Water Birds, Game Birds and Birds of Prey

By Chester A. Reed

Order 9


Order Limicolæ



Family Phalaropodidæ


222. Phalaropus fulicarius. 8 in.

Bill heavier than any of the other phalaropes; feet lobate-webbed. Adults in summer have the entire underparts reddish brown; side of head white; upper parts gray, white and black. In winter, head and underparts are white; back gray. Phalaropes differ from any other of our birds, in that the female is the larger and brighter plumaged bird, and the duties of incubation are largely or chiefly performed by the male bird. These phalaropes are very rarely seen in the United States in their breeding plumage; when they come in. the Fall, nearly all have changed to their dull winter dress, and they keep this until after they leave us in the Spring.

Nest. A hollow in the ground, lined with a few grasses; eggs greenish buff, spotted with blackish.

Range. Breeds in the Arctic regions; winters south to New York, Calif., and Ohio, chiefly on the sea coasts.


223. Lobipes lobatus. 7.5 in.

Bill short and slender. Female in summer with reddish-brown breast; gray upper parts mixed with white and buff; throat and belly, white. Male, similar but duller colored. In winter, the upper parts are gray mixed with white, and the underparts are pure white. This is a maritime species that nests in the far north, and appears on our coast only for a short time during migrations. Like the last, they are expert swimmers and pass most of their time, when not breeding, upon the surface of the water, where they can outride the most severe storms in safety. They feed upon minute insects that they secure from beds of floating kelp.

Notes. A sharp, rapidly repeated, metallic "tweet."

Nest. A grass-lined hollow in the ground; eggs greenish-buff, spotted with black (1.30x.90).

Range. Breeds from Labrador, Hudson Bay and Alaska northward. Winters south of the United "States, migrating along both coasts, and to some extent in the interior.


224. Steganopus tricolor. 9 in.

Bill long and slender. Female in summer with a black line through eye, shading into a broad stripe of rich chestnut on the sides of the neck. Male much duller colored and slightly smaller. This phalarope is one of the most beautiful of all our shore birds, and is the most southerly distributed of the phalaropes. It is a bird of the interior, and is only rarely or casually met with on the sea coasts. It commonly travels about in small companies instead of large flocks as the other two species do, and is not as often seen on the water, although it can swim well.

Notes. Usually silent, but has a low quack.

Nest. Of grasses, on the ground, usually concealed in a tuft of grass, and near the border of a marsh or pond; the 3 or 4 eggs are brownish or greenish-buff with black markings ( 1.30 x. 90); June.

Range. Breeds chiefly in the interior, from Iowa and California, north to Hudson Bay; winters south of the U. S.


Family Recurvirostridæ


225. Recurmrostra americana. 17 in.

Bill slender and recurved; feet webbed; feathers on the underparts very thick and duck-like, being impervious to water. In summer, the head and neck are pale cinnamon color; young birds and winter adults have the head and neck white, but the rest of the plumage is the same as in summer. These interesting waders are very abundant in some localities on the western plains. During the breeding season, if not molested, they become very tame; at other times they are quite wary. Their food consists of water insects and small Crustacea, which they secure in a novel manner. Wading along in shallow water, with their head immersed, they keep their bill moving from side to side through the soft mud.

Nest. Of grass, on the ground; the eggs are brownish-buff spotted with black (1.90x1.30); May, June.

Range. Breeds locally from Texas and southern California northward to Saskatchewan; rare or casual east of the Miss, and on the Atlantic coast.


226. Himantopus mexicanus. 15 in.

Legs extremely long, and bright red; neck and bill moderately long and slender. Male black and white as shown; female and young with the back brownish. These very long-legged creatures are found in suitable places west of the Mississippi River, and are especially abundant in southern California. Stilts are poor swimmers, but habitually feed in comparatively deep water, that is up to their bodies, their whole head, neck and upper parts of the body often being submerged while thus engaged. They are strong and swift on the wing, twisting as they fly, so as to alternately show their black upper parts, then the white surfaces beneath ; this is a habit that is common to several varieties of shore birds.

Nest. On the ground as usual; eggs greenish-bun', spotted with black (1.80x1.25) ; May, June.

