The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, January 31, 1806

Lewis, January 31, 1806

Saturday January 31st 1806. Sent a party of eight men up the river this morning to renew their surch for the Elk and also to hunt; they proceded but a few miles before they found the river so obstructed with ice that they were obliged to return. Joseph Fields arrived this evening, informed us that he had been hunting in company with Gibson and Willard for the last five days in order to obtain some meat for himself and the other Salt makers, and that he had been unsuccessfull untill yesday evening when he had fortunately killed two Elk, about six miles distant from this place and about 8 from the salt works; he left Gibson and Willard to dry the meat of these Elk and had come for the assistance of some men to carry the meat to the salt camp; for this purpose we ordered four men to accompany him early in the morning. discovered that McNeal had the pox, gave him medecine. Charbono found a bird dead lying near the fort this morning and brought it to me I immediately recognized it to be of the same kind of that which I had seen in the Rocky mountains on the morning of the 20th of September last. this bird is about the size as near as may be of the robbin. it's contour also is precisely the same with that bird. it measures one foot 31/4 Inches from tip to tip of the wings when extended. 91/4 inches from the extremity of the beak to that of the tail. the tail is 33/4 inches in length, and composed of eleven feathers of the same length. The beak is smoth, black, convex and cultrated; one and 1/8 inches from the point to the opening of the chaps and 3/4 only uncovered with feathers; the upper chap exceeds the other a little in length. a few small black hairs garnish the sides of the base of the upper chap. the eye is of a uniform deep sea green or black, moderately large. it's legs feet and tallons are white; the legs are an inch and a 1/4 in length and smoth; four toes on each foot, of which that in front is the same length with the leg including the length of the tallon, which is 4 lines; the three remaining toes are 3/4 of an inch, each armed with proportionably long tallons. the toes are slightly imbricated. the tallons are curved and sharply pointed. The crown of the head from the beak back to the neck, the back of the neck imbracing reather more than half the circumpherence of the neck, the back and tale, are of bluish dark brown; the two outer feathers of the tale have a little dash of white near their tips not percemtible when the tail is foalded. a fine black forms the ground of the wings; two stripes of the same colour pass on either side of the head from the base of the beak along the side of the head to it's junction with the neck, and imbraces the eye to it's upper edge; a third stripe of the same colour 3/4 of an inch in width passes from the sides of the neck just above the butts of the wings across the croop in the form of a gorget. the throat or under part of the neck brest and belly is of a fine yellowish brick red. a narrow stripe of this colour also commences just above the center of each eye, and extends backwards to the neck as far as the black stripe reaches before discribed, to which, it appears to answer as a border. the feathers which form the 1st and second ranges of the coverts of the two joints of the wing next the body, are beautifully tiped with this brick red; as is also each large feather of the wing on the short side of it's plumage for 1/2 an inch in length commening at the extremity of the feathers which form the first or main covert of the wing. this is a beatifull little bird. I have never heard it's note it appears to be silent. it feeds on berries, and I beleive is a rare bird even in this country, or at least this is the second time only that I have seen it.- between the legs of this bird the feathers are white, and those which form the tuft underneath the tail are a mixture of white and a brick red.