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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/427

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Troglodytes ludovicianus, Ch. Bonaparte.

PLATE LXXVIII. Male and Female.

Permit me to suggest, kind reader, that I think it always best to see and judge of individuals in their own country. There independence and ease are more commonly met with, and the observer is less attended to. This being admitted, I shall give you the history and life of the Great Carolina Wren, as studied in the State of Louisiana, where that bird is a constant resident.

Its flight is performed by short flappings of the wings, the concave under surfaces of which occasion a low rustling, as the bird moves to the distance of a few steps only at each start. It is accompanied by violent jerks of the tail and body, and is by no means graceful. In this manner the Carolina Wren moves from one fence-rail to another, from log to log, up and down among the low branches of bushes, piles of wood, and decayed roots of prostrate trees, or between the stalks of canes. Its tail is almost constantly erect, and before it starts to make the least flight or leap, it uses a quick motion, which brings its body almost into contact with the object on which it stands, and then springs from its legs. All this is accompanied with a strong chirr-up, uttered as if the bird were in an angry mood, and repeated at short intervals.

The quickness of the motions of this active little bird is fully equal to that of the mouse. Like the latter, it appears and is out of sight in a moment, peeps into a crevice, passes rapidly through it, and shews itself at a different place the next instant. When satiated with food, or fatigued with these multiplied exertions, the little fellow stops, droops its tail, and sings with great energy a short ditty something resembling the words come-to-me, come-to-me, repeated several times in quick succession, so loud, and yet so mellow, that it is always agreeable to listen to them. During spring, these notes are heard from all parts of the plantations, the damp woods, the swamps, the sides of creeks and rivers, as well as from the barns, the stables and the piles of wood, within a few yards of the house. I have frequently heard these Wrens singing from the roof