FOOD, ETC. Humming-birds have slender bills, which are also generally and in some ex tremely so. the form of the bill exhibiting adaptation to the kind of flowers from which the bird obtains its food—straight in come, curved in others. The bill of the `swordbill' (Doci mastes ensiferus) is 5 inches long, much longer than the head. body, and tail of the bird together, while in Rhamphomieron mierorhynehum the bill is only of an inch long. In the sickle billed bumming-birds (see I TERMIT H r NI :11 I NC 13m) the bill is notably curved so as to form almost one-third of a circle, while in Avocettnla it is sharply and abruptly recurved at the tip. Himning-birds do not, as was long supposed, feed on honey alone, but to a considerable extent, and some of them perhaps chiefly. on insects. not excepting spiders, while they often snatch away the insects which have become entangled in spiders' webs. The lower mandible fits into the upper and the bill is thus adapted as a tube for in which, a, well as in seizing small inseet, within the of Ilow.rs. the tongue is also a 11•I• loin, of being darted out to a mil siderable length; the bone of the longue is much elongate I. and its branches pas, round the back of the ...IOW to the fial•ilt•ad. When' y n•4.1 in 1...1111t before the line of the eyes. The tongue itself of two filaments. joined together for the greater part of length. and sepa rated al the lip. The of humming-birds are very long and powerful, the other the low.c,t. and the rest shorter ill W1111111011'1' bird: exquisite nests of shred, of bark. soft grass, or cottony substances. They are Idaced in a great •ariet of from 11 mere saddling upon branch to an attachment to the tip of a pendent and swaying leaf or tendril; and often thy exterior is Ina& almost invisible by having a coating of lichens or something else allying it closely to its background. Thy egg, are invari ably two in number. and they are always plain labile. The tiny trivin.r,, yt•ry bDIJ in defense of their nest, and young. and are said to strike fearlessly with needle-like bills at the eyes of birds of prey, which they far surpass in agility and rapidity of flight. They are very easily. however. imbued will in a person with whom they are familiar. and have been known to return again in spring, after a Winter migration to a warmer climate, to the window from which they had been allowed to escape. .Nttenipts to keep them in eonlinement have generally failed. and few have ever been carried alive acne., :Most of the hummers have no song. their only being querulous squeaks of xvrath or fear. -1 few of the tropical forms. nevertheless, are said to be slightly musical. The skins of litimmimr-birds were employed for ornamental purposes by the more civilized .\inerieon races before the dis covery of .\in•rien by L'aropeans. and were used IT the Mexicans for making the pictures which excited the admiration of their Spanish l'011 quprors.
Ex the present space limits it will not be possible to give any adequate description of tlo various species of humming and this article must be confined to men tion of the illustrated herewith, and to a brief account of the butter-known species of the United States. The helinet•crests (oxypogon)
are .\ndean. and t we their name to their high pointed head ornaments. The coquettes (Lo phornisl are small, moth• ornamented hummers of the .1mazoll region. and are easily recognized by their fan-like crests. and by the spangled on each side of the neck. They arc numerous and well scattered in South .lineriea, where one of the most beautiful is the 'tufted' coquette of the island of Trinidad and the adjacent mainland. The racket-tailed hummer (Steganura whose homy is a limited region near the head of the Amazon. is among the smallest and most extraordinary of these birds; and is described as crossing• recrossing. and 'snapping" in a marvelous way its long tail feat hers in the air, as it darts about, espeeially when a rival male is near. Thy long-tailed species of the genus Aithurus are \Vest Indian; the one figured is a denizen of Jamaica.
HMO.% r, LTC. (if the several humming bird, Of the Unite.I States, the ruby-throated (Trochlias co/ahri.,), is most widespread familiar. It extend, tar to the north in summer, and may be found breeding from Florida to Iltolson Bay. in winter it retires to subtropical regions. all I i, found from southein Florida to Central America. It is less than t inches long, :tint the jan•ipal color is bright shilling green. The throat of the male is a beautiful metallic ruhy-red. exquisite bird arrive, in the Northern early in Ably, with the opening of the cherry-blossoms. and goes south bite in August or eally in September. In the Rocky Alountain region of the I idled States the rnbythroat is replaced by the broad-tailed Ill1111 ( pl./0/et It millI•W hat larger bronze-green bird with rosy-purple throat. On the Pa•itie Toast the ...minion limmin•r i- thy Nootka Sound or rufous humming-bird (Selo's phoriiv ruins), about the size of the rubs throat, but deep rufous above, with the throat brilliant scarlet. It i, notable for its occurrence as far north as Nootka Sound. -Ilaska• but it winters in Alexi...). Thy eommonest species in California, where it is resident through the year. is humming-bird .1 tom I. a trills smaller than thy ruhythroat, and of more exquisite colora tion. The male is bronze-green shove, with the whole head and throat brilliant purplish l/r rose red.
BlittunatAPHY. The ilieralllre deVill•d to 1111111 )11111g-birds is very extensive, in•luding several hundred titles, but the most important works are: thoibl, Monograph of the Trochiliehr TAM (1011. 18(ii ). Irnd EillOt. Synopsis and Classilieo the Towhilidir Is79), while to the American reader. Ridgway, 'Thy lhnnming Rink" (Annual Vepori of M. Smithsonian Institution for NM), Washington, 1-9Y21, is by far thy best popular work. See IlEt.xtrr•Citi:sr; llt:amir IluxtxtING-Iltun; Strx•Itian.