Range. Breeds in the Gulf states and southern California, north to Dakota; winters south of U. S., except in southern California. Rare on the Atlantic coast


Family Scolopacidæ


228. Philohela minor. 11 in.

Bill very long; eyes very large and located near the top of the head : form heavy ; legs short ; plumage much mottled with black, brown and gray. These peculiar birds are very well known throughout their range, to gunners and sportsmen, who have been the means of almost completely exterminating them in some localities. They are found in runs along the edges of brooks, where the mud is soft. Their food is of worms, insects and their larvae, Avhich they get from the ground by boring with their long bills. Their flight is very rapid. and when startled they double and twist in their haste to get away, their three narrow outer wing feathers producing a peculiar whistling sound.

Notes. A low peep, and a twittering.

Nest. Simply a hollow amid the surrounding leaves ; the 4 eggs are buff, with yellowish-brown spots ( 1.50 x 1.15) ; April, May.

Range. Eastern N. A., breeding chiefly from Ohio and New Jersey, northward ; winters in southern U. S.


230. Gallinago delicata. 11 in.

Bill very long, but not as heavy as that of the Woodcock; eyes not abnormally large; head striped with black and whitish; back handsomely variegated with black, brown and white; sides barred with black and white. The Snipe frequents more open country than the Woodcock, being found in marshes or along open brooks. Like the Woodcock, they often lie still and trust to their colors to prevent their being seen, but if they are observed, and they are always on the alert, they instantly take wing and pursue a zigzag course out of sight. Like the last species they procure their food by boring, the tip of the bill being flexible, so they can grasp their food when they feel it.

Notes. A sharp, harsh whistle as they take wing.

Nest. Depressions in the grassy edges of ponds or marshes; eggs olive gray, marked with blackish. ( 1.50 x 1.10) ; May, June.

Range. Breeds from the northern tier of states northward. Winters in southern U. S.


231. Macrprhamphua griseus. 10.5 in.

Bill very long like that of the Snipe. Adults in summer are reddish-brown below, more or less speeked with black on the breast and barred with black on the sides ; above mottled with brown and black, lighter, or even white, on the rump. In winter, they are gray above and white below, the breast being tinged with gray and streaked with dusty. Dowitchers are known as Red-breasted Snipe and as Robin Snipe by gunners, with whom they are great favorites. They usually travel in flocks, and often with flocks of other species. Their notes are a series of musical whistles, easily imitated, and the birds are easily attracted thereby.

Nest. As usual on the ground ; eggs greenish-buff, spotted.

Range. Eastern N. A., breeding in the Arctic regions ; winters south of the U. S.

232. LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (M. scolopaceus ) , is found in western N. A. The bill is supposed to be longer, but the plumage is identical and the birds probably are.


233. Mlcropalama, himantopus. 8.5 in.

Bill slender and only moderately long. In summer, the entire underparts are rusty-white, barred with blackish; ear-coverts and top of head browner; back mixed brown and black. In winter, they are gray above and whitish below, with the breast streaked with dusty. They seem to be one of the least abundant of our shore birds, single individuals being found in flocks of other species, rather than in flocks of themselves. They are usually more shy than the birds with which they are associated, perhaps because they lack companionship of their own kind. They have a musical whistle, not distinctive from that of many others of our small shore birds.

Nest. The three or four eggs are laid in a hollow in the ground, usually in the grass back from the beach eggs grayish, blotched with various shades of brown.

Range. Eastern North America, breeding in the Arc tic regions and migrating through the United States t South America, chiefly on the Atlantic coast.


234. Tringa canutus. 10.5 in.

Bill moderately long and quite stout; form more robust than most of our shore birds. Adults in summer, mixed brownish and gray, above, and uniform reddish-brown below. In winter, plain gray above and white below; young similar but with feathers on the back edged with white. It is an abundant species on the Atlantic coast during migrations, and is known by various names such as Red-breasted Sandpiper and Robin Snipe, when in summer dress, and as Gray-back when in winter plumage. It is usually found on the ocean beach, where it follows the waves as they recede, picking up numerous insects left there, and retreating before the next wave.

Notes. An ordinary Sandpiper whistle.

Nest. Not positively known, but a supposed egg obtained by Lieutenant Greely in the vicinity of Fort Conger was pea-green in color, with small brown spots. (1.10x1.00).

Range. Breeds in the Arctic regions; migrates chiefly on the Atlantic coast, to South America.


