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THE AMERICAN 
NATURAL HISTORY 



"The concise and precise phraseology of science, 
admirable though it be for the use of those who have 
been trained to employ it, is to others not only mis- 
leading, but it may be repulsive." — G. Brows Goode. 

"The highest type of scientific writing is that 
which sets forth useful scientific facts, in language 
which is interesting, and easily understood by the mill- 
ions who read." — L. A. Mann. 




Painted by Carl Runouts. 



THE AMERICAN MOOSE, IN NEW BRUNSWICK. 



THE AMERICAN 

NATURAL HISTORY 

A FOUNDATION OF USEFUL KNOWLEDGE OF 
THE HIGHER ANIMALS OF NORTH AMERICA 



BY 

WILLIAM T. HORNADAY 

DIRECTOR OF THE NEW YORK ZOOLOGICAL PARK; AUTHOR OF 
"TWO YEARS IN THE JUNGLE," ETC. 



ILLUSTRATED BY 227 ORIGINAL DRAWINGS BY BEARD, RUNGIUS, 
SAWYER, AND OTHERS, 116 PHOTOGRAPHS, CHIEFLY BY SANBORN, 
KELLER, AND UNDERWOOD, AND NUMEROUS CHARTS AND MAPS 



CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 
NEW YORK::::::::::::::::::MCM VI 



TV 

: 



l9t 



Copyright, 1904, by 
WILLIAM T. HORNADAY 



Published, April, 1904 



SPECIAL NOTICE 

The publishers hereby give warning that 
the unauthorized use of illustrations, charts, or 
maps from this book is expressly forbidden. 




PREFACE 

By natural inclination, every child is interested in animals. Whenever a grown 
person is not so interested, it is positive proof that the natural instincts of childhood 
either have been turned aside, or stifled by lack of opportunity to live and grow. The 
love for animals is, I believe, even more universal than the love for music. 

Whenever I try to sum up the amount of living interest, and also genuine delight, 
that is yielded by even a very modest acquaintance with the higher forms of life, " I would 
that my tongue could utter the thoughts that arise in me!" It seems a pit}' that so 
many appreciative persons should lose so much of life through lack of acquaintance with 
about three hundred important and well-chosen species of animals. 

In these days of struggle and stress for Place and Power, and in these nights of 
insomnia and nerves, there are few side issues more restful or more pleasantly diverting 
to a tired brain than an active interest in some branch of natural history. A hunt for 
the life history of a fine animal species is next in restfulness to a real hunt, over the 
fields and far away, with all cares and worries left behind. 

The foregoing is for the eyes of adult readers. Argument is not necessary to con- 
vince young people that a mighty host of interesting things awaits every one who sets 
foot in the field of Nature. To-day, the all-absorbing question is — how can Nature be 
made available to the young? 

This book is one of my tw r o answers to that question ; and it is particularly addressed 
to teachers and parents. It is intended to be a plain, practical, common-sense answer, 
presented in a systematic and scientific way. The author assumes that fifteen years of 
earnest thought, and conferences with scores of teachers on the subject of natural history 
teaching in American public schools, may fairly entitle him to a hearing. 

Briefly stated, the situation to-day is as follows: 

The scientific "zoology" is suitable only for students in the higher colleges and 
universities. Between it and the "nature study" books of the grammar schools there 
exists a chasm that is wide and deep. 

The "nature studies" of some of our city schools are good for young pupils, from 
ten to fourteen years of age ; but they are insufficient for those between fourteen years 
and university age. 

Students in the highest grammar-school grades, the high schools, normal schools, 
academies and small colleges are so inadequately equipped for the study of natural history 
that fully ninety-five per cent, of them, including also the great mass of students from the 
higher colleges and universities, enter active life ignorant of even the most important forms 
of the wild life of our own country] If this statement can be disproved, the author will 
be delighted to withdraw it, and apologize. 

While the "nature-study" teaching of the present day is acceptable and commend- 
able for very young pupils, tending to arouse their interest and prepare their minds for more 
serious work, its sphere is strictly limited, and it is a mistake to carry it too far. Valuable 

v 



vi PEEFACE 

and permanent results in the study of animal life cannot be achieved by turning in the 
class-room a kaleidoscope filled with a chaotic mass of birds, butterflies, flowers, frogs 
and trees. Object-teaching is excellent, if rightly conducted. But the object can easily 
become a fetich; and all fetich-worship is dangerous to its devotees. Twenty-five years 
hence, some of the courses of study of the year 1903 will be regarded as educational curi- 
osities. Even the finest lobster or grasshopper should not be held so close to the eye 
that it obscures all the remainder of the animal kingdom. 

There is no royal road to a real acquaintance with living animals. Entertaining 
and truthful story-books about quadrupeds and birds are excellent in their way, but they 
do not, and cannot, go down to bed-rock, and lay foundations on which the pupil can 
build for aye. It has been decreed by Nature that he who will not work shall not know 
her. There is no process by which the secrets of Nature can be placed automatically in 
a giddy mind. 

The author maintains in this volume, and also out of it, that System is the only master- 
key by which the doors of Animate Nature can be unlocked. Even with boys and girls 
fifteen years of age, the foundations of natural history classification must not be ignored! 
Let them but begin right, and the structure is bound to rise. But beware of all chaotic 
jumbles of unrelated facts! 

This volume is intended as builder's "filling" in the chasm that now exists between 
the technical "zoology" of the college and the "nature-study" lessons of the common 
schools. To-day, I am certain that many nature-study teachers dislike their work solely 
because they lack suitable sources of information. Surely it is unnecessary to suggest 
to any intelligent and sincere teacher that it is possible to utilize only a portion of this 
book, by selecting the subjects best adapted to each particular class, and passing over 
the others. 

Among the writers of manuals of zoology, it is now customary to begin with the 
lowest and least interesting forms of life, and work upward toward the highest. That 
will answer for the advanced student — if he chooses to have it so; but for middle- 
grade students and readers at home it is decidedly wrong. All elementary lessons in 
natural history should begin with Nature's most important facts, and first bring forward 
her most interesting animals. To begin with the grasshopper, and struggle through a 
hundred dreary pages of anatomy and low forms of life, before reaching a creature of 
personality and intelligence, is too much for the patience of any active school-boy who 
wishes "to know about animals." 

Anatomy is necessary to the advanced student; but in a book for schools and the 
general reader, it is easily carried too far. As with human beings, the first thing to be 
learned about an animal is its place in Nature, and after that, its personality. It is only 
the scientific specialist who wishes to know first about its mandibular symphysis, the 
geography of its sutures, and the size of its auditory bullae. 

As the reader will observe, I have striven to accomplish two ends: (1) to make clear 
each animal's place in the great system of Nature, and (2) to introduce the animal in such 
a manner as to enable the reader to become personally acquainted with it. The subjects 
chosen for introduction are not confined to any one section of our country, but represent 
all North America, and even lands beyond. For the purpose of avoiding wide gaps, 
several important foreign animals have been included. 

At this point I wish to record a grateful acknowledgment to Mr. Andrew Carnegie, for 



PREFACE vii 

his interest in the author's plans for introducing the study of natural history in schools, 
and for encouragement at a time when it was most needed. 

The manuscripts and proofs relating to mammals have been read, criticised and 
corrected by Dr. T. S. Palmer, Assistant Chief of the Biological Survey, Washington, 
D. C. Through Dr. Palmer's advice, the author's old-fashioned preferences on certain 
points of nomenclature were abandoned, and the names of orders, families, genera and 
species were brought down to date. It is due to him that in our nomenclature we are 
in reality a trifle in advance of the times rather than behind them. 

Similar valuable service has been rendered the section on Birds by Mr. C. William 
Beebe, Curator of Birds, and those on the Reptiles and Amphibians were read and cor- 
rected by Mr. Raymond L. Ditmars, Curator of Reptiles, in the New York Zoological 
Park. The portion treating of Fishes received critical attention from Mr. Charles H. 
Townsend, Director of the New York Aquarium, but in fairness to him it must be stated 
that he is in no way responsible for the author's arrangement of the Orders of Fishes. 

To each of the gentlemen named above I offer a most grateful acknowledgment 
for timely and valuable services, and desire to assure the reader that for any shortcomings 
that may appear in the finished book, they are not in the least responsible. 

In the text of this work I have endeavored to give due credit for the noteworthy 
facts quoted from other authors. Practically the only instances wherein this has not 
always been possible are those involving the geographic ranges of species, wherein com- 
binations of authorities are the rule rather then the exception. To cover all possible 
omissions, I desire to mention here the names of the authors from whom I have derived 
many facts, but chiefly regarding distribution, and I gratefully acknowledge indebtedness 
to Mr. D. G. Elliot's "Synopsis of the Mammals of North America and the Adjacent 
Seas"; to the many papers on our Mammalia by Dr. C. Hart Merriam, Dr. T. S. Palmer, 
and Mr. Vernon Bailey; to Mrs. Florence Merriam Bailey's "Birds of the Western United 
States." Mr. Frank M. Chapman's "Birds of Eastern North America," Dr. A. K. Fisher's 
"Hawks and Owls," and Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright's "Birdcraft"; to Dr. Leonhard 
Stejneger's "Poisonous Snakes of North America"; Prof. E. D. Cope's "Crocodilians, 
Lizards and Snakes of North America," and Dr. H. Gadow's "Amphibia and Reptiles"; 
to Dr. David S. Jordan and Dr. Barton W. Evermann's "Fishes of North and Middle 
America," and "American Food and Game Fishes," and to Mr. Richard Lydekker's 
"Royal Natural History." 

Naturally, I have drawn freely upon the zoological knowledge that has been accu- 
mulated in the New York Zoological Park during its existence. 

A final word must be added regarding the illustrations. Probably no other author 
ever had a more tempting opportunity for completely filling a volume with photographs 
of animals. But, while I am an ardent admirer of the best results in animal photography, 
and a diligent user of them, I also recognize the limitations of the camera. 

The demands of a zoological illustration are inexorable ; and all too often the camera 
ignores some of them. A perfect zoological portrait of an animal must possess clear and 
distinct outlines, showing a side view, and perfect details. A picture sans feet, tail, ears, 
eyes or legs, is not a portrait; and a ball of fur, even though photographed, is not neces- 
sarily an animal. Very often, also, the most perfect photograph of a spiritless animal 
in captivity utterly fails to convey a just and adequate impression of the species as it is 
seen at its best, on its native heath. 



viii PREFACE 

Because of the limitations of the camera, several thousand dollars have been ex- 
pended upon the beautiful drawings by Messrs. J. Carter Beard, Carl Rungius, Edmund J. 
Sawyer and a few other artists, which adorn as well as illustrate this work. In addition 
to these, about one hundred and sixteen particularly excellent photographs have been 
made, of specially selected subjects, by Messrs. Elwin R. Sanborn, Ernest F. Keller, 
W. Lyman Underwood, R. J. Beck, and a few other experts in animal photography. 
With but very few exceptions, the illustrations which appear in this book have been made 
expressly for it, and now appear for the first time. The author is indebted for the loan of 
several from the publications of the New York Zoological Society. 

Now that the last page save the preface has been set up, locked fast and turned into 
a plate of cold metal, the hour for regret has struck. I know that my proof-reading 
has not been perfect, and that various errors may be found by those who watch for 
them. In view of the patient and even tireless efforts and the generous expenditures 
which Messrs. Charles Scribner's Sons have bestowed upon this volume, the author deeply 
regrets that his own share of the work is not as perfect as theirs. For the reader's 
sake, also, he wishes that he could have done better. 

W. T. H. 
Bedford Park, New York City. 



CONTENTS 



Page 



INTRODUCTION 



BOOK I— MAMMALS 

CHAPTER I.— ORDERS OF MAMMALS . 



CHAPTER II.— ORDER OF APES AND MONKEYS .... PRIMATES 7 

Page New World Monkeys 14 

Anthropoid Apes 7 Family of Marmosets . . . . .16 



Old World Monkeys and Baboons 



13 Suborder of Lemurs . . ... 17 



CHAPTER III.— ORDER OF FLESH-EATO 

Cat Family IS 

Dog Family 22 

North American Foxes . . . .24 
Small Fur-Bearers 27 



MAMMALS .... FERAE 


18 


ear Family ...... 


32 


ull List of the Bears of North Amer- 






35 




41 



CHAPTER IV.— ORDER OF SEALS AND SEA-LIONS 



PINNIPEDIA 43 



Sea-Lion Family 44 

Review of Fur Seal History . . .48 



Seal Family . . . . . .52 

Walrus Family 53 



CHAPTER V.— ORDER OF MOLES AND SHREWS 

Mole Family . . . . . 57 I Shrew Family 



INSECTIVORA 56 

. 58 



CHAPTER VI.— ORDER OF BATS 

Family of Leaf-Nosed Bats . . .62 

Family of Free-Tailed Bats . . .63 

Family of Common Bats . . . .64 



CHIROPTERA 59 



Family of False Vampires 
Family' of Horseshoe Bats 
Family of Fruit-Eating Bats 



65 
66 
66 



CHAPTER VII.— ORDER OF GNAWING ANIMALS 



GLIRES or RODENTS 68 



Squirrel Family ..... 
Sewellel Family .... 

Beaver Family 

Family of Mice and Rats . 

Typical North American Mice and Rats 

Cheek-Pouch Mice and Rats 



68 

80 
SO 
S3 
84 
91 



Jumping Mouse Family 
Pocket Gopher Family 
Porcupine Family 
Pika Family . 
Hare and PtABBiT Family 



92 
93 
94 
95 
95 



CHAPTER VIII.— ORDER OF HOOFED ANIMALS 



UNGULATA 99 



Cattle and Sheep Family 



99 



Measurements of Mountain Sheep Horns 112 



Prong-Horned Antelope Family 
Deer Family . . . . 



115 
118 



Measurements of Large Caribou Antlers 13S 

Peccary Family 143 

Tapir Family 144 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER IX.— ORDER OF WHALES AND PORPOISES 
Family op Baleen Whales 



Page 
CETE V 



Page I Sperm Whale Family 1^ 

147 I Dolphin and Porpoise Family . . . 1 



CHAPTER X.— ORDER OF SEA-COWS SIRENIA i 

Family of Manatees 153 I Family of the Rhytina .... 154 

Family of Dugongs 154 I 



CHAPTER XL— ORDER OF TOOTHLESS MAMMALS 



Armadillo Family 
Family of Ant-Eaters 



. 156 I Sloth Family 
. 158 I 



EDENTATA 156 
. 159 



CHAPTER XII.— ORDER OF DIGGERS EFFODIENTIA 161 

Pangolin Family 161 | Aard-Vark Family 162 



CHAPTER XIIL— ORDER OF POUCHED MAMMALS 
Kangaroo Family 164 I Opossum Family 



. MARSUPIALIA IP 



CHAPTER XIV.— ORDER OF EGG-LAYING MAMMALS . . MONOTREMATA 167 
Duck-Bill Family 167 | Echidna Family 168 



BOOK II— BIRDS 

CHAPTER XV.— INTRODUCTION TO THE BIRD-WORLD . 
Decrease in Bird Life .... 171 | Orders of Living Birds 

CHAPTER XVI.— ORDER OF PERCHERS AND SINGERS 



. 171 
. 175 

PASSERES 179 



Thrush Family 181 

Kinglet Family 183 

Nuthatch and Titmouse Family . . 184 

Tree-Creeper Family . . . . . 185 
Wrens and Cat-Birds .... 186 

Dipper Family 187 

Warbler Family 188 

Vireo Family 191 

Shrike Family 191 



Waxwing Family 192 

Swallow Family 193 

Tanager Family 194 

Finch and Sparrow Family . . . 195 

Blackbird Family 199 

Crow Family 202 

Horned Lark Family 206 

Flycatcher Family 206 



CHAPTER XVIL— ORDER OF ODD FAMILIES 



MACROCHIRES 207 



Goatsucker Family 
Swift Family 



207 | Humming-Bird Family 208 

208 ! 



CHAPTER XVIIL— ORDER OF AVOODPECKERS 



PICI 210 



CHAPTER XIX.— ORDER OF CUCKOOS AND KINGFISHERS 
Cuckoo Family 214 | Kingfisher Family 



. COCCYGES 214 
. 215 



CHAPTER XX.— ORDER OF PARROTS AND MACAWS 



PSITTACI 216 



CONTENTS xi 

Page 

CHAPTER XXI.— ORDER OF BIRDS OF PREY RAPTORES 218 

Page 
in-Owl Family 218 I Hawks and Eagles 225 

:NED-OwL FAMILY 220 I VULTURE FAMILY 232 

CHAPTER XXII.— ORDER OF PIGEONS AND DOVES . . . COLUMBAE 237 

CHAPTER XXIII.— ORDER OF UPLAND GAME-BIRDS . . . GALLINAE 241 
Grouse Family 242 | Pheasant Family 250 

CHAPTER XXIV.— ORDER OF SHORE-BIRDS LIMICOLAE 251 

CHAPTER XXV.— ORDER OF CRANES, RAILS, AND COOTS . PALUDICOLAE 255 
Crane Family 255 | Family or Rails 257 

CHAPTER XXVI.— ORDER OF HERONS, STORKS, AND IBISES HERODIONES 259 

"eron Family 259 I Ibis Family 263 

bk Family 263 I Spoonbill Family 264 

CHAPTER XXVII— ORDER OF FLAMINGOES . . . ODONTOGLOSSAE 266 

CHAPTER XXVIII.— ORDER OF DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS . AN ATI DAE 267 
Orders of Swimming Birds . . . 267 | An Object Lesson in Bird Protection . 276 

CHAPTER XXIX— ORDER OF FULLY WEB-FOOTED BIRDS STEGANOPODES 284 



Pelican Family 284 

Cormorant Family 287 

Darter Family 287 



Gannet Family 288 

Man-o'-War-Bibd Family .... 290 



CHAPTER XXX.— ORDER OF TUBE-NOSED SWIMMERS . . TUB1NARES 292 
Albatross Family 292 | Fulmar Family 294 

CHAPTER XXXI.— ORDER OF LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS . . LONGIPENNES 296 

Gulls and Terns 296 I Skua and Jaeger Family .... 299 

Skimmer Family 298 I 

CHAPTER XXXII.— ORDER OF WEAK-WINGED DIVING BIRDS PYGOPODES 300 

Grebe Family 300 I Cliff-Dwellers of the Sea . . . 302 

Loon Family 301 I 

CHAPTER XXXIIL— ORDER OF FLIGHTLESS DIVERS . . . 1MPENNES 307 

CHAPTER XXXIV— ORDER OF WINGLESS LAND BIRDS . . RATITAE 309 

BOOK III— REPTILES 

CHAPTER XXXV.— INTRODUCTION TO THE CLASS OF REPTILES . . .313 

Orders of Living Reptiles ..... 314 



xii CONTENTS 

Page 

CHAPTER XXXVI.— ORDER OF CROCODILES AND ALLIGATORS CROCODILIA 317 

Page I Crocodile Family ..... 319 

Synopsis of the Cuocodilians . . . 317 I American Species op Crocodilians . . 320 

CHAPTER XXXVII— ORDER OF TORTOISES, TERRAPINS, AND TURTLES 

CHELONIA 323 



Synopsis op the Order of Tortoises and 

Turtles 324 

Tortoise Family ...... 324 

Mud-Terrapin Family' 326 

Smooth-Shelled Terrapins .... 326 



Snapping Terrapins 328 

Soft-Shelled "Turtles" .... 329 
Hard-Shelled Sea Turtles . . . 330 

Leathery-Shelled Sea Turtles . . . 331 



CHAPTER XXXVIII.— ORDER OF LIZARDS LACERTILIA 333 

CHAPTER XXXIX.— ORDER OF SERPENTS OPHIDIA 337 



General Characters of Serpents . . 337 
Food of Serpents ..... 33S 

Popular Questions and Misapprehensions 339 
Largest Species of Serpents . . . 340 



Harmless Snakes of the United States . 343 
Poisonous Snakes op North America . 347 
Species of Rattlesnakes .... 349 
Snake Poisons, and their Treatment . . 353 



BOOK IV— AMPHIBIANS 

CHAPTER XL.— INTRODUCTION TO THE CLASS OF AMPHIBIANS . . . .359 

General Characters of Amphibians . . 359 | Bird's-Ey'e View of the Amphibians . . 360 

CHAPTER XLL— ORDER OF FROGS AND TOADS . . . EC AV DAT A 361 

Family of Water Frogs .... 362 I Toad Family 364 

Tree-Frog Family 363 I Tongueless Frogs 364 

CHAPTER XLIL— ORDER OF TAILED AMPHIBIANS .... VRODELA 366 



Family of Salamanders .... 366 
Newts, or Tritons ..... 368 
Family of Amphiumas 369 



Free-Gilled Salamanders .... 370 
Two-Legged Salamanders .... 370 
Order of Worm-Like Amphibians . . 371 



BOOK V— FISHES 

CHAPTER XLIIL— INTRODUCTION TO THE CLASS OF FISHES . . . .375 

Fishery Industries and Fish Propagation 376 I The Orders of Living Fishes . . . 378 
Distribution of Eggs and Live Fish . . 377 I 

CHAPTER XLIV.— ORDER OF THE CONNECTING-LINK FISHES SIRENOIDEI 380 

CHAPTER XLV.— ORDER OF THE SPINY-FINNED FISHES . ACANTHOPTERI 382 

Miscellaneous Spiny-Finned Fishes . . 3SS 

Snapper Family 391 

Odd Fishes of the Spiny'-Finned Order . 392 



Basses and Sunfishes .... 3S2 

Sea-Bass Family 385 

Perch and Pike-Perch Family . . . 386 



CHAPTER XLVL— ORDER OF PIKES HAEPLOMI 394 



CONTENTS 



mi 



CHAPTER XLVII.— ORDER OF TROUT AND SALMON 

Page 



Salmon Family 396 

Subdivision of North American Trouts and 
Charrs ....... 397 



North American Trout 
The Salmon Group 
American Salmon 



Page 
ISOSPONDYLI 396 



. 397 
. 400 
. 400 



CHAPTER XLVIII.— ORDER OF FLYING-FISHES 
CHAPTER XLIX.— ORDER OF SOLID-JAW FISHES . 
CHAPTER L— ORDER OF SUCKERS AND MINNOWS 
CHAPTER LI.— ORDER OF HALF-GILLED FISHES 
CHAPTER LIL— ORDER OF CATFISHES .... 

CHAPTER LIII.— ORDER OF FLAT-FISHES .... 
CHAPTER LIV.— ORDER OF FOOT-FISHES .... 

CHAPTER LV.— ORDER OF EELS 

CHAPTER LVI— ORDER OF PIPE-FISHES AND SEA-HORSES 

CHAPTER LVIL— ORDER OF THE DOGFISH 

CHAPTER LVIIL— ORDER OF GAR-FISHES, OR GANOIDS . 

CHAPTER LIX.— ORDER OF STURGEONS GLANIOSTOMI 427 

CHAPTER LX.— ORDER OF THE PADDLE-FISH .... SELACHOSTOMI 429 
CHAPTER LXL— ORDER OF THE CHIMERAS . . . CHIMAEROIDEI 431 

CHAPTER LXIL— ORDER OF SHARKS SQUALI 432 

CHAPTER LXIII.— ORDER OF RAYS AND SKATES RAIAE 434 



SYNENTOGNATHI 409 

. PLECTOGNATHI 410 

PLECTOSPONDYLI 412 

. HEMIBRANCHII 415 

NEMATOGNATHI 416 

HETEROSOMATA 418 

PEDICULATI 420 

APODES 421 

. LOPHOBRANCHI 423 

HALECOMORPHI 424 

GINGLYMODI 425 



CHAPTER LXIV.— LOWEST CLASSES OF VERTEBRATES 
Lampreys 437 I Lancelets . 



437 
438 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 

Albatross, Black-Footed 293 

Alligator 316 

Alligator, Skull of 318 

Anaconda, Yellow 341 

Angel Fish 387 

Angler 420 

Ant-Eater, Great 158 

Antelope, Prong-Horned 116 

Antlers of Alaskan Moose 142 

Antlers? Do Elk Shed Their— 4 figures 119 

Antlers of Greenland Caribou — 2 figures 135 

Antlers of Kenai Caribou 1 34 

Armadillos, Three-Banded and Six-Banded .... 157 

Auklet, Rhinoceros 304 

Axolotl, Two Lives of the 367 

Baboon, Dead Gelada 14 

Badger 32 

Bass, Black Sea 385 

Bass, Calico 383 

Bass, Striped 386 

Bass, Small-Mouthed Black 383 

Bat, Bonneted 63 

Bat, Bornean Naked 59 

Bat, California Leaf-Nosed 62 

Bat, Flower-Nosed 62 

Bats, Fruit^Eating 67 

Bat, Hammer-Headed 66 

Bat, Red 65 

Bear, Alaskan Brown 33 

Bear, American Black 39 

Bear, Glacier 40 

Bear, Grizzly, at Home 38 

Bear, Polar 36 

Beaver, Skull of 82 

Beavers, American, and their Work 81 

Bittern, American 262 

Black Duck, Head of 269 

Blackbird, Red-Winged 200 

Bluefish 387 

Bluebird 183 

Blue-Jay 204 

Boa Constrictor 340 

Bobolink in Spring 178 

Bob-White 242 

Box-Fish 374 

Buffalo, American Bison, or 101 

Buffle-Head Duck 275 

Bullhead, Common 416 



PAGE 

Canvas-Back Duck 275 

Cardinal 198 

Caribou, Woodland 133 

Carp, German Scaled 413 

Cassowary, Ceram 309 

Cat-Bird 187 

Chickadee 184 

Chipmunk, Eastern 72 

Chipmunk, Western 73 

Chimpanzee, A Dressed-Up 10 

Chimpanzee, Young Female 9 

Chimera, Spotted 431 

Coach-Whip Snake 345 

Condor 234 

Congo "Snake" 369 

Coot 258 

Copperhead Snake 352 

Cormorant 289 

Coyote 23 

Crane, Whooping 256 

Creeper, Brown 186 

Crocodile, Florida 321 

Crocodile, Skull of Indian 318 

Crocodile, Skull of Florida 318 

Crocodile, Skull of Orinoco 318 

Cross-bill, American 195 

Cuckoo, Yellow-Billed 214 

Deer, Mule, in the Bad-Lands 125 

Deer, Mule, with Antlers in Velvet 127 

Deer, White-Tailed 128 

Deer, White-Tailed, "Freak" antlers of 131 

Deer, Young White-Tailed 130 

Devil-Fish 436 

Dicrostonyx hudsonius, Skin of 85 

Dipodomys merriami, Skin of 85 

Dogfish 424 

Dolphin, Common 151 

Dove, Mourning 239 

Eagle, Bald 170 

Eel, Electric 421 

Egret, Great White 262 

Eider, American 277 

Eider, King, Head of 279 

Eider, Spectacled, Head of 279 

Elk, American 121 

Elk, Winter Home of the 123 

Erotomys gapperi, Skin of 85 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 

Fer-de-Lance 353 

Ferret, Black-Footed 29 

Fins of a Typical Fish (Black Grunt) 376 

Fisher 28 

Flamingo 266 

Flying-Fish, Common 409 

Fox, Arctic 26 

Fox, Black or Silver 25 

Fox, Gray 27 

Fox, Red 25 

Frog, Leopard 362 

Gadwall, Head of 269 

Gar Pike 425 

Garter-Snake, Common 345 

Gavial, Skull of 318 

Gila Monster 335 

Glass "Snake " 336 

Goat, Rocky Mountain 113 

Golden-Eye Duck, Head of 269 

Goldfinch, American 196 

Goose, Canada 280 

Gopher, Red Pocket 94 

Gorilla 6 

Grackle, Purple 202 

Grouse, Canada 245 

Grouse, Eastern Ruffed 244 

Grouse, Pinnated 246 

Grouse, Sage 247 

Grosbeak, Rose-Breasted 199 

Gull, Herring 297 

Halibut, Common 418 

Hare, Polar 97 

Hare, Prairie 97 

Hare, Varying 97 

Harlequin Duck, Head of 269 

Haven of Refuge for Ducks 276 

Hawk, Cooper's 231 

Hawk, Sharp-Shinned 230 

Hawk, Sparrow 227 

Heron, Great Blue 260 

Heron, Little Green 261 

Hog-Nosed Snake 347 

Horned Lizard; Horned "Toad" 336 

Horns of Asiatic and American Mountain 

Sheep 114 

Humming-Bird, Ruby-Throated 209 

Ibis, White 263 

Iguana, Common 333 

Iguanas, Marine, on Narborough Island 332 

Jaguar 19 

Kingfisher, Belted 215 

King Snake 343 



PAGE 

Kinglet, Ruby-Crowned 184 

Kite, Swallow-Tailed 232 

Lark, Meadow 200 

Lemming, Hudson Bay 86 

Lemur, Ruffed 17 

Lizard, Blue-Tailed 334 

Loon , 301 

Lung-Fish 380 

Lynx, Bay 22 

Lynx, Canada 22 

Mackerel, Spanish 388 

Magpie, American 203 

Mallard Duck 268 

Manatee, Florida 155 

Man-o'-War Birds 290 

Marten 28 

Martin, Purple 193 

Marmoset, Common 16 

Massasauga Snake 352 

Master of the Trail, The 109 

Menobranchus, or Mud-Puppy 370 

Menopoma, or Hellbender 368 

Merganser, American, Head of 279 

Merganser, Head of Hooded 279 

Merganser, Red-Breasted 278 

Microdipodops megacephalus, Skin of 85 

Microtus pennsyl aniens, Skin of 85 

Mink 28 

Moccasin, Water 352 

Mocking-Bird 188 

Mole, Digging Muscles of a 57 

Mole, Common 57 

Mole, Fore Foot of Star-Nosed 58 

Mole, Nose of Star-Nosed 58 

Mole, Star-Nosed 57 

Monkey, Black-Faced Spider 15 

Monkey, Diana 13 

Monkey, Japanese Red-Faced 13 

Monkey, White-Throated Sapajou 14 

Moose in New Brunswick Frontispiece 

Mouse, Field 86 

Mouse, Jumping 93 

Mouse, Le Conte's Harvest (lower figure) 90 

Mouse, Mole 90 

Mouse, Rice-Field 89 

Mouse, Red-Backed 87 

Mouse, Typical Pocket 92 

Mouse, White-Footed (upper figure) 90 

Mullet, Silver 390 

Murre, Common 301 

Muskallunge 394 

Musk-Ox, Wild Herd of 106 

Musk-Ox, Young Female 104 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



ivn 



PACE 

Narwhal 152 

Neotoma ftoridana, Skin of 85 

Nighthawk 207 

Nutcracker, Clarke's 205 

Nuthatch, White-Breasted 185 

Ocelot 21 

Old Squaw Duck, Head of 269 

Onychomys leucogaster, Skin of 85 

Opossum, Murine, and Young 166 

Opossum, Virginia 165 

Orang-Utan, Female and Young 11 

Orang-Utans "Fight in the Tree-Tops" 10 

Oriole and Nest 201 

Oryzomys palustris, Skin of 85 

Osprey, American 226 

Otter 28 

Owl, Barn 220 

Owl, Barred 220 

Owl, Great Horned 223 

Owl, Screech 221 

Owl, Snowy 224 

Owl, Young Great-Horned 223 

Owl, Young Screech 222 

Paddle-Fish 429 

Paddle-Fish, Under View of 429 

Pangolin, Rolled Up 161 

Parrakeet, Carolina 216 

Partridge, California Mountain 242 

Partridge, California Valley 243 

Peccary, Collared 144 

Pelican, California Brown 285 

Pelicans, Florida Brown, on Pelican Island . . . 284 

Pelican, Great White 286 

Penguin, Emperor 306 

Perch, Yellow 383 

Perognathus fasciatus, Skin of 85 

Peromyscus leucopus, Skin of 85 

Perodipus richardsoni, Skin of 85 

Petrel, Stormy 294 

Phenacomys orophilus, Skin of 85 

Pickerel, Chain 386 

Pigeon, Band-Tailed 238 

Pike-Perch, Yellow 3S6 

Pin-tail Duck 272 

Pine Snake 344 

Pipe-Fish, Great 423 

Platypus 167 

Plover, Kildeer 251 

Plumage of a Bird 180 

Porcupine, Canada 95 

Porcupine Fish 374 

Prairie-" Dogs " 76 

Prairie-" Dog'' Burrow 78 



PAGE 

Ptarmigan, Willow 249 

Puffin, Common 304 

Puffin, Tufted 304 

Puffer Fish 374 

Puma, or "Mountain Lion " 20 

Python, Reticulated 337 

Rabbit, Cotton-Tail 97 

"Rabbit," Jack 97 

Raccoon 41 

Rail, Virginia 257 

Rat, Cotton 89 

Rat, Florida Wood 88 

Rat, Kangaroo 91 

Rat, Kangaroo 92 

Rattlesnake, Banded, yellow phase 351 

Rattlesnake, Banded, dark phase 351 

Rattlesnake, Diamond 350 

Rattlesnake, Prairie 351 

Ray, Sting 436 

Redhead Duck 274 

Reithrodontomys leconti, Skin of 85 

Ring-Necked Duck, Head of 269 

Robin 181 

Ruddy Duck, Head of 279 

Salmon, Quinnat 401 

Salmon, Sebago 404 

Sand-Piper, Least 253 

Sawfish 435 

Scaup Duck, Head of 269 

Scoter, Head of American 269 

Scoter, Head of Surf 269 

Sea-Horse 423 

Seal, Harbor 44 

Seal, Harp 51 

Seal, Head of Hooded .53 

Seal, Ribbon 52 

Seals, Fur, on "Hauling Grounds" 49 

Sea-Lions, California 44 

Sea-Lion, Steller's 44 

Sea-Lion, Steller's 46 

Shad, Common 407 

Shark, Hammer-Head 432 

Shark, Mackerel 432 

Shark-Ray 434 

Sheep, Black Mountain Ill 

Sheep, Head of White, front view 110 

Sheep, Head of White, side view 110 

Sheep, White Mountain Ill 

Shoveller Duck 271 

Shrew, Common 58 

Shrew, Short-Tailed 58 

Shrike, Loggerhead 191 

Sigmodon hispidus, Skin of ,85 



xvm 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 

Siren Salamander, or Mud-" Eel" 371 

Skeleton of an American Bison 100 

Skeleton of a Bird of Prey 219 

Skeleton of a Turtle 323 

Skeletons of Man and Gorilla 8 

Skeleton of Pale Bat 60 

Skunk, Common 31 

Skunk, Spotted 31 

Sloth, Two-Toed 160 

Snake-Bird 287 

Snapper, Red 391 

Snipe, Wilson's 253 

Snow-Bunting 196 

Sparrow, White-Throated 197 

Spermophile, Say's 73 

Spermophile, Thirteen-Lined 74 

Spermophile, Richardson's 75 

Spoonbill, Roseate 265 

Squirrel, Eastern Red 71 

Squirrel, Flying 80 

Squirrel, Gray 69 

Squirrel, Southern Fox 70 

Steller's Duck, Head of 279 

Stickleback, Two-Spined 415 

Sturgeon, Lake 427 

Sucker, Common 412 

Sunfish, Common 383 

Swallow, Barn 195 

Swallow, Cliff, and Nest 194 

Swan, Trumpeter 282 

Swordfish 392 

Synaptomys coo-peri, Skin of 85 

Tadpole to Frog, From 361 

Tails of American Deer 129 

Tamandua Ant-Eater 158 

Tanager, Scarlet 195 

Tarpon 406 

Teal, Blue- Winged 270 

Teal, Head of Green-Winged 269 

Tern, Common 297 

Terrapin, Alligator 328 



PAQE 

Tortoise, Box 325 

Tree-Duok, Head of Fulvus 269 

Tree-Frog, Northern 363 

Trigger-Fish 374 

Trout, Brook 399 

Trout, Rainbow 398 

Tuna 389 

Turkey, Virginia Wild 250 

"Turtle," Musk 326 

"Turtle," Painted 327 

"Turtle," Soft-Shelled 329 

"Turtle," Wood 328 

Vireo, Red-Eyed 190 

Vole, Northwestern 87 

Vulture, California 233 

Vulture, Young California 234 

Wallabay, Rock 164 

Walrus, Pacific 44 

Walrus, Pacific 54 

Walrus, Young Atlantic 55 

Warbler, Yellow 189 

Water-Snake, Red-Bellied 346 

Waxwing, Bohemian 193 

Whales Attacked by Killers 150 

Whale, Bow-Head 147 

Widgeon, Head of American 269 

Wolf, Gray 22 

Wolverine 30 

Woodcock, American 252 

Woodcock on Nest 252 

Woodchuck 79 

Wood-Duck 273 

Woodpecker, Downy 213 

Woodpecker, Golden-Winged 211 

Woodpecker, Red-Headed 212 

Wood Thrush 182 

Wren 187 

Zapus hudsonius, Skin of 85 



MAPS AND CHARTS 



Map of North America Third page of cover 

Landscape Chart of the Orders of Living Mam- 
mals 5 

Map of Annual Migration of the Fur Seal Herd . 48 

Chart of the Hare and Rabbit Family 97 

Range of the Musk Ox 105 



Distribution of Mountain Sheep in North 

America 108 

Distribution of the Prong-Horned Antelope ... 117 
Distribution of the Moose in North America . . . 141 
Landscape Chart of the Orders of North Amer- 
ican Birds 177 



INTRODUCTION 

THE GROUND-PLANS OF NATURE 

Science is a collection of facts concerning natural objects or phenomena, arranged in good 
order, and made useful. 

Natural Science is the study of Nature's works and forces, and embraces all things not made 
by man. Among its grand divisions may be mentioned natural history, chemistry, and physics. 

Natural History is the study of Nature's common objects; but by most persons, this name 
is applied only to the study of animal life. Natural history treats of three great kingdoms — the 
animal, vegetable, and mineral. 

The Animal Kingdom embraces not only all the living creatures which now inhabit the earth, 
but also those which have died, become extinct, and left only their buried remains, called fossils. 
Of the animal kingdom, three great groups of subjects may be recognized, as follows: 

MAN, the study of whom is called An-thro-pol'o-gy 

THE LOWER ANIMALS, the study of which is called Zo-ol'o-gy 

EXTINCT, or FOSSIL ANIMALS, the study of which is called Pa-le-on-tol'o-gy 

In strict reality, Paleontology is only a branch of Zoology, for the two are inseparably dove- 
tailed together. The living animals of to-day are the standards by which the paleontologist 
studies and determines those of the past. 

This diagram illustrates the relations which the grand divisions of Natural History bear toward 
each other: 

Kingdoms. Sciences. 

( An-thro-pol'o-gy 

Animal : < Zo-ol'o-gy 

( Pa-le-on-tol'o-gy 
NATURAL HISTORY / i Botany 

(in a broad sense). ^ Vegetable: \ Pa-le-o-bot'a-ny 

Mineral- \ Ge - ol '°-gy 

mineral j Min-er-al'o-gy 

In its broadest sense, Natural History includes Chemistry and Physics; but as that term is 
now commonly used, it is intended to refer only to the life histories of living creatures. 

An Animal is a living creature belonging to the animal kingdom ; but this word is commonly, 
though incorrectly, used to designate mammals alone. 

The animals of the world are so vast in number, and so varied in form, that these lessons will 
treat only of the higher forms of life, known as Ver'te-brates. 

A Vertebrate is an animal having (usually) a bony skeleton, and a spinal column, or back- 
bone, composed of a series of bones called ver'te-brae. This division of life is called a Branch. 

The Branch Ver-te-bra'ta is divided into seven grand divisions, called Classes; which are 
known as Mam'mals, Birds, Reptiles, Am-phib'ians, Fishes, My'zonts, and Lance'lets. 1 

1 Two other Classes, Enteropneusts and Tunicates, are, by some modern zoologists, regarded as 
Vertebrates. These low forms, however, lack a complete backbone, or notochord, and are therefore 
omitted. 



II 



INTRODUCTION 



A Mam'nial is a warm-blooded creature, that brings forth its young alive, and nourishes 
it with milk from its own body. All land mammals, save a few species, are covered with hair; 
and all sustain life by breathing air with the aid of lungs. Except man, the mammals which live 
upon land are also called quad'ru-peds. 

A Quad'ru-ped is a mammal which possesses four feet, or, having two hands and two feet, 
like the apes, yet walks upon all-fours. 

Man is a bi'ped, or two-footed animal. Land mammals generally are quad'rupeds, or four- 
jooted, and monkeys are quad-ru' ma-nous, or iour-handed. 

The term quadrumana is often applied to apes and monkeys because the long great-toe on 
the hind foot makes the foot quite hand-like in its grasping power. 

A Bird is a warm-blooded animal, which comes from an egg that usually is laid and hatched 
by the parent. It breathes air, is covered with feathers, usually is provided with wings, and all 
save a few species can fly. 

A Reptile is a cold-blooded, egg-laying animal, usually covered with scales or a bony shell. 
All have lungs and breathe air, but some are able to live in water so comfortably they are called 
am-phib'i-ous. 

An Am-phib'i-an is a member of the Class of animals which forms a connecting link between 
reptiles and fishes. Some breathe air, and live alternately on land and in water, like frogs. Others 
have gills, and live in water all their lives. A few are capable of developing either gills or lungs, 
according to the presence or absence of water, like the wonderful Ax-o-lotl' of Mexico. 

A Fish is a cold-blooded animal, possessing gills, fins, and (usually) scales. All save a very 
few species live permanently in water. The exceptions are certain fishes in the East Indies which 
for short intervals hop about on land, or even climb rocks or trees! 



THE 
ANIMAL 
WORLD. 



GRAND DIVISIONS OF THE ANIMAL WORLD 

Branches. Classes. 

Mammals 

Birds 

Reptiles 

Ver'te-brates : ( Amphibians 

Fishes 

Myzonts 

Lancelets 

Insects: — Body in segments, reproduce by a complete change in form. 

Crus-ta'ce-ans (Crabs, Lobsters, etc.): — Skeleton external; gill-breathing, chiefly 
aquatic. 

Mol'lusks ("Shell-Fish") : — Soft-bodied, usually covered by a hard, limy shell. 

Worms : — True worms, and other forms not fitting in elsewhere. 

Star-Fishes: — Salt-water animals, with star-like structure. 

Corals: — Minute, salt-water animals, which build up solid masses of their limy 
skeletons. 

Jelly-Fishes: — Disk-shaped, jelly-like sea animals, with no hard parts. 

Sponges: — Stationary aquatic animals, which look like plants; skeletons of tough, 
fibrous cells. 

Pro-to-zo'ans: — Lowest forms of life, beginning with the single cell; 
microscopic. 

HOW ANIMALS ARE CLASSIFIED 



mostly 



In order to know and appreciate even a small proportion of the world's animals, their correct 
arrangement into groups is as necessary as a systematic arrangement of the books in a vast library. 
By their forms and characters, animals are divided into natural groups and subdivisions, and in 



INTRODUCTION xxi 

order that we may understand their proper relationships, and their places in Nature, we must learn 
and remember the general principles of animal classification. Without this foundation knowl- 
edge, a clear view of the splendid domain of animal life is impossible, and the life histories of our 
living creatures will be but a jumble of disconnected facts, of very slight practical use. 

When properly simplified, the classification of the principal groups of our vertebrate animals 
is as easily learned and remembered as the leading facts of geography. Once learned, each animal 
observed thereafter can be located in the group to which it belongs, and its place in Nature under- 
stood. This helps toward exact knowledge of its anatomy and habits. 

No-men'cla-ture is the naming of animals, and the groups to which they belong. The object 
of popular nomenclature, or naming, is to make the place and character of an animal clearly and 
correctly understood by the greatest possible number of people. 

» Scientific nomenclature relates to the use of technical names, in Latin or Greek, in which 
the general student is not often interested. Whenever through frequent or frivolous changes of 
scientific names, or by the giving of too great a number of them, our knowledge of animals becomes 
confused and uncertain, scientific classification defeats its own object, and becomes worse than 
useless. The observance by technical writers of the fatal rule of priority, by which the most obscure 
names often are exalted at the expense of more appropriate names in universal use, is rapidly 
debasing the legitimate value of Latin names generally, and creating wide-spread uncertainty and 
confusion. 

Latin words are used for most scientific names, because Latin is the universal language of scien- 
tific men, the world over; and Latin names are used by all educated nations without change in form. 

In the development of animal classification, the various classes of animals are subdivided into 
groups which gradually grow smaller, until at last each species is named and placed, thus: 

Classes are divided into Orders: 

Orders " " " Families: 

Families" " " Genera (singular = genus): 

Genera " " " Species (singular = species) : 

Species " " " Individuals. 

As an example, take the Puma, or Mountain " Lion." 

Its Order is FE'RAE, the wild beasts. 

" Family is Fe'li-dae, the Cats. 

" Genus is Fe'lis, the true Cats. 

" Species is concolor, gray. 

" Scientific name, therefore, is Felis concolor. 

All these groups are divided into subdivisions, such as suborders, subfamilies, subgenera, and 
even subspecies; but in the writer's opinion there is very little excuse for their creation, or for 
their continued existence, and the student will do well to let them alone — until he feels the need 
for them. 

A tau'to-nym is a scientific name in which the name of the genus is repeated as the name of the 
species. Thus, some authors write the Latin name of the American Bison as Bison bison; and the 
Anhinga is Anhinga anhinga. In America, the tautonym habit is merely another step toward the 
complete demoralization of zoological nomenclature. 

A tri-no'mial is a name in three sections, applied to a subspecies; such as Felis concolor 
oregonensis. 

By scientific authors, species are frequently divided into subspecies, or races, because in widely 
separated localities, animals of the same parent stock sometimes are so influenced by differences in 
climate, food, and surroundings that they assume different colors, or grow larger or smaller than 
the type. But, no matter how much individuals may differ in size and color, if it is possible to 
bring together a collection of specimens which will show all stages of variation from the type to 



xxii INTRODUCTION" 

the extremes, then the specimens all belong to the same species. Thus, in passing from New York 
to Ohio, specimens of the Gray Squirrel show all shades of variation, from the typical gray to black; 
but all belong to the same species, called in Latin, Sci-u'rus car-o-li-nen'sis. 

A Species is an assemblage of individual animals which in at least one respect are distinctly 
different from all others, and whose peculiarities are so well marked and so constant that they can 
be distinguished from all others without the aid of locality labels. 

When a new kind of animal is found, adult specimens of which are distinctly different from those 
of all known species, an average specimen is taken as a type, and it is described, and christened 
by its describer. Every species should be distinguishable by external characters; and any 
animal which requires to be killed and dissected before it can be named, is of no practical value 
as an independent form. 

To secure recognition among zoologists, it is important that the first description of a new 
species should appear in a regular publication of some scientific society, or in a scientific journal. 
In case the creature has not already been described, and the proposed species has just claims to 
stand alone, this name is entitled to stand, by right of priority, or first christening. 

Many times it happens that through ignorance of what has been done by others, or by errors 
in judgment, a new name is bestowed upon an animal or plant that has already been named. Some- 
times, also, it is found that the name bestowed has already been used for some other animal. A 
name applied to an animal or plant already named is called a syn'o-nym. In scientific books, 
synonyms sometimes are printed in a list under the correct name, followed by the names of their 
respective authors. A zoological synonym always stands for a published error, and scientific authors 
should be chary of describing as "new" any species which are likely to prove mere synonyms. 

The type of any species is a carefully selected specimen which in size and color may fairly 
be considered the standard, or average, for that species. Among zoologists, this term is applied 
to the identical skin, or other specimen, described by its discoverer. Because of the many scientific 
names that are erroneously bestowed upon animals, the name of the author who is responsible for 
a name is usually printed, in abbreviated form, immediately after the name itself, thus: 

Popular name. Scientific name. Authority. 
Coyote. Canis latrans. Say. 

A parenthesis enclosing a Latin name and the name of its author is a sign that the name has 
been changed somewhat from the form originally chosen and put forth by the author of the species. 

Taken as a whole, this name means (1) that the " popular " name of the animal is Coy'ote; (2) 
that its scientific name (Latin) is Canis (=dog) la'trans (=barking); and (3) that it was first cor- 
rectly described and named in print by a man named Say. If we consult our books, we will find 
that Thomas Say was a Philadelphia naturalist, and his description of this animal appeared in 
"Long's Expedition to the Rocky Mountains," published in 1823, Vol. I, page 168. 

Whenever the name of an animal has been so long in use that it has become familiar to millions 
of people, any attempt to change it tends to create confusion. A slightly incorrect name in universal 
use is often better than the confusion and doubt inseparable from attempting a change. Thus, 
the American buffalo, considered in connection with the world's bovine animals generally, is really 
a bison; and the prairie-" dog" is really a prairie marmot; but since nearly all the inhabitants of 
America know these animals by their incorrect names, and any effort to force a universal change 
would be quite fruitless, it would be unwise to attempt it. 

It is very important to the student that the names of the various Orders of vertebrate animals 
should be learned and remembered; for they are the keys with which to unlock and reveal all 
systematic knowledge of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. 

THE INTELLIGENCE OF ANIMALS: A WARNING 

During the past two years, so many persons have requested my views regarding the mental 
capacity of animals, that I feel impelled to enter here a brief statement, coupled with a warning. 
Unfortunately, it cannot be written otherwise than in the first person. 



INTRODUCTION xxiii 

While I have no desire to exploit my personal experiences among wild creatures, it is at least 
fair to state, for the benefit of the millions to whom the writer is unknown, that of wild creatures 
in their haunts, and also in captivity, he has seen as much as most men of his tastes. 

The tendency of the present is to idealize the higher animals, to ascribe to them intelligence 
and reasoning powers which they do not possess, and in some instances to " observe " wonderful 
manifestations that take place chiefly in the imagination of the beholder. For example, to a ruffed 
grouse, having mingled blood and mud on a broken leg, is ascribed a deliberate and well-considered 
attempt at "surgery," and the intentional making of a clay jacket, re-enforced with pieces of grass. 
To my mind, all such " observations " as the above are too absurd for serious consideration; and 
when put forth for the information of the young, they are harmful. 

There exists to-day a tendency to ascribe to wild animals a full measure of human intelligence. 
But wild creatures must not be taken too seriously. With all their "schools" in the woods, they 
are not yet as intelligent as human beings; and the strain that is being put upon them by some 
of their exponents is much too great. With the most honest intentions, a naturalist may so com- 
pletely overestimate and misinterpret the actions of animals as to reach very ridiculous conclusions. 

Judging from all that I have seen and heard of wild creatures of many kinds, from apes to 
centipedes, both in captivity and out, I believe that practically all their actions are based upon 
natural, inborn instinct — nearly all of it in the line of self-preservation, and the exceptions are due to 
the natural tendency to imitate leaders. Of hereditary knowledge — another name for instinct, 
some animals have an abundance. Of special knowledge, acquired by systematic reasoning from 
premise to conclusion, most animals have very little, and very few ever exhibit powers of ratioci- 
nation. 

It is not true that young animals know things only as their parents teach them. The assertion 
that all young birds must be "taught" to fly, or run, or swim, or catch insects, is ridiculous, and 
not even worthy of discussion. It is just as natural for a one-week-old lion cub to spit, and claw 
at a human hand, as it is for it to breathe and suck. There are no deer in a captive herd so 
insanely wild and fearful of keepers as the fawns. 

No; even the higher animals are not yet as wise as human beings. In matters involving intel- 
ligence, such as in the treatment of wounds, or disease, below the higher Primates there is not more 
than one out of every hundred which has sense enough to comprehend a relief measure, or which 
will not fight the surgeon to the utmost. Some apes do indeed learn to be doctored ; but there 
are many which never grasp the idea, and fight until they die. Of mammals generally, not more 
than one out of every hundred will permit a bandage to remain on a broken leg when they have 
the power to tear it off. "Animal surgery," indeed! 

In the matter of disposition, wild mammals and birds are no more angelic than human beings. 
In every family, in every herd, and in every cage, from tigers to doves, the strong bully and oppress 
the weak, and drive them to the wall. Of all quadrupeds, deer are the greatest fools, wolves are 
the meanest, apes the most cunning, bears the most consistent and open-minded, and elephants 
the most intellectual. 

Of birds, the parrots and cockatoos are the most philosophic, the cranes are the most domi- 
neering, the darters are the most treacherous, the gallinaceous birds have the least common-sense, 
and the swimming birds are by far the quickest to recognize protection, and accept it. 

The virtues of the higher animals have been extolled unduly, and their intelligence has been 
magnified about ten diameters. The meannesses and cruelties of wild animals toward each other 
form a long series of chapters which have not yet been written, and which no lover of animals cares 
to write. 

I can see no possible objection to the writing of good fiction stories in which animals are the 
characters and the actors throughout. I love a good story, and I enjoy a wild-animal hero, even 
when the entire plot and all its characters are imaginary. To such there can be no objection, 
so long as the reader knows that fiction is fiction ! But the realms of fact and fiction are very 
distinct, and the boundary should be maintained, openly and visibly. In books for children, espe- 



xxiy INTRODUCTION 

cially, fantastic imaginings should not be offered as serious facts; but such stories as"Raggylugg," 
" Redruff," and "Krag," by Mr. Ernest T. Seton, deserve to live forever. "Mooswa" is a fictioi- 
story ot animals that is one of the best of its kind. 

The most marvellous doings of wild animals are to be found in books and newspapers. Only 
in books do porcupines roll down steep hills in order to gather dead leaves upon their quills, and 
thereby be able to do more wonderful things. Only in books do kingfishers catch fish, carry them 
a mile or less, and place them in a brook in order to give their nestlings object lessons in ichthyology, 
and in the gentle art of angling. You or I may spend years in the forests and fields, observing and 
collecting wild creatures, and see only a very few acts of the wild folk which we can call wonderful. 
But then, somehow, our animals rarely have been as large, or as well educated, as those of some 
other observers. 

Try all questions of animal action and intelligence with the touchstone of common-sense. Be 
not startled by the "discovery" that apes and monkeys have "language"; for their vocabulary 
is not half so varied and extensive as that of barn-yard fowls, whose language many of us know 
very well. Take no stock in the systematic and prolonged "duels" of wild animals who meet 
and fight to the death, under Marquis of Queensberry rules. A fight between two wild animals is 
usually a very brief event, — so say reliable men who have seen them in the wilds, — and unless there 
is an accidental death-lock of antlers, the vanquished party usually shows his heels long before he is 
seriously wounded. 

Animal psychology is a most interesting study, and its pursuit is now engaging the serious 
attention of scientific men. If the general public could know the plain and simple basis on which 
they are proceeding, this warning against the idealization of animals would hardly be necessary. Men 
of science who study the minds of animals do not idealize their subjects, or ascribe to them super- 
human intelligence ; nor are they always on the alert to ascribe to every simple action some astound- 
ingly intelligent and far-fetched motive. In the study of animal intelligence, the legitimate Truth 
is sufficiently wonderful to satisfy all save those who crave the sensational, regardless of facts. 

RULES FOR MEASURING MAMMALS, HORNS, ETC. 

The increasing amount of attention that is being paid to the measurements and weights of 
animals renders necessary the adoption of a uniform system, in order that species and individuals 
may be compared on a fair basis. To promote this end the following rules are offered : 

Small Mammals Generally 

1. Record all measurements in feet and inches, and leave the metric scale for those who prefer 
a foreign system. 

2. Measurements of skins are of very slight value; therefore, always measure a specimen 
before skinning it. 

3. Lay every mammal on its side, pull the head straight forward, and measure from the tip 
of the nose to the point where the tail joins the body. This is the "Length of head and body." 

4. From the last-mentioned point, measure to the end of the tail vertebrae, not the hair, for 
"Length of tail." If the tail-tuft is important, measure it separately. 

5. Weigh large examples of species that are larger than rats and mice; and in each case, weigh 
the whole of the specimen. 

Large Mammals 

1. The "Height at the shoulder" is the most important measurement. To obtain this, hold 
the uppermost foreleg as nearly as possible in the position it occupied when supporting the animal. 
Do not measure from the "point of the hoof"; for that means nothing. Hold the hoof with its 
bottom parallel with the body, as when the animal stood upon it; erect there a stick to mark the 



INTRODUCTION xxv 

bottom line, and another to mark the top of shoulders, at the skin. The distance between the 
two perpendiculars, in a straight line, will be the true height of the animal. Do not follow any 
curves. 

2. The "Length of head and body" must be obtained in a straight line between root of tail 
and end of nose, with the head drawn straight forward, and not following any curves. The "Length 
of tail" is from its base to the end of the vertebrae. 

3. The "Girth" is the tight circumference of the animal immediately behind the forelegs. 

4. The "Depth of the body" is the distance in a straight line from the top of the shoulders 
to the brisket, or lower line of the breast, immediately behind the foreleg. To artists, sculptors, 
and taxidermists, this is a very important measurement. 

5. The "Circumference of the neck" is taken half way between the ears and shoulders, close 
to the skin. 

6. The "Length from head of femur to head of humerus" is also a highly valuable figure for 
artists, and it is easily taken by feeling through the skin for the high points of those joints. 

7. Weigh an animal before it is "dressed"; but if the dressed weight of a deer is known, a 
close approximation to its live weight can be obtained by the aid of the rule given on page 124. 

Antlers and Horns 

1. The "Length on outer curve" is obtained by starting the tape line at the base of the horn, 
at its lowest point on the face, and following the curves or windings of the horn, quite to the tip. 
In horns that are deeply ringed, such as those of the large African antelopes, the tape must not 
be pressed into the hollows between the ridges. 

2. The "Greatest spread" is taken from outside to outside of the antlers where they spread 
widest! This should not be taken inside the horns, for that does not represent the real width of 
the horns, any more than interior measurements would represent the spread of a tree. 

3. The " Distance between tips" needs no explanation. 

4. The "Circumference at base" should, for all bovines, sheep, goats, ibex, and deer, be taken 
in a circle around the largest diameter of the horns. The tape should not follow the meanderings of 
the end of a sheep's horn. With the antlers of all members of the Deer Family, the circumfer- 
ence should be measured immediately above the burr. 

5. "Width of palrnation" of moose and caribou should always be measured where the pal 
mation is widest. 

6. A "Point" on an antler is any pointed projection of jfficient length that a watch can 
hang upon it without falling off. 

7. The "Weight of horns" must state whether it be with "entire skull," or "with skull-piece'' 
only. 

8. Shed antlers that have been set artificially on a manufactured skull, or frame, are not 
entitled to measurement for "spread"; but where a skull has been sawn in two lengthwise by a clean 
cut, and bolted together again without alteration of the sawn surfaces, it is entitled to measurement 
for "spread" and "distance between tips." 



BOOK I 

MAMMALS 



CHAPTER I 

THE ORDERS OF MAMMALS 

The living mammals of the world, as distinguished from those which are extinct, or fossil, may 
be divided into thirteen grand divisions, called Orders. The order is the foundation of mamma- 
lian arrangement. Without adequate knowledge of these divisions, a clear understanding of the 
relationships of mammals is quite impossible. 

It is customary with technical writers to begin with the lowest forms of life, and toil upward 
toward the highest ; but it is very discouraging to the young student to find the most interesting 
forms the farthest away. Frequently the most interesting animals are never reached! For many 
reasons, it is best that the general student should study first the forms that are most important, 
and also most interesting, and thus make sure of them. We therefore begin our studies of the 
animal kingdom with the highest forms, and adopt the latest names that have come into use 
amongst zoologists. 

While the great majority of the examples cited will be North American, a few from other con- 
tinents will be introduced to complete the chain of important facts. 



THE ORDERS OF LIVING MAMMALS. 

ORDER. PRONUNCIATION. MEANING. EXAMPLES. 

Primates Pri'matz First order Man ; apes and monkeys. 

Ferae, or Carnivora. . . .Fe're j W'll ft 1st ( Cats, dogs, bears, weasels. 

Pinnipedia Pin-ni-pe'dia Fin-footed Sea-lions, seals, walrus. 

Insectivora In-sec-tiv'o-rah Insect-eaters Moles and shrews. 

Chiroptera Ki-rop'ter-ah Wing-handed .... Bats and flying-" foxes." 

Glires, or Rodentia. . . .Gli'rcz Gnawers Hares, gophers, rats, squirrels. 

Ungulata Un-gu-la'tah Hoofed Cattle, deer, sheep, swine, tapirs. 

Cete Se'te Whales Whales, porpoises, dolphins. 

Sirenia Si-re'ne-a Sea-cows Manatee and dugong. 

Edentata E-den-ta'ta Toothless Armadillos, sloths and ant-eaters. 

Effodientia Ef-fo-de-en'shia Diggers Pangolin and aardvark. 

Marsupialia Mar-su-pi-a'li-a Pouched Opossum, kangaroo. 

Monotremata . Mon-o-trem'a-ta Single duct Platypus and echidna. 



EXPLANATION OF THE CHART OF THE ORDERS OF MAMMALS. 

To the beginner in Natural History studies, the Order is the master-key to classification. 

This Chart is based on the well-known fact that in the pursuit of a difficult study, any scheme 
which properly and truthfully appeals to the eye is an aid both to the understanding and the mem- 
ory. It shows the relative importance of the various Orders of Mammals, but not their relative 
sizes, based on the number of species in each, as has been done later on with the birds. If number 
of species were given precedence over economic importance, the Order Glires would dominate, and 
the Order Ungulata would appear small and insignificant. 

It is impossible to construct a diagram which will show correctly the relations which the various 
Orders bear toward each other, anatomically. This is because some Orders are characterized by 
their teeth, some by their feet, or hands; others by their wings, and two by their mode of producing 
their young. 

It will be noted that: 

The Primates, of the tree-tops, have the highest position. 

The Cete, which in some respects are the lowest of the Mammalia, occupy the lowest position. 

The Bats are shown in mid-air, and the Insectivores appear under ground, where they live out 
their lives. 

The Seals and Sea-Lions appear both on the shore and in the sea, and the Sirenians are located 
in an estuary. 

The Ferae, Glires and Ungulata spread throughout the whole visible earth, covering forest and 
plain, sea, pond and stream, from the sea to the most distant mountains. 

The Monotremates, or egg-laying mammals, are quite apart from all other land mammals, and 
appear low down, near the home of the ducks, as shown on the bird chart. The space allotted 
to this strange Order has been made egg-shaped, to 
members. 



CHAPTER II 
THE ORDER OF APES AND MONKEYS 

PRIMATES 



This Order includes all creatures with hands, 
and hand-like feet. With the exception of the 
Japanese red-faced monkey, the tscheli monkey 
of China, and two or three other Chinese species, 
all its members inhabit the tropics, far below the 
frost line. It is on or near the Equator that the 
lower Primates reach their highest development, 
and the great apes approach nearest to man. 
Let it not be supposed, however, that the chain 
of evolution from the aye-aye to the gorilla is 
complete; for the gap between the gibbons and 
the monkeys is much greater than that between 
the gorilla and man. 

