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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/334

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Sylvia icterocephala, Lath.

PLATE LIX. Male and Female.

In the beginning of May 1808, I shot five of these birds, on a very cold morning, near Potts-grove, in the State of Pennsylvania. There was a slight fall of snow at the time, although the Peach and Apple trees were already in full bloom. I have never met with a single individual of this species since. They all had their wings drooping, as if suffering severely from the sudden change of the weather, and had betaken themselves to the lower rails of a fence, where they were engaged in searching after insects, particularly spiders. I procured every one of those which I met with that morning, and which were five in number, two of them males, and the rest females.

Where this species goes to breed I am unable to say, for to my inquiries on this subject I never received any answers which might have led me to the districts resorted to by it. I can only suppose, that if it is at all plentiful in any portion of the United States, it must be far to the northward, as I ransacked the borders of Lake Ontario, and those of Lakes Erie and Michigan, without meeting with it. I do not know of any naturalist who has been more fortunate, otherwise I should here quote his observations.

The females had the ovaries furnished with numerous eggs, about the size of the head of a common pin. The stomach of all the birds which I killed contained some grass seeds of the preceding year, and a few small black spiders; but the birds appeared half-starved. Having procured them near the ground, I have placed them on a plant which grows about the fields, and flowers in the beginning of May.

Sylvia icterocephala, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 538.—Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 80.

Motacilla icterocephala, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 334.

Quebec Warbler, Lath. Synops. vol. iv. p. 484.

Chestnut-sided warbler, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 99. Pl. 14. fig. 5.

Adult Male. Plate LIX. Fig. 1.