The Journals of Lewis & Clark: Lewis, December 19, 1805

Lewis, December 19, 1805

Discription of the blue Crested corvus bird 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 11 inches from the opening of the chaps to their extremity, and from the joining of the head to the extremity of the upper chap 1 1/8 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 upper chap. the eye reather large and full but not prominent and of a deep bluefish black, there being no difference in the colour of the puple and the iris. the crest is very full the feathers from 1 to 11/2 Inches long and occupye 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 under disk of the tail and wings are of a dark brown nearly black. the leg and first joint of the tye are 41/4 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 disk of the first four or five feathers 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. the tail 1 & 1/2 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 51/2 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 capacity to do so if nature, has directed it. their note is loud and frequently repeated cha' -a cha' -a' &c.- also twat twat twat, very quick