All men, even savages, are specially interested 
in apes and monkeys, because they are the high- 
est of the lower animals, and stand nearest to 
man. There is no human being of sound mind 
to whom their human-likeness does not appeal. 
For this reason, we will introduce here several 
species which are not found in the New World, 
for the reason that without them our Foundation 
for the Mammalia would be incomplete. 

Although tropical America contains a very 
respectable number of species of monkeys, they 



are, as a whole, both structurally and mentally, 
far lower than the monkeys and baboons of the 
Old World. Structurally they are weak, in 
spirit they are timid and cowardly, and intel- 
lectually they are dull to the point of stupidity. 
With the exception of the sapajous, they are 
in general so ill fitted to survive that if they are 
on exhibition it is a difficult matter to keep any 
of them alive in captivity much longer than one 
year. If not exhibited, they survive longer. 

On the other hand, very many of the monkeys 
and baboons of the Old World have developed 
first-class fighting powers, and pugnacious tem- 
pers. They have dangerous canine teeth, wide- 
spreading jaws, strong muscles, and keen wits 
for either attack or defence. The Lemuroids, 
however, the lowest of the Primates, are as mild- 
mannered and harmless as rabbits. 

With Ethnology, the study of the races of 
Mankind, we have here nothing to do. That 
subject is so interesting, and so vast in its ex- 
tent, that nothing less than an entire volume can 
adequately set it forth. The grand divisions of 
the Primates in general are as shown below. 



a 

H 
< 



PS 

PS 

a 
a 
PS 
o 



Man, 



FAMILIES. 

HOM-IN'I-DAE. 



EXAMPLES. 



Anthropoid 
Apes, 



1 Old -W oeld 



YSIM-I'I-DAE. 



\cEE- 



SUB-ORDER 7 Monkeys and r C I-DAE. 

ANTHRO- ' Baboons. 

POIDEA: 



CO-PI-THE'- 



N e w -World 
Monkeys, 



CEB'I-DAE. 



SUB-ORDER 

LEMU- 
ROIDEA: 



Marmosets, 

Lemurs, 
Tarsier, 

Aye- Aye, 



( CAL-LI-THRI'CI- 
| DAE. 

LE-MUR'I-DAE . 

TAR-SI'I-DAE. . 

j DAU-BEN-TON- 
I I'-T-DAE. 



Gorilla, 
Chimpanzee, 
Orang-Utan, 
Gibbon, 

Japanese Red- 
Faced Monkey, 
Diana Monkey, 
Gelada Baboon, 

White-Throated 
Sapajoii, 

Black Spider- 
Monkey, 

Howlers, 

f Common Marmo- 

\ set, 

• Ruffed Lemur, 
. Tarsier, 



Aye-Aye, 



Gorilla gorilla. 
Pan troglodytes. 
Simia satyrus. 
Hylobates leuciscus. 

Macacus speciosus. 
Cercopithecus diana. 
Theropithecus gelada. 

Cebus hypoleucus. 

Ateles ater. 
Alouatta. 



Callithrix jacchus. 
Lemur varius. 
Tarsius tarsius. 

Daubentonia. 



OEDEES OF MAMMALS— APES AND MONKEYS 



The Apes. — The three great man-like (or 
au'thro-poid) apes — gorilla, chimpanzee and 
orang-utan — are so much like human beings 
that, to most persons, they are the most won- 



_ _ — 


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By permission of J. F. G. Uml 
SKELETON'S OF MAN AND GORILLA. 



cervical vertebrae, 

collar bone, 

humerus. 

sternum, 

ribs, 

rib cartilages, 

dorsal vertebrae, 

lumbar vertebrae, 

pelvis, 

radius, 

ulna. 



12, carpals. 

13, metacarpals, 

14, phalanges, 

15, cavity of pelvis, 
10, sacrum, 

17, femur, 

18, patella, 

19, fibula, 

20, tibia, 

21, tarsals, 

22, metatarsals, 



23, phalanges. 



derful of all living creatures below man. Their 
points of resemblance to man are so many and 
so striking that they are a source of wonder even 
to savages. 

As will be observed from a comparison of 
the skeletons of man and gorilla, below the 
skull their parallelism is remarkably close. 
Both in kind and in number the bones are 
the same, and they differ only in their pro- 
portions. The hands and feet of the gorilla 
are designed for a life that is half terrestrial 
and half arboreal, while those of man 
are for life on the ground. The long 
thumb and great toe of the gorilla are far 
superior to those members in the chim- 
panzee and orang-utan. 

The widest differences between man and 
the gorilla are in their skulls. In the 
gorilla, the high forehead and intellectual 
faculties so characteristic in man are totally 
wanting, indicating a very low order of 
intelligence. The long and powerful canine 
teeth are alone sufficient to proclaim the 
savage wild beast. 

To many persons it seems strange that 
notwithstanding the seemingly wide dif- 
ferences between the various races of men, 
all mankind be referable to a single species. 
In spite of the vast differences in intellect 
between the native Australian — not yet 
out of the stone age — and a Caucasian 
philosopher, both belong to Homo sapiens, 
and between them there is not even a sub- 
specific difference. 

Even if the great apes could talk as well 
as the Veddahs of Ceylon, whose vocabu- 
lary consists of about two hundred words, 
their anatomical differences from the genus 
Homo would separate them quite as widely 
as they now are. To segregate a species 
requires a structural difference that is con- 
stant. 

The Gorilla 1 is the largest, the ugliest, 
the most fierce in temper, and by reason 
of its shorter arms and longer legs, it 
is really the nearest to man. It is the 
only ape that walks erect without being 
taught, and that spends a considerable por- 
tion of its life upon the ground. In bulk 
it is larger than an average man, and its 
1 Go-ril'la gorilla. 



GOEILLA AND CHIMPANZEE 



arms and chest are of enormous proportions. 1 
The countenance of the Gorilla is very ugly and 
repulsive, and the shape of its skull is much 
farther from that of man than are those of the 
chimpanzee and orang-utan. Its skin is black, 
and the hair of full-grown specimens is grizzly 
gray. 

The Gorilla inhabits only a very small area in 
West Africa, directly on the equator, between 
the Gaboon and Congo Rivers, and extending 
only two hundred miles back from the coast. 
It is very shy, and so difficult to approach in 
those dark and tangled forests that very few 
white men ever have seen one wild. 

One of the most remarkable specimens ever 
secured was the huge old male killed and photo- 
graphed by Mr. H. Paschen, a German trader, 
near Tsonu Town, German Cameroon country, 
two hundred and forty miles north of the equa- 
tor, in 1901. This animal, photographed in the 
flesh, with three natives beside it for compari- 
son, to show its immense size, was shot in a 
tree, without difficulty or danger. It measured 
66 inches in height, its chest, arms and shoul- 
ders were of gigantic proportions, and its weight 
was estimated at 500 pounds. Twelve men 
were required to carry it from the jungle to the 
village, where it was photographed. 

On account of the sullen, sulky disposition of 
the Gorilla in captivity, only one of the four or 
five young specimens that have been brought to 
Europe has lived longer than about eighteen 
months. They sulk, often refuse food, will not 
exercise, and die of indigestion. Up to this 
date (1903) only one live Gorilla, and that a tiny 
infant, has ever landed in the United States; 
and it lived only five days after arrival. Show- 
men sometimes label a baboon "Gorilla," or 
"Lion-Slayer," and it is well to remember that 
the Gorilla has no tail whatever. 

The Chimpanzee 2 is about one-third smaller 
than the gorilla. Its brain, face, ears and hands 
are more man-like than those of any other ape, 
and its large brain and keen mind render it in 
thought and habit much more man-like than the 

1 The average man of the Anglo-Saxon race is 
5 feet 6 inches in height and weighs 160 pounds. 

2 Pan troglodytes. Described in most books under 
the untenable and more unwieldy name of Anthro- 
popithecus troglodytes. This animal has been de- 
scribed under nine different generic names, but Pan 
is the oldest one available and the best. 



gorilla. It is an animal of bright and cheerful 
disposition, though subject to sudden fits of bad 
temper, and having a good memory, it is easily 
taught. Young Chimpanzees are affectionate 
and child-like, but when large and strong, the 
males are usually dangerous, and not to be 
trusted. Some individuals have displayed re- 
markable intelligence. "Sally," of the London 
Zoological Gardens, could count correctly up to 
five, whenever bidden, and hand out the correct 
number of straws. 

After several years of observation of living 
Chimpanzees and orang-utans, in daily com- 
parison, I am convinced that the only substantial 
psychological differences between the two species 
are (1) that the temperament of the Chimpanzee 




N. Y. Zoological Park. 
YOUNG FEMALE CHIMPANZEE. 

is of the nervous type, and its mind is more alert 
and prompt in action than that of the orang, 
while on the other hand (2) the temperament 
of the orang is sanguine, its disposition is more 
serene, and while its mind may be somewhat 
less showy on exhibition, its capacity is quite 
equal to that of the Chimpanzee. The greater 
quickness of the Chimpanzee, both in thought 
and action, renders it on the whole the best show 
animal in public performances. 

Many persons consider the Chimpanzee supe- 
rior in intelligence to the orang-utan, but thus 
far the only real difference appears to be that the 



OKDERS OF MAMMALS— APES AND MONKEYS 




By permi 



of Edwards Bros. 



13 inches across; but in young animals this is 
seldom developed. The hand is 11 J inches long, 
the foot 13J inches, but the width of each across 
the palm is only 3f inches. The weight of a 
large, full-grown male Orang is about 250 
pounds. 

The black gorilla and chimpanzee both in- 
habit the land of black men; the brown Orang- 
utan lives only in Borneo and Sumatra, the land 
of the brown-skinned Malay. The latter prefers 
the belt of level, swampy forest near the coast, 
lives wholly in the tree-tops, and rarely descends 
to the earth except for water. Orangs travel by 
swinging underneath the large branches with 
their long, muscular arms. Because of their 
great weight, they cannot leap from tree to tree, 
as monkeys do, but they swing with wonderful 
rapidity and precision. They eat all kinds of 
wild fruit, fleshy leaves, and the shoots of the 
screw pine. 

In proper hands, young Orang-Utans are very 
susceptible to training. In 1901 the New York 



A DEESSED-UP CHIMPANZEE. 

mind of the former is more alert, and acts more 
quickly than that of the orang. 

In walking, the Chimpanzee does not place 
the palms of its hands flat upon the ground, but 
bends its fingers at the middle joint, and walks 
upon its knuckles. 

It does not, as so often asserted on hearsay 
evidence, build a hut or a roof of branches under 
which to sleep. Its home is the heavy forest 
region of equatorial Africa, from the Atlantic 
ocean to Lake Tanganyika. Like the gorilla, 
its skin is black, and when young its hair also, 
but when fully grown its hair is dark iron- 
gray. This animal can at one glance be dis- 
tinguished from the orang-utan by the greater 
size of its ears, and its black color. 

The Orang-Utan (from two pure Malay 
words, "orang" = man, and "utan" = jungle) 
is also about two-thirds the size of the gorilla, 
and is easily recognized by its brick-red hair, 
brown skin and small ears. The largest speci- 
men on record stood 4 feet 6 inches in height 
from heel to head, measured 42 inches around 
the chest, and between finger tips stretched S 
feet. The old males develop a strange, flat ex- 
pansion of the cheek, called "cheek callosities," 



ij 


:i«jak 


W" Jfiw ■ 












^9 








i& 










ffeS ^8* 


JMA 










.. ■ ■ :...« . . 



Drawn by 0. B. Hudson. 

A FIGHT IN THE TREE-TOPS. 
Old male Orang-Utans, with cheek callosities. 




Copyright, 1903, by W. T. Hornaday. 
LANDSCAPE CHART OF THE ORDERS OF LIVING MAMMALS. 




By permission .if J. F. G. Umla 
GORILLA. 

Shot and photographed at Tsonu Town, West Africa, by H. Paschen, 1901 




FEMALE OKANG-UTAN AND YOUNG. 

Drawn from specimens living in the New York Zoological Park, by A. G. Doking. 



12 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— APES AND MONKEYS 



Zoological Park contained four Orangs, all of 
which were easily taught to wear clothes, sit in 
chairs at table, eat with fork and spoon, drink 
from cups and bottles, and perform many other 
human-like actions without nervousness, in the 
presence of two thousand visitors. Each of the 
Orangs learned its part in about two weeks' 
training, and at the dinner-table acted with 
gravity and decorum. "Rajah," the senior 
member of the quartette, never once suffered 
from stage fright, or lost his nerve during a pub- 
lic performance. 

In captivity, young Orang-Utans are as af- 
fectionate as human children, and very fond of 
their human friends. In the jungles of Borneo 
the full-grown males often fight savagely by 
biting each other's faces, and by biting off fingers 
and toes. At night the Orang makes a nest 
to sleep upon, by breaking off leafy branches, 
and laying them cross-wise in the forked top of 
a sapling. On this huge nest-like bed it lies flat 
upon its back, grasps a branch firmly in each 
hand and foot, and is rocked to sleep by the 
cradle-like swaying of the tree-top. 

Unless attacked at close quarters, in their for- 
est homes, none of the great apes is dangerous 
to man. All of them flee quickly from the 
dreaded presence of Man, the Destroyer. They 
never fight with clubs, but when attacked at 
close quarters they bite, just as do human roughs. 
When enraged, the gorilla does beat its breast 
with its fists, just as Du Chaillu said; and it does 
this even in captivity. 

"The Missing Link." — For thirty years at 
least, Science has been seeking in the earth for 
fossil remains of some creature literally standing 
between man and the great apes, but at present 
unknown. In 1879, Mr. A. H. Everett made for 
the Zoological Society of London a thorough 
examination of the deposits on the floors of some 
of the caverns of Borneo. To-day, some natural- 
ists are straying toward the lemurs in search of 
the parent stem of man's ancestral tree. Vain 
quest ! The gap between Man and Lemur is too 
great to be bridged in this world. A coincidence 
between skull bones is a long way from man- 
likeness. 

Place upon the shoulders of a gorilla the head 
of a chimpanzee, and we would have — what? 
The Missing Link, no less, — a hairy, speechless 
man! The man-apes we have. Let those who 



seek the undiscovered ape-man search the Ter- 
tiary deposits of the fertile uplands that lie 
between the gloomy equatorial forests of the 
black apes and the Bushmen of South Africa: 
for there, if anywhere, will the Missing Link 
be found. 

The Gibbons. — From the three huge, coarse- 
ly-formed and unwieldy man-like apes described 
above, the line of descent drops abruptly and far. 
Their nearest relatives are the Gibbons — creat- 
ures of small size, marked delicacy of form, no 
weight or strength to speak of, but of marvellous 
agility in the tree-tops. Their heads are small 
and round, their teeth are weak, and their faces 
are like those of very tiny old men. 

Their arms and hands are of great length in 
proportion to their body size, yet so very slender 
are their muscles that a live Gibbon seems like a 
hairy skin drawn over a skeleton. The largest 
specimen I measured in Borneo had the follow- 
ing remarkable dimensions: head and body, 19 
inches; extent of outstretched arms and hands, 
5 feet 1 inch ; entire reach of arms and legs, 5 feet 
1 inch; hand, 6£ inches long by 1 inch wide; 
weight, 10J pounds. 

Of Gibbons there are about six species, and they 
inhabit Borneo, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, 
Burmah and Siam. With the Gray Gibbon, 1 
of Borneo, I am well acquainted; and after the 
three great man-like apes, it is to me the most 
wonderful of anthropoids. They are very timid, 
the shyest of all Primates that I ever hunted, 
and wonderfully successful in eluding the hunter. 
Nevertheless, so strong is their affection for their 
young, I have seen a whole troop that had made 
good its escape, return at the call of an infant 
Gibbon in trouble, and all reckless of their own 
safety come down within twenty feet of their 
deadly enemy. Very few other mammals will 
do this. 

The most wonderful habit of the Gibbon is its 
flight down hill when pursued. Of course it 
never dreams of descending to the earth, but in 
the half-open hill forests of Borneo I have seen 
these creatures go downward through the tree- 
tops, in a straight course, leaping incredible dis- 
tances, catching with their hands, swinging un- 
der, catching with their feet, turning again, and 
so on by a series of revolutions, almost as fast as 
the flight of a bird. 

1 H y-lo-ba' tes leu-cis' ciis . 



OLD WORLD MONKEYS 



13 



The Siamang, 1 of Sumatra, is the largest 
and rarest of the Gibbons. It is jet black, all 
over, face as well as fur, and it has a throat pouch 
which is distended to astounding proportions 
when it utters its peculiar, piercing cry. This 
species is as rare in captivity as the gorilla, and 
the only specimen seen alive in the New World 
up to 1903 was exhibited at the New York Zoo- 
logical Park in that year. 

OLD-WORLD MONKEYS AND BABOONS. 

Cercopithecidae. 

Typical Old-World Monkeys. — Asia, Africa 
and the islands of the Malay Archipelago con- 
tain a great number of species of monkeys. The 
most northern is the sturdy Japanese Red- 
Faced Monkey, with no tail to speak of. It is 



catching cold. Their tempers are quite as warm 
as their blood. 

From Japan, monkey-land extends southward 
through China, and southern Asia generally, the 




Sakborn, Photo., N. Y. Zoological Park. 

JAPANESE RED-FACED MONKEY. 
Note the narrow space between the nostrils. 

clothed with long, shaggy hair, and those in the 
New York Zoological Park live outdoors all 
winter, and gallop about in the snow without 

1 Sym-pha-lan'gus syn-dar'tu-lus. 




DIANA MONKEY. 

Malay islands almost to Australia, and through- 
out the whole of Africa except its great deserts, 
to the extreme south. 

Of all these Old-World species, none have 
-prehensile (grasping) tails, like many American 
species. Many of them are beautifully colored, 
however, and the markings of some are quite fan- 
tastic. The Diana Monkey, of West Africa, 
is elaborately marked with black, white, gray 
and brown, and it is one of the most beautiful 
of all monkeys. An old-world monkey can 
nearly always be recognized by the very narrow 
space between the nostrils. 

Short-Tailed Monkeys. — It must not be 
supposed that because the tail of a monkey is 
so short as to be scarcely visible, the wearer is 
therefore a true ape. There are several baboon- 
like animals with tails exceedingly short and in- 
significant, but which are far removed from the 
true apes. Some of these are called apes, but 
they are all much lower in the scale. Of these, 
the most important are : 

The Black "Ape" of Celebes; 

The Barbary 'Ape" of Gibraltar and North 
Africa ; 

The Pig-Tailed Ma-caque' (pronounced Ma- 
cak') of the East Indies, east of Ceylon, and 

The Japanese Red-Faced Monkey. 

The Baboons. — In nearly every portion of 
Africa abounding in rocky hills covered with 
scanty vegetation may be found Baboons, — 
fierce of aspect, domineering in temper, strong 
of limb, and sometimes very ugly in eountenance. 



14 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS-APES AND MONKEYS 







N. Y. Zoological Park. 
DEAD GELADA BABOON. 
Note the lion-like aspect. 

Their noses are long and dog-like. They live 
on the ground, travel in troops of ten to twenty 
individuals, and rob grain-fields with great bold- 
ness. It is asserted by African explorers that 
even hungry lions prefer to let them alone. The 
canine teeth of an adult Baboon are so long and 
sharp that they are dangerous weapons. Without 
exception, Baboons are the most fierce-tempered 
animals of all the Primates, not even excepting 
the great apes, which never fight when they can 
run away. 

All told there are about sixteen species of Ba- 
boons, all of which are found in Africa outside of 
the dark forests of the equatorial regions. The 
great Gelada Baboon, 1 of Abyssinia, is one of 
the most remarkable of all animals. It is like a 
small lion, with a Baboon's feet and hands; but 
its wonderful grimaces are peculiar to itself. 

A Baboon of average size stands 24 inches in 
height at the shoulders, and weighs about 45 
pounds. The majority of the species are of a 
yellowish color, mixed with brown. The Man- 
drill is known everywhere by its brilliant blue 
and scarlet muzzle, and yellow chin beard. 
1 The-ro-pith'e-cus ge-la'da. 



NEW-WORLD MONKEYS. 

All the monkeys of the New World are marked 
by the wide space between the nostril openings, 
and nearly all the larger species possess prehen- 
sile, or grasping, tails that are as useful as a 
fifth arm and hand. Most of the species which 
do not have prehensile tails are quite small. Of 
the clinging-tailed monkeys there are three im- 
portant groups, which are represented in North 
America. They are the Sapajous, the Spider 
Monkeys and Howlers. 

The American monkey most frequently seen 
in captivity is the White-Throated Sapajou 1 




WHITE-THROATED SAPAJOU. 
Note the wide space between the nostrils. 

(sap'a-jew) or Cap'u-chin, called by animal 
dealers and showmen, the "Ring-Tail." This 
monkey is a kind-spirited and affectionate little 
creature, and rarely gives way to bad temper. 
1 Ce'bus hy-po-leu'cus. 



SPIDER, OWL AND SQUIRREL MONKEYS 



15 



It has a wrinkled and care-worn face, as if bur- 
dened with sorrows — which most captive mon- 
keys certainly are! Its forehead, throat and 
shoulder-points are white, and the remainder 
of the body is either gray, brown or jet black. 
The Sapajous inhabit Central America and 
northern South America. About two hundred 
specimens are brought to New York every year, 




BLACK-FACED SPIDER MONKEY. 

At'e-les a'ler. 

where they are sold by dealers at prices ranging 
from $ 10 to $15 each. 

The Spider Monkeys 1 may easily be recog- 
nized by their very long, slender legs and tails, 
and small, round heads. In color they are usu- 
ally either black or gray, and rarely reddish 
brown. As they swing on their way through 
life, always using their prehensile tails to cling 
or to swing by, they have a very uncanny look, 
and it is no wonder that they are called "Spider" 
monkeys. They can come as near tying them- 
selves into knots as living mammals ever can. 
1 At'e-les. 



When fully grown, they are much larger than 
the sapajous, but are weak, unable to fight, and 
therefore timid. In a cage containing several 
species of monkeys, they are always the greatest 
cowards, and often are heard shrieking from 
fright at imaginary terrors. They are dainty 
feeders, and very difficult to keep in health in 
captivity. Four species are found north of 
Panama. The Mexican Spider Monkey oc- 
curs up to Lat. 23°, and is the most northern 
monkey on this continent. 

The Owl Monkeys. — Next to the spider 
monkeys is found a group often represented in 
captivity, the members of which are distin- 
guished by their small size, their round heads, 
very large, owl-like eyes, and long, hairy tails, 
which arc not prehensile. As their staring eyes 
suggest, these creatures are of nocturnal habits, 
and in daylight hours are as inactive and un- 
interesting as opossums. Because of this, they 
make rather uninteresting pets ; but being good- 
tempered creatures, they are frequently kept. 
They are sometimes called Do-rou-cou'lis. 
They are found from Central America to 
southern Brazil. 

The Squirrel Monkeys of northern South 
America and Central America are next in order, 
and in activity and general liveliness of habit 
they make up for all that the owl monkeys lack. 
They are the most active of all the small Amer- 
ican monkeys, and so nervous and unmanage- 
able they are unfit for captive life elsewhere 
than in cages. The Common Squirrel Mon- 
key, 1 sometimes, though erroneously, called 
the Teetee, is a trim little yellow fellow, with 
a very long cranium, close-haired head, and 
a very long tail, which it gracefully curls up 
over its own shoulders whenever it sits down. 
This species comes from the Guianas and Vene- 
zuela, and is very common in captivity. 

On board ship a Squirrel Monkey of my ac- 
quaintance once furnished constant entertain- 
ment and amusement. Its favorite food was 
big, fat cockroaches, contributed by the sailors 
from their collection in the forecastle. Each 
morning a sailor would bring a jacket, and shake 
it over a clear space on the deck. As the cock- 
roach shower struck the deck, the agile little 
monkey dashed at the insects like a terrier at 
rats, cramming them into his mouth as fast as 
1 Sai-mi'ri sci-u're-a. 



16 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— APES AND MONKEYS 



possible, and meanwhile seizing and holding in 
his hands as many more of the struggling insects 
as his absurd little paws could grasp. 

This creature is a skilful climber, and it is the 
only mammal I ever saw which could exert suffi- 
cient lateral pressure with its hands and feet to en- 
able it to climb with ease aperfectlysmooth,right- 
angled corner of wood to a height of six feet. 

This particular animal was so fond of its 
owner that it loudly and vociferously refused to 
sleep elsewhere than in his bunk, cuddled against 
his feet. With its piercing cries it controlled the 
situation as effectually as any spoiled child. 

The Saki Monkeys, of tropical South Amer- 
ica east of the Andes, are of medium size, mostly 
black and shaggy-haired, and sometimes pos- 
sessed of a long, black chin beard. They are 
always marked by their big, heavily-haired 
tails, which are long, but not prehensile. They 
are often mistaken for howling monkeys. They 
are difficult to keep alive, seldom live to reach 
the United States, and for this reason are likely 
to remain but little known. The most remark- 
able species is the Black Saki, 1 two specimens 
of which were placed on exhibition in the New 
York Zoological Park in 1903. 

The Uakari, or Yarkee, Monkeys, of which 
there are three species, all found in Brazil, have 
the shortest tails to be found amongst American 
monkeys. The Bald Yarkee 2 of the Upper 
Amazon is an excellent imitation of the Japanese 
red-faced monkey, having not only the same 
stubby tail, and long, shaggy hair, but also a 
red face ! Unfortunately this species is one of 
the rarest in all America. 

The Howlers are rarely seen in captivity, 
because it seems almost an impossibility for 
man to find food which they will eat, and which 
agrees with them. 

Between the two sides of the lower jaw, the 
Howler possesses a large sound-box of cartilage 
— a development of the hyoid bone — which gives 
to the creature's voice a deep resonance, of a 
very unusual character. These monkeys de- 
light to indulge in vocal concerts, and the deep 
roar of their unearthly voices can be distinguished 
at a distance of a mile or more. 

In all there are six species of Howling Mon- 
keys. Occasionally young specimens of the 
Golden Howler are brought from Venezuela 

1 Pi-lhe'cia sa-tan'as. 2 U-a-ka'ri-a cal'va. 



and Guiana to New York, but in confinement 
their digestive organs are easily disturbed, and 
they seldom, if ever, live to reach maturity. 

THE FAMILY OF MARMOSETS. 

Callithricidae. 
Lowest in the scale of all the American mon- 
keys, and in fact next to the lemurs, we find a 
collection of small and odd-looking creatures, 
some of which are so strangely formed that it 
often is necessary to state that they belong to the 
Order of Apes and Monkeys. This is the Family 
of Marmosets, the members of which are dis- 
tributed variously from southern Mexico to 
southern Brazil. They are frequently found in 
the stores of animal dealers, and by ladies who 
have abundant time for their care are often 




Photo, by Jenness Richardson. 

COMMON MARMOSET. 

prized as household pets. But they are very 
delicate, and do not long endure the strain of 
being on public exhibition. Their market price 
varies from $3.50 to $8. 

Without exception these are all very small, 



MARMOSETS AND LEMURS 



17 



delicately-formed creatures, with hairless faces, 
eyes that are large and bright, and long tails. 
Their hair is long, abundant and silky, and in 
some species it stands up on the top of the head 
like a white ruff. As these frail little creatures 
perch motionless in their cages, and focus their 
brown eyes upon the visitor, they seem more 
like little toys than living animals of Man's own 
Order. They are really very odd, picturesque 
and interesting. 

The Pinche Marmoset ' is a good repre- 
sentative of this group. It comes from the 
United States of Colombia, is about as large as 
a small chipmunk, and can be recognized any- 
where by the jaunty bonnet of white hair which 
stands stiffly erect on the top of its head. 

Of marmosets there are altogether about twen- 
ty-one species. The best-known are the Com- 
mon Marmoset, 3 with a fan of white hairs 
standing stiffly erect above each ear, and the 
Silky Marmoset, 3 which is half buried in a 
mop of long, silk}', yellowish hair. 

THE SUBORDER OF LEMURS. 

Lemuroidea. 

On the great island of Madagascar there are 
no fewer than thirty species of lemurs, many 
of them very beautiful creatures, all very kind- 
spirited and inoffensive, and so numerous that 
some travellers have declared that "every bush 
has its lemur." And yet, in America, these 
creatures are about as little known as if they 
inhabited Mars instead of Madagascar. During 
the first six months following the opening of the 
Primates' House in the Zoological Park, at least 
twenty educated and intelligent young men 
asked how to spell the word "lemur." 

The lemurs, tarsiers and aye-aye constitute 
the lowest grand division of the Ape-and-Mon- 
key Order — Primates. Their low position is 
due chiefly to their long, fox-like muzzles, and 
their teeth, which are not monkey-like. Their 
hands and feet, however, define their position. 

The Ruffed, or Black-and-White Lemur 4 
is the handsomest and most conspicuous animal 
in this strange group. It is the size of a large 
house cat, its tail is very long, and the creature 
is abundantly clothed with long, soft, silky-fine 
fur, jet black and pure white. 




1 Mi'das aed'i-pus. 
3 Cal'li-thrix jac'chus. 



2 Mi'das ros-a'li-a. 
' Le'mur va'ri-us. 



Sanborn, Photo., N. Y. Zoological Park. 

THE RUFFED LEMUR. 

Although lemurs have large eyes, and are 
supposed to be night-prowlers, they are fairly 
active in the daytime, and are not at all dis- 
turbed by daylight. They are charming pets, 
very affectionate, easily kept, and even with 
twenty in one large cage they do not quarrel, as 
monkeys are so prone to do. 

Keeping Monkeys in Captivity. — Large 
monkeys need large cages, with means to climb 
and swing. Fine hay should cover the floor. 
Cages should always stand three feet above the 
floor of a room, and while the ventilation should 
be good, there should be freedom from draughts. 
The temperature should be 75°, kept as even 
as possible. Food : boiled rice or tapioca, baked 
or boiled potatoes, ripe bananas or apples; a 
little raw meat, finely chopped; dried or parched 
sweet corn that is easily chewed; a little stale 
bread; occasionally, a small raw onion. Per- 
mit no teasing; feed regularly, water frequently, 
and keep cages clean. When monkeys become 
ill, carefully ascertain their trouble, then treat 
them the same as one would sick children. 



CHAPTER III 



THE ORDER OF FLESH -EATING MAMMALS 



FERAE, OR CARNIVORA 



North America contains a fine array of animals belonging to the Order Fe'rae, 1 numbering 
about ninety species north of Mexico, not counting subspecies. They are divided into the follow- 
ing groups: 



ORDER 
FERAE 



The Cats ......... fe'li-dae 

The Dogs ........ ca'ni-dae 

The Martens ........ mus-te'LI-dae 

The Beaes ur'SI-dae 

The Raccoons pro-cy-on'I-dae 



APPROXIMATE NUM- 
BER OF SPECIES 
NORTH OF MEXICO. 



8 Species 
22 " 
46 " 
12 " 

3 " 



THE CAT FAMILY. 

Fclidae. 

In the order of their size, the five largest cat- 
like animals of North America are the following: 
Jaguar, Puma, Canada Lynx, Red Lynx, and 
Ocelot. 

Of the Cat Family, the Jaguar 2 (pronounced 
Jag' you-ar) is not only the largest, but also the 
handsomest species in America. Of yellow-and- 
black Cats it stands next in size to the tiger, but 
in form it is not so finely proportioned as the 
leopard. It is of massive build, throughout, and 
its head is very large for the height and length 
of the animal. Its tail, however, is dispropor- 
tionately short. 

This creature has a golden-yellow coat, marked 
on the back and sides by large, irregular hollow 
islands of black, called rosettes — quite different 
from the smaller and more solid black spots of 
the leopard. Between these rosettes run the 
narrow lines of yellow ground-color, like the 
streets of an oriental city on a map. The legs, 
head and under-parts are marked with solid black 
spots. An animal of this species can always be 

1 From Latin fe-rus, meaning a wild beast. This 
is a much older name than Carnivora, which here- 
tofore has been generally applied to this group. 

2 Fe'lis on'ca. 



recognized by its large rosettes, large head, heavy 
build, and short tail. 

The Jaguar, which in Mexico and South Amer- 
ica is called "el Tigre" (tee'gree), is found as far 
north as southern Texas, and from that region 
southward to the limit of tropical forests in South 
America. A female specimen which once lived 
in the New York Zoological Park, measured 48 
inches in length of head and body, its tail was 
20 inches long, it stood 24 inches high at the 
shoulders, and weighed 120 pounds. The big 
and burly male which murdered the female above 
mentioned is fully one-fourth taller, and larger 
in every way. 

In killing pigs, cattle, horses, deer and other 
wild animals, the Jaguar is a fierce, powerful and 
dangerous beast ; but, like all other wild creat- 
ures, it is afraid of man. 

It is my belief that the strength of the jaws of 
the Jaguar is greater in proportion to its size 
than that of any other member of the Cat Family. 
Of this power we once witnessed in the Zoological 
Park a tragic illustration. A full-grown female 
Jaguar was purchased as a cage-mate for a large 
and powerful male, named "Lopez," from the 
interior of Paraguay. After two days' prelim- 
inary introduction through their cage-fronts, 
the two animals were placed together. No 
sooner had the female entered the cage of Lopez 



18 



JAGUAR AND PUMA 



19 



than he rushed upon her, seized her neck between 
his jaws, and by a square bite crushed two of 
the neck vertebrae, and killed her instantly — as 
quickly as if her head had been cut off with an 
axe. 



adventures with Pumas have been written and 
printed, but in reality this animal is less to be 
dreaded than a savage dog. It appears to be 
true, however, that it occasionally follows be- 
lated hunters or travellers, out of curiosity. It 




Drawn by J. Carter Beard. 



JAGUAR. 



The Puma, also called Mountain "Lion" 
and Cougar, 1 is the most widely-known cat ani- 
mal of North America. It is found in all the 
great western mountain ranges of the United 
States, in many tracts of "bad-lands" in Wyom- 
ing and Montana, British Columbia, and in the 
Adirondacks and Florida. Southward it ranges 
over table-lands and through tropical forests, 
all the way to Patagonia. In the United States 
it is most abundant, and also most accessible, 
in Routt Co., Colorado, where it is easily found 
by dogs, chased into low trees, and shot without 
danger. In this manner Mr. John B. Goff has 
killed nearly three hundred Pumas, "only two 
of which fought courageously." 

Hundreds of thrilling stories of (imaginary) 

1 Fe'lis con'co-lor, and other species and races re- 
cently described. 



is now a well-established fact that prowling 
Pumas do sometimes scream, in a manner cal- 
culated to inspire terror, just as caterwauling 
cats frequently do. I have heard Pumas scream 
precisely like terrified women or boys, but they 
always flee from man when the way is open. 

The Puma is a thin-bodied, flat-sided animal, 
tall for its weight, and of a brownish drab color. 
It has a beautiful face, and is a handsome creat- 
ure. Of all the large cats of the world, it is by 
far the best climber. A large specimen is from 
7 to 8 feet in total length, from nose to tail tip, 
and weighs about 225 pounds. 

The Puma makes its den among rocks, in 
"wash-out" holes, or in very thick brush or for- 
ests, and preys upon every living creature that 
can be killed and eaten, except man. In settled 
regions they frequently destroy much young 



20 



OEDEES OF MAMMALS— FLBSH-EATEES 



stock. Throughout the Eocky Mountains, it is 
a dangerous enemy of the mountain sheep and 
mule deer. In the "bad-lands" of Montana I 
once saw a mule deer killed which had on its neck 
a twelve-inch scar, a torn ear, and the beam of 



are not possessed by any other animal. But no- 
two Ocelots are ever marked exactly alike. 

This animal is the size of a cocker spaniel, 
and being a good climber, when in its native 
forests it spends much of its time on the lower 




From a photograph 



By permission of Outdoor Life Magazi, 



PTJMA, OR MOUNTAIN LION. 



one antler broken off half-way up. Apparently 
these injuries were received in an encounter 
with a Puma, and a fall over a cut bank, which 
evidently released the deer from its savage as- 
sailant. 

The young of the Puma vary in number from 
two to five, and are spotted. Living specimens 
vary in value from $30 to $75, according to age 
and size. 

At first glance the Ocelot, or Tiger-Cat, 1 
seems to be a small leopard with a pale-yellow 
body-color. Its legs are spotted, but instead 
of having spots on its body, its back and sides 
are marked with irregular stripes and bands of 
black which run lengthwise. It may be instantly 
recognized by its horizontal stripes, for the like 
1 Fe'lis pard-a'lis. See page 42. 



branches of trees, watching for prey. It feeds 
chiefly upon small quadrupeds and birds. The 
following are the dimensions of an average speci- 
men: Height, 13 inches; head and body, 30 
inches; tail, 15 inches; weight, 36 pounds. It 
is frequently taken in southern Texas — its north- 
ern limit — and its range is about the same as 
that of the jaguar. In the New York Zoological 
Park it has been kept out-doors all winter, and 
has bred and reared young very successfully. 
Like most small yellow cats, Ocelots are usually 
bad-tempered. The value of a living specimen 
is about $30. 

The Lynxes of North America form a very 
distinct group of short-tailed, heavily-furred, 
tree-climbing cats, the members of which are 
spread throughout nearly all portions of the con- 



TREE-CLIMBING CATS 



21 



tinent north of Mexico, which are yet sufficiently 
wild to shelter them from man. They inhabit 
with equal facility forests, mountains, canyons, 




Drawn by J. Carter Beard. 

CANADA LYNX. 

sage-brush plains, and even deserts. They prey 
chiefly upon rabbits and hares, grouse, prairie- 
"dogs," ground squirrels, and any other living 
■creatures, except porcupines, which they can 
•catch and kill. They are not courageous, or 
disposed to fight except when cornered, and so 
far as voluntarily attacking human beings is 
concerned, Lynxes are no more dangerous than 
rabbits. 

In North America the genus Lynx is repre- 
sented by two well-marked types. 

The Canada Lynx 1 is a heavily-furred, short- 
bodied, long-legged bob-tailed wild cat of a pep- 
per-and-salt gray color, standing about IS inches 
high at the shoulders. It is readily recognized 
by the long pencil of stiff, black hair rising from 
the tip of each ear, and its huge, hairy paivs. Its 
big eyes and long side whiskers give it a really 
terrifying countenance, particularly when it 
snarls. To the lone hunter who camps in the 
dark and gloomy forests inhabited by this creat- 
ure, it seems a very dangerous animal; but in 
reality it is not so. Those who have hunted it 
say it is not courageous, and at close quarters is 
easily killed with a stick. It is a good climber, 
swims well, but on land runs rather poorly, with 
a galloping gait. Although found in a few local- 
ities in the northern United States, its real home 
is in the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, and the 
1 Lynx can-a-den'sis. 



Northwest, up to Latitude 60°. A good aver- 
age-sized male specimen collected by Professor 
Dyche in British Columbia measured as follows: 
Height, 17-J inches; head and body length, 32 
inches; tail, 5 inches; girth, 17-J inches. 

The weight of a full-grown specimen is 22 
pounds, and the young are two in number. This 
species is rarely seen in captivity, and is al- 
ways desired by zoological parks and gardens. 
Living specimens are worth from $10 to S-10 
each. 

The Bay Lynx a is also called the Red Lynx, 
Wild Cat or Bob Cat, according to the locality 
in which it is found. Owing to variations in its 
color, and in some other characters, several sub- 
species have been described, but these are too 
closely related to the type to be set forth sepa- 
rately here. This species is marked by the ab- 
sence of the long ear-pencil of the Canada lynx 
(although sometimes a small pencil is present), 
by the small feet and the warm brown tone in 
the color of the fur. 

Western specimens are sometimes so strongly 
marked with round black spots that we feel im- 
pelled to recognize the "Spotted Lynx" as a dis- 
tinct species; but when we find others from the 
Atlantic coast also spotted, besides others of the 
standard reddish gray, we are compelled to refer 
all of them to the species of the Bay Lynx. In 
the Atlantic states, the standard color for this 




E. R. Sanborn, Photo.. N. Y. Zoological Park. 
THE OCELOT. 

animal is a mixture of rusty red, gray and black- 
ish brown, with the red so prevalent as to have 
given a name to the creature. In the West, the 
'-' Lynx ru'fus. 



22 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— FLESH-EATERS 



spotted coat is more common, and occasionally 

the spots are strongly marked all over the animal. 

The face of the Bay Lynx is really very beauti- 



v 


■ ■ 




' 


Wmx ■ 




/ 






' ■"■';■# -£A 


s-. -4Ly^. . ■ 


^V^^^^^H 




MW^j^'- JSH 




f*^B|> rr ; 




_^. ';.- ■ 



Photo, and copyright by W. L. Underwood, 1902. 
BAY LYNX. 

fill, and when not too fat from overfeeding in 
captivity, the body is lithe and graceful. When 
kept in large cages in the open air and sunlight, 
sheltered from storms, and not overfed, this ani- 
mal is easily kept in fine condition. In artificially 
heated buildings they do not thrive. 

This species is found in nearly all the states 
east of the Mississippi which contain large areas 
of rough forests, but are most numerous in Maine, 
the Carolinas, Florida, Virginia and Tennessee. 
In the "bad-lands" and mountains of Montana, 
Wyoming, Colorado and Texas they are really 
numerous, and feed luxuriously on the cotton- 
tail rabbits that are now so abundant in that re- 
gion. Varieties of this species extend westward 
to the Pacific coast states. East of the Missis- 
sippi River, an average of about twenty speci- 
mens are caught alive each year, and offered for 
sale. Their value when caught is $10 each, and 
the supply exceeds the demand. 

By measurement the Red Lynx is fully as 
large as the Canada lynx. The largest speci- 
men that ever came into my hands (on Pryor 
Creek, Montana) measured in length of head and 



body 31 inches, tail 7 inches, height at shoulder 
18 inches, and weighed 18 pounds. The largest 
of nine specimens killed by Mr. Roosevelt's party 
in Routt Co., Colorado, in 1901, weighed 39 
pounds. One killed near Asheville, North Caro- 
lina, in 1900, is reported to have weighed 51 
pounds. 

No lynxes are found in the lowlands of the 
tropics, or in South America. 

THE DOG FAMILY. 

Canidae. 

Of all the wild creatures of North America, 
none are more despicable than wolves. There 
is no depth of meanness, treachery or cruelty to 
which they do not cheerfully descend. They are 
the only animals on earth which make a regular 
practice of killing and devouring their wounded 
companions, and eating their own dead. I once 
knew a male wolf to kill and half devour his fe- 
male cage-mate, with whom he had lived a year. 

In captivity, no matter how well yarded, well 
fed or comfortable, a wolf will watch and coax 
for hours to induce a neighbor in the next cage 
to thrust through tail or paw, so that he may 
instantly seize and chew it off, without mercy. 
But in the face of foes capable of defence, even 
gray wolves are rank cowards, and unless cor- 
nered in a den, will not even stop to fight for 
their own cubs. 




GRAY WOLF. 



The Gray Wolf, or Timber Wolf, 1 is really a 
formidable animal, but in its dealings with men, 
1 Ca'nis oc-ci-dcn-tal'is. 



GRAY WOLF AND COYOTE 



23 



it has learned to fear the deadly rifle, the poison 
pot, and the trap. Storms, cold and fatigue af- 
fect it but little, and its powerful teeth, strong 
jaws and wide gape enable it to bite with great 
cutting power. In fighting with dogs, every 
well-aimed snap means either a deep wound or 
a piece of flesh bitten out. 

The type of this species is a strong, robust ani- 
mal, cunning and merciless. Its winter coat is 
long, shaggy and coarse-haired. Its standard 
color is mixed black and white, but it varies 
greatly, and unaccountably. In Florida it is 
often black, in Texas reddish brown, and in the 
far North it varies from black to white. Al- 
though in some localities it is called the Timber 
Wolf, it is equally at home on the treeless prairies 
of the West, in the dark, evergreen forests of 
British Columbia, and on the desolate barren 
grounds of Arctic America. 

Although once very abundant on the great 
plains, the coming of the cattle ranch and sheep- 
herder provoked against the Gray Wolf and 
coyote a relentless war of extermination, which 
still is being waged. Several states in the cat- 
tle country of the great plains offer cash boun- 
ties on wolf scalps ranging from $2 to $10, and 
large sums of money have been paid out for 
them. In Montana the number of wolves has 
so greatly diminished that in the course of a 
month in the saddle in 1901, in wild country, no 
Gray Wolves were seen, and only four coyotes. 
Wolves have now become so scarce that the oc- 
cupation of the professional "wolfer" is almost 
gone. 

Nevertheless, even on the cattle plains, the 
Gray Wolf is very far from being extinct; and 
as long as the " bad-lands " remain, with their 
thousands of wash-out holes, and tens of thou- 
sands of rabbits, the gray marauder will remain. 
In the far North, above the Arctic Circle, and in 
the land of the musk-ox, in 1899, Mr. C. J. Jones 
and his companion were so beset by packs of 
huge and fierce White Wolves, seeking to devour 
their five living musk-ox calves, that for over 
forty-eight hours they fought them continuously 
at short range, killing a wolf at every shot. 

The young of the Gray Wolf are usually five 
in number, and are born early in May. At first 
they are of a sooty brown color, and are dis- 
tinguishable from coyote puppies by the large 
size of the head. One which was examined 



when four days old measured 9$ + 3 inches, 
and weighed 16 ounces. When twenty days old, 
it was 15 + 4 inches, and weighed 4J pounds. 

The cry of the Gray Wolf is a prolonged, deep- 
chested howl, corresponding with B-flat below 
middle C, not broken into a bark, like the cry of 
the coyote. AVhen seen at home, the Gray 
Wolf can readily be distinguished from the coy- 
ote, even at a distance, by the way it carries 
its tail, — pointing above the horizon. 

Gray Wolves hunt in packs, often in relays, 
and successfully pull down deer, antelope, and 
wounded animals of all sizes. In the cattle 
country their specialty is the destruction of 
calves and colts. Except in the far North, they 
know well what firearms are, and are very care- 
ful to keep out of rifle-shot. 




N. Y. Zoological Park. 



COYOTE. 



To-day the range of the Gray Wolf embraces 
the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountain re- 
gion from Mexico to the northern limit of land. 
Lockwood and Brainard found tracks of a Gray 
Wolf at Latitude 83° 24'. In Alaska, animals 
of this species grow larger than hi the United 
States, and frequently are white instead of gray. 
A fairly large Gray Wolf is 48 J + 15J inches long, 
stands 26 inches high at the shoulders, and has a 
girth measurement of 29i inches. (L. L. Dyche.) 

The Coyote, or Prairie Wolf, 1 is about one- 
third smaller than the gray wolf, but in form 
and color the two species look very much alike. 
It carries its tail low — humbly — as befits a cow- 
1 Ca'nis la' trans, and related forms. 



24 



OEDEES OP MAMMALS— FLESH-EATEES 



ardly animal. It is not dangerous to man, and 
never was, and is bold only in the persistence 
with which it hangs upon the outskirts of civiliza- 
tion, and prowls around ranches in quest of food. 

The delicacy of the Coyote's judgment in keep- 
ing always beyond fair gun-shot is truly wonder- 
ful. If he is not a mind-reader, his actions belie 
him. Twice in Montana, each time for two 
weeks, have I tried my utmost to shoot a Coyote ; 
but during those periods not one would offer 
more than a running shot at three hundred yards 
or more. Twice, however, — and immediately 
after the above, — when riding quite unarmed, 
have Coyotes sat down beside the trail, waited 
for me to approach within forty yards, then 
yawned in a bored manner, and slowly trotted 
off. It is my belief that those animals knew per- 
fectly well my inability to shoot. 

The food of Coyotes consists chiefly of 
prairie-" dogs," ground-squirrels, sage grouse, 
hares and rabbits. The largest animals ever 
killed by them are deer and prong-horned ante- 
lope. From the ranchman they steal poultry, 
pigs, lambs and sheep. They "den" in "wash- 
outs," or deep holes in the cut banks of ravines, 



and rear from five to seven puppies every 
May. 

The cry of the Coyote is a dog-like yelping, 
half howl and half bark ; whereas, the call of the 
gray wolf is a prolonged and steady deep-bass 
howl. As far as they can be heard, these wolves 
can be distinguished by their cries, and to those 
who have camped on the plains, or in the wild 
and weird "bad-lands" of the great West, the 
high-pitched, staccato cry of the Coyote as he 
announces the coming dawn, is associated with 
memories of vast stretches of open country, mag- 
nificent distances, fragrant sage-brush and free- 
dom. The specific name of this animal (latrans) 
means "barking," and was bestowed on account 
of its peculiar dog-like cry. 

The Coyote ranges from the latitude of the City 
of Mexico northward through the Great Plains and 
Rocky Mountain region to Alberta. The size of 
my best Montana specimen was 37| + 16 inches 
in length, and 20J inches in height at shoulders. 

Coyotes vary in color from the typical pepper- 
and-salt gray to yellowish gray, the latter being 
found in the Southwest. At rare intervals, 
black specimens occur. 



GO 
H 
H 

o 

fc.§ 

< v. 

rj v 

H o 



PS 

o 



Red Fox 
.Group : 

Genus 

Vulpes. 



Gray Fox 
Group : 

Genus 
Urocyon. 



ENGLISH NAME. 

Red Fox, .... 

Cross Fox, . . 

Black Fox, 

Plains Fox, . . . 
Kadlak Fox, . . . 
Newfoundland Fox, 
Swift Fox, . . . 
Large-Eared Fox, . 
Arctic, or Blue Fox, 

Hall Island Fox, . 

Gray Fox, . . . 
Florida Gray Fox, 
Scott's Gray Fox, . 

Texas Gray Fox, . 

Coast Gray Fox, . 

Town sen d's Gray 

Fox, 



LATIN NAME. 

Vulpes fulvus (Desma- 

rest). 
Vulpes fulvus decussatus 

(Desmarest). 
Vulpes fulvus argentatus 

(Shaw). 
Vulpes macrourus (Baird). 
Vulpes harrimani(Merria,m). 
Vulpes deletrix (Bangs). 
Vulpes velox (Say). 
Vulpes macrotis (Merriam). 
Vulpes lagopus (Linnaeus). 

Vidpes hallensis (Merriam) . 



Urocyon einereoargenteus 

(Schreber). 
Urocyon einereoargenteus 

Jloridanus (Rhoads). 
Urocyon einereoargenteus 

scottii (Mearns). 

Urocyon einereoargenteus 
texensis (Mearns) . 

Urocyon einereoargenteus 
californicus (Mearns). 

Urocyon einereoargenteus 
townsendi (Merriam). 



LOCALITY. 

Virginia to Alaska. 

New York to Man- 
itoba. 

Northwest Terri- 
tory, Alaska. 

Great Plains. 

Kadiak I., Alaska. 

Newfoundland. 

The Great Plains. 

Southern California. 

Polar regions of both 
hemispheres. 

Hall Island, Bering 
Sea. 

Southeastern States. 



Florida. 

New Mexico to 
Southern Califor- 
nia. 



Texas. 

Southern California. 
Northern California. 



THE RED FOX, AND VARIETIES 



25 



The Red Fox. 1 — Of the many handsome and 
valuable species of foxes inhabiting North 
America, our wise old friend, the Red Fox, is 
the one most widely distributed, and the best 




Sanborn, Photo., N. Y. Zoological Park. 
RED FOX. 

known. Between the southern Alleghenies and 
Point Barrow it appears in coats of many dif- 
ferent shades, but everywhere it is recognizable 
by the prevailing yellowish-red color from which 
it derives its name. It is palest in the desert 
regions, where shade is scarce, and brightest 
in the forest regions and Alaska, where the 
bleaching power of the sun is not so great. The 
largest and finest skins come from Alaska. 

The range of the Red Fox is very wide. From 
North Carolina and Tennessee it extends through 
the whole northeastern United States, westward 
to Montana and northward to the limit of trees. 
It is the most common fox in Alaska, wherever 
there are trees. It is so cunning, and so well 
able to take care of itself, even in populous coun- 
tries, that it refuses to be exterminated. The 
length of an average specimen is 24 + 13 
inches; height, 13 inches. 

There is little pleasure to be derived from 
foxes kept 'in captivity as pets. They are very 
nervous, easily frightened, and, as a rule, are 
totally lacking in all the sentiments which re- 
semble affection. Nevertheless, we have seen, 
and also owned, Red Foxes that were tame, 
and trustworthy when handled. 

The Cross Fox is really a color phase of the 

red fox, marked by black legs and under parts, 

a dark-colored cross on the shoulders, steel-gray 

body and head, and a big black tail with a snow- 

1 Vul'pes ful'vus. 



white tip. There is a reddish patch behind the 
fore-leg, and another on the side of the neck. 
In my opinion a really typical Cross Fox is the 
handsomest fox in the world, far more beautiful 
than the much-sought "silver fox." Some 
day it will attract the appreciation it deserves, 
and be sought accordingly. It stands between 
the red and the black foxes, and grades into 
both. It is found in Manitoba, Alberta, British 
Columbia, and Alaska, and occasionally in Idaho 
and Utah. 

The Black Fox, commonly called the "Sil- 
ver Gray" Fox (although there is no silvery color 
about it, save its tail-tip), enjoys the distinction 
of having the highest price on his head that 
is offered for any fur-bearer. In March, 1900, 
a single skin of this animal sold at auction in 
London for $2,784; and it is not at all uncom- 
mon for extra fine skins to sell in this country at 
from $600 to $1,200. They are worth so much 
as furs for the very wealthy that zoological 
gardens cannot afford to purchase live speci- 
mens for exhibition. Their exhibition value 
is far below their fur value. 

Like the cross fox, this is only a color phase 
of the typical red fox, but commercially the 
two forms are so distinct, and so sharply defined 
in dollars and cents, that they demand separate 
notice. 




Drawn by J. Carter Bf.ard. 

BLACK, OK " SILVER " FOX. 
A subspecies of the Red Fox. 

With the exception of its snow-white tail-tip, 
and a few scattering white hairs on the top of 
the hind quarters, a typical Black Fox is jet 
black. This form inhabits the same localities 
as the cross fox, and is much given to mixing 
with it, which causes many variations from their 



26 



OKDERS OF MAMMALS— FLESH-EATEES 



standard colors toward the typical red fox. 
Both these animals are somewhat larger than 
the typical red fox found in New England. 

On account of the great value of the fur of 
the Black Fox, many persons have desired to 
establish farms for breeding it in confinement, 
and several attempts in that direction have al- 
ready been made. Thus far, however, none of 
them have proved successful. In Alaska, on the 
blue-fox farms, the Black Foxes are such dainty 
feeders that they will not eat the corn bread and 
fish which so well meet the wants of the other 
species, but require live game for food. Neither 
will they enter box traps, or permit themselves 
to be caught in any way other than in steel 
traps, which of course seriously injure them. 

The Swift Fox, or Kit Fox, 1 is the smallest 
and daintiest of all our foxes. Its color is a 
beautiful silver-gray, with a tinge of yellow. It 
is strictly an inhabitant of the Great Plains 
region from the Rio Grande to the Saskatchewan, 
but owing to the readiness with which it eats 
poisoned meat that has been put out for wolves, 
it has already become very scarce. In spite of 
its name, it does not run with remarkable swift- 
ness. 

The Arctic Fox.'- — This creature of the polar 
world is a striking example of climatic influence 
on a species, and also of the danger that lies 















f rwm^ 












.gJM 






r .^r A 


HSmk ' ' 






€ 


->A 




I 






ii 




4flM^fjfg 


P**?Jill 


- 










^ ■». . 





ARCTIC FOX. 

in describing a species from a single specimen. 
In the far North, the Arctic Fox is snow-white 
all the year round. Farther south it is white 
in winter, but in summer is bluish-brown. In 
the southern part of its range, the Aleutian 
1 Vul'pes ve'lox. 2 Vul'pes la-go' pus. 



Archipelago for example, except for an occa- 
sional white individual, it is dark all the year 
round, and is known only as the Blue Fox. At 
first it may seem difficult to believe that these 
two widely-different extremes are only color- 
phases of the same species; but it is quite true. 
The dark-colored animal is not even accorded 
subspecific rank. 

The Arctic-Blue Fox is a simple-minded creat- 
ure, of sanguine temperament, easily trapped and 
handled, and ever ready to adopt the prepared 
food of civilization. In its white phase, the 
finest skins sell in London at $12 each. In its 
blue-brown coat, it has a very comical counte- 
nance, characterized by much hair, close-cropped 
ears, and a total absence of beauty; but its 
fur, when taken in season, is worth in the Lon- 
don market from S25 to $50 per skin. 

On various islands along the Alaska coast, 
especially in the Aleutian Archipelago, about 
forty commercial companies are engaged in 
breeding Blue Foxes for their fur, some of them 
with satisfactory success. The foxes are fed 
daily, on cooked corn meal and dried fish. They 
come up to be fed, and when the time comes to 
handle and sort them previous to killing the 
annual allotment, they greatly facilitate matters 
by the readiness with which they enter box 
traps. 

In the New York Zoological Park, three pairs 
of Blue Foxes that were received in 1902 from 
Alaska have taken kindly to captivity. The 
great decrease in the annual supply of good fur 
has caused many persons to hope that fox-breed- 
ing may be developed into a remunerative in- 
dustry. Except in Alaska, no successful ex- 
periments in that line have been made, and it 
is quite desirable that fox-breeding in the United 
States should be taken up under state or national 
auspices, and wrought out to a successful issue. 
There is good reason to hope and believe that 
it might be developed into an important industry. 

The Gray Fox ' is the fox of the South, but 
it ranges northward far into the home of the red 
fox. It is noticeably smaller than the latter, 
pepper-and-salt gray above, and rusty-brown 
underneath, with a red patch on the side of its 
neck. For a fox it is very agile, and when hard 
pressed by dogs it can climb small trees up to a 
height of twenty feet or more. 

1 U-ro-cy'on cin-e're-o-ar-gen'te-us. 



THE SMALL EUR-BEARERS 



27 



The five subspecies of the gray fox extend 
throughout the southern United States from 
Florida to California. 

Besides the foxes already mentioned, several 
other species and races are recognized. 




Sanborn, Photo., N. Y. Zoological Park. 
GRAY FOX. 

THE SMALL FUR-BEARERS. 

Mustelidae. 
A majority of the valuable fur-bearing ani- 
mals of North America are found in a group of 
flesh-eaters known as the Marten Family. It 
contains about fifty full species, and its con- 
spicuous types are the following: 

/ These four types are 
Otter ; I marked by long, slen- 
Mink; J der bodies, very short 
, Weasel ; \ legs, flattened heads, 
THE 1 Marten ; I and general activity 
MARTEN / \ on foot. 

FAMILY: \ Wolverine; the greatest glutton 
Mustelidae. j and pest in this Family. 

Skunk ; aggressive and destructive 

pests; valuable fur-bearers. 
Badger; a fat-bodied, inert and 
practically harmless burrower. 

The great demand for fur, both for ornament 
and use, has brought about the systematic de- 
struction of all fur-bearing animals. Many spe- 
cies that once were numerous have now become 
very rare. Formerly the wearers of fur ac- 



cepted nothing less desirable than beaver, otter, 
mink and marten. To-day, the fur of the skunk, 
raccoon, fox, lynx, black bear and even the de- 
spised rabbit are in active demand, for garments 
and for trimmings. 

The Otter 1 is as fond of water as a seal, and 
quite as much at home in fresh water as on land. 
Its regular food consists of fish, in the capture 
of which it is very expert. It has webbed feet, 
a thick, pointed tail distinctly flattened for use 
in swimming, and it is clothed with a thick 
coat of very fine, dark brown fur. Strange to 
say, when fairly treated, the Otter is a good- 
tempered animal, tames easily when caught 
young, and makes an interesting pet. In a 
public park, one Otter is worth more to the 
public than twenty beavers. 

In the days when they were numerous, and 
less persecuted than now, it was no uncommon 
thing for a party of Otters to select a steep and 
slippery river-bank, and slide down it repeatedly, 
as small boys slide down hill on sleds, except 
that each slide of the Otter always ended in a 
plunge into the water. 

The Otter of North America still is found oc- 
casionally in Florida and the Carolinas, the Ca- 
nadian provinces, in a few localities in the Rocky 
Mountain region, and from British Columbia to 
central Alaska. Outside of Alaska, its fur is 
taken so rarely that it has ceased to be regarded 
as an article of commerce. Its value alive for 
exhibition purposes is from S10 to S30. The 
length of a large northern Otter, head and body, 
is 27 inches and tail 16 inches. 

The Otter builds no house, but fives in a bank 
burrow, usually under the spreading roots of 
some large tree growing near the water. The 
young are usually two in number. 

The Sea Otter, 2 one of the most valuable of 
all fur-bearing animals, is literally a child of 
the ocean surges and the surf-beaten rocks of the 
rugged north Pacific coast. It is born at sea, 
on a bed of kelp, and literally "rocked in the 
cradle of the deep." It was formerly found 
from California to the Aleutian Islands, but is 
now very rare except in certain parts of Alaska. 
Here its pursuit is strictly limited by law to 
the natives, to whom it is vitally important, and 
a white man may not kill a Sea Otter except 
under penalty of a fine of 1500. 

1 Lu'tra can-a-den'sis. 2 La'tax lu'tris. 



28 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— FLESH-EATERS 



The fur of this creature is extremely valuable. Otter usually is quite dangerous, but to the 
In March, 1900, the finest skin in the London natives of the Alaskan Peninsula, this creature 
market sold for $1,344. A full-grown specimen is far more important than the fur seal. For- 




3. MARTEN. 

4. MINK. 



measures from 3} to 4 feet in length (head 
and body) and has a tail 11 inches long. Its 
fur is very dense and fine, and in color is a shim- 
mering, lustrous black. The pursuit of the Sea 



merly between five thousand and six thousand 
skins, worth from $100 to $500 each, were taken 
annually, and formed practically the sole de- 
pendence of the natives along nearly 2,000 miles 



MINK, FERRET, AND WEASEL 



29 



of coast line. But with the introduction of fire- 
arms, and the sealing schooners, the Sea Otter 
has been almost exterminated. The few indi- 
viduals that remain are widely scattered, and 
are the wildest and wariest of all wild creatures. 

The Mink : is much smaller than the otter, 
yellowish brown or dark brown in color, and 
while it prefers to live along the banks of 
streams, it is not an aquatic animal like the 
otter. When possible, it feeds chiefly upon 
birds, because they are easily caught and killed, 
and when opportunity offers, it is a wanton 
murderer. It also preys upon small mammals 
and fish, whenever it can procure them. In the 
Beaver Pond of the New York Zoological Park 
a murderous Mink once killed six wild geese in 
one night, and another slaughtered ten herring 
gulls. 

A full-grown Mink looks very much like a 
large weasel, having a long, slender body and 
very short legs. 

