Monday, 7 May 2012

Additions to the Avifauna of the Bermudas

VerrillAdditions to the Avifauna of the Bermudas
From American Journal of Science.—Fourth Series, Vol. XII, No. 67.—July, 1901. Researched By Dennis Lien; digitized by Doug Frizzle, May 2012.

Art. VII.—Additions to the Avifauna of the Bermudas with diagnoses of two new Subspecies; by A. Hyatt Verrill.
During a recent collecting trip to the Bermudas, from March 10th to May 9th, 16 species of birds were observed that appear not to have been previously recorded:
Phaeton oethereus. Red-billed Tropic-bird. Several were seen on Harrington Sound in April.
Larus glaucus. Glaucous Gull. A large flock remained some time. Seen about the islets in Harrington Sound early in March. Were regarded as something new by the inhabitants.
Melanerpes Carolinus. Red-bellied Woodpecker, Chab. Seen April 8th, on a Pride of India tree.
Passer montanus. European Tree-sparrow. Locally common in Paget Parish. Naturalized; resident. Probably introduced with the English Sparrow.
Carduelis cardudis. European Goldfinch. Abundant on the southern and eastern parts of the islands, especially about Hungry Bay. Accidentally introduced about 1885, from a wreck. Previously recorded by Reid as an escaped cage-bird.
Spinus tristis. American Goldfinch. Resident. Not uncommon. Intentionally introduced about 1896, near Hungry Bay.
Spizella monticola. Tree-sparrow. A flock was seen several times at Hungry Bay during the latter part of March.
Sitta Carolinensis. White-breasted Nuthatch. Seen April 14th to 30th, on cedars at Harrington House.
Dendroica Pennsylvania. Chestnut-sided Warbler.
Dendroica striata. Black-poll Warbler.
Dendroica Blackburnioe. Blackburnian Warbler. The last three were seen in flocks of other migrants, March 12th to 15th, at Hamilton.
Saxicola oenanthe. Wheatear. Introduced recently near St. Georges. Appears to be perfectly naturalized. Previously recorded by Reid as a rare migrant.
Mimus polyglottus. Mocking Bird. Resident. Introduced about 1892, at Bailey Bay. Not uncommon at Walsingham and Paynter's Vale. Appears to be now naturalized.
The following four species were identified from the local collection in the Public Library at Hamilton: Orchard Oriole; Thrasher or Brown Thrush; Blue Jay; Red-shouldered Hawk.
The abundant resident Ground Dove proves to be the Bahama subspecies (Columbigallina passerina Bahamensis). It always has a black bill.
The resident Bluebird is decidedly larger and brighter colored than the true sialis. It is a new subspecies.
Sialia sialis Bermudensis A. H. Verrill.
Blue of the upper parts of male brilliant purplish azure, a little brighter on rump; chin light blue. Breast, sides and flanks deep purplish-cinnamon, much darker and richer than in North American specimens. Female more brownish with brighter rump and back than in the true sialis. Edge of wing, at carpal joint, distinctly pure white.
Length, 6.75 to 7.5 inches; wing, 4 to 4.25; tail; 2.75 to 3.25. Nest usually built in crevices and holes of cliffs; eggs usually pure white, rarely tinged with greenish-blue.
The resident cardinal bird of Bermuda also differs as a subspecies, from the American forms:
Cardinalis cardinalis Somersii A. H. Verrill.
Adult male: Lower parts brilliant orange-vermillion, brighter and more orange than in C. cardinalis. Upper parts are also clearer and brighter, deep lake-red, with scarcely any gray on tips of feathers. Vermillion of checks and crest brighter and clearly defined. Bill deep scarlet. Female lighter than in cardinalis especially below; breast buffy yellow; belly almost pure white; upper parts clear ashy gray; crest and ear-coverts strongly tinged with red; wings and tail nearly as in the male.
Length, 8.75 inches; wing, 3.75; tail, 4.75; culmen, 0.80.

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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.