelling 21

§ 0. Instruments, materials, and fixtures for preparing birdskius 25

§ 7. How to make a birdskin 2S

\ 8. Miscellaneous particulars 13

§ 9. Collection of nests and eggs 50

§10. Care of a collection 51


§ 2. S3.


Definition of birds 59

Principles and practice of classification 65

Definitions and descriptions of the exterior parts of birds 82

a. Of the feathers, or plumage 82

4. The topography of birds 91

1. Regions of the body 91

2. Of the members ; their parts and organs 100

i. The bill 100

ii. The wings 106

iii. The tail Ill

iv. The feet ... 118



§ 4. All introduction to the Anatomy of birds 133

tj Ustcoioffv : tlio osseous .s_vsti'iii, or ftkciftou 134

1. Tile spinal eoliiimi l''»

2. Tiic thorax: riii.s and slcruuiii 142

3. Tiic pectoral arcli 145

4. Tlie pelvic arch 1*7

5. The skull 11»

6. Keurolog.v: the nervous system; organs of special senses 174

c. Jlyology: the iiiusculnr system 1W2

tl. Aiifreiolofry: Ihc vascular or circulatory systems 195

e. ruciimatoldgy : the respiratory system 19!)

/ Splanchiioliifty : the digestive system 209

ff. Oology ; the urogenital system 215

§ a. Directions for using the arlilicial keys 227

Aktificial Kty to the Ordehs and SrnonnEits 230

Artificial Key to the Families 231

Tabular View of tue Groups uiguek than Genera 234



I. Onk-r PASSERES : Inst'ssores, or Perchers Proper 238

1. Suborder I'ASSERES ACROMYODI, or OSCINES: Singing Birds .... 240

/. Family Tukdid^ : Thrushes, etc 240

1. Subfamily 7V/rrf(«i*.- Typical Thrushes 243

2. Subfamily il7iw(W; Mocking Thrushes 248

3. Subfamily C'iiicliiiif: Dipjicrs 254

4. SnhhmiU Siuiroliii/e ; Stone-chats and Blue-birds 250

5. Snhhmnly Jif'ffuliiue: Kinglets and Wood-wrens 259

(1. Snhlmnily Poliv/itiliiife: Gnat-catchers 260

3. Family CiiAM^iDiE : Wren-tits 2C2

S. Family Pauih.e : Titmice, or Chickadees 203

7. Subfamily Pffw/zP; True Titmice 263

4 Family Sittid.e : Nuthatches 209

5. Family Certiiiid.s : Crecjiers 272

8. Subfamily C(»r///«W; Typical Creepers 272

G. Family Troglodytid.e : AVrcns 273

9. Subfamily O/wy^pyoz-^/wrAiW/' ; Fan-tailed Wrens 274

10. S\ih(ei\m\y Trofflodyliiiie ; True Wrens ., 277

7. Family Alavdii)^ : Larks 280

11. Subfamily CV//</;/f/n7(«^/".- Shore Larks 281

12. Subfamily J/ffwr/iW .• Sky Larks 282

*. Family Motacillid.e : Wagtails and Pipits 283

13. Subfamily MotncilHmi; : Wagtails 284

14. Subfamily Anfhinee : Pipits, or Titlarks 285




9. Family Sylvicolid^. : Aiiicriciiii Wiirblers 287

15. Subfiiinily Syleitoliiue : True Wiiiblcrs 289

10. Subfiiinily Ir/eriiii/r: CImts 311

17. Subfiiinily Setophaginir : Ely-cntcliing Warblers 312

10. Family CrcREBiD* : Honey Creepers 317

11. Family T.\NAOiuD,K : Taimgers 317

12. Family IIiuuNDiNiD,«: Swallows 319

13. Family Am PKLiD.K: Ciiatierers 325

18. Subfamily Ampeliiite: Wax wings 325

19. SMmuly Pfiloffona/iiue : Fly -snappers 327

20. Subfamily MyiadeKlinfC : Fly-catcliiiig Thrushes 328

14- Family ViUEONiD.K: Viieos, or Grcenlets 329

15. Family L.vxiiD,*;: Shrikes 336

21. Subfamily Z^/««(W ; True Shrikes 330

16. Family FuixoiLUD.K: Finches, ele 339

17. Family IcTEiiiD.K: American Starlings ; Blackbirds, etc 399