235. Arquatella maritima. 9 in.

Upper parts blackish, margined with buffy; breast and sides slaty purple. In winter, blackish, without the rusty edging to the feathers. These dark colored little sandpipers prefer bold rocky coasts.

Notes. A loud, shrill whistle.

Nest. A hollow in the ground, among grass and weeds, lined with a few grasses; eggs grayish buff, handsomely splashed with various shades of brown.

Range. Breeds from northern Labrador and the mouth of Hudson Bay northward ; winters south to Long Island Sound and the Great Lakes.



239. Pisobia maculata. 9 in.

Crown and back blackish, strongly edged with reddish-brown; an ashy-gray wash on the breast, with numerous streaks of blackish. Well known and called by a great variety of names, of which Jack Snipe and Grass Snipe are probably the most common.

Range. Breeds in the Arctic regions; migrates through the U. S. to South America


240. Pisobia fuscicollis. 7.5 in.

Upper tail coverts white; below white, but with the throat and breast streaked with dusky, these markings extending on the sides to the tail.

Notes. Musical whistles in no way different from those of the Least Sandpiper.

Nest. On the ground, in grass back of beaches; eggs gray, profusely blotched with blackish brown.

Range. Eastern N. A., breeding from Labrador and Hudson Bay northward; migrates through the U. S. | east of the Rockies, to southern South America.



241. Pisobia bairdi. 7.5 in.

Of the same size, form and general coloration as the White-rumped Sandpiper, but the upper tail-coverts are blackish, and the breast is only very faintly streaked.

Range. Breeds in the Arctic regions, and migrates chiefly through the interior, but to some extent on the coast, south to southern South America.


242. Pisobia minutilla. 6 in.

Smallest of our sandpipers. Upperparts blackish, edged with bright chestnut; breast and sides ashy-gray, conspicuously streaked with dusky.

Notes. A musical whistle, " peet-weet."

Nest. A grass lined hollow: eggs grayish, heavily blotched with blackish brown (1.15x.80).

Range. Breeds from Nova Scotia and northern British Columbia northward; winters from the Gulf States and California southward.



246. Ereunetes pusillus. 6.25 in.

Feet with small webs between the toes at their base. Similar in size and form to the Least Sandpiper, but the upper parts are not as bright rusty, and the breast is only faintly streaked with dusky.

Range. Breeds from Labrador northward.

247. WESTERN SANDPIPER (E. mauri) is very similar; more rusty above, with stronger markings.


243. Pelidna alpina sakhalina. 8 in.

Bill slightly decurved and rather stout. Adults in summer, with the upper parts largely bright rusty; belly black; head, throat, breast and sides strongly streaked with black. In winter, dull brownish-gray above and white below, with the breast washed with grayish and slightly streaked with dusky. Found in large flocks on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, during migrations, but rarely in the interior. Their flight is very rapid and performed in very compact flocks that act as if governed by one impulse. They are very active, feeding for a short time in one place, then flying to another. They are found most abundantly on sand bars and mud flats, rather than on the open beach.

Nest. Usually on dry, grassy knolls, a hollow in the earth being lined with a few dried grasses. Eggs pale greenish or brownish gray, spotted with blackish. (1.40 x 1.00) ; June.

Range. Breeds in the Arctic regions, and winters from the Gulf coast and southern California, southward.


248. Calidris leucophcea. 8 in.

Toes short and stout; no hind toe. Adults in summer, variegated above with bright reddish-brown and black; below white, the breast being strongly washed with rusty and spotted with black. In winter, plain grayish above and white below; head white, except the crown; young birds are like winter adults but have the back with some blackish. In the interior this species is found on the edges of lakes and rivers. On the coast, it is one of the boldest of the shore birds, feeding on the edge of the outer beach, often under the combing crest of the incoming waves, retreating just as the wave breaks and is dashed to foam on the beach. They are usually wary and will not allow a close approach.

Nest. On the ground; eggs greenish-buff, spotted with black.

Range. Breeds in the Arctic regions; winters south to Patagonia, migrating on both coasts and to a less extent in the interior.