The Mink is by no means as rare as the otter, 
and even to-day is found scattered throughout 
nearly the whole of North America, as far as 
the limit of trees. The round, hairy tail, choco- 
late-brown or yellowish-brown color and smaller 
size of this animal quickly distinguish it from all 
other animals of its Family. The body of a full- 
grown specimen is about as thick as the wrist 
of a medium-sized man. The length of the head 
and body is 19 inches, tail 7 inches. 

The Black-Footed Ferret, 2 of Kansas, Colo- 
rado, Wyoming and Montana, is to many per- 
sons who live in its home country, an enigma. 
In 1849 this pretty creature was described and 
illustrated by Audubon and Bachman, after 
which it totally disappeared, and remained a 
mystery until it was re-discovered in 18S6. In its 
home it is often called the Prairie-" Dog " 
Hunter, because its specialty is the killing of 
prairie-" dogs;" and it is nearly always found in 
the towns of that jolly little animal. It can be 
recognized at a glance by its black feet, brown 
legs and black tail-tip, and the cream-yellow color 
of its head and body. Next to the skin, the fur is 
white, and there is a broad black or dark-brown 
patch across the nose, including both eyes. Its 
length of head and body is 19 inches, tail 4 inches. 
Regarding its habits and life history, much re- 

1 Lu-tre-o'la vi'son, and related species. 

2 Pu-to'ri-us nig'ri-pc.i. 



mains to be ascertained by the young natural- 
ists who live in the country it inhabits. 

The Weasel, of which many species and races 
have been described, is the smallest animal in 
the marten family. 1 Its legs are very short 
and far apart, and its body is no thicker than a 




BLACK-FOOTED FERRET. 

man s thumb, but it is of such great length that 
the animal is positively snake-like in its propor- 
tions. In life it is very odd to see the front legs 
walk to and fro quite independently of the hind 
quarters. Fifteen full species have been de- 
scribed, several of them being very much alike. 
The Common Weasel, or Ermine 2 is brown 
in summer, and white in winter. 

The Weasel is one of the most courageous 
and aggressive of all animals. It kills rabbits, 
grouse, chickens and ducks of ten or twelve 
times its own size, and often kills ten times as 
many chickens as it can eat, purely to gratify 
its murderous disposition. It is as savage as a 
tiger, but on farms it often does good service in 
destroying rats and field-mice. Weasels are 
so small their fur has little value, but the time 
is coming when it will eagerly be sought and 
used. 

'The Least Weasel (Putorius rixosus), .which is 
found from the Saskatchewan to Alaska, is said to 
be the smallest carnivore in the world. 

2 Pu-to'ri-us er-min'e-a. 



30 



OKDEES OF MAMMALS- 



The Marten 1 looks very much like a young 
red fox, and in size it is about as heavy as an 
ordinary domestic cat. Its head and body 
length is 17 inches, and its tail 7 inches. The 
body is brownish yellow, the legs are two or 
three shades darker, and it has three kinds of 
hair. It loves timber, and spends much of its 
time in trees. It is rarely found in open country, 
and is most abundant on rugged and rocky for- 
est-covered mountains. 

The Marten is not a poultry-killer, nor a wan- 



-FLESH-EATERS 



in America. It is a bold, active tree-climber, an 
industrious hunter, an aggressive fighter, and 
as a stealer of baits it is almost as great a nui- 
sance to trappers as the hated wolverine. With 
this animal, "all's fish that cometh to net," 
and with equal relish it devours dead fish, rab- 
bits, squirrels, chipmunks, ground birds, snakes, 
toads and frogs. Occasionally it murders its 
own cousin, the pine marten, and even feeds 
upon the Canada porcupine. 

The Fisher is at home in the swamps or the 




THE WOLVERINE. 



ton murderer of more game than he can eat, but 
he lives^by honest hunting of wild game. His 
food consists of small rodents, birds, eggs, or 
■even an occasional reptile. In the United 
States this animal is now rare, for its fur has 
always been highly prized. It is often called 
the Pine Marten. 

The Fisher, or Pennant's Marten, 2 is one 
of the largest members of the Marten Family 
1 Mus-te'la americana. ! Mus-le'la ■pen'nant-i. 



rocky mountain-sides of northern New York, 
and in the forest regions of North America 
generally from Maine and southern Labrador 
to the Pacific coast. Northward it ranges to 
Great Slave Lake and the Yukon River. In 
color it varies from glossy black to dark brown, 
with occasional gray, or grayish white, on head 
and neck, chin, chest and abdomen. Its aver- 
age length is 23 + 14 inches. The young vary 
in numbers from two to three. 



THE WOLVERINE AND SKUNK 



31 



The Wolverine, or Carcajou, 1 is one of the 

most remarkable animals in North America. 
It is about the size of a full-grown bull-dog, has 
a ravenous appetite, great strength, a fierce tem- 
per, and the combined cunning of many genera- 
tions of criminals. It is the greatest thief 
amongst animals, and is such a greedy feeder 
that it is known to many as the Glutton. It will 
follow a trapper's "line" of marten traps, for 
miles, destroy every animal it finds in them, 



the Skunk-Bear, and in Washington the Indians 
call it the Mountain Devil. It inhabits the 
northern Cascades and the Rocky Mountain 
region of the United States as far south as Great 
Salt Lake, and the whole of arctic and subarctic 
America to the northern limit of trees. It is 
especially abundant on the Kuskowim River, 
Alaska. Its length is 32 x 10 inches. 

The Skunks form a large group, widely dis- 
tributed, but all the species, however much they 




COMMON SKUNK. 

devour baits, and sometimes steal the traps 
also. 

It breaks open caches, raids cabins, and sys- 
tematically destroys everything it encounters. 
It is the only animal living which maliciously 
and deliberately destroys property, and soils 
food which it can neither eat nor carry away. 
It steals articles which it cannot possibly use, 
and more than once has been known to strip 
a cabin of nearly its entire contents. 

In form this animal resembles a cross between 
a badger and a bear. In Wyoming it is called 
1 Gu'lo lus'cus. 



LITTLE SPOTTED SKUNK. 

differ in size or color, are arranged in three 
genera. 

The Common Skunk, 1 of which nine spemies 
are recognized, is very well known, chiefly be- 
cause of its powerful odor, its wide distribution, 
and its very conspicuous jet-black color, divided 
on the back by one or two broad bands of 
white. 

This type of skunk is practically confined to 

the United States and Mexico, and is most 

abundant in the North. The very offensive 

fluid which constitutes its defence against all 

1 Meph'i-tis. 



32 



OEDEKS OP MAMMALS— FLESH EATERS 



enemies, is contained in two glands situated near 
the base of the tail, and can be thrown several 
feet. Its odor is so offensive and so stifling 
that neither man nor beast can long endure it. 

The Skunk is a bold marauder, and destruc- 
tive to poultry, but nevertheless of value as a 
destroyer of white grubs and other noxious in- 
sects. Owing to the disappearance of the otter, 
beaver, mink and marten, the fur of the Skunk 
has become valuable, and is now very exten- 
sively used, the white portions being first dyed 
black. 

The Little Spotted Skunks l are found chiefly 
in our southern states, and can immediately be 
recognized by the alternating bands of black 
and white which extend lengthwise along 
the body. Of these there are about a dozen 
species, but some of them are very much alike. 
They range from the Gulf coast north to West 
Virginia and Kansas, but on the Pacific slope 
they are found in Washington, Oregon, Cali- 
fornia and Utah. 

The Badger Skunks 2 resemble the common 
Skunks in size, but may be readily distinguished 
by the broad white stripe on the back, and the 
powerful claws on the fore feet. As indicated 
by their name, they are more badger-like than 




THE BADGER. 

the other skunks, and are expert diggers. They 
are the only skunks which occur in South Amer- 
ica, and their range extends from the Straits 
of Magellan northward along the west coast, 
through Central America and Mexico into south- 
ern Texas and Arizona. 

The Badger is an animal of strange form, its 
body being very broad and flat, and its legs very 
1 Spi'lo-gale. 2 Co-ne-pa'tus. 



short. In size it stands midway between the- 
common skunk and the wolverine. It has a sav- 
age and sullen disposition, and as a pet is one of 
the worst imaginable. It lives in burrows, and 
feeds on ground squirrels, prairie-"dogs," and 
ground game of every description. Often Bad- 
gers will be found living in deserts where it would 
seem an impossibility for any carnivorous animal 
to find a supply of food. Its home is the Great 
Plains, the Rocky Mountains and westward there- 
of to the Pacific coast, from Mexico to Manitoba 
and Alaska. 



THE BEAR FAMILY. 

Ursidae. 

That nearly all young people, the whole world 
over, are greatly interested in bears, is no cause 
for wonder. Under proper conditions, young 
bears are the most merry-hearted wild animals 
that come into captivity, not even excepting 
monkeys, and in some respects the most inter- 
esting. Of all wild animals kept in zoological 
parks, there are none that more fully repay the 
care bestowed upon them, and excepting apes 
and monkeys, none that furnish more amusement. 
With plenty of sun-lit space in which to romp 
and play, good bathing pools, and no stone 
walls to depress their spirits, if not fed by vis- 
itors, bears are more playful and mirth-pro- 
voking than most monkeys. If immured in 
gloomy "bear-pits," or confined in small cages, 
their spirits are correspondingly depressed. 
They are then like unhappy prisoners, rather 
than care-free wild creatures. If tantalized 
with bits of food, they quarrel and fight, and their 
tempers become savage and dangerous. 

Contrary to general belief, a bear is naturally 
cheerful and good-tempered. Elk, deer, buffalo, 
elephants and large cats often attack their keep- 
ers, but bears that have been properly reared 
in captivity seldom do so. 

The bear dens of the New York Zoological 
Park, contained (in 1903) thirty-four bears, 
of eleven different species, living in peace and 
harmony, in nine paved yards. Fully one-half 
of their waking hours are spent in romping, 
wrestling, boxing and swimming, and ill-temper 
is rarely shown. The keepers go amongst these 
bears with only brooms for defence, and the great 
brutes are hustled about and driven to and fro 






'-■';V' • |jl 




34 



OEDEES OF MAMMALS— FLESH-EATERS 



as if they were so many sheep. At the same 
time, any visitor who is so unwise as to thrust a 
hand between the bars within reach of the jaws 
of any of the inmates is certain to be very se- 
verely bitten, — in playfulness rather than rage! 
In their rough play these bears continually 
bite each other, without inflicting injury; and 
they do not appreciate the difference be- 
tween a tender human hand and a tough, 
hairy paw. 

Never offer a finger to a carnivorous animal, 
unless you really wish to have it bitten off. And 
do not feed pea-nuts, candy, peaches, or tobacco 
to animals in captivity. If you wish to kill any 
of them, a gun is far more respectable, and also 
more merciful. 

Structure and Habits of Bears. — Bears are 
plantigrade, or flat-footed, animals, with long 
claws that are not retractile. They live on the 
ground, and eat all kinds of food, from green 
grass to elk steaks. A few species only are able 
to climb trees. In their food habits they are 
om-niv'o-rous, and devour almost everything 
they can chew, except wood and foliage. The 
bears of the Alaskan coast eat great quantities 
of marsh grass, and berries, but salmon is their 
regular food. All bears eat succulent roots, 
insect larvae, honey, frogs and also reptiles, 
fish, and every other kind of flesh they can ob- 
tain. In captivity they thrive best on a variety 
of food consisting of stale bread, raw meat, 
cooked meat, rice, raw fish, boiled potatoes, raw 
carrots, and fruit. 

In the temperate zone, where the snow falls 
to a depth of a foot or more, bears are unable 
to procure food in winter, and pass that season 
in a sort of sleep, or hibernation. With its 
stomach and intestines empty, or nearly so, a 
bear enters its den in December, curls up, 
and with some of the functions of Nature en- 
tirely suspended, sleeps until spring! In reality, 
the creature lives upon the fat that has been se- 
creted under its skin and elsewhere during the 
summer days of good living. Ordinarily, bears 
in captivity that are supplied with daily food, 
do not hibernate in winter, but one cinnamon 
bear which I knew personally, at Mandan, North 
Dakota, dug a hole in the prairie, entered it on 
December 17, and did not reappear until March 
14, of the following year. In the tropics, bears 
never hibernate. 



Naturally, the dens of hibernating bears are 
of several kinds, accordng to conditions. In 
the Adirondacks, of New York, the black bear 
often chooses the base of a hollow tree, or digs 
a cavity under the roots of a tree. In the " bad- 
lands " of the West, bears easily find warm 
and comfortable dens in the wash-out holes of 
rugged ravines. In the mountains, amongst 
rocks, small caves are easily found. In Wash- 
ington, "Grizzly" Adams caught "Lady Wash- 
ington" and "Ben Franklin" in a deep den 
that had been dug by their mother in a steep 
hillside. 

All the world over, two bear cubs usually con- 
stitute a litter. In America, they are usually 
born in January, and at birth are ridiculously 
small, almost hairless, and as helpless as newly- 
born mice. Although they grow rapidly during 
the first year, they are seven years in reaching 
full maturity. In captivity bears seldom breed 
and rear their young, chiefly because of the lack 
of satisfactory seclusion for the female. Mr. 
Arthur B. Baker, who has recently inquired into 
the habits of the American black bear in cap- 
tivity, states that " at Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, are 
two specimens which regularly hibernate, and 
also a pair, born in 18S8, which, with the ex- 
ception of three years, have had cubs each Jan- 
uary (21st to 27th) up to 1903, all of which were 
raised, excepting a few which met death by ac- 
cident." 

Bears have bred in captivity in the zoological 
gardens and parks of Philadelphia, Cincinnati, 
Washington and New York, but few of the cubs 
have been reared. 

The dimensions of a Russian brown bear 
cub — a species that is an excellent understudy of 
our silver-tip grizzly, and but slightly inferior 
in size — was when two days old as follows: 
Length, head and body, 9J inches, tail, ^ inch; 
height, 5 inches, circumference of chest, 6f inches; 
hind foot 1J- inches by -J- inch; weight 15 
ounces. This cub was born on January 17. 

All American bears, except the polar, show 
great changes in the color of their pelage at dif- 
ferent seasons of the year. In the late summer 
the new pelage is darkest, but by the following 
spring, the old coat has grown so much lighter 
in color that the wearer seems like a different 
individual. The shedding period is from May 
1 to August 1. 



GROUPS OF NORTH AMERICAN BEARS 



35 



North American Bears. — Leaving out of 
count, the subspecies, and the species of which 
we know little or nothing, the world contains 
fourteen well-marked types of bears. Of these, 
eight inhabit Asia and Europe, four are found 
in North America, one is found all around the 
north pole, and one in South America. From 
both the Old World and North America, quite 
a number of additional species and subspecies 
have been described ; but it must be remembered 
that at present we are dealing only with con- 
spicuous types. 

Owing to puzzling variations in color, claws 
and skulls, and the great difficulty of bringing 
together several hundred adult skins with skulls, 
it is at present impossible to state precisely how 
many different kinds of bears inhabit this con- 
tinent, or how they are related. In the near 
future, however, many existing questions will be 
settled ; and until then the wisest course for the 
student and the general reader is to accept only 
well-known facts, and wait with patience for 
more. 

The bears of North America constitute four 
distinct groups, as follows: 



Polar Bear, of the far North. 
Very large. 



White. 



Big Brown Bears, of Alaska. Light 
brown. Very large. 

Grizzly Bears, Mexico to Alaska. Gray 
or brown. Medium to very large. 

Black Bears, North America generally 
from Mexico to Alaska. Black or 
brown. Medium size, and large. 

To most persons, the second group of this 
series is quite new, and for several reasons its 
members are of unusual interest. 

The Polar Bear. 

The Polar Bear stands alone in its genus. It 
is the king of the frozen North, and its robe is 
pure white, all the year round. It inhabits 
the coasts of the Arctic Ocean, all around the 
pole, and wanders over the arctic islands and 
the great ice-fields almost as far north as man 
has ever gone. Nansen saw its tracks at Lati- 
tude 84°, — its farthest north. 

As a rule, the Polar Bear follows the edge of 
the great ice-pack, for the sake of the seals and 
walruses which move with it, north in summer, 
and south in winter. He seldom travels more 
than a day's journey inland on any shore. His 
food consists chiefly of seals, walruses, fish and 
dead whales; at times of vegetable matter. 



FULL LIST OF THE BEARS OF NORTH AMERICA. 

Corrected to December 1, 1903. 



The Big 
Brown 
Bears. 



The 
Grizzly 
Bears. 



The 
Black 
Bears. 



Polar Bear, . 

Kodiak Bear, . 
Yakutat Bear, 
Peninsula Bear, 
Merriam's Bear, 
Kidder's Bear, 
Sitka Bear, 



Silver-Tip Grizzly, 
Sonora Grizzly, . 
Alaskan Grizzly, 
Barren-Ground 
Grizzly, . . . 



Black Bear, . 
Labrador Bear, 
Louisiana Bear, 
Everglade Bear, 
Glacier Bear, 

Queen Charlotte 
Bear, . . . . 



Thalarctos maritimus (Phipps), . . 

Ursus middendorffi (Merriam), . . 
Ursus dalli (Merriam) , . . . . 
Ursus dalli gyas (Merriam) , . . . 
Ursus merriami (Allen), .... 
Ursus kidderi (Merriam) , . . . . 
Ursus sitkensis (Merriam), . . 

Ursus horribilis( Ord), .... 
Ursus horribilis horriaeus (Baird), 
Ursus horribilis alascensis (Merr) . . 

■ Ursus richardsoni (Swainson), . . 



Arctic regions generally. 

Kodiak Island, Alaska. 
Yakutat Bay, Alaska. 
Pavlof Bay, Alaska. 
Portage Bay, Alaska. 
Chinitna Bay, Alaska. 
Alaska coast, near Sitka. 

Wyoming to Alaska. 

S-W. New Mexico. 

Norton Sound, Alaska. 
j Great Slave Lake and 
! Barren Grounds. 



Ursus americanus (Pallas), . . . North America. 

Ursus americanus sornborgeri(Ba,ngs) Labrador. 

Ursus luteolus (Griffith), .... Louisiana and Texas. 

Ursus floridanus (Merriam), . . Florida. 

Ursus emmonsi (Dall), . . . . St. Elias Alps, Yakutat 

Bay, Alaska, 
j Queen Charlotte Islands, 
I British Columbia. 



r Ursus carlottae (Osgood), 



36 



OEDEKS OF MAMMALS— FLESH-EATEES 



In 1874, when Mr. Henry W. Elliott and Lieu- 
tenant Maynard visited St. Matthew Island, a 
lonely bit of treeless land in the northern portion 
of Bering Sea, they found upon it between 250 
and 300 Polar Bears ! The animals were basking 
in the warm sunshine, shedding their winter 
coats, and growing fat on the roots of the plants 
and mosses that grew there. On one occasion 
twenty bears were in sight simultaneously. The 
bears literally overran the island, grazing and 




E. R. Sanborn, Photo, N. Y. Zoological Park. 
POLAR BEAR. 

rooting about like hogs on a common. They 
showed no disposition to fight, but always ran 
when approached. 

The Polar Bear is a tall animal, with long legs, 
flat sides, and paws that are very wide and flat. 
The largest specimen in the New York Zoological 
Park is 50-? inches in height, 7 feet 2 inches in 
length, and weighs about 800 pounds. When 
standing erect on his hind legs, the end of his 
nose is 8 feet 8 inches from the ground. If prop- 
erly and comfortably caged, and provided with 
a swimming pool five feet deep, Polar Bears in the 
temperate zone do not suffer from the heat of 
summer, and can endure hot weather fully as 
well as our black bears. Of course they require 
shade in summer; but it is not necessary to put 
ice in their pool to cool the water. 

The power of this active, warm-blooded animal 
to resist cold is one of the wonders of Nature. 
With the temperature many degrees below zero, 
the Polar Bear cheerfully leaps into the Arctic 
Ocean, amid the broken ice, and swims for hours. 



Of all bears, it is the best swimmer, and it dives 
with great ease. Thanks to the limitations im- 
posed by the Frost King on hunting in the arctic 
regions, it is not very probable that the Polar 
Bear ever will be exterminated by man. 

The Big Brown Bears. 

In 1896 the specimens collected by the United 
States Biological Survey, at Washington, re- 
vealed to Dr. C. Hart Merriam the presence in 
Alaska of two or three species and subspecies 
of huge brown bears, totally different in char- 
acter from all the American bears previously 
known. These bears range from Sitka around 
to the extremity of the Alaskan Peninsula, 
Kadiak Island, and inland for unknown dis- 
tances. They are marked by their light brown 
color, high shoulders, massive heads of great 
breadth, short, thick claws, and shaggy pelage. 
In their high shoulders, they resemble the griz- 
zly bear, but otherwise differ from them in many 
ways. Of these bears, Dr. Merriam has pub- 
lished preliminary descriptions of four new spe- 
cies and one subspecies, but additional collec- 
tions and information may possibly result in the 
consolidation of some of these. 

It is sufficient for our purpose to-set forth only 
the species which seems most sharply defined, 
and which may be considered representative of 
the whole group. 

The Kodiak Bear, 1 of Kodiak Island, and 
probably also of the Alaskan Peninsula and the 
mainland for some distance eastward, is not only 
the largest of all living bears, but also the largest 
carnivorous animal in the world. Several skins 
of immense size, and skulls 19 inches in length, 
have been collected. The largest specimen ever 
killed and measured by a naturalist was a female 
killed at Chinitna Bay, by Mr. James H. Kid- 
der, which had a shoulder height of 51 inches. 

A very large flat skin measured at Kodiak by 
Mr. J. A. Loring, was 9£ feet long by 10i feet 
wide across the fore legs. 

Immediately after shedding, the new coat of 
the Kodiak Bear is dark-brown, like that of a 
grizzly, but it soon changes to a beautiful golden- 
brown tint. In March and April, the old coat 
is of a golden-yellow color, and really very beauti- 
ful. The full coat is long, thick and shaggy, and 

1 Ur'sus mid' 'den-dor f-fi. 



THE GEIZZLY BEAKS 



37 



except when shedding is in full progress, the 
animal makes a very imposing appearance. This 
species is recognized by its uniform brown or 
golden color, its high shoulders, broad and mas- 
sive head, flat forehead, short, square nose, and 
a drop in the upper line of the head in front of 
the eyes. Mr. Kidder states that the bears on 
Kodiak Island are uniformly colored over the 
body and legs, but those on the mainland are 
darker on the legs than on the body. 

The Kodiak Bear catches and devours great 
numbers of salmon, which are so abundant in 
many Alaskan streams that it can throw them 
out with its paws. It also eats quantities of the 
rank marsh grass which grows along many sal- 
mon streams where they flow through alluvial 
plains before discharging into the sea. It inhab- 
its the most rugged mountains, and is seldom 
killed save when it leaves the shelter of the tim- 
ber and comes into the open river valleys and 
bay heads to feast on freshly-caught salmon, 
with tender grass for dessert. 

Just how far eastward this bear ranges on the 
mainland, remains to be determined; but I be- 
lieve it will be found as far as the Copper River. 
The big animal found in the Yukon valley, and 
commonly called the "Red Bear," undoubtedly 
belongs to the group of big brown bears, and in 
all probability is the same as the Kodiak Bear. 
The illustration shown on page 33 is a portrait of 
a fine Alaskan brown bear living in the New 
York Zoological Park, which came from the 
country between Cook Inlet and the Copper 
River. Inasmuch as all the descriptions of the 
species composing the brown bear group have 
been based chiefly upon skulls, the exact identity 
of our specimens can not be determined while 
they are alive. In the month of September its 
entire pelage is of the uniform dark-brown color 
characteristic of the bears of Kodiak Island at 
the season when the majority of them are killed, 
but later on the pelage of the body becomes 
lighter than that on the legs. 

The Grizzly Bears. 

The Grizzly Bear. 1 — Of all the bears of the 

world, this species is certainly one of the most 

celebrated. During the days of muzzle-loading 

rifles, its name and fame inspired terror through- 

1 Ur'sus hor-ri'bi-lis. 



out the mountains and foot-hills of the wild 
western domain which constituted its home. 
For many years it held the old-fashioned Ken- 
tucky rifle of the pioneer in profound contempt, 
and frequently when it was used to annoy him, 
the user met a tragic fate. I believe that Grizz- 
lies have killed and maimed a larger number of 
hunters than all other bears of the world com- 
bined. 

Down to the advent of the breech-loader, the 
Grizzly was a bold, aggressive and highly dan- 
gerous animal. When attacked, he would 
charge his enemies with great ferocity, striking 
terrible blows with paws that were like sledge- 
hammers armed with huge hooks of steel. The 
combined swiftness and strength with which 
any large bear can strike must be seen or felt 
to be fully appreciated. 

I have made many observations on the temper 
of the Grizzly Bear, and am convinced that nat- 
urally the disposition of this reputedly savage 
creature is rather peaceful and good-natured. 
At the same time, however, no animal is more 
prompt to resent an affront or injury, or punish 
an offender. The Grizzly temper is defensive, not 
aggressive; and unless the animal is cornered, 
or thinks he is cornered, he always flees from 
man. 

Either in captivity or freedom, the Grizzly re- 
sponds to fair treatment as well as any well- 
armed wild animal ever does, and far better than 
any other species with which I am personally 
acquainted. In the Yellowstone Park, where 
for several years past all bears have been fully 
protected, both the Grizzly and black bears now 
live in close touch with man, without breaking 
faith with him. Although they frequently visit 
the hotels, and steal food from the wagons and 
camps of tourists, I believe no bear has yet broken 
faith with the Government by molesting either his 
human neighbors or domestic animals ! This fact 
speaks volumes for the moral character of our 
bears. 1 

The Grizzly is an animal of commanding ap- 
pearance, and amongst other wild beasts it 

1 gince the above was written, the truce of the 
Yellowstone Park has been broken. Two horses 
belonging to a party of tourists have been killed by 
bears, and the aggressiveness of the latter has be- 
come so serious that it will be necessary for the 
government to take measures which will teach them 
to keep their place. 



38 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— FLESH-EATERS 



acknowledges no superior. A small Grizzly cub 
which we once set free in a mixed company of 
five or six bears of other species, all of which were 
larger than he, boldly stalked into the centre 
of the group, with an air of conscious superiority 
and courage that was both characteristic and 
amusing. It was the other bears who were 
frightened, not he! 

Specimens of this species are readily recog- 



very gray. The huge brown Grizzly of southern 
California, now very rare, has been described 
as a species distinct from the Rocky Moun- 
tain Silver-Tip. I once measured the dry skin 
of one of these animals, which was 9 feet 4 
inches in length, and 10 feet 3 inches wide 
across the shoulders, between the ends of the 
front claws. 

So far as I am aware, the largest Grizzly Bear 




Copyright, 1902, by F. C. Wolcott. 



A GRIZZLY BEAR AT HOME. 



Photographed in the mountains of western Wyoming, by F. C. Wolcott. The bear was enticed by a bait to 
within thirty feet of the camera, and taken by flashlight. 



nized by their high shoulders, powerful pro- 
portions, grizzly-gray hair, and long curved 
claws. The standard color (in winter) is brown 
next to the skin, the extremities of the hair being 
tipped with silvery gray, from which has come 
the common name of "Silver-Tip." 

From Mexico and southern California to the 
Yukon valley, especially along the main ranges 
of the Rocky Mountains, the Grizzly shows about 
six different shades of color, from brown to sil- 



ever actually weighed was one that lived and 
died in the Lincoln Park menagerie, Chicago, 
and was weighed by Mr. G. O. Shields. Its 
weight was 1,153 pounds; yet when alive, west- 
ern hunters who saw it frankly admitted that 
it was larger than bears killed by them which 
they "estimated" at 1,800 pounds! Thus far 
the Rocky Mountains have not produced a wild 
Grizzly actually weighing over 800 pounds, and 
the average weight of the adult Grizzlies killed 



THE BLACK BEAKS 



39 



in the United States during the last fifteen years 
has been between 500 and 600 pounds. 

In all parts of the United States save the Yel- 
lowstone Park and the Clearwater Mountains of 
Idaho, the Grizzly is now a rare animal, and so 
difficult to find that it is almost useless to seek 
it this side of British Columbia. Like other 
large mammals of this continent, the long-range, 
high-power rifles leave them absolutely no chance 



but is quite unable to climb trees. Like all other 
bears, he eats nearly everything he can chew, and 
is very partial to berries, and fruit of all kinds. 

The Black Bears. 

The Black Bear 1 is the best known bear 
in North America. It is found in nearly all the 
mountains and great tracts of forest between 




Photo, by E. R. Sanborn, N. Y. Zoological Park. 

AMERICAN BLACK BEAR 

From northern AVisconsin. 



for their lives, and in a short time none will exist 
in the United States outside of the Yellowstone 
Park and the zoological gardens. In the wilds of 
Alaska, they may survive for perhaps a quarter 
of a century longer. Unfortunately, the Griz- 
zly loves to roam over treeless mountains, on 
which his huge bulk makes him conspicuous for 
miles, and invites the attacks of his enemies. He 
loves water, swims well, and is a great traveller, 



Florida and Alaska, and from Nova Scotia to 
the Pacific coast. During the past twenty years 
it has been seen or killed in forty states of the 
United States, in Mexico, Alaska, and eleven 
of the British provinces. Its farthest south is 
the mountains of Costa Rica. 

Its standard color is jet black, all over, except 
the nose, which is dirty white or light brown. A 
1 Ur'sus a-mer-i-can'us. 



40 



OEDERS OF MAMMALS— FLESH-EATERS 



very confusing fact about the Black Bear is the 
frequency with which it runs into brown or 
cinnamon colors. Sometimes black and brown 
cubs have been found in the same litter. Very 
curiously, however, this color is found only in 
the Rocky Mountains, and farther west. In its 



round on the hind quarters, low at the shoulders, 
and also by the fact that in walking it usually 
carries its head low. It is a smaller animal, and 
its claws are short and well adapted to tree-climb- 
ing. It conceals itself from its enemies much 
more successfully than the grizzly, and therefore 



brown phase, this animal is called the Cinnamon still survives in such places as the forests of the 




GLACIER BEAR. 
Drawn from a specimen in the United States National Museum. 



Bear, and in the Rocky Mountain regions and 
Alaska, brown specimens are almost as numerous 
as black. Sometimes it is difficult to believe 
that both kinds belong to the same species, but 
this seems to be a fact. 

Some grizzlies are very dark brown, but thev 
are never inky black, like the true Black Bear. 
The latter differs in form from the grizzly in 
being highest in the middle of the back, very 



Adirondacks, the Catskills, in West Virginia, 
and the swamps of the southern states. 

When properly treated, small Black Bears are 
good-tempered and playful in captivity; and 
some are easily tamed, and taught to perform 
tricks. Cubs are very interesting when small, 
but by the time they are a year old, they become 
so strong and troublesome, as well as dangerous, 
that private owners nearly always are heartily 



RACCOON AND BASSARISK 



41 



glad to get rid of them. Never buy a Black Bear 
cub in the belief that it can be kept for amuse- 
ment and resold at a profit ; but if thine enemy 
offend thee, present him with a Black Bear cub. 

The Black Bear is a timid animal, and always 
runs when observed by man. It is a good climb- 
er, runs quite swiftly when pursued, but in a rough 
and tumble fight it bawls, roars, and coughs. 

The Glacier Bear, 1 found on the glaciers 
around Yakutat Bay, near Mt. St. Elias, Alaska, 
is one of the recent discoveries in the Northwest, 
but it is so clearly distinct as to merit special 
notice. Thus far no living specimens have found 
their way into zoological parks or gardens, and 
the only mounted skin on exhibition is in the 
United States National Museum. It is exactly 
reproduced in the accompanying illustration. 

The species is known to-day only by the single 
specimen referred to, and a few flat skins. As 
mounted it is only 24 inches in height at the 
shoulders, and is beyond question the smallest 
species of bear in America. Its color is a peculiar 
bluish gray, on all parts save the muzzle from 
the eyes forward, which is dark brown or black. 
The hair is long, very thick, woolly in texture, 
and stands out straight all over the body. The 
rarity of this animal in collections, and the long 
delay in its discovery, are due to the rough, in- 
hospitable and dangerous character of the coun- 
try in which it lives. 

THE RACCOON FAMILY. 

Procyonidae. 

The Raccoon, 2 placed next to the bears, is 
also plantigrade in its manner of walking. It 
is a cheerfully persistent animal, and no amount 
of hunting discourages it, or drives it away from 
its favorite haunts. It is at home in the tim- 
bered regions of the southern and eastern United 
States, especially where there are swamps, — for 
the Raccoon loves to play in water. In the West 
it ranges from Arizona to British Columbia. 

Its favorite dwelling-place is a hollow tree, 
and its yearly family consists of five or six young. 
In its appetite, it is as omnivorous as any bear, 
and eats everything that it can chew, — from live 
rabbits down to green corn, — fish, flesh, or fowl. 
The only point on which the Raccoon is particu- 

1 Ur'sus em'mous-i. 

2 Pro'cy-on lo'tor and related species. 



lar, regarding its food, is in soaking it in water 
before eating it. 

Excepting the cacomistle or "civet cat" of 
the Southwest, this is the only animal in the 




Photo, and copyright, 1902, by W. L. Underwood. 
THE RACCOON. 

United States which has black and gray rings 
around its tail. A live " 'Coon " makes one of the 
most satisfactory carnivorous pets that a boy 
can keep in confinement. 

The Cacomistle, "Civet Cat," or Bassarisk 1 
is a strange little creature like a small pine mar- 
ten with a long, bushy tail, and many common 
names. It is spread over so wide an area of our 
country that its personality should be better 
known. It inhabits Mexico and the southwest- 
ern United States from Texas to California and 
north to southern Oregon. These are the names 
by which it is called and miscalled: in Mexico, 
Cacomiz'tli, or in English Ca-co-mis'tle; in Texas, 
Texas Civet Cat, and Cat Squirrel ; in California, 
Mountain Cat and Ring-Tailed Cat ; in Arkansas, 
Raccoon Fox ; by various scientific authors from 
Audubon to Allen, Civet Cat, Ring-Tailed Bassa- 
ris, and Northern Civet Cat. 

Now, as to the facts regarding this pretty 

little creature, it is not a "cat" of any kind. 

and there is about it not a trace of "civet." 

Dr. Coues proposed Bassarisk as a name that 

1 Bas-sa-ris' cus as-tu'tus and related species. 



4a 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— FLESH-EATERS 



was appropriate, and entitled to use. Let it be 
so called henceforth, and the misnomers rele- 
gated to obscurity, where they belong. Its 
original Mexican name is so ill adapted to our 
wants it never will be generally used. 

The Bassarisk is, after the true raccoon, the 
only animal in the United States possessed of a 
long, bushy tail with alternating black and white 
rings around it. It climbs trees, and nests in 
hollow branches like a squirrel; it scratches 



and bites, and catches rats, mice and small birds 
like a cat; and it has a many-sided appetite, 
like a raccoon. Its length of head and body is 
16 inches, tail about the same, and its general 
color is a brownish gray. It is a night prowler, 
and often makes its home in outbuildings and 
deserted ranch houses. In California it is oc- 
casionally kept in captivity by the miners, and 
is said to make a very attractive and interesting 
pet. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE ORDER OF SEALS AND SEA-LIONS 

PINNIPEDIA 



Some students may feel that it is useless for 
land dwellers to try to become acquainted, at 
long range, with sea animals. Toward many 
sea animals, this feeling is justified; but it 
should not be entertained toward the bold and 
hardy fin-footed children of the surf. The seals 
and sea-lions of our shores are well worth know- 
ing. 

From the warm and luxurious shore of south- 
ern California to Oregon's storm-beaten Tilla- 
mook Roek, and on up to the inhospitable, rock- 
bound edge of western Alaska, you will find at 
intervals, where Nature has done some of her 
grandest work in shore-building, colonies of bold 
and hardy sea-lions. On the Pribilof Islands 
lives the most valuable of all the fur-bearing 
animals of the world, the fur-" seal," which has 
contributed millions of dollars to our national 
treasury, and more than repaid the whole price 
of Alaska. 

On the low shores and adjacent ice floes of the 
North Atlantic live the seal herds that annually 
yield an immense store of valuable oil, and fur- 
nish employment for thousands of Newfoundland 
sailors and sealers. 

The reader may rest assured that even though 
his home be in the centre of the Great Plains, the 
North American seals and sea-lions are well 
worth knowing ; for, sooner or later, travel surely 
will bring him into visual contact with many of 
them, either in museums, zoological gardens, or 
alive in their haunts. Let us, then, lay the 
foundation for a profitable acquaintance with 
them. 

By some writers, these animals are classed 
with the Ferae, because they eat flesh; but to 
associate in the same Order such widely different 



creatures as sea-lions and cats seems incongru- 
ous, if not incorrect. 

The Order Pinnipedia ' contains three groups 
of sea-faring animals, distributed widely through 
the ocean waters of the world, and in some in- 
stances, in fresh water, also. They are the Sea- 
Lions, Seals and Walruses. 

A Sea-Lion has a long, supple neck, and long, 
triangular front flippers that have neither hair 
nor claws, but are simply living paddles. Their 
hind limbs are web-toed flippers. They have 
very small, sharp-pointed ears, carry their heads 
high, and all are lively, active animals, both in 
swimming and in climbing rocks. The males 
of some species grow to enormous size, and have 
faces so lion-like in appearance that this resem- 
blance has given the group its popular name, 
— Sea-Lion. 

A Seal is a short-necked, fat-bodied, low-lying, 
clumsy animal, not nearly so active on land nor 
so intelligent as a Sea-Lion. Its front flippers 
are short, square-ended, fully covered with hair, 
and provided with claws. They have no ex- 
ternal ears of skin and cartilage. Their hair is 
short, close, and stiff, and of no value as fur save 
to the Eskimo, to whom every Seal is a Godsend, 
and utilized in a great variety of ways. 

A Walrus is a sea mammal of great size, 
formed somewhat like a Sea-Lion, and it is the 
clumsiest living creature that ever comes upon 
land. It has two long ivory tusks that grow 
downward from the upper jaw, a very thick 
skin which lies in deep folds, no hair worth men- 
tioning, and a very dull brain. 

The following are the groups and species which 
every American should know : 

1 Pin-ni-pe' di-a means "fin-footed." 



43 



44 



OKDEKS OF MAMMALS— SEALS AND SEA-LIONS 






PACIFIC WALRUS, 



STELLER S SEA-LION, 
On the same scale. 



HARBOR SEAL. 



FAMILIES. 



EXAMPLES DESCRIBED. 1 



ORDER 
PINNI- 
PEDIA. 



Sea-Lions, o-ta-ri'i-dae, 



Seals, . . pho'ci-dae, 



Walruses, od-o-ben'i-dae. 



California Sea-Lion, . 
1 Steller's Sea-Lion, 
Fur " Seal," . . . 



Ringed Seal, 
Harbor Seal, 
Harp Seal, . 
Hooded Seal, 
Ribbon Seal, 



Pacific Walrus, 
Atlantic Walrus, 



Zalophus californianus. 
Eumetopias stelleri. 
Callotaria ursina. 

Phoca foetida. 
Phoca vitulina. 
Phoca groenlandica. 
Cystophora cristata. 
Histriophoca fasciaia. 

Odobmus obesus. 
Odobenus rosmarus. 



THE SEA-LION FAMILY. 

The California Sea-Lion, 2 or Barking Sea- 
Lion, is the most familiar representative of the 
first group, for the reason that this species is 
easiest to catch alive, and keep in captivity. In 
zoological gardens and travelling shows, this is 
the animal which cries out so frequently, and 
with ear-piercing clearness and volume, "How- 
woo! Hook! Hoook! Hook!" It inhabits nearly 
the entire coast of California, the Farallone 
Islands, the famous Cliff House rocks, and the 
Lower California peninsula. Full-grown males 
are about 7 feet in length, weigh about 450 
pounds, and all are of a uniform dark-brown 
color. An adult female which died in the Zoo- 
logical Park weighed 112 pounds and measured- 
length of head and body, 56} inches, tail, 2f 
inches, total length from nose to end of hind flip- 
pers, 70| inches, girth, 31} inches. These creatures 
are very active in the water, and can climb rocks, 

1 The most important of these species will be 
found well described and commented upon in Mr. 
Henry W. Elliott's interesting volume entitled "Our 
Arctic Province." (Charles Scribner's Sons.) 

2 Zal'o-phus cal-i-for-ni-an'us. 




Keller, Photo., N. Y. Zoological Park. 

CALIFORNIA SEA-LION. 

and even high cliffs, with surprising agility. 
When frightened, Captain Scammon says they 
will leap from a height of sixty feet into the sea. 

The hair of this animal is very short, coarse, 
and of no value. The California Sea-Lions rarely 
eat fish, but live chiefly upon squids, shell-fish 



FOOD OP SEA-LIONS 



45 



and crabs. For reasons known only to them- 
selves, they swallow many round pebbles, from 
one to two inches in diameter. We once took 
16 pounds (half a pailful) from the stomach of a 
medium-sized specimen. 

In captivity all kinds of seals and Sea-Lions 
live contentedly in fresh water. The value of 
a living California Sea-Lion in New York City 
is about $150. This species possesses great 
intelligence, and quite recently several specimens 
have been trained to go through a show per- 
formance which is really wonderful, including a 
most remarkable act in which a Sea-Lion suc- 
cessfully balances a large ball on the point of its 
nose. 

An important incident in the life history of 
the California Sea-Lion furnishes a good illustra- 
tion of the folly of condemning a wild species to 
destruction on insufficient evidence. 

For several years the fishermen of San Fran- 
cisco complained that the Sea-Lions of the Cali- 
fornia coast devoured such enormous quantities 
of salmon and other fishthat they were seriously 
affecting the available supply ; besides which, they 
caused great damage to nets and impounded fish. 
They demanded that the Sea-Lions be destroyed, 
and finally convinced the state authorities that 
their contentions were well founded. 

It was decided that the animals should be de- 
stroyed, by systematic shooting, down to a com- 
paratively small number; and the slaughter 
was duly ordered. Men were engaged to do the 
work, in a business-like way, and an official re- 
quest for permission to kill on the light-house 
reservations of the government was granted. 

But there were certain naturalists who doubted 
the entire accuracy of the charges made against 
the Sea-Lions, and asked for proof in detail. 
When no evidence of a specific and convincing 
nature was brought forward, they requested 
that the slaughter proposed on the Farallone 
Islands, and other light-house reservations, be 
deferred, pending a careful inquiry ; and this was 
done. 

However, where the state authorities had full 
power to act, the killing proceeded in a few lo- 
calities. It happened that during the killing of 
California Sea-Lions on the shore of Monterey 
Bay, and vicinity, Professor L. L. Dyche, of the 
University of Kansas, arrived on the scene to 
pursue studies in marine life. He examined the 



stomachs of twenty Sea-Lions which were washed 
ashore, and of five more which he killed for the 
purpose of mounting their skins. 

Every stomach examined contained the remains 
of squids and devil-fish (Octopus), one or both; 
and both of which are among the fisherman's ene- 
mies! Not one of the twenty-five stomachs which 
he carefully examined and reported upon contained 
any portion of a scaled fish. 

In 1901, the United States Fish Commission 
conducted a systematic investigation of the 
food habits of the Sea-Lions of the Pacific coast 
and the report of Messrs. Rutter, Snodgrass 
and Starks appears in the Report of the Fish 
Commissioner for 1902. At six points on the 
coast of California, the investigators killed a 
total of twenty-four specimens of the California 
Sea-Lion, and eighteen of the Steller Sea-Lions. 
The report says : 

"Of thirteen California Sea-Lions whose stom- 
achs contained food, five had eaten fish and 
eleven had eaten squid. The quantity of fish 
was inconsiderable, seventeen small fishes being 
the maximum, while the remains of one hundred 
to three hundred squid were found in each of 
five stomachs. 

"All the thirteen Steller Sea-Lions whose 
stomachs contained food had eaten fish, and five 
had eaten squid, or octopus. The number of 
squid eaten was small, six being the maximum 
number in one Sea-Lion, while the quantity of 
fish was large, at least thirty-five pounds being 
taken from one stomach." 

The detailed report of the kinds of fishes con- 
sumed as food by these animals reveals an as- 
sortment of very little value, and not one salmon 
or shad. Professor Dyche's discovery — that 
the California Sea-Lion feeds almost exclusively 
upon squid — was fully confirmed, for the twenty- 
four animals killed contained only three rock- 
fish, two hake, twenty-four " small fish" and one 
chimera, — but over eleven hundred squid! The 
stomachs of the Steller's Sea-Lions contained 
fourteen rock-fish, two perch, thirty clupeoid 
fish, seventeen "large fishes of 12 to 18 inches," 
and a few skates, sharks and squids. 

"The testimony of the fishermen was so con- 
tradictory it is of no value. . . . One man 
claims that the Sea-Lions are becoming more 
numerous and destructive every year, while 
another claims that they are rapidly becoming 



4C 



OEDEKS OF MAMMALS— SEALS AND SEA-LIONS 



exterminated." There was "practically no com- 
plaint" of fish destruction "at the time of the 
investigation. Sea-Lions were scarcely ever seen 
in the vicinity of the salmon nets during 1901." 
At the mouth of the Columbia River, "the 
fishermen were unanimous in their denunciation 
of the Sea-Lions." "The shallow water and the 
large number of salmon make that point a favor- 
ite feeding ground, and there is no doubt that the 
Sea-Lions are doing much damase there." "It 



the strength of general opinions; for a supposed 
enemy may, on careful investigation, prove to 
be a friend. 

Steller's Sea-Lion, 1 the largest Sea-Lion in 
the world, inhabits a few isolated spots on the 
Pacific coast, from Santa Cruz, California to Ber- 
ing Strait. Large male specimens attain an 
average length of 10 to 11 feet, stand 6 feet high, 
and attain a weight estimated by competent ob- 
servers at 1,400 pounds. The full-grown male 




STELLER S SEA-LION 



appears that the Sea-Lions are doing very little 
damage anywhere excepting at the mouth of the 
Columbia River." (Report, page 117.) 

A summary of the results of the investigation 
establishes three facts: 

1. The California Sea-Lion is not guilty of 
destroying fish to any great extent, and deserves 
protection, not death. 

2. Steller's Sea-Lion eats miscellaneous fish; 
but on the coast of California does nothing to 
merit destruction. At the mouth of the Co- 
lumbia it is destructive, and there deserves to be 
kept in check. 

3. Wild animals never should be destroyed on 



has a girth of S to 9 feet, a lion-like head, coarse 
neck hair 4 inches long, and canine teeth like a 
grizzly bear, which are much used in fighting. 

The full-grown females are from S to 9 feet 
long, weigh from 400 to 500 pounds and are more 
finely formed. The hair is coarse, and the ani- 
mal is now of practically no commercial value, 
save for its oil. This species is readily distin- 
guished from the California sea-lion by its far 
greater size, its hoarse voice, the very large neck, 
and the long, coarse neck hair of the males. 

In its habits, this great Sea Lion is very pe- 
culiar. Amongst themselves the old males 
1 Eu-me-to' pi-as stel'ler-i. 



THE FUR SEAL 



47 



fight fiercely, and with their big canine teeth 
inflict upon each other many severe skin wounds. 
I have seen specimens whose necks bore scores of 
large scars. In the presence of man, however, 
they are timid, and easily frightened. 

This giant among Sea-Lions is found on the 
coast of California, in small numbers only, at 
Point Ano Neuvo, near Santa Cruz, at Puris- 
sima, the Farallone Islands, Point Reyes, and 
Point Arena. On the coast of Oregon it is found 
about the mouth of the Columbia and Tillamook 
Head. The agents of the United States Fish 
Commission, reporting observations made in 
1901, stated that " probably half of the Sea-Lions 
of California (of both species) are found at the 
Farallone Islands, and it seems doubtful whether 
the total number on the coast amounts to five 
thousand." A large colony of Steller's Sea- 
Lions inhabits Bogoslof Island, Alaska, living 
almost in the shadow of that celebrated volcano. 

In October, 1903, the New York Zoological 
Society's agents succeeded, after many fruitless 
efforts, in capturing six young specimens in the 
sea off San Miguel Island, California, and safely 
transporting them to New York, where the ex- 
periment of keeping this species in captivity is 
now being tried in the Zoological Park. 

The Fur Seal, 1 which yields the beautiful 
and costly fur so highly prized for ladies' gar- 
ments, is not a true seal, but a sea-bear or sea- 
lion, quite similar in form, size and general hab- 
its to the California species already described. 
It is found on the Pribilof or Seal Islands, in 
Bering Sea, where during the Russian occupa- 
tion it was twice nearly exterminated for its fur; 
on Copper and Robben Islands, off the coast 
of Siberia; and in the open sea from the Pribilof 
Islands southeastward to the thirty-fifth parallel, 
thence northward along the coast, back to the 
Seal Islands. 

The size of the Fur Seal has been carefully ob- 
served by Mr. Henry W. Elliott, and recorded 
as follows: 



Males 

and 

Females 



At birth (June 20) Length 12 to 14 

At six months, " 24 

At one year, " 38 

At two years, " 45 

Males ) At three years, " 52 

only. "^ At six years, " 72 

At 8 to 20 years, " 75 to 80 



The Fur Seal has two kinds of hair. Its outer 
coat is long, stiff, coarse, and gray in color. In 
preparing skins for market, all this is plucked 
out and thrown away, leaving only the fine, soft, 
brown under fur, which before manufacture is 
dyed a rich, blackish-brown color. Fur Seal gar- 
ments vary in price from $200 to $700. 

The Fur Seal has strange and interesting 
habits. It spends about two-thirds of each year 
far at sea, making a circuit of 6,000 miles in the 
open ocean without touching land. For some 
strange reason, the herd in American waters 
has chosen the two Pribilof Islands, St. Paul 
and St. George, as the only spots in our waters 
whereon they are willing to land and rear their 
young. To these favorite breeding-places, on 
these islands known as " hauling-grounds," the 
Fur Seal millions were wont to repair in the early 
summer of each year, to rear their young. The 
returning herd begins to arrive between May 1 
and 15, the breeding season is over by September 
15, and by the end of November all the Seals 
are gone on their great winter cruise southward 
into warmer waters. By a long series of inqui- 
ries the winter cruise of the herd has been mapped 
out by Dr. D. S. Jordan and his associates, and 
is shown on the next page. 

On the breeding grounds, each large and hard- 
fighting old male gathers round him a harem of 
from six to ten females, fights off all rivals, young 
or old, and elects himself the head of an imposing 
family. The three-year-old male Seals — called 
"bachelors" — were killed for their fur, to the 
number of about 100,000 each year. The fe- 
males bear only one "pup" annually, immedi- 
ately after landing in May. 

The mother Seals leave their young, go to sea 
in search of food, remain several days perhaps, 
or even a fortnight, then return and go straight 
to their own respective offspring. It was the 
killing of the mothers at sea that produced an 
enormous falling-off in the number available 
each year. The persistent slaughter of mothers 



in. 


Girth 10 in. 


Weight 6 to 7J lbs. 




(t 


25 " 


it 


39 




a 


25 " 


it 


39 




a 


30 " 


a 


58 




a 


36 " 


iC 


87 




it 


64 " 


a 


280 




a 


70 to 75 in. 


a 


400 to 500 lbs 



1 Cal-lo-ta'ri-a ur-si'na. 



48 



ORDERS OP MAMMALS— SEALS AND SEA-LIONS 



will exterminate any species of animal, no matter 
how numerous. 

The accompanying map graphically illustrates 
the remarkable sea-going habits of the Pribilof 
Fur Seal herd after the close of the breeding 
season, and during the intensely cold and fear- 




ANNUAL WINTER MIGRATION OF THE FUR SEAL 

fully windy winters that annually render life on 
the Seal islands a serious task. 

The combined political and commercial im- 
portance of the Fur Seal demands a brief summary 
of the most important facts of its rise to favor, 
its decline, and finally its fall. The end, how- 
ever, is not yet ; but it looms very near. 

REVIEW OF FUR SEAL HISTORY. 

For the past seventeen years, the Fur Seal 
has been to the United States, England and 
Canada a source of well-nigh constant anxiety, 
contention, and at times irritation. Inasmuch 
as the fate of that animal is still pending, it seems 
desirable to set forth the most important facts 
in its case, in chronological order. The history 
of the Fur Seal since our acquisition of Alaska 
is divided into two periods, one of revenue, and 
one of contention. 

The Period of Revenue. 

1867. — When Alaska became a United States 
possession, by purchase from Russia at a cost of 
$7,200,000, the fur of the Fur Seal was almost 
unknown to fashion, and outside of Russia was 
neither used nor particularly desired. 

1870. — The United States leased to the Alaska 



Commercial Company, for twenty years, the ex- 
clusive right to kill each year on the Pribilof 
Islands, 100,000 young male Fur Seals, receiving 
therefor, annually, the sum of $317,500. 

1872. — The Alaska Commercial Company 
began to expend $100,000 in cash, chiefly in 
London, in making the wearing of sealskin 
fashionable. This effort was entirely suc- 
cessful. 

1873. — After a careful survey of the 
Pribilof Islands, and an elaborate com- 
putation of the number of Fur Seals then 
inhabiting them, Mr. Henry W. Elliott, a 
special agent of the Treasury Department, 
announced the total number of Seals to 
be 3,193,420. He says: "No language 
can express adequately your sensations 
when you first stroll over the outskirts of 
any one of those great breeding grounds 
of the Fur Seal on St. Paul's Island. . . . 
Indeed, while I pause to think of this sub- 
ject, I am fairly rendered dumb by the 
herd, vivid spectacle which rises promptly to 
my view. It is a vast camp of parading 
squadrons which file and deploy over slopes 
from the summit of a lofty hill a mile down 
to where it ends on the south shore. Upon 
that area before my eyes, this day and date 
of which I have spoken, were the forms of not 
less than three-fourths of a million seals, mov- 
ing in one solid mass from sleep to frolicsome 
gambols, backward, forward, over, around . . . 
until the whole mind is so confused and charmed 
by the vastness of mighty hosts that it refuses to 
analyze any further." ("Our Arctic Province," 
p. 313.) 

Some observers estimated the number of Seals 
at a figure higher than Mr. Elliott's. Others have 
recently contended that it must have been less. 

1880. — "Pelagic sealing" means the killing 
of Fur Seals, male or female, in the open sea, by 
means of guns or spears. It is an exceedingly 
wasteful and destructive method, but it had 
been going on in a quiet way for many years. 
On land, only male Seals are killed. In the sea, 
about four females were killed to every male 
taken, and the pups on shore were left to starve. 
In 18S0, the total number of Seals taken at sea 
in Bering Sea was only 8,418; but from that 
time on, the killing increased rapidly, and be- 
came fearfully destructive. 



50 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— SEALS AND SEA-LIONS 



1882.— Up to this time, the great Seal herd of 
Bering Sea was in a state of equilibrium, and 
yielded on the islands its annual quota of 100,000 
"bachelor" Seals without sensible variation. 
The number killed at sea in 1882 was 15,551. 

The Period of Contention. 

1886. — The catch of Seals at sea rose to 28,- 
494. Of the large fleet of vessels then hunt- 
ing Seals in Bering Sea, a number were seized 
by the United States government vessels which 
were guarding the Islands. These were chiefly 
Canadian schooners, but some were American. 

1887. — The pelagic sealing fleet was increas- 
ing each year. The United States began negotia- 
tions with six foreign governments with a view 
to securing co-operation in saving the Seals from 
the extermination which threatened them at the 
hands of the "poachers." 

1890. — The lease of the Alaska Commercial 
Company terminated, and the North American 
Commercial Company bid successfully for the 
new lease of the Seal-taking privilege on the 
Pribilof Islands. According to the calculations 
of Mr. Elliott, the Seals on the Islands now 
numbered 959,455. Except four years, from 
1871 to 1889, over 100,000 male Seals had 
been taken annually, on the Islands, and paid 
for. The total revenue derived by our govern- 
ment during that twenty-year period was $6,- 
350,000. In 1890, the Seals killed and secured 
at sea numbered 40,814, while the number killed 
and lost was unknown. 

1891. — An agreement called a modus vivendi 
(or way of living in peace) was made between 
England and the United States, for three years, 
designed to close Bering Sea to pelagic sealing 
pending the result of the Paris Tribunal. Prac- 
tically, it amounted to nothing. 

1893. — The case of the pelagic sealers was 
tried before the Paris Tribunal, and through the 
ineffective management of our case, we lost on 
practically all our contentions. The pelagic 
sealers emerged from the contest with full license 
to kill Seals at sea everywhere outside a sixty- 
mile radius of the Pribilof Islands. Because 
Japan, China and Russia were not parties to 
the Tribunal, the people of those nations were 
not bound by the award which keeps American, 
Canadian and English sealing vessels sixty miles 
away from the Seal islands! 



1894.— In this year 61,838 Seals were killed 
at sea and secured, while an unknown number 
were killed and lost. 

1895. — Mr. J. B. Crowley (Member of Congress 
in 1903), as a special agent of the Treasury De- 
partment, assisted in counting the dead bodies 
of about 30,000 Fur Seal "pups," on the Seal 
islands, which had starved that year by reason 
of the killing of their mothers while at sea in 
search of fish. {Congressional Record.) There 
were 56,291 Seals killed at sea, by the eighty-one 
vessels engaged in pelagic sealing. On land the 
number killed was, by order of the government, 
reduced to 14,846. 

From 1890 to the end of 1895 (six years) the 
cost to the United States Government of its 
efforts to patrol the waters of Bering Sea, with 
war vessels and revenue cutters, and protect — as 
far as possible — the Seal herd from complete 
annihilation, was fl, 410,721. Besides this, the 
government expended $227,163 on its Treasury 
Agents, and $473,000 was paid by the decision 
of the Paris Tribunal, as " damages." to the men 
who stole our Seals, and were caught in the act! 

1897. — The number of dead pups counted on 
the breeding grounds, by Mr. Frederic A. Lucas 
and others, was 21,750, and in October the 
number of seals remaining alive of our herd was 
estimated at 343,746. (D. S. Jordan. " Re- 
port Fur Seal Investigation," 1896-97, p. 100.) 

189S.— By a law passed December 29, 1897, 
all citizens of the United States were absolutely 
prohibited from killing or capturing Fur Seals 
at sea anywhere in Bering Sea, the Sea of Ok- 
hotsk, or anywhere north of the 35th parallel of 
north latitude. The ownership of any Fur Seal 
skins taken in those waters was also prohibited, 
under severe penalties. All skins from female 
Seals, either raw or dressed, were also excluded 
from our markets. 

From that date (December 29, 1S97), pelagic 
sealing ceased to be an American industry. It 
is now for England and Japan to say whether or 
not it shall continue until all the mothers are 
slaughtered, and all the pups starved to death. 

1903. — The situation of the Fur Seal has grown 
desperate, and its fate is wavering in the balance. 
The number now alive is about 200,000. While 
Americans cannot now engage in pelagic sealing 
under our flag, and no Canadians may inside the 
sixty-mile limit, dozens of well-equipped sealing 



IMPENDING FATE OF THE FUR SEAL 



51 



vessels are sent out from Yokohama, and other 
ports in Japan, under the Japanese flag, which 
hunt seals within three miles of the Pribilof Isl- 
ands! Canadian Sealers still hunt outside the 
protected zone, and kill many seals, annually. 

Up to this date, our government has done 
everything in its power to prevent the extermi- 
nation of the Fur Seal, and afford it a just meas- 
ure of protection. England fears that she can 
go no farther without giving grave offence to 



of him who can take it. Patriotism, and the 
desire for the greatest good of the greatest num- 
ber, does not enter into their calculations. The 
American or Canadian pelagic sealer claims that 
the open sea is his, and he cares only for the $10 
or |15 that each raw skin is worth. England 
cannot reasonably be expected to quarrel with 
Canada because of our desire to perpetuate our 
Seal herd, and derive from it a revenue of a mill- 
ion dollars a year, — which is the sum which the 




Drawn by J. Carter Beard. 



THE HARP SEAL. 
Young and old specimens, showing changes in pelage at different periods. 



Canada. But in England, about $2,000,000 of 
capital are invested in the business of dyeing 
and dressing Fur Seal skins, and this work em- 
ploys — or did employ — between two thousand 
and three thousand operatives. It has always 
been impossible for Seal skins to be satisfactorily 
dyed and dressed in America. 

The insurmountable obstacle to the protec- 
tion of the Fur Seal is its fatal habit of going to 
sea, far from its hauling grounds, coupled with 
the belief of a large number of Canadians and 
Americans that a Seal at sea is the lawful prize 



Fur Seals would yield to-day, but for the slaugh- 
ter of 1,000,000 females at sea, and the murder or 
starvation of 1,000,000 pups, at sea and on shore. 
Just what events will make up the next and 
possibly the final chapter in the life history of 
this interesting and valuable species, it is at pres- 
ent impossible to foretell. Judging by the past, 
and the indications of the present, the Alaskan 
Fur Seal is doomed to practical annihilation, but 
not total extinction. Let us hope, however, that 
even yet the statesmen of the United States, 
England, Canada and Japan will join in the 



52 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— SEALS AND SEA-LIONS 



enactment and enforcement of a humane measure 
of protection which really will protect. 

THE SEAL FAMILY. 

Phocidac. 

The Little Ringed Seal 1 is the Seal of the 

Farthest North, and the friend of the northern 

Eskimo all round the pole. It is the smallest 

North American species, and looks very much 



bear, with two small cubs, was closely following 
up the seals as they worked north through 
the ice pack. 

The Common Harbor Seal, 1 of both our ocean 
coasts, is a good representative of the Seal Fam- 
ily, chiefly because it is the species most frequent- 
ly seen. It ascends rivers far above tidal influ- 
ence, and has been taken in Lake Champlain. 
In the Columbia River a closely related species 




THE RIBBON SEAL. 



like the common harbor seal. It goes as far 
north as it can find breathing-holes. Nansen 
found it on May 31, at 82° 21', or within 460 miles 
of the pole, living in the narrow lanes of water 
that were then forming in the great polar ice 
pack. It was a Bearded Seal,' however, which, 
on June 22, afforded the brave explorers a good 
supply of food when men and dogs were almost 
starved. And, true to its nature, an old polar 

1 Pho'ca joe'li-da. 2 Er-i-gnath' us bar-ba'tus. 



has been taken above The Dalles, 200 miles from 
the sea. 

The Harp Seal 2 is not only one of the hand- 
somest of all Seals, but it is also the species 
most valuable to man. It is found on both sides 
of North America, but always in cold waters. 
In the year 1900, five sealing steamers of New- 
foundland took nearly 100,000 seals, mostly 
Harps, on the coast of Labrador and northward 

1 Pho'ca vil-u-li'na. '* Pho'ca green-land' ic-a. 



THE WALRUS FAMILY 



53 



thereof, and the value of the catch was over a 
quarter of a million dollars. 

