Icterus Ex Aureo Nigroque varius: The Baltimore-Bird.
Is about the Size of a Sparrow; Weighing a little above an Ounce.
The Bill is sharp and tapering; the Head and half way down the Back
of a shining Black. The Wings, except the Upper-Parts (which are
yellow) are black, with most of the Feathers edged on both Sides
with White. The rest of the Body is of a bright Colour, between
Red and Yellow. The two uppermost Feathers of the Tail are Black;
the Rest Yellow: The Legs and Feet of a Lead-Colour. It disappears
in Winter. This Gold-colour'd Bird I have only seen in Virginia
and Maryland; there being none of them in Carolina.
It is said to have its Name from the Lord Baltimore's Coat
of Arms, which are Paly of six Topaz and Diamond, a Bend, counterchang'd
; his Lordship being a Proprietor in those Countries. It breeds
on the Branches of tall Trees, and usually on the Poplar or Tulip
Tree. Its Nest is built in a particular Manner, supported only by
two Twigs fix'd to the Verge of the Nest, and hanging most commonly
at the Extremity of a Bough.
Arbor Tulipsera Virginiana tripartito aceris folio, media lacinia
This Tree grows to a very large Size; some of them being Thirty
Foot in Circumference. Its Boughs are very unequal and irregular,
not streight, but making several Bends or Elbows; which peculiarly
makes this Tree distinguishable at a great Distance, from all other
Trees, even when it has lost its Leaves. The Leaves stand on Foot-stalks,
about a Finger in Length: They somewhat resemble the smaller Maple
in Shape, but are usually five or six Inches over, and instead of
being pointed at the End, seem to be cut off with a Notch.
The Flowers have been always compared to Tulips: whence the Tree
has received its Name; tho', I think, in shape they resemble more
the Fritillaria. They are composed of seven or eight Petala;
the Upper-part being of a pale-green, and the Lower-part shaded
with red and a little yellow intermix'd. They are at first enclosed
by a Perianthium, which opens and falls back when the Flower
blows. These Trees are found in most parts of the Northern Continent
of America, from the Cape of Florida to New-England.
The Timber is of great Use.