The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Clark, February 16, 1806
Clark, February 16, 1806
Sunday February 16th 1806
Sent Shannon Labiesh and frazier on a hunting excurtion up the Kilhaw-a-nak-kle river which discharges itself into the head of Meriwethers Bay. no word yet of Sergt. Gass and party. Bratten is verry weak and complains of a pain in the lower part of the back when he moves which I suppose proceeds from debility. I gave him barks and Salt peter. Gibsons fever Still Continues obstinate tho not verry high; we gave him a dose of Dr. Rushes pills which in maney instancis I have found extreamly efficasious in fevers which are in any measure Caused by the presence of boil. the niter has produced a perfuse perspiration this evening and the pils opperated late at night his feaver after which abated almost intirely and he had a good nights rest.
The Indian Dogs are usually small or much more so than the common cur. they are party coloured; black white brown and brindle are the more usual colours. the head is long and nose pointed eyes Small, ears erect and pointed like those of the wolf, hair Short and Smooth except on the tail where it is as long as that of the Cur dog and streight. the nativs do not eate them, or make any further use of them than in hunting the Elk as has been before observed. Shannon an Labiesh brought in to us to day a Buzzard or Vulture of the Columbia which they had wounded and taken alive. I believe this to be the largest Bird of North America. it was not in good order and yet it wayed 25 lbs had it have been so it might very well have weighed 10 lbs. more or 35 lbs. between the extremities of the wings it measured 9 feet 2 Inches; from the extremity of the beak to that of the toe 3 feet 9 inches and a half. from hip to toe 2 feet, girth of the head 9 inches 3/4. Girth of the neck 71/2 inches; Girth of the body exclusive of the wings 2 feet 3 inches; girth of the leg 3 inches. the diameter of the eye 41/2 10ths of an inch, the iris of a pale scarlet red, the puple of a deep Sea green or black and occupies about one third of the diameter of the eye the head and part of the neck as low as the figures 12 is uncovered with feathers except that portion of it represented by dots foward and under the eye. (See likeness on the other Side of this leaf) the tail is Composed of twelve feathers of equal length, each 14 inches. the legs are 43/4 inches in length and of a whitefish colour uncovered with feathers, they are not entirely Smooth but not imbricated; the toes are four in number three of which are foward and that in the center much the longest; the fourth is Short and is inserted near the inner of the three other toes and reather projecting foward. the thye is covered with feathers as low as the Knee. the top or upper part of the toes are imbricated with broad scales lying transversly; the nails are black and in proportion to the Size of the bird comparitively with those of the Hawk or Eagle, Short and bluntly pointed-- the under Side of the wing is Covered with white down and feathers. a white Stripe of about 2 inches in width, also marks the outer part of the wing, imbraceing the lower points of the feathers, which cover the joints of the wing through their whole length or width of that part of the wing. all the other feathers of whatever part are of a Glossy Shineing black except the down, which is not glossy, but equally black. the Skin of the beak and head to the joining of the neck is of a pale orrange Yellow, the other part uncovered with feathers is of a light flesh Colour. the Skin is thin and wrinkled except on the beak where it is Smooth. This bird fly's very clumsily. nor do I know whether it ever Seizes it's prey alive, but am induced to believe it does not. we have Seen it feeding on the remains of the whale and other fish which have been thrown up by the waves on the Sea Coast. these I believe constitute their principal food, but I have no doubt but that they also feed on flesh. we did not meet with this bird untille we had decended the Columbia below the great falls; and have found them more abundant below tide water than above. this is the Same Species of Bird which R. Field killed on the 18th of Novr. last and which is noticed on that day tho not fully discribed then I thought this of the Buzzard Specis. I now believe that this bird is reather of the Vulture genus than any other, tho it wants Some of their characteristics particularly the hair on the neck, and the feathers on the legs. this is a handsom bird at a little distance. it's neck is proportionably longer than those of the Hawks or Eagle. Shannon also brought a Grey Eagle which appeared to be of the Same kind common to the U, States. it weighed 15 pds. and measured 7 feet 7 inches between the extremities of the wings
Shannon and Labiesh informed us that when he approached this Vulture after wounding it, that it made a loud noise very much like the barking of a Dog. the tongue is long firm and broad, filling the under Chap and partakeing of its transvirs curvature, or its Sides forming a longitudinal Groove; obtuse at the point, the margin armed with firm cartelagenous prickkles pointed and bending inwards.