Palumbus Migratorius: The Pigeon of Passage.
It is about the size of our English Wood-Pigeon; the Bill black;
the iris of the Eye red; the Head dusky blew; the breast and belly
faint red. Above the shoulder of the Wing is a patch of feathers that
shines like Gold; the wing colour'd like the head, having some few
spots of black, (except that the larger feathers of it are dark brown)
with some white on their exterior vanes. The Tail is very long, covered
with a black Feather; under wich the rest are white; the Legs and
Of these there come in Winter to Virginia and Carolina,
from the North, incredible Numbers; insomuch that in some places where
they roost (which they do on one another's Backs) they often break
down the limbs of Oaks with their weight, and leave their Dung some
Inches thick under the Trees they roost on. Where they light, they
so effectually clear the Woods of Acorns and other Mast, that the
Hogs that come after them, to the detriment of the Planters, fare
very poorly. In Virginia I have seen them fly in such continued
trains three days successively, that there was not the least interval
in losing sight of them, but that some where or other in the Air they
were to be seen continuing their flight South. In mild Winters there
are few or none to be seen. A hard Winter drives them South for the
greater plenty and variety of Mast, Berries, &c. which they are deprived
of in the North by continual Frost and Snow.
In their passage the People of New York and Philadelphia
shoot many of them as they fly, from their Balconies and Tops of Houses;
and in New England there are such Numbers, that with long Poles
they knock them down from their Roosts in the Night in great numbers.
The only information I have had from whence they come, and their placers
of breeding, was from a Canada Indian, who told me he had seen
them make their Nests in Rocks by the sides of Rivers and Lakes far
North of the River St. Lawrence, where he said he shot them.
It is remarkable that none are ever seen to return, at least this
way, and what other Rout they may take is unknown.
Quercus Esculi divisura foliis amplioribus aculeatis: The Red Oak.
The Leaves of this Oak retain no certain form; but sport into various
shapes more than other Oaks do. The Bark is dark colour'd, very thick
and strong, and for tanning preferable to any other kind of Oak; the
grain is course, the wood spongy, and not durable. They grow on high
land: the Acorns vary in shape, as appears by the figures of them;
they being from the ame kind of oak.