Martin, an American bird, the largest of the swallow family, belonging to the genus progne (Boie). The bill is strong and short, with a very wide gape and curved culmen; the wings lengthened, the first quill the longest; the tail moderate, but considerably forked; tarsi shorter than the middle toe and robust; the toes long and strong, the lateral ones equal, with curved claws. The best known is the purple martin (P. purpurea, Boie), generally distributed over North America; the length is 7 1/2 in., the extent of wings 16 in., and the bill along the gape 1 in.; the general color is glossy steel blue, with purple and violet reflections; the female and young are less brilliant, and pale brownish below with darker and bluish blotches; the bill brownish black; the closed wings are rather longer than the tail, and the tarsi and toes are naked. Martins appear in Louisiana early in February in large Hocks, in the middle states from the middle of March to the 10th of April, in New England about the 25th of April, and further north at a later period, departing for the south again about, the 20th of August in immense flocks and all at once at the dawn of some calm morning.
The flight is graceful, easy, and swift; they are expert in catching their insect prey, in bathing and drinking while on the wing, and in performing aerial evolutions to the annoyance of their bird enemies; they are very bold, and do not hesitate to attack crows and hawks, which from their superior powers of flight they drive away; even the fierce little king bird (sometimes called field martin), with similar fighting propensities, has to yield to the strong and swift martin; they perch easily upon trees, and, notwithstanding the shortness of their legs, walk well upon the ground. From their attacking cats, dogs, and all flying marauders of the farm yard, they are great favorites, and are provided with elevated boxes for rearing their young in most towns of the United States; these harbingers of spring are much attached to their breeding places, and return to the same year after year; in the absence of a box, they build in any crevice or hole in a tree. The nest is made of leaves twigs, grasses, feathers, and other soft materials, and generally contains four to six pure white eggs; many pairs breed in the same box in perfect harmony; two broods are generally reared in a season; the males assist in incubation.
The food consists of wasps, bees, beetles, and other insects, though they seldom seize the honey bee. In England some of the swallows are called martins; these, as the house martin (ehclidon urbica, Boie), and the sand or bank martin (cotyle riparia, Boie), are noticed under Swallow.
Martin (Progne purpurea). 1. Female. 2. Male.
An E. County Of North Carolina, bounded N. by the Roanoke river; area. 420 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 9,647, of whom 4.5s:; were colored. The surface is level and the soil generally sandy. The chief productions in 1870 were 206,384 bushels of Indian corn. 47 799 of sweet potatoes, and 3,607 hales of cotton There were 696 horses 566 mules and asses, 1,232 milch cows, 2,738 other cattle. 2,253 sheep, and 11,630 swine. Capital, Wil-liamston. II. An E. county of Kentucky formed since the census of 1870. separated from West Virginia by the Tug fork of Sandy river; area, about 250 sq. m. The surface is mountainous and well timbered. Capital, Warfield.
A S. W. County Of Indiana, drained by the E. fork of White river and by Lick creek; area, 340 sq. 111.; pop- in 1870, 11 103. The surface is hilly and the sod moderately fertile. The Ohio and Mississippi railroad intersects it. The chief productions in 1870 were 102,288 bushels of wheat, 360,680 of Indian corn. 72,394 of oats, 21,588 of pota-toes, 50,079 lbs. of tobacco, 39,501 of wool, 120 481 of butter, and 3,241 tons of hay. There were 3,267 horses. 2.357 milch cows, 3,674 other cattle, 17,071 sheep, and 14,976 swine; 2 distilleries,6 flour mills, and 7 saw mills. Capital Dover Hill.
A S. County Of Minnesota, bordering on Iowa, drained by the head waters of Blue Earth river and of the E. fork of the Des Moines, and containing numerous small lakes; area, 720 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 3,867. It has a rolling surface and a fertile soil. The chief productions in 1870 were 99,565 bushels of wheat, 39,141) of Indian corn, 107,042 of oats, 25,094 of potatoes, 114,473 lbs. of butter, and 11,689 tons of hay. There were 1.114 horses, 3,223 cattle, 749 sheep, and 1,039 swine; 2 Hour mills, and 2 saw mills. Capital, Fairmount.