This species passes through several strongly 
marked changes of pelage and color. The 
baby is covered from nose to flipper-tips with a 
thick coat of long, woolly hair of snowy white- 
ness. This, when shed at six months after birth, 
is replaced by a coat of bluish gray hair, with 
light trimmings. On reaching adult age, in its 
fifth year, this animal is very strikingly marked 
by black or dark-brown patches grouped together 
on the sides and back, on a white or yellowish 
ground-color apparently in the shape of a harp. 
This Seal is also called the Saddle-Back, and 
Greenland Seal. 

The Hooded Seal ' of the North Atlantic is 
a large species, often attaining 8 feet in length. 
The old males are distinguished by the possession 
of a flexible bag of skin on top of the nose, which 
is capable of being inflated with air until it forms 
a lofty and remarkable excrescence on the creat- 
ure's face. This sac is sometimes 10 inches long 
and 6 inches high. The color of this Seal is dark 
bluish-gray, marked with irregular light spots. 
It once came as far south as New Jersey. 

The Ribbon Seal, or Harlequin Seal, 2 in its 
color pattern is the most remarkable of all living 
Pinnipeds, and there are many persons who con- 
sider it the most beautiful member of its Order. 
On a smooth ground-color, either of blackish- 
brown or yellowish-gray, Nature has sportively 
arranged several yards of broad, yellowish-white 
ribbon. One strip goes around the neck, and ties 
under the throat. From a point low down on the 
breast, another starts upward, curves gracefully 
over the shoulder, drops down in front of the pel- 
vis, where it comes together, then turns and 
crosses over the body. In many specimens the 
uniformity of the width of the ribbon is remark- 
ably well maintained. 

This Seal is from 4 to 6 feet in length. Its 
home is on the eastern shore of Bering Sea, and 
in the fresh waters of Lake Iliamna, in the upper 
end of the Alaskan Peninsula. 

THE WALRUS FAMILY. 

Odobenidae. 

Of all living monsters that ever move upon 

land, the Pacific Walrus 3 is one of the most 

1 Cys-toph'o-ra cris-ta'ta. 
1 His-tri-o-pho'ca fas-ci-a'ta. 3 O-do-ben'us o-be'sus. 



wonderful. A full-grown male is a living moun- 
tain of heaving flesh, wrinkled, furrowed and 
seamed, ugly as a satyr, and as strange in habits 
as in appearance. 

Its form is that of a sea-lion with a neck enor- 
mously thickened. Its upper jaw is provided 
with two long, strong tusks of ivory, and its skin 
is almost destitute of hair. A full-grown male 
measures from 10 to 12 feet in length from nose 
to tail, the top of its head is about 5 feet from 




HEAD OF HOODED SEAL. 

the ground, the girth of its neck is from 12 to 14 
feet, and it weighs from 1,800 to 2,000 pounds. 
Its skin varies from half an inch to two inches 
in thickness ; it is of a dirty yellow color, and lies 
on a mass of fat which often is six inches thick. 
The largest pair of tusks known to the author 
measure 24^ inches in exposed length, and are 
in the British Museum. 

The Pacific Walrus eats more or less of aquatic- 
plant food, but its principal food is shell-fish and 
crustaceans. These it digs up from the muddy 
bottoms of the broad, shallow bays along the 
coast, crushes between its powerful jaws, and 
swallows in great quantities, shells and all! Crabs 
and shrimps form a pleasing variety, and for 
salad it devours the bulbous roots and tender 
stalks of marine plants which in summer grow 
in its home waters. 

In former times, the Pacific Walrus existed 
in great herds on the coast of Alaska, from the 
north shore of the Alaskan Peninsula northward 
through Bering Strait, and thence eastward as 
far as Point Barrow. There the herds encoun- 
tered the edge of the great permanent ice-pack, 
and could go no farther. In winter the Walrus 



54 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— SEALS AND SEA-LIONS 



herds float about on the ice-fields, retreating 
southward as the edge of the ice advances. In 
the open sea, the sleeping posture of the Walrus 
is floating bolt upright in the water. He grunts 
and bellows, and many times vessels have been 
warned off dangerous, fog-hidden rocks by the 
Walrus lying upon them. 

On land the Walrus is the most clumsy and 



In 1900, steamers bearing gold-miners to Cape 
Nome passed through herds of Walrus in Bering 
Sea, and many of the animals were killed, waste- 
fully and wantonly, by passengers firing from the 
decks, with no possibility of securing a single 
victim. As elsewhere, the instinct of man in the 
far north is to slay and slay, and preserve no 
living thing. 




THE PACIFIC WALRUS. 
An old male of the largest size. Drawn from a mounted specimen in the United States National Museum. 



helpless of all land animals, and is easily ap- 
proached and killed. In the water, it becomes a 
danger to be avoided, on account of its proneness 
to wreck small boats. A full-grown Walrus has 
never been seen in captivity. Two or three very 
young specimens have reached Europe, and in 
September, 1902, Commander Robert E. Peary 
brought one to New York for the Zoological 
Park, where it was exhibited until it died. 



The Walrus has been hunted so diligently for 
its oil that to-day very few remain, and the na- 
tives who once depended solely upon this animal 
for food, fuel, lights, boats, dog harness, and 
leather for all purposes now are on the verge of 
starvation, and are really kept alive by public 
bounty. Previous to our purchase of Alaska, 
about 10,000 Walrus were killed annually by the 
Eskimo, and utilized. In the long, hard winter 



THE ATLANTIC WALRUS 



55 



of 1879-80, when the sea was frozen all around 
St. Lawrence Island, for many miles in every 
direction, the Walrus herds were forced to re- 




YOTJNG ATLANTIC WALRUS. 

Captured' by Commander R. E. Peary, and exhibited 

in the New York Zoological Park. 

main so far away that all the inhabitants of the 
Island, save one small settlement, died of starva- 
tion. 

The Atlantic Walrus 1 is of about the same 
1 O-do-ben' us ros-ma'rus. 



length as the Pacific species, but it has a shorter 
and much smaller neck. Its tusks, also, are 
much smaller. It is still found in considerable 
numbers in Smith's Sound, and is quite abundant 
north of Franz Joseph Land, where Nansen pho- 
tographed and killed many. Its most northerly 
latitude is 82°. A specimen killed by Comman- 
der Robert E. Peary was 9 feet in length, and 
weighed 1,569 pounds. The skin alone weighed 
220 pounds. 

Professor L. L. Dyche has kindly furnished 
the measurements of the largest male Walrus 
out of eighteen taken by him on the coast of 
northern Greenland : 

Length (straight line), end of nose to end 
of body, 129 inches. 

Tail, exposed, none. 

Length of rear flippers, 26 inches. 

Girth of animal when suspended by the 
neck, 129 inches. 

Exposed length of tusk, 19 inches. 

Circumference of tusk at base, 8J inches. 

The largest cow Walrus measured 116 inches 
in length, 113 in girth, exposed tusk, 10j inches. 



CHAPTER V 



THE ORDER OF MOLES AND SHREWS 

INSECTIVORA 



In the dark and cold embrace of Mother Earth, 
away from the cheering sunlight, and the beauti- 
ful upper world that we enjoy, there dwells a 
group of mammals so strange, and yet so useful 
to man, that they excite our admiration for the 
wise purpose which developed and placed them 
there. Pass not unthinkingly the moles and 
shrews, for they have been most cunningly de- 
signed to serve a definite and important purpose 
in the economy of Nature. 

In farming countries, the top soil of the earth 
is a vast incubator for the development of de- 
structive insect larvae. In soil that is rich and 
productive, "grub-worms," "cut-worms," and 
"wire- worms" abound; and in regular rotation 
they greedily devour the seeds, roots and leaves 
of growing crops. But for the enemies which 
keep them in check, there would be a hungry 
grub for every sprouting seed. 

And how can man wage war successfully 
against insect life in the soil? Impossible. To 
meet this difficult proposition, we need a vigor- 
ous living creature with a nose like a gimlet, 
sharp-pointed teeth, soft fur, feet specially de- 
signed for digging, and eyes so small that to 
them sunlight is an unnecessary luxury. Such 
animals are found in the moles and shrews, of 
the Order In-sec-tiv'o-ra, humble but faithful 
workers in man's interest. Neither the horse 
nor the ox is more diligent in our service than 
are these toilers of the soil. Yet what is their 
reward? 

In his mole-like blindness, man frequently dis- 
covers things that are not true. Often a per- 
fectly honest farmer concludes that a mole is 
eating his seed corn in the ground, or the vegeta- 
bles in the garden; and straightway the mole 
is killed. His accuser has found a runway 
following up a row of newly-planted corn, and 
when the seed fails to sprout, the mole is accused 
of having eaten it! 

In all such cases, the mole is a victim of cir- 
cumstantial evidence, and suffers through the 



lack of counsel to cross-examine the witnesses 
for the prosecution. Did anyone ever find much 
vegetable food in a mole's stomach? Not often. 
Did anyone ever see a mole eat vegetable food? 
Probably not. A mole placed in a box and sup- 
plied with vegetable food alone soon starves to 
death. Moles do not eat seed corn, or garden 
vegetables; but they do visit corn-hills to eat 
the grubs that come to devour the corn. 

Every young naturalist must learn early what 
constitutes direct evidence. Far too long have 
the mole and shrew been convicted and slain 
on circumstantial evidence. Meadow mice some- 
times attack seed corn by utilizing the run- 
ways that have been made by moles in reaching 
the corn-hills to secure the grubs that attack 
the seeds; and almost invariably the testimony 
is that the moles have done the damage. In 
France the value of the mole is recognized by 
law, and the killing of one is punishable by a fine 
of five francs. 

The shrews and moles not only find their food 
underground, but live the entire cycle of their 
lives in subterranean darkness. Moles seek their 
food by digging tunnels in ground that is loose 
and dry, the roof being raised into a ridge which 
in smooth lawns is an annoying disfigurement. 
Gardeners are apt to forget that they always 
work where insect larvae are thickest, and the 
need for their help is most urgent. The tunnel- 
makers are driven from lawns by persistently 
trampling down their runways. 

The Order Insectivora is represented in the 
United States by two Families, the members of 
which are easily recognized by the following 
well-marked characters : 

The Moles have pointed heads; extremely large, 
spade-like front feet, that always are held with 
the outer edge up; no neck; the front legs are 
exceedingly short; there is no external ear, and 
no external eye; the body is short, thick and 
clumsy, and the tail is hairless. 

The Shrews have pointed heads, but small, 



56 



THE MOLE FAMILY 



57 



*3^i 




■>o .frrTi M>Td 



1. COMMON MOLE. 



STAR-NOSED MOLE. 



rat-like feet; there 'is a very small eye, an ex- 
ternal ear, and a distinct neck. The body is 
rather slender, and as a whole, the animal looks 
much like a short-tailed mouse. 

THE MOLE FAMILY. 

Talpidae. 

This Family contains twelve full species, all 
quite interesting. Their skins and skulls have 
been studied closely, but our information re- 
garding their habits is very meagre. As a rule, 
moles are larger than shrews. The largest of 
all is an Oregon species, which measures 7 inches 
in length of head and body, and tail 1J inches, — 
an unusual size for a mole. 

On all moles the fur is fine, thick, very soft 
and velvety, and faultlessly smooth and clean. 
All these creatures love sandy soil, which they 
can easily burrow. 

The Common Mole 1 is known to the ma- 
jority of country dwellers by its upheaved 
tunnels on the surface of the ground. In ap- 
pearance the animal is a flattened, oblong ball 
of fine, soft, shimmering gray fur, 6-J- inches long, 

1 Sca'lops a-quat'i-cus. 



to which the naked, little pink-white tail — which 
looks like a small angle-worm — adds If inches. 
Its nose projects half an inch beyond its mouth, 
and on the end it feels as hard as if it contained 
a bone. It terminates in a broad, flattened 
point, shaped quite like a rock-drill. 

The fore foot is three-quarters of an inch wide, 
but less than an inch in length, including the 
claws, which measure half an inch. In your 
hand, a Mole is a wriggling, restless creature. 
Place it upon ground that is not packed hard, and 
in about one second it has found a suitable spot 
for an opening. Its nose sinks into the earth as 
if it were a brad-awl, with a combined pushing and 
boring motion, and in three seconds your Mole's 
head is no longer in sight. 

Up comes the powerful right foot, sliding close 
along the side of his head, edgewise and palm 
outward, to the end of the nose. The living 
chisel cuts the earth vertically, and then, with 
a quick motion it pries the earth sidewise from 
its nose. Instantly the left foot does the same 
thing on the other side, while the brad-awl nose 
goes right on boring. In ten seconds, by the 
watch, the Mole's body has entirely disappeared, 
and in three minutes our Mole will tunnel a foot, 
unless interrupted. 

When skinned for dissection, it is found that 
the eye is merely a small, dark speck under the 
skin, suitable only to distinguish light from dark- 
ness. The eye-ball is about the size of a pin- 
head. The arm and forearm is a big, hard bun- 
dle of tough muscles and powerful tendons, 
shaped like an Indian club, of enormous size in 
proportion to the creature's body. 




DIGGING MUSCLES OF A MOLE. 

The Mole is a wonderful example of energy 
and power. Desiring to observe their methods 
of working when undisturbed, I once placed one 
in a five-acre clover-field, at 11 o'clock a.m. 
During the first seven hours it had tunneled 
twenty-three feet, in a zig-zag line. During the 
next seventeen hours it dug thirty-five feet, and 



58 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— MOLES AND SHREWS 



during the next hour, ten feet more. The total 
work consisted of sixty-eight feet of main line, 
and thirty-six and a half feet of branches, mak- 
ing in all one hundred and four and a half feet. 
An observing farmer-boy, named Lawrence 





1. End of nose. 2. Left forefoot. 

STAR-NOSED MOLE. 

Miller, once gave me a clear and intelligent 
description of a Mole's burrow which he uncov- 
ered and observed closely. It was a dome- 
shaped hole, two feet below the surface of the 
ground, reached from above by a hole that ran 
down slanting into its top. The burrow was a 
foot wide at the bottom, where three small gal- 
leries ran off about six inches, in different direc- 
tions. Near the top of the chamber was a sort 
of shelf, supporting a bed of soft material, and 
on this lay a Mole. The young are usually two 
in number. 

Besides the Common Mole, of the Eastern 
United States generally, we have the Prairie 
or Silver Mole of the prairie regions of the Mis- 
sissippi Valley; the Hairy-Tailed Mole of the 
Eastern United States, and the Oregon Mole of 
the Pacific slope. The Star-Nosed Mole, of the 
northeastern United States and Canada, is 
quickly recognized by the remarkable star-like 
appendage of eighteen ray-like points, with four 
more between them, on the end of its nose. 

THE SHREW FAMILY. 

Soricidae. 

North of Mexico, this Family contains about 
thirty-five full species, distributed throughout 
nearly every portion of North America south of 
a line drawn from the mouth of the Mackenzie 
River to Labrador. With most cheerful in- 
difference, they inhabit mountains, plains, swamp 
lands and sandy sea-coasts, hot countries and 
cold. Everywhere, however, their noses are 
long and sharp, their eyes and ears minute, and 
the colors of all species are very sober, ranging 



from dull gray to brown, and ending in black. 
There are two species which are so widely dis- 
tributed they may well be taken as types of the 
entire thirty-five. 

The Common Shrew 1 is found on the Atlan- 
tic coast, from New England northwestward to 
Alaska, and southward through the Appalachian 
Mountains to Tennessee and North Carolina. 
Its color is brown above, and dull gray under- 
neath; head and body, 3 J inches long, tail, If 
inches. The ground plan of its skull is a perfect 
triangle spreading thirty-five degrees, and is 
very flat. Although very soft and fine, its fur 
is not so velvety as that of a mole. This creat- 
ure is very small, and quite mouse-like in ap- 
pearance. 

Unlike the mole, Shrews occasionally emerge 
from their burrows, and wander about near 
their entrances. But they are exceedingly shy, 
and although they are frequently thrown out 
by the spade or plough, they are very rarely seen 
moving about. Above ground they are very 
helpless, and being unable to run rapidly, they 
try in a feeble way to hide. When taken in the 
hand, the musky odor they emit is rather disa- 
greeable. 

The Short-Tailed Shrew 2 is another type 
worthy of special mention. It is readily recog- 
nized by its very short tail, only 1 inch in 
length, while its head and body measure 4 
inches. Its color is smoky brown above, and 
dull gray underneath, and in size it is the largest 




COMMON SHREW 



J. KHOHT-TAILED SHREW. 



of the Shrews. It is found from the eastern 
edge of the Great Plains to the Atlantic coast, 
and is one of the largest members of the Shrew 
Family. 

1 So'rcx per-son-a'tus. 2 Bla-ri'na bre-vi-cau'da. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE ORDER OF BATS 

C1I1R0PTEB.A 



The strange wing-handed, flying mammals 
composing this Order exhibit differences in 
form that are fairly bewildering. They range 
all the way from the beautiful to the fantastic 
and the hideous, and some of them are well 
worthy of study. 



members of the Bat Order as a whole are almost 
as little known as the whales and porpoises of 
the deep sea. Our lack of acquaintance with 
bats is due chiefly to their nocturnal habits, 
and the consequent difficulty in observing them. 
To-day, bats are so little known that there are 




Drawn by J. Carter Beard. From a specimen in the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences. 

BORNEAN NAKED BAT. 
The young are carried in two dorsal pouches, from one of which, under the left elbow, a small head protrudes. 



The great majority of bats are useful to man 
in destroying the insects which, without the 
aid of the birds and beasts, very soon would over- 
whelm him. The harmful species are those 
which destroy fruit, and a few which suck the 
blood of domestic animals. 

Owing to certain natural conditions, the 



perhaps a million persons who only know that 
they fly at night, and are "awful things to get 
into your hair." 

I have seen thousands of bats, flying in many 
different places, but never yet saw one alight 
upon a woman's hair ; and I believe they are no 
more given to doing so than are humming-birds. 



59 



60 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— BATS 



From the bats of the United States, there is 
nothing to fear, for their claws and teeth are 
pitifully weak. One cross old "bumble-bee," 
angrily bumbling, is more dangerous to a peace- 
ful community than all the bats of our country 
taken together. In some portions of South 
America, however, the vampire bats cause seri- 
ous trouble. 

Keen-eyed boys and girls all over the world 
should know that little is known concerning 




SKELETON OF PALE BAT. 
Antrozous pallidus. 

the habits of bats, and much remains to be found 
out. These creatures are therefore excellent 
subjects for original investigation. 

The Order of Bats as a whole contains about 
four hundred and fifty species, but it is safe to 
say that three-fourths of them are known only 
by their dry skins and skulls, and that their 
habits are quite unknown. The questions are, — 
why do bats live? Upon what do they feed? 
Are they useful to man, or injurious? What 
are their friends and their enemies? Do they 
migrate, and at what times? Where do they 
nest, or take shelter; and what are the facts 
about their young? What parasites and dis- 
eases have they? 

Although the bat is a true mammal, it is al- 
most as wide a departure from the ordinary, 
four-legged, land-going type as is a whale or 
manatee. Its hand reveals an extreme degree 
of what is called "specialization." For a mam- 
mal, the arms are of great length. The bones of 
the fingers are enormously extended, and con- 
nected with hairless skin as flexible as india 
rubber, to form a wing for flight. This wing 
membrane is extended on up the arm to the 
body and the legs, and is continued between 



the legs and tail, where it forms a supporting 
parachute in flight. 

The thumb of a bat is very short and free; 
and its nail is developed as a hooked claw, by the 
aid of which the creature can comfortably climb 
about or support itself. The favorite position 
of a bat at rest is hanging by'its feet, head down- 
ward. 

To be "as blind as a bat" is not to be blind 
at all, but rather to possess powers of vision that 
are uncommonly good in semi-darkness, or at 
night, and fairly good even in the broad light 
of day. When disturbed at midday, all the 
bats I have ever seen alive (perhaps twenty 
species in all) have flown away to places of se- 
curity as briskly and successfully as so many 
swallows. The eyes of all night-flying bats are 
small, jet black, and look like tiny black beads, 
but those of the day-fl} r ing fruit-bats are very 
much larger in proportion. 

The teeth of bats of different species show 
wide variation. In nearly all of the four hun- 
dred and fifty species, the canine teeth are as 
strongly developed as in the cat, and in some 
bats their proportions are really formidable. 
A careless examination of a bat's skull might 
easily lead one to believe that it belonged to a 
carnivorous animal. But the molar teeth will 
always tell the true story. 

The insect-eating bats, which far outnumber 
all others, have cheek-teeth which terminate in 
sharp points, and are specially designed for cut- 
ting to pieces the hard parts of hard-shelled in- 
sects. The fruit-bats, however, have molars 
of a very different sort, with rather smooth 
crowns, for crushing instead of cutting. The 
blood-sucking vampire bats of South America 
have very large canine teeth with sharp, cutting 
edges, and even the molar teeth are formed with 
scissor edges, very much like the teeth of cats. 

The teeth and skulls of bats exhibit many in- 
teresting and even extraordinary variations, 
but it is impossible to enumerate them here. 
The accompanying figures show the characters 
of two species found in the United States. 

As previously remarked, very little is known 
regarding the habits of bats, chiefly because 
their nocturnal habits make it very difficult to 
find them, or to observe them. We know that 
in winter some of our species live in caves, in a 
semi-dormant condition. Br. C. H. Eigenmann 



HABITS OF BATS 



61 



says, of the thousands that inhabit Mammoth 
Cave, " they fly readily if disturbed in summer, 
but in winter they hang apparently dead. If 
disturbed, a few respiratory movements may 
be seen, and they may utter a few squeaks, 
when they again remain apparently lifeless. If 
knocked from the roof some of them fall to the 
bottom of the cave and flap about, others fly 
away. I have seen them leave a cave in mid- 
winter, after being disturbed, but fly no further 
than a hundred yards, then turn and enter the 
cave again." 

In central Montana, where there are no trees, 
I once found a large colony of bats inhabiting a 
cave that a subterranean stream had washed 
under the prairie. In Arizona there is a cave 
which is said to contain " a million " bats. Once 
while hunting elephants in the Malay Peninsula, 
the attention of my companion and myself was 
arrested by a strange, pungent odor which filled 
the air. Upon investigating the cause of it, we 
discovered a large eave of a very interesting 
character, inhabited by thousands of bats, and 
floored with a layer of bat guano a foot or more 
in depth, representing the accumulation of a 
century. 

In warm countries, bats inhabit hollow trees. 
But do they inhabit such homes, and actually 
hibernate in them in winter, in the temperate 
zone? On this point, direct evidence is desirable. 
Dr. C. Hart Merriam has proved that some bats 
of the North American temperate zone do mi- 



grate, as birds do, going south in winter and re- 
turning in spring. 

The conditions of wild life in the temperate 
zone are rather unfavorable to the development 
of large bats, and for this reason none of the 
bats of the United States are of large size or com- 
manding importance. The large fruit-bats, or 
"flying foxes," can exist only where they can 
procure a good supply of fruit all the year round ; 
and for this reason they are mainly confined to 
the tropics. During our northern winter, a true 
vampire bat could indeed prey upon the blood of 
domestic animals; but in zero weather, the naked 
wings of such a creature would freeze stiff in a 
very few moments. The large vampire bat of 
India, for some reason called the "false" vam- 
pire (Meg-a-der'ma ly'ra), which devours small 
frogs, fishes, small birds, and even bats smaller 
than itself, could live in our southern and 
southwestern states, but it would be impos- 
sible for it to go far north of the frost line. 
All bats inhabiting the colder regions of the 
temperate zone, within the snow limit, must 
either hibernate in winter, without food, or 
migrate. 

Owing to the great number of species of bats, 
and of the many groups into which they have 
been divided, it is desirable to mention here only 
a few examples with which every intelligent 
person should be acquainted. 

The bats have been divided by Nature into 
two Suborders, and six Families, as follows : 



SUBORDERS. 



< 

w 

h 

Oh 

o 

X 
u 

M 
W 
Q 
« 
O 



Insect-Eating 
Bats: 

Mi-cro-chi-rop'- 
ter-a. 



Fruit-Eating 
Bats: 

Meg-a-chi-rop'- 
ter-a. 



THE ORDER OF BATS 



Leaf-Nosed Bats, . phyl-los-to-mat'I-dae . 



Free-Tailed Bats, em-bal-lo-nu'ri-dae. 



Common Bats, . 

False Vampires, 
Horseshoe Bats, 

Flying Foxes, . 



VES-PER-TIL-I-ON'I-DAE . 

MEG-A-DER-MAT'I-DAE, . 
RHI-NO-LOPH'I-DAE, . . 

PTER-O-POiyi-DAE, . . 



EXAMPLES. 

Leaf -Nosed Bat. 
Blainville's Bat. 
Javelin Bat. 
f Great Vampire. 

I Bonneted Bat. 
i Naked Bat. 

i Red Bat. 

> Gray Bat. 

( Big-Eared Bat. 

False Vampire. 



C Flying Fox. 

< Hammer-Headed 

( Bat. 



62 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— BATS 



THE FAMILY OF LEAF-NOSED BATS. 

Phyllostomatidae. 

The members of this Family bear on their 
noses thin leaves of naked skin that stand erect 
behind, or partly around, the nostrils. These 
wonderful nose-leaves are pear-shaped, heart- 
shaped, wedge-like, and of many other forms. 
The ears are large, or very large ; the wing mem- 




CALIFORNIA LEAF-NOSED BAT. 
(After Harrison Allen.) 

brane reaches down to the foot ; the tail is long, 
and sometimes extends a short distance beyond 
the interfemoral membrane. On the whole, the 
bats of this Family form an astonishing exhibit 
of facial oddities. All save a few species are 
confined to South America. 

The California Leaf-Nosed Bat 1 may be 
taken as a very modest example, because it bears 
what is really a very simple form of nose-leaf. 
It is found in southern California and Mexico, 
and its pelage is very light-colored. 

The most remarkable of all bat faces is that 
of a small, brown-colored West Indian species 
known as Blainville's Bat. 2 As a sport of Nat- 
ure it stands fairly unrivalled, and shows what 
is possible in the fashioning of skin into orna- 
mental forms. The ears are large and of most 
fantastic form, the chin is bedecked with a high- 
ly convoluted bib of skin, and the eyes and nos- 
trils are almost lost amid the leaves and tuber- 
cles which cover the muzzle. As a whole, the 
appearance of the face of this bat suggests a high- 
ly complicated flower, like a double pansy. The 
skull is only five-eighths of an inch in length. 

1 O-lop'ter-us cal-i-for'ni-cus. 

2 Mor'moops blain' vill-ii. 



This species is quite uncommon, and practically 
nothing is known of its habits. 

In fashioning the noses and ears of bats, Nat- 
ure has done some very odd and curious work. 
The flowers of orchids are not more oddly fash- 
ioned than the heads and faces of some species. 

Let it not be supposed, however, that these 
queer facial appendages and long ears of the 
leaf-nosed bats are purely ornamental. Dr. 
George E. Dobson, one of the greatest authori- 
ties on bats, has pointed out two very curious 
facts. (I) The bats with small ears and no nose- 
leaves fly most in the early twilight; and many, 
such as the fruit-bats, fly in the daytime. (2) 
The long-eared and leaf-nosed bats prefer dark- 
ness, and seek their food only at night. 

Let us see if we can find a reason for this. 
A cruel investigator of the eighteenth century, 
named Spallanzani, once destroyed the eye- 
sight of several bats, then suspended many silken 
threads from the ceiling of a room, and liberated 
the creatures. Although totally blind, the bats 
flew to and fro between the threads, without 
once striking them, and were equally successful 
in avoiding branches of trees that were intro- 
duced. It now seems certain that some bats 
possess a sixth sense, of which at present we know 
nothing, by which they are able to fly in total 
darkness, and avoid even the smallest obstruc- 
tions. 

It seems quite probable that the long ears and 
nose-leaves of the night-going bats aid their 
owners in guiding their flight; but the precise 
manner in which it is done remains to be dis- 
covered. 

The True Vam- 
pire Bats. — By 
this name we seek 
to distinguish the 
bats which actual- 
ly suck the blood 
of living creatures, 
from the so-called 
vampires which 
live on fruit. In 
South America 
there are five spe- 
cies of true vam- 
pires, three of 
which are known 
as the javelin 




BLAINVILLE S FLOWER-NOSED 
BAT. 

(After Peters.) 



VAMPIRE BATS 



63 



bats, the others as the short-nosed vampires. 
The centre of abundance of these creatures ap- 
pears to be the valleys of the Amazon and the Rio 
Negro, and the adjacent regions; but one of the 
species ranges all the way from Chile to Mexico. 

Of the true vampires, the Javelin Bat 1 is 
the one which is most aggressive, and most 
dreaded. It bites horses and cattle, usually on 
the shoulders, neck or hindquarters, and makes 
a wound in the skin of sufficient depth to cause 
blood to flow freely, even after the bat has flown 
away. Naturally, an animal that is thus preyed 
upon soon grows thin in flesh, and becomes 
visibly weakened. On the island of Mucina, in 
the delta of the Amazon, the serious injuries in- 
flicted by the Javelin Bats upon 
domestic animals have long been 
known. 

But where true vampires are 
abundant, they do not confine 
their attacks to domestic animals. 
Human beings are occasionally 
called upon to pay blood tribute 
to the small wing-handed demons 
of the air. Men are bitten at 
night, when asleep, usually either 
upon the nose, or the feet. With 
its sharp-edged teeth, the creat- 
ure makes a very small round 
hole in the skin, and by means of 
mouth suction which must be quite powerful, 
the blood is soon flowing freely. Fortunately, 
blood-poisoning is not an attendant evil of the 
Vampire's bite, and the wound seldom becomes 
painful. 

The common Javelin Bat measures a little 
less than 4 inches in length of head and body, 
and in color is reddish brown. All the other 
true vampires are smaller, and all are practically 
tailless, the parachute membrane stretching 
between the legs, quite down to the feet, without 
the support of tail vertebrae. Naturally, these 
creatures are widely known ; for any bat which 
lives upon warm blood, always drawn from a liv- 
ing fountain, is bound to acquire wide notoriety 
and a very evil reputation. The skull of a Jave- 
lin Bat, seen in profile, looks very much like the 
skull of a miniature wolf. 

In order to illustrate once more how easily 
a harmless animal can acquire an evil reputa- 
1 Phj/1-hs'to-ma, has-ta'tum. 



tion, and further emphasize the necessity of tak- 
ing direct evidence before pronouncing a verdict, 
we introduce a 28-inch bat from South America, 
most unjustly called the Great Vampire, a but 
not really belonging to the genus of blood-suck- 
ers. Mr. H. W. Bates, the "Naturalist on the 
Amazon," lived for a time where this species was 
quite abundant, and of it he wrote in his book as 
follows : 

"Nothing in animal physiognomy can be 
more hideous than the countenance of this creat- 
ure when viewed from the front; the large, 
leathery ears standing out from the sides and top 
of the head; the erect, spear-shaped appendage 
[nose-leaf] on the tip of the nose, the grin, and the 





BONNETED BAT. 
Promops californicus. (After Harrison Allen.) 

glistening black eye, all combining to make up 
a figure that reminds one of some mocking imp 
in a fable. [The very savage-looking canine 
teeth might well have been mentioned, also.] 
No wonder that imaginative people have in- 
ferred diabolical instincts on the part of so ugly 
an animal. The Vampire, however, is the most 
harmless of all bats." Mr. Bates opened the 
stomachs of a number of specimens, and found 
that "they had been feeding chiefly on fruits," 
and wild fruits, at that, obtained by honest 
hunting in the depths of the forest. 

Moral: Never make an affidavit on the food 
habits of wild animals without first examining 
the stomachs of several specimens. 

THE FAMILY OF FREE-TAILED BATS. 

Emballonuridae. 
The bats belonging to this Family have no 
nose-leaves, and the tail is partly free from the 
2 Vam-py'rus spec'trum. 



04 



OKDERS OF MAMMALS— BATS 



membrane between the legs, either rising from 
its upper surface, or projecting beyond its end. 
The muzzle is rather blunt, and the nostrils 
open beyond the upper lip. 

The Bonneted Bat, 1 of California and Mexico. 
is one of the largest of our species of free-tailed 
bats. Above the shoulders it looks like a rat 
wearing a poke bonnet. Its head-and-body 
length is 2£ inches, tail 1{, total length of ear, 
If inches. One-half the tail is free. 

The Naked Bat,~ of Borneo, Java and Suma- 
tra, is one of the most remarkable species of the 
entire Order of Bats, and in some respects is the 
widest departure from the typical bat. In the 
interior mountains of Sarawak, Borneo, I once 
secured ten fine specimens, and to me they are 
as wonderful to-day as when handled for the first 
time. 

As its name implies, this bat is practically 
destitute of hair, the only hair noticeable be- 
ing a few stiff, black bristles on the neck, and 
a little microscopic fuzz on the breast and hind- 
quarters. The skin is thick and leathery, lying 
in numerous creases and folds, and on the living 
animal it is very elastic. There is no nose-leaf, 
and the lips are very thick and fleshy. The tail 
is free of parachute membrane for two-thirds of 
its length, and is quite like the tail of a mole. 
On the joint at the base of the thumb there is a 
large, callous tubercle, which indicates that this 
bat is much given to crawling about on "all 
fours," on rocks and tree-trunks. 

Around the neck, the skin lies in two thick 
folds, and in these, directly under the chin, is 
situated a deep gland or sac which secretes a 
gummy substance with an odor both strong and 
disagreeable. Clearly, like the scent-gland of 
the skunk, it is for defence. 

The most wonderful feature of the Naked Bat 
is yet to be noticed. On seeing this species 
for the first time, one's first thought is, how 
do the young bats cling to the parents during 
flight? 

Nature, ever wise and provident, has answered 
this question by placing under each arm of this 
bat a deep, ivide pocket of rubber-like skin, 
in which the young are carried until they are 
able to fly! The mouth of this pocket is on a 
line between the elbow and the knee, and it 

1 Pro'mops cal-i-for'ni-cus. 

2 CiiH-ro-me'les tor-qua'tus. 



extends upward and backward, over the en- 
tire shoulder, quite to the back-bone, where the 
two sacs are separated by a thin partition of 
skin. The pouch is If inches deep, and in its 
lower portion, against the ribs, is located the 
mammary gland. On the whole, this is the 
most wonderful infant-pouch possessed by any 
living creature, not even excepting that of the 
marsupials, which is much more simple. 

My largest specimen of this bat had a head- 
and-body length of 5-J inches, tail 2 inches long, 
and a wing expanse of 22 inches. In the skin 
were many curious folds. The face of the 
Naked Bat is coarse and ugly, and the body is 
quite devoid of grace and beauty; but ere one 
has time to scoff at such homeliness, the creature 
seems to say, — "Study me; for I am fearfully 
and wonderfully made ! " 

This bat lives upon fruit and vegetation, and 
nests in hollow trees, rock crevices, or in holes 
in the earth. The illustration on page 59 was 
drawn from one of my Bornean specimens. 

THE FAMILY OF COMMON BATS. 

Vespert Mo nidae. 

These are the bats that are most widely known, 
and also the most numerous. Dr. E. L. Troues- 
sart recognizes more than 200 species. They 
range over all portions of the world that are 
habitable by small bats. 

The distinguishing characters of the members 
of this Family are chiefly negative. There are 
no nose-leaves, the nostril openings are simple, 
and the tail is not produced to any extent be- 
yond the interfemoral membrane. 

All the bats of the United States are of small 
or medium size, and the majority of them belong 
to this Family. Along the Atlantic coast, they 
are so common that nearly every person living 
beyond the confines of the great cities is per- 
sonally acquainted with at least one species. 
The commonest is the beautiful little Red Bat :J 
which appears in the early twilight, gliding on 
swift yet noiseless wings up and down the shaded 
streets and roads, and occasionally making a 
friendly diversion into an open window, or 
through your veranda, partly for business pur- 
poses, and partly as an evidence of friendly re- 
gard. 

3 Las-i-u'rus bo-re-al'is. 



BATS OP THE UNITED STATES 



G5 



In midsummer, sharp eyes sometimes find 
this bat hanging close in amongst the leaves of 
a chestnut tree, its delicate fur as red as the 
brightest iron-rust. Touch it ever so gently 
and whisk! it is off as swiftly as a swallow, to 
seek another and a better hiding-place. 

From sunset until it grows quite dark, it is 
very busy, and constantly on the wing. The 




THE RED BAT. 

Red Bat is a swift flyer, and much more of an 
aerial gymnast than any bird I know. In its 
flight it can turn abruptly with marvellous pre- 
cision, and to me it is a constant source of won- 
der that it can fly so rapidly, turn and double 
so quickly, and dart in all possible directions 
without striking something. Almost any bird 
attempting to fly over the course of a Red Bat, 
and at the same speed, would probably come 
to grief in a very short time. 

The only mistake that Red Bats are prone 
to make is in flying into houses through open 
windows, and instantly forgetting the location of 
the means of escape. Once in a room, the bat 
flies slowly, and frequently is so bewildered by 
the sudden change from semi-darkness to light 
that it strikes a wall, and falls to the floor. Al- 
though many persons are nervous about bats, I 
have noticed that whenever one flies in, some 



kind-hearted and sensible person generally cries 
out, "Don't kill it!" 

While crossing the Atlantic quite recently, 
a British Long-Eared Bat was found on board 
the steamer, thirty miles from the nearest land, 
clinging to the rail, wet and weary. At that 
time there was no breeze from the land. 

When taken into the library, its wet fur soon 
dried, and it began to fly to and fro. In a short 
time the room was well filled with passengers, 
who watched the exhibition with great interest. 
When caught and held for close examination, 
it did not squeak shrilly and protest as the red 
bat usually does. After having served as a 
useful object lesson for a large number of young 
people, our strange visitor was brought safely to 
New York harbor, and liberated. 

The Gray Bat J is one of the largest and 
handsomest species inhabiting the northeastern 
United States and Canada. It is also found 
throughout the middle West from Ohio to Cali- 
fornia, and from Manitoba to New Mexico. This 
is a species well worth looking for. It has small 
ears, a head-and-body length of 3 inches, tail 2 
inches, and it is readily distinguished by its dark 
brown hair tipped with silvery white. 

The Big- Eared Bat a of the south Atlantic 
states has ears of incredible height and width 
for a creature so small. In comparison with 
the size of the wearer, these ears are the largest 
worn by any American mammal. They are 
one-half as long as the entire head and body, 
being 1\ inches in height and nearly 1 inch 
wide, while the head and body measure only 
2-j inches. 

THE FAMILY OF FALSE VAMPIRES. 

Megadermatidae. 

This Family is absent from America, but is 
mentioned here to fill what otherwise would be 
a gap. The members of one genus, Megaderina, 
are noted for their carnivorous habits. The 
most noteworthy species is well worthy of men- 
tion. 

The "False" Vampire Bat, of India and 
beyond, bears a name which is quite mislead- 
ing; for in its habits, this creature is far from 
being a "false" Vampire. It devours frogs, 
small fishes, bats smaller than itself, and even 

1 At-a-la'pha cin'e-re-a. 

2 Co-ry-norhi'nus ma-cro'tis. 



66 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— BATS 



small birds. It has very large ears, an elaborate 
nose-leaf, a head-ancl-body length of 3 inches 
and a wing expanse of 1(3 inches. 

THE FAMILY OF HORSESHOE BATS. 

Rhinolophidae. 

This Family contains thirty species of small 
bats, all of which are restricted to the Old World. 

THE FAMILY OF FRUIT-EATING BATS. 

Pteropodidac. 

The members of this Family are bats of very 
large size, with fox-like heads, dense and abun- 
dant pelage, large eyes, and free tails when tails 
are present. They are quite diurnal in their 
habits, and feed almost exclusively upon fruit. 
They inhabit India, Ceylon, the Malay Archi- 
pelago and eastern Australia, and are almost 
the only bats that find their way into captivity 
for exhibition purposes. They are very socia- 
ble in their habits, and live in colonies of from 
five to fifty individuals. 

The Flying "Fox." ' The largest of the bats 
which we occasionally see darting through the 
gloaming with irregular, jerky flight, are about 
as large as purple martens, — tiny creatures, 
weak, and quite incapable of offence. In the 
East Indies, however, and also Australia, there 
are bats of enormous size. These are known 
as Fruit Bats, or Flying "Foxes." Some of 
those shot by the author in Ceylon had wings 
which spread forty inches. 

On one occasion I found the top of a small 
tree, about fifty feet high, filled with these ani- 
mals. They hung head downward from the 
upper branches, in places so thickly as to crowd 
each other, — quarrelling, squealing shrilly, and 
climbing about. To see nearly a hundred bats 
of such huge size hanging in one tree-top, quite 
at home in the broad glare of a tropical after- 
noon sun, was a strange and impressive sight. I 
had been asked to procure and preserve for 
American museums six dozen specimens of that 
species, and when after long observation I finally 
fired into the bunch, the black and brown cloud 
of giant bats that rose in the air, and slowly 
1 Pter'o-pus ed'wards-i. 



flapped away, was one of the most grewsome 
sights I ever saw in animal life. Of all creatures 
that fly, none are so thoroughly uncanny when 
outlined against the sky as the big, black-winged, 
half-naked Flying "Fox." They suggest de- 
mons and calamities. 

The Flying " Fox " derives its name from the 
resemblance of its head to that of a very small 
fox. It feeds wholly upon fruit, and when it 
inhabits well-settled districts it is cordially dis- 
liked by every person who owns a fruit-tree. In 
some portions of Australia, these creatures have 
done great damage to fruit, and energetic meas- 
ures, such as the explosion of dynamite among 
them, have been resorted to for their destruc- 
tion. 

Some of the fruit-growers of California are so 
apprehensive of this creature, and so fearful 
that it might 'be "introduced," they have se- 
cured the passage of a law, by which the im- 
portation of the Flying "Fox" is prohibited 
so rigidly that not one specimen can be imported, 
even for exhibition in a zoological garden. As 
a matter of fact, this fear of the presence of the 
Flying " Fox " in the United States is quite as 
groundless as the old fear of being quill-shot by 
Canada porcupines. It certainly would be very 
difficult to introduce that species, and keep it 
from being exterminated, except possibly in 
some of our insular possessions. 

In the Flying 
"Fox" Family is 
found another re- 
markable variation 
in bat physiognomy, 
the Hammer-Head- 
ed Bat, 2 a species 
discovered in the 
land of the gorilla, 
by Du Chaillu. The 
head of the animal 
is of large propor- 
tions as compared 
with the body, and 
the muzzle is enormously enlarged. In general 
outline, the head in profile is much like the head 
of a moose. This is quite a large bat, its wing 
expanse being 28 inches. 

2 Ep-o-moph'o-rus. 




HAMMER-HEADED BAT. 
(After Joseph Wolf.) 




FRUIT-EATING BATS, OE FLYING " FOXES." 



CHAPTER VII 

THE ORDER OF GNAWING ANIMALS 

GLIRES, OR RODENTS 



The Order of Gnawing Animals contains a great many species, and to persons who have not 
studied it with some attention, it is a chaotic jumble of living creatures. This unsatisfactory con- 
dition is entirely unnecessary. A few hours' diligent study — under helpful conditions — will give 
any intelligent person a fair knowledge of the subdivisions of this Order, and an acquaintance 
with a sufficient number of examples so that each strange North American rodent met with can 
be referred to its proper Family. 

The first step is to learn the names of the Families, which are as follows: 



O ~ 

co J S 

MS'* 

H ra «« 
Htf 3 

o 



FAMILIES. 



Squirrel Family, sci-U'ri-dae, . . . 

Sewellel Family, ap-lo-dont'i-dae, 

Beaver Family, cas-tor'I-dae, . . 

Mouse and Rat Family, mur'I-dae 

Pouched Mouse and Rat Family, . . di-poi/i-dae, . . . 

Jumping Mouse Family, za-povi-dae, . . . 

Pocket Gopher Family, ge-o-my'I-dae, . . 

Porcupine Family, e-reth-i-zont-i-dae, 

Pika, or " Chief Hare " Family, . . . o-cho-ton'i-dae. 

Hare and Rabbit Family, LE-POR'I-DAE, . . . 



APPROXIMATE NUMBER 
OF FULL SPECIES. 

about 72 Species. 

... 4 

... 1 " 

... 171 

... 42 

... 10 " 

... 33 " 

... 2 " 

... 6 " 

... 30 " 



THE SQUIRREL FAMILY. 

In order to avoid recognizing a large number 
of Families for animals that are closely related, 
zoologists have agreed that the Squirrel Family 
shall contain the marmots, and a number of 
other animals that are closely related to squir- 
rels. To make this point clear, observe this 
diagram : 



( Tree Squirrels, Sciurus. 

< Rock Squirrels, Tamias, etc. 

i Ground Squirrels, Citellus. 

{ Prairie-" Dogs," Cynomys. 
} Woodchucks, . Marmota. 



£ ^. 


/ True 


s> S 


i Squirrels 


tf-3'C 




Km d 

MB H 


i Marmots, 


Offc a 




«J o 





Flying Squirrels, 



Sciuropterus. 



All these creatures appeal strongly to persons 
who live in the country, or visit city parks. Go 
anywhere in the temperate zone, and you will 
find some of them, ready to greet you, and 



371' 
make friends with you if you choose. You 
have but to use your eyes, and you will see them. 
In the East you have the gray squirrel and 
chipmunk; in the Mississippi Valley the fox 
squirrel; on the Great Plains, the ground-squir- 
rels and prairie-" dogs " ; in the West the Douglas 
squirrel, and a bewildering array of chipmunks 
and ground squirrels. He who fails to learn 
their names, and make friends with them, loses 
much pleasure. 

The members of the Squirrel Family are so 
widely distributed, and have grown so accus- 
tomed to man and his ways, that there are few 
persons who have not seen at least two or three 
wild species in their haunts. Their lives are full 
of incident and interest, and to the young nat- 
uralist, animal artist or sculptor, they are usually 
the most available of all wild animal subjects. 

A very attractive book might be written 



1 The subspecies recorded number about 260 ! 



THE GROUPS OF SQUIRRELS 



G9 



about the many beautiful and interesting spe- 
cies of squirrels that are found throughout 
North America, the number of which is surpris- 
ingly great. The total number of species and 
subspecies described is as follows. 

In Mexico and Central America, species, 
about 25, subspecies, about 18, total 43; in the 
United States and Canada, species, about 60, 
subspecies, about 67. The total for North 
America is about 170 species and geographic 
races. Many of these, however, resemble each 
other so closely that their differences are too 
slight for our consideration; and there may be 
a number that are not entitled to stand as in- 
dependent forms. 

Nature has divided the many species of North 



graveyard. There is no other animal of equal 
size that can add so much of life and cheerful- 
ness to a hardwood forest or a meadow as a good 
healthy squirrel. Why is it that American men 
and boys kill them so eagerly? Surely the flesh 
of their little bodies is not needed as food. It 
has a taste so "gamey" and rank that to many 
persons it is decidedly unpalatable. Americans 
are the only white men on earth who eat squir- 
rels. An Englishman would as readily eat a 
rat! 

Possibly their flesh was necessary to the hardy 
but hungry pioneers of the early days; but to- 
day we have no excuse for shooting any squir- 
rels, save the quarrelsome red squirrel. Surely 
no true sportsman or right-minded boy can 




Photographed by E. R. Sanborn, N. Y. Zoological Park. 

GRAY SQUIRREL. 



American squirrels into three easily remem- 
bered groups, as follows: 

Tree Squirrels, which live in the tree-tops. 
Example : Eastern Gray Squirrel. 

Rock Squirrels, which live in rocks, fences 
and among the roots of large trees. Example : 
the Common Chipmunk. 

Ground Squirrels, of prairie countries, which 
burrow deeply in the earth. Example: the 
Striped Spermophile. 

In each of these three groups there are sev- 
eral important types which must be noticed. 

The Tree-Squirrel Group. 

A patch of timber or a wood lot without squir- 
rels always conveys an impression of lonesome 
solitude and something gone, — like a country 



find any real "sport" in "potting" squirrels 
out of the tree-tops. 

Take the common gray squirrel, for example. 
It is one of the most beautiful and graceful of 
our native mammals. It is perfectly harmless, 
and as soon as it learns that it is protected, it be- 
comes so tame as to be a delightful companion 
on the farm. Thousands of American farmers 
would fight, were it necessary, to save their 
squirrels from slaughter. Except the red squir- 
rel, all tree squirrels should be protected, both 
by public sentiment and by law. 

Excepting the chickarees, the squirrels which 
live in the tree-tops are considerably larger than 
those of other groups, and their tails are much 
longer. Their characteristic colors are gray, 
rusty-brown, yellow and black; and as a rule 



70 



OKDERS OF MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



they are devoid of spots or stripes. They are 
very strong and active climbers, and keen of eye 
and ear. 

The Gray Squirrel 1 is chosen as the lead- 
ing type because it represents an average size, 
the most frequent color, and is widely distributed. 
This is the most prominent squirrel of southern 
Canada, New England, and the eastern and 




SOUTHERN FOX SQUIRREL. 

southern states, southward to Florida. It 
ranges westward to Minnesota, Kansas and 
Texas. Above its color is clean iron-gray, which 
in southern specimens is mixed with dull yellow. 
The lower surface is white, varying to yellowish 
brown. Usually it nests in hollow trees, but 
when crowded for room builds an open nest of 
green leaves, or strippings of cedar bark made 
into a round ball. The young are usually five 
in number. 

1 Sci-u'rus car-o-li-nen'sis. 



The Gray Squirrel frequently consents to live 
in city parks, and becomes quite tame. It spends 
much of its time upon the ground, searching for 
nuts, roots, or anything which can be eaten. A 
very large specimen measures 9J + 8J inches. 
Northern specimens are larger, and have longer 
and finer fur than those of the southern states. 

The California Gray Squirrel - is the 
Pacific coast counterpart of the eastern gray 
squirrel, except that it is larger, and its colors 
are brighter. Its color above is bluish gray and 
black, and underneath it is pure white. It is 
the largest squirrel in the far West, its maxi- 
mum length being 12 + 10 inches. Its home 
extends from the state of Washington to south- 
ern California, and it is in every way a worthy 
product of that fertile and healthful region. 

The Fox Squirrels. — We have now reached 
two important species, to which the student 
must give close attention in order to avoid con- 
fusing them with each other, and with the gray 
squirrel. The southern species will be presented 
first, because it has two points by which it can 
be recognized at a glance. 

The Southern Fox Squirrel 3 is the only 
Squirrel in America which has a pure white nose 
and white ears. No matter how much the re- 
mainder of the animal may vary in color from 
the standard, in adult specimens the white nose 
and ears are constant. Typical specimens of this 
species are colored as follows: top of head, black; 
upper surface, blackish brown; lower surface, 
lighter brown ; tail, dark brown, margined with 
black. 

Variations occur, of every shade from the above 
to jet black all over the body, head and tail ; but 
the ears and nose still are white. 

This animal measures 13+12 inches. Its 
home is east of the Alleghanies from Virginia to 
Florida, and westward along the Gulf Coast to 
Louisiana. On the map its range looks like an 
arm bent around the range of the next species. 

The Northern Fox Squirrel, 4 or Cat 

Squirrel, is smaller than the southern species 

(12 +11 inches), but very much like it in color, 

save that its nose and ears never are white. The 

standard color is rusty brown, washed with 

black on the upper surface, and bright brown 

underneath. 

2 Sci-u'rus gris'e-us. 3 Sci-u'rus ni'ger, 

1 S. lu-do-vi-ci-an'us. 



T1IE TREE SQUIRRELS 






71 



Variations. — This squirrel is the most 
variable in color of all our species, and in 
fifty specimens it may be difficult, or even 
impossible, to find two exactly alike. 
Often it has a beautiful gray coat, and 
looks like a genuine gray squirrel with a 
brown back and head. Often it is dark 
gray above, and black on the legs and 
under surface, — a strange combination of 
colors, — and occasionally a pure white 
specimen is found. 

This species inhabits the Mississippi 
Valley from the Alleghanies to Arkansas, 
westt n L'owa, and northward to Michigan 
and New York. In captivity it seems 
to be more hardy in winter than the 
gray squirrel. In the New York Zoo- 
logical Park it blithely runs about in the 
snow when the latter takes pains to avoid 
it. Often the Northern Fox Squirrel will 
be out when none of the other occupants of the 
Rodents' cages are visible. It seems to me, 
however, that the Fox Squirrels are not as 
nimble on foot, or as active and daring in the 
tree-tops, as the gray squirrels. 

The Red Squirrel, or Chickaree, 1 repre- 
sents a large group of species containing the 
smaller of the tree squirrels. Its length is 7f 
+ 5J inches, w r eight 7^ ounces. What it lacks 
in size it makes up in courage and activity. In 
New York and New England, it often drives all the 
gray squirrels out of any grove which they have 
undertaken to inhabit as tenants in common. 
Many observers believe the habits of the Red 
Squirrel to be so bad that the species deserves 
to be exterminated; but to this we are not pre- 
pared to agree. The complete destruction of 
any species of mammal or bird is a doubtful 
experiment, and never should be entered upon 
without most careful investigation. 

In its normal colors, this little animal is readily 
recognized by its brown upper surface and outer 
surface of its legs, and its white under parts. It 
must be remembered, however, that it undergoes 
important seasonal changes in pelage, — from 
winter coat to summer coat, and the reverse, — 
and sometimes its standard colors are greatly 
changed. 

Its legs are long and thin in proportion to the 
size of its body, and its form is not as graceful 
1 Sci-u'rus Inid-son'i-cus, 




EASTERN RED SQUIRREL. 

as that of the gray or fox squirrels. It is readily 
recognized by its markings, and the fact that it 
is the smallest of our northern tree squirrels. 

Three species and fifteen subspecies of Red 
Squirrels are recognized, and their combined 
ranges cover about two-thirds of North America, 
from Alaska and Labrador to North Carolina 
and southern Arizona. 

In California and Oregon this group is repre- 
sented by the sprightly and interesting Douglas 
Squirrel, 2 showing a mixture of colors, — dark 
gray, yellowish, and black. This is the most 
familiar squirrel of the great coast forests, in 
which it uses the sides of the giant spruces and 
redwoods as play-grounds. In Colorado and 
Utah occurs the third full species, known as 
Fremont's Squirrel, 3 which is colored gray, 
yellowish brown and white, much mixed. 

Of the forty-three species and races of squir- 
rels inhabiting Mexico and Central America, the 
most conspicuous is the Red-Bellied Squirrel. 4 
Its upper surface is pale grizzled gray, and its 
under parts bright rusty red. It inhabits the 
forests of eastern Mexico, ascending the high 
mountains to an elevation of S,000 feet. 

The largest squirrel in the world is the great 
Malabar Squirrel 5 of southwestern India, 
which is yellowish brown above, reddish brown or 
black below, and measures, head and body, 17 

2 Sci-u'rus dovg'las-i. " S. fre-mont'i. 

4 S. ery-thro-gas'ter. '" Sci-u'rus mal-a-bar' i-eus . 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



inches, tail, 14J inches, and it weighs 4J 
pounds. 

The most beautiful squirrel in the world is 
Prevost's Squirrel 1 of the Malay Peninsula, a 
species about the size of a small gray squirrel. 
Its colors form a beautiful pattern of gray, 
brown, black, white and buff. 

Rock Squirrels, or Chipmunks. 

Next below the tree squirrels comes a large 
group of small squirrels which live on the ground, 




EASTERN CHIPMUNK. 

preferably amongst rocks, in which they find 
refuge from their enemies. In the absence of 
rocks, they live along fences, where any exist; 
but their favorite nesting-places are in hollow 
trees which can be entered directly from the 
ground. 

These little creatures are about one-third the 
size of large tree squirrels, and inasmuch as their 
small size renders them secure from the deadly 
attentions of man, they have become the most 
tame and confiding of all the wild mammals of 
civilization. They are graceful in form, beauti- 
ful in color-markings, and exceedingly pert and 
1 Sci-u'rus pre-vost'i. 



quick in their movements. When fully pro- 
tected, as they are in some public parks, they 
become so tame and confiding that they dart 
about on the walks in search of food, and often 
allow persons to pass within three feet of them. 

For convenience and clearness, we shall des- 
ignate all the chipmunks as Rock Squirrels, 
because of their well-known preference for rocks, 
whenever any are available. It is a mistake 
to call these animals "ground squirrels." That 
name does not properly apply to them, but 
belongs to the next group. 

The Eastern Chipmunk 2 is widely known, 
and will serve admirably as the key to the group. 
When you walk in the country, almost anywhere 
in the eastern states, this pretty little creature 
darts in front of you like a flash of brown light, 
and says, "Chip, chip, chip, chip!" most glee- 
fully. If you stop to observe him, he pauses 
and looks at you very intently, wide-eyed and 
with ears erect, and save for the quick heaving 
of his tiny sides, remains as motionless as a 
stuffed squirrel. 

To him, every fence is a fortress. Whether it 
be of stone or wood, the Chipmunk knows its 
best runs when danger threatens, and carries in 
his active little brain a complete check-list of 
burrows and hiding-places. When pursued by 
dog, boy or wild animal, he darts swiftly along 
the top or the lower rails of his stockade, until 
he reaches a satisfactory hiding-place, when a 
flash of brown fur shoots into it, and he is seen 
no more. 

When hard pressed, Chipmunks frequently 
climb tree-trunks up to the lower branches, but 
such situations are very dangerous for them, 
because they are so seriously exposed to attack. 
Next to the birds of prey, the weasel, mink and 
fox are their worst enemies. The weasel is the 
worst of all, because it follows them into the 
remotest recesses of their burrows, and kills every 
inhabitant without mercy. 

Although the Chipmunk burrows in the ground 
below the frost line, and has roomy cheek- 
pouches in which it carries astonishingly large 
quantities of grain and small nuts, it is more 
nearly related to the tree squirrels than to the 
true ground squirrels. In the autumn it stores 
in its burrow a quantity of grain or nuts, which- 
ever is most abundant, — a habit which has sug- 
2 Tam'i-as stri-a'tvs. 



ROCK SQUIRRELS, OR CHIPMUNKS 



73 



gested its generic name, Tamias, meaning a stew- 
ard. It does not become dormant, but on the 
warm, sunny days of winter, when the rocks are 
free from snow, it hastens above ground to enjoy 
the light and warmth. 

The length of an Eastern Chipmunk is 6J + 4^ 
inches. Its ground color is bright reddish brown 
above, light underneath, and along each side 
runs a conspicuous yellow-brown stripe between 
two black stripes. A black stripe runs from 
the head backward along the centre of the back, 
almost to the tail. The home of this animal 
extends from southern Canada and New York 
to Georgia and Louisiana, and westward to 
Iowa. 

There are eighteen full species of Chipmunks, 
several of which are very much alike, distributed 
throughout nearly the whole of the United States. 
The greater number are marked by two or more 
black lines extending along the side, frequently 
alternating with lines of a yellowish-gray color. 

It is impossible to mention even the majority 
of these species without risk of confusing the 
reader, but it is desirable to note a few important 
and strongly marked types inhabiting widely 
separated localities in the United States. 

The California Chipmunk 1 is a merry- 
hearted little elf, particularly pert and beauti- 
ful. Its high, sharp-pointed ears and harlequin 
stripes of white give it a very roguish and saucy 
look. To judge by the lively actions of this little 
creature, it seems to regard life as a long play- 
spell. There are many in the Zoological Park, 
and in some respects they are the most satisfac- 
tory of all our burrowing rodents. Only the 
severest weather drives them into their burrows, 
arid in the dead of winter, when a thick blanket 
of snow keeps all other animals of the Burrowing 
Rodents' Quarters snug under ground, the first 
hour of clear sunshine will see half a dozen of the 
California Chipmunks above ground, and sun- 
ning themselves on their logs. Having an abun- 
dance of room, they enjoy their life in the Park, 
and are much interested in visitors who notice 
them. 

This species could easily and safely be intro- 
duced in any region suitable for it. Its home 
is in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Moun- 
tains, California, but the limits of its range are 
yet to be defined. It is one of the smallest spe- 
1 Eu'tam-i-as spe-ci-o'sus. 



cies of its genus, its total length being 6 + 3 
inches. 

The Antelope Squirrel 3 is readily recognized 
by the broad and conspicuous band of white, 
which extends along the middle of the side, and 
its pale buff color. It has the pale colors of a 




Photo, by E. D. Warren, 
say's SPERMOPHILE. 
(C allospermophihts 
lateralis.) 



WESTERN CHIPMUNK. 

(Eutamias quadrivit- 

tatus.) 



desert animal. It is found in the desert regions 
of the southwest from western Texas to southern 
California, and northward to Nevada and Utah. 
It is larger than the eastern species, and is 
strikingly different in appearance from all other 
chipmunks. 

Ground Squirrels. 

We have now reached a large group of bur- 
rowing squirrels which to the farmers west of 
the Mississippi are of very serious importance, 
on account of the grain they destroy. All these 
animals may be known under the name of Sper'- 
mo-philes. The word Spermophile means " seed- 
lover"; and as this very appropriate general 
term implies, the animals which bear it feed 
chiefly upon seeds or grain. 

No ground squirrel, or spermophile, ever 
should be called a "gopher," as is frequently 
done in the Dakotas and Minnesota. The latter 
name should be reserved for the clumsy, bur- 
rowing pocket gophers, of the genera Geomys 
and Thomomys. 

Ground squirrels live by preference on prairies, 
2 Am-mo-sper-moph'i-lus leu-cu'rus. 



74 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



and burrow deeply in the ground. They seldom 
frequent rooks, and seldom climb trees. They 
are essentially dwellers in open country, where 
they can range freely, and behold a goodly por- 
tion of the world about them. Even fields of 
standing grain are distasteful to them, and they 
move to the open country around their borders. 

Of spermophiles north of Mexico there are 
thirty-one full species and forty-two subspecies, 
or races. Going westward, they are first found in 
western Indiana and Michigan, from which they 
spread northwest and southwest throughout the 
whole western half of the United States, save 
the timbered areas. They also range into Mex- 
ico, Canada, and Alaska. They are at home on 
the rich, rolling prairies of the Dakotas, the level, 
floor-like plains of Nebraska, the alkali flats of 
Utah, the hot deserts of Arizona, and the dry 
valleys and mountain regions of California. 
They seem to be most numerous in California 
and the Dakotas, where they do much damage 
to crops. 

All the ground squirrels have cheek-pouches, 
dig deep burrows (unless the earth is too rocky), 
store quantities of grain in the autumn for win- 
ter food, and in cold latitudes live all winter in 
their burrows. If forced to do so, they will 
live amongst rocks, and it is surprising to note 
how they can live in situations both high and 
low, dry and wet. Their favorite food is grain, 
seeds of every description, green grass, and hay, 
and their worst habit is digging up seed grain. 

Some species eat quantities of destructive 
insects, such as grasshoppers, beetles, cut- worms, 
and crickets, and in this way partly compensate 
the farmer for the grain they devour. In fact, 
from all observations made thus far it seems that 
in the insect season, insects form a considerable 
proportion of the daily food supply of these in- 
dustrious little animals. Not only do they eat 
all kinds of ground insects, but they also devour 
mice, and almost any other flesh that comes 
within their reach, particularly dry meat ad- 
hering to the bones of large animals which have 
died near their holes. 

