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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/262

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234
SUMMER RED BIRD.

clusters from every branch, from which, when they are fully ripe, a good shake will make them fall in astonishing quantity. The skin is thick and very tough, the pulp glutinous, but so peculiarly flavoured as to be very agreeable to the taste. These grapes are eaten by most people, although an idea prevails, in Lower Louisiana particularly, that the eating of them gives rise to bilious fevers. For my part, I can well say, that the more I have eaten of them the better I have found myself; and for this reason seldom lost an opportunity of refreshing my palate with some of them in all my rambles. I am equally confident, that their juice would make an excellent wine. Another absurd opinion prevails in Louisiana, which is, that the Common Blackberries, however ripe and pleasant, produce boils; although the country people make use of a strong decoction of the root as a cure for dysentery.



Tanagra æstiva, Gmel. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 889.—Lath. Ind. Orn. vol. 1. p. 422.—Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 105.

Summer Tanager, Lath. Synops. vol. iii. p. 220.

Summer Red Bird, Tanagra æstiva, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 95, Pl. vi. fig. 3. Male, fig. 4. Female.


Adult Male. Plate XLIV. Fig. 1.

Bill rather short, robust, tapering, compressed, acute; upper mandible a little convex in its dorsal outline, convex on the sides, the acute edge slightly notched near the tip, which is a little declinate; lower mandible also a little convex in its dorsal outline, with the edges inflected. Nostrils basal, lateral, round. Head large. Body rather long. Feet shortish; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate, about the length of the middle toe; outer toe united at the base to the middle one; claws arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the second quill longest. Tail slightly emarginate, of twelve acute feathers.

Bill yellowish-brown above, bluish below. Iris hazel. Feet and claws light greyish-blue. The whole plumage is vermilion, brighter on the lower parts, excepting the tips and inner webs of the quills, which are tinged with brown.

Length 7¼ inches, extent of wings 11; bill along the ridge 7/12, along the gap 1; tarsus ⅚.