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Notes and News

Publication Information
Journal: 
Condor
Volume: 
52
Issue: 
3 (May-June)
Year: 
1950
Pages: 
142

NOTES AND NEWS

 

THE MEXICAN CACIQUE

Grayson’s name for the Mexican Cadque (Cassiculus mehnicterus) was Double-crested Oriole. It is a species that ranges from Sinaloa to Chiapas along the Pacific coast of Mexico. His painting of it was based on specimens taken in January, 1867, on the Rio Mazatlan, Sinaloa. The following are excerpts from his manuscript account of the species: The “long pendant nests . . . may often be seen . . . suspended in the air and moved by the slightest breeze . . . They appear to be loosely put together, admitting the air to pass freely through them, not unlike a net hammock . . At first I was at a loss to determine how tbe bird first made a foundation from the tip end of a slender branch from which [the nest] swings. In due time, however, I was favored with an opportunity of witnessing the modus operandi. A long, slender pendant twig is generally selected, often without leaves and at the extreme end of which she fastens, by the aid of her bill and feet, the end of the longest and toughest grass, or [other] suitable material she can find, leaving one end to hang loosely below. After tieing a number to the twig so as to give proper strength to support the structure, she then commences at the lower end and fastens them together in various knots and loops, her acute bill playing back and forth equally as rapid as a kitting needle in the hands of our grandmothers. After the ends are well knit together, and a warp is formed, then commences the operation of weaving in the filling. This is done with astonishing dexterity, the bird keeping inside all the while and keeping the aperture free from entanglement at the same time working and binding the edges of the doorway to prevent it from becoming tangled or closed.

The Double-crested Oriole does not commence to build its nest until after the first showers of June, when all nature seems to become suddenly awakened from a long torpor of drought. Then it is they soon pair off and become very active and garrulous in their delightful task of nidification; then their finely contrasted plumage of black and bright yellow may be seen flitting among the trees, and their oft repeated attempts at song enliven the woods.” The frontispiece showing Mexican Caciques was generously provided for by Mr. and Mrs. Wilson C. Hanna.  

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