The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Bay State Oologist, Vol. 1 No. 4, April 1888

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Title: The Bay State Oologist, Vol. 1 No. 4, April 1888

Author: Various

Editor: W. H. Foote

Release date: December 17, 2018 [eBook #58488]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images
generously made available by The Internet Archive)


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Entered at Pittsfield Post Office as second-class matter.

VOL. 1. APRIL. 1888. No. 4.


A Monthly Magazine Devoted to
the Study of Birds, their
Nests and Eggs.


Subscription Price 50 Cents per Year in Advance

Press of H. C. KELLS, Book and Job Printer.


Vol. 1, No. 4.   April, 1888.

Notes on Some Birds of Texas J. A. Singley 25
The Nashville Warbler Wm. L. Kells 27
Instructions for Collecting and Preserving Birds and Eggs J. A. Singley 28
Editorial 30
Publications Received 30
The Pileated Woodpecker J. W. Jacobs 31
A Day’s Collecting H. C. Cook 32

Always mention “The Bay State Oologist” when answering Advertisements.


A Quarterly Journal of Ornithology. $3 a year. 75 cents a single number. Published for The American Ornithologists’ Union.

The “AUK” will present, as herefore, timely and interesting papers on the subject to which it relates, and its readers may feel sure of being kept abreast of the advances in the science. The “AUK” is primarily intended as a communication between ornithologists. While necessarily to some degree technical, it contains a fair proportion of matter of a popular character. Its notices of recent literature cover the whole field of North American Ornithology and with the department of “General Notes” and “Notes and News” render the journal indispensable to those wishing the latest and fullest intelligence of the subject.

L. S FOSTER, Publisher, 35 Pine St., New York.


If you are, send 10 cents for circulars of BOOKS, GUNS, etc., for Collectors, and a specimen copy of our magazine.


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Box 58. Lee Co., TEXAS.


By means of our “Trial Order Certificate.” Send 5 1c. stamps for Certificate and 20 pp. catalogue of Birds’ Eggs, Shells, Minerals, Instruments, etc., at prices that will astonish you.

Natural History Papers insert this and above 3 mos. Send marked copies and bill, payable in anything we advertise.


Collectors & Dealers

Desiring first-class Specimens, would do well to write to

R. E. Rachford & Son, Collecting Naturalists
Wholesale Dealers in Birds’ Skins and Eggs.
Beaumont,   Jefferson Co., Texas.


The Bay State Oologist.


Notes on Some Birds of Texas.


(continued from page 11.)

No. 36. Lophophanes bicolor (Linn.). Tufted Titmouse.

They are not very particular about a nesting place—provided it’s a hollow—and will indifferently occupy a natural cavity in a tree, an old woodpecker’s nest or a martin box. The nest is composed of dead leaves and moss and very often cast-off snake-skin, invariably lined with some sort of animals’ hair.

The bird will not leave the nest after incubation commences, but will sit close while the entrance to the nest is being enlarged, and when a hand is inserted in the cavity will puff itself up, make a hissing noise and peck at the intruder. It has to be lifted off the nest before the eggs can be taken, thus making identification positive.

The number of eggs in a set varies from four to eight, usually six or seven, and varying from a blunt oval to elongated, almost equal-ended: white, spotted with reddish-brown, thickest at the larger end, where are also found some obscure lilac shell markings. Sometimes the brown is very pale and the spots few and small. Eggs like this resemble those of the Plain Titmouse. A series of fifteen eggs average .75×.36 inches. Two or more broods are raised, fresh eggs being found from the 1st of April to the last of May.


No. 42. Parus carolinensis (Aud.,) Carolina Chickadee.

Like the last, this is called “Tomtit” by the natives. It shares most of the habits of the Titmouse but I don’t think it is a nest robber.

This species is very like the Black-capped Chickadee of the Eastern States, replacing that species in the South Atlantic and Gulf States. The chin, throat and top of head to nape, black, sides of head, whitish; rest of upper parts brownish-ash; under parts dingy white and slightly brownish on the sides. Wings and tail like the upper parts. A specimen before me measures—length, 4.53 in.; extent, 7.02 in.; wing, 2.46; tail, 2.24. It is very close to P. atricapillus and should really be listed as a variety of that species.

This Chickadee is resident here, and is found chiefly in the timbered uplands, where its merry “Chick-a-dee-dee” is heard all the year round.

It commences nesting in March, and fresh eggs can be found until June (thus indicating that two or three broods are raised in a season.) It is a little more choice in its location for a nest than the Titmouse. A deserted Woodpecker’s nest is often used, but the majority of the nests I find are in rotten black-jack stubs and excavated by the birds themselves. A few of them nest in boxes that I’ve nailed up in the woods. The nests vary but little being built of moss, cotton (when obtainable) a few feathers and generally lined with rabbit fur, sometimes with the hair or fur of other animals. The bird sets close when the nest is disturbed and it is necessary to lift it off to see what it is trying to conceal.