22. Subfamily //.y^'/Ww^/'; Marsh Blackbirds 400

23. Subfamily Stnrimlliiue: .Meadow Starlings 405

24. Subfamily iHerbun Orioles 400

23. Subfamily Qiiimdinie: Crow Blackbirds 410

18. Family ConviDiU: Crows, Jays, etc 414

20. Subfamily Coniiiie: Crows 415

87. Subfamily GarrulbtP: Jays 419

19. Family Stuunid.k: Old World Starlings 420

28. Subfamily <S////v,/W.- Typical Starlings 420

a. Suborder PASSERESMESO.MYOi')!, or CLAMATOUES: Songless Passeres . 427

20. Family Tyiiannid.k: Americi'.n Flycatchers 428

29. Subfamily 7Vn'««<«'^,'; True Tyrant Flycatchers 428

II. Order PICAKIiE : Piearian Birds 444

3. Suborder CVrSELlFORMES : Cypseliform Birds 447

21. Family Capkimijlgid.*:: Goatsuckers 447

30. %\Mvi.m\\y Caprimiilffinie : True Goatsuckers 448

22. Family CvpsELiDiB: Swifts 455

31. Subfamily Ci/pseliiifV : Typical Swifts 450

32. Subfamily Chteturintr: Spine-tail Swifts 457

23. Family TiiociiiUDiE: Humming-birds 458

33. Subfamily Trochiliiup: Humming-birds 458

4. Suborder CUCULIFOUMES: Cuculiform Birds 407

24. Family TnoGONiD.E: Trogons 408

34. Subfamily Trogonime : Trogons 408

[ . Family Momotid^ : Sawbills] 408

25. Family Alcedinid^e : Kingfishers 408

35. Subfamily Aleedinulte: Piscivorous Kingfishers 40!)

2Q. Family Cuculid.e : Cuckoos 470

36. Subfamily Crotophaginte : Anis 471

37. Subfamily Saurotheriti/e : Ground Cuekoos 473

38. Subfamily Coecyf/ina : American Cuckoos 474

6. Suborder PICIFORMES : Piciform Birds 470

27. Family PiciDiE : Woodpeckers 477




III. Order PSITTACI : Parrots 494

38. Family I'siTTACiD.t: : Parrots 495

39. Sublamily Ariiue: Parrots 495

IV. Order RAFIORES : Birds of Prey 495

0. Suborder STIUGES : Nocturnal Birds of Prey 498

29. Family Alucoxid.e : Barn Owls 500

SO. Family STiiiGin.K: Other Owls 502

40. Subfamily ^Z/vy/W/ 502

41. Subl'auiily Buljoniii(e: 503

T. Suborder ACCIPITUES : Diurnal Birds of Prey 517

31. Family Falcoxid.k : Vultures, Falcons, Hawks, Eagles, etc 519

42. Subfamily Circiiur: lliirriers 521

43. Subfamily Milciiirp: Kites 522

44. Subtamily Arcipifi-iiire : Hawks 520

45. Subfamily Fuh-onimc : Falcons 531

40. Subfamily Poliiborhio! : Caracaras 539

47. Subfamily jy/z/cowwrt- .• Buzzards and Eagles 54I

.?~'. Family P.^xDioNiD.E; Fish Hawks, or Osprcys 556

8. Suborder CATII A RTIDES: Amerieaii Vultures 557

S3. Family Catiiaetid.u : American Vultures 557

V. Order COLUMByE : Columbine Birds 501

0. Suborder PER1STEH.E: True Columbine Birds 502

34. Family Columiud.e : Pigeons 562

48. Subfamily Coliimhiii/r Typical Pigeons 304

49. Subfamily /rtW(/(W.- Ground Doves 560

50. Subfamily ^/ff/v/ffwof/zW; Quail Doves 571

VI. Order GALLIXJE : Gallinaceous Birds ; Fowls 571

10. Suborder PEUISTEU.E: Pigeon-toed Fowls ! { 572

35. Family CuAciD.ii: Curassows 572

51. Subfamily Pciidopuice: Guans 573

11. Suborder ALECTOUo'l'ODES: True, fowls ....'.'. 573

36. Family Mkleagkidid.e : Turkeys 576

37. Family Tktu.voxid.e: Grouse; Partridge; Quail 570

52. Subfamily Ti-li-aoaiiuc: Grouse 577

53. Subfamily tt/wz/o/j/zonVrt-.- American Partridges and Quails . . . 5S8 [— . Subfamily Pealiciiice .- Old World Partridges and Quaiis .... 594

