The Bird Book/Nuthatches


PERCHING BIRDS

NUTHATCHES AND TITS. Family SITTID^E

727- WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH. carolinensis carolinensis.

Sitta

Range. United States east of the Rockies, breeding from the Gulf to southern Canada; resident throughout its range.

These birds are creepers, but unlike the last species, these run about on the trunks, either up or down; their tails are not pointed and

stiffened like those of the Brown

Creepers, and their plumage is

gray and black above with a

black crown, and white below.

They nest in holes in trees,

usually deep in the woods and

at any elevation from the ground; they nearly always use deserted Woodpeckers' holes but are said at times to excavate their own, with great labor as their bills are little adapted for that work. They, line the cavities with bark strips and hair or feathers, and during April or May, lay from four to nine white eggs, profusely specked with reddish brown and lilac. Size .80 x .60. Data. Lancaster, Mass., May 16, 1902. Nest in hole in an oak tree, 45 feet above ground; made of fine strips of bark fibre and hair.

White

White-breasted Nuthatch

SLENDER-BILLED NUTHATCH. Sitta carolinensis aculeata.

Range. North America, west of the Rockies and from Mexico to British Columbia.

This species is as abundant in the west as the last is in the east, and nests in like situations. The eggs cannot be distinguished from those of the eastern birds.

727b. FLORIDA WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH. Sitta carolinensis atkinsi.

Range. Florida and the South Atlantic coast to South Carolina The habits and eggs of these birds are like those of the northern ones.

727c. ROCKY MOUNTAIN NUTHATCH. Sitta carolinensis nelsoni.

Range. Rocky Mountains from Mexico north to British Columbia. Their nesting habits or eggs are not distinctive in any respect.

727d. SAN LUCAS NUTHATCH. Sitta carolinensis lagunce.

Range. Mountain ranges of Lower California.

Said to be like aculeata but with the wings and tail slightly shorter.

431

THE BIRD BOOK

728. RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. densis.

Sitta cana

ited-breasted Nuthatch

Range. North America, breeding from the northern tier of states northward, and farther south in mountain ranges; winters south to southern United States.

This species is smaller than the last and has reddish brown underparts and a black stripe through the eye. The breeding habits are the same as those of the White-bellied variety, but these birds almost invariably coat the tree below the opening with pitch, for what purpose is unknown. They lay from four to six white eggs, numerously spotted with reddish brown; size, .60 x .50. Data. Upton, Maine, June 21, 1898. Nest in hole of dead birch stub, 20 feet from the ground; made of strips of bark and a few feathers. 5 eggs.

White

729. BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH. Sitta pusilla.

Range. South Atlantic and Gulf States.

This species has a yellowish brown crown and whitish underparts. Their habits are like those of the other Nuthatches, they nesting in cavities at varying heights, from two to fifty feet from the ground. That they sometimes depart from the usual custom is evidenced by the data accompanying this egg. They lay from four to seven eggs, white with profuse markings of reddish brown; size .60 x .48. Data. St. Mary's Ga. Nest situated under the bark of an old dead pine stump, 4 feet from the ground; made of fine

White

strips of bark.

730. PYGMY NUTHATCH. Sitta pygmcea pygmaia.

Range. North America west of the Rockies, breeding from Mexico north to British Columbia. Resident throughout its range.

This species has an olive gray crown bordered by dusky, the back is ashy blue and the underparts soiled white or rusty. They are common in mountains of western United States, nesting in holes in trees the same as the other species of ^ : * ,, Nuthatches. They lay from five to nine eggs which are white, '. speckled thickly with reddish brown; size .60 x .50. Data. Huachucha Mts., Arizona, May White 25, 1901. Nest in cavity (10 inches deep) in dead pine stump about 15 feet from the ground ; composed of a mass of vegetable down; altitude 9000 feet.

432

Brown-headed Nuthatch

PERCHING BIRDS

730a. WHITE-NAPED NUTHATCH. Sitta pygmcea leuconucha.

Range. Lower California.