The eggs vary in number from five to seven, never more with me; oval in shape, white, thickly spotted with reddish-brown. The spots are sometimes confluent, forming blotches, occasionally covering the larger end of the egg. Sometimes the eggs are finely speckled with small pale-brown spots, and one specimen before me has these specks forming a wreath about the smaller end. A series of eleven eggs (two sets,) average .63×.52 inches. I have also found several sets where the eggs were sub-globular, like those of some owls.

SPECIAL NOTICE.—Next issue will be enlarged to 12 pages and will be filled with interesting and instructive original reading matter, from the pens of numerous well-known writers on the subjects of which we treat. We would advise you to subscribe at once, as we offer special inducements to new subscribers in our prize offers. If you cannot afford a year’s or half-year’s subscription, send 5 cts. in stamps and we will mail you a copy of the enlarged May number when published. We shall be obliged to refuse stamps in payment for subscriptions, as we have a supply on hand.


The Nashville Warbler.


The life-history of this bird is yet, to a great extent, wrapped in obscurity. Sometimes it is numerous in the Spring migration; again it is comparatively rare. It can only yet be regarded as a migrant in the south and central parts of Ontario, as no certain record has yet been made of its nesting, or making its summer home in this locality; though it is very probable that more of this genus of birds may remain during the summer, and nest in the deep, swampy woods of this Province, than is now generally known.

In my early days, while rambling in the forest, or at work in the woods in the summer time, I have seen nests of little birds, never since discovered by me, and almost every year since I began to form my Oological collection, I have taken one or more nests of Warblers previously unknown to me, and as I occasionally catch glimpses of others in my hunting excursions in the summer season, I am led to believe, that as time progresses and more attention is given to the subject, more nests of these birds will be discovered and described by our rising Ornithologists, and among others that of the Nashville Warbler. This is the more probable in the case of this species, from the fact that its general habitat is in deep, swampy places, where few persons interested in Ornithology care to penetrate, and also from the fact that specimens of this species are occasionally observed on the margins of swampy woods, in the summer season.

It is said that this species nests upon the ground in the moss that grows in damp places, and to form the same with dry leaves, fibres of bark, pine needles, fine, dry grass and hay. The eggs, four or five, are white, speckled with lilac or reddish-brown.

This is one of those wanderers of the Mississippi Valley which appear to enter Ontario from the south-west. It is between four or five inches in length, and on the upper parts the plumage is of an olive-green, brighter on the rump; but ashy on the head. Below it is bright yellow, paler towards the lower parts, with olive shading on the sides. Crown with a chestnut patch, and pale ring round the eyes.


Instructions for Collecting and Preserving Birds and Eggs.


(continued from page 21.)

Each of the three eggs should be marked No. 10. By this method, the first number always representing the number of the set, the second the number of the species and the third the number of eggs in the set, mistakes are almost impossible. If he saw the bird he should write “seen” after the last item. If the bird was caught or shot, he can mention it instead of “seen.” The last two items explain themselves, and all these items except the first, must enter into the data of the set. It is not necessary to give materials of nest, except in the case of rare species. I follow the above method of authenticating, to save time; but the collector who has plenty of that commodity to spare, can of course write out full particulars of each set in the field. Never trust to memory in these matters, have it in black and white.

The collector, having returned home and being ready to prepare his eggs, let him take them out of his box where he has placed them well wrapped in cotton, as taken, and unwrapping them, place each set by itself on the “dryer” described elsewhere (he will now begin to appreciate that useful article,) now getting his tools, not forgetting a glass of water to use in rinsing the eggs, he is ready to go to work.

The points of the drills, as bought, are always dull, and it is recommended to start the hole in the egg with a pin or needle. These useful articles are small, likely to get lost while working with, and make one more article to look after. You can dispense with them by carefully filing the point of your drill to a needle-like point. Select the least showy part of the egg, and holding it (the egg) in your left hand (the right if you are left-handed) put the point of the drill against this “least showy part,” and twirl it (the drill) between the thumb and forefinger. Don’t bear on the drill, as if you were drilling in iron, if you do you’ll have a hole clear through both sides of the egg, something you don’t want. The hole, being drilled until the largest circumference of the burr passes inside of the egg, don’t try to pull it out, as a broken egg will be the result if you do. There is an internal pellicle lining the egg: if this is not cut out where the hole is drilled, it will interfere with blowing the egg. By bringing the burr of the drill up against this[29] pellicle, as if you were going to remove it from the egg, and giving the same twirling motion that you did when drilling, the pellicle will be cut all around the edges of the hole, and the drill will come out. Now take your blow-pipe, and putting the point of it close to the hole, blow gently and the contents will come out. When incubation is more or less advanced, a larger hole must be drilled, and the embryo removed with the hook and scissors, a tedious operation and not always successful even with the greatest of care. Better let incubated eggs remain in the nest. A little experience will teach you how to differentiate fresh eggs from those that are too far advanced to save.

