The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, March 3, 1806
Lewis, March 3, 1806
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 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 white 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 dom-manicker. 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 21/2 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 the upper exceeds the under chap. they have a narrow stripe of vermillion colour above each eye which consists of a fleshey 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 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 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 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 has been previously discribed.- The Crow raven and Large Blackbird 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. 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 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.