Ground squirrels are prolific, and bring forth 
from seven to ten young in each litter. Their 
enemies are coyotes, foxes, badgers, skunks, 
hawks and owls. 

The spermophiles of North America arc so 
wide-spread, so numerous and so important it 



is necessary that two or three of the leading 
species should be specially noticed. 

The Thirteen-Lined, or Leopard Sper- 
mophile, 1 is the most familiar and widely dis- 
tributed species, and although one of the 
smallest, it is also the most strangely marked. 
Nature was in a sportive mood when she marked 
the back and sides of this little creature with 
seven broad stripes of dark brown, then laid 
between them six narrow stripes of pale yellow, 
and finally marked each of the seven brown 
stripes with a row of large, pale yellow spots. 
The yellow spots on the brown lines are the first 
feature of the color scheme to catch the eye, and 
they distinguish this animal almost as far as 
it can be seen. Its under parts are pale yellow, 
and its size is 6£ + 3A inches. 

Do not call this animal the "Striped" Sper- 
mophile, because that name would apply to sev- 
eral other species, and be worthless ; and do not 
call it the "Striped Gopher," because it is not a 
"gopher" 0/ any kind. 

The Thirteen-Lined Spermophile inhabits 




TH1KTEEN-LINED SPERMOPHILE. 

about one-third of the United States, extending 
from Fort Wayne, Indiana, southwestward to 
Fort Worth, Texas, and northwestward to the 
plains of the Saskatchewan. Its western limit 
is the Rocky Mountains, but nowhere does it 
live in timbered regions, being strictly a prairie 
animal. 

Its burrow is a hole about two inches in diame- 
ter, which descends quite steeply into the earth 
until it [lasses below the frost line (two to three 
feet), after which it runs off in a more or less 
horizontal course for ten or fifteen feet farther. 
If the burrow is an old one, and much used, it 
is a long and difficult task to dig to the end of it, 
and few boys undertake it more than once. 
1 Ci-tel'lus tri-de'cem-lin-c-a'tus. 



THE GROUND SQUIRRELS 



75 



As in the case of nearly all burrowing rodents of 
cold latitudes, nature has so adjusted the life of 
this animal that it survives the long and dreary 
winter in the strange, half-dead condition called 
hibernation. To make this possible, the young 
are born early in the year, and mature early, and 
during summer and autumn, take on a great 
quantity of fat. At the approach of winter, it 
curls up in its burrow for a sleep of from three 
to four months' duration. 

By the investigations of Dr. P. R. Hoy, it has 
been discovered that in the case of the Thirteen- 
Lined Spermophile, the action of the heart is 
reduced from two hundred to only four feeble 
beats per minute, the temperature is reduced 
from 105° to 58°, and there is no visible breathing. 
The circulation of the blood was so feeble that 
when a limb was amputated, only a few drops of 
blood slowly oozed from the wound, while the 
nerves showed no sensitiveness. In fact, the 
animal was in a condition of suspended anima- 
tion, as if under the influence of chloroform. In 
the northern portions of its range, this sper- 
mophile hibernates from about November 20 
to April ] . 

Franklin's Spermophile 1 looks very much 
like a slender-bodied, short-tailed tree-squirrel; 
and very often it is called the Gray Ground Squir- 
rel. It should not, however, be called the "Gray 
Gopher," or "Scrub Gopher," for both these names 
are erroneous. It is best to call each animal 
by a name peculiarly its own, even though the 
beginning of correct naming involves a little 
trouble. 

On an open prairie, especially in spring when 
the young grass is short, this spermophile is a 
conspicuous animal, and strongly resembles the 
gray squirrel of the East. Its upper surface is 
of a yellowish-gray color marked with fine, wavy, 
cross- wise lines of black or brown. Its under 
surface is distinctly gray, and its hair is coarse 
and stiff. In size it is about 9 + 5 inches. Its 
home is the central portion of the range of the 
Thirteen-Lined Spermophile. The western limit 
follows the eastern boundary of the arid plains 
northward from southeastern Kansas to the 
Saskatchewan, Alberta, and from thence south- 
eastward to southern Wisconsin, eastern Illinois 
and northern Missouri. 

Whenever numerous in farming regions, this 
1 C'i-tel'lus frank'linri. 



animal is very troublesome, not only in destroying 
grain in the ground and in the stack, but also in 
destroying young chickens. They are very vent- 
uresome in locating permanently near farm- 
houses and barns, and sometimes they are very 
destructive in gardens. As an offset to the valu- 
able farm products destroyed by these creatures, 
Franklin's Spermophile destroys great numbers 
of noxious insects, such as grasshoppers, cater- 
pillars, beetles, and also field mice. In the 




RICHARDSON S SPERMOPHILE. 

United States Department of Agriculture, twenty- 
nine stomachs were examined with the following 
result: animal matter present, 30.3 per cent.; 
vegetable, 68.5 per cent., and undetermined, 1.2 
per cent. Out of the whole twenty-nine stomachs 
examined, twenty-six contained the remains of 
insects! Thus the grain consumed by this ani- 
mal is at least partially paid for by the destruc- 
tion of insects that prey upon crops; but farmers 
everywhere are diligent in destroying it with 
poisoned wheat placed in its burrow. 

Richardson's Spermophile,' of northern 
Montana, North Dakota and the region immedi- 
ately northward as far as the Saskatchewan, has 
a short body, short legs, and a short tail, and 
looks very much like a thin prairie-" dog." In 
color it is like the preceding species, except 
that its tail is darker; but in size it is a trifle 
smaller (9 + 3 inches). Its habits are practically 
identical with those of Franklin's Spermophile, 
but if there is any difference, it is more destruc- 
tive to grain than is the latter, and consumes less 
insect food. It is fortunate that this species 
inhabits so small an area of the wheat country 
of the Northwest. 

2 Ci-lel'lus rich' 'ard-son-i . 



76 



ORDERS OP MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



Marmots. 

The group of marmots consists of burrowing 
rodents which in structure are quite squirrel- 
like, but are distinguished by their large size 
and general heaviness of body. As befits their 
portliness of form, they are not active and lively, 
like squirrels, but live quietly and unobtrusively. 
By reason of the good sense they manifest in 
keeping out of mischief, some of them are tol- 
erated in farming communities when more ag- 
gressive rodents would be exterminated. 

The woodchuck is our most perfect type of 
Marmot, from which the prairie-" dog," or 
prairie marmot is slightly removed by the pos- 
session of a large and perfect fifth claw. It 
is desirable, however, that the latter should be 
included in the group of marmots. 

The Prairie-"Dogs." 

The Prairie-" Dog" 1 is a plump and sociable 
little Rodent, not a Carnivore, — well known to 
every dweller in the plains region of the great 




PRAIRIE- DOGS. 



West, and to every trans-continental traveller. 
His explosive, yapping cry is the most cheerful 
sound of the western plains. He hates solitude, 
and always lives in colonies of from 40 to 1,000 
individuals. Unlike most other burrowing Ro- 
dents, the darkness and silence of a burrow easily 
pall upon his vivacious nature ; therefore he 
spends the greater portion of his waking hours 
above ground, visiting his neighbors, and observ- 
ing what goes on in his small world. 

1 Cy-no'mys lu-do-vi-ci-an' us . 



When no enemies are in sight, he and his fellow- 
townsmen roam about for short distances from 
their homes, and feed upon grass blades and 
stems. At the approach of an enemy, — man, 
coyote, badger, fox, gray wolf, eagle or hawk, — 
the sentry cries out sharply, "Skip! Skip! Skip!" 

Instantly every "Dog" halts, motionless and 
alert. If the sentry again cries "Skip!" each 
"Dog" scurries to his hole, and poises himself 
over its wide mouth, in readiness for a dive to 
subterranean safety. If the danger approaches 
quite near, the alarm cry resounds shrilly from 
all sides, stubby tails jerk nervously as if worked 
by wires, and down goes every Prairie-" Dog." 

Just how far down the burrows go, it is diffi- 
cult to say, for they probably vary greatly in 
depth. The mouth of a burrow is a miniature 
model of a volcano, — a conical mound of bare 
earth, a foot high and three or four feet in di- 
ameter, with a four-inch crater in the centre, 
going down at a slight angle. The crater pre- 
vents water from running into the burrow. 

In making a crater the " Dogs " press the earth 
into shape on the inside with their noses. Once 
when an inmate of the Prairie-" Dog " Village in 
the New York Zoological Park incurred the 
hostility of four of his mates, they drove him into 
his burrow, filled up the mouth of it with moist 
earth, and with their noses tamped it down quite 
hard, the prisoner scolding vigorously mean- 
while. 

Prairie-" Dogs " are easily introduced into al- 
most any open country where the ground is 
dry, but they are very difficult to exterminate. 
Under fair conditions they breed readily in cap- 
tivity, and usually produce four young at a 
birth. In 1899, a free colony was established 
in the New York Zoological Park in the Antelope 
Range, where it existed for two years, and its 
saucy members attracted far more attention 
than those confined in the fenced village. Know- 
ing that guns and dogs are not allowed in the 
Park, they often permitted visitors to pass with- 
in six feet of them. But it proved impos- 
sible to keep those industrious diggers from 
spreading far beyond the limits fixed for them, 
and seriously damaging walks and lawns, so 
they were finally caught by placing sand in boxes 
over their burrows, and transferred to the village 
whose walls of solid masonry go down to bed 
rock. 



THE PRAIRIE-" DOG" 



7? 



Some plainsmen claim that these interesting 
little creatures are able to locate their towns 
away from streams because they burrow down 
until they strike water, but Dr. Merriam points 
out the fact that in some regions they live where 
the nearest veins of artesian- well water are 1,000 
feet below the surface. As a matter of fact 
they can live without drinking. 

The Prairie-" Dog " is at home — where not 
exterminated by poisoned wheat put into his 
burrow — from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona 
northward to the Canadian boundary, and on 
the western slope of the Rocky Mountains in 
Utah and Colorado. It is most abundant in 
Montana, Wyoming and western Kansas. One 
of the largest Prairie-" Dog " towns yet re- 
ported begins in Trego County, Kansas, five 
miles west of the one-hundredth meridian, and 
extends along the divide north of the Smoky 
Hill River, practically without a break, to Colo- 
rado, a total distance of about one hundred 
miles. This town varies in width from half a 
mile to five miles, and on the top of the divide 
the nearest water is believed to be 350 feet below 
the surface. (Arthur B. Baker.) 

It is now (1903) reported that because of the 
wholesale destruction of wolves and foxes, the 
enormous increase of Prairie-" Dogs" in Kansas, 
Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado has become a 
genuine scourge to farmers and cattlemen. The 
number of "Dogs" in that region is now esti- 
mated at several millions, and a general cam- 
paign against them has been begun. The meth- 
od employed for their destruction is a spoonful 
of poisoned wheat placed in the mouth of each 
burrow. Beyond doubt, this will soon reduce 
their numbers to reasonable limits. 

When he is not too numerous, I am the friend 
of the Prairie-" Dog. " He is as bright and cheer- 
ful as the day is long, and he enlivens many a 
dreary landscape, but at the same time he often 
changes fine, grass-covered cattle ranges into 
dreary wastes, and causes great losses to cat- 
tle owners. I hope, however, that he will be 
tolerated at least to the extent that systematic 
destruction will stop short of extermination. 

It is not true that the Prairie-" Dog " lives in 
peace and harmony in the same burrow with the 
rattlesnake and burrowing owl. The snakes 
would make short work of the young Prairie- 
" Dogs," and the latter would quickly kill the 



owl! It is safe to surmise that when a deadly 
and quarrelsome rattler invades the home of a 
Prairie-" Dog " family, the latter speedily seeks 
a home elsewhere. The burrowing owl is in the 
habit of taking refuge in abandoned burrows, 
and nesting in them, to save the labor of dig- 
ging a burrow for itself. In the Philadelphia 
Zoological Garden Mr. A. E. Brown once tried 
the experiment of associating burrowing owls 
and Prairie-" Dogs." The owls were immedi- 
ately killed and torn to pieces by the "Dogs." 

A Prairie-" Dog " Burrow. 

At last a Prairie-" Dog" burrow has been 
completely exposed by digging, and reported 
upon in full in one of the publications of 
the Biological Survey. In the "Yearbook of 
the Department of Agriculture" for 1901, Dr. 
C. Hart Merriam publishes a valuable paper on 
"The Prairie-Dog of the Great Plains," 
which contains the following illustrated descrip- 
tion: 

"The holes go down for some distance at a 
very steep angle and then turn at nearly a right 
angle and continue horizontally, rising some- 
what toward the end. The nests are in side 
chambers connecting with the horizontal part 
of the burrow, and usually, if not always, at a 
somewhat higher level. (See H in figure.) 
Recently, at Alma, Nebraska, W. H. Osgood 
dug out a burrow, of which he made a careful 
diagram, accompanied by measurements. 

"In this case the burrow went down nearly 
vertically to a depth of 14J feet below the surface, 
when it turned abruptly and became horizontal 
as shown in the diagram. The horizontal part 
was 13J feet in length. One-third of the hori- 
zontal part (the terminal 4 feet, F) and two old 
nests and passageways (E) were plugged with 
black earth brought in from the surface layer, 
which was very different from the light-colored 
clayey earth in which the greater part of the 
burrow lay. 

"Four or five feet below the entrance was a 
diverticulum, or short side passage (G), probably 
used as a place in which to turn around when 
the animals come back to take a look at the in- 
truder before finally disappearing in the bot- 
toms of their burrows. It is also used, appar- 
ently, as a resting-place where they bark and 
scold after retreating from the mouths of the 



78 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



burrows. As elsewhere noted, they are often 
heard barking after they have gone in. 

"The burrow was opened the day after bi- 
sulphide of carbon had been used for destroying 
the animals, and the material carrying the bi- 
sulphide was found at the bottom of the vertical 



serve to hold its numbers in check. The most in- 
veterate of these appear to be the coyote, badger, 
black-footed ferret and rattlesnake." 

The Woodchuck, or Gi'ound-"Hog,"' is tol- 
erated on the farms of New England because he 
is wise enough to live on clover and other grass, 




h. Mound 

B. Funnel -jha/uxi entrance -to burrow 

C. Main nassaqc4-'i inch ut'dianieter 
_ abend 15 fed- in Itngtfa ... ., 
V. Jfonzi)n(alitasictcfe9% fattn uncftk.. 

E.Uuased nests fdCedu/Mearl/urefiue. 

F. Unused n-arl of/u>montal/ia.!saqe 

/Med with, earth etc ( 4- feet b>"<j) 
$>.Nlc/iela.ratttioucjhfQroncpmineelo<j 

\\.tfeitofqraJS(llinA:hlndcumcter6i/D in- 
ches inhticjltt) 

*}. Absorbent matter carrying bisuliikid* 
cf carbon. 

K.Fcsilinl of Rain edoas as found after 
use ofbisidjifuae c/xarbon 

Ljkfit/t of ' lioMoiUal passaxji. /fleet 

7 electees 



PRAIRIE- DOG BURROW. 
From Dr. C. Hart Merriam, "Yearbook," Department of Agriculture, for 1901. 



part, just where the horizontal part turns off. 
Two dead animals were found, one in the hori- 
zontal part, the other in the nest, as indicated 
by the letter K in the diagram. 

"The Prairie-Dog has several natural enemies 
which, when not interfered with by man, usually 



and let the vegetable gardens alone. In the East 
he is the only representative of the marmots. 
In form he is short and stout, and his flat head 
and beady, black eyes give him a surly look. He 
is not lively and cheerful in his habits, like a 
1 Mar-mo'ta mo'nax. 



THE WOODCHUCK 



79 



prairie-" dog, " and it is seldom that anyone 
speaks well of him. His favorite home is a 
burrow in a gravelly hillside in a "swamp lot," 
•or woods pasture, and while he likes to come out 
and bask in the warm sunshine, he never ventures 
far from his front door. 

In the autumn, instead of storing up vegeta- 
bles for winter, he takes on a quantity of fat, 
under his skin. Early in November he blithely 
goes to sleep in his burrow, and does not waken 



York to Georgia, and westward to Kansas and 
South Dakota. 

A much larger species called the Gray Mar- 
mot, 1 or Whistler (22 + 7 inches), is an im- 
portant northwestern form, strongly marked by 
its light, grizzly-gray color, with certain dark 
markings. It is found from the Columbia River 
northward to about 63° North Latitude and 
eastward to Hudson Bay. It derives one of its 
names from the fact that its alarm cry consists of 




WOODCHUCK. 



until February 2, — "Ground-Hog day." Then, 
— so runs the popular legend, — he emerges, and 
looks about him. If he sees his shadow, he again 
retires to his burrow, and sleeps six weeks longer, 
— which betokens a cold, wintry spring. 

The eastern Woodchuck is a typical marmot, 
short-legged, heavy-bodied, flat-headed, and 
brownish gray in color. The length of its head 
and body is 14 inches, and of its tail 5 inches. It 
inhabits the eastern United States from New 



a shrill whistle, which is repeated by the various 
members of the colony threatened with danger. 
The Yellow-Bellied Marmot, 2 easily distin- 
guished by the bright red hair on its under parts, 
is a southern species, found in California, Arizona, 
New Mexico and Texas. High up, on the Olym- 
pic Mountains of western Washington, is found 
still another species of marmot, as large as the 

1 Mar-mo'ta pru-in-o'sus. 

2 Mar-mo'ta fiav'i-ven-ter. 

Laboratory of Ornithology 
259 Sapsucker Woods Road 
Cornell University 
tlhaca, New York 14850 



80 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



Whistler, which is yellowish in summer, and 
bluish-gray in winter. This is called the Olym- 
pic Marmot. 

Flying Squirrels. 
The Flying Squirrel ' is a very beautiful 
little creature, but its strictly nocturnal habits, 
and strong dislike to daylight, almost rob us of 
its acquaintance. This is to be regretted, be- 
cause it is the only native tree-dwelling quad- 




THE FLYING SQUIRREL. 

ruped which has been provided by Nature with 
a parachute, consisting of a thin fold of skin 
stretched between the fore and hind legs, to 
partly sustain the animal in a long downward 
flight. Neither the Flying Squirrel, nor the 
flying lemur of the East Indies, can actually 
fly; but they leap from a tree-top, go sailing 
gently downward and outward, and when near 
the ground curve upward and are carried by 
their momentum on an ascending plane to the 
side of an adjoining tree. Anything like hori- 
zontal flight is quite out of the question. 
1 Sci-u-rop' te-rus vo'lans. 



The Flying Squirrel is one of the most exqui- 
site little mammals in North America. Its legs 
are very delicately formed; its fur is as fine and 
soft as silk ; and when at rest the edge of its fly- 
ing membrane looks like the edge of a lace ruffle. 
The head and body (of the eastern species) is 
about 5 inches long, and the tail 4 inches. These 
little creatures are quite sociable, and nest in 
hollow trees, where from five to seven young are 
born. They come out to play about sunset, and 
are as sportive as schoolboys playing tag. In cap- 
tivity they are quite worthless for exhibition, for 
in the daytime there is nothing to be seen save 
a small and wholly uninteresting ball of fur. 

Three species (and nine subspecies) have been 
described, and their range covers the eastern 
United States from Canada to Florida 1 , and 
westward to Louisiana. On the Pacific Coast, 
they are found from southern California to 
Alaska, even to the Mackenzie River basin, but 
they are not found in the desert regions. 

THE SEWELLEL FAMILY. 

Aplodontidae. 
The Sewellel, 2 Mountain " Beaver," or 
Showt'l of the Indians is a strange and little 
known animal of the Northwest, with which at 
least every person in that region should be ac- 
quainted. It is reddish-brown in upper color 
(sometimes grayish-brown), and looks like a 
tailless woodchuck. It feeds like a beaver, fights 
fiercely when cornered, is sociable in habit like 
the prairie-" dog," can climb bushes four feet 
high, and can burrow and live comfortably either 
in ground that is low and boggy, or high and dry. 
Usually it prefers wet ground! A large speci- 
men weighs 4 pounds, measures about 13 inches 
in length of head and body, and tail a little 
more than one inch. Strange to say, this once 
rare animal has recently been discovered inhabit- 
ing the grounds of the University of Washing- 
ton, at Seattle. 

THE BEAVER FAMILY. 

Castoridae. 

The Beaver 3 easily leads the mammals of 
the world in mechanical and engineering skill, 
and also in habits of industry. Being chiefly 
nocturnal in its habits, it sleeps by day, and 
after nightfall carries on its work unmolested. 

2 Ap-lo-don'ti-a ru'/a. 9 Cas'tor can-a-den'ris. 




e- 1 



c3 

o 



w -a g 

K O 
P * § 

M 

K js a 

§ 3-8 



00 3 o 

IK -5 = 



- 0> 

! -0-= 



"2 

3 



o3 

-3 



82 



ORDERS OP MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



It is seldom that anyone sees a live Beaver in its 
haunts during the middle of the day, but it is 
possible to do so during the hour before sunset. 
In public zoological gardens and parks, the per- 
sistence and success of this animal in avoiding 
observation is very disappointing to visitors, 
and exasperating to directors and keepers. 

This is the largest gnawing animal in North 
America. A huge specimen caught in Maine, 
in 1900, weighed a trifle over 50 pounds. A 
large one in the New York Zoological Park is 31 
inches long, has a tail 12 inches long and weighs 
44 pounds. 

The American Beaver is still found in a few 
localities, — but in very small numbers, — from 
the Rio Grande in Texas throughout the Rocky 
Mountains, Sierra Nevada and Cascade Moun- 
tain regions northward to the limit of trees, and 
southeastward through Canada to northern New 
England. The number now remaining in Col- 
orado has been estimated at one thousand. 

The Beaver's efforts are directed toward its 
own preservation and comfort. It builds ex- 
tensive dams of mud, grass and sticks, in order 
to create ponds in which it can hide from its 
enemies, maintain a safe refuge close by the wood 
on which it feeds, and have an under-water door- 
way to its house or burrow. More than this, 
the pond serves as a refrigerator, in the bottom 
of which the animal stores its supplies of food- 
wood for winter use, when the surface is frozen 
for a long period. 

Sometimes when food-wood on a beaver pond 
becomes scarce, the animals dig canals into 
places where fresh supplies can be cut, and 
floated down to the pond. These canals are 
usually about two feet wide. 

A Beaver is readily recognized by its very flat, 
hairless and scaly tail, which beyond the hair 
of the body is about 9 inches long by 4 inches 
wide. The tail is never used as a trowel in building 
clams, but only as a propeller in swimming. 

Dam-building is done in two ways. With 
his front feet the animal digs up soft mud, holds 
the mass with his fore legs against his breast, 
and swims with it to the dam. There he deposits 
it where it is most needed, and pats it down with 
his front feet. To strengthen the structure, he 
brings sticks four or five feet long, and one or 
two inches in diameter, from which he has eaten 
the bark. These he usually lays upon the dam, 



crosswise or nearly so, and fills between them 
with mud. 

When Beavers have to build a dam exceed- 
ing fifty feet in length, to flood low ground, they 
usually lay it out with a curve up-stream. The 
dam built by the Beavers in the New York Zoo- 
logical Park is about forty feet long, and three 
feet high, and quite sharply curved up-stream. 

In most localities inhabited by Beavers, the 
banks of the streams are so low that the animals 
cannot burrow into them, and consequently 
they build houses for themselves. The ordinary 
Beaver house is a huge pile of neatly trimmed 
six-foot poles, with all spaces between the sticks 
plastered full of mud. The one in the Zoological 
Park is about fifteen feet in diameter, and five 
feet high, with a central chamber above high- 
water-mark, and its only entrance is well under 
water. If a beaver house is attacked, the occu- 
pants immediately seek refuge in deep water. 




SKULL OF BEAVER, A TYPICAL RODENT. 

The trees which furnish bark most prized by 
the Beaver as food are the poplar, cottonwood, 
willow, birch, elm, box-elder and aspen. The 
bark of the oak, hickory, or ash is not eaten. 

The Beaver's front teeth (incisors) are very- 
strong and sharp, and the muscles of the jaw are 
massive and powerful. It is no uncommon thing 
for a Beaver to fell a tree a foot in diameter in 
order to get at its branches. It is said by some 
observers that large trees are made to fall as 
the Beavers prefer to have them, — toward their 
pond. In felling a tree, they first remove the 
bark from a circle a foot in width, just above 



WILD MICE AND RATS 



83 



the spur roots, standing on their hind legs while 
they work. Then, with their huge, chisel-like 
incisors they cut out chips, circling round the 
trunk all the while, until only the heart of the 
trunk remains, and the tree falls. 

THE FAMILY OF MICE AND RATS. 

Muridae. 

When their groups and relationships are fairly 
understood, the wild mice and rats will be found 
quite interesting. They are so widely distrib- 
uted it is very desirable that country-dwellers 
should know something about them, and ap- 
preciate their good points as well as their bad 
ones. A moderate effort, properly aided and 
encouraged, will give anyone a fair conception 
of the grand divisions of this great group ; and 
there the general student can stop, if he so elects. 

In approaching this assemblage of North 
American mammals, the first thought is that its 
members are difficult to deal with. In some 
respects they are, but they are by no means as 
difficult as might be supposed. Like many other 
new subjects, they yield to a little old-fashioned 
study. It is not necessary for the general student 
to enter into the study of a large number of spe- 
cies. Lay the foundation first by becoming ac- 
quainted with each genus, and one typical species. 
Observe the following injunctions: 

1. Treat this bit of study with serious atten- 
tion. 

2. Learn first the names of the Families, and 
the approximate size of each Family. 

3. Next learn by rote, in regular order, the 
common names of the typical examples given. 

4. Learn some of the distinguishing characters 
of each example. 

5. Study the comparative sizes of the various 
types. 

6. Finally, in determining the name of a 
strange species, do not feel that you must name it 
instantly, or be disgraced! Take time to think 
over it, and to "look it up." Snap judgments 
on small creatures have a most annoying habit 
of proving to be wrong. It is a wise judge who 
knows when to hand clown a decision. 

In order to make the genera of North American 
rats and mice clear to the student, I have pro- 
cured from Dr. C. Hart Merriam, the highest 



living authority on these creatures, a fine, per- 
fect, adult specimen of the best known (or most 
typical) species of each genus. Figures of these 
skins are here reproduced to show their relative 
sizes, and a life-like illustration of each of these 
types is also given. In the text, the most strik- 
ing distinguishing characters are printed in italics. 

With these aids to the text, it should be possi- 
ble for a clear-headed, keen-eyed student to refer 
any adult North American rat or mouse to its 
proper genus. But beware of young specimens! 
Often they are so puzzling that Solomon himself 
ould not place them with any degree of certainty. 
In determining the species of mice and rats, 
mammalogists depend largely upon the charac- 
ters of the teeth; but that is a subject too intri- 
cate for the general student. 

The table on page 84 shows the various Fam- 
ilies of rats and mice, the North American gen- 
era, and the typical species of each. It is not 
necessary for young students to memorize the 
Latin names of the genera and species; but those 
who become specially interested in natural his- 
tory will very soon desire to know them. 

The Muskrat, 1 which received its name from 
its very pronounced musky odor, is the largest 
native representative of the Mouse and Rat 
Family. It is readily recognized by its flat, 
hairless tail, carried on its edge. It is of large 
size, measuring about 21 inches in length. It is 
of aggressive habit, an admirable diver and 
swimmer, an industrious and intelligent house- 
builder, and the only native rat whose fur is val- 
uable. It is found from Labrador and New- 
foundland to Alaska, and southward to Arizona 
and Louisiana. 

It is very shrewd in preserving its own life, 
and even in the large forest parks of New York 
City, it refuses to be exterminated. When three 
bogs in the New York Zoological Park were dug 
out and converted into ponds, the wild Muskrats 
in the Bronx River found them as soon as they 
were completed, immediately took possession 
of them, and there they still remain. Being very 
destructive to lily bulbs, and most other aquatic 
plants, their presence in ornamental ponds is 
very objectionable. 

Muskrats are rarely, if ever, found away from 
ponds or good-sized streams. They are quite as 
much at home in the water as beavers, and their 
1 Fiber zibethicus. 



84 



ORDERS OP MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



TYPICAL NORTH AMERICAN MICE AND RATS (north of Mexico). 



COMMON NAME OF 
GENUS. 



SCIENTIFIC NAME. 



APPROXIMATE 
NUMBER OF 



MOUSE 
AND RAT 
FAMILY. 

(Mu'ri-dae.) 



THE CHEEK- 
POUCHED 
FAMILY OF 
MICE AND 

RATS. 

(Het-e-ro-my'i- 

dae.) 

JUMPING 

MOUSE 

FAMILY. 

(Za-pod'i-dae.) 



Muskrat, .... 
Lemming, . . . 
Lemming Mouse, . 
Field Mouse, . . 

I Red-Backed Mouse, 

Vole, 

Wood Rat, . . . 
I Harvest Mouse, 
I Rice-Field Mouse, 
Cotton Rat, . . . 
White-Footed Mouse 
Grasshopper Mouse, 
Domestic Rat, . . 

Subfamily of the 
Pocket Mice, . . 

(Species small.) 
I Subfamily of the 
Kangaroo Rats, 

(Species larger.) 

Jumping Mouse, 



Fi'ber, 

1. Di-crost'o-nyx, . . 

2. Syn-ap'to-mys, . 

3. Mi-crot'us (Ar-vic'- 

o-la), . . . . 

4. E-vot'o-mys, . . 

5. Phe-nac'o-mys, . 

6. Ne-o-to'ma, . . . 

7. Reith-ro-don'to-mys, 
S. O-ryz'o-mys, . . . 
9. Sig'mo-don, . . 

10. Per-o-mys'cus, . . 

11. 0-ny-cho'mys, . . 
Mus, 

12. Per-og-na'thus, . 

13. Mi-cro-dip'o-dops, . 

(14. Di-pod'o-mys, . . 
I 15. Per-o-di'pus, . . 



TYPE SPECIES. 

zi-beth'i-cus, . . 
hud-so'ni-us, . . 
coop'er-i, . . . 

penn-syl-van'i-cus, 
gap'per-i, . 
o-ro'phi-lus, 
flor-i-dan'a, 
le-cont'i, . . 
pa-lus'tris, . 
his'pi-dus, . 
leu-co'pus, . 
leu'co-gas-ter, 
nor-veg'i-cus, 

Jas-ci-a'tus, . . 
meg-a-ceph'a-lus, 

mer'ri-am-i, 
rich'ard-son-i, , 



SPECIES. SPECIES. 



4 
3 

8 

48 
17 

7 
17 
10 

2 

3 

42 
6 
4 

26 
1 

5 
9 



16. Za'pus, 



hud-so'ni-us, 



10 
256 



5 
1 

IS 
5 

19 
6 
3 
5 

27 
6 



15 



10 
145 



habits are strictly aquatic. The tail furnishes 
the motive power for swimming. The feet are 
small, and but very slightly webbed, and the body 
is completely covered with soft, brown fur an 
inch or more in length, which is much sought by 
furriers. When taken at the best season, plucked, 
dressed and dyed a rich brown-black, it is known 
to the trade as "French seal." 

Muskrats that inhabit streams with high banks 
do not trouble themselves to build houses, but 
merely burrow into the banks. In rivers and 
ponds with low margins, however, they gather 
coarse grass, reeds and mud, and build dome- 
shaped houses, about five feet in diameter, which 
rise from two to four feet above the water. All 
such houses are entered below the surface of the 
water, so far down that ice does not close their 
doors, and within there is a floor raised well above 
the water, on which the inmates eat their food, 
and sleep. 

When too many captive Muskrats are kept in 



the same enclosure, say twelve in a fenced pool 
thirty feet square, they fight viciously, and not 
only kill each other, but sometimes partly de- 
vour one of the victims. Although often dis- 
puted, it is nevertheless a fact that they eat flesh 
on very slight provocation. They are very un- 
satisfactory animals to keep in captivity, no mat- 
ter what the conditions may be. 

The Hudson Bay Lemming 1 is worthy of 
special notice, because it is the most widely- 
distributed and noteworthy rat-like animal of 
the far North. It is strictly a mammal of the. 
cold northland, and like many other arctic ani- 
mals, its winter coat is pure white, and its fur is 
dense and warm. Among the west Alaskan 
Eskimo, skins are very common, and the children 
delight in using them for doll clothes. (Charles 
H. Townsend.) 

This animal is about the size of a large mole, 
1 Dicrostonyx hudsonius. 



86 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



thick-bodied, short-legged, and sharp-nosed. 
The ears are extremely short, and quite hidden 
in the fur; the legs are short, the feet rat-like, 
and the tail is so very short that it also is half 
hidden by the fur. The fur is long, fluffy and 
fine; brown, brownish-gray, or mottled in sum- 
mer, but snow-white in winter. The length of 
the head and body is 4 to 5 inches, and of the tail, 
•£• inch. 

The Lemming is found from Latitude 56° 
northward to the whole arctic coast; in Labra- 
dor, Greenland, the arctic islands, and on as far 
north as man has ever gone on land. It prefers 



Its ears are very small, and do not rise above the 
fur on the head. The type species, known as 
Cooper's Lemming Mouse, 1 is only two-fifths 
the size of the Hudson Bay Lemming. It inhabits 
the northeastern United States, from Massa- 
chusetts to Minnesota, and southward to North 
Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana and Iowa. Its 
color above is yellowish-brown washed with 
black, with bluish-gray or whitish underparts. 
Length, 3 J to 4 inches; tail, f inch. Other spe- 
cies of Lemming Mice inhabit Canada, Labra- 
dor, New Hampshire, Washington, Kansas and 
Alaska. 




HUDSON BAY LEMMING. 
Winter and summer pelage. 



FIELD MOUSE. 



open, dry, moss-covered uplands, and is not 
found in timbered regions. Often a district of 
acceptable ground is covered with a wide-spread- 
ing network of runways, just below the surface. 
Mr. C. H. Townsend, who has kept them in cap- 
tivity, says they are kind-spirited and sociable 
little creatures, fond of attention, and much 
given to standing up and hopping about on their 
hind legs. In summer they store up supplies 
of vegetable food in their runways for use in 
winter. 

The Lemming Mouse, or False Lemming, 
is interesting chiefly because it is a connecting 
link between the true lemmings and the mice. 



The Field Mouse, or Meadow Mouse, 3 

stands as a murine monument to scientific en- 
deavor. Since 179S, the genus of this group — 
long known as Ar-vie'o-la — has been described 
under twenty-four different names, and the type 
species has received nineteen names besides its 
own! But, through a century of misnaming in 
Latin, its original English name, Meadow Mouse, 
has stood unchanged ! 

The trouble with this genus seems to have 
been due to exaggerating the importance of triv- 
ial characters, molar teeth and claws. Externally 

1 Synaptomys cooperi. 

1 Microtus pennsylvanicus. 



FIELD MICE AND VOLES 



87 



its species and varieties are so much alike that 
very few of them can be distinguished from the 
general mass. 

The typical Field Mouse is a short-eared, short- 
tailed, thick-set little animal. It averages 4} 
inches long, with a tail 1£ inches long. Its color 
above is reddish-brown, while beneath it is 
whitish-gray. 

It is found from the Atlantic coast to the Da- 
kotas, feeding on roots and grasses. 

In severe winters, when the ground remains 
frozen for a long period, Field Mice are some- 
times forced to feed on bark, and frequently kill 



The Red-Backed Mouse ' is, in form, very 
much like the meadow mouse, but in size it is 
smaller, and in habit it is quite different. It 
prefers to live in cool, damp woods and timbered 
regions, varying all the way from dark swamps 
and valleys to timbered mountain-tops; but 
it is seldom found in open country. 

They are found from Ontario, New England 
and New Jersey westward to California, and 
northward through Canada and Alaska, sixteen 
species and five subspecies. They are all very 
much alike, rather slender, and more graceful 
in form than the field mice, and the majority 




GAPPER S RED-BACKED MOUSE. 



NORTHWESTERN VOLE. 



young fruit trees by barking them near the sur- 
face of the snow. When shocks of corn are avail- 
able these mice live high, literally, feeding well, 
and being well housed at the same time. In 
husking shock corn in winter, many a nestful 
of Field Mice have we helped to turn out into the 
cold world; but the amount of grain they con- 
sumed was so insignificant we never grudged 
them their food. 

Taken as a whole, the Field Mice of various 
species inhabit nearly the whole of North Amer- 
ba north of Mexico and the Gulf, even to the 
remote islands of Bering Sea. I do not know 
of a state or province from* which they have not 
been recorded. 



are reddish-brown above and grayish under- 
neath. The species most common in the east- 
ern United States, often called Gapper's Field 
Mouse, is found westward to the Rocky Moun- 
tains. It is 3| inches in length of head and 
body, tail, If inches. In scientific lists of the 
mammals of North America, Red-Backed Mice 
are sometimes called Red-Backed "Voles." 

The Voles of the genus Phe-nac'o-mys, are 
small brown mice, mostly of recent discovery, 
about the size of the red-backed mouse, in color 

1 Until recently this species has been considered 
identical with Erotnmys rutilus of the Old World, 
and has been so called. Now, however, our species 
is considered quite distinct, and is called E. gapperi. 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS—GNAWING ANIMALS 



usually dark brown mixed with black. Seven 
species are known, extending in range from 
Labrador westward to Oregon, Washington and 
northern British Columbia, and also down to 
Colorado. None are found in the eastern half of 
the United States. There is no special mark 
by which it is easy to distinguish them from their 
nearest relatives, the red-backed mice. 

The species most widely distributed, and 
best known, is the Northwestern Vole, 1 the 
largest member of this group, — a grayish-brown 
creature, with feet and all under parts white, or 
nearly so. It inhabits Alberta, British Colum- 
bia, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington and south 
central Oregon. Length of head and body, 4 
inches, tail, If inches. 

In mental capacity the Wood Rat, Pack Rat, 
Trading Rat or Bushy- Tailed Rat - is the most 
wonderful member of the whole Rat-and-Mouse 
Family, at least in North America. The true 
stories of its pranks are almost beyond belief. 
Seemingly its chief object in life is to play prac- 
tical jokes on mankind; and any rat which mani- 
fests a spirit of toleration toward man surely is 
entitled to special consideration. 

The typical Wood Rat is a large-sized, big- 
eyed, large-eared and rather handsome creature, 




FLORIDA WOOD RAT. 

without the mean, vicious look of a common rat, 
with fine yellowish-gray fur, white feet, and white 
under parts. In some species, the tail is cov- 
ered with long hair, and by this fact alone it is 
possible to distinguish many members of the 
genus. The Wood Rats are distributed very 
1 Phenacomys orophilus. 2 Neotoma. 



generally throughout the southern and western 
part of the United States, and are also found in 
British Columbia and Mexico. Frequently their 
presence is indicated by the huge, mound-like 
nests, from two to three feet high, which they 
build of twigs, grass, leaves and bark. 

These animals are nocturnal in their habits, 
and their nest-building and other work is done 
at night. The most remarkable thing about 
them is their habit of entering houses and playing 
practical jokes upon the inmates. A pair of 
Wood Rats that I knew by reputation at Oak 
Lodge, in Florida, first carried a lot of water- 
melon seeds from the ground floor upstairs, and 
hid them under a pillow. Then they took from 
the kitchen a tablespoonful of cucumber seeds, 
and placed them in the pocket of a vest which 
hung upstairs on a nail. In one night they re- 
moved from a box eighty-five pieces of bee-hive 
fixtures, and hid them in another box, and on 
the following night they deposited in the first 
box about two quarts of corn and oats. 

Western frontiersmen, and others who live in 
the land of the Wood Rat, relate stories innu- 
merable of the absurd but industrious doings of 
these strange creatures. In general they are 
rather harmless. One of the best known spe- 
cies is the Florida Wood Rat. 3 It belongs to 
the round-tailed group and does not have the 
hairy, squirrel-like tail of some of the western 
wood rats. Its upper color is tan mixed with 
brown, feet and under parts white. The length 
of the head and body is 8i inches, tail 6f inches. 
Distribution: the southern states from the Car- 
olinas to Texas. 

The Little Harvest Mouse looks so much 
like a small house mouse, 2\ + 2 inches long, 
that only an expert can readily recognize it 
at first sight. The ten or more species are 
scattered throughout the southern, southwest- 
ern and Pacific states, but none of them are 
found in northeastern North America. The 
usual color is gray-brown above, and lighter 
underneath, and the best known example is Le 
Conte's Harvest Mouse ' of the south Atlantic 
states, from Virginia to Florida. 

The Rice-Field Mouse 5 should have been 
called a rat, for it is 5 inches long, with a five- 
inch tail. It is strictly a southern animal, in- 

3 Neotoma floridana. ' Reithrodontomys lecontii. 
5 Oryzonn/s palustris. 



WILD RATS AND MICE 



89 



habiting the wet rice-fields and swamps of the 
Gulf states from Texas up to southern New 
Jersey, its northern limit. It has a long head, a 
sharp nose, a shapely body, prominent ears, and 
a long tail. Its color above is bleached brown, 
but its under surface is grayish, or dull white. 

This mouse is partial to the vicinity of water, 
especially the banks of rice-fields. It swims and 
dives well, and sometimes builds its nest and 
rears its young in interlaced marsh grass, over 
water, and far from dry ground. 

The Cotton Rat, or Marsh Rat, 1 is a species 



homa, Xew Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico; and 
wherever found their destruetiveness causes 
them to be cordially disliked. 
The White-Footed Mouse, or Deer Mouse,- 

is well worthy of acquaintance. It is distributed 
over nearly the whole of upper North America, ex- 
cept the arctic islands, and the Barren (hounds. 
On account of the changes it has undergone, 
chiefly in color shades, and length of tail, natural- 
ists now recognize in the United States and Can- 
ada about seventy species and subspecies ! But 
the student need not be discouraged by this fact. 




RICE-FIELD MOUSE. 



COTTON HAT. 



which any country may well be without. It is 
small for a rat, but courageous, vicious in tem- 
per and voracious in appetite. It is fond of 
flesh, and when several are caged together, the 
stronger ones do not scruple to kill and eat weaker 
rats of their own kind. In length it is the size of 
a large chipmunk, 6 + 4 inches. The upper 
surface of the body and head, and outside of the 
legs, are dark mottled yellowish-brown, the under 
surface and inside of legs dull white, or brownish- 
gray. Cotton Rats are found from North Caro- 
lina to southern Florida, and also in Texas, Okla- 
1 Sigmodon hispidus. 



Every White-Footed Mouse can be recognized 
by the clean white or light gray color on the under 
half of its body, head, tail and inner surfaces of 
the legs, its white feet, and its long tail. The color 
of the back is usually gray, or brown, or a mixt- 
ure of the two. 

Of all the small mice of North America, I con- 
sider this the most beautiful, and one of the most 
interesting. In the eastern states, where small 
quadrupeds and birds are numerous, it attracts 
little attention, but on the western plains, and 
in the desert regions, where animal life is very 
- Peromyscus leucopus. 



90 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



scarce (and rapidly becoming more so!) these 
pretty little creatures seem much more worthy 
of notice. I have many times found them nest- 
ing in cavernous and ill-smelling buffalo car- 
casses, and in the brain cavity or between the 
jaws of buffalo skulls from which the skin had not 
been removed by the hide-hunters. 

In some places I have lain awake at night to 
hate mice, for cause, and wish them all dead, 
by all manner of violent deaths ; but on a bleak 
and wind-shaven Montana plain where the bleach- 
ing skulls of thousands of slaughtered buffalo lie 



elled over smoothly-shaven prairie divides miles 
away from all proper shelter. In the West, how- 
ever, they are found most frequently in the brush 
and timber of stream valleys, where the rank 
weeds and grasses produce seed on which they 
feed. In the eastern United States they are 
found in nearly all agricultural regions. They 
are active climbers, possess a wide range of in- 
telligence, and nest in all sorts of places, from 
ground burrows up to hollows in trees twenty 
feet from the ground. Of all mice, they are 
probably the most active climbers, and in fleeing 




1. WHITE-FOOTED MOUSE. 



2. le conte's harvest mouse. 



MOLE MOUSE. 



staring heavenward in mute protest against 
man's inhumanity, an agile White-Footed Mouse, 
scurrying out of its warm nest of buffalo-hair 
between the jaws of a buffalo skull, appeals not 
in vain for my sympathy and protection. Out 
on the Great Plains the world always seems 
large enough to contain us both. The great 
buffalo range of 1883 is now so barren of wild 
life that to-day even wild mice are objects of 
interest. From the buffalo to the White-Footed 
Mouse the time has been less than twenty 
years. 

Many times in their wanderings from one 
buffalo carcass to another, these mice have trav- 



from a disturbed home the mother often carries 
her brood of young clinging to her body. Their 
food is seeds, small nuts and acorns, grain, and 
dried meat when available. 

Once in the wilds of Montana, we hauled some 
old logs to camp, for fire-wood. When one was 
cut up, we found in it a nest, made chiefly of 
feathers, containing five White-Footed Mice, 
snugly housed in the hollow. Packed close 
against the nest was a pint and a. half of fine, 
clean seed, like radish seed, from some weed of 
the Pulse Family. While the food-store was be- 
ing examined, and finally deposited in a pile upon 
the open ground, near the tent door, the five 



CHEEK-POUCH MICE AND RATS 



91 



mice escaped into the sage-brush. Near by stood 
an old-fashioned buggy. 

Next morning, when the photographer lifted 
the cushion of his buggy-seat, and opened the 
top of the shallow box underneath, the five mice, 
with their heads together in a droll-looking group, 
looked out at him in surprise and curiosity, with- 
out attempting to run away. But very soon it 
became our turn to be surprised. 

We found that those industrious little creatures 
had gathered up every particle of their nest, and 
every seed of their winter store, and carried all 
of it up into the seat of that buggy! The nest 
had been carefully re-made, and the seed placed 
closed by, as before. Considering the number 
of journeys that must have been necessary to 
carry all those materials over the ground, and 
climb up to the buggy-seat, the industry and 
agility of the mice were amazing. 

By way of experiment, we again removed the 
nest, and while the mice once more took to the 
sage-brush, we collected all the seed, and poured 
it in a pile upon the ground, as before. During 
the following night, those indomitable little creat- 
ures again carried nest and seed back into the 
buggy-seat, just as before. Then we gathered 
up the entire family of mice with their nest and 
seed, and transported them to New York. 

The Grasshopper Mouse, 1 originally de- 
scribed by Audubon and Bachman as the Mis- 
souri Mouse, and often called the Mole Mouse, 
is mentioned in order to caution western observ- 
ers against confusing it with the preceding species. 
In some respects it strongly resembles the white- 
footed mouse, being all white underneath, in- 
cluding its legs. It can readily be distinguished 
by its large fore claws and its short, stumpy tail, 
which is only about one-third as long as the head 
and body. Its upper surface is brownish-gray. 
Its fur is very fine and soft, and hence it is some- 
times called the Mole Mouse. Its length, head 
and body, is 4£ inches, tail, If inches. 

CHEEK-POUCH MICE AND RATS. 

Heteromyidae. 
This is strictly a Family of the West and South- 
west, its members being found only west of Ar- 
kansas, Iowa and Minnesota. It does not contain 
the pocket gophers. Many of its twenty-six spe- 
1 Onychomys leucogaster. 




KANGAROO RAT. 

Showing the very large cheek- 
pouches. 



cies are desert dwellers, even inhabiting Death 
Valley, California. All its members are distin- 
guished from other North American animals 
(except the jumping mouse and pocket gopher) 
by the presence of a large and very serviceable 
hair-lined pouch in the skin of each cheek. 
Barring the two exceptions noted, this char- 
acter alone is sufficient for the recognition of any 
American member of this Family. 

As clearly shown in the full-page diagram, 
this family may 
be divided into 
two Subfamilies, 
an arrangement 
which is very 
convenient and 
helpful. The first 
we must call the 
Pocket Mouse 
Subfamily and 
its leading genus 
(Per -og-na' thus) 
contains twenty- 
six full species, 
and fifteen sub- 
species. All are 
distinguished by the following characters: head 
large ; body slender and graceful ; hind legs long, 
and fitted for jumping; tail long; large external 
cheek pouches, hairy inside, and not connected 
with the interior of the mouth ; hair smooth and 
compact, sometimes intermingled with spines. 
These mice are quick and active in movement, 
and some species leap with considerable power. 

Since 1839 the Typical Pocket Mouse 2 has 
been described again and again, but none of its 
describers have taken the trouble to give it an 
English name! Hereafter, let us call it by the 
name given above, because it is the type of its 
genus. It inhabits Montana, Wyoming and the 
Dakotas. Its color above is sandy-yellowish, 
lined with black; underneath, white; and these 
two color areas are divided low down along the 
side by a lengthwise band of pale yellow. Length, 
3 + 2f inches. 

The Kangaroo Rat 3 Subfamily, of fifteen full 
species, is fitly represented by an elf-like creat- 
ure which is one of the most beautiful and at- 

2 Perognathus fasciatus. 

3 Typical species, Perodipus richardsoni of west- 
ern Kansas, Oklahoma and Indian Territory. 



ORDERS OP MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



tractive of all our native rats. In the dry and 
sterile regions of the great Southwest, from the 
Indian Territory to Arizona and California, 
where seemingly the deserts produce nothing 
but sand, cacti, yuccas and sage-brush, these 
pert little creatures hold forth. Apparently 
they are both fire-proof and water-proof, for no 
amount of heat affects them, and the absence 
of water does not seem to depress their spirits in 
the least. Like most mice and rats, they are 
nocturnal. Some of the species build for them- 
selves large mounds of dirt and gravel, from 
one to three feet high and five to ten feet in 
diameter, which are honeycombed with burrows 




1. AND 2, KANGAROO RAT. 
3. TYPICAL POCKET MOUSE. 

and runways. These dwellings are often in- 
habited by rattlesnakes and lizards, and doubt- 
less the Kangaroo Rat is an important item of 
food in the diet of the desert rattler. 

The Kangaroo Rat is very unlike the mem- 
bers of the Mouse-and-Rat Family ; and in tem- 
per no creature could be more unlike the domes- 
tic rat. Unlike most mice and rats, they do not 
bite when handled, but they are so delicate that 
they do not live long in captivity, unless tended 
with extreme care and intelligence. They stand 
high on their hind legs, like pigmy kangaroos, 
and hop about with their front paws tucked up 
close under the chin, almost hidden by their fur. 
The tail is very long, has a showy tuft of long 
hair on the end, and is used by the animal in 



balancing itself when in motion. The fur is 
soft, silky, rather long, and of a tawny-brown 
color above. Length of head and body, 4J inches, 
tail, 5f inches. The cheek-pouches are large, 
and are of great use in carrying sand out of bur- 
rows. 

JUMPING MOUSE FAMILY. 

Zapodidae. 

The Jumping Mouse 1 is one of the most 
remarkable of all our small animals. In form it 
is a slender-bodied mouse, with an exceedingly long 
tail, kangaroo-like land legs, and cheek-pouches. 
Its average length of head and body is about 
3 inches, and tail 5 inches. In color it is dark 
reddish-brown above, white underneath, with 
smooth compact hair. Although no larger than a 
house mouse, it can jump from eight to ten feet. 

When a farmer boy is hauling in sheaves of 
wheat, and a small animal suddenly makes a 
tremendous flying leap from the bottom of the 
shock, he may know that he has disturbed a 
Jumping Mouse, and the chances are that he 
cannot capture it by hand. In these long jumps 
— perhaps the longest on record for an animal of 
equal size — the tail is as necessary as a stick is to 
a sky-rocket, to enable the little creature to pre- 
serve its balance, and go straight ahead. If the 
tail is cut off, the Jumping Mouse turns over and 
over in the air, and perhaps lands upon its back. 

The Jumping Mouse is quite nocturnal in its 
habits, and is seldom seen in the daytime. It 
feeds on seeds and grain, and while it devours 
great quantities of weed seeds, it inflicts upon 
the farmer no damage worthy of mention. In 
the autumn it stores in the ground quantities 
of food for winter use, but despite this fact, under 
certain conditions it becomes so thoroughly dor- 
mant in winter that it seems to be quite lifeless. 
It is found throughout the northern United States 
and Canada, in wooded regions, from New York 
to California, and as far north as Lake Nushagak, 
Alaska. 

Opinions Regarding Rats and Rat-like 
Animals. 

The largest rat-like animal in America is the 
Coy'pu Rat,- of Central and South America, 
which stands 9 inches high at the shoulders, at- 
tains a length of 19 inches head and body, tail, 

1 Zapus hudsonius. a My-o-cas'-tor coif pus. 



JUMPING MOUSE AND POCKET GOPHER 



93 



13 inches, and weighs S pounds. It is a water- 
loving animal, almost as much so as the musk- 
rat, and its thick, brown fur is valuable. Under 
proper conditions it is easily kept in captivity. 

The smallest rodent in America is the Least 
Pocket Mouse, 1 of the Rocky Mountain region, 
which has a total length of head and body, 1$ 
inches; tail, 2f inches. 

The best swimmer of all rat-like animals is th e 
Muskrat. 3 

The best climber is the Tree Rat, 3 of southern 
India. 

The handsomest rat or mouse in the New World 
is the Kangaroo Rat, of the southwestern United 
States, figured on the opposite page. 

The most humorous of all rat-like animals is 
the Trading Rat, described on page 89, which 
delights in playing practical jokes upon its hu- 
man neighbors. 

The meanest of all rodents is the brown-coated 
Domestic Rat, the pest of civilization every- 
where, which was sent to man as a perpetual 
punishment for his crimes against harmless wild 
creatures all over the world. 

THE POCKET GOPHER FAMILY. 

Geomyidae. 

The Red Pocket Gopher 4 is the most im- 
portant representative of a large Family of bur- 
rowing rodents which does great damage to the 
crops and lands of American farmers. When- 
ever you see a brown-coated burrowing animal, 
the length of a small rat, but twice as thick, 
with a big pouch in the skin of each cheek, a 
swinish appetite, a set of long claws like burglar's 
tools on each fore foot and a most viUanous 
countenance and temper, you may know that it 
is a Pocket Gopher. The pockets in his cheeks 
are to enable him to carry extra large quantities 
of stolen potatoes and seeds. When once you 
have learned the true character and habits of 
this creature, you will, without being asked, care- 
fully refrain from calling any ground-squirrel a 
"Gopher." 

Most wild animals have some redeeming qual- 
ities, but this cannot make good a claim to one. 
Gophers are not only thieves and robbers, but 
they are so ill-tempered that they even hate each 
other, and the old ones usually are found living 

1 Per-og-nath'us fla'vus. ' Fi'ber zi-beth'i-cus. 
3 Mus ru-fes'cens. * Oe'o-mys bur-sa'ri-us. 



alone. When two captives are placed together, 
they usually fight fiercely until one is killed. 
Their teeth and front claws are very powerful, 
and working together they do great damage, 
in many different ways. 

As a Family, Pocket Gophers inhabit the whole 
United States west of Indiana and the lower 
Mississippi, and also a large part of Alabama, 



: - 


■ 


C^5 


Mi 


WW \ 


'//MM 







>< 






JUMPING MOUSE. 

Georgia and Florida. Three genera and about 
thirty-three species are recognized, and while 
some are smaller than others, and some are gray 
or black instead of brown, their appetites and 
habits are all equally objectionable. They spoil 
meadows by throwing up innumerable hillocks 
of loose earth; they devour great quantities of 
vegetable crops, and also corn and small grain; 
they eat the roots of young fruit-trees of nearly 
all kinds, and the}' destroy canals and irrigating 
ditches by honeycombing their banks. With 
incisor teeth that in sharpness and strength are 
like steel chisels, a Gopher can pare off all the 
roots from a young tree quite as neatly as a man 
pares potatoes. 

Our type species, the Red Pocket Gopher "is," 
says Mr. Vernon Bailey, "of much greater eco- 
nomic importance than all the other species 
combined, for the reason that its home is in the 
fertile prairie region of the Mississippi valley," 



94 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



embracing Iowa, — which is its centre of distri- 
bution, — Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minne- 
sota, and the eastern parts of the Dakotas, Ne- 
braska and Kansas. Its length is about 7A + 3 
inches. The young are either two or three in 
number, and there is only one litter each year. 

The enemies of the Gopher are the weasel 
and the gopher snake. 1 Because of the damage 
done by Gophers, farmers generally wage war 
upon them with traps, strychnine, and poisoned 
grain. In Iowa, Minnesota and other states, 
many thousands of dollars have been paid out by 
county treasurers in bounties on Gopher scalps 
and tails. No animal in the West is more uni- 
versally disliked, nor more diligently destroyed. 

My acquaintance with the Gopher Family be- 
gan when I was a farmer boy, in Iowa, the 
storm centre of Ge'o-mys bur-sa'ri-us. Having 




EED POCKET GOPHER. 

trapped a few, I made the mistake of supposing 
that I knew more about the habits of those creat- 
ures than did my elders, who had not. In an 
evil moment, I announced that any strong boy 
could catch a Gopher by digging it out of its 
burrow, and my large brother offered me twenty- 
five cents if I could prove that claim within a 
week. 

That evening, with mattock and spade, I re- 
paired to my father's corn-field, into which 
strange Gophers were rapidly migrating and set- 
tling; and finding a fresh hole with the owner in- 
side, I began to dig. My shepherd dog, Rover, 
assisted me all he could, chiefly by keeping me 
company, but also by digging when I rested. 

We dug into the twilight, and later on we dug 
into the night ; but the Gopher kept well ahead of 
us. Whenever we paused to listen, we could 
1 Pituophis. 



hear him digging hard, and to our dismay we 
found that he knew a thing or two about getting 
on in the world. With the descent of black dark- 
ness, our hopes of overtaking that Gopher de- 
scended also; and then pride, not hope of re- 
ward, was all that spurred us on. Would we 
have to give up beaten, by an ugly, pig-eyed old 
Gopher? 

When for about the thirtieth time I paused to 
wipe the accumulation of perspiration and prai- 
rie loam from my brow, Rover suddenly rushed 
off into the darkness. In the corn-rows thirty 
yards away, he seized something, shook it vig- 
orously, and a moment later came trotting back 
to me, carrying in his mouth a large Gopher! 
The beast had been migrating into the corn-field, 
and Rover simply caught him on the fly. 

Digging operations ceased abruptly at that 
point. Thanking Rover for his timely assistance, 
I accepted his contribution, and we marched 
home together. When I exhibited to my brother 
the Gopher that we had secured "by digging," 
he was profoundly surprised, but promptly paid 
the money. Rover looked on smilingly, and said 
not a word; but we both knew then that in catch- 
ing Gophers, steel traps are better than spades. 

THE PORCUPINE FAMILY. 

Erethizontidae. 

The Porcupine is at home either in tree-tops 
or on the ground, but it is always a slow-moving 
and dull-witted animal. It is easily captured or 
killed by man, but not so readily overcome by 
wild animals. In the woods, it loves to prowl 
around camps, and eat every scrap of leather 
or greasy board that it can find. It is fond of the 
bark of hemlock, beech and Cottonwood, and 
often a Porcupine will remain in a good tree until 
he entirely strips it of its bark. 

The Canada Porcupine, 2 which is black, 
with a gray-tipped storm-coat, is found in New 
England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and 
thence northward and northwestward to Fort 
Churchill on Hudson Bay. The West and North- 
west is the home of another species, known as the 
Yellow-Haired Porcupine. 3 Large specimens 
weigh from 25 to 30 pounds. The flesh is not 
palatable to white men, but is eaten by Indians. 

The Canada Porcupine never should be called 

2 Er-e-thi'zon dor-sa'tus. 3 E. cp-i-xan'thus. 



PORCUPINES AND RABBITS 



95 



a "Hedgehog," because the latter is not a gnaw- 
ing animal, but a small, weak, insect-eater, 
which does not inhabit America. A full-grown 
Porcupine is about twenty times as large as the 
common European hedgehog. 

Porcupines can not shoot their quills, not 
even for one inch; and the idea that they can — 
■or ever have — is entirely erroneous. When 
attacked, their defence consists in erecting their 
quills, and striking quickly a strong sidewise 
blow with the tail, which often drives many 
quills into its enemy. Strange to say, wild 
animals are about as lacking in original infor- 
mation, or "instinct," regarding this creature 
as dogs are. Several pumas and lynxes have been 
killed in a starving condition, with their mouths 
and throats so filled with porcupine quills that 
eating had become almost impossible. 

THE PIKA FAMILY. 

Ochotonidae. 
The Pika, commonly called the Little Chief 
"Hare," or Crying "Hare," 1 looks very much 
like a small, gray-brown rabbit, 7 inches long; 
but it is neither a rabbit nor a hare, and repre- 
sents an independent Family. It lives high up on 
the great mountain ranges of the West, from just 
below timber line up to the line of perpetual 
snow. It finds shelter in the crevices of rugged 
masses of rock, and its sharp little cries often 
seem to come from so many different points that 
the hunter is completely confused. In form 
this strange little creature is about half way be- 
tween a gray rabbit and a guinea-pig; and it 
has neither speed nor activity. 

THE HARE AND RABBIT FAMILY. 

Leporidae. 

This group is very clearly subdivided and 
there need be no confusion of ideas regarding 
its North American members. Nevertheless, 
early writers have made a confusing error in the 
improper adoption, for one important group, of 
the misleading name Jack "Rabbit." It should 
be Jack Hare. 

All the American members of this Family are 
separated into two general groups, the Hares and 
the Rabbits. The accompanying diagram shows 
these subdivisions, and their relations to each 
other. 

1 O-cho-to'na prin'ceps. 



A typical Hare is trig, long-eared, long-legged, 
and a swift runner. Very often its color changes 
according to the season. It does not burrow, 
but rears its young in a nest or " form." 

The Rabbit is small, short-eared, short-legged, 
a weak runner for a long distance, its color is 
fairly constant, and it lives in a burrow. 

The Varying Hare Group is the key to the 
entire Family; or, in other words, it stands on 
middle ground between the Rabbits, the Polar 
Hare, and the Jack Hare, and is related to all 
three. Naturally this group should be studied 




Sanborn, Photo., N. Y. Zoological Park. 

CANADA PORCUPINE. 

first. Its type species is the Northern Varying 
Hare, 2 of northern New York, New England, 
Canada and the Northwest Territories. Its 
name is due to the fact that its color varies ac- 
cording to the season, being pale cinnamon brown 
in summer, and white in winter, with only a nar- 
row back line of brown. 

It is nearly twice as large as the cotton-tail 
rabbit, but its ears and legs are about half way 
in proportionate length between those of the 
2 Le' 'pus a-mer-i-can'us. 



96 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



common rabbit, and the jack have of the South- 
west. Large male specimens measure IS inches 
in length of head and body, tail, 2 inches, and 
weigh 6 pounds. 