Never put the point of the blow-pipe inside of the egg, as a bursted egg will be the result, especially so, if your lungs are well developed. Having emptied the egg of its contents, the next step is to take a mouthful of water and inject it through the blow-pipe into the egg, rinsing it thoroughly. Large eggs should be filled half full of water and well shaken. Eggs treated in this manner are perfectly clean inside and offer no inducements to insects to harbor within, a thing that they will surely do in eggs prepared in a slovenly manner. Having blown all the water out of the egg, take a soft cloth and wipe it dry, removing any foreign matter that may be adhering to it, taking care, however, not to rub off the number you put on it when collected, and also notice that you do not rub off any of the markings on it. On some eggs the pigment is only loosely applied on the outside. Now place the egg, hole downwards, directly over one of the holes on your dryer, and it will drain and dry in a few hours; continue in this way until you clean all your eggs, keeping each set to itself and adding another memorandum in your note-book opposite each set, as to the state of incubation of that set. When the eggs are dry, fill out a data for each set. These particulars are taken from your note-book. Suppose he (the collector) takes the first set, that of the Red-headed Woodpecker. He will fill out a blank as follows:

No. 375. Name, Red-headed Woodpecker.

Collector, John Smith.

Locality, Boston, Mass.

Date, June 3d, 1887.

Set mark, 1/4.

Number of eggs in set, 4. Identity, bird seen.

Nest, excavated in an elm tree, 20 feet up; eggs laid on chips on bottom of cavity.

The collector will of course substitute his own name, locality and date, for those given above, and if this should prove to be the second, third or fourth set of that species taken during the season, he would mark the set as 2-4, 3-4, 4-4 and so on.




So few exchange notices were received in time to be published in this issue that we have decided to hold them for the next.

Persons receiving sample copies of this issue, will oblige us greatly by acknowledging the receipt of same. We received so many replies from those complying with the above request, last month, that we thought it best to try it again. If you cannot subscribe, we like to know that you received the copy sent you, and what you think of our magazine.

The May “Hoosier Naturalist” published by R. B. Trouslot & Co., Valparaiso, Ind., will contain much matter of interest to all Ornithologists and Oologists. A sample copy will be mailed free to all applying to the publishers. We can furnish you with a year’s subscription each to the “Hoosier Naturalist” and the “B. S. O.” for 50 cents, the regular price of the latter.

The April number of the “Hawkeye Ornithologist and Oologist” reached us just before going to press. We are sorry to see that the editors as well as Mr. Oliver Davie are laboring under a wrong impression. In the February issue when we published that notice regarding “Davies’ Key,” we meant exactly what we said, as Mr. Davie, in a letter dated Jan. 26, ’88, said: “I can furnish you copies of my Key in quantities at —— per copy.” This notice was inserted simply to allay a wrong impression, which would likely arise after reading the notice in the Jan “H. O. & O.,” and not as a “hit.” As regards not having purchased any copies of Mr. Davie, we would say we had a number of copies on hand we wished to dispose of, and we were greatly surprised to see Mr. Davies’ letter, after having written him explaining the reasons of our not ordering copies from him.

Publications Received.


The Pileated Woodpecker.


On April 24th, I was passing through a large patch of woods, taking note of all the bird life I could see, when I noticed a large hole near the top of a “snag.” I went a little closer, and then I saw that the hole was too large for a Red-head (M. erythrocephalus) or a Flicker (C. auratus).

I went up to the tree; there was a great pile of chips on the ground; I hammered on the tree, and a Pileated Woodpecker (Hylotomus pileatus) flew out, I climbed up, but owing to the tree being high, smooth bark and no limbs at all, I could not stick, so I resolved to call again, better prepared for an attack on the tree.

On the 28th, I started out to procure the set of eggs, if there proved to be any in the nest. Everything went well until I reached the tree, and there I could see that the hand of destruction had visited H. pileatus, for the tree was stretched out upon the ground.

Two wood-choppers had been in the woods the day before, making rails; they saw the old bird fly from her nest, and of course, through curiosity, they cut the tree down to see what the eggs looked like. I found the pieces of three or four egg-shells, and probably there were more. I did not find out how many they broke.

The hole was thirty-five feet from the ground, and such a fall as that would have broken a thousand eggs, had that number been in the cavity.

About two months later, I was in the vicinity of this tree, and saw in a neighboring tree a large hole resembling the first. I did not climb to the hole, for from all appearance, the brood had hatched and were gone. I think this hole was excavated by the same pair of birds.

