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Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/124

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BEWICK'S WREN.

Troglodytes Bewickii.

PLATE XVIII. Male.


The bird represented under the name of Bewick's Wren I shot on the 19th October 1821, about five miles from St Francisville, in the State of Louisiana. It was standing as nearly as can be represented in the position in which you now see it, and upon the prostrate trunk of a tree not far from a fence. My drawing of it was made on the spot. Another individual was shot a few days after, by a young friend, Joseph R. Mason, who accompanied me on my rambles. In the month of November 1829, I had the pleasure of meeting with another of the same species, about fifteen miles from the place above mentioned, and as it was near the house at which I was then on a visit, I refrained from killing it, in order to observe its habits. For several days, during which I occasionally saw it, it moved along the bars of the fences, with its tail generally erect, looking from the bar on which it stood towards the one next above, and caught spiders and other insects, as it ran along from one pannel of the fence to another in quick succession, now and then uttering a low twitter, the only sound which I heard it emit. It occasionally hopped sidewise, now with its head towards me, and again in the contrary direction, at times descending to the ground, to inspect the lowest bar, but only for a few moments. At other times, it would fly to a peach or apple-tree close to the fence, ascend to its top branches, always with hopping movements, and, as if about to sing, would for an instant raise its head, and lower its tail, but without giving utterance to any musical notes. It would then return to the fence, and continue its avocations as already described. I shot the bird, and have it preserved in spirits.

In shape, colour and movements, it nearly resembles the Great Carolina Wren, and forms a kind of link between that bird and the House Wren, an account of which you will find in this volume. It has not the quickness of motion, nor the liveliness, of either of these birds. Where it comes from, and whither it goes to breed, are quite unknown to me.

I have honoured this species with the name of Bewick, a person too