Page images

“bogus” reports of their flying out to sea) at various localities in the Southern States, the last authentic account up to the present writing representing several bevies as seen near Savannah, Ga., as late as December 10. (For a history of the introduction and migration of this species see “Forest and Stream" of issues of June 28, Aug. 2, Aug. 9, Aug. 23, Sept. 6, Nov. 15, Nov. 29, Dec. 6, and Dec. 27, 1877.)

5. Lagopus albus Aud. WILLOW PTARMIGAN. The specimen taken in Manchester, in May, 1859, Dr. Coues conjectures was brought alive from Labrador or Newfoundland, and escaped (Proc. Essex Inst., V. 1868, 259).

6. Cupidonia cupido Baird. PINNATED GROUSE. A few have been introduced at different times into Barnstable County, but none of them or their descendants are certainly known to still exist there.

Dr. Brewer informs me that several European Black-cap Warblers (Sylvia atricapilla) were at one time turned loose in Mount Auburn Cemetery, but are known to have all soon after died.

GENERAL SUMMARY. Fully authenticated as birds of the State · · · · · · · · 316 Extirpated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Given as of probable occurrence . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Considered as fairly entitled to recognition as Massachusetts birds 340 Known as breeding within the State (about) . . . . . . . 135 Extremely rare or accidental visitors · · · · · · · · · · 90 introduced . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . 6 North American species added since 1867. · · · · · · · 35


57bis. Pyranga ludoviciana Bon. LOUISIANA TANAGER. Since this paper went to press a specimen of this western species has been laken alive in Salem, and its occurrence recorded by Dr. Brewer (Forest and Stream," X, 95, March 14, 1878). It was captured Jan. 20, 1878, during the severest snow storm of the season, and being, in winter, a bird of Mexico, is presumed to have been involuntarily carried northward by the storm. It was an “adult female, and, though ravenous for food, was not in wasted condition."

10 Excluding “varieties" of other species represented.

such a basis, in a group of birds so difficult of discrimination as to often puzzle experts with the specimens actually in haud, is certainly open to censure.

3. Thaumatias linnæi Bon. (Agyrtria maculata et linnæi auct.) LIXXÆL'S*EMERALI). Supposed to have been taken in Massachusetts, and included in several lists. The probabilities seem to me to be strongly against the straggling of any South American Humming Bird to this state, and the history of this specimen leaves room for doubt respecting its actual capture here. It was first recorded by myself (Am. Nat., III, Feb., 1870, 645), but with much hesitation. The circumstances of its supposed capture here have since been more fully investigated, and I now prefer not to recognize it as entitled to a record as a bird of Massachusetts.

5. Introduced undomesticated Species, or probably introduced either

intentionally or accidentally. 1. Passer domesticus Linn. HOUSE SPARROW. Abundant near the larger towns and rapidly increasing, although the first importation was made scarcely ten years ago.

2. Carduelis elegans Steph. EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH. Repeatedly taken or observed in a wild state, under circumstances that seem to render it probable that the individuals were not escaped cage-birds. Whether or not introduced originally by man's agency I consider seriously open to question.

3. Serinus meridionalis Brehm. SERIN FINCH. Thus far only one record is known to me of its capture, - Springtield, Nov., about 1863 (Allen, Am. Nat., III, Jan., 1870, 635). Perhaps an escaped cage-bird, but the probabilities seem to me to be against this theory.

4. Coturnix communis Gray. EUROPEAN QUAIL. About one hundred of these birds were imported by Mr. Warren Hapgood in the spring of 1877, and distributed to various parts of the State. Only a few pairs are known to have raised young, and the result of the experimt}}t is at present doubtful. The capture of a “young-cock bird". at Essex, Nov. 1, 1877, is recorded in "Forest and Stream" of Dec. 6, 1877 (p. 345). This importation consisted of two hundred and fifty birds, sixty-one of which died on the passage, leaving one hundred and eighty-nine for distribution on their arrival in Massachusetts about June 10. The same vessel brought a consignment of two hundred birds of this species to Judge Martin G. Evarts of Rutland, Vt., all but three of which are said to have reached Rutland alive. They were turned out June 9, and il, 1877, and are reported to have bred plentifully. They disappeared from the neighborhood of Rutland about September 1, and have since been reported as seen (aside from

23. Procellaria pelagica Linn. STORMY PETREL. Usually given as occurring off the coast, but Dr. Brewer doubts its right to a place among New England birds, since he has not been able to learn that a specimen has been taken (Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., XVII, 1877, 453).