Like the true fur-bearing animals, Varying 
Hares have two kinds of fur, — a dense, fine and 
soft under fur through which grows a storm-coat 
of thin, coarse, straight hair. It is the latter 
which gives an animal its color. In the summer 
these long hairs are black, but as winter ap- 
proaches they turn white. 

The habits of the Varying Hares and Rabbits 
are so nearly the same that it is unnecessary 
to describe them separately. They all require 
brushy ground, broken rocks, rugged ravines or 
tree-holes in which to hide from the foxes, dogs, 
men, mink, martens, lynxes, skunks and birds of 
prey which constantly hunt them as food. But 
for their keenness of sight, hearing and scent, 
their swiftness in running to cover, and their 
marvellous agility in doubling and turning when 
pursued, their numerous enemies would soon 
exterminate them. 

The Polar Hare 1 is the most northern spe- 
cies of this Family. Colonel Brainard found its 
tracks at 83° 24', which for fifteen years re- 
mained man's "farthest North." In the southern 
portion of its home, this hare is gray and white 
in summer, but in the higher polar regions it is 
white all the year round, like the majority of true 
arctic animals, — the owl, fox, bear and wolf. 

The Prairie Hare- of the western plains is 
generally supposed to be of the same species as 
the so-called jack "rabbit" of the Southwest; 
but it is not. In form, size and color, it may be 
considered a connecting link between the vary- 
ing hare group and the jack hare group, and 
ite separate identity should be remembered. Its 
home is the great sage-brush plains of the North- 
west, from Kansas to the Saskatchewan, and 
westward to Oregon, and northern California. It 
is gray in summer, but changes to white in winter. 
It is a large species (23 inches long), with ears 
longer than its head, long, strong hind legs, and 
a white tail unmarked with black, a character by 
which it can be readily distinguished from other 
jack "rabbits." 

On the treeless plains of the great West, where 
it is often seen without any other objects to fur- 
nish comparisons, it sometimes seems of immense 
1 Lepus arc'ti-cus. ' Lepus cam-pes'tris. 



size, and a Prairie Hare 200 yards away has often 
been mistaken for an antelope supposed to be fifiO 
yards distant. 

The Jack Hare :; (commonly called Jack 
"Rabbit") is easily recognized by his extremely 
large ears, — five to six inches long, — slender 
body, long legs and athletic build, and the black 
mark on the upper surface of the tail. There are 
seven species, all very much alike, which inhabit 
the southwestern quarter of the United States, ex- 
tend northward to Oregon, eastward to Nebraska 
and Kansas and southward to Tehuantepec, 
Mexico. In many localities wherein wolves and 
foxes have been exterminated, these hares have 
multiplied until they have become a great pest. 
In several localities in California, and also in 
eastern Colorado, great rabbit-drives are made, 
in which many thousand Jacks are slaughtered, 
and given away in large cities for food. 

The Jack Hare is a very swift runner. In east- 
ern Kansas, Professor L. L. Dyche once saw a 
good greyhound chase a Jack on fair ground for 
about two and a half miles, and in the whole 
distance the hound gained only about twenty- 
five yards. The hare finally escaped by running 
into a hollow log that had been left on the prairie 
by accident, and was the only shelter within five 
miles! 

The Gray Rabbit, or Cotton-Tail, 4 is a typi- 
cal representative of the Rabbit Family, which 
contains twelve species. Throughout the exten- 
sive region which forms its home, — from New 
England and Minnesota to Yucatan, — it refuses 
to be exterminated, and is perhaps more fre- 
quently seen and more widely known than any 
other quadruped. 

All the true rabbits are small, and for long 
running their legs are short and weak ; but what 
they lack in endurance they make up in cunning 
and quickness. To aid in their preservation, 
Nature has given them colors that blend so per- 
fectly with their surroundings that a rabbit 
crouching low often is compelled to run to avoid 
being trodden upon. When hard pressed for a 
nesting place in a city, a Gray Rabbit has been 
known to dig a shallow hole in the smooth lawn 
of the Smithsonian grounds at Washington, line 
it with her own fur, and rear her young in it, 
within forty feet of the National Museum build- 
ing, and a busy roadway, without discovery by 

3 Lepus tex-i-an'us. * Lepus syl-vat'i-ciis. 




/ 



POLAR' HARE 

(LtPUS AR.TICUS) 




POLAR HARE GROUPS 

LARGE. EARS SHORTER THAN 
HEAD: PELAGEPURE WH1TE.0R 
BUT SLIGHTLY COLORED IN 
SUMMER. 

ARCTIC REGIONS. 
6 SPECIES. 



VARYING HARE / 
GROUP/ 

NORTHERN UNITED STATES 
AND CANADA. 
4 SPECIES. 



PRAIRIE 
'HARE.i 



large: white in winter and 
gray or brown in summer: 
ears as long as the head: 
legs moderately long. 

VARYING HARE , (lepusj\mericanus). 




RABBIT GROUP. 



$ - 



small: colors constant; never 
white: legs short weak runners, 
ears short. 

UNITED STATES GENERALLY, 
MEXICO, AND SOUTH TO COSTA RICA. 
12 SPECIES 



J 



1PRA1RIE HARE," 

(lepus campestris). 

urge: ears longer than 
head: hind legs long 
and strong: color 
variable. 
N.-W. UNITED 




JACK HARE 

(OR JACKRABB!f)GROUP^ 

large: slender; legs long 
and strong: swift, 
ears very long and large 
colors constant. 
S:W. UNITED STATES, 
PACIFIC STATES&MEXICO. 
7 SPECIES. 



^.TMLRABB/T-,^ 



At ' 



■$y c 



<% 



>s 



V 






%iMw\ 



m&> 



t$£MpBir; 

'^toS.-cfiLYofis). 



DIAGRAM OF THE 

HAREAND RABBIT FAMILY 

IN NORTH AMERICA, 

SHOWING THE RELATIONSHIPS AND 
COMPARATIVE SIZES OF THE 
FIVE GROUPS. 
Copyright 1903 by W. T. Hornaday. 



97 



08 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— GNAWING ANIMALS 



dogs or men until the mowers found the nest 
almost under their feet. Every year one or 
two pair breed in the adjoining grounds of the 
Department of Agriculture. 

When a rabbit can have his choice of hiding- 
places, he chooses a burrow directly beneath a 
large tree, the roots of which render it difficult, or 
it may be impossible, for man or beast to dig him 
out. Crevices in rock ledges are equally good, 
but he often finds that hollow logs, hollow trees 
and brush piles only lead to swift destruction. 

He never sleeps in daylight, when enemies are 
afoot. If the Man-With-a-Gun approaches, he 
crouches low and lies as still as a stuffed rabbit, 
breathing seldom, winking never, but with legs 
all ready to spring. His keen eyes and ears 
measure every yard of his enemy's approach, 
until the dead line is crossed when — Zip! Out 
flashes a long, gray streak, — flying over logs, and 
darting through openings so swiftly that in two 
or three seconds a snow-white signal flag waves 
an adieu, and disappears. 

In summer hares and rabbits feed on green 
twigs, soft bark, buds, grass, leaves and berries. 
In winter they are forced to subsist chiefly on 
the bark of bushes and the berries of the wild 
rose. Whenever they gnaw the bark from young 
fruit-trees, it is a sign that they are hard pressed 
for food. 

Rabbits breed very rapidly, often raising three 
litters a year, and if not kept in check by birds of 
prey and carnivorous animals, would soon be- 
1 A species transplanted from one counti 



come altogether too numerous. In Australia 
and New Zealand, the rabbits "introduced" 1 
from Europe have multiplied until they have be- 
come a fearful scourge, and are now so numerous 
it is impossible even to keep them in check. 
Possibly the use of their flesh as food, and their 
skins as "fur," may lead to an abatement of the 
evil. The moral of the rabbit in Australia, the 
mongoose in the West Indies, and the English 
sparrow in America, is, before "introducing" a 
foreign species of bird or mammal into America, 
take expert advice, — and then don't do it! This 
refers to species able to live wholly by their own 
efforts when imported and set free. 

Bibliographical. 

The following popular papers are of special 
interest and value: 

On Jack Rabbits. — The Jack Rabbits of the United 
States. By Dr. T. S. Palmer; pamphlet, 88 pages. 
Bulletin No. 8, Biological Survey, Department 
of Agriculture. Washington, 1897. 

On Gophers. — The Pocket Gophers of the United 
States. By Vernon Bailey; pamphlet, 47 pages. 
Bulletin No. .5, as above, 1S9.5. 

On Prairie-Dogs. — The Prairie-Dog of the Great 
Plains. By Dr. C. Hart Merriam; pamphlet, 14 
pages. Yearbook of the Department of Agricult- 
ure, 1901. 

On Ground Squirrels. — The Prairie Ground Squirrels 
of the Mississippi Valley. By Vernon Bailey; 
pamphlet, 69 pages. Bulletin No. 4, Biological 
Survey, Department of Agriculture, 1S93. 

v to another is said to be " introduced." 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE ORDER OF HOOFED ANIMALS 

UNGULATA 



The Order which includes the hoofed animals of the world is called Un-gu-la'ta, a Latin word 
which means "hoofed." In North America, it is represented by a great variety of forms, several 
of which are of special importance. 

Before seeking to become acquainted with these animals, the student must pause long enough 
to gain a bird's-eye view of the groups into which they are divided, and thereby understand their 
relationships, clearly and correctly. 

The following diagram of arrangement is very simple, and the animals it sets forth are in some 
respects the most important in America. 

THE GROUPS OF NORTH AMERICAN HOOFED ANIMALS. 



Cattle: 

Sheep- 
Cattle and Sheep ^ Cattle . 
Family, 
or bovidaE: 

Sheep : 



Goat . 



ORDER 
UNGULATA. 

Hoofed 

Animals 

(Of North 

America only). 



Antelope Family, ) 

or ANTILOCAPRI- f 



DAE: 



Deer Family, 

or CERVIDAE: 



Round- 
Homed 
Groups : 

Flat- 
Homed 
Groups : 



Peccary Family, [ 

Or TAYASSUIDAE: * 

Tapir Family, \ 
or TAPIRIDAE: * 

THE CATTLE AND SHEEP FAMILY. 

Bo'vi-dae. 

General Characters. — The Cattle Family 
of the world contains a grand array of large ani- 
mals, such as the wild cattle, bison, buffalo, 



EXAMPLES. 



( American Bison : 
I Buffalo, 

I Musk-Ox, 

i Big-Horn, 

White Sheep, 
( Black Sheep, 

Mountain Goat, 

Prong-Horned Ante- 
lope, 

Elk, or Wapiti, 
White-Tailed Deer, 
Mule Deer, 
Black-Tailed Deer, 

Barren-Ground 

Caribou, 
Woodland Caribou, 
Moose, 

Collared Peccary, 



Dow's Tapir, 



Bos americanus. 

Ovibos moschatus. 

Ovis canadensis. 
Ovis dalli. 
Ovis stonei. 

Oreamnos montanus. 

Antilocapra americana. 

Cervus canadensis. 
Odocoileus virginianus. 
Odocoileus hemionus. 
Odocoileus columbianus. 



Rangifer arcticus. 
Rangijer caribou. 
Alces americanus. 

Tayassu tajacu. 



Tapirus dowi. 



musk-ox, mountain sheep, ibex, and wild goats. 
There are about fifty species in all, scattered 
over all continents save South America and 
Australia. All the members of this Family have 
divided hoofs, and simple horns (i.e., not branch- 
ing) consisting of a hollow sheath growing over 



99 



100 



OKDEKS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



a pointed core of very porous bone. The horns 
grow until the animal reaches old age, and are 
never shed. If knocked off by accident, the 
new horn material presently covers the horn core, 
but never succeeds in forming a perfect weapon 
like the original. Such a growth is called a 
" crumpled " horn. The members of this Family 
eat vegetable food, preferably grass and herbage, 
and have no upper front teeth. 

The American Buffalo. 
The American Bison or Buffalo. 1 — Because 
of its great size, imposing appearance, former 



complete extinction, by appropriating $15,000 
for the purpose of purchasing and establishing 
under fence in the Yellowstone Park, a herd of 
captive Buffaloes. This undertaking has very 
wisely and appropriately been placed in charge 
of the Department of Agriculture. 

At this date (1903) there are about 634 wild 
Buffaloes alive, of which about 600 inhabit a 
desolate and inhospitable region southwest of 
Great Slave Lake. In 1890, the Yellowstone 
Park herd contained about three hundred head; 
but through inadequate protection, and killing 
done by unprincipled poachers in quest of 



Dorsal^ - .Vertebrae, 13 



Lumbar Vert., 6 



Occipital >i 

Horn \ Cervical Vert., 7 \ 



Ilium 



Nasal 

Sup, 
Maxillary 



„ Sacrum, 5) 



; 1- Caudal Vert," 

H - - Ischium 
I 
I 




Pastern 

~>dian Phalanx 
Coffin Bone 



SKELETON OF AN ADULT MALE AMERICAN BISON. 



abundance and value to mankind, this is the 

most celebrated of all American hoofed animals. 

Its practical extermination in a wild state is now 

a source of universal regret. In 1902, Congress 

took the first step toward its preservation from 

1 A true " Buffalo " is an animal with no hump on 
its shoulders; and is found only in Africa and Asia. 
Our animal, having a high hump, is really a bison; 
but inasmuch as it is known to seventy-three mil- 
lions of Americans as the " Buffalo," it would be 
quite useless to attempt to bring about a universal 
change in its popular name. There is but one living 
species. 



heads to sell, to-day less than thirty buffaloes 
remain ! The weakness of the efforts to pro- 
tect that herd is a national disgrace. Through 
lack of sufficient laws and patrol service the 
poachers were permitted to rob the American 
people of a wild herd which no expenditure of 
money ever can replace. 

There were in captivity, in March, 1903, 1,119 
pure-bred Buffaloes, and the number is slowly 
increasing. Of these, the majority are in large 
private game preserves, and every zoological 



THE BUFFALO 



101 



park and garden contains as many head as it 
can properly accommodate. It is useless to give 
a list of these animals, because owners and fig- 
ures are constantly changing. 

The Buffalo breeds readily in captivity, and 
is easily cared for. The majority of captive 
animals are reasonably tractable, but occasion- 
ally an individual becomes savage and danger- 
ous, and requires either solitary confinement or 



contains one hundred and twenty-eight head of 
pure-blood animals, and the number is steadily 
increasing. The largest herd on public exhibition 
is that of the New York Zoological Park, which 
in 1903 contained thirty- four head of pure-breed 
animals representing all ages, presented by the 
Hon. William C. Whitney from his October 
Mountain preserve. 

The value of a full-grown Buffalo cow in New 




E. R. Sanborn. Phot- 



AMERICAN BISON, OR BUFFALO. 



An adult male, " Apache," of the Whitney herd. Photographed in the New York Zoological Park, near the end 

of the shedding season. 



shooting. The best place in which to exhibit 
a savage Buffalo is a museum. Full-grown 
males must be watched closely for signs of per- 
manent ill temper, and a savage Buffalo should 
be treated the same as a tiger. Frequently the 
first serious sign of danger in a Buffalo is the 
murder of a weaker member of the herd. 

The largest herd in a fenced game preserve 
is that of Blue Mountain Park, in New Hamp- 
shire, established by the late Austin Corbin. It 



York is from $400 to $500, and an adult bull 
is worth about $100 less. Exceptionally fine 
mounted heads are worth from $300 to $500. 

The Buffalo was first seen by white men in 
Anahuac, the Aztec capital of Mexico, in 1521, 
when Cortez and his men paid their first visit 
to the menagerie of King Montezuma. In its 
wild state it was first seen in southern Texas, 
in 1530, by a ship-wrecked Spanish sailor. The 
Buffalo once roamed over fully one-third of the 



102 



OEDEKS OF MAMMALS— HOOPED ANIMALS 



entire continent of North America, and its num- 
bers far exceeded those of any other large mam- 
mal of recent times. 

Not only did it inhabit the plains of the West, 
but also the hilly hard-wood forests of the Ap- 
palachian region, the northern plains of Mexico, 
the "Great American Desert," the Rocky Moun- 
tain parks on the continental divide to an eleva- 
tion of 11,000 feet, and the bleak and barren 
plains of western Canada, up to the land of the 
musk-ox. From north to south it ranged 3,600 
miles, and from east to west about 2,000 miles. 

The centre of abundance of the Buffalo was 
the Great Plains lying between the Rocky Moun- 
tains and the Mississippi valley. When the 
herds assembled there, they covered the earth 
seemingly as with one vast, brown buffalo-robe. 

It is safe to say that no man ever saw in one 
day a greater panorama of animal life than that 
unrolled before Colonel R. I. Dodge, in May, 
1871, when he drove for twenty-five miles along 
the Arkansas River, through an unbroken herd 
of Buffaloes. By my calculation, he actually saw 
on that memorable day nearly half a million 
head. It was the great southern herd, on its 
annual spring migration northward, and it must 
have contained a total of about three and one- 
half million animals. At that date, the northern 
herd contained about one and one-half millions. 
In those days, mighty hosts of Buffaloes fre- 
quently stopped or derailed railway trains, 
and obstructed the progress of boats on the Mis- 
souri and Yellowstone rivers. 

In 1869, the general herd was divided, by the 
completion of the Union Pacific Railway, into 
a "northern herd" and "southern herd." The 
latter was savagely attacked by hide hunters in 
the autumn of 1871, and by 1875, with the ex- 
ception of three very small bunches, it had 
been annihilated. 

In 1880, the completion of the Northern Pacific 
Railway led to a grand attack upon the northern 
herd. In October, 1883, the last thousand head 
were killed in southwestern Dakota, by Sitting 
Bull and about a thousand Indians from the 
Standing Rock agency, leaving only the Yellow- 
stone Park bunch of two hundred head, a band 
of forty in Custer County, Montana, and the 
Great Slave Lake herd of about five hundred 
head. 

The largest Buffalo ever measured by a nat- 



uralist is the old bull which was shot (by the 
author) on December 6, 1886, in Montana, and 
which now stands as the most prominent figure 
in the mounted group in the United States Na- 
tional Museum. A very good picture of him 
adorns the ten-dollar bill of our national currency. 
His dimensions in the flesh were as follows: 

Ft. In. 

Height at shoulders 5 8 

Length of head and bodv, to root of 

tail 10 2 

Depth of chest 3 10 

Girth, behind forelegs 8 4 

Circumference of muzzle, behind nos- 
trils 2 2 

Length of tail vertebrae 1 3 

Length of hair on shoulders 6£ 

" " " " forehead 1 4 

" " chin beard 11 J 

Estimated weight 2,100 pounds. 

The shoulder height of wild Buffaloes of vari- 
ous ages, and both sexes, as taken by me on the 
Montana buffalo range, are as follows: 

Ft. In. 

Male calf, 4 months old 2 8 

" one year old 3 5 

" two years old 4 2 

" five years old (average size) 5 6 

Female, three years old 4 5 

" eight years old 4 10 

The Buffalo begins to shed its faded and weath- 
er-beaten winter coat of hair in March, and dur- 
ing April, May and June it presents a forlorn ap- 
pearance. The old hair hangs to the body like 
fluttering rags, and at last, when it finally dis- 
appears, the body is almost bare. At this time 
the flies are very troublesome. By October, 
the new coat is of good length and color, and in 
November and December, it is at its finest. The 
animal is then warmly clad for the worst storms 
of winter, and the shaggy head is so well pro- 
tected that the animal faces all storms instead 
of drifting before them. A bull Buffalo in per- 
fect pelage is an animal of really majestic pres- 
ence, and is far more imposing in appearance 
than many animals of larger bulk, but less hair. 

The calves are born in May and June, and at 
first are of a brick-red color. This coat is shed 
in October, except in calves born late in the sea- 
son. 

The flesh of the Buffalo so closely resembles 
domestic beef of the same age and quality that it 



THE BUFFALO 



103 



is impossible for any one to distinguish a differ- 
ence. 

The future of the Buffalo depends solely upon 
the owners of the great private game preserves, 
such as that of the late Austin Corbin, and Mr. 
James J. Hill. If the perpetuation of the species 
depended solely upon the efforts possible in zoo- 
logical gardens and parks, within twenty-five 
years the species would become extinct. Even 
in a range of twenty acres, the largest in any zoo- 
logical institution, the Buffalo becomes a slug- 
gish animal, and rapidly deteriorates from the 
vigorous standard of the wild or semi-wild stock. 
In the close confinement of a thirty-acre zoologi- 
cal garden, the loss in physique is still greater. 
Mr. Arthur E. Brown, Superintendent of the 
Philadelphia Zoological Garden, and a very close 
observer, has drawn the writer's attention to the 
striking difference in size and back outline be- 
tween a Buffalo born on a great range, and an- 
other of the same age born of a line of closely 
confined ancestors. 

Interesting as have been the experiments 
made by Mr. C. J. Jones and others in the cross- 
breeding of Buffaloes and domestic cattle, it is 
now quite time that all such experiments should 
cease. It has been proven conclusively that it is 
impossible to introduce and maintain a tangible 
strain of buffalo blood into the mass of western 
range cattle. This is admitted with great regret, 
but inasmuch as it is absolutely true, the existing 
herds of Buffalo should not be further vitiated 
and degraded by the presence in them of ani- 
mals of impure blood. 

In an adult animal, the presence of domestic 
blood is readily perceived in the lower hump, 
longer tail, shorter pelage on the head, neck, 
shoulders and fore legs, and the longer and more 
slender horns. In the calf under one year of age, 
it is not always possible for even the best judges 
to detect a strain of domestic blood. In the 
year 1900, a male calf was inspected and passed 
by four men who were with good reason consid- 
ered qualified judges of the points of Buffaloes; 
but two years later that animal stood forth un- 
mistakably as a cross-breed, one-quarter domestic. 

In judging Buffaloes, the finest animals are 
those with the greatest height of hump, heaviest 
and longest pelage in front of the armpit, shortest 
tails, and horns curving with the shortest radius. 

If the recent action of the national government 



toward establishing a herd in the Yellowstone 
Park is liberally and intelligently sustained by 
future administrations, it will go far toward per- 
petuating the species for a century. But it 
should be conceded at the beginning that the 
effort can succeed only by giving the animals a 
great area to roam over at will. In addition to 
that herd, however, another should immediately 
be established in the Plains region, in a fenced 
reservation of not less than 100 square miles, with 
choice grazing, water and ravine shelters. It is 
only by such methods that the American people 
can in a small measure atone for the annihila- 
tion of the great herds between 1870 and 1885, 
and the subsequent brutal slaughter by poachers 
of the Yellowstone Park herd of three hundred 
head. 

On March 1, 1903, Dr. Frank Baker com- 
pleted a count of all the pure-blood captive 
Buffaloes alive at that date, with the following 
result: 

Captive Buffaloes: 

In the United States 969 

In Canada 41 

In Europe 109 

1,119 

Wild Buffaloes (estimated): 

In the United States 34 

In Canada GOO 634 

1,753 
The Musk-Ox. 

The Musk-Ox 1 is an inhabitant of the frozen 
Xorth, the land of snow and ice, of howling 
storms and treeless desolation. In 1901, Com- 
mander Peary killed a specimen within half a 
mile of the most northerly point of land in the 
world, — the northeastern extremity of Greenland. 

How this animal finds food of any kind during 
the dark and terrible arctic winter, is yet one of 
the secrets of Nature. After making all possible 
allowance for the grass, willow and saxifrage 
obtainable by pawing through the snow, and on 
ridge-crests that are swept bare by the blizzards, 
it is still impossible to explain how the Musk- 
Ox herds find sufficient food in winter, not only 
to sustain life, but actually to be well-fed. 

I gaze upon each living Musk-Ox to be seen 
1 O'vi-bos mos-cha'tus. 



104 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



in captivity with a feeling of wonder, as if it were 
a creature from another world. There are times, 
also, when I wonder whether many of the visit- 
ors who see them quietly munching their clover 
hay, appreciate the effort that has been put forth 
to capture them in the remote and desolate re- 
gions of the far North, keep them alive, and bring 
them to civilization for public exhibition. 

The Musk-Ox is one of the strangest of all our 
large animals, and its appearance is so odd and 
striking that when once seen by an observant 
person it is not easily forgotten. In it one sees 
an oblong mass of very long and wavy brown 
hair, 4J feet high by 65 feet long, supported upon 




YOUNG FEMALE MUSK-OX. 
In the New York Zoological Park, 1902. 

very short and post-like legs that are half hidden 
by the sweeping pelage of the body. The three- 
inch tail is so very small and short it is quite 
invisible. There is a blunt and hairy muzzle, 
round and shining eyes, but the ears are almost 
invisible. 

The whole top of the head is covered by a pair 
of horns enormously flattened at the base, and 
meeting each other in the centre line of the fore- 
head. From the meeting point they sweep 
downward over the edge of the cranium, close to 
the cheeks, but finally recurve upward before 
coming to a point, like the waxed mustache of 
a boulevardier. 

The iris of the Musk-Ox is of a chocolate brown 



color, the pupils are elongated, and bluish-purple. 
The lips and tip of the tongue are also bluish- 
purple. 

The outer hair is a foot or more in length, and 
often touches the snow when the animal walks. 
In the middle of the back is a broad "saddle- 
mark," of shorter, dull-gray hair. Next to the 
body is a woolly coat of very fine, soft, light brown 
hair, very clean, and so dense that neither cold 
nor moisture can penetrate it. This is for 
warmth. The longer and coarser hair that grows 
through it is the storm-coat, to shed rain and 
snow. Our first Musk-Ox began to shed its 
woolly under-coat on April 10. On April 26, it 
was loose all over the body, and beginning to 
hang in rags; therefore, for both the comfort 
and the appearance of the animal, we threw her 
upon the ground, held her securely, and combed 
it all out. It was very fine, curly, free from oil, 
and the entire mass weighed six pounds. 

Although known for more than a century, the 
Musk-Ox is one of the last of the large land mam- 
mals of the world to come into captivity for pub- 
lic exhibition, and it was not until 1900 that its 
soft anatomy was studied for the first time. 

Anatomically, this animal presents a few 
sheep-like features. By some writers their im- 
portance has been so much exaggerated that the 
name "Musk-Sheep" has been proposed as a 
substitute for Musk-Ox. But the sheep-like 
characters are insignificant in comparison with 
those that are clearly ox-like. 1 

Two species have been described. That of the 
Barren Grounds of the mainland of North Amer- 
ica has long been known as Ovibos moschatus. 
In 1901, the animal of Greenland and northern 
Grinnell Land was described as Ovibos ivardi, the 
White-Fronted Musk-Ox, because of a band of 
gray or dirty-white hair, extending across the top 
of its head. 

Although this animal is called a Musk-Ox, it 
has neither the odor nor taste of musk, and its 
flesh is excellent food. General Greely, Com- 
mander Peary and many other explorers have 
feasted on its flesh. In their native desolation, 
these animals go in herds of from twenty to fifty 
head, are easily brought to bay by dogs, and 
under such circumstances they stupidly stand 

1 See E. Lonnbergl on the Anatomy of the Musk-Ox, 
in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of Lon- 
don, 1900. 



THE MUSK-OX 



105 



facing their enemies until killed. This habit, so 
fatal in the presence of man, is all that saves the 
herds from being exterminated by the hordes of 
big white wolves which infest the Barren Grounds. 

General A. W. Greely states that the aver- 
age weight of ten Musk-Oxen, dressed, was 360 
pounds, while the heaviest weighed 432 pounds. 
This would indicate an average live weight of 
404 pounds, and a maximum live weight of 
604 pounds. 

The accompanying map shows the range of 



Natural History Museum of Stockholm, made 
important and valuable contributions to the life 
history of Ovibos wardi. On the barren, rocky 
hillsides and level upland pastures surrounding 
Scoresby Sound and Liverpool Bay, from lati- 
tude 70° to about latitude 74°, the expedition 
found Musk-Oxen in herds of from three to 
sixty-seven individuals, until the total number 
observed amounted to between two hundred and 
thirty and two hundred and forty. For the first 
time, this remarkable species was photographed 




RANGE OF THE MUSK-OX. 

Heavy black spots signify actual occurrences. The dotted area indicates the probable range of the genus. 
The species north of Great Slave Lake is Ovibos moschatus, and that of Greenland and Grant Land is the 
"White-Fronted Musk-Ox, Ovibos wardi. 



the Musk-Ox, the southern limit of which is 64°. 
During the last fifteen years whole herds have 
been killed in the Barren Grounds north of Great 
Slave and Great Bear Lakes, at Lady Franklin 
Bay, and on the eastern and northeastern coasts 
of Greenland. 

During the year 1899, a Swedish scientific ex- 
pedition to the east coast of Greenland, under 
the leadership of Prof. A. G. Nathorst, of the 



in its wild haunts, by Prof. Nathorst, Mr. Johan- 
nes Madsen and Mr. E. Nilson, and with very 
gratifying success. Of these pictures the most 
perfect is that which shows the leader of the ex- 
pedition closely approaching a herd. 

Prof. Nathorst states that to the leeward of a 
herd, the odor of the animals was noticeable at 
a distance of 100 metres, but that when a freshly- 
slain animal is promptly and properly eviscerated, 



106 



OKDEKS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



the flesh is free from musky flavors, and very 
good. 

One of the most important discoveries of the 
expedition was the fact that the region visited 
had once been inhabited by Eskimo, but their 
kitchen-middens contained no remains of Musk- 
Ox, from which, and from other evidence, Prof. 
Nathorst concludes that the presence of that ani- 
mal on the eastern coast of Greenland is due to 



ing Island, on the east coast of Greenland. Both 
were purchased by the Duke of Bedford. 

In 1900, thirteen living specimens were capt- 
ured on the eastern coast of Greenland, between 
Latitude 70° and 74° and taken alive to Europe. 

One male in Woburn Park, England, owned 
by the Duke of Bedford, survived until 1903. 

Of the specimens mentioned above, the follow- 
ing were alive in December, 1903: 





.**■-■ . 



Reproduced by permission of A. G. Nathorst. 

WILD MUSK-OX HERD AT FRANZ JOSEPH FJORD, E. GREENLAND, 1S99. 
The figure in the foreground is that, of Prof. Nathorst. Photographed by E. Nilson, Lat. 73° 30'. 



a southward migration along the coast which has 
taken place since 1823.' 

A complete count of all the living Musk-Ox 
specimens that thus far have reached Europe 
and the United States should be entered here. 

In 1S99, a Swedish expedition carried to 
Europe two male specimens captured on Claver- 

1 See Le Loup jiolaire el le Boeuf Musgue, par A . G. 
Nathorst, Bulletin de la Societe Geograplhe, Paris. 
1901. 



One male in the Copenhagan Zoological Gar- 
den ; 

One male in the Berlin Zoological Garden; 

Three in Norrland, Sweden (one male and two 
females), practically at liberty on pasture closely 
resembling their Greenland home. 

Of the other specimens, five died in Antwerp 
when very small, and three in Sweden, in wild 
pastures. 

In March, 1902, the New York Zoological 



THE MOUNTAIN SHEEP 



107 



Park received, as a gift from Mr. William C. Whit- 
ney, a female Musk-Ox twenty-one months old, 
captured on the Barren Grounds north of Great 
Bear Lake, about Latitude 69°. This specimen 
died of acute pneumonia on August 16, 1002. 

In September, 1902, a very small female Musk- 
Ox calf, captured by Commander Robert E. 
Peary, at Fort Conger (Latitude 81°), was re- 
ceived in the New York Zoological Park, as a gift 
from the Peary Arctic Club. It died in October. 

In 1903 (July) five Musk-Ox calves, one male 
and four females, arrived at Tromsoe, Norway, 
from Greenland, and were offered for sale to zoo- 
logical gardens generally. 

The first specimen exhibited in the New York 
Zoological Park, in 1902, was captured in March, 
1901, thirty miles from the Arctic Ocean, directly 
north of Great Bear Lake, by a party of Eskimo 
hunters and whalers sent by Captain H. H. Bod- 
fish, from the steam whaler Beluga. Its price, 
delivered in New York in good health, was SI, 600. 
When two years old it stood 3 feet 2 inches high 
at the shoulders, and was 4 feet 10 inches in 
length. Its food was clover hay, raw carrots or 
potatoes, a little green grass when in season, and 
occasionally a few apples. 

The Mountain Sheep. 

High on the mountain's frowning crest, 

Where lines of rugged cliff stand forth, 
Where Nature bravely bares her breast 

To snowy whirlwinds from the north ; 
High in the clouds and mountain storms, 

Where first the autumn snows appear, 
Where last the breath of springtime warms, 

— There dwells my gallant mountaineer. 

And truly he is a gallant mountaineer. Wher- 
ever found, the mountain sheep is a fine, sturdy 
animal, keen-eyed, bold, active and strong. It 
fears no storm, and defies all enemies save man 
and domestic sheep. From the former it re- 
ceives bullets, from the latter, disease. Whether 
its home is the highest crags of the saw-tooth 
ranges, the boldest rim-rock of the mountain 
plateaus, or the most rugged "bad-lands," it is 
always found amid the scenery that is grandest 
and most inspiring. 

In summer, its favorite pastures are the tree- 
less slopes above timber-line, where, on our 
northern mountains, grasses and wild flowers 



grow in astonishing profusion. When the raging 
storms and deep snows of winter drive the elk 
and deer down into the valleys for shelter and 
food, the mountain sheep makes no perceptible 
change in altitude. 

.ill the year round, this animal is well fed, and 
its savory flesh invites constant pursuit by the 
mountain lion, and by hunters both white and 
red. The massive, curving horns and hand- 
some head of the adult ram, taken amid grand 
mountain scenery, with much difficulty and no 
little danger, constitute, in my judgment, one of 
the finest trophies that a true sportsman can win. 
But it must be clean, and not haunted by the 
ghosts of slaughtered ewes and lambs! One 
of the greatest days of my life was that on 
which I pursued and killed, alone, amid the 
grandeur of the Shoshone Mountains, my first 
big mountain ram. It was then that I learned 
how much a mountain sheep needs to be seen 
in its native cloudland in order to be fully appre- 
ciated. It is an animal for which my admira- 
tion is as boundless as the glories of its moun- 
tain home. 

The mountain sheep is a bold and even reck- 
less climber. It is robust and strong on its legs, 
yet active withal, and capable of feats of en- 
durance that really are astonishing. It can- 
not, and never did, "leap from a height, and 
alight upon its horns," — save by some neck- 
breaking accident. When pursued it can, how- 
ever, dash down an appalling declivity, touching 
here and there, and land in safety, when to the 
observer it seems certain to be dashed to death. 
The young are born in May or June, above 
timber-line if possible, among the most danger- 
ous and inaccessible crags and precipices that 
the mother can find. Her idea is to have her 
offspring begin its life in places so steep and 
dangerous that a very slight effort on its part will 
suffice to keep it beyond the reach of foes. The 
lamb's most dangerous enemy is the eagle, 
against which the mother successfully guards it. 
Except the burrhel and aoudad, any adult 
mountain sheep, from either the Old World or 
the New, can readily be recognized by its mas- 
sive, round-curving horns, which, when seen 
in profile, describe from one-half to three-fourths 
of a circle, or more. No wild animals other than 
wild sheep have circling horns. The largest spe- 
cies of wild sheep are found in Asia, and are 



108 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



known respectively as the argali, and Marco 
Polo's sheep. The horns of the argali are the 
greatest in size and weight, and those of Marco 
Polo's sheep have the widest spread. 

Six species of mountain sheep arc found in 



has been known for exactly a century, and it is 
the species which is most widely known in Ameri- 
ca. Once quite abundant throughout the Rocky 
Mountains from Mexico to Latitude 60° in north- 
ern British Columbia, it has been so persistently 




KNOWN DISTRIBUTION OF MOUNTAIN SHEEP 
IN NORTH AMERICA IN 1903. 

The black dots represent actual observations. 

1. Big-Horn Sheep, (Ovis canadensis). 

2. Mexican Sheep, (0. mexicanus). 

3. Nelson's Sheep, (0. nelsoni). 

4. White Sheep, (0. dalli). 

5. Black Sheep, (0. stonei). 

6. Fannin's Sheep, (0. jannini). 

North America, of which five have been 
described since 1883. They are scat- 
tered from the northern states of Mexico 
through the Rocky Mountains almost 
to the shore of the Arctic Ocean, and 
throughout one-half of Alaska, a range 
fully 3,600 miles long. The accompanying 
map shows actual occurrences of the va- 
rious species during the past twelve years. hunted and slain that now it exists only in small 

Of our six species, four are so interesting they bands, in widely-separated localities. In most 
deserve separate notice. of our western states and territories, the killing 

The Big-Horn, or Rocky Mountain Sheep, 1 of Mountain Sheep is now prohibited for a term 
1 O'vis can-a-den'sis. of years, and it is hoped that these laws will be 



185 



110 



ORDERS OR MAMMALS— HOORED ANIMALS 



enforced and respected. Wherever they are ig- 
nored, the wild sheep are doomed to extinction. 

The general color of the Big-Horn is gray 
brown, with a large white or cream-yellow patch 
on the hind quarters, completely surrounding 
the tail. A large ram killed by the author in the 
Shoshone Mountains, Wyoming, on November 
10, 1SS9, stood 40 inches high at the shoulders, 
was 58 inches in length from end of nose to root 
of tail; its tail was 3 inches long, and its weight 
was about 300 pounds. Although the snow on 
its wild pasture was knee deep, and the sheep 
were pawing through it to reach the tallest blades 
of dry grass, they were as well fed and fat as if 
they had been feeding at a manger. 

The largest horns of this species ever taken are 



male specimen from Lower California, fifteen 
months old, which in 1902 was exhibited in the 
New York Zoological Park was as follows : 

Height, 29 inches. 

Length, head and body, 39£ inches. 

Tail, 3 inches. 

Length of horn, 10 inches. 

Spread at tips, \3{ inches. 

Weight of animal, 65 pounds. 

Cause of death, pneumonia. 

In the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, is found 
the Mexican Mountain Sheep,~ in color much 
like the Californian species, but larger, and with 
large ears. The horns of a fine old ram, killed 
by Mr. Charles Sheldon, measured 16-j inches in 
basal circumference. 




Copyright, 1902, by Harry Pidgeon. 
HEAD OF WHITE MOUNTAIN SHEEP. 
Shot and photographed on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, by Harry Pidgeon. 



said to measure 1S.V inches in circumference, and 
52^ inches in length on the curve ; but any horns 
which are 14 inches in basal circumference may 
be considered large. All female wild sheep 
have horns, but they are small, short, erect and 
much flattened. They vary in length from 5 to 
8 inches. 

Southward of the range of the Big-Horn are 
found two new species which appear to be off- 
shoots of it. In southern California and the 
peninsula of Lower California is found the 
California, or Nelson's Mountain Sheep, 1 a 
smaller animal than the big horn, short haired, 
and of a pale salmon-gray color. The size of the 
1 O'vis nel'son-i. 



The White Mountain Sheep, or Dall's 
Sheep, 3 of Alaska, discovered and described 
by E. W. Nelson in 1SS4, is an animal of very 
striking appearance. When its hair has not 
been stained by mud or dirt, it is everywhere 
pure white, and its horns have a yellowish, am- 
ber-like appearance. From May to September, 
during the shedding period, the hair is so short 
and so often stained by reddish earth, that the 
skin is almost worthless as a trophy. From Oc- 
tober to February, however, the pelage is very 
long and thick, and snow white. This species 
is noticeably smaller than the Big-Horn, and 
the horns arc smaller and more slender in pro- 
2 O'vis mex-ircan'us. '■' O'vis dall'i. 



112 



OEDERS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



portion. A large adult ram measures 39 
inches high at the shoulder, and the ewe 334 
inches. 

By reference to the map, it will be seen that 
this species is very widely distributed throughout 
Alaska and the Yukon Territory. Ten years 
ago it was abundant on the Kenai Peninsula, 
and the head of Cook Inlet, but many have been 
killed, and the number greatly reduced. Re- 
cently Congress has passed a law protecting 
not only the White Sheep, but all the large game 
animals of Alaska. 

The Black Mountain Sheep, or Stone's 
Sheep, 1 of northern British Columbia, is dis- 
tinguishable by the wide spread of its horns, the 
dark-brown color of its sides and upper parts 
generally, and white abdomen. It is of the 
same size as the white sheep, but the two species 
together form a striking contrast. The precise 
range of the Black Sheep is south of the head 
waters of the Stickeen River. Although this 
species and the white sheep have not yet been 
found inhabiting the same locality, it is probable 
that they will be, and we have ventured to show 
both in one plate. 

Fannin's Mountain Sheep 2 is also a new 
species, found first on the Klondike River, Yu- 
kon Territory, in 1900. It is about the size of 
the white sheep, and has a snow-white head, 
neck, and tail-patch, and a bluish-gray body, like 
a white sheep covered with a gray blanket. It 
1 O'vis stone'i. i 0. fan'nin-i. 



also has a blue-gray tail, and a band of brown 
running down the front of each leg. The first 
specimen was sent from Dawson City to the 
Provincial Museum at Victoria, B. C, in 1900, 
and since then others have reached New York. 

In the table below are given the measure- 
ments in inches of some of the largest and finest 
wild sheep horns with which I am personally 
acquainted. 

Origin of American Mountain Sheep. — 
It seems highly probable that a number of spe- 
cies of North American mammals and birds 
were acquired by immigration from the Old 
World. Of this there is no stronger evidence 
than that furnished by the genus Ovis, which 
was cradled in the mountains of Central Asia. 
Western Mongolia and Thibet have produced the 
colossal Argali, the wonderful, wide-horned Polo 
sheep and the robust Siar sheep. 

As the genus spread southward, it produced 
the small Urial and Burrhel, and stopped short 
at the northern edge of the super-heated plains 
of India. But northward, its fate was very dif- 
ferent. From the place of its nativity, — let us 
say the Altai Mountains, — there stretches north- 
eastward through Siberia and Kamchatka, Alas- 
ka, and British Columbia to northern Mexico a 
practically unbroken range of mountain sheep, 
7,500 miles long. From northern India to north- 
ern Mexico, the species stand in the following 
order: burrhel and urial; Argali and Polo's 
sheep; Siar sheep; Kamchatkan sheep; white 



MEASUREMENTS OF MOUNTAIN SHEEP HORNS. 



Siberian Argali, Ovis ammon, . Central Asia, 

Marco Polo's 
Sheep, . . . Ovis poll, . . Central Asia, 

Siar Sheep, . . Ovis siarensis, Central Asia, 

Big-Horn, . . Ovis canadcn- I British Co- 
sis, . . . \ lumbia, 

Ovis stonei, . I British Co- 



Black Sheep, 
White Sheep, 



\ lumbia, 

Ovis dalli, . . I Kenai Pen., 
\ Alaska, 

Mexican Sheep, Ovis mexica- ) Chihuahua, 
nus, . . . \ Mexico, . 



BASAL LENGTH 

CIRCUM- ON OUTER SPREAD. 
FERENCE. CURVE. 



194 



59| 



40 



W. T. Hornadav. 



154 


594 


39 


Robert Gilfort 


15* 


m 


304 


W. T. H. 


164 1 


404 


17 


G. O. Shields. 


141 


324 


28i 


Unknown. 


12f 


384 


234 


W. T. H. 


164 


35 


181 


Charles Sheldo 



1 Circumference half way between base and tip, 16 inches ! Weight, skull and horns, 38 lbs. 




Painted by C. 



ROCKY MOUNTAIN liOAT. 



114 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 




HORNS OF ASIATIC AND AMERICAN MOUNTAIN SHEEP. 

1. Siberian Argali. No. 1 in list on page 112. 

2. Marco Polo's Sheep. A specimen of medium length, only. 

3. Big-Horn. No. 4 in list. A very large pair. 

4. White Sheep. No. 5 in list ; of unusual length. 

sheep; black sheep; Big-Horn; Nelson's and 
Mexican sheep. 

It requires no stretch of the imagination to 
behold Bering Strait choked with the great polar 
iee-pack, and hardy, strong-limbed bears, wolves, 
mountain sheep and reindeer crossing over the 
sixty miles that now separate Asia from Alaska, 
and spreading in all directions over North Amer- 
ica. I fully believe that the parent stock of our 
mountain sheep, caribou, moose, wolves and 
bears came from Asia by this route. 

The Rocky Mountain Goat, or White Goat, 1 
1 O-re am'nos mon-tan'us. 



is the only American represent- 
ative of the numerous species 
of wild goats, ibexes and other 
goat-like animals so numerous 
throughout the Old World 
from Japan to India, southern 
Europe and northern Africa. 
Thus far with but one excep- 
tion all the rumors of "ibex" 
thathave come from Wyoming, 
Colorado, Montana and Brit- 
ish Columbia have proven en- 
tirely without foundation. In 
one case a Colorado hunter 
discovered a small band of 
once-tame goats running wild 
and reported it to Recreation 
magazine, with a photograph 
of amounted specimen. While 
it is possible that a genuine 
Capra may yet be found 
inhabiting some unexplored 
region, like the Romanzoff 
Mountains, such an occur- 
rence is very improbable. 

The only use or value thus 
far found 
Goat is as 

men who like difficult and 
dangerous tasks. With but 
few exceptions, it inhabits 
the grassy belt of the high 
mountains just above tim- 
ber-line, and it particularly 
loves the dangerous ice-cov- 
ered slopes and "hog-backs" 
over which only the boldest 
hunters dare follow it. This, 
however, specially applies to its haunts in the 
Rocky Mountains, and the Coast Range. On 
the coast of British Columbia, the White Goat 
sometimes descends so near to tide water that 
more than one specimen has been shot from a 
canoe. 

For a large Ungulate, the Mountain Goat is 
said to be phenomenally stupid. It is quite true 
that any hunter who has the nerve and strength 
to climb to where it lives will there find no great 
difficulty in killing it. From all accounts, it is 
both erratic and stupid. Several times goats 
have approached the camp-fires of explorers, and 



in the Mountain 
game" for sports- 



THE MOUNTAIN goat 



115 



on one occasion an individual whose "partner" 
had been shot deliberately sat down, dog-like, 
thirty yards away and watched the hunter skin 
and cook a portion of his mate. In Idaho two 
miners killed a large Mountain Goat with an axe. 
While exploring in Alaska, unarmed, a member 
of the United States Geological Survey was once 
vigorously attacked by an old male goat, which 
attempted to drive him from a narrow mountain 
path. 

The White Goat is quite as odd in appearance 
as in mind and habit. Judging merely from its 
appearance an observer would be justified in 
considering it a slow, clumsy creature, safe only 
upon level ground. Instead of being so, it is 
the most expert and daring rock-climber of all 
American hoofed animals. Its hoofs are small, 
angular and very compact, and consist of an 
ingenious combination of rubber-pad inside and 
knife-edge outside, to hold the owner equally 
well on snow, ice or bare rock. 

Professor L. L. Dyche declares that Mountain 
Goats will cross walls of rock which neither man, 
dog nor mountain sheep would dare attempt to 
pass. He has seen them cross the face of a preci- 
pice of apparently smooth rock, to all appearances 
entirely devoid of ledges or shelves of any kind, 
and so nearly perpendicular that it seemed an 
impossibility for any creature with hoofs to 
maintain a footing upon it. And yet, the goats 
not only passed safely across, but they did it 
with perfect composure, frequently looking back, 
and turning around whenever they saw fit to do 
so. 

In general outline this animal has the form of 
a pigmy American bison, and were its pelage 
dark brown instead of pure white, the external 
resemblance would indeed be striking. It has 
high shoulders, low hind-quarters, stocky legs, 
a thick-set body, and shaggy pelage. Its head 
is carried low, the crown seldom rising above 
the upper line of the shoulders arid back, and the 
face is too long for beauty. The horns are so 
small, short and severely plain they are neither 
beautiful nor imposing. 

The weight of this animal is about that of the 
Virginia deer. The shoulder height of a good 
average size male is 37 inches, length of head and 
body, 6G inches, tail, 4 inches, and girth 51 inches 
(L. L. Dyche). The females average about one- 
fourth smaller. Except in length and color of 



pelage the Mountain Goat is clad after the style 
of the musk-ox. Next to the skin it wears a 
dense coat of fine wool, through and far beyond 
which grows a long, outside thatch of coarse hair. 
When free from dirt, both these coats are yellow- 
ish-white, and contain no patches of color. Be- 
hind each horn is a peculiar bare patch of black, 
oily skin, the size of a half-dollar. The horns 
are small, smooth, very sharp-pointed, jet black, 
and the longest on record measure 11^ inches. 
The cannon bone is proportionately the shortest 
to be found in any large ungulate. 

Professor Dyche thinks this animal is not 
likely to be exterminated very soon, chiefly be- 
cause of its inaccessibility, its lack of beauty as 
a trophy, and the expenditure of time, money 
and muscle that is necessary to win within gun- 
shot of it. Its flesh is so musky and dry that it 
is not palatable to white men save when they 
are exceedingly hungry, and its skin has no com- 
mercial value. Nevertheless, in the United 
States, the White Goat has been so much sought 
by sportsmen and others who like difficult hunt- 
ing that now it is found only in Washington, 
Idaho and northwestern Montana. Northward 
of our boundary, it is scattered very thinly, and 
at long intervals, throughout British Columbia 
and Alaska as far as the head of Cook Inlet. 

In 1900 a new species was discovered on Cop- 
per River, Alaska, and named Kennedy's 
Mountain Goat. It is marked very plainly by 
horns that are no longer, but are more slender, 
more strongly ringed, and spread farther at the 
tips than those of the original species. 

Up to the year 1903, only four white goats 
had ever been exhibited alive in the United 
States east of the Rocky Mountains. Of these, 
two were shown at Boston in 1899, and two are 
now alive in the Philadelphia Zoological Gar- 
dens. As might be expected, it is a difficult mat- 
ter to keep such creatures alive and in good health 
on the Atlantic coast. In 1902 a very fine adult 
male specimen was on exhibition in the London 
Gardens. 

PRONG-HORNED ANTELOPE FAMILY. 

Antilocapridae. 

This unique Family of one species and one 
subspecies, must not be confused nor in any way 
connected with the large and important group of 
African antelopes, which contains a grand array 



116 



ORDEES OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



of animals of all sizes, many of them odd, and 
many of them noted for their beauty. The stu- 
dent who has a special liking for the large hoofed 
animals surely will find pleasure in making 
the acquaintance of such superb creatures as 
the sable antelope, the koodoo, the water-buck, 
the eland, the oryx, the gnu, the pallah, and the 
hartebeest of Africa. We have reason to envy 
Africa her exclusive possession of all those fine 
creatures, not to mention her other hoofed ani- 
mals, great and small. 

The Prong-Horned Antelope 1 is found only 



cent bullet flies true to the mark, it will destroy 
an animal more wonderful than the rarest or- 
chid that ever bloomed. 

Remember the ages which Nature has spent 
in fashioning this wonderful combination of keen 
eye, fleet foot and graceful limb, and preserving 
it from the extermination which overtook the 
great reptiles, rhinoceroses, and toothed birds of 
the vast inland sea now known as the Uintah 
Basin. Surely this animal is worth perpetual 
protection at our hands, rather than needless, 
cruel and inexcusable slaughter. It cannot 




Painted by Carl Rungius 



PRONG-HORNED ANTELOPE. 



in North America, and it possesses so many ana- 
tomical peculiarities, found in no other animal, 
that zoologists have created for it a separate 
Family, which it occupies in solitary state. It 
is like an island in a vast sea, unrelated. Let 
him who hereafter may be tempted, either law- 
fully or unlawfully, to raise a death-dealing rifle 
against one of these beautiful prairie rovers, 
remember two things before he pulls the trigger: 
In this land of plenty, no man really needs this 
creature's paltry pounds of flesh ; and if his two- 
1 An-ti-lo-cap'ra americana. 



be perpetuated by breeding in captivity; and 
unless preserved in a wild state, it will become 
extinct. 

Behold the list of characters, in which this 
animal differs from all other antelopes: Al- 
though its horns grow over a bony core, they are 
shed and renewed every year; the horn bears a 
prong, and is placed directly over the eye: the 
feet have no "dew-claws"; the hair consists of a 
hollow tube filled with pith, coarse, harsh, straw- 
like and easily broken; and all the hair on the 
rump is fully erectile, like the bristles of swine. 



THE PKONG-HOBNED ANTELOPE 



117 



135° 



50 



30 



When fighting, or alarmed, this white hair is 
instantly thrown up, and on a fleeing animal it 
forms a dangerously conspicuous and inviting 
mark. To my mind, the white rump-patch of 
the Prong-Horn is one of Nature's errors. It 
enables a pursuer to mark the animal long after 
it should really become invisible. 

The Prong-Horned Antelope is next in size to 
the smaller species of our 
mountain sheep. It is smaller 
than the white-tailed deer of 
the north, but as large as the 
southern forms. The largest 
specimen in the Zoological 
Park herd measures 37-j inches 
high at the shoulders, has a 
head and body length of 
47J inches, tail, 3$ inches, 
and chest circumference of 35 
inches. Its horns are 12-J- inches 
long and 12 \ inches wide be- 
tween the tips. The longest 
horns on record are 17 inches 
in length, but any that meas- 
ure 12 inches may fairly be 
considered large. The female 
has no horns. 

The colors of this animal 
are usually two, consisting of 
a cloak of light yellowish- 
brown thrown over the back 
and neck of an otherwise 
white animal. On the throat the brown is laid 
on in a curious collar-like pattern, and the adult 
males usually have a wash of black on their 
cheeks. The ears are very shapely, and from 
the neck an erect mane rises from four to five 
inches in length. The legs are exceedingly 
trim and delicately formed, and the erect horns 
and high pose of the head give the animal a very 
jaunty appearance. 

In running it has three very distinct gaits. 
When fleeing from danger, it carries its head low, 
like a running sheep, and gallops by long leaps ; 
when showing off, it holds its head as high as 
possible, and trots forward with stiff legs, and 
long strides, like German soldiers doing the goose- 
step. Occasionally, it gallops with high head, 
by stiff-legged leaps, like the mule deer. 

In captivity the Prong-Horn is always affec- 
tionate, trustful, and very fond of being noticed ; 



but the bucks soon become too playful with their 
sharp horns, and push their human friends about 
until the play becomes more dangerous than 
amusing. They readily come at call, and at 
times become very playful with each other. 
They cannot live on the rich, green grasses of the 
country east of the Great Plains, and are very 
difficult to keep in captivity. At the New York 



120 



20 




20 



DISTRIBUTION OF THE PRONG-HORNED ANTELOPE IN 1903. 



Zoological Park it has been found that they sur- 
vive and breed only when kept in a paved corral, 
and fed on rolled oats, clover hay, and a very 
limited amount of fresh grass. Those who have 
attempted to preserve and breed the Prong-Horn 
in captivity have met with many discourage- 
ments, and failure has been the result of many 
experiments that deserved success. At present, 
our herd seems well established, and on June 2, ' 
1903, two fawns were born. 

Owing to the extreme difficulty of maintaining 
this species in captivity, its total extinction at 
an early date seems absolutely certain, unless 
it is fully and permanently protected in a wild 
state, on its native ranges, for a long period. 
To-day it exists only in small, isolated bands, 
widely scattered, in a few localities in Montana, 
Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, New Mex- 
ico, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Califor- 



118 



OEDERS OP MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



nia. In all these states save three its destruc- 
tion has been absolutely prohibited for periods 
ranging from five to ten years, and it is hoped 
and believed that all will very shortly provide 
for its absolute protection. But has protec- 
tion come to this species early enough to save 
it? It is very doubtful. Says Mr. A. G. Walli- 
han, in Outdoor Life, "Look at the Antelope! 
But I don't know whether you can find any to 
look at; for I don't think there are 50 in Routt 
County [Colorado], where ten years ago there 
were probably 50,000. They have almost com- 
pletely disappeared here. No doubt a small 
herd of a thousand or so went north into Wyo- 
ming, but they will fare no better there." 

The destruction of this beautiful and interest- 
ing creature is now absolutely inexcusable, and 
for the good name of Americans generally it is 
to be hoped that wherever a wild Prong-Horned 
Antelope is now to be found, public sentiment 
will protect it more powerfully and more per- 
manently than can any statute law. 

THE DEER FAMILY. 

Cervidae. 

General Observations. — The Deer Family 
is well represented on all continents, and on all 
large islands, save Africa, Australia and New 
Zealand. There are about forty-five well-de- 
fined species, and many subspecies. With but 
one or two exceptions, the species found in the 
tropics and subtropics are scantily antlered, dull 
in color, and covered with coarse, thin hair. 
There is but one tropical deer which is really 
beautiful, and that is the axis, or spotted deer, 
of India and Ceylon. 

The following facts regarding the deer of the 
world are worth remembering: 

The American Moose is the largest member of 
the Deer Family, living or extinct.' 

The American Elk, or Wapiti, is the largest 
and finest of all the round-horned deer. 

The Axis Deer is the most beautiful in color 
of all deer. 

The Moose has the heaviest and most massive 
antlers, with the widest spread. 

Male deer of most species have solid antlers, 
of bone, branching into several tines. 

Deer shed their antlers, and renew them com- 
pletely, every year. 



The young of nearly all round-horned deer are 
spotted at birth. 

All adult male deer are dangerous in the mating 
season, when their antlers are new and perfect. 

The female Caribou is the only female deer 
with antlers. 

The best deer to keep in captivity in a park is 
the Fallow Deer, of Europe; and outside of its 
own home, the worst is the Columbian Black-Tail. 

Except as already stated, nearly every coun- 
try in the world is provided with representa- 
tives of the Deer Family, according to conditions. 
Nature has fitted the caribou to live in the awful 
lands of desolation in the far north, and the 
moose in the forests fringing the Arctic bar- 
rens. The elk is fashioned for the plains, the 
foothills and open-timbered mountains of west- 
ern America and central Asia. The white- 
tailed deer skulks in safety through the thickest 
forests of temperate North America, and in 
India and the far East the axis deer, the sam- 
bar, and the tiny muntjac, with only one or two 
tines on each antler, have been formed to slip 
through the tangled jungles with ease and safety. 

North America has the good fortune to be rich 
in Cervidae. It has six prominent types, and 
at this date (1903), a full count reveals twenty- 
four recognized species and subspecies, which 
form a group combining the grand, the beautiful 
and the picturesque, and of very decided value 
to man. In the exploration and settlement of 
the United States, and the exploration of Alaska 
and the far North, the wild herds have played an 
important part. 

The unvarying distinctive mark by which any 
American representative of the Deer Family can 
be recognized is the presence on the male of solid 
horns of bone, called antlers, which are shed once 
a year, close down to the skull, and are fully re- 
newed by rapidly growing out in a soft state called 
"the velvet." When fully grown, the antlers 
branch several times; but the first pair, which 
are grown during the second year, are only two 
straight and slender spikes, called "dag antlers." 
The grouping of animals with antlers brings 
together in the Deer Family not only the true 
deer, but also the moose and caribou. 

Shedding and Renewal of Antlers. — At 
this point it is necessary to emphasize certain 
facts regarding the antlers of deer, elk, moose 
and caribou. 



THE DEER FAMILY 



119 



Many persons find it difficult to believe that 
the antlers of all these creatures drop off close 
to the skull, every year, and are completely re- 
newed in about four months; but such is the 
fact. It is Nature's special plan to absorb the 



seems incredible — unless watched from week to 
week — that the enormous antlers of full-grown 
moose or elk can be dropped and completely re- 
newed again in as short a period as four months; 
but it is true. 






"31 






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1. March 21. 
3. April 30. 



DO ELK SHED THEIB ANTLERS ? " 
An answer from the New York Zoological Park. 

2. April 8. 
4. May 15. 



surplus strength of the males, and render them 
weak and inoffensive during the period in which 
the mothers are rearing their young, when both 
the does and their fawns would be defenceless 
against savage males with perfect antlers. It 



The antlers of North American deer are usu- 
ally dropped in March, but occasionally in Feb- 
ruary. Sometimes a day or two passes between 
the fall of the first antler and the loss of the 
second. The root, or pedicle, exposed is a rough 



120 



ORDEKS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



disc of bone belonging to the frontal bone of 
the skull. No blood flows. Dropped antlers are 
sometimes gnawed by rodents until destroyed; 
but many are picked up by those who look for 
them. At the end of the first week, the bony disc 
or seat of the antler is covered over by the dark 
brown skin of the head. At the end of two 
weeks, a rounded bunch, like a big brown tomato, 
has risen on the pedicle of each antler. It is 
soft, full of blood, and easily injured. 

Gradually this elongates into the form of a 
thick, blunt-ended club, in color brown or pink, 
shiny, and thinly covered with minute hairs. 
When fairly started, the antlers of a healthy 
and vigorous elk or caribou grow at the rate of 
one-third of an inch per day, or even more. 
They are soft, spongy, warm, full of blood, are 
easily injured, and if cut will bleed freely. The 
material of which they are composed, internally, 
is the same as that which forms the hair. The 
drain upon the animal's vitality during this 
period is very severe, and it is not strange that 
the animal is then meek and spiritless. 

A large pair of elk antlers, dropped in the 
Zoological Park on March 21st, had been renewed 
to their full length by June 21st, but the tips 
were flat and club-like. The first sign of the 
hardening process was the shrinkage of the blunt 
tips of the tines to sharp points. Gradually the 
diameter of the entire antler decreased in size, 
and at the same time the hair composing the 
velvet grew' longer. The surface now assumed 
a' gray appearance. On August 1st all the points 
were sharp, and the antlers were in perfect form, 
but the velvet was all on. (See "The Elk's Calen- 
dar," page 122.)' 

Deer as Dangerous Animals. — The rapid 
multiplication of deer parks, and small collec- 
tions of captive animals, renders it necessary to 
offer a few words of warning regarding deer of all 
species. During the season immediately fol- 
lowing the perfect development of the new ant- 
lers, — say September, October and November, — 
male deer, elk, caribou and moose sometimes 
become as savage as whelp-robbed tigers. The 
neck swells far- beyond its natural size, the eye- 
pits distend, and the buck goes stalking about 
with ears laid back and nostrils expanded, fairly 
spoiling for a fight. I have seen stags that were 
mild and gentle during eight or nine months of 
the year suddenly transformed into murderous 



demons, ready and anxious to stab to death any 
unarmed man who ventured near. 

At first a buck walks slowly up to his victim, 
makes a wry face, and with his sharp, new antlers 
makes believe to play with him. Not wishing 
to be punctured, the intended victim lays hold 
of the antlers, and seeks to keep them out of his 
vitals. On finding himself opposed, the buck 
begins to drive forward like a battering ram, 
and then the struggle is on. 

Heaven help the man thus attacked, if no 
other help be near! He shuts his teeth, grips 
the murderous bone spears wuth all his strength, 
leans well forward, and with the strength and 
nimbleness of desperation, struggles to maintain 
his grasp and keep his feet. Each passing in- 
stant the rage of the buck, and his joy of com- 
bat, increases. If the man goes down, and help 
fails to come quickly, his chances to escape the 
spears are few. 