249. Limosa fedoa. 19 in.

Bill long and slightly recurved. Back, wings and tail, rufous, barred with black; rump usually white, with black bars; underparts pale rufous with narrow bars; head grayish, with black streaks on the crown and sides. Young similar, but whiter below and with few or no bars. These large waders are found in moderately large flocks both in the interior and on the coast in the fall. They frequent salt marshes on the coast, and the borders of ponds and lakes in the interior. They are much hunted and are consequently very wary, usually taking wing as soon as anyone appears' in sight. They are readily decoyed, and thousands perish annually at the hands of sportsmen. They are known by many names, Marlin and Straight-bill Curlew probably being the most commonly used.

Range. Breeds in the interior from Iowa north to Saskatchewan. Winters south of the U. S., migrating along both coasts as well as in the interior.


251. Limosa hcemastica. 15 in.

Bill slightly recurved; tail black at the end, and white at the base, not barred as that of the last species always is. Above blackish, with rusty margins; below deep reddish-chestnut, barred, chiefly on the sides, with black. In winter, similar but duller both above and below, with only traces of bars on the flanks, and with the breast more or less streaked. This species is more abundant on the Atlantic coast during migrations than the last. It is most often known as the Ring-tailed Marlin, owing to a very strong contrast between the black tail, white rump and dark upper parts as the bird flies. They are usually found in the marshes back of the ocean beach, and, owing to their large size, car be seen for a long distance.

Notes. A loud, shrill whistle.

Nest. A grass lined hollow in marshes; eggs brownish buff, blotched with blackish (2.20x1.40).

Range. Breeds in the Arctic regions; winters south of the United States, migrating chiefly on the Atlantic coast, but to some extent down the Miss. Valley.


254. Totanus mclanoleucus. 14 in.

Bill long and rather slender; legs long and yellow or greenish yellow. Head and neck streaked with gray and white; back black margined with white; rump white; tail barred black and white; underparts white, washed with gray on the breast, and with numerous black arrow-head markings. In winter, similar, but with no black markings below.

Notes. A loud three-syllabled whistle.

Range. Breeds from northern portion of Miss. Valley in the U. S. northward; winters from the Gulf States and southern California southward.



255. Totanus flavipes. 10.5 in.

Very similar in form, color and markings to the large Yellow-legs, but smaller in every way.

Range. Breeds in the interior of Canada, north to the Arctic Ocean, and possibly in northern Miss. Valley. Winters from the Gulf States southward, migrating in the interior and along the Atlantic coast.


256. Helodromas solitarius. 8.5 in.

Above olive-grayish, streaked on the head and neck, and sharply speckled on the back and wings, with white; tail sharply barred with black and white; below white, streaked on the breast and barred on the sides with' gray and white. In winter, with fewer white markings/ on the back. It is often confused with the Spotted Sandpiper that frequents the same places, but should be easily identified when it flies by its barred tail and linings of the wings. They have the habit, common to nearly all the shore birds, of elevating their wings after alighting, and then carefully folding them on the back.

Nest. For a long time their eggs were unknown, but are now known to be laid in the nests of other land birds, at low elevations in trees or bushes near water. They have been found in Manitoba in a Waxwing's nest. Eggs bluish-green with blackish-brown blotches.

Range. Breeds from Northern U. S. northward; winters south of the U. S.


258. Catophophorus semipalmatus. 16 in.

Bill long and quite stout; feet with small webs between the bases of the toes. Upper parts brownish-gray, more or less speckled with black; most of secondaries and bases of primaries white, very conspicuous in flight, and easily distinguishing it from any other wader of its size. Usually found in small flocks along the edges of marshes; they are said to be quite shy except during nesting season, and to be difficult to decoy. After breeding they wander northward and are often seen in flocks of other migrating species. When standing on the beach they often indulge in curious antics, bowing and flirting their tails.

Notes. A loud, shrill whistle, " pill-will-willet."

Nest. On the ground; eggs buffy, blotched with brown.

Range. Breeds from the Gulf to New Jersey; later strays to Maine.

258a, Western Willet (S. s. inornata) is supposed to be slightly larger and paler. Breeds from Texas to Manitoba; winters along the Gulf coast.


261. Bartramia longicauda. 12 in.

Upper parts blackish with greenish-brown edgings; tail brownish with black bars, and white tips to the outer feathers. Underparts white, with prominent inverted, black arrow head markings on the breast and along the sides. These birds are more often known as Upland Plovers, because they are found on dry hillsides, rarely near water. West of the Miss, they are said to occur in large flocks in the Fall, but in the East, half a dozen or so would be considered a fair sized flock. They feed upon small grasshoppers and other small insects, sometimes chasing them for a considerable distance before securing them. They are shy and usually take wing as soon as they see you.