VII. Order LIMICOLyE : Shore-birds ; sgg

3S. Family CiiAUADiuiD.K: Plover 597

54. Subfamily Ckiradribifr: True Plover 597

55. Subfamily Jp/irkii/rr: Surf-birds 605

39. Family H,«MAToroDiD.K: Oystcr.catchers; Turnstones 000

50. Subfamily IJfrmfi/opof/iiKP .- Oyster-catchers 600

57. Subfamily ^/,vyMv7ffi/)f/'; Turnstones 60S

40. Family Recukviiuj.stuid.e: Avoccts; Stilts ! ! 009

4i Family PuALAUoroDiD.i; : Phalaropes dU

42. Family Scolopacid,*: : Snipe, etc ! " ' OU


494 495 495

495 498 500 502 502 503 517 519 521 522 52f) . 531 . 539 . 541 . 556 . 557 . 557

. 5G1 . . 562





571 572 572 573 573 576 576 577 5S8 594

596 597 597 605 606 606 60S 609 612 614



VIII. Order IIEUODIONES : Herons and their Allies (147

12. Suborder llilDES : Tlie Ibis Series ()4S

^3. Family luiDiihf: : Ibises 648

Jf^. Family PLATALEiD.ii : Spoonbills 651

13. Suborder PELAllGI : Tlie Stork Series 65;J

45. Family CicoxiiD.E: Storks 652

58. Subfamily /tf«/«//«'C .• Wood Ibises 632

59. Subfamily Cicoiiiime : True Storks 653

14. Suborder HEllODII : The Heron Series 654

4G. Family AiiDElD.E : Herons 654

60. ^\i\)[dimAy Ardeiiue : True Herons 657

61. ^\xhhm\y Botaui-iiuc: Bitterns 663

IX. Order ALECTORIDES : Cranes, Rails, and their Allies 665

15. Suborder GRUIFORMES: Cranes and their Allies 666

47. Family Giiuid.e : Cranes 666

^S. Fauiily Au.oiid.e : Courlans 667

10. Suborder RALLIFOUMES -. Ralliform Birds 669

Jfi. Family Parrid.k : Jafiiniis 669

50. Family Rallid.i; ; Rails, etc 669

62. Subfamily Ralliiitn: True Rails 670

63. Subfamily Galliiiiiliii/p : Gallinules 675

64. Subfamily FrtZ/'aW .- Coots 676

X. Order LAMELLIRO.STRES : Anserine Birds 677

n. Suborder ODONTOGLOSS.E : GrallatorialAuseres 677

51. Family PiicEXicnrTEUiD.E: Flamingoes 678

18. Suborder ANSERES: Anseriue Birds Proper 679

52. Family Asatid.e : Geese, Ducks, etc. . 679

65. Subfamily Cyi/niiirP: Swans 681

66. Subiamily Aiixeriiifp : Geese 6S3

67- Subfamily Aiiatiiia: River Ducks 689

68. Subfamily Fitliffitliiirr: Sea Ducks 698

69. Subfamily Mergiiia: Mergansers 716

XI. Order STEGANOPODES : Totipalmate Birds . 71 8

53. Family SuLiD.E : Ganncts 720

54. Family Pelecanid.e : Pelicans 721

55. Family "halacrocokacide : Cormorants 723

56. Family PLOTiDiE : Darters 729

57. Family Taciiypetid.e : Frigates 730

5S. Family PiiAiiTiioNTiD.'5 : Tropic Birds 731

XII. Order LONGIPENNES : Long-winged Swimmers 732

10. Suborder GAVL'E : Slit-nosed liongwings 733

59. Family Larid.i; : Gulls, Terns, etc 733

70. Subfamily LestridiiKP : Jaegers, or Skua Gulls 734

71. Subfamily ZffriW .• Gulls 739

72. SMiimWy Slenii/ite: Terns 754

73. Subfamily RAynciopiiia : Skimmers 772



80. Suborder TUBINARES: Petrels 773

GO. Family Pkocellariid.k . Petrels 773

74. Subfamily Dioniedeiiuf Albatrosses 774

75. Subfamily ProM//tf/7iW. Pel iris 776

XIII. Order PyGOroUES : Diving Birds 787

61. Family Colymuid.E : Loons 789

62. Family Podicipedid.e : Grebes 792

63. Family Alcid.e : Auks 797

76. Subfamily P/mlmiliiue : Parrot Auks, etc 800

77. Subfamily .^/«'//<e: Guillemots, Murres, and Auks proper . . . 810

i I



A. Tektiary Birds S22

B. Cretaceous Birds 825

C. Jurassic Birds 829



Were a modem Hesiod to essay neither a cos- mogony nor a theogony but the genesis of even the least department of human knowledge, were he to seek the begiunings of Ameri(»n Ornithology, he would lind it only in Chaos. For from this sprang all things,