24. Pufinus anglorum Temm. Mank's SHEARWATER. Commonly given as more or less frequent off the coast in winter, but Dr. Brewer (Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., XVII, 1875, 453) claims that it has never been taken, and that it is not even a North American bird.

The Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) has been commonly given as a rare winter visitant. Dr. Brewer says it has been inproperly included as a bird of New England and that “its right to be regarded even as North American is also questioned" (Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., XVII, 1875, 453). He has since shown that all the references to its capture in North America (Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club, III, Apr., 1878, 52) are erroneous, as is now very generally conceded.

4. Hypothetical and doubtful Species. 1. Myiodioctes minutus Baird. SMALL-HEADED FLYCATCHER. Dr. Brewer retains this species as a bird of Massachusetts on the ground that Nuttall “states that Mr. Charles Pickering obtained a specimen of this bird many years ago, near Salem, Mass., and that he [Nuttall] had himself also seen it in the same State, at the approach of winter.” Dr. Brewer further refers to a specimen “supposed to be of this species," and so identified by Mr. Audubon, that he once obtained in Roxbury, but admits that, as Audubon afterwards made no mention of it, the presumption is that he was mistaken as to the identity of the specimen. No specimen of this supposed species is extant, and it is only known from the descriptions and figures given long since by Wilson and Audubon, According to the latter the original locality was Kentucky. I agree with Dr. Coues that the species is one hardly entitled to recognition, and I prefer to discard it, for the present, as a bird of Massachusetts. (See Baird, Brewer and Ridgway's Hist. North Am. Birds, I, 1874, 316.)

2. Empidonax pygmæus Minot. “PYGMY FLYCATCHER.” Only “caught sight of” “in some shrubbery” “near Boston" by our young author, who “watched it for about three minutes," and then proceeded to describe it as a new species! No characters are given, by which it can be distinguished froin any of the species of Empidonax, and those are half conjectural. The presumption of adding a "new species” on

16. Scolopax rusticola Linn. EUROPEAN WOODCOCK. The occasional capture of this European species on the Atlantic coast, from Maine to Virginia (Loudon County, Nov., 1873, Coues, Am. Nat., X, 372), seems to render it probable that it will eventually be taken in this state.

17. Recurvirostra americana Gmel. Avoset. As this species •has been taken in one instance at Point Lepreaux, New Brunswick (not Calais, Me., as generally supposed; see Brewer, Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., XVII, 1875, 452), and near Saybrook, Conn. (Merriam, Rev. Birds Conn., 1877, 103), it may be fairly looked for as an accidental visitor.

18. Cygnus buccinator Rich. TRUMPETER Swan. Recently reported by Mr. Merriam (Rev. Birds Conn., 1870, 120) as probably occurring in the vicinity of East Windsor Hill, Conn. (within fifteen miles of the Massachusetts line). In all probability it was commou here two hundred years ago and may still be looked for as a straggler.

19. Anser cærulescens Pallas. BLUE Goose. May be an acci. dental visitor, but according to Dr. Brewer (Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., XVII, 1875, 452) there is no record of its actual occurrence in New England.