Nest. Of grasses, usually concealed in clumps of grass or weeds in the middle of fields; eggs buffy, blotched with yellowish-brown (1.75x1.25) ; May, June.

Range. Breeds locally in the northern half of the United States and Southern Canada; winters south of the U. S.


262. Tryngites subruficollis. 8 in.

Bill short and slender. General color above, blackish-brown margined with tawny; underparts buffy, with a few black specks on the sides of the breast. Primaries blackish-brown on the outer webs, the inner webs, as well as those of the secondaries, being whitish, peculiarly speckled with black; these markings are characteristic and are found on no other of our shore birds. It seems to be most nearly related to the last species, and like that, is often found on hillsides at a distance from water.

Notes. A low, weak " tweet."

Nest. A scantily lined depression on the ground; the four eggs are grayish-buff, boldly blotched with rich chestnut-brown and' black ( 1.45 x 1.05) ; June.

Range. Breeds in Arctic America: winters in South America, migrating chiefly through the interior of the United States, but to a less degree on the coast.


263. Actitis macularia. 7.5 in.

Below white, with round blackish spots, heaviest on the breast and sides; above olive-brown or gray, with faint black bars; a narrow black line from the bill through the eye to the ears. Young entirely white below, with the breast faintly tinged with gray. These birds are abundant and breed, locally throughout the United States and the greater part of Canada. One or more pairs will usually be found nesting in the fields about all small ponds, or among the weeds that grow about edges of pools and lakes. They have a peculiar habit of " teetering," whether standing still or while feeding on the banks of streams or ponds; other birds do this but not nearly as persistently as Spotted Sandpipers.

Notes. A clear " peet-weet ; " also a single melodious whistle.

Nest. On the ground in fields or near the edges of pools or streams; eggs buffy, boldly spotted.

Range. Breeds from the Gulf to Hudson Bay; winters south of the U. S.


264. Numenius americanus. 23 in.

Bill much decurved and very long (4 to 8 in.), the longest of any of our shore birds. Plumage variegated with rufous and blackish above; bright buffy or rufous below, streaked on neck and breast, and barred on the sides with blackish. " Sickle-bills," as these birds are often called, are the largest of our shore birds. They are very conspicuous either when flying or walking on the marshes or sandbars, their size appearing gigantic when they are in a flock of smaller plover, as sometimes happens. They fly in compact flocks, evidently led by one individual, for they wheel and circle in perfect unison, sailing up in the wind on outspread wings, when about to alight.

Notes. A flute-like whistle, u ker-loo."

Nest. On the ground ; eggs green ish-buff, with small black spots over the whole surface (2.50x 1.80).

Range. Breeds in the Upper Miss. Valley, north to Manitoba; winters in the Gulf States, and southward; formerly bred on the South Atlantic coast; strays to New England and New Brunswick in the fall.


265. Numcnius hudsonicus. 17 in.

Darker brown above, than the Sickle-bill ; crown broadly striped with blackish and buff; underparts grayish, streaked on the breast and barred on the sides with blackish. This and the succeeding species are summer inhabitants of the Arctic regions, being found within our borders only for a short time in the Fall and Spring. It is found in fresh and salt water marshes, as well as on mud-flats and on sandy beaches of the seashore. They are very unsuspicious and are easily stalked, or decoy very easily, coming to wooden caricatures of themselves stuck up in the mud, or to crude imitations of their whistles; consequently large numbers of them are shot and they are becoming scarce.

Notes. Similar to that of the last.

Nest. Hollows in the ground, lined with grasses and weeds; eggs buffy, blotched with brownish-black (2.25 xl.60).

Range. Breeds in the Arctic regions. Winters south of the United States, migrating both on the coast and in the interior.


266. yumenius borealis. 13.5 in.

Bill comparatively short (about 2 in.) and little curved. Above, marked similarly to the last; below white or pale buff, often thickly 'covered on the breast and sides with streaks and arrow head markings of blackish. Primaries and most of the secondaries plain brownish-black, without the variegation of the last species. A few years ago this was considered the most abundant of the curlews, but so persistently have they 11 hunted that they are now practically exterminated. When it comes to looking after their "safety, curlews are, perhaps, the most stupid of the shore birds for they do not seem to realize the dangerous character of mankind in general, and they have paid the penalty. I trust that all sportsmen will refrain from shooting these birds.