great and small alike, to pass through Night and Nemesis to the light of days which first see orderly pro- gress in the course of natural evolution, when is first estab- lished some sequence of events we recognize as causes and effects. Then there is system, and formal law ; there science becomes possi- ble ; there its possible history begins.

Long was the time during which the birds of our country were known to its inhab- itants, after the fash- ion of the people of those days, known as things of which use could be made, and studied, too, that use might be made of them. But this period is pre- historic; no evidence

remains, save in some quaint pictograph or rudely graven image. There followed a period shorter by far than the former one, though it endures to-day when the same



birds awakened in other men an interest tlioy could not excite in a savage breast, and tlio sense of beauty was felt. Use and liuauty ! What may not spring from such divinely mated pair, when once they brood njion tlie human mind, like halcyons stilling troubled waters, sinking the instincts of the animal in the restful, satisfying reflections of the man ]

The history of American Ornitliology begins at the time when men first wrote upon American binls ; for men write nothing without some reason, and to reason at all is the beginning of science, even as to reason aright is its end. The date no one can assign, nnloss it be arbitrarily ; it was during the latter ]mt of the sixteenth century, which, with the whole of the seventeenth, represents the formative or embryonic period during which were gathering about the germ the crude materials out of which an ornithology of Xorth America was to be fosliioneil. As these accumulated and were assimilated, as the writings multiplied and books bred books, " each after its kind," this special depart- ment of knowledge grew up, and its form changed with each new impress made upon its plastic organization.

Viewing in proper perspective these three centuries and more which our subject has seen passing in retrospect tlie steps of its development we find that it offers several j)hases, representing as many " epochs " or major divisions, of very unequal duration, and of scientific significance inveisely proportionate to their respective lengths. All that went before 1700 constitutes the first of these, which may be termed the Archaic epoch. The eighteenth century witnessed an extraordinary event, the consequence of which to systematic zoology cannot be over-estimated ; it occurred almost exactly in the middle of the century, which is thus sharply divided into a Pre-LiniKeaii epoch, before the institu- tion of the binomial nomenclature, and a Post-Linii/raii epoch, during which this technic of modern zoology was establislied, each approximately of half a century's duration. In respect of our particular theme, the first quarter of the nineteenth century saw the " father of American ornithology," whose spirit pointed the crescent in the sky of the Wilsonian epoch. During the second quarter, these horns were filled with the genius of the Anduhonian epoch. In the third, the plenteousness of a master mind has marked the Bairdian epoch.

Clearly as these six epochs may be recognized, there is of course no break between them ; they not only meet, but merge in one another. The sharpest line is that which runs across Linmeusat 17o8: but even that is only visible in historical perspective, while the assignation of the dates 1700 and 1800 is rather a chronological convenience than otherwise. Nothing absolutely marks tlie former ; and Wilson was unseen till 1808.

The Archaic epoch stretches into tlie dim past with unshifting scene, even at the g-pnint of the two centuries in which it lies. It is otherwise with the rest ; their .pes have incessantly changed ; and several have been the periods in each of them dur- ing which their course of develojiment has been accelerated or retarded, or modified in some special feature. These changes have invariably coincided with have in fact been induced by the appearance of some great work ; great, not necessarily in itself, but in its relation to the times, and thus in the consequences of the interaction between the times and the author who left the science other than he found it. The edifice as it stands to-day is the work of all, even of the humblest, builders ; but its plan is tliat of the arcliitects who have modelled its main features, and the changes they have success-



ively wrought are the marks of progress. It is consequently possible, and it will be found convenient, to subdivide the epochs named (excepting the first) into lesser natural inter- vals of time, which may be called " periods," to each of which may attach the name of the architect whose design is expressed most clearly. I recognize fifteen such periods, of very unequal duration, to which specific dates may attach. Seven of these fall in the last century ; eight in the three-quarters of the prasent century. We may pass them in brief review.