Once when unarmed and alone, I saved myself 
from an infuriated buck (fortunately a small 
one), by suddenly releasing one antler, seizing 
a fore-leg low down, and pulling it up so high 
that the animal was powerless to lunge forward 
as he had been doing. In this way I held him 
at bay, and at last worked him to a spot where I 
secured a stout cudgel, with which I belabored 
him so unmercifully that he was conquered for 
that day. 

The strength and fury of a buck of insignifi- 
cant size are often beyond belief. The loving 
"pet" of May readily becomes the dangerous, 
fury-filled murderer of October. With a large 
deer of any species, a man not fully armed 'has 
little chance. In the winter of 1902, at Helena, 
Montana, a man armed with a pitchfork entered 
an elk corral, to show a friend that the large male 
elk feared him. The elk attacked him furiously, 
and killed him before he could be rescued. 

Men who have charge of deer herds must keep 
the bucks in a perpetual state of fear. Do not 
make a pet of any male member of the Deer 
Family after it is two years old. It is dangerous. 
In the autumn or winter, never enter an en- 
closure containing deer, elk or caribou unless 
armed with a pitchfork, or a long pole of tough 
wood, with an iron spike in the end. If a buck 
threatens to attack you, strike him across the 
nose; for that is his tender spot.- When angry 
he can take any amount of punishment on the 



THE AMERICAN ELK 



121 



forehead, neck and shoulders, without its dimin- 
ishing his energy in the least. 

Solitary bucks in small corrals are most dan- 
gerous. Where deer run in a large herd, the 
danger is much less; but if a herd-buck begins 
to approach people with the slow stride of a 
pugilist, lips and nose turned up, ears laid back, 
and snorting defiantly, shut him up at once, or 
saw off his antlers close to his head, before he 
does mischief. 



locked, wild deer are much given to fighting 
during the rutting season. It is to be remem- 
bered, however, that male deer are in the habit 
of playfully sparring with their horns, and it is 
very likely that many a death-lock has been due 
to a pushing-match rather than to deadly com- 
bat. The antlers of our white-tailed and mule 
deer are peculiarly adapted to the fatal inter- 
locking that has caused many a fine buck to 
perish miserably by slow starvation. In cap- 




Photographed by E. R. Sanborn, New York Zoological Park. 1903 

A MODEL AMERICAN ELK, IN OCTOBER. 



Fighting Among Deer. — Even among them- 
selves, deer are murderous brutes. It is 
quite a common thing for one buck to treach- 
erously assassinate another ; and some are such 
thorough degenerates they will murder their 
own does and fawns. The largest and hand- 
somest bucks are not always the best fight- 
ers, for they often lack the activity and youth- 
ful vigor which gives supremacy to a younger 
animal. 

Judging by the number of pairs of deer that 
have been found dead with their antlers tightly 



tivity, pushing-matches amongst deer are quite 
common. 

The Round-Horned Deer. 

The American Elk, or Wapiti, 1 is as tall 
as a horse, handsomely formed, luxuriantly 
maned, carries its head proudly, and is crowned 
by a pair of very imposing antlers. Even the 
doe Elk is a handsome and stately creature ; and 

1 Cer'vus can-a-den'sis. In Europe, this animal 
is called the Wapiti; and the European Moose is 
called the "Elk." 



122 



OKDEES OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



from the second week after its birth, the fawn 
steps about with the air of a game-cock. If you 
will observe a seven-year-old male Elk in October 
or November, when the modelling of his form is 
handsomest, his pelage long, bright and immacu- 
late, his neck swollen with pride, and his fine new 
antlers ready for admiration or for battle, I think 
you will say, "This is the king of the Cervidae !" 

Even the moose, giant though he be, is not 
a creature of regal presence, like the Elk. Al- 
though the latter is a large and heavy animal, it 
has the small and shapely legs and hoofs of a 
thoroughbred. It is strictly a creature for solid 
ground, and while very fond of bathing in ponds 
during hot weather, it avoids swamps and low 
situations. 

It is both a grazing and browsing animal. Al- 
though up to twenty-five years ago it often ranged 
far out into the western edge of the Great 
Plains, and loves to frequent mountain parks, it 
is also a forest animal. Originally, its range 
coincided to a remarkable extent with that of 
the buffalo, covering fully three-fourths of the 
United States, from the Adirondacks and the 
eastern foothills of the Alleghenies to California 
and Vancouver Island. It was not found, how- 
ever, on the Great Plains north of the Saskatche- 
wan. 

In summer it ascends the Rocky Mountains 
to the very crest of the Continental Divide , 1 1 ,000 
feet above the sea. The species reaches its high- 
est physical development on the backbone of 
the continent, between northwestern Wyoming 
and southern Colorado. 

From nineteen-twentieths of its original range, 
this grand animal has been exterminated. To- 
day it is abundant in one locality only, the Yel- 
lowstone National Park and the country imme- 
diately surrounding it, where about 20,000 Elk 
find a safe retreat. 

Every winter the Elk herds of the Yellowstone 
Park migrate southward to feed in the sheltered 
valleys of Jackson Hole. During these migra- 
tions, which usually are made through deep 
snow, Mr. S. N. Leek and others have made 
many fine photographs of the herds. One of 
Mr. Leek's striking pictures is reproduced on 
the opposite page. 

Elk arc found in small numbers in the Olympic 
Mountains of Washington, in Oregon, sparingly 
in Colorado, western Montana and Idaho, in one 



small area of Manitoba, and at one point in south 
central .California. On Vancouver Island the 
species is now extinct. 

It is probable that within a few years the Elk 
will disappear from all the localities mentioned 
save the Yellowstone Park, for in the other 
wild and thinly settled regions which it inhabits 
to-day, the measures for its protection from il- 
legal slaughter are by no means adequate. Some 
Americans who go hunting — I will not call them 
sportsmen — are so greedy, so lawless and so 
wasteful of animal life, that we frequently hear 
accounts of Elk slaughter which are enough to 
disgust all decent men. 

Fortunately, Elk are easily bred in confinement, 
and during the last twenty years many good herds 
have been established in the great private game 
preserves that are scattered from New Hamp- 
shire and Massachusetts to Minnesota. In ad- 
dition to these, there are many smaller herds in 
small private parks. Nearly every city north 
of the Potomac has a herd of Elk in one of its 
parks, and other hardy native animals in an estab- 
lishment known either as a ''zoo," a zoological 
garden, or a zoological park. Thanks to this 
constantly increasing public, demand for living 
collections of wild animals, the American Elk 
and buffalo are now familiar objects to the chil- 
dren of at least twenty American cities. 

The Elk's Calendar In the New York 
Zoological Park. 

Pelage has grown perceptibly paler. 
Pelage has lost its lustre, and begins to 

look weathered. 
Antlers of the largest male dropped, 

9 hours apart. 
Each budding antler looks like a big 

brown tomato. 
New antlers about 5 inches long, thick 

and stumpy. 
Each antler has developed three 

branches. Young elk born, well 

spotted. Closely hidden in the rocks. 

Height 20 inches; length 35 inches; 

weight 30i pounds. 
Shedding in full progress; the Elk look 

their worst. 
Shedding about half finished. 
Antlers now full length, but club-like; 



Jan. 
Feb. 


1. 
1. 


Mar. 


21. 


Apr. 


8. 


Apr. 


18. 


Apr. 


30. 



May 10. 

June 1. 
Juno 18. 



124 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



well haired. Tips flat. Large male 
has finished shedding. 

July 20. Antlers are now sharp at the tips. Flies 
troublesome. Herd bathes in the 
pond frequently and long. 

Aug. 1. Entire herd now free from winter pelage. 
Animals look well in short, red sum- 
mer coat, but smaller! Velvet still 
on antlers. Spots on young are all 
gone, and white rump-patch is fully 
developed. 

Aug. 15. Two big males began to rub velvet from 
antlers, against trees. 

Aug. 22. Antlers of one bull almost clean, but 
velvet still hangs in tatters, like car- 
pet rags. Tips pure white, base looks 
bloody. 

Sept. 15. The summer coat has been completely 
shed. 

Oct. 1. The herd is at its best. All antlers clean 
and perfect. Pelage long, full, and 
rich in color. Mating season now on. 
Bulls aggressive and dangerous. 
Fawns active and playful. The 
"bugle" of the bull is a shrill shriek, 
like an English locomotive whistle, 
sliding down the scale into a terrific 
bawl. 

Size of Elk. — Professor L. L. Dyche, an 
exceedingly careful observer, has contributed a 
striking illustration of the difficulty of obtaining 
from a dead Elk an accurate measurement of the 
animal's standing height when alive. The largest 
and finest male Elk ever taken by him (for the 
State University of Kansas) fell in Colorado on 
October 21, 1801. I can testify that it is a 
grand representative of its species. 

As is frequently done, the guide of the party 
measured its height in a line from the point of the 
hoof to the top of the shoulder, and recorded 
65 inches. This being ruled out, the bottom of 
the hoof was held parallel with the axis of the 
body, and the elbow even with the lower line of 
the brisket. This gave 62 inches. Professor 
Dyche then pushed the elbow up to the position 
it occupies in a. standing Elk — about five inches 
above the lower line of the body — and found the 
actual standing height at the shoulders to be 57 
inches. The head and body length was 07 
inches; girth, 73 inches; circumference around 



abdomen, 81 inches; circumference of neck, 36 
inches. 

On October 3, 1003, a fine bull Elk in the 
New York Zoological Park was suffering so in- 
tensely from a horn wound in the hock joint that 
it was chloroformed. Being in fine condition, 
its measurements and weight were carefully 
noted, with the following result: 

Height at the shoulders 56^ inches. 

Length of head, body and tail . . . 86f " 
Circumference of chest ... - 78 " 

Weight. 

Trunk 300 lbs. 

Skin/head and legs 255 " 

Viscera 151 " 

Total live weight 706 lbs. 

Antlers. 

Length, following curves 53 inches. 

Widest spread 35 " 

Circumference above beztine... 7\ " 

Points 7 + 7 = 14. 

Age about 8 years. 

Rule for Obtaining the Live Weight of 
Deer from Dressed Weight.— So many records 
of the "dressed" weight of deer are published, 
it is desirable to offer a simple rule by which 
anyone can accurately calculate the weight of 
the animal when alive. Taking an antlered Elk 
(Cervus canadensis) as a basis, we find that the 
dressed weight represents .213S8 of the live 
weight, or -f frf of the whole animal. 

The dressed weight being given, in pounds, add 
to it five ciphers, divide by 78612, and the result 
will be the live weight, in pounds. 

While this rule will often prove convenient, 
the author desires to state that none of the weights 
recorded in this volume were obtained by it; and 
any weight so obtained and published always 
should be marked " as calculated." 

The longest and widest Elk antlers are not 
necessarily the handsomest. Usually, antlers 
that are of great length are slender, whereas the 
finest pairs are those of massive proportions, fairly 
symmetrical, and about 60 inches long. The 
longest pair of reliable record to this date was 
purchased in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1897 
for the Emperor of Germany. Their length of 
beam was 67i inches, and their points were twelve 




< 
z 

<! 

z 

3 






126 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



in number. They were obtained from an animal 
killed in White River County, Colorado. A very 
large pair from the Shoshone Mountains, in the 
author's collection of horns, has a beam length of 
58 inches, a spread of 491 inches, and burr circum- 
ference of 11 inches. 

Elk hunting is not always as fine sport as the 
noble individuality of this animal would nat- 
urally lead the hunter to expect. Very often 
the Elk is unsuspicious, to the point of stupidity. 
There have been many times when attacking a 
herd was too much like attacking a herd of cat- 
tle. R is not an animal of " highly-wrought- 
nervous" temperament, like the deer, but when 
startled is too much given to hesitating, and 
seeking knowledge, before it dashes away to 
safety. 

During the last three years important steps 
have been taken, by private individuals only, 
toward restoring the Elk to the Adirondack for- 
ests, which it once inhabited. In 1901, the Hon. 
William C. Whitney caused twenty-two head to 
be liberated there, and in 1902, forty more were 
set free. In August and September, 1903, five 
car-loads of Elk, sixty-eight head in all, were 
shipped from Mr. Whitney's game preserve on 
October Mountain, near Lenox, Mass., and lib- 
erated at Saranac Lake, Floodwood Station and 
near Paul Smith's Station. All these animals had 
become fully acclimatized on the Atlantic coast, 
were in fine physical condition, and if not killed 
by poachers will no doubt multiply at a reason- 
ably rapid rate. That many of these fine ani- 
mals will from time to time be killed and eaten 
by lawless and unprincipled persons seems abso- 
lutely certain, and the great danger is that 
they will be killed more rapidly than they breed. 
The Mule Deer, or Rocky Mountain "Black- 
Tail," 1 is a large and handsome animal, and 
the largest of the North American species that 
are universally known as "deer." It is easily 
recognized by its very large ears, the two Y's on 
each antler, a short, white tail with a small 
tip of black, and a white patch around the base 
of the tail. Its antlers are much larger than 
those of the white-tailed deer. Owing to their 
size and width, and their more erect poise on the 
head, the appearance of this animal is more 
stately than that of any other round-horned 
American deer, save the elk. 

1 O-do-coi'le-us hem-i-o'nus. 



In the region it inhabits, this fine animal is 
known as the "Black-Tailed" Deer; but that 
name is not appropriate to a creature which has a 
snow-white tail with only a tiny tip of black. It 
rightfully belongs to the Pacific coast species, 
which has a black tail, and is known by no other 
name than Columbian Black-Tail. To avoid 
further confusion and misunderstandings, stu- 
dents are urged to speak of the Rocky Mountain 
species as the Mule Deer. 

The winter color of the Mule Deer is a steel 
gray, to match the gray rocks and vegetation 
amongst which it lives. Its summer coat is gray- 
brown, and it is shed in September. 

The Mule Deer chooses for its home the most 
picturesque " bad-lands " and foot-hills of the 
Rocky Mountain region, and the deep ravines 
along rivers, but it also ascends the mountain 
plateaus of its home to an elevation of 12,000 
feet. It is a proud-spirited, high-headed ani- 
mal, a bold traveller, and like the mountain 
sheep, is often found where the scenery is wild 
and picturesque. In this respect it differs from 
the white-tailed deer, which prefers low ground, 
and either brush or timber in which to hide. 

A large Mule Deer buck, shot by the author 
on Snow Creek, Montana, measured 42 inches 
high at the shoulders, and 62 + 6 inches in length. 
A large pair of antlers (in the author's collection) 
have a beam length of 27£ inches, spread 29 
inches, and have 14 points. 

In the United States, the present scarcity of 
really large antlers in the possession of taxider- 
mists is a sure sign of the approaching end of this 
species. 

In February, 1903, Mr. A. G. Wallihan, the 
famous photographer of wild animals in their 
haunts, made the following prediction regarding 
the impending extermination of the Mule Deer in 
Colorado, its centre of abundance in the United 
States: 

"Unless we have a close season on deer, five 
years will see the finish of these animals. Five 
years would give them a good start again. I 
will cite you some figures: In 1897 I was on the 
big trail here for nine days, and I counted within 
a few of a thousand deer. In 1901 I was on the 
same trail for eighteen days, and counted two 
hundred and twenty-eight deer. In 1902 I was 
out fourteen days, and counted fifty-two deer. 
More deer passed in a single twenty-four hours in 



THE MULE DEER 



127 



1892-3-4-5 and 6 than passed during the whole 
month of October, 1902. 

" There are a lot of deer, it is true, on the north 
slope of the divide at Pagoda and Sleepy Cat 
mountains, and eastward in the Williams Fork 
•country ; but they are practically the remnant. 
People here say, 'You can't enforce a close-sea- 
son law.'" (Outdoor Life Magazine.) 

The Mule Deer reaches its largest and finest 
antler development in the Rocky Mountains, 
from Colorado to southern British Columbia. The 
few widely-scattered survivors of this species are 
found to-day in central Chihuahua and Sonora, 
Mexico ; western Colorado and Wyoming, south- 
eastern Idaho, central Montana, and eastern 
British Columbia. One fact which militates 
most strongly against the perpetuation of this 
species is that states and provinces sufficiently 
wild and unsettled to afford it a home are finan- 
cially unable to maintain the large force of sala- 
ried game-wardens which alone could really pro- 
tect it from final annihilation. 




Keller, Photo. Copyright. 1900, N. Y. Zoological Society. 
MULE DEER WITH ANTLERS IN THE VELVET. 

This species ranges as far east as western Da- 
kota, and westward to the Blue Mountains of 
Oregon. Formerly it was most numerous in 
Routt County, Colorado, where about forty-five 
hundred were slaughtered as late as the winter 
of 1900. Unfortunately, on account of its pref- 
erence for open country, its ultimate extinction 
in the United States is only a question of about 
ten years; for everywhere, save in the Yellow- 



stone Park, it is being destroyed very much 
faster than it breeds. 

The Mule Deer nearly always produces two 
fawns at a birth, and sometimes three. In feed- 
ing it is much given to browsing on twigs and 
foliage, but it also grazes freely when good grass 
is available. In the Snow Creek country of 
central Montana I found that its October bill 
of fare consisted almost solely of the long-leaved 
mugwort (Artemisia tomentosa), a species of very 
pungent and spicy sage, which was eaten greedily 
to the complete exclusion of the finest grasses 
I ever saw in the West. 

In running, this deer often progresses by a 
series of stiff-legged leaps, in which it touches 
the ground lightly with its hoofs, bounds upward 
as if propelled by steel springs, and flies forward 
for an astonishing distance. In Manitoba and a 
few other localities this remarkable gait has 
caused this animal to be called the Jumping 
Deer. Owing to the fact that it lives in a dry 
climate and rarefied atmosphere, and subsists 
on very dry foods, it is difficult to acclimatize it 
anywhere outside of its own home. East of the 
Mississippi most Mule Deer die of gastro-enteritis, 
but in the Hon. William C. Whitney's great park 
on October Mountain, near Lenox, Mass., this 
species has actually become acclimatized. 

The Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, » of the 
Pacific Coast, is smaller than the typical white- 
tailed deer, and very much smaller than the 
mule deer. The outer surface of its tail is black 
all over, and constitutes the best distinguishing 
character of the species. The antlers are very 
variable. Occasionally those of old bucks ex- 
hibit the double Y on each beam which is so 
characteristic of the mule deer; but in most 
cases, the double bifurcation is wanting, and the 
antlers look very much like those of the white- 
tailed deer. In its body colors it resembles the 
latter species more closely than the mule deer. 

This species inhabits the well-watered and 
densely-shaded coniferous forests of the Pacific 
coast from the north end of Vancouver Island 
to central California. It feeds freely upon ever- 
green foliage, and I have seen a captive animal, 
in its native forest in the great natural park at 
Vancouver, partake freely of the foliage of spruce, 
Douglass fir and juniper, in rapid succession. 

Because of some diatetic peculiarity as yet un- 
1 O-do-coiV e-us co-lum-bi-an' us. 



128 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



known, the Columbian Black-Tailed Deer can- 
not live on the Atlantic coast. After persistent 
efforts, with at least fifteen specimens drawn 
from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, 
and the loss of all through gastro-enteritis, the 
New York Zoological Society has abandoned its 
attempt to transplant the species. 

In Alaska, this species dwindles still lower, 
into the Sitka Deer, 1 in stature and antlers 



it freely risks its life in the thin fringes of cotton- 
wood timber, quaking-asp and willow brush that 
border the banks of small rivers and large creeks. 
Unlike the elk and mule deer, the White-Tail is a 
great skulker. When hiding, it crouches and 
carries its head low, and by clinging persistently 
to the friendly cover of brush or timber, saves 
itself under circumstances that would be fatal 
to any high-headed, open-ground species. 




Painted by Carl Rungius. 



WHITE-TAILED DEER. 



even smaller than the Florida white-tail. It is 

very abundant on Admiralty Island, but as late 

as 1901 was being slaughtered in great numbers. 

The Virginia Deer, or White-Tailed Deer,- 

was the first member of the Deer Family met by 
the early settlers of America when they went 
hunting along the Atlantic coast. It will also 
be the last of the large hoofed animals of North 
America to become extinct. It is a forest animal, 
but in many portions of the Great Flains region 

1 Q-do-coiV e-us sit-ken'sis. 
! Odocoileus vir-gin-i-an'us. 



The White-Tailed Deer derives its name from 
its very long, bushy, wedge-shaped tail, which is 
snowy-white underneath, and also on the edges. 
When alarmed and running away, this white 
brush is held stiffly aloft, and with every stride 
of the bearer, it sways from side to side, in a start- 
ling and highly conspicuous manner. While the 
peculiar mixed gray color of the pelage makes 
it difficult to see this animal in brushy surround- 
ings, the moment the creature starts to run, its 
white flag waves as if purposely inviting bullets, 
and in total defiance of all the laws of "protective 



THE WHITE-TAILED DEEE 



129 



coloration" amongst animals. Indeed, so very 
flag-like is this creature's waving tail that in the 
West many hunters call it the Flag-Tailed 
Deer. 

There are two points in which this deer differs 
from all others, and by which it can easily be 
recognized. 

1. Its antlers rise a short distance from the 
forehead, then suddenly drop forward, with the 
beam almost horizontal, and from the beam three 
long, sharp tines rise perpendicularly. The ant- 
lers of nearly all other deer point backward as 
they rise. 

2. The tail is very long, pointed at the end, 
bushy near the body, and white underneath, as 
described above. 

The White-Tailed Deer is the best known of 
all our hoofed animals except the buffalo, be- 
cause it is the one most widely distributed, and 
has been longest known. Generally speaking, 
it is a United States species, for it inhabits at 
least a portion of every state and territory save 
Delaware, Oregon, Nevada, California and Ari- 
zona. To-day it is most abundant in the Adiron- 
dacks, Maine, Vermont, northern Minnesota and 
Michigan. Closely related forms of White-Tailed 
Deer are fairly abundant in Florida, on the Lower 
Rio Grande, and in northeastern Washington. 

As might naturally be expected, this wide dis- 
tribution, throughout such a diversity of country 
and variety of available food, has produced such 
vaiiations in size that several subspecies have 
been described. Of the latter, the most impor- 
tant is the dwarf Arizona White-Tailed Deer, 
extending from southern Arizona southeastward 
into Mexico to Latitude 25°. This animal, like 
the Florida White-Tailed Deer, seems to be 
nothing more than a diminutive race of the more 
robust northern type, with very small antlers, 
and the short, scanty pelage which is necessary 
to the comfort of deer in the tropics. 

In such forests as those which cover the Adi- 
rondack Mountains of northern New York, where 
small lakes are numerous, there are three methods 
of hunting deer. 

Hounding deer consists in beating through 
the forest surrounding a body of water, with a 
pack of hounds, and chasing the deer until they 
leap into the water, where they are shot at very 
short range by men in boats or posted on the 
shore. It is no credit to anyone, save an invalid 



or a cripple, to kill a deer in this manner, any 
more than to kill a buck out of season, whose 
antlers are in the velvet. Any person, no matter 
how stupid, can be paddled up to a swimming 
deer anc 1 . permitted to blow its head to pieces at 
short range. Pot-hunters have even been known 
to catch swimming deer, and cut their throats. 
In forests like the Adirondacks, frequented by 











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TAILS OF AMERICAN DEER. 

1. Columbian Black-Tail. 

2. Mule Deer. 

3. White-Tailed, or Virginia Deer. (Small specimen.) 



a great many people, hounding deer never should 
be permitted; and in the wilderness mentioned 
it is now prohibited by law. In the West Vir- 
ginia mountains, the hunters are posted on the 
runwavs of the deer, and are obliged to kill them 
on the run. This requires good judgment and 
excellent marksmanship, and is legitimate sport. 
Jacking or fire-lighting is a very picturesque 
and romantic method of hunting deer, but inas- 
much as it gives the game no chance, and calls 
for very little skill or exertion on the part of the 
hunter, it is by some considered unsportsman- 
like. In the prosecution of this plan the hunter 
requires a canoe, a skilful paddler, and a good 
light. With a flaring jack-light held aloft in the 
bow, the paddler, or guide, sits in the stern of the 
boat, and noiselessly paddles it through the dark- 
ness, around the shores of lake or river. The 
hunter sits under the light, and waits for its 
beams to emblazon the eyeballs of deer standing 



130 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



on the shore, or feeding in shallow water. Often 
the boat approaches so near a wonder-struck 
deer that to miss it is almost impossible. 

Still-hunting is the true sportsman's method 
of outwitting deer which for keenness of eye, ear 
and nose, have, I believe, no superior in the 




and copyright, 1902, by W. L. Underwood. 



YOUNG WHITE-TAILED DEER. 

Showing the conspicuous appearance of the tail when 
held erect. 

whole Family. One fine old White-Tailed buck 
killed by fair and square trailing and stalking is 
equal to two mule deer or three elk. When first 
alarmed, the mule deer and elk are prone to halt 
from curiosity, and stare at the hunter for that 
fatal ten seconds which so often ends with a 
ringing "bang," and a fatal bullet. 

But not so the White-Tail. Time after time 
the trailing still-hunter, stealing forward ever so 
cautiously, sees ahead of him and far beyond 
fair rifle shot a sudden flash of white, a pillar of 
cloud swaying from side to side between the tree- 
trunks, and the vanishing point of a scurrying 
White-Tail. This creature knows right well 
that as a discourager of cervine curiosity, nothing 



in the world equals a breech-loading rifle. When 
he hears behind him a rustle of dry leaves, or the 
snap of a twig, nothing else is so dear to him as 
space, judiciously distributed between himself 
and his pursuer. I have sometimes made so 
bold as to consider myself a fairly good deer- 
stalker; but I have still-hunted White-Tailed 
Deer in November, on dry leaves and without 
snow, when for days and days together I found 
it utterly impossible to come within fair rifle 
shot of a buck worth having. At such times, a 
light snow means a fair chance, and properly 
evens up the game. 

During the summer, while the antlers are 
in the velvet, the coat of this species is short, 
thin, and of a bright sandy color, often called 
"red." In Canada, the Virginia Deer is fre- 
quently called the "Red Deer " ; but this is a 
mischievous misnomer, for its use always sug- 
gests the red deer of Europe. The red coat is 
worn about three months, say from May 1 to 
August 1, and then it rapidly gives place to the 
beautiful mottled brown-gray suit, so long and 
thick that the owner looks like quite a different 
creature, and is fitted to withstand the severest 
winter weather. 

The \\ nite-Tailed Deer is one of the most 
persistent species of the ontire Deer Family, 
(live it suitable ground and full protection, and 
there is no limit to its increase. On Long Island, 
where deer hunting is lawful on only four days of 
each year, the animals are increasing with sur- 
prising rapidity. 

In the northern portions of its range from 
Minnesota to the Adirondack.?, where it attains 
its most perfect development, it is next in size 
to the mule deer, or Rocky Mountain "black- 
tail," and is really a fine animal. A large buck 
stands 36 inches high at the shoulders, is .53 
inches in length of head and body, its tail is 7 
inches long to the end of the vertebrae, and 5 
inches more to the end of the hair. A fairly large 
pair of antlers from central Montana are 23A 
inches in length from burr to tip of beam, spread 
18 inches, and have 13 points. A heavy Maine 
buck is reported to have weighed, before being 
dressed, 27S pounds. 

Usually but one fawn is born each year, in 
May, which at birth is beautifully spotted, stands 
15J inches high, and weighs 4J pounds. 

Let it not be supposed, however, that in the 



REVENUE FROM WILD GAME 



131 



South the White-Tailed Deer of the North nec- 
essarily becomes a small or inferior animal. A 
collection of more than one hundred pairs of 
antlers from Texas, recently inspected by the 
writer, contained a surprisingly high percentage 
of large and heavy specimens, fully equal in 
length, spread and weight to the best examples 
from Montana, Minnesota and Maine. 

Wild Game as a Source of Revenue. — All 
persons who pay state taxes in states or terri- 
tories inhabited by "big game," and game fishes, 
will do well to bear in mind that under certain 
conditions wild animal life can be made an 
important and legitimate source of revenue. 
The United States Supreme Court has decided 
(Ward vs. Race Horse, 163 U. S. 507) that all 
wild game on unoccupied lands is the prop- 
erty of the state, and that even the national 
government may not, either by treaty with Ind- 
ians, or in any other manner save actual seques- 
tration, convey any rights or privileges affecting 
it adversely. 

The states of New York and Maine long since 
discovered that their wild deer constituted val- 
uable state property, and both entered seriously 
upon the task of preserving them from the anni- 
hilation that everywhere follows swiftly upon 
the heels of non-protection. New York elected 
to preserve the great Adirondack wilderness as 
a free hunting-ground for her citizens. Maine, 
with perfectly proper thrift, decided that her 
game should not only pay the cost of its preser- 
vation, but also be made for her citizens a legiti- 
mate source of annual income. All guides must 
be licensed by the state, no visitor may hunt 
without a guide, and every non-resident hunter 
must procure a license, at a cost of $15. This 
permits the killing of one bull moose and two 
deer, but no caribou, nor female moose. 

As a result of the game and fish laws of 
Maine that state becomes every autumn a vast 
hunting-ground, visited by perhaps ten thousand 
sportsmen who desire to fish, or to procure deer 
or moose in their haunts. The army of recre- 
ationists annually expends within that state a 
total sum which is usually estimated at one mill- 
ion dollars, or more. And yet, the supply of 
deer is maintained so successfully that to-day 
there are in Maine a greater number of deer than 
anywhere else in the United States, unless it be 
in the Adirondacks. 



The records of the Maine railways show ac- 
curately the number of White-Tailed Deer trans- 
ported by them annually for hunters leaving the 
state, and afford a very fair index of the abun- 
dance of the species. The following are the 
figures for the last nine years: 

1894 1,001 

1895 1,581 

1896 2,245 

1897 2,940 

1898 3,377 

1899 3,379 

1900 3,756 

1901 3,882 

1902 4,495 

Total 26,656 

Of course these figures do not take into ac- 
count the great number of deer that are killed 
and consumed in camp, or by residents of the 
state who live in or near the great hunting 
grounds. The whole number of deer in Maine 
is roughly estimated at 100,000, and the total 
number killed annually at between 15,000 and 
20,000. 

The Flat-Horned Deer. 

The Caribou. — In general terms it may be 
stated that a caribou (pronounced car'ry-boo) 
is a wild deer-like animal, which bears a general 

\> if 




REMARKABLE 



FREAK ANTLERS OF WHITE- 

TAILED DEER. 



Total number of points, 78. Owned by Albert 
Friedrich, San Antonio, Texas. 



132 



OKDEKS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



resemblance to the domestic reindeer of Europe. 
Its antlers are long, branching, partly round and 
partly palmated. Considered as a whole, cari- 
bou occupy the upper half of the continent of 
North America, over which they are widely scat- 
tered above the 45th parallel of Latitude. 

Next to the musk-ox, the caribou is the most 
northerly of all hoofed animals. It is not only 
at home on the vast arctic waste above Great 
Slave Lake, known as the Barren Grounds, but 
it ranges on northeastward through Ellesmere 
Land, crosses to the west coast of Greenland, 
swings around the northern rim of that island, 
along the edge of the great ice cap, and down 
the eastern coast, at least as far as Liverpool 
Bay, Latitude 70°. Doubtless it inhabits the 
whole coast of Greenland, wherever the naked 
ridges and valleys of the terminal moraines yield 
a supply of food: but there is no evidence that 
it wanders over the vast sheet of lifeless inland 
ice which covers the interior of Greenland. 

At all times, a caribou is an odd-looking creat- 
ure. Even a very brief inspection is sufficient 
to reveal the special provisions which Nature 
has made to enable it to brave the terrors of an 
arctic climate. The legs are thick and strong, 
and the hoof is expanded and flattened until it 
forms a very good snow-shoe. The caribou 
walks over snow-fields and quaking muskegs, 
when the moose sinks in and ploughs through 
them. 

Its pelage consists of a thick, closely-matted 
coat of fine, wool-like hair, through which grows 
the coarse hair of the rain-coat. It is the warmest 
covering to be found on any hoofed animal ex- 
cept the musk-ox, or on any animal of the Deer 
Family. To the touch, the new coat of a cari- 
bou feels like a thick felt mat. 

The natural food of the caribou is moss and 
lichens, and in captivity very few survive many 
months without the former. The supply of 
moss for the caribou and reindeer of the New 
York Zoological Park comes from Maine, and 
costs in that state seventy-five cents per hundred 
pounds. A full-grown woodland caribou con- 
sumes about seven pounds daily. 

Although up to this date nine species of cari- 
bou have been described, there are but two well- 
defined groups, the woodland and Barren 
Ground. In each of these, several species have 
been described, but it must be admitted that so 



effectually do they run together it is not always 
an easy matter to distinguish them. 

In common with many members of the Deer 
Family, caribou are distinguished chiefly by 
their antlers. But even here, great difficulties 
are encountered. With their many tines and 
points, varying size and forms of palmation, 
their antlers are subject to thousands of varia- 
tions. As a result, no two pairs ever are found 
exactly alike. Between the very long, few- 
pointed and scarcely palmated antlers of the 
Greenland caribou, and the short, many-pointed 
and widely palmated antlers of the mountain 
caribou, every conceivable form may be found. 

If ten pairs of adult antlers of each so-called 
species were collected in its type locality, and 
the whole ninety mixed in one heap, the utmost 
that even an expert could hope to accomplish 
without a heavy percentage of error would be 
to separate the collection into two groups, one 
containing the four species of Barren Ground 
caribou, the other the five woodland species. 

It is useless to enter here into details regard- 
ing each of these nine tentative species. 
Without a very large collection of specimens, 
and prolonged study of them, it is impossible 
to define the boundaries between the various 
species that have been proposed. Let it suffice 
to present a brief outline of the two great groups 
into which all our caribou seem to be rationally 
divisible. 

The Woodland Caribou Group. 

Roaming through the pine and spruce forests, 
and also the prairies of Newfoundland, Nova 
Scotia, New Brunswick, northern Maine, Quebec, 
Ontario and Manitoba, are the caribou longest 
and best known to us. A typical specimen 1 living 
in the Zoological Park is a strong lusty animal, 
48 inches high at the shoulders, weighing 280 
pounds, and endowed with sufficient energy to 
vanquish the strongest man in about one minute. 
Its shoulders are high and sharp, its head is 
held low and thrust straight forward, and as 
it walks on hard ground its dew-claws and hoofs 
click like castanets. Its head is long and cow- 
like, and its muzzle is too large for beauty; but 
the large, liquid, dark brown eyes appeal suc- 
cessfully against all adverse decisions on ques- 
tions of beauty. 

1 Ran'gi-jer car'i-bou, from Maine. 



I 



THE WOODLAND CAKIBOU 



133 



When a caribou walks, its long stride and 
swinging gait proclaim a born traveller and mi- 
grant. And truly, the strangest of all caribou 
habits is that which impels these creatures, par- 
ticularly the Barren Ground species, to assem- 
ble in immense throngs, and for climatic reasons 
migrate en masse, for long distances. In the 



are short in the main beam, liberally palmated 
both on brow-tines and tips, and have more than 
thirty points. As a whole, the antlers have a tree- 
top appearance. 

2. Antlers of Barren Ground caribou, gen- 
erally, are long in the main beam, scantily palmated, 
especially on the tips, and have less than thirty 




E. F. Keller, Photo. Reproduced from the Seventn Annual Report of tiie N. V. Zoological Society. 

WOODLAND CARIBOU. 

Adult male specimen in the Zoological Park. Height at shoulders, 48 inches, weight, 280 pounds. For a 

Caribou as large as this the antlers are small. 



woodland species, however, this habit is not 
nearly so pronounced. 

Character of Antlers. — A comparison of 
many antlers of Woodland caribou with those of 
Barren Ground animals reveals one or two points 
of difference which seem sufficiently distinct to 
be accepted as constant. 

1. Antlers of Woodland caribou, generally, 



points. As a whole, the antlers have an arm-chair 
appearance. 

If these distinctions between the two great 
groups of caribou will not hold good, none will. 

The Woodland Caribou of Maine, Ontario 
and Quebec (Rangifer caribou), is the original 
type of what recently has become a group of 
species. Its body color is bluish-brown and 



134 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



gray, which color also suffuses the neck, head 
and hind-quarters. In October the new coat is 
of a dark color known as seal brown, quite differ- 
ent from the same pelage in spring. 

Originally the Newfoundland Caribou were 
referred to the species named above, but in 1S9G 
they were given rank as an independent species 
(R. terraenovae) chiefly on account of their very 
light color. They are the whitest of all caribou. 

In 1S90, Mr. Ernest Thompson Seton described 




ANTLERS OF KENAI CARIBOU. 

From photograph of specimen taken on the Kenai 
Peninsula in 1900, by Harry E. Lee. 



the Black-Faced Caribou of southeastern 
British Columbia (Revelstoke) as Raiigifer m.on- 
tanus, or Mountain Caribou. The new Sep- 
tember coat is almost black. The antlers are 
short, but throw off a surprising array of long 
tines. 

In 1902 the large, dark-colored caribou of the 
Cassiar Mountains, in northern British Columbia, 
was described by Dr. J. A. Allen as Osborn's 
Caribou (Rangifer osborni), the name bestowed 
being in honor of Professor Henry Fairfield 



Osborn, the distinguished zoologist of the Ameri- 
can Museum of Natural History. This species 
attains a shoulder height of 55 inches, and is said 
to be the largest of all caribou. In September 
its coat is so brown the animal has been described 
as a brown caribou. 

The Kenai Caribou of the Kenai Peninsula — 
but, in 1903 almost extinct in that locality — 
was described in 1901 as a distinct species, and 
christened Raiigifer stonei. In September, 1903, 
the Secretary of Agriculture issued an order pro- 
hibiting for five years the killing of caribou on 
the Kenai and Alaska Peninsulas. 

Regarding the distribution and habits of cari- 
bou in the Canadian Northwest, Mr. J. B. Tyrrell, 
who, while a member of the Canadian Geological 
Survey, travelled over a greater area of the range 
of that animal than any other observer known to 
me, has kindly furnished the very interesting 
facts quoted below. His letter is dated at Daw- 
son City, September 10, 1903. 

" Regarding the portions of the districts of Al- 
berta, Athabasca and Saskatchewan spoken of 
by you, I am reasonably certain that the Wood- 
land Caribou may be found in all the thickly 
wooded tracts. This deer is known to the Cree 
Indians of that country as the ' Muskeg- Atik,' 
or Swamp Deer, in recognition of the fact that it 
lives in the swamps and coniferous forests, and 
not on the plains, or on the country studded 
with groves of poplar. Now, much of Alberta, 
and a great part of Saskatchewan, is dry, open 
country, and into such country caribou rarely 
wander. 

"This dry, 'bluffy' country extends north- 
westward through the western part of Athabasca, 
but throughout all the thickly wooded parts of 
Athabasca I have no hesitation in saying that 
Woodland Caribou are not uncommon. They 
certainly occur along the Churchill River, and 
I think that their tracks were common along the 
banks of the Athabasca River, though I cannot 
definitely remember this, and I have not my 
note-books here to help me. 

" The Indians told me that the Woodland Cari- 
bou of the Churchill River and vicinity move 
northward, and the Barren-Ground Caribou 
southward in autumn, and that both winter in 
the same region, in a country where the trees are 
festooned by a long, black, hair-like lichen (Alec- 
toria jubataf). However, I believe that the 



WOODLAND CARIBOU 



135 



Woodland Caribou are not numerous anywhere 
in the Canadian Northwest Territories, for in all 
my travels for the Geological Survey of Canada, 
extending over the period from 1SS3 to 1898, 
I did not see a dozen of those animals, though on 
hundreds of different occasions I saw their great 
wide-spreading tracks. The only one I ever shot 
was feeding on a rocky hill, beside a stream that 
flows into the east side of Lake Winnipeg; and 
his head is now hanging in the Museum of the 
Geological Survey, in Ottawa. 

"The smaller species of Caribou lives on the 
Barren Grounds during the summer. On the 
approach of winter most of the animals migrate 



est and value. To man}' Indian tribes, such as 
the Dog-Ribs and Yellow Knives, and to many of 
the Eskimo tribes also, it has been an important 
source of subsistence, both in food and clothing. 
It is so peculiarly a creature of treeless and in- 
hospitable regions, and is so independent of the 
conditions which are essential to the existence 
of all round-horned members of the Deer Family, 
that its desolate home has been inseparably con- 
nected with its popular name. Species may 
come, and species may go, but we hope that the 
brave and hardy Barren Ground Caribou will 
go on forever. 

It is natural that in any animal species which 




antlers of creenland caribou (/?. groenlandicvs). 

Showing the form characteristic of the Barren Ground Caribou group. Specimen from the northwest coast of 

Greenland, in author's collection. 



southward to the edge of the forest, though 
some remain throughout the winter on the open 
barrens. 

"Twice, in 1893 and 1894, 1 met what is known 
as 'the herd,' on its way southward, once on a 
good feeding ground, where hundreds of thou- 
sands were collected together, and again on a 
rough, rocky tract where the individual bands 
rarely exceeded a few hundred in number, and 
all were on the run." 

Barren Ground Caribou Group. 

Throughout a vast and very hungry sweep of 
northlands, the Barren Ground Caribou 1 long 
has been, and still is, an animal of leading inter- 
1 Ran'gi-fer arc'ti-cus. 



ranges from the east coast of Greenland to the 
west coast of Alaska (3,500 miles in an air line), 
and from Grant Land to the Churchill River 
(1,800 miles), some variations in form, color and 
horn architecture should occur. Indeed, in a 
range so immense, it could scarcely be otherwise. 
While it is probable that some of these variations 
justify the creation of specific divisions, we are 
at present less concerned with these details than 
with a consideration of the group as a whole. 
Moreover, it may be said with entire truth that 
naturalists have but recently begun to study the 
caribou of America ; and until far more material 
has been gathered, it is impossible to set forth 
the true status and life history of this genus. 
The characters which serve to distinguish 



136 



OKDEKS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



Barren Ground Caribou from the woodland 
groups have already been pointed out, — smaller 
size, antlers that are longer in the main beam, 
less palmated and with fewer points. The fol- 
lowing forms have been described as independent 
species of this group; but whether all of them 
are entitled to specific rank remains to be seen. 

Barren Ground Caribou Species. 

Greenland Caribou, Rangifer groen-land'i-cus, 
Greenland Coast. 

Barren Ground Caribou, Rangifer arc'ti-cus, 
Canadian Barren Grounds. 

Grant's Caribou, Rangifer granti, Alaska Pen- 
insula. 

Peary's Caribou, Rangifer pearyi, Ellesmere 
Land. 

In view of the tens of thousands of Barren 
Ground Caribou that have been seen by white 
men, and the thousands that have been killed 
by and for them, the scarcity of definite obser- 
vations upon this group, and of preserved speci- 
mens is, as a whole, very unsatisfactory. At 
present, therefore, the many undetermined 
questions regarding the component parts of the 
group render it impossible to do much more than 
to define the assemblage as a whole. 

In general terms it may be said that the aver- 
age Barren Ground Caribou is a close under-study 
of the average reindeer of Siberia and Lapland, 
and also a smaller animal. That all our caribou 
have descended from the reindeer of Asia, and 
came to us by crossing Bering Strait on the ice, 
seems more than probable. 

In surveyor's parlance, the head of Cook Inlet 
is the "point of departure" of the woodland 
caribou from the reindeer — Barren Ground type. 
It would be difficult to find on land a clearer or 
sharper line of cleavage between two groups of 
animals than that between Rangifer granti of 
the Alaska Peninsula, and Rangifer stonei of 
the Kenai Peninsula. One moment's examina- 
tion of the types is sufficient to place those species 
in their respective groups. The antlers of the 
Kenai caribou are massive, with many long tines 
on the terminal half of the main beam. They 
have 36 points, and a tree-top effect when seen 
from the front. Grant's caribou, however, has 
a long and naked main beam running up to a 
terminal bunch of short tines, a wide-open, arm- 



chair appearance, and only twenty-seven points, 
all strongly characteristic of the Barren Ground 
type. The superior size of the Kenai caribou 
is confirmatory of the testimony of the antlers 
of both. 

Geographic Range. — The centre of abun- 
dance of the Barren Ground Caribou group is 
midway between the eastern end of Great Slave 
Lake and the southeastern extremity of Great 
Bear Lake. This, however, is not the geographic 
centre of its distribution. The great semi-annual 
migration is about on a line that might be drawn 
between Cape Bathurst and the eastern extremity 
of Great Slave Lake, and undoubtedly the great 
mass of caribou on the mainland east of the 
Mackenzie assemble along that route. 

Another line of migration, also from north- 
west to southeast, passes eastward of Dawson 
City, and sufficiently near it that great numbers 
of caribou carcasses have been sledded in to the 
meat markets of that city. In 1901 a search of 
those markets revealed 5,225 pounds of moose 
and caribou meat on hand at one time. Along 
the arctic coast between Point Barrow and the 
mouth of the Mackenzie, tens of thousands of 
caribou have been killed by natives, and sold 
to whaling ships wintering along that coast. As 
a natural consequence, the herds have nearly 
disappeared from that locality. 

Up to the time that Alaska was purchased by 
the United States, the natives had few firearms, 
or none at all, and caribou were abundant. 
Along the west coast, caribou once were so nu- 
merous that a cannon from the fort at St. Michael 
was fired at a herd that passed within half a 
mile of the settlement. As usual, we immediately 
supplied the natives with firearms and ammu- 
nition; and as a first result, the only caribou 
now remaining in western Alaska are the few 
stragglers that the hunters have not yet over- 
taken. A few herds of Grant's caribou still 
inhabit the treeless wastes of the Alaskan Pen- 
insula, but on the Kenai Peninsula, the cari- 
bou is now believed to be almost extinct. In 
1903 it was estimated that only thirty individuals 
remained alive. 

The great herd seen by Mr. Tyrrell at Carey 
Lake, west of Hudson Bay, will be mentioned 
in detail later on. On the Labrador Peninsula, 
there are said to be three distinct herds, on Hud- 
son Straits, Ungava Bay, and the Atlantic coast 



BARKEN GROUND CARIBOU 



137 



down to Hamilton Inlet. From Ellesmere Land, 
five skins of a white animal with a gray back 
have been described as Peary's Caribou, 1 and 
from at least four points in Ellesmere Land, Cari- 
bou have been reported. 

Along the northwest coast of Greenland, es- 
pecially between Melville Bay and Kane Basin, 
Commander Peary found a fair abundance of 
caribou, and at Liverpool Bay, on the east coast, 
a number were killed by a Danish expedition, in 
1900. 

Habits. — One of the habits of the Barren 
Ground Caribou is particularly striking. At 
stated periods, in spring and autumn, they as- 
semble in immense herds, and migrate en masse 
with the compactness and definiteness of purpose 
of an army of cavalry on a march. This is most 
noticeable on the Canadian Barren Grounds, 
which by reason of its summer pasturage and the 
absence of water barriers, encourages the display 
of natural instinct. The observations of several 
travellers north of the Great Slave Lake have 
resulted in the belief that "in spring the Barren 
Ground Caribou seek the coast of the Arctic 
Ocean, and remain near the salt water until about 
September." But this idea is much too circum- 
scribed. 

The explorations of Mr. J. B. Tyrrell, of the 
Canadian Geological Survey, have proved con- 
clusively that the universal herd of the Great 
Slave Lake region does exactly as did the uni- 
versal buffalo herd of 1S71. It moves north- 
ward in spring for a given distance only, stops 
at will, spends the summer, and in the early 
winter moves southward. On July 30, 1S93, Mr. 
Tyrrell saw a vast assemblage of Barren Ground 
Caribou at Carey Lake (Latitude 62° lC and 
Longitude 102° 45'), nearly 500 miles from the 
Arctic coast. A herd of several thousand ani- 
mals was composed of females with young fawns, 
young females and males of all ages, the lofty 
antlers of the latter being noticeably prominent. 
This herd was then only sixty miles north of the 
southern edge of the Barren Grounds. 

The most impressive published description of 
a caribou migration is from the pen of Mr. War- 
burton Pike. It is a relation of what he saw on 
Lake Camsell, sixty miles north of the eastern 
end of Great Slave Lake, in 1889, and refers to 
the southward movement to the timbered regions, 
1 Rangifer pearyi. 



where the lichens growing upon the trees afford 
subsistence in winter when the ground mosses 
are buried under snow and ice. 

"From what I could gather from the Yellow- 
Knife Indians," says Mr. Pike in "The Barren 
Grounds of Northern Canada," "and from my 
own personal experience, it is late in October 
that the great bands of Caribou, commonly 
known as La joule, mass upon the edge of the 
woods, and start for the food and shelter afforded 
by the stronger growth of pine farther south- 
ward. 

"Scattered bands of Caribou were almost 
always in sight from the top of the ridge behind 
the camps, and increased in numbers till the 
morning of October 20, when little Baptiste, who 
had gone for firewood, woke us before daylight 
with the cry, ' La joule ! La joule !' (The throng.) 
Even in the lodge we could hear the curious clat- 
ter made by a band of travelling Caribou. La 
joule had really come, and during its passage of 
six days, I was able to realize what an extra- 
ordinary number of these animals still roam 
the Barren Grounds. 

"From the ridge we had a splendid view of 
the migration. All the south side of Mackay 
Lake was alive with the moving beasts, while 
the ice seemed to be dotted all over with black 
islands, and still away on the north shore, with 
the aid of the glasses, we could see them coming 
like regiments on the march. In every direction 
we could hear the grunting noise that the Cari- 
bou always makes when travelling. 

"The snow was broken into broad roads, and 
I found it useless to try to estimate the number 
that passed within a few miles of our encamp- 
ment. We were just in the western edge of their 
passage, and afterward we heard that a band of 
Dog-Ribs, hunting some forty miles to the west, 
were at this very time in the last straits of starva- 
tion, only saving their lives by a hasty retreat to 
the woods. This is a common danger in the 
autumn, as the Caribou, coming in from the 
Barren Grounds, join together in one vast herd, 
and do not scatter much till they reach the thick 
timber. 

"The Caribou, as is usually the case when 
they are in large numbers, were very tame, and 
on several occasions I found myself right in the 
middle of a band, with a splendid chance to pick 
out any that seemed in good condition. . . . 



138 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



Notwithstanding all the tall stories that are told 
of their numbers [the buffaloes], I cannot be- 
lieve that the herds on the prairie ever surpassed 
in size La joule of the Caribou." 

Size and Antlers. — At present the size of the 
Barren Ground Caribou appears to be a matter 
of opinion rather than of observation and record. 
In the hope that some one will come forward 
and disprove it, I venture to make the asser- 
tion that no one ever has weighed a whole, full- 
grown male specimen. We have a few figures 
of "dressed" weight, and various "abouts," but 
really useful facts are lacking. It is currently 
believed that the Barren Ground Caribou of 
northern Canada is about one-third lighter than 
the woodland species of Ontario and Quebec. 
If this be true, and we may judge by our own 
woodland bull, which unquestionably was a 
large one (48 inches high, weight, 261 pounds), 
then the male Barren Ground animal may be 
set down as weighing 174 pounds. For the 
Greenland caribou and Grant's caribou, this 
weight surely is too low; for the skulls and skins 
of both those species indicate a greater weight. 
On the Alaska Peninsula Mr. C. H. Townsend 
weighed a dressed specimen of Rangifer granti 
and estimated very carefully the weight of the 
viscera, with the conclusion that the live weight 
of the animal was 410 pounds. 

For their body size, Barren Ground Caribou 



have very large antlers. They sweep back so 
far, rise so high and spread so widely that they 
have the effect of magnifying the height and 
bulk of the wearer. As will be seen by the fol- 
lowing measurements, the antlers of the Barren 
Ground species are longer than those of the 
woodland, but with fewer points, and in most 
cases less palmation. In the series of plates of all 
species published by Mr. Madison Grant in his 
valuable paper on "The Caribou " (Report of the 
New York Zoological Society, 1902), one of the 
most striking differences between the two groups 
is the tree-top appearance of all woodland ant- 
lers, and the open, arm-chair effect of the Barren 
Ground types. 

The Reindeer in Alaska.— In 1887 Mr. 
Charles H. Townsend advised the government 1 
that it would be a very beneficial and humane 
proceeding toward the Eskimo tribes of western 
Alaska to import a large number of domestic 
Reindeer from Siberia, and teach the natives 
how to care for and use them. Through the 
heroic efforts of Dr. Sheldon Jackson, General 
Agent of Education in Alaska, this advice was 
promptly followed under the auspices of the 
Bureau of Education ; but the first fund of $2,000 
came from private sources, and was expended 
in 1S02-3. The initial Congressional appropria- 
tion, of $6,000, was expended in 1S94, but since 
1 The Cruise of the Corwin in 1SS5, p. SS. 



MEASUREMENTS OF LARGE ANTLERS. 



All measurements in inches. 

LENGTH 









BEAM. 




Greenland Car- 










ibou . . . 


R. groenlandicus, 


W. Greenland, . . 


52 


41} 


Barren Ground 










Caribou . 


R. arcticus, 


N. Labrador, . . 


60 


34 


Barren Ground 










Caribou . 


R. arcticus, . . 


Circle City, Alaska 


54} 


36 


Grant's Car- 










ibou . . 


R. granti, . 


Alaska Peninsula, 


33J 


oo$ 


Newfoundland 










Caribou . . 


R. terraenovae, . 


Newfoundland, 


41 


36 


Woodland Car- 










ibou 


R. caribou, 


Northern Canada, 


35} 


21 


Mountain Car- 










ibou . . . 


R. montanus, 


S. Brit. Columbia, 


35 


21 


Osborn's Car- 










ibou . . . 


R. osborni, 


N. Brit. Columbia, 


44} 


38} 


Kenai Caribou. 


R. stonei, . 


Kenai Peninsula, 


45} 


34} 


2 From " The Caribou," by Madison Grant. Report of the New 


Yorl 



WIDEST 

OF MAIN POINTS. OWNER. 

SPREAD. 



21 Author's collection. 

15 National Museum. 2 

16 G. R. Anchors. 

27 American Museum.'* 

36 Madison Grant. 

30 Robert Gilfort. 
31 



43 Daniel Carter Beard. 
56 Harry E. Lee. 



THE MOOSE 



139 



1899, the amount granted annually has been 
$25,000. 

From 1S92 to 1902, 1,580 Reindeer were im- 
ported from Siberia and 144 from Lapland, from 
which 0,116 fawns have been born in Alaska. 
Dr. Jackson states that "the animals born in 
Alaska are developing into larger and stronger 
animals than their parents." Of the whole 
number of Reindeer, 2,692 have been sold, butch- 
ered or lost by death. On May 1 , 1903, the total 
number remaining alive in Alaska was 5,148. 
The number of fawns born in 1902 was 1,654. 

The Reindeer experiment has been wisely con- 
ducted, on good business principles, and is an 
unqualified success. There are nine Reindeer 
stations, extending from Point Barrow, on the 
Arctic Ocean, to Eton Station, near St. Michael, 
on Norton Sound. The Laplanders who were 
taken to Alaska to educate the natives in the 
care and use of Reindeer, have done their work 
conscientiously, and the Eskimo have eagerly 
embraced the opportunity to acquire a domestic 
animal, good for use and for food, to take the 
place of the vanished walrus and Barren Ground 
caribou. 

On the whole, the systematic introduction of 
Reindeer along the northwest coast of Alaska — 
now almost barren of wild life fit for human food 
— is one of the most humane and sensible meas- 
ures ever undertaken for the children of the cold. 
If this industry is further fostered, and diligently 
pursued, its ultimate value in the promotion of 
the moral and material welfare of the Eskimo 
is beyond calculation. The multiplication of 
the herds in the hands of private owners means a 
great increase in the animal food supply, less 
dependence upon the foods of civilization, a 
greater measure of general prosperity and con- 
tentment, and in the end, far less expense to the 
government in the form of annual maintenance 
for starving natives. 

The Moose 1 is the largest animal of the Deer 

Family, living or extinct. Even the Irish elk, with 

antlers which, in at least one specimen, spread 

9 feet 3 inches, was a smaller animal. It is a 

satisfaction to know that the most colossal deer 

that ever trod the earth is alive to-day, and an 

inhp^bitant of our continent. 

'" 
1 Al'ces americanuR. Called in Europe, the "Elk"; 
and our Elk is there called the "Wap'i-ti." See 
Frontispiece. 



It is not, however, an easy matter to convey a 
truthful and adequate impression of this antlered 
giant of the north. The young specimens occa- 
sionally seen for a brief season in zoological parks 
and gardens are scarcely more than suggestions 
of the adult animal. The mounted groups in our 
large museums do indeed represent its full size; 
but to be fully appreciated, the Moose must be 
seen alive, adult, full of strength and purpose, 
striding like a four-legged colossus through the 
evergreen forests of Canada or Alaska, or swing- 
ing away at incredible speed from the dangers of 
the chase. 

Imagine, if you can, an antlered animal stand- 
ing between six and seven feet high at the shoul- 
ders, its legs (juite four feet long, its neck and 
body covered with a heavy thatch of coarse, pur- 
plish-gray hair from three to six inches long, 
and its huge head crowned with massive antlers 
spreading from five to six feet in width. Its 
head is among the lower branches of the forest, 
and its long legs stride with indifferent ease 
over fallen tree-trunks which to the hunter are 
barriers to be climbed over, slowly and labo- 
riously. 

The Moose can instantly be recognized by its 
broad, square-ended, overhanging nose, large 
ears, high hump on the shoulders, and long, 
coarse, smoky-gray hair. The adult male is 
further distinguished by antlers that are enor- 
mously flattened and expanded, in a form pop- 
ularly known as "palmation." 

The Moose is not a grazing animal, like the 
elk, and most other members of the Deer Family. 
It lives by "browsing," or eating the bark, twigs 
and leaves of certain trees, and also moss and 
lichens. It is strictly a forest animal, and is 
never found on open, treeless plains. It is 
very fond of still water, and is much given to 
frequenting the small lakes and ponds which 
abound in some portions of its home. It is as 
fond of wading in shallow water as a boy, and is 
a ready and powerful swimmer. It loves to feed 
upon lily pads and stems, and moose hunters 
have assured me that it even seeks the bulbs 
growing in the muddy bottom. 

Except in Alaska, the majority of Moose killed 
by hunters are shot from ambush beside ponds, or 
from canoes. Frequently, Moose that are surprised 
when wading and feeding in shallow water, make 
the mistake of rushing into deep water, to escape 



140 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



by swimming, when they are easily overtaken, and 
either killed, captured, or photographed. 

In the autumn months, the northeastern Moose 
hunter sometimes makes a horn of birch bark, 
at nightfall conceals himself beside a pond, and 
imitates the call of the cow Moose until a bull 
is actually attracted within shooting distance. 
The cry of this animal is a prolonged, resonant 
bawl, ending in three or four hoarse grunts. 

The accompanying map shows that the Moose 
is yet found in northern Maine, New Brunswick, 
Canada, Manitoba, northern Minnesota, north- 
western Wyoming, Idaho, British Columbia, 
Alberta, Athabasca, Yukon and Alaska. It 
shows only localities known to have been in- 
habited in 1902. In none of these, however, 
are Moose so abundant as in Alaska, around Cook 
Inlet. The southern limit of the Moose in North 
America is the head of Green River, Wyoming, 
Latitude 43°, Longitude 110° W., corresponding 
to the latitude of Albany, New York. 

Below Alaska, the favorite hunting-grounds 
for Moose are Maine, New Brunswick, the upper 
Ottawa River country of Canada, and north- 
western Manitoba. In view of the great number 
of hunters — estimated at ten thousand — who 
annually hunt and fish in Maine, of whom a large 
proportion hold licenses that permit the killing 
of one bull, the persistence of the Moose in Maine 
is really wonderful. During the past nine years 
the number of Moose transported by the rail- 
ways of Maine have been as follows: 

1894 4.5 

1895 112 

1S96 133 

1897 139 

1898 202 

1899 166 

1900 210 

1901 259 

1902 244 

Total 1,510 

In all probability, fifteen hundred more were 
killed and consumed within the state, and not 
accounted for in any permanent records. 

The young of the Moose — always spoken of as 
a "calf," its mother being called a "cow"— is 
born in May, and at first is a very grotesque- 
looking creature. Its enormously long, loose- 
jointed legs are attached to an abnormally short 
and diminutive body. The neck is so short the 



creature cannot put its nose to the ground with- 
out kneeling. Its hair is woolly and brick red, 
or "sandy," like that of a buffalo calf. 

A Moose calf which I once owned, and meas- 
ured when seven weeks old, had the following 
dimensions : 

Height at shoulders 37 inches. 

" hips 31 " 

Length of head and body 42 " 

Depth of chest 11 " 

Length of foreleg to elbow 26 " 

Weight 79 pounds. 

At one year of age, if not stunted in growth, 
a Moose stands from 4 feet 9 inches to 5 feet in 
height at the shoulders, where it has developed a 
lofty hump. On August 14, 1901, the largest 
of six Moose in the New York Zoological Park, 
each one about fifteen months old, measured as 
follows : 

Height, 5 feet 3 inches; length, head and body, 
5 feet 9 inches. Length of tail, 3 J inches; depth 
of chest, 2 feet 2 inches. Horns, 4 inches long; 
weight, 330 pounds. 

Any Moose which stands 6 feet 6 inches in 
height at the shoulders may be considered a very 
large one, a prize, in fact. The largest Moose of 
which I have a reliable record, was killed in New 
Brunswick, in 1901, by Carl Rungius, the justly- 
celebrated animal painter, and carefully meas- 
ured by him with the following result : 

Height of shoulders, 7 feet, exactly. 

Length of head and body, 9 feet 7 inches. 

Girth, 8 feet. 

Length of head alone, 2 feet 9 inches. 

Antlers small for so large an animal. 

The largest antlers recorded up to this date 
(1903) came from the Kenai Peninsula, are now 
in the Field Columbian Museum, and have the 
following dimensions : 

Spread at widest point, 78^ inches. 

Greatest width of palmation, 16 inches. 

Circumference of burr, 15 inches. 

Greatest thickness of palmation, 2J inches. 

Length of skull, 28f inches. 

Total number of points, 34. 

Weight of antlers and dry skull, 93^ pounds. 

From the above figures, one can imagine the 
strength necessary to enable an animal to carry 
such an unwieldy load upon its head, and run at 
great speed for long distances over the roughest 
kind of timbered country. 



THE MOOSE 



141 



Regarding the weight of adult Moose, very few 
exact observations have been recorded, or oth- 
erwise made available. A large Maine Moose 
killed by W. L. Miller of Bangor, weighed 1,123 
pounds. A dressed carcass weighed by S. L. 
Crosby showed a weight of 1,009 pounds. (Rec- 
reation Magazine, IV, p. 89.) 

By the time a Moose calf is a year old, it has 
taken on the colors of adult life, which consist of 
a mixture of blackish-brown on the head, neck 
and body, and yellowish-gray on the legs and 
under parts. The hair and mane is long, coarse 



sense than any other species of deer with which 
I am acquainted. 

