Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/341

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THE JOURNEYINGS OF BIRDS.

sky and water, they make their way with the precision of a rifle bullet, and it would seem at hardly less speed.

The plovers, sandpipers and kindred species take migratory journeys often of extraordinary length. Thus the American golden plover (Charadrius dominicus) breeds in Arctic America and migrates through the entire length of North and South America to its winter home in Patagonia. The little sanderling just mentioned is almost cosmopolitan in distribution, breeding in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions and migrating in the New World to Chile and Patagonia, a distance of eight thousand miles, and in the Old World along all the shores of Europe, Asia and Africa. The Bartramian sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) nests from eastern North America to Nova Scotia and Alaska, and goes south in winter to southern South America. The solitary sandpiper (Totanus solitarius) breeds mainly to the north of the United States and winters as far south as Brazil and Peru. The buff-breasted sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) rears its young in the Yukon district of Alaska and from the interior of British Columbia to the Arctic coast, and journeys in winter well into South America. The turnstone (Arenaria interpres), a little shore bird about the size of the song thrush of Europe, is also cosmopolitan, breeding in high northern latitudes and at other times of the year being found along the coast of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, South America to the Straits of Magellan, Australia and the Atlantic and Pacific islands. It is one of the species mentioned as making the wonderful flight from islands in the Bering Sea to the Hawaiian Islands.

The ducks form another interesting group, although their journeys during the migrations are not nearly as extended as the birds just mentioned. The larger number breed mainly to the north of the United States and many within the Arctic Circle. Certain species, as the eider duck, only come south in winter to the coast of northern Maine, others, as the old squaw, may reach the Potomac and the Ohio, while most of them, as the bald-pate, blue-winged teal, pin-tail, goldeneye, bufflehead, etc., visit Mexico, Guatemala, northern South America or the West Indies.

Certain of the familiar birds of lawn, hedgerow and field, for whose coming we watch so anxiously, may claim a moment's attention. The bobolink, so dear to the hearts of the residents of New England, makes his appearance in his summer home in May. By the last of July or the first part of August the young are reared, the old males have lost their bright dress, and with a musical chink as their only note, they start southward. In the region of the Chesapeake they begin to congregate in vast flocks, where they are known as reed-birds, but in a few weeks they pass on to the rice fields of the South to become the dreaded rice-bird. But by October the last one has disappeared, and