December 18, 1805
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Aug 30, 1803 Sep 30, 1806

December 18, 1805


rained and Snowed alturnitely all the last night and the gusts of Snow and hail continue untill 12 oClock, Cold and a dreadful day wind hard and unsettled, we continue at work at our huts, the men being but thinly dressed, and no Shoes causes us to doe but little—    at 12 the Snow & hail Seased & the after part of the day was Cloudy with Some rain.


rained and Snowd alternetly all the last night, and Spurts of Snow and Hail Continued untill 12 oClock, which has chilled the air which is Cool and disagreeable, the wind hard & unsettled—    The men being thinly Dressed and mockersons without Soks is the reason that but little can be done at the Houses to day—    at 12 the Hail & Snow Seased, and rain Suckceeded for the latter part of the day


This day one of the men shot a bird of the Corvus genus, which was feeding on some fragments of meat near the camp. this bird is about the size of the kingbird or bee martin, and not unlike that bird in form. the beak is ¾ of an inch long, wide at the base, of a convex, and cultrated figure, beset with some small black hairs near it's base.    the chaps are of nearly equal lengths tho' the upper exceeds the under one a little, and has a small nich in the upper chap near the extremity 〈scrcely〉 perceptable only by close examineation.    the colour of the beak is black.    the eye is large and prominent, the puple black, and iris of a dark yellowish brown.    the legs and feet are black and imbricated.    has four toes on each foot armed with long sharp tallons; the hinder toe is nearly as long as the middle toe in front and longer than the two remaining toes.    the tale is composed of twelve fathers the longest of which are five inches, being six in number placed in the center.    the remaining six are placed 3 on either side and graduly deminish to four inches which is the shortest and outer feathers.    the tail is half the length of the bird, the wh[ol]e length from the extremity of the beak to the extremity of the tale being 10 Inches. the head from it's joining the nect forward as far as the eyes nearly to the base of the beak and on each side as low as the center of the eye is black.    arround the base of the beak the throat jaws, neck, brest and belley are of a pale bluish white.    the wings back and tale are of a bluish black with a small shade of brown.    this bird is common to this piny country    are also found in the rockey mountains on the waters of the columbia river or woody side of those mountains, appear to frequent the highest sumits of those mountains as far as they are covered with timber.    their note is que, quit-it, que-hoo; and tâh, tâh, &—    there is another bird of reather larger size which I saw on the woddy parts of the rockey mountains and on the waters of the Missouri, this bird I could never kill tho' I made several attempts, the 〈colour〉 predominate colour is a dark blue the tale is long and they are not crested; I believe them to be of the corvus genus also.    their note is châr, châr, char,-ar, char; the large blue crested corvus of the Columbia river is also


Discription of the [〈male〉?] blue Crested corvus bird [EC: Cyanocitta stelleri] common to the woody and western side of the Rockey mountains, and all the woody country from thence to the Pacific Ocean    It's beak is black convex, cultrated, wide at its base where it is beset with hairs, and is 1¼ inches from the opening of the chaps to their extremity, and from the joining of the head to the extremity of the upper chap 1⅛ Inches, the upper exceeds the under chap a little; the nostrils are small round unconnected and placed near the base of the beak where they lye concealed by the hairs or hairy feathers which cover the base of the 〈beak〉 upper chap.    the eye reather large and full but not prominent and of a deep blueish black, there being no difference in the colour of the puple and the iris.    the crest is very full the feathers from 1 〈Inch〉 to 1½ Inches long and ocupye the whole crown of the head.    the head neck, the whole of the body including the coverts of the wings, the upper disk of the tail and wings are of a fine gossey bright indigo blue Colour the 〈upper and〉 under disk of the tail and wings are of a dark brown nearly black. the leg and first joint of the tye are 4¼ In. long, the legs and feet are black and the front covered with 6 scales the hinder part smothe, the toes are also imbrecated, four in number long and armed with long sharp black tallons.    the upper 〈side〉 disk of the first four or five feathers 〈next〉 of the wing next to the boddy, are marked with small transverse stripes of black as are also the upper side of the two center feathers of the tail; the tail is five inches long & is composed of twelve feathers of equal length 〈each five inches long〉.    the tail 1 & ½ as long as the boddy.    the whole length from the point of the beak to extremity of the tail 1 Foot 1 Inch; from the tip of one to the tip of the other wing 1 Foot 5½ Inches. the Conta. the size & the whole Contour of this bird resembles very much the blue jay or jaybird as they are called in the U' States.    like them also they seldom rest in one place long but are in constant motion hoping from spra to spray.    what has been said is more immediately applicable to the male, the colours of the female are somewhat different    in her the head crest neck half the back downwards and the converts of the wings are of a dark brown, but sometimes there is a little touch of the Indigo on the short feathers on the head at the base of the upper chap.    this bird feeds on flesh when they can procure it, also on bugs flies and buries. I do not know whether they distroy little birds but their tallons indicate their 〈powers〉 capacity to do so if nature, has directed it.    their note is loud and frequently repeated châ' -â' châ' -â' &c.—    also twat twat twat, very quick


Wednesday 18th Decr. 1805.    cloudy and rain. Several men Sent with 2 canoes across the bay after Some plank.    they returned towards evening with the canoes loaded with plank which they took from Some old fishing Camps.    a little hail and frozen rain & cold—


Wednesday 18th.    Snow fell last night about an inch deep, and the morning was stormy. In the middle of the day the weather became clear, and we had a fine afternoon.


Wednesday Decemr. 18th    This day was cloudy with some Rain, some of our party were sent across the River or bay with Canoes, to bring plank.    They returned towards evening with the Canoes loaded with plank, which they had got at an Old Indian fishery.    The day grew very cold, & some hail fell.    We continued finishing our huts &ca.

1. Lewis's note from Codex R, covering zoology rather than the customary botany. The bird is the gray jay, Perisoreus canadensis [AOU, 484], a new species. Burroughs, 250–51; Holmgren, 29; Cutright (LCPN), 274, 436. The kingbird used for comparison is Tyrannus tyrannus [AOU, 444]. The bird of the woody parts of the Rockies that Lewis mentions near the end of this passage may be the pinyon jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus [AOU, 492], first noticed by him on August 1, 1805. Holmgren, 28, identifies it as possibly the mountain bluebird, Sialia currucoides [AOU, 768]. The "large blue crested corvus" is Steller's jay, described more fully in the next immediate entry. This is the last of Lewis's original notes in this journal (except for a few lines mentioned below). The remainder of the journal is filled with material copied from other journals by an unknown person. See Introduction and Appendix C. Lewis may have been referring to this passage or the next one, when he noted on March 4, 1806, that he had already described the bird. Another reference to the bird is on the endleaf of this notebook, in Lewis's hand: "note of the corvus bird killed at Fort Clatsop, que-quit it; que hoo repeated, & chat, chat, chat." The note is labeled "Mineralogy" by Lewis; he probably intended that label for the preceding page which has a note on laval, dated September 20, 1804. (back)
2. Lewis's zoological note from Codex Q; the bird is Steller's jay. The blue jay used for comparison is Cyanocitta cristata [AOU, 477]. This is the last of such original notes in this journal, the remainder being filled with material copied from other journals by an unknown person. See Introduction and Appendix C. This is an undated passage which Thwaites combined with a preceding zoological note of May 26, 1805, but this material clearly comes from a later date. Thwaites (LC), 6:134–35. It was probably written at Fort Clatsop when Lewis was writing up his natural history material, mostly in Codex J. We place it here with the dated entry from Codex R describing similar species. (back)