previous   |   next

[Lewis] 
Monday March 3rd 1806.
 

       Two of our perogues have been lately injured very much in consequence of the tide leaving them partially on shore.    they split by this means with their own weight.    we had them drawn out on shore.    our convalessents are slowly on the recovery. Lapage is taken sick, gave him a doze of Scots pills which did not operate.    no movement of the party today worthy of notice.    every thing moves on in the old way and we are counting the days which seperate us from the 1st of April and which bind us to fort Clatsop.— The large black and white pheasant  [1] is peculiar to that portion of the Rocky Mountain watered by the Columbia river.    at least we did not see them in these mountains until I we reached the waters of that river nor since we have left those mountains.    they are about the size of a well grown hen.    the contour of the bird is much that of the redish brown pheasant common to our country.    the tail is proportionably as long and is composed of eighteen feathers of equal length, of an uniform dark brown tiped with black.    the feathers of the body are of a dark brown black and white.    the black is that which most predominates, and wh[i]te feathers are irregularly intermixed with those of the black and dark brown on every part, but in greater proportion about the neck breast and belley.    this mixture gives it very much the appearance of that kind of dunghill fowl which the hen-wives of our country call dommanicker.    in the brest of some of these birds the white predominates most.    they are not furnished with tufts of long feathers on the neck as our pheasants are, but have a space on each side of the neck about 2½ inches long and 1 In. in width on which no feathers grow, tho' tis concealed by the feathers which are inserted on the hinder and front part of the neck; this space seems to surve them to dilate or contract the feathers of the neck with more ease.    the eye is dark, the beak black, curved somewhat pointed and upper exceeds the under chap.    they have a narrow stripe of vermillion colour above each eye which consists of a fleshy substance not protuberant but uneven with a number of minute rounded dots.    it has four toes on each foot of which three are in front. it is booted to the toes.    it feeds on wild fruits, particularly the berry of the sac-a-commis, and much also on the seed of the pine and fir.—

 

       The small speckled pheasant  [2] found in the same country with that above discribed, differs from it only in point of size and somewhat in colour.    it is scarcely half the size of the other; ascociates in much larger flocks and is very gentle.    the black is more predominant and the dark bron feathers less frequent in this than the larger species.    the mixture of white is also more general on every part of this bird.    it is considerably smaller than our pheasant and the body reather more round.    in other particulars they differ not at all from the large black and white pheasant.    this by way of distinction I have called the speckled pheasant.    the flesh of both these species of party coloured phesants is of a dark colour and with the means we had of cooking them not very well flavored.

 

       The small brown pheasant  [3] is an inhabitant of the same country and is of the size and shape of the specled pheasant which it also resembles in it's economy and habits.    the stripe above the eye in this species is scarcely perceptable, and is when closely examined of a yellow or orrange colour instead of the vermillion of the outhers.    it's colour is an uniform mixture of dark and yellowish brown with a slight mixture of brownish white on the breast belley and the feathers underneath the tail.    the whol compound is not unlike that of the common quail  [4] only darker.    this is also booted to the toes.    the flesh of this is preferable to either of the others and that of the breast is as white as the pheasant of the Atlantic coast.— the redish brown pheasant  [5] has been previously described.— The Crow raven and Large Blackbird  [6] are the same as those of our country only that the crow is here much smaller yet it's note is the same. I observe no difference either between the hawks of this coast and those of the Atlantic.  [7] I have observed the large brown hawk, the small or sparrow hawk, and the hawk of an intermediate size with a long tail and blewish coloured wings remarkably swift in flight and very firce.    sometimes called in the U' States the hen hawk.    these birds seem to be common to every part of this country, and the hawks crows & ravens build their nests in great numbers along the high and inaccessable clifts of the Columbia river and it's S. E. branch where we passed along them.—    we also met with the large hooting Owl  [8] under the Rocky mountain on the Kooskoskee river. it did not appear to differ materially from those of our country. I think it's colours reather deeper and brighter than with us, particularly the redish brown.    it is the same size and form.—




[Clark] 
Monday March 3rd 1806
 

       Two of our Canoes have been lately injured very much in consequence of the tide leaveing them partially on Shore.    they Split by this means with their own weight.    we had them drawn out on Shore.    our convalessents are Slowly on the recovery. La page is taken Sick.    gave him Some of Scotts Pills which did not opperate.    no movement of the party to day worthy of notice.    every thing moves on in the old way and we are Counting the days which Seperate us from the 1st of April, & which bind us to Fort Clatsop.—.—.

 

       The Small Speckled Pheasant found in the Rocky Mountains, and differ from the large black and white pheasant only in point of Size, and Somewhat in colour.    it is scercely half the Size of the other; assosiates in much larger flocks and is also very gentle.    the black is more predominate and the dark brown feathers less frequent in this than the larger Species.    the mixture of white is also more general on every part of this bird.    it is considerably Smaller than our Pheasant and the body reather more round.    in other particulars they differ not at all, from the large black and white Pheasant.    this by way of distinction I have called the Speckled Pheasant.    the flesh of both these Species of party coloured Pheasant is of a dark colour, and with the means we had of cooking them were only tolerably flavoured tho' these birds 〈are〉 would be fine well cooked.

