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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/208

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Sylvia Childrenii.

PLATE XXXV. Male and Female.

This little bird so much resembles the young of that called, I know not why, the Blue-eyed Yellow Warbler, that I was at first inclined to think it the same; but, recollecting that the latter acquires the full colouring of its plumage, in both sexes, before the return of spring, and finding some material differences in their habits, I have not hesitated in presenting it to you, kind reader, not only as a new species, but as one extremely rare in the United States.

I shot two of these birds in May 1821, near the town of Jackson, in the State of Louisiana. They were sitting amongst the stalks of the plant, on which they are represented. Their wings were constantly drooping by the sides of their body, their tail spread out like a fan, and they uttered a low tweet note, which was very soft and sweet. They now and then chased small insects on the wing, but more commonly searched for them amongst the leaves and blossoms of the plants on which they were. After a few minutes, I discovered their nest, which contained five young ones nearly fledged. It was attached by the sides to two twigs of the plant, and was formed of the dried bark of the same plant, mixed with skins of caterpillars and some silky substances. The lining consisted of goat's or deer hair, I think the former, as there were some tame goats in an adjoining pasture. I shot both the parents, and took the young under my care, but they would not receive any food, and died towards the end of the second day after their removal. I have never seen another of these birds since.

The scarcity of this species in the United States putting me in mind of that of true friendship among men, I have named it after my most esteemed friend, J. G. Children, Esq. of the British Museum, as a tribute of sincere gratitude for the unremitted kindness which he has shewn me.

The plant is known by the name of the Wild Spanish Coffee. It grows very abundantly in almost every field in the Uplands of Lower Louisiana. The smell of its flowers, as well as of its leaves, is extremely disagreeable, if not nauseous.