The Archaic Epoch: to 1700. Mere mention or fragmentary notice of North American birds may be traced back to the middle of the sixteenth century ; but, up to the eighteenth, no book entirely and exclusively devoted to the subject had appeared. The Turkey and the Humming-bird were among the earliest to appear in print ; the latter forms the subject of the earliest paper I have found, exclusively and formally treating of any North American bird as such, and this was not until 1 693, when Hamersly described the " American Tomineius," as it was called. One of the largest, as well as the smallest of our birds, the turkey, early came in for a share of attention. The germs of the modern " faunal list," that is to say, notes upon the birds of some particular region or locality, appeared early in the seventeenth century, and continued throughout ; but only as incidental and very slight features of books published by colonists, adventurers, and missionaries, in their several interests, unless Hernandez's famous "Thesaurus " be brought into the present connec- tion. Among such books containing bird-matter may be noted Smith's " Virginia," 1012; Hamor's "Virginia," 1615; Whitbourne's "Newfoundland," 1620; Higginson's "New England," 1630; Morton's "New English Canaan," 1632; "Wood's "New England's Prospect," 1634; Sagard Theodat's "Voyage," 1632; Josselyn's "New England's Earities," 1672 ; and so on, with a few more, sometimes mere paragi-aphs, some- times a page or a formal chapter, but scarcely anything to be now considered except in a spirit of curiosity.

The Pre-Linn^an Epoch : 1700-1758. (1700-1730.)

The Lawsonian Period. It may be a bicus a non to call this the " Lawsonian " period ; but a name is needed for the portion of this epoch prior to Catesby, during which no other name is so prominent as that of John Lawson, Gentleman, Surveyor-General of North Carolina, whose " Description and Natural History " of that country contains one of the most considerable faunal lists of our birds which appeared before 1730, and went through many editions, the last of these being published at Raleigh, in 1860. The several early editions devote some fifteen or twenty pages to birds, an amount aug- mented considerably when Brickell appropriated the work in 1737. The Baron de la Hontan did similar service to Canadian birds in his "Voyages," 1793; but, on the whole, this period is scarcely more than archaic.


The Catesbian Period. This comprises the time when Mark Catesby's great work was appearing by instalments. " The Natural History of Carolina, Florida," etc, is the



first really great work to come under our notice ; its influence was immediate, and is even now felt. It is the " Audubon " of that time ; a folio in two volumes, dating respectively 1731 and 1743, with an appendix, 1748; passing to a second edition in 1754, to a third in 1771, under the supervision of Edwards ; reproduced in Germany, in " Selig- mann's Siimiulung." 1749-70. It was publisiied in parts, the date of the first of which I beUeve to have been 1730, though it may have been a little earlier. Volume I, contain- ing the birds, appears to liave been issued in five parts, and was made up in 1731 ; it consists of a hundred colored plates of birds, with as many leaves of text ; a few more birds are given in the appendix, raising tlic number to 113. These illustrations are recognizable almost without exception ; most of the species arc for the first time described and figured ; they furnish tlie basis of many subsequently named in the Linna;an system ; the work was eventually provided by Edwards with a Linna>an concordance or index ; and alto- gether it is not easy to ovcrostiuiate the significance of the Catesbian period, duo to this one work ; for no other book requires or indeed deserves to be mentioned in the same connection, tliough a few contributions, of somewhat " arcliaic " character, were made by various writers.