 

       The small Brown Pheasant is an inhabitant of the Same Country and is of the Size and Shape of the Speckled Pheasant, which it also resembles in it's economy and habits, the Stripe above the eye in this Species is scercely preceptable and is when closely examined of a yellow or orrange colour in Sted of the vermillion of the others.    it's colour is of a uniform mixture of dark and yellowish brown with a Slight mixture of brownish white on the breast belley and the feathers under the tail.    the whole Compound is not unlike that of the Common quaile only darker.    this is also booted to the toes.    the flesh is tolerable and that of the breast is as white as the Pheasant of the atlantic coast.    the redish brown Pheasant has been previously disribed.—

 

       The Crow Ravin and large Blackbird are the Same as those of our Country, only that the Crow here is much Smaller, yet its note is the Same. I observe no difference between the Hawk of this Coast and those of the Atlantic. I have observed the large brown Hawk, the Small or Sparrow hawk, and a hawk of an intermediate Size with a long tail and blewish coloured wings, remarkably Swift in flight and very ferce. Sometimes called in the Un. States the hen Hawk.    those birds Seam to be common to every part of this Country in greater or smaller numbers, and the Hawks, Crows, and ravins build their nests is great numbers along the high & inaxcessable clifts of the Columbia, and Lewis's rivers when we passd along them.    we also met with the large hooting Owl under the Rocky mountains on the Kooskooske R.    it's Colour reather deeper than with us, but differ in no other respect from those of the U States.




[Ordway] 
 

       Monday 3rd March 1806.    hard rain all last night.    a rainy wet day.    the most of the men are dressing Skins &C—




[Gass] 
 

       Monday 3d—    It rained all this day and the following. Our sick men are getting better, but slowly, as they have little or no suitable nourishment.




[Whitehouse] 
 

       Monday March 3d    We had hard rain all last night, & this morning it still continued the same, & lasted during the whole of this day.    The greater part of the Men in the fort were employed in dressing Skins, making Moccosins &ca.




 

1. Coues identifies this as the spruce (or Franklin's) grouse, Dendragapus canadensis [AOU, 298], specifically an adult male of the species. Burroughs agrees. On the other hand, Holmgren thinks it the ruffed grouse (probably the Oregon subspecies). The former appears more likely as Lewis was familiar with the ruffed grouse of the East and always compared the Oregon variety closely with it. Coues (HLC), 3:870–71, 870–71 nn. 73, 74; Burroughs, 217–18; Holmgren, 32. A red vertical line goes through the first few lines of this passage, perhaps Biddle's work. (Return to text.)

 

2. Uncontestably the spruce grouse, which Coues identifies as either an adult female or young specimen of the bird. Coues (HLC), 3:871–72, 871 n. 75; Burroughs, 217–18; Holmgren, 32. Again the red vertical line. (Return to text.)

 

3. Coues unequivocally identifies this as the Oregon ruffed grouse and Burroughs follows suit but less confidently. Holmgren calls it the blue grouse, Dendragapus obscurus [AOU, 297]. The earlier identification seems correct. Lewis and Clark uniformly describe the blue grouse as a large bird of black or dark brown color, while the bird here is noted as yellowish brown, similar to the description of the ruffed grouse given on September 20, 1805. But see n. 5 in this entry. Coues (HLC), 3:872 and n. 76; Burroughs, 218–19; Holmgren, 32. (Return to text.)

 

4. Presumably the northern bobwhite, Colinus virginianus [AOU, 289], with which Lewis would have been familiar in the East. Coues (HLC), 3:872. (Return to text.)

 

5. This appears to be the Oregon ruffed grouse since the reference to reddish brown fits with the description of February 5 where the words "redish tint" were used. If that is correct, then identifying the third "pheasant" (see n. 3 here) as the Oregon ruffed grouse may be in error since Lewis states that this fourth bird has been previously described (on February 5 perhaps). If so, then the bird of n. 3 would be the blue grouse of Holmgren. It may be that a definitive answer is not possible and perhaps Lewis became confused in his writing. (Return to text.)

 

6. The crow is in fact the northwestern crow, a new species. The subspecies of raven in the Fort Clatsop area is Corvus corax sinuatus; Lewis would have been familiar with C. c. principalis to the East. Both are now combined with the common raven. The blackbird seen in the West would be Brewer's blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus [AOU, 510], while the bird he had seen in the East would more likely be the rusty blackbird, E. carolinus [AOU, 509]. Cutright (LCPN), 434; Burroughs, 248, 255–56. Another red vertical line. (Return to text.)

 

7. Coues suggests that the large brown hawk may be a subspecies of the red-tailed hawk, or Swainson's hawk, Buteo swainsoni [AOU, 342]. Holmgren calls it the northern harrier, Circus cyaneus [AOU, 331], also called the marsh hawk. The sparrow hawk is Falco sparverius [AOU, 360], now known as the American kestrel. The hen hawk Coues identifies as the northern harrier, whereas Holmgren considers it to be Cooper's hawk, Accipiter cooperii [AOU, 333]. Coues (HLC), 3:875; Holmgren, 30–31. (Return to text.)

 

8. Burroughs, 208–9, suggests either the Montana horned owl, Bubo virginianus occidentalis, or the dusky horned owl, B. v. saturatus. Both are now subsumed under the great horned owl, B. virginianus [AOU, 375]. See above, April 14 and May 20, 1805. (Return to text.)












previous   |   next


Home  |  Search  |  Read the Journals  |  Additional Texts  |  Images  |  Maps  |  Multimedia
About This Project |  FAQ  |  Links  |  Print Editions  |  Copyright  |  Contact Us  |  Site Map