“The Baltimore Oriole arrives from the south, perhaps from Mexico, or perhaps from a more distant region, and enters Louisiana as soon as spring commences there.  It approaches the planter’s house, and searches amongst the surrounding trees for a suitable place in which to settle for the season.  It prefers, I believe, the trees that grow on the sides of a gentle declivity.  The choice of a twig being made, the male Oriole becomes extremely conspicuous. He flies to the ground, searches for the longest and driest filaments of the moss, which in that state is known by the name of Spanish Beard, and whenever he finds one fit for his purpose, ascends to the favorite spot where the nest is to be, uttering all the while a continued chirrup, which seems to imply that he knows no fear, but on the contrary fancies himself the acknowledged king of the woods . . . No sooner does he reach the branches, thank will bill and claws, aided by an astonishing sagacity, he fastens one end of the moss to a twig, with as much art as a sailor might do, and takes up the other end, which he secures also, but to another twig a few inches off . . . The female comes to his assistance with another filament of moss . . . inspects the work which her mate has done, and immediately commences her operations, placing each thread in a contrary direction to those arranged by her lordly mate . . . Their love increases daily as they see the graceful fabric approaching perfection, until their conjugal affection and faith becomes as complete as in any species of birds with which I am acquainted.” [. . . ]

“The plumage of the male bird is not mature until the third spring, and I have therefore in my drawing represented the males of the first, second, and third years.  The female will form the subject of another plate.  The male of the first year was taken for a female by my engraver, during my absence, and marked as such, although some of the plates were corrected the moment I saw the mistake.”

Curator’s Note:  In our copy the plate is uncorrected.

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