MIGRATORY AS INSECTIVOROUS
The finches and their larger kin are chiefly bright-plumaged birds, the
females either duller or distinct from males; bills heavy, dull, and conical,
befitting seed eaters.
Not so migratory as insectivorous birds nor so
restless. Mostly phlegmatic in temperament. Fine songsters.
Swamp Song Sparrow.
Smith's Painted Longspur.
Pine Siskin (or Finch).
White-winged Red Crossbill.
Family Tanagridae: TANAGERS
Distinctly an American family, remarkable for their brilliant plumage, which,
however, undergoes great changes twice a year, Females different from males,
being dull and inconspicuous.
Birds of the tropics, two species only finding their way north, and the summer tanager rarely found north of Pennsylvania.
Shy inhabitants of woods. Though they may nest low in trees, they choose high
perches when singing or feeding upon flowers, fruits, and insects. As a
family, the tanagers have weak, squeaky voices, but both our species are good
Suffering the fate of most bright-plumaged birds, immense numbers
have been shot annually.
Family Hirundinidae. SWALLOWS
Birds of the air, that take their insect food on the wing. Migratory. Flight
strong, skimming, darting; exceedingly graceful.
When not flying they choose slender, conspicuous perches like telegraph wires, gutters, and eaves of
barns. Plumage of some species dull, of others iridescent blues and Greens
above, whitish or ruddy below. Sexes similar. Bills small; mouths large. -
Long and pointed wings, generally reaching the tip of the tail or beyond. Tail
more or less forked. Feet small and weak from disuse. Song a twittering warble
without power. Gregarious birds.
Cliff (or Eaves) Swallow.
Family Ampelidae: WAXWINGS
Medium-sized Quaker-like birds, with plumage of soft browns and grays. Head
crested; black band across forehead and through the eye. Bodies plump from
indolence. Tail tipped with yellow; wings with red tips to coverts, resembling
sealing-wax. Sexes similar. Silent, gentle, courteous, elegant birds. Usually
seen in large flocks feeding upon berries in the trees or perching on the
branches, except at the nesting season. Voices resemble a soft, lisping
Family Laniidae: SHRIKES
Medium-sized grayish, black-and-white birds, with hooked and hawk-like bill
for tearing the flesh of smaller birds, field-mice, and large insects that they impale on thorns. Handsome, bold
birds, the terror of all small, feathered neighbors, not excluding the English
sparrow. They choose conspicuous perches when on the lookout for prey a
projecting or dead limb of a tree, the cupola of a house, the ridge-pole or
weather-vane of a barn, or a telegraph wire, from which to suddenly drop upon
a victim. Eyesight remarkable.
Call-notes harsh and unmusical. Habits solitary and wandering. The first-named species is resident during the colder months of
the year; the latter is a summer resident only north of Maryland.
Family Vireonidae: VIREOS OR GREENLETS
Small greenish-gray or olive birds, whitish or yellowish underneath, their
plumage resembling the foliage of the trees they hunt, nest, and live among.
Sexes alike. More deliberate in habit than the restless, flitting warblers
that are chiefly seen darting about the ends of twigs.
Vireos are more painstaking gleaners; they carefully explore the bark, turn their heads upward
to investigate the under side of leaves, and usually keep well hidden among
the foliage. Bill hooked at tip for holding worms and insects. Gifted
songsters, superior to the warblers. This family is peculiar to America.