Nest. Like that of the Hudsonian; eggs similar but smaller.

Range. Eastern N. A., breeding in the Arctic regions and migrating through the Plains, Mississippi Valley, and to a less extent on the Atlantic coast, to South America. Very rare now anywhere.


Family Charadriidæ


270. Squatarola squatarola. 11.5 in.

Hind toe very small. Bill short and stout. Adults in summer with the back, wings and tail barred or marked with black and white; top of head and nape white, except for a few black markings on the crown; face, throat, breast and fore part of belly, black. In winter, brownish-black, somewhat mottled, above; below dull white. Young similar to winter adults, but the back is spotted with yellowish-white. While these hand-' some plover migrate to some extent, and sometimes in large flocks, through the interior of the United States, they are chiefly and most abundantly found on the coast. They are the plover most eagerly sought by gunners.

Notes. A plaintive whistle, " ter-lee."

Nest. Grass-lined hollows in marshes or dry land, back from the beach ; eggs greenish-buff, spotted with black.

Range. Breeds in the Arctic regions; winters* in South America, migrating through the U. S. in Sept. and May.


272. Charadriys dominions. 10.5 in.

No hind toe. Back and tail mottled with black and yellow; below, more or less entirely black to the tail. Young and winter adults, more or less spotted with yellow and blackish-brown above, and grayish-white below, with indistinct streaks on the breast. Often confused with the last species in this plumage, but is smaller, bill smaller and more slender, and the axillars, or feathers nearest the body, under the wings, are gray while those of the Black-bellied Plover are black. This species is now regarded as rare on the North Atlantic coast during migrations, while in the interior it is more abundant than the last species. They do not seem to be as suspicious as the Black-bellies, and a flock will often allow a close approach, even when they see you.

Nest. Nesting habits like those of the last, and other shore birds; eggs slightly smaller (1.90x1.30).

Range. Breeds in the Arctic regions; winters south to South America.


273. Oxyechus vociferus. 10 in.

No hind toe. Rump and base of tail reddish-brown; breast crossed by two black bands. Like the Spotted Sandpiper, this bird is locally and abundantly distributed throughout the United States and Southern Canada; it is, however, rare in New England, where it is sometimes found in the Fall. It frequents meadows, fields and ploughed ground, where it feeds upon insects, and around the edges of pools and streams where it gets small shellfish and larvae. As usual, they will attempt to lead an intruder away from their nest by feigning lameness.

Notes. A loud, noisy and incessant " killdee,"

Nest. A slight hollow in the ground, usually in a clump of weeds; sometimes lined and sometimes not; the four eggs are greenish-buff, heavily blotched with black.

Range. Breeds locally throughout United States, except New England, and southern Canada; winters in southern U. S.


274. Ægialitis semipalmata. 1 in.

Small web between the bases of the two outer toes. Single broad, black band across the breast; black line from base of bill to eye. They are very abundant on our seacoast in Fall, both in flocks composed entirely of their own kind, and also with Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers. They usually keep on the inner side of sandbars or muddy flats bordering marshes, rather than on the open ocean beach. It is also found in smaller flocks, about ponds and marshes in the interior of the country. They are usually unsuspicious and will allow a close approach, or if you are still, will run by within a very few feet.

Notes. A clear double whistle, usually uttered when on the wing or when alarmed. They decoy to an imitation of it.

Nest. On the ground; eggs buffy, sparsely specked with black. ( 1.30 x .90) ; June.

Range. Breeds from the Gulf of St. Lawrence northward; winters from the Gulf States southward.


277. Ægialitis meloda. 7 in.

Very pale above; no black in front of eye; black patch on each side of breast. Young similar, but the black replaced by grayish, as is the case with the last species. This species, apparently, never could be classed as abundant and of late years, it is becoming rather rare along our Atlantic coast; this is probably more due to the building of summer resorts and homes along their former breeding grounds than to hunters. They are rather more shy than the last species, but will usually attempt to escape by running along the beach or by hiding, rather than by flight. Owing to their light colors it is very difficult to see them at any distance.

Notes. A two-syllabled piping whistle.