20, Branta leucopsis Boie. BARNACLE GOOSE. As this accidental visitor has been taken in southern Labrador, Maine, on Long Island, and in North Carolina, and more than the “eight escaped birds” have been accounted for, it seems reasonable to include this species among those of probable occurrence in Massachusetts. On the occurrence of this species on the Atlantic coast of North America see Baird (Am. Nat., II, March, 1868, 39), Brewer (Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., XVII, 1875, 452), Lawrence (Am. Nat., V, March, 1870, 10), and Lawrence and Deane (Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club, II, Jan., 1877, 18). I understand specimens have recently been taken near Portland, Maine. It has been repeatedly attributed to Massachusetts, but probably on insufficient evidence. (See Allen, Proc. Essex Inst., IV, 1864, 88; Coues, Proc. Essex Inst., VI, 1868, 298.) .

21. Mareca penelope Bon. EUROPEAN WIDGEON. This species likewise lacks contirmation as a bird of Massachusetts, or even of New England, although it has been taken on Long Island, and at various points in North America. It is of course to be looked for here.

22. Querquedula crecca Steph. EUROPEAN TEAL. The speci. men recorded by Dr. Bryant (Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., V, 1855, 195) as taken in this state Dr. Brewer says was actually taken in North Carolina and not in Massachusetts (Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club, II, Apr., 1877, 46). This leaves the species without even a New England record, but it has so often been taken on the North American coast (at various points from Labrador to North Carolina) as a straggler from the Old World, that its rccurrence here is to be expected.

9. Stelgidopteryx serripennis Baird. Rough-WINGED SWALLOW. Taken at Suffield, Conn., by Mr. E. I. Shores, June 6, 1874 (Purdie, Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club, II, Jan , 1877, 21), its only New England record. It has been found, however, breeding at West Point, New York (Mearns, Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club, III, Apr., 1878, --), and will doubtless soon be added to the fauna of Massachusetts.

10. Goniaphea cærulea Gray. BLUE GROSBEAK. This southern species having been taken at Grand Menan and Calais, Maine (Board. man, Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., IX, 1862, 127) is surely to be added, sooner or later, to the list of Massachusetts birds. Its occurrence is a priori far more probable than that of many species that have been found here.

11. Perisoreus canadensis Bon. CANADA JAY. This species occurs doubtless in Berkshire County as an occasional winter visitor.

12. Tyrannus verticalis Say. ARKANSAS FLYCATCHER. This species has been taken at Elliot, Maine (Bryant, Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., X, 1865, 96; Purdie, Bull. Nutt. Orn. Club, I, Sept., 1876, 73), and is as likely to occur in this state as many western and southern species that have already been taken here.

13. Corvus ossifragus Wils. Fish Crow. Probably rare or accidental. Although there is as yet no record of its capture within the state, Mr. W. Brewster, who is familiar with the species, observed a single individual in Cambridge, March 16, 1875 (Brewster, Bull. Nuit. Orn. Club, I, 19). Its recent capture at West Point, N. Y., and on Long Island, tends to confirm its reported occurrence in Connecticut by Linsley (Am. Jour. Sci. and Arts, XLIV, 1843, 260) and render it almost certain that stragglers will soon be taken here. It is so easily confounded with the Common Crow, even when in hand, by ordinary observers, that it may for this reason have been heretofore overlooked.

14. Empidonax acadicus Baird. ACADIAN FLYCATCHER. Not known to have been taken in the state, but it has been obtained by Mr. E. I. Shores in Suffield, Conn., within ten miles of my old collecting ground at Springfield, Mr. Shores's specimen having been identified as E. acadicus by no less an authority than Mr. Robert Ridgway (Merriam, Rev. Birds Conn., 1877, 58). This places the species beyond question in the list of New England birds (see Brewer, Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., XVII, 1875, 452). I recorded this bird in 1864 as occurring at Springfield (Proc. Essex Inst., IV, 54), but have since become convinced that I mistook for it E. trailli.

15. Egialites wilsonia Cass. WILSON'S PLOVER. Its reported occurrence in the state rest on not wholly satisfactory authority (see Brerer, Proc. Bost. Soc. Nat. Hist., XVII, 1875, 452). There appears to be no recent well-authenticated instance of its occurrence north of Long Island.

« EelmineJätka »