Like the last but grayer above and white below. Its habits and eggs are the same as those of the Pyginy Nuthatch.

731. TUFTED TITMOUSE. Bceolophus bicolor

Range. Eastern United States, resident and breeding from the Gulf north to New York and Illinois.

This species has a grayish

crest and upper parts, and is

white beneath with brownish

sides and black forehead.

These common and noisy

birds nest in natural cavities

in trees or in holes deserted

by Woodpeckers; they may be found at any elevation, from two to thirty feet from the ground. They line the bottom of the cavity with leaves, bark, fibres and hair, and during April or five to eight white eggs, plentifully specked with reddish brown. Size

White

Tufted Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

May lay .74 x .54.

BLACK-CRESTED TITMOUSE. Bceolophus atricristatus atricristatus.

Range. Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas and southward.

This Titmouse has a black crest and the forehead is white; otherwise similar to the preceding. Like the last, these birds nest in deserted Woodpeckers' holes and natural cavities in trees, either in opeu woods or in the vicinity of habitations. Their eggs are sparsely spotted with reddish brown, and not usually distinguishable from those of the Tufted Titmouse. Size .70 x .54. Data. Brownsville, Texas, May 11, 1892. Nest of moss, hair, down and wool in cavity in tree in open woods near town; 4 feet from the ground.

White

433

28

THE BIRD BOOK

733. PLAIN TITMOUSE. Bceolophus inornatus inornatus

Range. California and Oregon west of the Sierra Nevadas.

This common, slightly crested Titmouse is grayish brown above and grayish white below. They nest anywhere in cavities that meet with their approval, about old buildings, in fence posts, etc., as well as holes in trees. Their eggs range from five to eight in number and are white, usually spotted with pale brownish. Size .72 x .52. Data. Tulare Co., California, April 3, 1895. Nest in an oak tree, 32 feet from the ground, in a natural cavity of a horizontal limb; composed of grasses, feathers and fur.

White

733a. GRAY TITMOUSE. Bceolophus inornatus griseus.

Range. Southeastern United States, from Colorado and Nevada southward.

The nesting habits of this gray Titmouse are just the 733 734 same as those of the other.

733b. ASHY TITMOUSE. Bceolophus inornatus cineraceus.

Range. Southern Lower California.

The habits of this variety are the same as those of the Plain Titmouse and doubtless the eggs are also.

734. BRIDLED TITMOUSE. Bceolophus wollweberi.

Range. Mexico north to southern Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas. This handsome species is quite abundant in the mountains of southern Arizona, and nests in woods or about ranches, ft \ lining the cavities of trees with moss, down, leaves, etc. The

three to seven eggs that they lay are pure white, unmarked. Size .65 x .52. Data. Huachuca Mountains, Arizona, April 5, 1901. Nest in the natural cavity of a live oak, 12 feet from the ground; cavity lined with bark and feathers.

White

735. CHICKADEE. Penthestes atricapillus atricapillus.

Range. Eastern North America, breeding itom the Middle and Central States northward to Labrador; only migratory to a slight extent.

The Chickadee is too well known to need any description; suffice it to say that they are the favorites, with everybody, among all the North American birds. They breed in holes in trees in orchards or woods, and also in bird boxes. 1 have found by far the greater number in decayed birch stubs. They line the cavities with fine grasses and feathers, and during May or June lay from five to eight white eggs, dotted with reddish brown; size .55 x .45.

434

White

Chickadee Carolina Chickadee

PERCHING BIRDS

735a. LONG-TAILED CHICKADEE. Penthestes ataricapillus septentrionalis.

Range. Rocky Mountain region, north to British Co lumbia.

This variety is very similar to the last but has a slightly longer tail and the colors are purer. Its nesting habits are the same and the eggs are indistinguishable from those of the eastern Chickadee.

735b. OREGON CHICKADEE. occidentals.

Penthestes atricapillus

Range. Pacific coast from California to Alaska.

The habits and eggs of this slightly darker variety are just the same as those of the common Chickadee of the east.

