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Roseate Tern
A single harsh note, each, rises above the din made by the common terns, and at once identifies the voice of the roseate species.
Least Tern
All terns keep so closely within the lines of family traditions that a description of one member answers for each, with a few minor changes; and the reader is referred to the life history of the common tern for fuller particulars of the least species, to avoid constant repetition.
Black Tern
By the end of July the young black terns have sufficiently developed to join the flocks of adults that even thus early show the restlessness called forth by the instinct for migration.
Black Skimmer
Flocks of skimmers come out of the tropics in May, and, like the terns, choose a sandy shore for their nesting colony, and, like the terns again, construct no proper nest for the three or four buffy white, chocolate-marked eggs that are dropped on the sand, high up on the beach, among the drift and shells.
Greater Shearwater
Off the banks of Newfoundland and southward, passengers on the ocean liners sometimes see immense flocks of these birds, smaller than gulls, though larger than pigeons, flying close over the waves, in a direct course, with strong wing beats, then floating often half a mile with no perceptible motion of the wings.
Wilson's Stormy Petrel
Audubon noted that these petrels were seldom seen about their nesting sites during the day, but seemed to have some nocturnal proclivities; for they approached the shore after dark, and flew around like so many bats in the twilight, all the while uttering a wild, plaintive cry.
Double-Crested Cormorant
In some parts of the United States, but chiefly in the Bay of Fundy and beyond, the double-crested cormorants retire to nest in large companies on the ledges of cliffs along the sea, or in low bushes or bushy trees inland.
American Merganser
Mergansers build a nest of leaves, grasses, and moss, lined with down from their breasts, in a hole of a tree or cliff, where from six to ten creamy-buff eggs are laid in June, and tended exclusively by the mother, even after they have evolved into fluffy ducklings.
Red-breasted Merganser
While the construction of the nest of these sometimes con-fused relatives is the same, the red-breasted merganser makes its cradle directly on the ground, among rocks or bushes, but never far from water.
Hooded Merganser
Sportsmen often find small companies of hooded merganzers in the same lake with mallard, black, wood, and other ducks that, like them, delight in woody, well-watered interior districts.
Mallard Duck
The mallard is by far the most important species we have, as it is the most plentiful, the most widely distributed, and the best known, being the ancestor of the common domestic duck.
Black Duck
So closely resembling the mallard in habits that an account of them need not be repeated here, the black duck is not so common in the interior nor in the south.
As this duck is very shy and full of fear, it dozes most of its time away when the sun is high, securely hidden in the tall sedges that line the marshy lake or quiet stream.
The baldpates, keeping just in advance of the teeth of winter with the large army of other ducks that come flying out of the north in wedge-shaped battalions when the first ice begins to form.
Green-winged Teal
Among the earliest arrivals from the horde of water-fowl that follow the food supply from the far north into the United States every autumn, the green-wings are exceedingly abundant in the fresh water lakes and ponds of the interior.
Blue-winged Teal
Formerly these teals were very common indeed in New England, the middle Atlantic and the middle states, whereas for many seasons past the same old story is heard there from the sports-men.
Like most other ducks of this subfamily, the shoveler is not common in the northern Atlantic states. Salt water never attracts it; but, on the contrary, it rejoices in lakes, sluggish rivers and streams, isolated grass-grown ponds, and even puddles made by the rain.
From the west and the north sportsmen follow the ducks into the lower Mississippi Valley region and our southern sea-board states, where the majority winter. Widgeons and black ducks often associate with them there.
Wood Duck
The wood duck is far too beautiful a bird to be killed for food. Its economic value is too small to be worth a moment's consideration.
In the sloughs and shallow waters of the interior—too shallow for diving—the redheads dabble about like any pond ducks, and tip up one extremity while the other probes the muddy bottom for food.
The wild celery, or vallisneria spiralis, which is no celery at all, but an eel grass growing entirely beneath the water, took its name from Antonio Vallisneri, an Italian naturalist, and it was passed on as a specific name to the canvasback.
Greater Scaup Duck
It was Charles Bonaparte, Prince of Canino, who first named this duck, which had been previously confounded with the two other broadbills, as a distinct species; and we are still indebted to that tireless enthusiast for the greater part of our information concerning it, which is little enough.
American Golden-eye
Wonderfully expert swimmers and divers, their fully webbed feet, that make these accomplishments possible, so interfere with their progress on land that they visit it only rarely.
Because it can so illy protect itself on land, for it is a wretched walker, and doubtless also because it chooses to nest in countries where the fox and other appreciative eaters of its flesh abound, the bufflehead enters a hollow tree to lay her light buff or olive eggs.
Old Squaw
There can be no excuse for killing these fish eaters for their flesh, which is rank and apparently in the very prime of toughness throughout their stay here.
American Eider
Audubon found large colonies of the American eider nesting in Labrador in April, and gathered some fresh eggs for food in May, when ice was still thick in the rivers.
American Scoter
The Surf Scoter, or Sea Coot (Oidemia perspicillata), has a square white mark on the crown of its head and a triangular one on the nape, to distinguish it from its sombre and rather uninteresting relatives.
Ruddy Duck
Tall sedges near the water's edge make the ideal nesting or hunting resort of these ducks, that feed chiefly on eel grass and other vegetable matter growing either above or below the water in shallow bays and inlets, salt or fresh.
American White-fronted Goose
But fatal consequences await on ducks and geese alike that do not know enough to toughen their flesh and make it rank by a fish diet.
Snow Goose
The Lesser Snow Goose (Chen hyperborea), a smaller species, identical in plumage with the preceding, and very like it in habits, nests in Alaska, and wanders down the Pacific coast in winter, eastward to the Mississippi and southward to the Gulf.
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