On May 21st, I was collecting in a large strip of woods, about a quarter of a mile from town, when I saw in a live maple an excavation of H. pileatus. I climbed up and found the nest contained four young birds and one nearly fresh egg. This is a beautiful egg, glossy white, and measures 1.25×.95 inches.

During the time I was in the tree, both old birds were perched not far off, and every now and then would utter their harsh cackle.

Later in the season I found another nest of this bird; it was in a live maple, twenty feet from the ground. The young birds had flown.


A Day’s Collecting.


On the 23d of May, last season, my chum and myself started out for a good solid day’s work in the field. We took our climbing irons, egg-boxes and a big lunch, for it has been our experience that it makes a fellow awful hungry to walk eight or ten miles and shin up as many trees before dinner.

About a mile from the village we came to a small grove of high timber. Just before we reached it, a crow flew out to meet us, circled over our heads and returned again, a sure sign of a nest. We had, however, considerable difficulty in finding it, as it was remarkably well concealed for so large a nest, in a beech about thirty-five feet from the ground. It contained five highly incubated eggs of nearly uniform size, but differing considerably in the ground color and markings. The average measurement was 1.60×1.12. Three of the eggs were dark green, marked with darker blotches, and the other two a much lighter green in ground color with the same colored blotches.

After leaving this grove, we passed through several orchards without finding anything until we came to the last one, where my chum spied a nest in a low apple tree. Approaching it carefully, we obtained a good view of the bird, which I at once knew to be a Black-billed Cuckoo (Coccygus erythrophthalmus.) The nest contained three dull green eggs, very peculiar in regard to size, as one was small, the next larger and the last measured nearly twice the size of the first. One was fresh and the other two in different stages of incubation.

We stopped here to blow our eggs and eat our dinner, as it was about noon. After we had accomplished this last most important duty, we continued our search looking here and there, but seeing no desirable nest, until it began to get rather discouraging, when, while hunting for the nests of the White-rumped Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus excubitorides) in a large field of thorn apple trees, skirted by a swampy woods, I made the great find of the day. I was passing by an old dead stump, when, from between the roots and almost under my feet, a brownish colored bird started up and flew away, making a peculiar whistling noise as it went. Looking down, I saw a fine set of four eggs of the American Woodcock (Philohela minor.) They were of unusual size, the largest measuring 1.85×1.10 in.

This ended our day’s collecting, and we went home well satisfied with the fruits of our labor.


To enlarge your collection without cash. In order to increase the circulation of our magazine, we have decided to give to the persons sending us the 5 greatest number of paid yearly subscribers for the B. S. O. before June 1st, 1888, the following prizes:


To the first person answering the above offer by sending in their subscription and stating plainly that you wish to try for a prize, we will give a fine set of four eggs of the Prothonotary Warbler, or a set of four of the Black Snow-bird. To the fifth person, we will give a set of four eggs of the Blue Yellow-backed Warbler. To the tenth person, we will give a set of 2 eggs of the Red-tailed Hawk; to the fifteenth, twentieth and twenty-fifth each a copy of Davies’ “Key” 3d edition. We will also send every person wishing to try for a prize, and stating so in their letter, a few extra copies to use as samples.


To be entitled to any of the first five prizes, you must (if not already a subscriber) send in your subscription with your first list. Subscriptions mailed from your office May 31st, will count, but not later. The names of the winners will be published in the June B. S. O. and prizes forwarded June 4th.

Should two or more parties send the same number of subscribers, the highest prize will be awarded to the party whose list was sent earliest. We can give Cash in place of prizes if desired. Commence work at once and secure a prize. Address, plainly,



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For an amateur printer, who can print his own paper and make the press pay for itself in a short time. Make me an offer, or write for particulars, reasons for selling, etc., and address


For E. H. B.

43 Fenn St., Pittsfield. Mass.


For 1888 is better than ever, and should be in the hands of every person contemplating buying SEEDS, PLANTS or BULBS. It contains 3 Colored plates, thousands of Illustrations, and nearly 150 pages, telling what to buy, and where to get it, and naming lowest prices for honest goods. Price of GUIDE only 10 cents, including a Certificate good for 10 cents worth of Seeds.

Rochester, N. Y.



Still in Stock.

These will be closed out at very low rates.


25 arrow-heads, slightly imperfect, 25c
Fine Moss Agate Pebbles, 15c. per doz
Obsidian Pebbles, 25c. 100

San Diego Co.,   California.


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Every description of Job and Commercial Printing neatly done at Lowest Prices. Send copy for estimates on any printing you need. Printing for Naturalists and Collectors’ Papers or Magazines, Circulars, Price Lists, Data Blanks, etc.


Edited and Published by   W. H. FOOTE.

A Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Study of Birds, their Nests and Eggs.

It has a large and varied list of contributors and is of great interest to both young and advanced Oologists and Ornithologists.

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