(I748-17i, u) The Edwardmm Perind. 'I'liis bridges the interval between Catesby and the estab- lislinient of tiie binomial nomenclature, and finishes the Pre-Linna'an epoch. No groat name of exclusive pertinence to \orth American ornithology appears in this decade. But the great naturalist whose name is inseparably associated with tliat of Catesby had begun in 1741 the "Natural History of Uncommon Birds," which he completed in four parts or volumes, in 17.51, and in which the North American element is conspicuous. This work contains two hundred and ten colored plates, with accom[)anyiug text, forming a treatise which easily mnks among the half-dozen greatest M'orks of the kind of the Pre- Linna!an epoch, and passed through several editions in different languages. Its impress upon American ornithology of the tim- is secontl only to that made by Catesby's, of which it was the natural sequence, if nut consequence It bore similarly upon birds soon to be described in binomial terms, and was shortly followed by the not less famous "Gleanings of Natural History," 1758-04, a work of precisely the same character, and in fact a continuation of the former. PMwards also made some of our birds the subject of special papers before the riiilosopliical Society, as those of 1755 and 1758 upon the Rufled Grouse and the Phalarope. It may be noted hero that one of the few special papers upon any American bird which Linna}us published appeared in this period, he having in 1750 first described the Louisiana Nonpareil {Passerina ciris). This period also saw the publication of part of the original Swedish edition of Peter Kalm's "Travels," 1753-61, which went through numerous editions in diff'erent languages. Kalm was a correspondent of Linna;us ; the genus of plants, Kalmla, commemorates his name ; his work contains accounts of many of our birds, some of them the bases of Linntean species ; and he also published, in 1759, a special paper upon the Wild Pigeon. As in the Catesbian period, various lesser contributions were made, but none requiring comment. Thus Lawson, as representing the continuation of a preceding epoch, and the associated names of Catesby and Edwards in the present one, have carried us past the middle of the last centurj'.



id is even spectively 754, to a n " Selig- of which ., contain- it consists birds are cognizable d figured ; the work and alto- duo to this the same •:& made by

d the estab- No great bis discade. ^'atesby had eted in four 30iispicuou8. ext, forming [ of the Pre- Its impress [Jatesby's, of n birds soon less famous icter, and in le subject of i8 upon the jecial papers lie having in also saw the !," 1753-61, )rrespondent Di'k contains and he also jbian period, lus Lawson, id names of I of the last

The Post-Linn-ean Epoch: 1758-1800. (1758-1760.)

The Linuceaii Period. An interregnum here, during which not a notable work or worker appears in North American ornith(ilogy itself. But events elsewhere occurred, hlie reflex action of wliich upon our theme is simply incalculable, fully requiring the recognition of this period. The dates, 1 758-1 7CG, are respectively those of the appear- ance of the tenth and of the twelth edition of the " Systema Xutune " of Linntcus. In the former the illustrious Swede first formally and consistently applied his system of nomenclature to all birds known to him; the latter is his completed system, as it finally left his hands; and from tlicu to now, zoologists and especially ornithologists have dis- puted whether 1758 or 17GG should be taken as the starting-point of zoological nomen- clature. In ornithology, the matter is still at issue between the American and the British schools. However this may result, the fact remains that during this "LinncDan period," 1758 to 1766, we have tlie origin of all the tenable specific names of those of our birds whicli were known to LiniiiKUS ; the gathering up and methodical digestion and systematic arrangement of all tliat had gone before. Let this scant decade stand, mute in America, but eloquent in Sweden, and since applauded to the echo of the world.

Nor is this all. The year 1760 saw the famous " Ornithologia " of Mathurin Jaccjues Brisson (born April 20, 1725 dieil Juno 23, 1806), in six portly quartos with 261 fohled plates, and elaborate descriptions in Latin and French of hundreds of birds, a fair pro- portion of which are North American. Many aro described for the fii-st time, though unfortunately not in the binomial nomenclature. The work holds permanent place ; and most of the original descriptions of Brisson's are among the surest bases of Linna;au species.

(1700-1785.) The Forsterian Period. Nearly twenty years have now elapsed with so little in- cident that two brochures determine the complexion of this period. John Reinhold Forster was a learned and able man, whose connection with North American ornithology is interesting. In 1771 he published a tract, now very scarce and of no consequence whatever, entitled "A Catalogue of the Animals of North America." But it was the first attempt to do anytliing of the sort, in short, the first thing of its kind. It gives .302 birds, neither described nor even named scientifically. But that was a large num- ber of North American birds to even mention in those days, more than Wilson gave in 1814. Forster followed up this exploit in 1772 with an interesting and valuable account of 58 birds from Hudson's Bay, occupying some fifty pages of the "Philosophical Transactions." Several of these birds were new to science, and were formally named, such as our White- throated Sparrow, Black-poll Warbler, Hudsonian Titmouse, and Eskimo Curlew. Aside from its intrinsic merit, this paper is notable as the first formal treatise exclusively devoted to a collection of North American birds sent abroad. The period is otherwise marked by tiie publication in 1780 of Fabricius' " Fauna Groenlandica," in which some 50 birds of Greenland receive attention ; and especially by the appearance of a groat statesman and one of the Presidents of the United States in the role of orni- thologist, Thomas Jefferson's "Notes on the State of Virginia" having been first pri-




vately printed in Paris in 1782, though the authorized publication was not till 1787. It coutaina a Hst of 77 birds of Virginia, fortified witli I'eferences to Catesby, Linnmus, and Brisson, as tiie autlior's authorities. Tliere were many editions, one dating 1853.

