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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/324

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RED-SHOULDERED HAWK.

Falco lineatus, Gmel.

PLATE LVI. Male and Female.


Although we are informed that a skin of this species has long ago been described in Europe, we are, in the same breath, told that nothing is known of the life and habits of the individual on the body of which it once shone in all its native glossiness. Nothing, kind reader:—the tarnished coat only has been transmitted abroad; and, like that belonging to many equally interesting species of the feathered tribe, has been exposed for sale in distant markets, where the purchaser has felt as little concern about the life of the individual to which it belonged, as purchasers of another kind usually feel about the former owners of the thread-bare vestments which we see offered for sale by the old-clothes'-men of St Giles's. Even Mr Alexander Wilson himself, knew nothing respecting the habits of this species; and as other authors, ranking equally high with that pleasing writer, have unwittingly confounded it with another species, known in the United States by the name of the Winter Hawk, it is with satisfaction that I find myself in some degree qualified to give an account of the differences of habit between the two species.

The Red-shouldered Hawk, or, as I would prefer calling it, the Red-breasted Hawk, although dispersed over the greater part of the United States, is rarely observed in the Middle Districts, where, on the contrary, the Winter Falcon usually makes its appearance from the north, at the approach of every autumn, and is of more common occurrence. Kentucky, Tennessee, and other Western States, with the most Southern Districts of our Union, are apparently best adapted for the constant residence of the Red-shouldered Hawk, as in all these latter districts it is met with in greater numbers than in any other.

This bird is one of the most noisy of its genus, during spring especially, when it would be difficult to approach the skirts of woods bordering a large plantation without hearing its discordant shrill notes, ka-hee, ka-hee, as it is seen sailing in rapid circles at a very great elevation. Its ordinary flight is even and protracted, excepting when it is describing the