Nest. On the ground; eggs buff with fine black specks.

Range. Breeds on the coast from Va. to Newfoundland and in the Mississippi Valley.


278. Ægialitis nivosa. 6.5 in.

Very small and very pale colored. Small black patch on either side of the breast, on ear coverts, and on crown. Bill more slender but longer than that of the Piping Plover.

Notes. Low, mournful, piping whistles.

Range. United States chiefly west of the Rockies, east to Kansas and north to Dakota.



280. Ochthodromus wilsonius. 7.5 in,

Bill large and heavy for birds of this genus. A black band across the neck, not extending to the back of the neck; dark line between eye and bill.

Notes. A " mixture of whistle and chirp," very different from that of allied plovers. (Elliott).

Nest. A shallow hollow in the sand, sometimes concealed by short beach grass; eggs grayish, spotted and scratched with blackish brown ( 1.25 x. 95).

Range. Breeds on the Gulf and South Atlantic coasts north to Virginia; later may stray to Maine.


281. Podasocys montanus. 9 in.

No black on breast or sides, but with black band on top of head and a black line from bill to eye. Above grayish-brown; below buffy across the breast, white elsewhere. Mountain or Prairie Plover, as they are often and better called, are abundant on the western prairies. Like the Bartramian Sandpiper, they do not frequent the vicinity of water, but live and get their food in the dry grass-covered districts. They are not at all shy where they are not hunted. Like all the family, they are very fleet on foot, and may often be seen chasing grasshoppers or other active insects. Their flight is very rapid, often devious and usually at a low elevation.

Notes. A single, low, musical whistle.

Nest. A depression in the ground, anywhere on the prairie. Eggs brownish-gray, blotched with blackish.

Range. West of the Mississippi River, breeding north to Dakota. Winters from Southwestern United States southward.


283. Arcnaria interpres. 9.75 in.

Very similar to the next, which is the one figured, but slightly larger, and with black prevailing in the upperparts. This is the Old World species, found in America only in Labrador and Alaska.



283.1. Arenaria interpres morinella. 9.5 in.

Bill short and stout, the upper mandible being straight, so that the bill has an upturned appearance. Legs reddish on adult birds and orange on young.

Known by a great many names, referring to its peculiarly pied appearance: Calico-bird, Checkered-snipe, etc. An abundant species usually found on pebbled beaches.

Notes. One or two clear whistles.

Nest. A scantily lined hollow; eggs grayish, beautifully marbled with brown, lilac and blackish.

Range. Breeds in the Arctic legions; winters in Southern South America, migrating on both coasts.


286. Hæmatopus palliatus. 19 in.

Bill very long, heavy, compressed, and thin and chisel-like at the tip. Bill and eye, red; legs flesh color. These large, awkward looking birds are not scarce on the South Atlantic coast, where they are met with in pairs or small companies. They run with great swiftness, or walk sedately along the beaches and marshes gathering insects and fiddler crabs, of which they are very fond. They are said to have got their name from the habit of eating oysters when they found them with the shell open, a practice that would be extremely hazardous for them . to undertake, as these shellfish close their two valves very quickly and would be apt to catch the bird. Owing to their large size they are frequently shot at and, consequently, are usually shy.

Nest. A depression in the sand; the two or three eggs are buffy, spotted with blackish-brown (2.20x 1.50) ; May.

Range. Breeds on the coast north to Virginia; later may stray to Nova Scotia. Winters south of the U. S.


Jacana spinosa. 8 in.

A very peculiar species. Bill plover-like; at the base, terminating in a leaf-like sheaf that covers the forehead; a hard spur on the shoulder of each wing; legs and toes extremely long, the toenails being abnormally so, the hind nail often being an inch and a half long. Young very different from the adult. Grayish-brown above, with wings greenish-yellow as in adult; below whitish, darker across the breast and on the sides; a light line above the eye. Jacanas are inhabitants of marshy, muddy pools and ponds, where they can easily run over the surface, their long toes getting a good foothold on the floating aquatic plants. They are said to be very pugnacious in defence of their young, and a^o to fight among themselves during the mating season.

Nest. Nests made of weeds and trash, on little floating islands or lily pads. 3 to 5 olive colored eggs, curiously scrawled* with black. (1.20x.95); May.

Range. Is found and breeds within our borders only in Southern Texas.