ts song is at first loud and clear, resembling the finest sounds produced
by the flageolet, and gradually descends into more marked and continued
cadences, until it dies away in the air around. During the love-season
the song is emitted with increased emphasis by this proud musician, who,
as if aware of his powers, swells his throat, spreads his rosy tail, droops
his wings, and leans alternately to the right and left, as if on the eve
of expiring with delight at the delicious sounds of his own voice. Again
and again are those melodies repeated, the bird resting only at intervals
to breathe. They may be heard from long before the sun gilds the eastern
horizon, to the period when the blazing orb pours down its noonday floods
of heat and light, driving the birds to the coverts, to seek repose for
awhile. Nature again invigorated, the musician recommences his song, when,
as if he had never strained his throat before, he makes the whole neighbourhood
resound, nor ceases until the shades of evening close around him. Day after
day the song of the Red-bird beguiles the weariness of his mate as she
assiduously warms her eggs; and at times she also assists with the modesty
of her gentler sex. Few individuals of our own race refuse their homage
of admiration to the sweet songster. How pleasing is it, when, by a clouded
sky, the woods are rendered so dark, that were it not for an occasional
glimpse of clearer light falling between the trees, you might imagine night
at hand, while you are yet fir distant from your home--how pleasing to
have your ear suddenly saluted by the well known notes of this favourite
bird, assuring you of peace around, and of the full hour that still remains
for you to pursue your walk in security! How often have I enjoyed this
pleasure, and how often, in due humbleness of hope, do I trust that I may
enjoy it again!
This species is very abundant in Texas, where, as in our Southern States,
it is a constant resident. Mr. TOWNSEND has observed it on the waters of
the Upper Missouri. According to Dr. T. M. BREWER, it is but a chance visitor
in Massachusetts during summer, indeed so rare, that he never knew certainly
but of one pair which bred in the Botanical Garden, Cambridge, about six
years ago, and departed in the fill, with their young. The eggs measure
one inch and half an eighth in length, five-eigths and a third in breadth,
and are thus elongated, although the smaller end is well rounded.
Male, 8 1/2, 11 1/2.
Breeds abundantly from Texas to New York. Very rare in Massachusetts.
Valleys of the Mississippi and Missouri, Kentucky and Ohio. Resident from
CARDINAL GROSBEAK, Loxia cardinalis, Wils. Amer. Orn., vol. ii. p. 38.
FRINGILLA CARDINALIS, Bonap. Syn., p. 113.
CARDINAL GROSBEAK or RED-BIRD, Fringilla cardinalis, Nutt. Man., vol. i.p.
CARDINAL GROSBEAK, Fringilla cardinalis, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. ii. p.
336;vol. v. p. 514.
Bill short, very robust, conical, acute, deeper than broad at the base;
upper mandible with its dorsal outline a little convex, the sides rounded,
the edges sharp and inflected, the tip slightly declinate; lower mandible
broader than the upper, with its dorsal line straight, the back broad,
the sides rounded, the edges inflected; the gap-line deflected at the base.
Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the feathers. Head large, neck short,
body robust. Legs of moderate length, rather strong; tarsus compressed,
anteriorly covered with a few scutella, posteriorly sharp; toes scutellate
above, free, the lateral ones nearly equal; claws slender, arched, compressed,
acute, that of the hind toe considerably larger.
Plumage soft and blended, slightly glossed. Wings of moderate length,
broad, much rounded, the fourth quill longest; primaries rather broad,
rounded, from the second to the sixth slightly cut out on the outer web,
secondaries rather narrow and rounded. Tail long, straight, rounded. Feathers
of the crown long, pointed, and erectile.
Bill of a tint approaching to coral-red. Iris dark hazel. Feet pale
umber. The whole upper parts of a deep dusky-red, excepting the head, which
is vermilion. The anterior part of the forehead, the lores, and the upper
anterior part of the neck, black. The under parts are vermilion, which
is brightest anteriorly. Inner webs of the quills light brown, their shafts
and those of the tail-feathers blackish-brown.
Length 8 1/4 inches, extent of wings 11 1/2; bill along the back 7/12,
along the edge 3/4; tarsus (1 1/2)/12.
The female has a crest as well as the male, which it rese