The Journals of Lewis and Clark

Lewis, March 12, 1806

Wednesday March 12th 1806

We sent a party again in surch of the perogue but they returned unsuccessful) as yesterday. Sent one hunter out on this side of the Netul, he did not return this evening. I beleive the Callamet Eagle is sometimes found on this side of the rocky mountains from the information of the Indians in whose possession I have seen their plumage. these are the same with those of the Missouri, and are the most beautiful) of all the family of the Eagles of America. it's colours are black and white with which it is beautifully variagated. the feathers of the tail which are so highly prized by the Indians is composed of twelve broad feathers of equal length. these are white except about 2 inches at the extremity which is of a jut black. there wings have each a large circular white spot in the middle when extended. the body is variously marked with white and black. the form is much that of the common bald Eagle, but they are reather smaller and much more fleet. this eagle is feared by all carnivorous birds, and on his approach all leave the carcase instantly on which they were feeding. it breads in the inaccessable parts of the mountains where it spends the summer, and decends to the plains and low country in the fall and winter when it is usually sought and taken by the natives. two tails of this bird is esteemed by the Mandans Minetares Ricares, &c as the full value of a good horse, or gun and accoutrements. with the Great and little Osages and those nations inhabiting countries where this bird is more rare the price is even double of that mentioned. with these feathers the natives decorate the stems of their sacred pipes or callamets; whence the name, of Callamet Eagle, which has generally obtained among the Engages. the Ricares have domesticated this bird in many instancies for the purpose of obtaining it's plumage. the natives in every part of the con tinent who can procure these feathers attatch them to their own hair and the mains and tails of their favorite horses by way of ornament. they also decorate their war caps or bonnets with those feathers.- The leather winged batt common to the United States is also found on this side of the Rocky mountains.- Beside the fish of this coast and river already mentioned we have met with the following speceis viz. the Whale, Porpus, Skaite, flounder, Salmon, red charr, two speceis of Salmon trout, mountain or speckled trout, and a speceis similar to one of those noticed on the Missouri within the mountains, called in the Eastern states, bottle-nose. I have no doubt but there are many other speceis of fish, which also exist in this quarter at different seasons of the year, which we have not had an oportunity of seeing. the shell fish are the Clam, perrewinkle, common mussle, cockle, and a speceis with a circular flat shell. The Whale is sometimes pursued harpooned and taken by the Indians of this coast; tho I beleive it is much more frequently killed by runing fowl on the rocks of the coast in violent storms and thrown on shore by the wind and tide. in either case the Indians preseve and eat the blubber and oil as has been before mentioned. the whalebone they also carefully preserve for sale.- Our party are now furnished with 358 pair of Mockersons exclusive of a good portion of dressed leather.-