786. CAROLINA CHICKADEE. carolinensis.

Penthestes carolinensis

537538

White

Range. Southern United States from the Gulf to New Jersey and Illinois.

The southern Chickadee is smaller than the northern and the wing coverts and feathers have little or no white edgings, Their nesting habits are in every particular the same as those of atricapillus and the eggs cannot be distinguished with certainty, but average smaller; size .53 x .43.

736a. PLUMBEOUS CHICKADEE. Penthestes carolinensis agilis.

Range. Eastern and central Texas.

This variety is said to be more plumbeous above and much whiter below than the preceding. No differences can be found in the eggs of the two varieties and the nesting habits are the same.

737. MEXICAN CHICKADEE. Penthestes sclateri.

Range. Mountains of western Mexico north to southern Arizona.

This species has the black more extended on the throat and the under parts are grayish of a lighter shade than the upper, the cheeks, however, remaining white. Their nests are in hollow stubs and the eggs are indistinguishable from those of the foregoing Chickadees.

738. MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE. Penthestes gambeli gambeli.

Range. Rocky Mountain region and west to the Pacific; north to British Columbia chiefly in higher ranges.

This handsome little Titmouse has a white superciliary line, leaving a black stripe through the eye. Their habits are like those of the other Chickadees and they are equally confiding and inquisitive. Their eggs range from five to eight ^v: : , ; in number and are either pure white or faintly marked with reddish brown; size .60 x .45. Data. Estes Park, Colorado, June 8, 1803. Nest in an old Sapsucker's hole in a live as- \viiite pen tree, 28 feet from the ground; cavity lined with hair and fur.

435

THE BIRD BOOK

739- ALASKA CHICKADEE. ctus alascensis.

Penthestes cin

Range. Northern Alaska and eastern Siberia.

This bird, which is most like the Hudsonian Chickadee, nests in the usual manner and its eggs are like those of the common Chickadee of the east.

74-0. HUDSONIAN CHICKADEE. Penthestes hudsonicus hudsonicus.

Range. Western half of British America. These brown capped Chickadees m. are very abundant throughout the

Jy \^V northwest and are even tamer than

our United States varieties. They usually make their nests at low elevations in dead and decayed stumps and line the bottom of the cavity, which varies from three to eight inches in depth, with moss and fur. Their eggs, which they lay in May, June or July, are white, specked with reddish brown and cannot with any certainty be distinguished from those of the Black-capped Chickadees, the eggs of all the species showing considerable variations; size .60 x .45.

White

Hudsonian Chickadee

740a. ACADIAN CHICKADEE. Penthestes hudsonicus littoralis.

Range. Kowak River, northwest Alaska.

A larger and grayer form of the last species; nesting habits and eggs not differing.

740b. COLUMBIAN CHICKADEE. Penthestes hudsonicus columbianus.

Range. Rocky Mountains from northern United States to Alaska. Like nudsonicus but with the crown slaty instead of brownish. No difference can be distinguished either in their habits or eggs.

740c. CANADIAN CHICKADEE. Penthestes hudsonicus littoralis.

Range. Eastern half of Canada and northern New England and New York.

These birds were formerly hudsonicus in company with the western ones, but they are now supposed to be a trifle smaller and with the crown duller; this division does not affect the similarity of their habits and eggs.

PERCHING BIRDS

741. CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE. Penthestes rufescens rufescens.

Range. Pacific coast from Oregon to Alaska.

This species is similar to the Hudsonian in having a brown crown and black throat, but has in addition, a chestnut colored back and sides. They breed locally in Oregon, more commonly in Washington and are abundant in British Columbia, making the nests of animal fur in holes in dead stubs. Their eggs vary in number from five to eight and are creamy white, dotted with reddish; size .60 x .45. Data. Dayton, Oregon, May 28, 1806. Nest of hair and fur in willow stub, 10 feet up.

74 la. CALIFORNIA CHICKADEE. Penthestes rufescens neglectus.

Range. Coast regions of California.

This variety is not as rufous on the sides as the more northern one. Its habits and eggs are the same.

741b. BARLOW'S CHICKADEE. Penthestes rufescens barlowi

Range. About Monterey Bay, California.

