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tribe, is a substance in strength and elasticity resembling whalebone, divided into two branches each of the thickness of a knitting needle, which pass on each side of the neck, to the back part of the head, where they unite and run up along the scull in a groove covered with a thin membrane or sheath; they descend into the upper mandible by the right side of the bill, to which they are attached by another extremely elastic membrane that yields when the tongue is thrown out, and contracts when it is retracted. In the other Woodpeckers we find the same apparatus, differing a little in different species. In some, these cartilaginous substances reach only to the top of the cranium, in others to the nostril, and in one species they are wound round the bone of the right eye, which, for its accommodation, projects considerably more than the left.
The tongue of the Golden-winged Woodpecker, like the others is supplied with a viscid fluid secreted by two glands, situated under the ear on each side, and are at least five times as large in this species as in any other of its size. In this the tongue is continually moistened, so that every small insect that it touches adheres to it.
The form and strength of the claws and tail, prove that the bird was designed for climbing; in fact I have scarcely ever seen it on a tree for five minutes at a time without climbing, hopping, not only upwards and downwards but spirally, pursuing and playing with its fellow round the body of the tree. I have also seen them a hundred times, alight on the trunk of the tree, though more frequently on the branches; but that they climb, construct their nests, lay the same number and similarly colored eggs, and have the manners and habits of the Woodpeckers, is notorious to every American Naturalist, while they have no resemblance to the Cuckoo except in the bill being somewhat curved, and the toes being placed, two before, and two behind.
It may not be improper, however, to remark, that there is another species of Woodpecker, also called Gold-winged,* which inhabits the country near the Cape of Good Hope, and resembles the present, it is said, almost exactly in color and form of the bill, and in the tint and markings of its plumage, with this difference, that
* Picus Caper, TURTON's Linn.
the mustaches are red instead of black, and the lower side of the wings, as well as their shafts, are also red, while the others are golden yellow. It is also considerably less. With respect to the habits of this new species we have no particular account; but there is little doubt of their being found to coincide with those of the one which we are now describing.
The abject character which the Count de Buffon, with equal eloquence and absurdity, has drawn of the whole tribe of Woodpeckers, belongs not to the elegant and sprightly bird now before us. How far it is applicable to any of them, will be examined hereafter. He is not “ constrained to drag out an insipid existence in boring the bark and hard fibres of trees to extract his prey,” for he frequently finds in the loose ruins of a mouldering stump, the capital of a nation of insects, more than is sufficient for the wants of a week. He cannot be said to “lead a mean and gloomy life, without an intermission of labour,” who usually feasts at the first peep of dawn, and spends the early and sweetest hours of the morning on the highest peaks of the tallest trees, calling on his mate or companions, or pursuing and gambolling with them for hours together.
Can it be said that “necessity never grants an interval of sound repose ,, to that bird, who while other tribes are exposed to the rude peltings of the pitiless storm, lodges dry and secure in a snug chamber of his own constructing, or that the narrow circumference of a tree, circumscribes his dull round of life” who, as the seasons and inclination inspire, roams from the frigid to the torrid zone, feasting on the abundance of various regions? Or is it a proof that “his appetite is never softened by delicacy of taste," because he so often varies his bill of fare, occasionally preferring to animal food the rich milkiness of
young indian corn, and the nourishing berries of the wild cherry, gum and cedar? It is truly ridiculous and astonishing that such absurdities should escape the lips or pen of one so able to do justice to the respective merits of his subjects; but the Count de Buffon had too often a favourite theory to prop up, that led him insensibly astray, and so, forsooth, the whole tribe of Woodpeckers must look sad, sour, and be miserable, to indulge the caprice of a whimsical Philosopher who takes it into his head that they are and ought to be so.
But the Count is not the only European who has misrepresented and traduced this beautiful bird. One has given him brown legs,* another a yellow neck;t a third has declared him a cuckoo, and in an English translation of Linnæus, lately published, he is characterised as follows" Body striped with black and gray, cheeks red, chin black, never climbs on trees, &c.” which is about as correct as if in describing the human species we should say—skin striped with black and green, cheeks blue, chin orange, never walks on foot, &c. The
pages of natural history should resemble a faithful mirror, in which mankind may recognise the true images of living originals; instead of which we too often find this department resembling the hazy medium of wretched windowglass, through whose crooked protuberances every object appears so strangely distorted, that we scarcely know our most intimate neighbours and acquaintances.