The long publication in France of one of the monumental works on general orni- thology coincides very nearly witli this period 1 refer of course to Bulibn and hia collaborators. The " Histoire Naturelic des Oiseaux," by Butfon and Montbeillard, dates in its original edition 1770-1783, being in nine quarto volumes with 264 plain plates. It forms a part of tiie gmnd set of volumes dating 1749-1804 in their original editions. With the nine bird-volumes are associated the magnificent series of colored plates known as the "Planches Enluminces," published in 42 fascicles from 1765 to 1781. The plates are 1008 in number, of which 973 represent birds.


The Pennantian Period. A great landmark one of the most conspicuous of the last century was set up with the appearance in 1 785 of the second volume of Tliomas Pennant's "Arctic Zoology." The whole work, in tliree quarto volumes with many plates, 1784-1787, was "designed as a sketch of the Zoology of North America." In this year, also, John Latham completed the third volume (or sixth part) of his "General Synopsis of Birds." These two great works have nnich in comm.on, in so far as a more restricted treatise can be compared with a more comprehensive one ; and in the history of our subject the names of Latham and Pennant are linked as closely as those of Catesby and Edwards. The parallel may bo drawn still further ; for neither Pennant nor Latham (up to the date in mention) used binomial names ; their species had consequently no standing; but they furnished to Gmelin in 1788 the same bases of formally-named .species of the thirteenth edition of the " Systema Natune," that Catesby and Edwards had afforded Linnii3us in 1758 and 1766. Pennant treated up- wards of 500 nniuiiial species of North American Birds. The events at large of this brief but important period were the progress of Latham's Supplement to his Synopsis, the first volume of which appeared in 1787, though the second was not completed till 1801 ;. the appearance in 1790 of Latham's " Index Ornithologicus," in which his birds receive Latin names in due form ; and the publication in 1 788 of the thirteenth edition of the "Systema Naturcc," as just said.

We are so accustomed to see " Linn." and " Gm." after the names of our longest- known birds that we almost unconsciously acquire the notion that Linnreus and Gmelin were great discoverers or describers of birds in those days. But the men who made North American ornithology what it was during the last century were Catesby, Eilwards, Forster, Pennant, Latham, and Bartram. For " the illustrious Swede " was in (his case little more than a methodical cataloguer, or systematic indexer ; while his editor, Gmelin, was merely an industrious, indiscriminate compiler and transcriber. Neither of these men ducovered anything to speak of in this connection.


The Bartramian Period. William Bartram's figure in the events we are sketching is a notable one, rather more on account of his bearing upon Wilson's subsequent ca- wep than of his own actual achievements. Wilson is often called the " father of Ameri-



till 1787.


1853. aeral orni- II and his larcl, dates ain plates, d editions, tes known 781. The

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can ornithology ; " if this designation be apt, then Bartram may be styled its godfather. Few are fully aware how mucii Wilson owed to Bartram, his "guide, philosopher, and friend," who published in 1 79 1 his " Travels through North and South Carolina," con- taining much ornithological matter that was novel and valuable, including a formal catalogue of the birds of the Eastern United States, in which many species are named as new. I have always contended that those of his names which are identifiable are available, though Bartram frequently lapsed from strict binomial propriety ; and the question furnishes a bone of contention to this day. Many birds which Wilson first fully described and figured were really named by Bartram, and several of the latter's designations were simply adopted by Wilson, who, in relation to Bartram, is as the broader and clearer stream to its principal tributary affluent. The notable " Travels," freighted with its unpretending yet almost portentous bird-matter, went through several editions and at least two translations ; and I consider it the starting-point of a distinctively American school of ornithology.

We have seen, in several earlier periods, that men's names appear in pairs, if not also as mates. Thus, Catesby and Edwards ; Linmeus and Gmelin ; Pennant and Latham ; and, perhaps, Buffon and Brisson. The Bartramian alter ego is not Wilson, but Barton, whose "Fragments of the Natural History of Pennsylvania," 1799, closed the period which