This variety is said to have no rusty on the flanks. Its habits and eggs are like those of the others.

742a. PALLID WREN-TIT. Chamcea fasciata henshawi

Range. Interior of California from Lower California to the Sacramento Valley.

This duller colored variety has the same nesting habits and similar eggs to those of the Coast Wren-tit.

742b. COAST WREN-TIT. Chamcea fasciata fasciata.

Range. Pacific coast from southern California north to Oregon.

These peculiar brownish gray colored birds frequent the tangled underbrush of ravines and mountain sides where they lead the life of a recluse. They nest at low elevations in the densest thickets, making them of twigs, strips of bark, grasses and feathers, compactly woven together and located in bushes from one to four feet from the ground. They lay from three to five plain, unmarked, pure white eggs; size .75 x .54. Data. Wrights, Cal. Nest in a tangle of vines in a deep ravine; composed of strips of bark, moss and grasses, lined with cattle hair; a bulky nest.

743. BusH-TiT. Psaltriparus minimus minimus.

Range. Pacific coast of northern California, Oregon and Washington.

These diminutive little birds build nests that are marvels of architecture, making long purse-like structures, suspended from twigs usually at low elevations from the ground. The nests are made of moss, lichens, fibres, ferns and grasses and lined with feathers or wool; the opening is on one side near the top, and a typical nest averages 12 inches in length, by 4.5 inches in diameter at the bottom and 3 at the top. Their eggs number from four to nine and are pure white; size .54 x .40. The birds are very active and have the same habits as the Chickadees, being seen often suspended, head downward, from the ends of twigs, in their search for insects.

437

THE BIRD BOOK

743a. CALIFORNIA BusH-TiT. Psaltriparus minimus calif ornicus.

Range. California with the exception of the northern part.

This sub-species, which is like the last but with a lighter brown head, has the same habits, nests in the same manner and its eggs are not distinguishable from those of the others.

743b. GRINDA'S BusH-TiT. Psaltriparus minimus grindce.

Range. Southern Lower California.

The nesting habits of this variety, which is very similar to the last, do not vary in any respect; eggs indistinguishable.

744. LEAD-COLORED BUSH-TIT.

Psaltriparus plumbeus.

Range. Rocky Mountain region from Wyoming south to Arizona.

This species suspends its semi-pensile nests in bushes or trees, and some times from the mistletoe, which grows on numerous trees in southern Arizona. The nests are composed like those of the Cal. Bush-Tit and range from 6 to 10 inches in length. The eggs are white, five or six in number and measure .55 x .42.

745. LLOYD'S BUSH-TIT. Psaltriparus melanotis lloydi.

Range. Northern Mexico north into western Texas and New Mexico.

This species is similar to the leadcolored Bush-Tit but has the ear coverts glossy black. Like the others, it builds a long pensile nest of similar material and suspended from .the extremities of limbs near the ground The five to seven eggs are pure white. Size .58 x .42.

E. L. Bickford BUSH-TIT AND NEST

438

PERCHING BIRDS

746. VERDIN. Auriparus ftaviceps ftaviceps

Range. Mexican border of the United States, north to Colorado and Nevada.

This Bush-Tit has a bright yellow head and throat, the upper parts being gray and the belly, white. They are abundant in chaparral brush, locally throughout their range. Their large globular nests are situated in bushes at low elevations from the ground, and are made of twigs and ( , weeds, softly lined with fur and

feathers. Their three to six eggs are pale greenish blue, specked and dotted with reddish brown. Size .58 x .44. Data. Brownsville, Texas, May 8, 1894. Large nest of sticks and thorns, lined with hair and feathers, and located in a bush in brush thicket, 8 feet from the ground.

Verdin

746'a. CAPE VERDIN. Auriparus ftaviceps lamprocephalus.

Range. Lower California.

This new sub-species is said to have shorter wings and tail, and also to be brighter yellow on the head. Its habits and eggs will not differ from those of the common Verdin or Yellow-headed Bush-Tit.

747.