The Gold-winged Woodpecker has the back and wings above, of a dark umber, transversely marked with equi-distant streaks of black, upper parts of the head an iron gray, cheeks and parts surrounding the eyes a fine cinnamon colour; from the lower mandible a stripe of black, an inch in length, passes down each side of the throat, and a lunated spat of a vivid blood red, covers the back of the head, its points reaching within half an inch of each eye; the sides of the neck, below this, incline to a blueish gray; throat and chin a very light cinnamon or fawn color; the breast is ornamented with a beautiful crescent of deep black; the belly and vent, white, tinged with yellow and scattered with innumerable round spots of black, every feather having a distinct central spot, those on the thighs and vent, being heart-shaped and largest. The lower or inner side of the wing and tail, the shafts of the larger feathers, and indeed of almost every feather are of a beautiful golden yellow, that on the shafts of the primaries being very distinguishable even when the wings are shut. The rump is white, and remarkably prominent. The tail coverts white, and curiously serrated with black; upper side of the tail and tip below, black, edged with light loose filaments of a cream color, the two middle ones
* See Encyc. Brit. Art. l'icus. f Latham Klein. “ P. griseo nigroque Iransversim striatus". .“ truncos arborum non scandit.” Ind. Orn. I. p. 242.
nearly: wholly so. Bill, an inch and a half long, of a dusky horni color, somewhat bent, ridged only on the top, tapering, but not to a point, being a little wedge-formed. Legs and feet light blue; iris hazel. Length twelve inches, extent, twenty. The female differs from the male chiefly in the greater obscurity of the fine colors, and in wanting the black mustaches on each side of the throat. This description was taken from a very beautiful and perfect specimen.
Although this species is, generally speaking, migratory, yet they often remain with us in Pennsylvania, during the winter. They also inhabit the continent from Hudson's Bay to Georgia, and have been found on the north west coast of America.
They arrive at Hudson's Bay in April, and leave it in September. Mr. Hearne, however, informs us, that the Gold-winged Woodpecker is almost the only species of Woodpecker that winters at Hudson's Bay. The natives there call it Ou-thee-quan-norou, from the golden color of the shafts and lower side of the wings. It has numerous provincial appellations in the different states of the Union, such as High hole," from the situation of its nest, " Flittock," " Yucker” « Piut” “Flicker" by which last it is usually known in Pennsylvania. These names have probably originated in a fancied resemblance of its notes to the sound of the words, for one of its most common cries consists of two notes or syllables frequently repeated, which with the help of the hearer's inagination may easily be made to resemble each or all of them.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO. Art. XVI.— The Bridge over a part of the Delaware, at Phila
[With an Engraving. ] NorwITHSTANDING the opposition which interest and prejudice excited against this noble enterprize, the legislatures of New Jer. sey and Pennsylvania have granted permission to erect a bridge from the Jersey shore to the island opposite to this city. The arguments employed to defeat the plans of Messrs. Farrand and Sharp are few and feeble. It has been objected, in the first place, that they propose to build but a half-way bridge, which will not
obviate the necessity of a ferry; and it is added that if a traveller once gets into a boat, it is not material to him how far he is to be conveyed in that manner. As the ferries are at present, the distance run by the boats from Market-street to the opposite shore is 8750 feet, or about 14 miles, by the usual course round the old wreck at the north end of the bar; and 10,200 feet, or two miles, if they go round the south end of the island. From our wharf to the island, the distance is less than 900 feet, and from the city wharves to the Jersey shore, it is nearly 4000 feet. Thus the distance will be a-bridged nearly 11-12 ths of the water navigation round the island. The serious difficulties arising from running aground, which so frequently occurs, and the imminent danger and loss of lives during the winter, will be entirely avoided. But it is not necessary to enlarge upon this head, because the bridge cannot supersede the use of the boats, until experience shall have convinced the public that it offers a preferable mode of crossing the river. Until that fact shall be clearly demonstrated, the boats will continue to ply, and every person may select the conveyance which he prefers.
It is further objected, that the bridge, by obstructing the stream, may create bars in the main channel, on this side of the island, and thus become injurious to the navigation of the port. This is really too ridiculous for grave refutation. On the other side of the island, the water is shallow and it flows at the rate of 14 knots or miles an hour. On this, which is the main ship channel, the rate is 32 knots. A sluggish, shallow stream is to force obstructions into one which is deep, strong and rapid!
Again, it is said that the city side of the island will be wharfed out, so as to narrow the passage of the water in the main channel. The port-wardens to whom the regulation of wharves is confided, by act of assembly, can obviate this objection without any difficulty.
We throw out of view, as unworthy of consideration, the paltry argument, that the projectors of this important enterprize are actuated by motives of self-interest. What public undertaking among us has ever been achieved, without touching this chord? Let it be demonstrated that the proposed canal to connect the Chesapeake and Delaware, will yield 6 per cent to the stockholders, and that project will not be suffered to sleep in the Philosophical Society a