June 21, 1852. Cherry-Birds. I have not seen, though I think I have heard them before,—their fine seringo note, like a vibrating spring in the air. They are a handsome bird, with their crest and chestnut breasts. There is no keeping the run of their goings and comings, but they will be ready for the cherries when they shall be ripe.
June 16, 1854. The note of the cherry-bird is fine and ringing, but peculiar and very noticeable. With its crest it is a resolute and combative-looking bird.
June 14, 1855. A cherry-bird’s nest and two eggs in an apple tree, fourteen feet from the ground. One egg, round black spots and a few oblong, about equally but thinly dispersed over the whole, and a dim, internal, purplish tinge about the large end. It is difficult to see anything of the bird, for she steals away early, and you may neither see nor hear anything of her while examining the nest, and so think it deserted. Approach very warily and look out for them a dozen or more rods off.
March 1, 1856. Goodwin says that somewhere where he lived they called cherry-birds “port-royals.”
March 20, 1858. On that same tree by Conant’s orchard, I see a flock of cherry-birds with that alert, chieftain-like look, and hear their seringo note, as if made by their swift flight through the air. They have been seen a week or two.
Excerpted from the journals of Henry David Thoreau.