Owing to the peculiar nature of the digestive 
organs of this animal, it cannot live long upon 
ordinary grass or hay, even when supplemented 
with the best tree-branches that its own native 
forests can supply. It is my belief that vigorous 
daily exercise is vitally necessary to the proper 
digestion and assimilation of their food. In 
captivity, even when fed on fresh green browse 
of the choicest variety, which they eat with relish, 
they usually die of gastro-enteritis, or inhamma- 




t 



DISTRIBUTION OF THE MOOSE IN NORTH AMERICA, IN 1903. 



and stiff, and lies more like a thatch of straw 
than genuine hair. On the neck and shoulders 
it is six inches long. Under the throat hangs a 
long, ornamental strip of hair-covered skin, four 
inches long, called a "bell." In the adult male 
animal this bell is sometimes a foot in length. 

The female Moose has no antlers, but in bulk 
she almost equals the proportions of the male. 
Out of every thousand females, only one has a 
"bell." 

In captivity the Moose is naturally a docile 
animal, not foolishly nervous like most deer, but 
steady, confiding and affectionate. Moose are 
easily handled, and trained to drive in harness, 
and in contact with man manifest more common- 



tion of the stomach and intestines. Green grass 
is fatal to them, and when fed on grain, hay and 
vegetables they soon become emaciated and die. 
Thus far the best results achieved in the main- 
tenance of captive Moose on public exhibition 
have been in the Cincinnati Zoological Garden, 
where Superintendent S. A. Stephan has suc- 
ceeded in keeping a pair for about five years. 
In great forest preserves, such as Blue Mountain 
Park, in New Hampshire, Moose do live, thrive 
and increase. 

In a wild state, Moose browse upon many 
kinds of trees, but particularly upon birch, hem- 
lock, spruce, alder, aspen, willow and maple. 
They reach the tender tops of tree saplings by 



14S 



ORDEES OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



walking; astride of them, and "riding them down," 
and in the manipulation of small branches, the 
use of the overhanging and prehensile nose is 
strikingly apparent. With their strong lower 
front teeth, used chisel-fashion, they gouge the 
bark off large branches, and feed upon it. In 
grazing on grass, or feeding upon ground mosses, 
a Moose must kneel in order to reach them. 

During the deep snows of winter, Moose herd 
together in sheltered spots in the forest; and 




Copyright by Dall DeWeese. 

ANTLERS OF AN ALASKAN MOOSE. 

■Spread, 68 inches. From an animal killed on the 
Kenai Peninsula, by Dall DeWeese. 

through their moving about in a small area, the 
snow is trodden clown until they form what is 
called a "Moose yard." 

Naturally, because of its grand proportions, 
and its massive antlers, the Moose has been to 
every hunter of big game a grand prize. Al- 
though difficult to find and approach within 
•easy rifle-shot, when approached it is killed easily 
and without danger. During the past five years, 
this species has been fairly protected through- 
out the eastern half of its range, and in 1902 this 
protection was by Act of Congress extended over 



the whole of Alaska. Without real protection, 
ten years' time surely would see this magnificent 
animal, which Nature has been millions of years 
in bringing to perfection as we now see it, prac- 
tically exterminated throughout North America. 
In 1900 the legislature of the state of New 
York appropriated $5,000 to be expended in re- 
storing wild Moose to the Adirondack wilderness, 
from which the species was exterminated by 
man, forty years ago. Up to September, 1903, 
fifteen head of young Moose had been purchased, 
chiefly in Canada, taken to the Adirondacks, and 
liberated. Although the responsible guides and 
guides' associations are using all their influence 
to secure the protection of the liberated Moose 
and elk, already have individuals of both those 
species been shot. It is greatly to be feared 
that the well-meant efforts of the state, and 
also of public-spirited private individuals, will 
accomplish little else than to furnish more 
meat for lawless persons who kill until they are 
caught, and then plead that they killed their 
Moose and elk "by mistake!" It is also to be 
feared that the Adirondack Moose will migrate 
northward into Canada, and remain there. 

It remains to be seen how much the real 
men of the Adirondacks are going to ac- 
complish against the Moose-killers and their 
supporters. 

The Alaskan Moose has obtained a place in 
the annals of natural history to which its title is, 
at the least, very questionable. It has been 
described as a new species (Alee gigas), and a 
giant besides; and because of this, and its really 
immense antlers, it has dwarfed prevailing ideas 
regarding the more southern species (A. ameri- 
canus). 

For the exaggerated ideas of this animal that 
now quite generally prevail, its antlers are per- 
haps chiefly responsible. Occasionally they are 
of great size and weight, exhibiting enormous 
spread (from 70 to 78 inches), wide palmations 
and also great thickness (from 1-j to 2 inches). 
Their maximum dimensions considerably surpass 
those of antlers from more southern individuals. 
In addition to all this, they occasionally show 
freaky development in the shape and set of the 
brow antlers; and occasionally the main shovel 
throws out a palmated spur of striking form and 
size. Seen from the front, it often happens that 
the antlers of an Alaskan Moose present a chaotic 



THE MOOSE 



143 



jumble of tines and palmations. Occasionally 
these odd forms are also found among the moose 
of Ottawa and New Brunswick. 

But in Alaskan Moose antlers, freaky develop- 
ment is exceptional, and the real type is the 
same as that found on the moose of Nova Scotia, 
Manitoba and Minnesota. The largest antlers 
on record up to this date are perfectly regular. 
Apparently the Alaskan Moose find in summer 
an abundant supply of some food which is par- 
ticularly rich in horn-producing properties, and 
their enormous and freaky antlers are the result. 

Regarding the size of Alaskan and other moose, 
it is well to weigh the best available evidence. 

So far as I am informed, the largest moose ever 
killed and measured by thoroughly experienced 
and reliable hands is the one already referred to 
which was shot in New Brunswick by Mr. Carl 
Rungius, the painter of American animals, whose 
knowledge of the external anatomy of that ani- 
mal is, as many believe, second to that of no 
other man. The accuracy and fairness of Mr. 
Rungius' measurements of the animals he has so 
long studied in their wild haunts, is beyond ques- 
tion. According to Mr. Rungius, the moose re- 
ferred to above stood precisely 84 inches high at 
shoulders, and had a girth of 96 inches; but "for 
so large an animal its antlers were rather small." 

The following measurements of moose, in 
inches, are of interest in determining the real 
value of prevailing impressions regarding the 
Alaskan animal, and its right to specific rank by 
reason of its great size : 



became an established industry. The unfort- 
unate fact that in many portions of southwest- 
ern Alaska Moose were easily found and killed, 
bore heavily against them. The Kenai Penin- 
sula partook of the character of a moose "pre- 
serve," in everything save preservation. 

In 1902, through the combined efforts of nat- 
uralists and sportsmen, Congress enacted a law 
for the protection of the wild animals of Alaska, 
very wisely charged the Secretary of Agricult- 
ure with its enforcement, and vested him with 
wide discretionary power. It was a great day 
for big game, and for all persons interested in 
the preservation of our grandest wild animals, 
when the fauna of Alaska came under the pro- 
tection of Drs. C. Hart Merriam and T. S. 
Palmer, of the United States Biological Survey, 
who are specially charged with the enforcement 
of the Alaska game law. The killing of moose 
for salable heads promptly decreased. Ex- 
cepting by prospectors and natives in great need 
of food, no moose, white sheep, goat, caribou or 
big brown bear may be killed in close season 
without a special license signed by the Secretary 
of Agriculture ; nor can any skins, heads or antlers 
of protected game be transported from Alaska 
without permits. 

The only thing now necessary for the protec- 
tion of the valuable animals of Alaska is an 
annual appropriation of $25,000 for the pay of 
game wardens, and legal expenses, and the plac- 
ing of the entire salmon industry under the con- 
trol of the United States Fish Commission. 



BY WHOM SHOT AND 
MEASURED. 


LOCALITY. 


SEX. 


HEIGHT AT 
SHOULDERS. 


GIRTH. 


LENGTH OF 

HEAD AND 

BODY. 


Carl Rungius, 
Dall DeWeese, . . . 
L. L. Dyche, .... 
A. J. Stone, .... 


New Brunswick, 1 . . 
Alaska, a .... 
Minnesota, 1 .... 
Alaska,' 


Male 
Male 
Male 
Male 


84 
80f 
78+ 
77} 


96 
91f 


115 
119f 

106 



Until the enactment of the national law of 
1902 for the preservation of wild animal life in 
Alaska, the huge antlers of the moose of Alaska 
threatened to cause the annihilation of the spe- 
cies in that territory. "Record heads" and 
" record antlers " began to be sought for by those 
who were able to buy them at high prices, and 
very promptly moose-killing for heads and horns 



THE PECCARY FAMILY. 

Tayassuidae. 

The wild swine of the world form a group 
which contains several remarkable forms. 

The wart hog, of Africa, is the ugliest of all 
land animals, and its head is of such a remark- 
able form that at first sight it seems like one of 



1 Alces americanus. 2 Largest of several very large male specimens collected on the Kenai Peninsula. 



144 



ORDEKS OF MAMMALS— HOOFED ANIMALS 



the sports of nature. The red river-hog, of West 
Africa, is the most beautiful of all swine, and 
its immaculate red coat, and long, slender ears 
produced to infinity in the form of a waving 
pencil of threadlike hairs, renders this animal 
acceptable in any zoological garden. 

The Collared Peccary is our nearest and 
best-known representative of the wild swine. 
Its northern limit is the Red River, and the valley 
of the Rio Grande, in Texas, and southward it 
ranges to Patagonia. In northwestern Sonora, 
it has recently been obtained by Dr. D. T. Mac- 
Dougall in regions so dry, hot and barren of 
vegetation that it was a surprise to find it there. 
Its preference is for brushy, upland jungles, but 




COLLARED PECCARY. 

at the same time it frequents all available cover, 
from the fruitful hard-wood forests of Arkansas 
and Texas to the moist and hot jungles of Cen- 
tral and South America. 

In Texas this animal is called the "Javelina," 
and hunting it on horseback with dogs is a sport 
not to be despised. When hotly pursued, the 
Peccary of Texas gladly dives into any rocky 
crevice or hole that is large enough to receive it. 
Both jaws of this animal are provided with tusks, 
of sufficient length and sharpness to make them 
dangerous weapons. 

The courage and pugnacity of the Peccary are 
well known, and when threatened with attack 
by a drove, the boldest hunter does not hesitate 
1 Tay'as-sv ta'ja-cu. 



to climb the best tree that happens to be avail- 
able. An enraged Peccary, athirst for blood, 
is to any one not armed with a rifle or a first- 
rate spear a formidable antagonist. But for 
their tusks and dauntless courage when attacked, 
these animals could not have long survived in 
forests infested by savage jaguars, pumas, wolves 
and ocelots. Truly, it seems as if this species 
represents the survival of one of the fittest. 

In our southwestern states the regular food 
of the Peccary consists of acorns, pecans, farm- 
ers' crops, seeds and edible roots of many kinds, 
and (it is said) also frogs, lizards, snakes, and 
all other ground animals it can catch. If the 
musk gland situated on the top of the hind- 
quarters is cut out as soon as a Peccary is killed, 
the flesh will be saved from the musky flavor 
and odor which without this precaution would 
soon render it unpalatable. 

The Collared Peccary derives its name from 
a ribbon-like band of white which encircles the 
animal about where the neck joins the shoulders. 
Other than this, the hair is of a black color, 
sprinkled with gray. 

The White-Lipped Peccary 2 is a larger spe- 
cies than the preceding, with white hair on its up- 
per lips. It is found only as far north as south- 
ern Mexico, but ranges southward to Paraguay. 

THE TAPIR FAMILY. 

Tapiridae. 

In all the world there are at least five species 
of tapirs, only one of which is found in the Old 
World. In southern Mexico and Central Amer- 
ica, we know of the existence of a species called 
Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdi), and in Central 
America one known as Dow's Tapir (Tapirus 
dowi), but of their life histories very little is 
known, and at present it is impossible to describe 
them adequately. 

The South American Tapir' is so frequently 
seen in captivity, and is already so well known, 
that it may well be chosen as the representative 
of the only Family of odd-toed Ungulates ex- 
isting on this continent. It takes kindly to cap- 
tivity, grows rapidly, and always manages to 
look well-fed, and as sleek as a seal. Its color 
is a rich mahogany brown, its head is long and 
triangular, and its long, prehensile nose, ever so- 
liciting something to eat, is strongly suggestive 

2 Tay'as-su al-bi-ros' -ire . 3 Tap'i-rus ter-res'tris. 



THE TAPIRS 



145 



of the end of an elephant's trunk. The shoulder 
height of a full-grown animal is about 37 inches. 
The species best known to the world inhabits 
Venezuela, the Guianas, Brazil, Paraguay, Uru- 
guay and the northern portion of the Argentine 
Republic. Although tapirs are usually found 
along small and well-shaded rivers in the hot 
lowlands of the tropics, they are also frequently 
found on forest-covered mountains. They are 
exceedingly shy and wary, and under all circum- 
stances are difficult to find. Without dogs it is 
almost impossible to outwit them. When at- 



tacked they always head for the nearest stream, 
and plunge into the water for concealment. Their 
food consists of soft and fleshy plants that grow 
in or within easy reach of streams, and in dense 
forests where the humidity is great. The flesh 
of all tapirs is said to be very palatable, and in 
South America it is much sought by hunters. 

The South American Tapir thrives in cap- 
tivity, either with a bath-tank or without, and 
breeds. In 1903 a pair bred in the National 
Zoological Park, at Washington, and the off- 
spring survived. 



CHAPTER IX 
THE ORDER OF WHALES AND PORPOISES 

GETE 



To some persons who are beyond the reach of large museums, or a complete work on natural 
history, the whales, dolphins and porpoises seem very far away. To those who live far from the 
sea, it might seem justifiable to omit them from our list; but, inasmuch as all Americans travel, 
and nearly every reader of this book is certain to observe some of the great sea-mammals dis- 
porting in the waves of their ocean home, it is necessary to give them a brief notice. 

The salt waters of the world are inhabited by what is really a great array of species of fish- 
like mammals, some of which are the largest creatures that ever inhabited the earth. It is 
a satisfaction to know that even the largest of the great extinct lizards of North America did 
not equal the gigantic bulk of a ninety-foot sulphur-bottom whale of our Pacific coast. 

Although the Cetaceans are very fish-like in form, and also in mode of life, they are warm- 
blooded mammals, which breathe air instead of water, drown if submerged too long, bring 
forth their young alive, and nourish them with milk from their own bodies. For the protection 
of their flesh and vital organs from the cold of Arctic waters, they are completely enveloped 
in a thick layer of fat, called "blubber," which lies under the skin, and is impervious to cold. 
It is as if a man had a layer of felt an inch thick under his skin. 

All Cetaceans are destitute of hair, and in most cases the skin is as smooth as plate-glass. 
The great majority of them have teeth, but many are toothless. Except the whales of greatest 
commercial value, little is known of the habits of Cetaceans generally. It is very difficult to 
study creatures that make their home in the sea, and can be closely studied only when killed. 
Nevertheless, quite a number of interesting facts regarding these strange animals have been 
brought together, chiefly by observing whalers. Their four Families are as follows : 



FAMILIES. 



CETACEANS: 
Cete. 



1. Baleen Whales: 

(without teeth) 
Balaenidae. 



Sperm Whales: 

(with teeth) 
Physeteridae. 



3. Dolphins 

and 
Porpoises: 

Delphinidae. 



4. Fresh-Water 
Dolphins: 

Platinistidae. 



" Whalebone " Whales, of large size, without teeth. 
The mouth is provided with " baleen," commercially 
called "whalebone." This group includes the Sul- 
phur-Bottom, largest of all whales, and about fifteen 
other species. 

Whales with a narrow, beak-like lower jaw, and formid- 
able teeth. There are four species, varying in size 
from the Pigmy Sperm Whale, 12 feet long, to the 
great Sperm Whale, SO feet long. 

This Family includes about thirty species of Dolphins, 
Porpoises, Grampuses, Blackfish and Narwhals. They 
vary in size from the five-foot common Porpoise to 
the thirty-foot Orca, or "Whale-Killer." All save a 
very few are harmless, but the Killer is the most sav- 
age and dangerous creature that swims the seas. 



The narrow-beaked dolphins of the Amazon and Ganges. 



14(5 



THE BALEEN WHALES 



147 



THE FAMILY OF BALEEN WHALES. 

Balenidae. 

If seen on land, any member of this Family 
would recall Falstaff's graphic reference to his 
own fleshy self, — "A mountain of mummy!" 

In one respect, a large whale is like an iceberg. 
When seen in the water, only a small fraction of 
its bulk appears, and the remainder must be 
imagined. On the ocean, one sees nothing of a 
whale save a rather flat back, and a jet of dense 
vapor rising and curving back into the sea. 
Startling indeed would be the sight of a whale's 
bulk, if it could be seen in its entirety. 

The largest and also the swiftest of all whales 
is the great Sulphur-Bottom Whale, 1 of the 
Pacific Ocean, found from northern California 
to Central America. So far as we know, this is 
the largest animal that ever lived upon this 
planet. Captain C. M. Scammon, one of the 
most observant and scholarly of all whalers, 
records the measurements of a specimen taken 
by him as follows : Total length, 95 feet ; length 
of jawbone, 21 feet; girth, 39 feet; length of 
longest " whalebone," 4 feet; weight of "whale- 
bone," 800 pounds; calculated weight of whole 
whale, 294,000 pounds; barrels of oil yielded, 
110 — not a large quantity. 

The accompanying illustration shows the 
form of a baleen whale, and the peculiar outline 
of its enormous mouth. The whales of this Fam- 
ily live upon minute shrimp-like crustaceans, 
and swimming mollusks (shell-fish) belonging 
to the group known as pteropods (ter'o-pods) 
which float in myriads on or near the surface of 
the sea. To enable the sea-monster to feed upon 
these very small organisms, and secure them in 
a wholesale way, the roof of the mouth is pro- 
vided with two great masses of thin, horny plates 
set edgewise on each side, and very close together. 
The lower edges of these plates (of "whale- 
bone") are frayed out into a mass of what looks 
like coarse, bristly hair, and these frayed edges 
unite into a web of filaments as long and as wide 
as the whole inside of the mouth. 

In feeding, the whale swims through a mass 
of floating pteropods, with its mouth open ; and 
the fringe of the baleen, hanging down upon the 
sides of the lower jaw, forms a perfect strainer 
for catching even the smallest creatures afloat. 
1 Bal-ae-nop 'ter-a sul-fu're-us 



The pteropods gather in a mass on the tongue, 
and presently are swallowed. When the mouth 
is shut, the plates of baleen fold in diagonally. 

Captain David Gray has stated that some- 
times the whale finds its food under water, at 
a depth of from sixty to ninety feet. In gather- 
ing it the animal dives, holds its breath like any 
air-breathing animal, and after an interval re- 
appears at the surface to breathe, swallow the 
food collected, and rest before diving again. 
When whales are feeding in this manner, it is 
comparatively easy for whalers to approach them 
within striking distance, and harpoon them. 

One of the most astonishing statements re- 
corded of this animal is that sometimes when 
harpooned, and sometimes in sport, as well, it 
leaps out of the water, for practically its entire 
length! Captain Scammon states that a pair 
of Sulphur-Bottom Whales have been known 
to float side by side at the surface of the water, 




BOW-HEAD WHALE. 
Balacna mysticetus. 

and caress each other by striking each other's 
bodies with their flippers, "the sound made by 
these gigantic love-pats being audible for miles." 

The young of a whale is called a "calf," and 
usually the mother is very solicitous for the wel- 
fare of her offspring. She suckles it until it is 
able to seek other food than her milk. 

The Bow-Head Whale, also called Green- 
land, and Polar Whale^ of the polar seas 
around the north pole, is known by the immense 
size of its head and the semicircular arch of its 
jaws. Its individual plates of baleen are some- 
times 10 to 12 feet in length. This material is 
now scraped very fine, and mixed with the silk 
fibre of dress silks, to make the cloth rustle when 
worn, and also give it stiffness. It is now of such 
high value commercially that the baleen whales 
are being pursued as far north as vessels can go. 
When a vessel is having a run of luck, and strik- 
ing Bow-Head Whales frequently, the oil is some- 
2 Bal-ae'na mys-ti-ce'tus. 



148 



ORDEES OF MAMMALS— WHALES AND PORPOISES 



times completely ignored, and the quest settles 
down to a hunt for whalebone alone. 

Whale oil is no longer the valuable commodity 
it was forty years ago, but the hunt for baleen 
will ultimately exterminate all the whales of this 
Family. The Bow-Head Whale is of medium 
size, rarely attaining 65 feet, and usually runs 
under 50; yet it is uncommonly rich, both in 
baleen and oil. A large whale of this species is 
said to yield 275 barrels of oil, and 3,500 pounds 
of whalebone. 

On the coast of Newfoundland there are now 
five whaling stations which during the summer 
season do a thriving business. Small whales of 
two or three species are killed in adjacent waters, 
towed to the stations, and hauled up on ways - 
In a single day a whale forty feet long is com- 
pletely worked up, and practically every part of 
the animal yields a commercially-valuable prod- 
uct. 

When a whale is struck by a harpoon, it dives 
deeply to escape its foes, and remains under 
water as long as possible. The comfortable 
period for a whale to remain under water is fif- 
teen minutes, but in feeding below the surface, 
this is often extended to twenty-five minutes. 
Harpooned whales sometimes descend 300 feet 
and lie on the muddy bottom of a shallow sea 
for a period of from fifty minutes to an hour and 
twenty minutes. 

But whalers know that their victim must 
sooner or later come to the surface, or drown. 
As a whale reaches the surface, it immediately 
discharges its breath from the blow-holes situated 
on top of its head. A whale does not spout 
water, but the breath which comes from its lungs 
is so heavily laden with moisture that at a little 
distance it looks like water, especially when it 
curves over and falls into the sea. It is this 
"spouting" which reveals the whale to its enemy 
in the "crow's-nest" of the whaling vessel, and 
causes him to shout joyously to those on deck, 
"There she blows!" 

In addition to the above, the most important 
species of baleen whales are these: 

The Right Whale (Balaena glacialu), of the 
cool waters around the north pole and the Atlan- 
tic Ocean, north and south, attains 70 feet, but 
usually runs under 50 feet. 

The Pacific Bight Whale (Balaena sicboldii) 
inhabits the North Pacific. 



The Humpback Whale (Mcgaplera nodosa), 
of the Atlantic, off the United States coast, 
is the species most frequently seen from the 
decks of passenger steamers and stranded on 
our coast. Its usual length is from 45 to 60 
feet. 

The Finback Whale (Balaenoiptera physalus), 
of the North Atlantic coast, attains 60 feet, but 
yields little oil, and is difficult to kill. 

The California Gray Whale (Rachianectes 
glaucus), from the arctic seas to Lower Cali- 
fornia, attains 45 feet. It is fond of shallow 
water, and is savage and dangerous. 

THE SPERM WHALE FA3IILY. 

Physeteridae. 

It is impossible to give in a few words a clear 
and adequate conception of the various localities 
inhabited by the great Sperm Whale. 1 It may 
be said, however, that it is a habitant of the 
warm seas of the globe, from the North Atlantic, 
around Cape Horn, to the North Pacific. 

The Sperm Whale has an enormous, square- 
ended head, which constitutes one-third of its 
entire bulk. Under this great mass is the lower 
jaw of solid bone, shaped like a letter Y, the 
stem being fully armed with a double row of 
huge, conical teeth. In comparison with the 
great bulk of the head, the lower jaw seems ab- 
surdly small; but it is a formidable weapon, 
and whalers dread it. 

In seizing a whale-boat, a man struggling in 
the water, or any other dangerous enemy, a 
Sperm Whale turns on its side or back, like a 
shark, in order to bring its lower jaw over its 
victim. 

The largest Sperm Whales have measured 
from SO to 84 feet. At birth they are from 1 1 to 
14 feet long. Their food consists of fish of vari- 
ous kinds, and also squid. A young whale, only 
twenty feet long, which was taken on the coast 
of Cornwall, had in its stomach about 300 mack- 
erel. The head of the Sperm Whale yields sperm 
oil, spermaceti, and teeth which are valuable for 
ivory. A substance called ambergris, of much 
value to druggists and perfumers, is obtained 
from the intestinal canal. 

The Sperm Whale Porpoise, or "Pygmy 
Sperm Whale" (Ko'gi-a), is found on both the 
1 Phys'e-ter mac-ro-ceph'a-lus. 



SPERM WHALES AND DOLPHINS 



149 



Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States. 
It is a true pygmy, adult specimens being but 15 
feet long. They are so rare that their existence 
in the western Atlantic Ocean was not known 
until 1883, when a specimen was washed ashore 
at Spring Lake, New Jersey, and secured by the 
United States National Museum. 

THE DOLPHIN AND PORPOISE FAMILY. 

Delphinidae. 

This Family contains a number of different 
groups of animals, some of which are sharply 
distinct, and are not called by either of those 
names. The porpoises are distinguished by their 
blunt noses, and the dolphins by their long, 
pointed noses and elongated, beak-like jaws. 
Unfortunately for our purpose, there are a few 
porpoises with long snouts, and a few dolphins 
with short, blunt noses; and consequently the 
two groups run together so confusingly that it 
is impossible to lay down any rules by which one 
may always be distinguished from the other. We 
shall therefore shorten our work by setting forth 
the species most worth knowing, and leaving the 
anatomical details of the different genera to be 
learned in the future. 

The White "Whale," or Beluga, 1 of the upper 
half of the northern hemisphere, is not really a 
whale, but a member of the Dolphin Family. It 
is creamy white all over, and 16 feet long; has 
several times been exhibited in aquaria and 
shows, and is known personally to millions of 
Americans. One of the fine specimens exhibited 
in the New York Aquarium in 1897 met its death 
from suffocation caused by a live eel becoming 
immovably fixed in its blow-hole, and shutting 
off its breath so suddenly that the mammal died 
before the fish could be removed. This species 
ascends the Yukon River, Alaska, for 700 miles, 
and is also an inhabitant of the St. Lawrence. 
Dr. Goode states that the food of the White 
"Whale" consists of such fish as flounders, hali- 
but, cod, salmon, and eels, and also of squids 
and prawns. In the St. Lawrence River there 
is a fishery of considerable importance. 

The Blackfish 3 is not a fish, but a jet black 
member of the Dolphin Family, 15 to 18 feet 
long, and is shaped very much like a small sperm 

1 Del-phin-ap'ter-us leu'cas. 

2 Glob-i-ceph'a-la me'las. 



whale. The head has the same square-ended, 
sawn-off appearance, and a barely perceptible 
snout. It is one of the most abundant and im- 
portant of the small cetaceans of the east coast 
of North America. Thousands of them have 
been stranded, or deliberately driven into shal- 
low water, on Cape Cod, sometimes over a hun- 
dred in one school. The yield of oil from a 
single Blackfish varies from ten gallons to ten 
barrels. The jaw yields a fine quality of oil 
much used for sewing-machines, and known as 
porpoise-jaw oil. The value of a stranded Black- 
fish on Cape Cod varies from $5 to $40. (G. 
Brown Goode.) 

Once on a voyage from South America to New 
York, we sighted a large school of Blackfish, 
travelling south, and playing by the way. Some 
chased each other, lazily, and half a dozen of 
them stood on their tails in the water, perfectly 
erect, with their heads six or seven feet high in 
the air, as if to look at the ship. Those so stand- 
ing looked like big, black posts, all ready for 
wharf building. 

The Grampus, or Cow-'Tish," 3 of our At- 
lantic coast inhabits the same waters as the pre- 
ceding species, but is not nearly so numerous, nor 
so stupid in getting stranded in shallow water. 

Its color is slaty gray, variegated with irregu- 
lar white markings, and its length is from 15 to 
20 feet. 

The Killer "Whale," or Orca, 4 is the demon 
of the seas. This creature has the appetite of a 
hog, the cruelty of a wolf, the courage of a bull- 
dog, and the most terrible jaws afloat. Its teeth 
are surpassed in size only by those of the sperm 
whale. It attacks whales of the largest size, and 
devours sea-lions, seals and small porpoises as a 
hungry longshoreman destroys saddle-rock oys- 
ters. 

A full-grown Killer is from 16 to 20 feet in 
length, and can always be recognized by the great 
height of its back fin. The all-black High-Finned 
Killer, of the Pacific only, has a back fin six feet 
high. The colors of Orcinus orca are those 
of the pirate's flag of skull-and-cross-bones, — 
black and white, disposed as shown in the ac- 
companying illustration. This species is found 
on both coasts of North America, and in the 
Arctic Ocean. 

3 Gram'piis gris'e-us. 

4 Or-ci'nus or'ca. 



150 



OEDERS OF MAMMALS— WHALES ANT) PORPOISES 



The following quotation from Captain Scam- 
mon is the testimony of an eye-witness of the 
Orca in action : 

"Three or four of these voracious animals do 
not hesitate to grapple with the largest baleen 
whale. The attack of these wolves of the ocean 
upon their gigantic prey may be likened in some 
respects to a pack of hounds holding a stricken 
deer at bay. They cluster about the animal's 
head, some of their number breaching over it, 
while others seize it by the lips, and draw the 
bleeding monster under water; and when capt- 



to the bottom where the water was five fathoms 
deep. During the struggle the mother became 
nearly exhausted, having received several deep 
wounds about the mouth and lips. As soon as 
their prize had settled to the bottom, the three 
Killers descended, bringing up large pieces of 
flesh in their mouths, which they devoured after 
coming to the surface. While gorging them- 
selves in this wise, the old whale made her 
escape, leaving a track of gory water behind." 

The swiftness of the Killer is very great, and 
to all small Cetaceans this savage monster is a 




CALIFORNIA GRAY WHALES ATTACKED BY KILLERS. 
Drawn by J. Carter Beard, from Captain Scammon's narrative. 



ured, should the mouth be open, they eat out 
its tongue. 

"We once saw an attack made by three Kill- 
ers upon a cow whale and her calf, in a lagoon 
on the coast of California, in the spring of 1858. 
The whale was of the California gray species, 
and her young was grown to three times the bulk 
of the largest Killers engaged in the contest, 
which lasteoLan hour or more. They made al- 
ternate assaults upon the old whale and her 
offspring, finally killing the latter, which sank 



genuine terror. An eminent naturalist named 
D. F. Eschricht, who devoted much attention to 
the Cetaceans, states that he knew one of these 
animals to capture and swallow alive, and in 
quick succession, four small porpoises, while 
from the stomach of another Killer, but sixteen 
feet long, were taken fourteen seals! In Bering 
Sea the Killer destroys large numbers of fur 
seals, and when walruses were plentiful, even 
made war on them, also. On the Atlantic coast, 
it was, until recently, a common occurrence for 



DOLPHINS AND PORPOISES 



151 



a band of Killers to chase large schools of blackfish 
and porpoises into shallow water. They also per- 
secuted the horse-mackerel, or tunny. The Killer 
is widely distributed, and his deeds of destruction 
have made him widely known and feared. 

The Dolphin. — Few persons cross the At- 
lantic, or make a voyage of half a dozen days in 
any direction, without seeing a school of dolphins. 
In fact, it might almost be said that every voyage 
has its dolphins. As a rule, they do not appear 
until the passengers have recovered from sea- 
sickness, and are on deck, eager- 
ly scanning the surface of the 
sea for living things. 

To most voyagers, the sudden 
appearance of a school of dol- 
phins is a thrilling sight. Hour 
after hour the eye scans the 
watery expanse, eager for a sign 
of life, or gazes with awe and 
fear into the dark, watery abyss 
below. Suddenly, out of the 
steep side of a green-topped 
wave leap forth a dozen shining, 
sharp-pointed forms. They seem 
oyous and full of power, like 
acrobats entering an arena. In 
sublime ignorance of man's ra- 
pacious nature, they confidently 
swim within twenty feet of the 
ship's side. They curve up to the surface, fre- 
quently leaping clear of the water, arch their 
bodies, breathe quickly, and dive again. For a 
few yards, perhaps, they race along under water, 
but in plain view, then some leap out again. 
How easily they keep pace with the ship! Their 
mastery of old Ocean is so complete that it is 
a wonderful thing to see. 

Sometimes the animals are so near the ship 
that the species can be determined to a certainty, 
especially those which are marked by light col- 
ors. However, it is no disgrace to any natural- 
ist to declare his inability to say positively what 
species is alongside. 

Dolphins are particularly fond of playing 
around the bow of a ship; but for some reason 
best known to themselves, they evince a decided 
preference for the out-thrusting bow of a sailing 
ship, and are not attracted so much by the high, 
perpendicular cutwater of a steamer, with no 
bowsprit or jib-boom. 



A swift ocean steamship is not escorted very 
far, for such a promenade soon becomes tiresome; 
but I have seen a school of these interesting creat- 
ures circle about a sailing ship, and play around 
its cutwater for half an hour. It is a simple mat- 
ter for an expert sailor to take a position on the 
martingale-guys of a ship, under the bowsprit, 
and harpoon a dolphin; but to me it has never 
seemed like a fair thing to do. 

In North American waters there are about 
twelve species of dolphins, most of which are 




THE COMMON DOLPHIN. 

from (i to 7 feet in length, and but two or three 
species exceed 10 feet. The Short-Beaked 
Dolphin of the Pacific is the most beautiful 
species. 

The Common Dolphin, 1 of the Atlantic 
Ocean, may well be taken as the type of the 
family of true Dolphins. It is the species that 
is most frequently seen, and the one longest 
known. It has a slender, cigar-shaped body, 
a small head, and its beak is long and narrow. 
Its length is from 6J to 7+ feet, and in color it is 
dark gray above and dull white below. Dolphins 
generallj r feed upon small fish, and at times de- 
stroy great numbers of mackerel. 

The Common Porpoise,- of the Atlantic 
Coast, is a jet black creature, blunt-headed, 
heavy in action, a veritable pig of the sea. It 
loves to roll about in the breakers, and loaf 
lazily in harbors and sheltered bays, and at river 
mouths. As before stated of porpoises gener- 
1 Del-phi'nus del'phis. - Pho-cae'na com-mu'nis. 



152 



ORDEES OF MAMMALS— WHALES AND PORPOISES 



ally, this animal does not leap from the water, 
in sheer enjoyment of a " life on the ocean 
wave," but heaves itself to the surface just 
high enough to bring its blow-hole out of the 
water, gives a loud puff or snuff, and then rolls 
heavily below. 

This Porpoise is the species most frequently 
seen by summer visitors on the Atlantic coast, 
and in various localities it is variously named. 
It is known as the Herring Hog, Snuffling 



ivory tusk, which is from G to 8 feet long, is 
twisted throughout its length, from left to right, 
and is developed only in the male. 

The Narwhal 's teeth, aside from a few that are 
merely rudimentary, are reduced to a single pair, 
lying horizontally in the upper jaw. In the fe- 
male they remain permanently concealed. In 
the male the right tooth usually remains simi- 
larly concealed, but the left is enormously de- 
veloped into the tusk just mentioned. Hav- 




THE NARWHAL, ADULT AND YOUNG. 



Pig, Puffer and Snuffer. Its length seldom 
exceeds 4 feet 6 inches. It feeds upon fish, par- 
ticularly on species like the herring and men- 
haden, which run in schools, and is said to be very 
destructive. Its flesh is very dark, its blood is 
almost black, and on the dissecting table it reeks 
of oil. 

One of the strangest of all Cetaceans is the 
Nar'whal, 1 a creature 16 feet long, mottled black 
and gray, with a blunt-ended head, no back fin, 
and with a very long, straight tusk of ivory pro- 
jecting straight forward from its head. This 
1 Mori' o-don mon-o'ce-ros. 



ing no other teeth, the creature is obliged to feed 
upon squids, jelly-fish generally, and small fishes 
that can be swallowed whole. It is found in 
the polar waters of the North Atlantic, and the 
Arctic Ocean north of the Old World, but is now 
rare in accessible waters. When Nansen and 
Johansen were retreating southward over the 
ice, after their dash toward the pole, each man 
with three dogs dragging a sledge with a kyak 
upon it, the first living creature actually observed 
by them was the Narwhal, in the lanes of water 
then rapidly forming in the great ice-pack, in 
Latitude S3° 36'. 



CHAPTER X 

THE ORDER OF SEA-COWS 

SIRENIA 

In certain warm and deep rivers of the tropics and sub-tropics, where water plants grow abun- 
dantly and all nature seems at peace, there live certain species of water mammals of strange 
form and habits. The manatees and dugongs differ so widely from even their nearest relatives 
in other Orders, that it is not an easy matter to introduce them. 

The body of a Sirenian is like that of a long-bodied seal. The neck is very large, but extends 
straight forward, and terminates in a small, blunt-ended head with very small eyes and lips 
so extensible and mobile in the manipulation of food that the artist who tries to draw their moods 
and tenses soon finds himself quite bewildered. There are no incisor or canine teeth, and the ser- 
rated molars are intended only for the bruising and cutting of tender plants. 

There are front flippers of good dimensions, but they are wellnigh useless, and about as 
shapely and graceful as a pair of old shoes. Apparently they are made for use in gesturing 
rather than in work, for when the animal rests upon the ground, the flippers break squarely at 
two joints, and are folded under the body, backs downward! There are times, however, when 
the flippers are of some use in feeding, in holding food and conveying it to the mouth. Instead 
of hind legs, there is a broad, flat tail, nearly as wide as the body of the animal at its widest 
point. The skin is almost as naked as that of an elephant, and about one inch in thickness. 
When twisted and dried strips of it make practicable canes. The flesh is well-flavored, and 
wherever taken is eaten with relish. 

Usually the Sirenians live in the lower reaches of rivers that flow into the sea, sometimes in 
water that is bitterly salt, frequently in brackish water, but in most cases quite above tidal influ- 
ence, where the water is fresh and sweet. Never, so far as we know, do they live in shallow water, 
and as a rule they prefer a depth of about fifteen feet. So far as we know, only one species of the 
Order has ever inhabited a land of ice and snow. The divisions of the Order are as follows : 

THE ORDER OF SIRENIANS. 

FAMILIES. SPECIES. 

MANATEES, j Trichechus Latirostris Florida, Central America, Mexico, Cuba. 

Triche'chidae : "i Trichechus Americanus .... South America to the Amazon. 
( Trichechus Senegalensis .... West Africa. 

ORDER / nl G ™S m • -I Dugon9 Dugon Africa - Ceylon ' India - 

SIRENIA: \ uu \! 0,l y laaK ■ j Dugong Australia Australia. 

Rhytina, , 

Hy-dro-dam- J Hydrodamalis (or 
al'i-dae : ) Rhytina) Gigas Bering Island (now extinct). 

The Manatee, or Sea-Cow, 1 will not often be This creature, the only American representa- 

seen outside of museums, but it must be intro- tive of its Order except the extinct Steller's sea- 

duced here in order that the readers of this book cow, is a large and heavy water mammal, from 

never need ask, as do thousands of other persons 9 to 13 feet in length, and in form very much like 

— "What is a Manatee?" a seal. It has a blunt muzzle, small eyes, and 

1 Tri-che'chus lat-i-ros'tris. rather feeble, clumsy front flippers. Its tail is a 

153 



154 



OEDEES OF MAMMALS— SEA-COWS 



rounded disc, which in swimming forms a power- 
ful propeller. When dry its skin is of a clean, 
slaty-gray color, but in the water it seems almost 
black. The bones are solid and heavy, and the 
ribs are very thick. The largest specimen ever 
taken and preserved in the United States was 13 
feet in length, and must have weighed about 1,200 
pounds. In the summer of 1903, a fine specimen 
about eight feet long was captured under a state 
permit in the Banana River, Florida, and placed 
on exhibition in the New York Aquarium. From 
time to time, others have been exhibited at 
various watering-places along the Atlantic coast. 

The Manatee never comes upon land. Usually 
its home is chosen in the upper waters of some 
deep, quiet tropical river, above the influence of 
the tide, where there is an abundance of manatee 
grass and other water plants acceptable to it for 
food. It is herbivorous, and because its molar 
teeth are weak, and there are no front teeth, it 
is compelled to live upon aquatic plants which 
are tender as well as nourishing. Its food is 
always eaten under water, and when at home, 
its presence is generally revealed by the bits of 
plant stems and grass blades which escape and 
float to the surface. In captivity, the Manatee 
feeds upon lettuce, cabbage, canna leaves, celery 
tops, water-cress, spinach, eel-grass and ocean 
sea-weed. 

Even to-day the Manatee is found in Florida, 
in the Banana, Sebastian and St. Lucie Rivers, 
and its wanton destruction is prohibited by state 
laws, under penalty of $500 fine. Occasionally, 
however, a specimen is netted alive, under a 
state permit, for exhibition purposes. In the 
Sebastian River two of the great cold waves of 
the past ten years unfortunately killed several 
individuals. Farther south it is found about 
the Isle of Pines, Cuba, and along the east coast 
of Mexico, and Central America, while another 
species occurs in South America as far down 
as southern Brazil. The flesh of this animal is 
light-colored, and both looks and tastes like lean 
fresh pork. 

As the result of several years of inquiry, I am 
convinced that, strange as it may appear, in 
Florida the Manatee really is being perpetuated. 
The sentiment in favor of its preservation is 
almost universal, and there is ground for the 
belief that this is largely due to the wise liber- 



ality of the state authorities in granting a rea- 
sonable number of permits to capture specimens 
alive when the animals are ordered at high prices 
for public exhibition. I believe that there are 
more Manatee alive in Florida to-day than there 
were twenty years ago, even though at one time 
the species seemed doomed to speedy extinction 
in the state. 

The Dugong is the only living Old-World rep- 
resentative of the Order Sirenia, and between it 
and the manatee the chief difference is found 
in the whale-like tail of the former. The Austra- 
lian Dugong, wdiich attains a length of 14 feet, 
once was so abundant along the coast of Queens- 
land, between Moreton Bay and Cape York, that 
a regular fishery was established at Moreton Bay. 

The Rhytina, or Arctic Sea-Cow, is of 
special interest to Americans because of the 
important part it played about the middle of 
the eighteenth century in the discovery of Alaska. 
In 1741, the Russian navigator, Captain Vitus 
Bering, was shipwrecked on Bering Island, and 
compelled to winter there. The majority of 
the crew of the St. Peter died of hardship, and 
the remainder also would have perished but for 
the presence of the great Arctic Sea-Cow, then 
seen for the first time. To George William 
Steller, the official naturalist of the ill-fated ex- 
pedition, the world owes all it ever will know of 
the life history of this animal. Despite the suf- 
ferings he endured, he faithfully and laboriously 
reduced to writing everything that he observed 
of the ponderous animal whose flesh sustained 
the lives of the castaways. 

The Rhytina was an animal closely resembling 
the dugong and manatee, but greatly exceeding 
the maximum size of either. Steller declared 
that " the full-grown animal weighs about 8,000 
pounds," and from the skeletons that were col- 
lected on Bering Island in 1SS3 by Dr. Leon- 
hard Stejneger, and now on exhibition in the 
United States National Museum, we know that 
full-grown animals attained a length of between 
20 and 30 feet. 

This species was exterminated by whalers who 
sought it for food, aided by the natives who used 
both its flesh and skin. It was practically ex- 
terminated about 1780, but the last animal was 
not killed until 1854. (Nordenskiold's" Voyage 
of the Vega.") 




the manatee (Trichechus latirostris) . 
Drawn by J. Carter Beard from a living specimen in the New York Aquarium 

155 



CHAPTER XI 
THE ORDER OF TOOTHLESS MAMMALS 

EDENTA TA 



Near the bottom of the scale of terrestrial warm-blooded quadrupeds, is found the Order 
Edentata, so called because several of its members are toothless, and others are nearly so. It 
contains perhaps a greater proportion of odd and remarkable forms than any other Order, 
and all are found on the American continent. Many of them are so wonderful in form and habit 
that they well repay the effort necessary to make their acquaintance. The species fall into 
three Families, as follows: 



ORDER 
EDENTATA. 



Armadillos, . 

Ant-Eaters, . 
Sloths, . . . 



DAS-Y-POD'I-DAE, 



MYR-ME-CO-PHAG'1-DAE, 



BRAD-Y-POD'I-DAE, 



EXAMPLES. 

! Nine-Banded Armadillo. 
Six-Banded Armadillo. 
Three-Banded Armadillo. 
Giant Armadillo. 

3 Great Ant-Eater. 
\ Tamandua. 

( Three-Toed Sloth. 
/ Two-Toed Sloth. 



THE ARMADILLO FAMILY. 

Dasypodidae. 

With a few exceptions, armadillos are found 
only in South America. The southern half of 
that continent was once the home of a won- 
derful array of gigantic animals belonging to 
this Order. In the La Plata Museum of Nat- 
ural History is a procession from the Past. It 
is a long row of earth-colored, dome-like shells 
of great thickness, some of them as large as 
small hogsheads, and curiously ornamented by 
a scalloped lower edge. Some are provided with 
huge tails that are studded with many big, pointed 
knobs, called tubercles. These curious objects 
are the remains of gigantic armadillos, now 
extinct, called Glyp'to-dons, which once 
roamed over the pampas of South America. 1 
In many American museums, casts of the re- 
mains of one of these weird creatures may be 
seen in what is known as the "Ward Casts of 

1 A large Glyptodont, 7 feet long, has recently 
been discovered in Texas, and described by Professor 
H. F. Osborn as Glyptotherium texanum. 



Fossils." The shell of the Glyptodon copied in 
plaster by Professor Ward is a nearly perfect 
dome, 5J feet long, 4 feet wide and 40 inches high. 

With but one exception, the armadillo of 
to-day is a small creature, finding shelter in 
burrows which it digs for itself in the earth. Its 
movements are nervous and spasmodic, and 
for a short distance it scurries over the ground 
quite rapidly, running on the ends of its claws, 
and dodging quite skilfully. Its legs are so 
short, however, it cannot run far, and when 
about to be overtaken by a dangerous enemy, it 
halts, and burrows in the ground with wonderful 
rapidity. It is not equipped for fighting, for it 
has no front teeth. Its claws are fit only for 
digging, and since it cannot climb trees, it pre- 
fers to live in burrows, on open prairies. 

But Nature has not left these creatures with- 
out protection from their numerous enemies. 
The body is incased in a hard shell, composed 
of small plates of bone very cunningly joined 
together, which covers every portion save the 
breast and abdomen. 

The head is protected by a plate placed on its 
upper surface, and the tail is incased in a chain 



156 



THE ARMADILLOS 



157 



of bony rings. When attacked by a savage ani- 
mal, the armadillo tucks its legs under the edge 
of the shell alongside its body, rolls into a ball, 
and as nearly as possible leaves nothing exposed 
save its shell. The creature thus becomes a liv- 
ing nut that is not to be cracked and eaten by 
every enemy that comes along. 

If the shell is strong enough, the armadillo 
is safe ; but if it is not strong and hard, nor en- 



ranged northward, until in southern Texas and 
Arizona we find the northern limit of the group, 
and the only species found in the United States. 
There' are three species of armadillos that from 
time to time appear, alive, in zoological parks, 
the nine-banded, six-banded, and three-banded. 
The largest species now living is so rare it is 
very seldom seen in captivity. It is the giant 
armadillo, of northeastern South America. 




THE THREE-BANDED ARMADILLO (1-3), AND SIX-BANDED ARMADILLO, 1 (4). 
Figures 1-3 represent half-grown specimens. 



tirely perfect as an envelope, a jaguar or puma 
may possibly kill the animal and devour it. 

The armadillos with the weakest armor have 
found it wise to avoid the forest home of the 
jaguar and puma, and live on the open plains, 
where they are less liable to be killed. To enable 
them to do this, Nature has provided them with 
long and powerful front claws, with which to dig 
burrows in the hardest soil. 

It was in Argentina that the great armadillos 
of the past reached their highest point in size 
and abundance. From thence, smaller species 



The Three-Banded Armadillo, 3 of Argen- 
tina, represents the highest degree of perfection 
attained, either past or present, by any member 
of the Family. 

Its shell is very strong, and so perfect is its 
mechanism that when the animal is in danger, 
it makes of itself a round ball, so completely 
incased in horn that no four-footed enemy can 
penetrate it. Even the top of the head is pro- 
tected by a shield which acts as a shutter when 
the animal rolls up, and wishes to close the only 
1 Tol-y- peu' tes Iri-cinc'tus. 1 Das'y-pus sex-dnc'tus. 



158 



ORDEES OP MAMMALS— TOOTHLESS QUADRUPEDS 



opening leading into the shell. It gives one a 
very queer sensation to handle one of these liv- 
ing nuts, and note the marvellous ingenuity in 
design and skill in mechanical execution which 
has been displayed in providing this special 
means of protection for an otherwise defenceless 
creature. 

Having such excellent defensive armor, the 



our taste. The Nine-Banded Armadillo has a 
total length, from nose to end of tail, of about 26 
inches, and in bulk is about the size of our opos- 
sum. In captivity its food is milk, boiled eggs, 
and chopped meat, but in a wild state it feeds 
upon a mixed diet of worms, ants, snails, beetles, 
small lizards, grasshoppers, and other insects. 
The voung in a litter varv from six to ten. 




THE GREAT ANT-EATER (LOWER FIGURES) AND THE TAMANDUA (UPPER FIGURE). 



Three-Banded Armadillo does not often burrow 
in the ground, and it ranges freely by daylight. 
In running it touches only the ends of its claws 
to the ground, and the shell is held high. The 
head-and-body length of the adult animal is about 
14 inches, and the tail measures 3^ inches. 

The Nine-Banded Armadillo 1 ranges all the 
way from southern Texas and Arizona to Para- 
guay, and along the Rio Grande is so common 
that living specimens are sold at $2 each. In 
Venezuela I found it burrowing on the open 
savannas, going down about four feet, in a hole 
seven inches in diameter. The flesh of this creat- 
ure is well-flavored, and is generally esteemed 
as palatable food. Being in a state of perpetual 
hunger, we found Armadillo stew very much to 
1 Ta'tu no'vem-cinc'tum. 



THE FAMILY OF ANT-EATERS. 

Myrmecophagidae. 

The ant-eaters form another Family of Eden- 
tates, also confined to South and Central Amer- 
ica, and all its members are absolutely toothless. 
The most celebrated member of the group is the 
Great Ant-Eater. a Although it is very unlike a 
bear, it is sometimes called the Ant-"Bear" ; 
and when once seen it is never forgotten. The 
most peculiar thing about it is the extraordinary 
length of its head, which in front of the eyes is 
prolonged into a slender beak, with the mouth 
and nostrils situated at its tip end. The open- 
ing of the mouth is just large enough to admit the 
blunt end of a lead-pencil. 

2 Myr-me-coph'a-ga ju-ba'ta. 



ANT-EATERS AND SLOTHS 



159 



The feature which comes next in oddity is 
the big, fleshy tail, covered with an enormous 
brush of coarse, wavy hair. The popular belief 
in South America that the Ant-Eater sweeps up 
ants with its tail in order to devour them in a 
wholesale way, is quite erroneous, for the tail 
serves a very different purpose. Its use is to 
cover the owner when asleep. When the animal 
lies down to sleep, the tail is flung over the body, 
and the long, wavy hair forms a thatch so thick 
that no other portion of the creature is visible. 
It looks like a pile of brown hay. A medium- 
sized specimen that lived for about a year in the 
New York Zoological Park measured 12 inches in 
length of head, the neck and body, 31 inches, 
and tail vertebrae, 26 inches. 

In its wild state, the Ant-Eater feeds upon 
ants, which it devours in great quantities. In 
fact, Nature has provided this Family of animals 
to restrict the number of plague-like ants which, 
even with Ant-Eaters in the forests, are entirely 
too numerous. Its long and powerful front claws 
are very useful in tearing open ant-hills, and dis- 
secting decayed logs, but as a means of defence 
they are quite inadequate. Neither are they 
well-formed to walk upon. The tongue is very 
long and slender, and can be thrust out 9 inches; 
but. contrary to innumerable misstatements, it 
is as clean and smooth as the tongue of a dog, 
and is not coated with sticky saliva, or anything 
like it. 

This animal is very clumsy on its feet, and 
being defenceless, unable to climb, and too large 
to live in a burrow, it is a wonder that all the 
Great Ant-Eaters were not killed and devoured 
long ago, by jaguars and pumas. Although 
quite rare, even in South America, a goodly num- 
ber of specimens find their way into captivity. 
Until settled down sensibly to a diet of chopped 
meat, milk, and eggs, they are difficult to keep 
alive. Our specimen persistently refused to 
eat ants. 

The Tamandua 1 is a smaller Ant-Eater than 
the preceding species, of tree-climbing habits, 
with a proportionately shorter head, no long 
hair on its tail, and extremely large front claws. 
It is found in Venezuela, the Guianas, Brazil, 
and in fact the greater portion of the region of 
tropical forests on this continent south of Mexico. 
Its tail is prehensile, or grasping, and in climbing 
1 Tam-an'du-a tet-ra-dac'ty-la. 



is used almost constantly. One of these creat- 
ures which I once kept in South America as a 
camp pet, became very friendly, and even affec- 
tionate, and when permitted would climb all over 
me, as if I were a new and very soft species of 
tree. In the accompanying picture, the Taman- 
dua is represented by the small central figure. 
Its head-and-body length is about 24 inches, tail, 
18 inches. 

THE SLOTH FAMILY. 

Bradypodidae. 

The sloths inhabit the New World only; and 
the so-called " sloth " of Ceylon is not a sloth, but 
a slow lemur. All the real sloths belong to the 
Order of Edentates, and inhabit the tropical 
forests of Central and South America, from Costa 
Rica southward. The sloths are not really 
toothless, for they have five pairs of teeth in the 
upper jaw, and four in the lower. 

One cannot look at a live sloth without think- 
ing that Nature has but poorly equipped this 
animal to live in this murderous world. Its 
countenance is a picture of complete and far- 
reaching stupidity, its bodily form the acme of 
four-footed helplessness. It can neither fight, 
hide, nor run away. It has no defensive armor, 
nor even spines. It is too large to live in a hole in 
a tree, and too weak to dig a burrow in the earth. 
It is too tired to walk on its feet, as the monkeys 
do, so throughout its queer life it hangs under- 
neath the branches of the trees in which it finds 
its food. Its feet are merely four hooks by which 
to hang. Since it feeds wholly upon leaves and 
buds, it lives in the tropical forests, where green 
leaves are plentiful and cheap. 

The sloth dwells only in the tree-tops, among 
the monkeys and macaws. On the ground, it 
would be more helpless than a tortoise, and easily 
killed by any carnivore, or wild pig. In the tree- 
tops, it escapes the climbing ocelot by living far 
out on the ends of the branches; and it is fortu- 
nate for him that hawks, owls, and eagles are 
scarce in the forests wherein he dwells. 

At this point, however, it is a pleasure to point 
out that Nature has done one special thing for 
the preservation of these odd creatures. The 
hair of a sloth is long, wavy and coarse, rather 
more like grass than hair, and in color and gen- 
eral appearance it is the best imitation of tree- 



160 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— TOOTHLESS QUADRUPEDS 



bark that has been given to any quadruped. 
This resemblance to bark is heightened by the 
fact that the back hair of many a sloth in its 
native forest has a greenish tint, like moss on a 
tree-trunk, due to the presence on the hair of 
living vegetable algae. This aids the sloth in 
escaping observation. 

On the mighty Essequibo River, in British 
Guiana, I once made a special hunt for sloths. 
Having found it useless to hunt them by stalking 
through the dense and lofty forests, I took a leaky 
old canoe, an Indian to help furnish power, and 
paddled fifteen miles and back. We followed 
the shores, going and coming, and secured eight 
specimens of the Three-Toed Sloth, 1 the one 
with a brown saddle-mark of short hair in the 
middle of its back. 

We found them in the tops of low trees at the 
water's edge, spread-eagled on the outer branches, 
or hanging upside down, but always eating leaves. 
They did not know what it was to "take alarm,'' 
and try to escape. Judging by the awful delib- 
eration of those that we saw in motion, I esti- 
mated that a really swift sloth could travel 
half a mile in twenty-four hours, if not side- 
tracked. 

We shot some of our specimens, and others 
we took alive by cutting down their trees. One 
tree fell with its top in the river, and the sloth 
was carried four feet under water. But even 
the prospect of drowning did not make him 
hurry to the surface. To my amazement, he 
climbed up through the branches, slowly and 
deliberately, until at last, with dignity entirely 
unruffled, he appeared above the surface, and 
looked at me with a most disgusted expression 
on his wooden countenance. 

Sloths eat so slowly that before one meal is 
over it is time for the next, so that their meals 
overlap one another. 

The Three-Toed Sloth is not found above 
the Isthmus of Banama, but two other species 
inhabit Central America as far north as Nicara- 
gua. It is considerably smaller than the next 
species, having a head-and-body length of 21 
inches, while the spread of its outstretched 
arms, exclusive of the claws, is 32J inches. 
The tail is so very short that it seems to be 
wanting entirely, but in reality its length is 1^ 
inches. 

1 Brad'y-pus Iri-dac'ty-lus. 



The Two-Toed Sloth, a also called Hoff- 
man's Sloth, ranges northward as far as Costa 
Rica. It is the largest living member of the 
Sloth Family, and its appearance is well shown 
in the accompanying picture of a specimen kept 
in the Zoological Bark. It inhabits the same 
regions as the preceding species, but is less com- 
mon. It is occasionally seen alive in large zoo- 
logical gardens, and when once properly accli- 
mated, lives in captivity very well. Usually, 
however, it is difficult to keep alive. In cap- 
tivity its food is chopped carrots, cabbage, let- 
tuce, and boiled rice. A sloth usually sleeps sus- 




Sanborn, Pii »to.. N. Y. Zoological Park. 
TWO-TOED SLOTH. 

pended from a branch, but at the same time it 
always seeks a position in which it can rest its 
body on a branch below parallel with the one to 
which it clings. 

In prehistoric times, a Family of gigantic 
ground sloths, called Meg-a-the'ri-ums, creat- 
ures as large as the largest rhinoceros, lived on the 
pampas of southern South America and also in 
the southern United States. Blaster casts of the 
entire skeleton of the most celebrated species 
(Megatherium cuvieri), from South America, 
17 feet 9 inches long, are now to be found in 
many American museums. 

2 Cho-loe'pus hoff'man-i. 



CHAPTER XII 
THE ORDER OF DIGGERS 

EFFOUIENTTA 



This Order contains only a very small number of genera and species, all of which are confined 
to the Old World. They are the pangolins of Africa and the Far East, and the aard-varks of 
Africa. Until very recently, these animals have been classed with the ant-eaters, sloths and arma- 
dillos, in the Order Edentata, or toothless mammals. But both in internal and external anat- 
omy they differ widely from their very distant American relatives. 

The latest and most exact classification assigns them to a new and wholly independent Order, 
called Ef-fo-di-en'-tia, which means "Diggers." Its divisions are as below: 



EXAMPLES 



ORDER 
EFFODIENTIA. 



Pangolins, 



"1- 



Aard-Vakks, 



MAN'1-DAE, 



O-RYC-TE-RQ-POD'I-DAE, 



Manis, or Pangolin, of India. 
Manis pentadactyla. 

Aard-Vark, of South Africa. 
Orycteropus offer. 



THE PANGOLIN FAMILY. 

Manidac. 

One good look at a pangolin, or manis, is 
enough to arouse curiosity, and provoke inquiry. 
Like the armadillo, it is one of the wonders of 
the living world, — absolutely toothless, dwelling 
upon the earth, surrounded by savage and merci- 
less enemies, but safe in the protection of a com- 
plete suit of plate armor, and powerful claws for 
digging. There are about seven species in this 
Family, scattered all the way from China and 
Borneo to South Africa, excepting the break in 
the chain caused by the deserts of North Africa 
'and Arabia. Of the three African species, two 
are distinguished by the extreme length of their 
tails, and one by its great size, six feet in length, 
which entitles it to the name Giant Pangolin. 

The Indian Pangolin, or Manis, 1 of Ceylon 
and India, generally in the lowland forests, may 
be chosen as the representative of this Family. 
My first feeling toward it is that of friendship 
and gratitude, for in the jungles of Ceylon a 
living specimen once furnished me entertainment, 
anxiety and sustenance. 

My first Manis w r as brought by a native, who 
carried it in a bag over thirty-five hot and dusty 
1 Man'is pent-a-dnc'ty-la. 



miles. While in transit on man-back, the ani- 
mal kept himself comfortably coiled, but when 
set free upon the ground he promptly uncoiled 




AN INDIAN PANCiOLIN, ROLLED UP. 

and stood up for inspection. He was 36 inches 
long, including the tail, which measured 17 
inches, and his weight was 18 pounds. 

From the tip of his nose to the end of his tail, 
he was covered with broad, flattened shield- 
shaped plates, or scales, of clear, gray horn. 2 

2 Museum specimens are usually of a yellowish- 
brown color. 



1(11 



162 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— THE DIGGERS 



Those plates, which were concave underneath 
and convex above, lay close down upon the skin 
and upon each other, and were arranged in rows 
or courses, perfectly imbricated (i.e., joint-break- 
ing) like the scales of a big fish, or a hawk's-bill 
turtle. We presently discovered that they were 
fully controlled by the voluntary muscles of the 
skin. The tail was very broad, measuring 5 J 
inches across where it joined the body, slightly 
hollowed underneath, and rounded on the top. 
It was a most useful appendage, and its special 
function was to protect the head. 

In walking, the Manis carried his back very 
highly arched in the middle. The long and 
powerful front claws were bent under the feet, 
until they pointed directly backward, and were 
literally walked upon. The heavy tail barely 
cleared the ground, and the nose was always 
carried low, as if slyly searching for something. 
Often the creature stood erect on its hind legs, 
like a kangaroo, especially when looking about 
for insect food, and as it walked its armor 
clanked like that of an ancient mail-clad knight. 

Whenever he found a colony of ants, he would 
begin to dig most industriously. After digging a 
short distance into an ant-hill, and exposing the 
interior, he would thrust his long and slender 
tongue into the passage-ways, and draw it out 
thickly covered with ants. 

To me, the most wonderful thing about the 
animal was its means of protection from its ene- 
mies, for it cannot truthfully be called defence. 
Without some very special provision of Nature, 
a slow-moving, toothless and hornless terrestrial 
animal would fare badly in jungles inhabited by 
leopards, tigers, wolves, jackals and wild swine. 

When I first endeavored to become acquainted 
with my Manis, he immediately tucked his head 
down between his four legs, brought his tail under 
his body and up over his head, held it there close- 
ly, and thus formed of himself a flattened ball 
completely covered with scale armor. When I 
undertook to uncoil him, I could not manage it 
alone, and called a servant to help me ; but the 
tail clung to the body as tightly as if it had been 
riveted there. Then I called another man, and 
while I held the body, the other two pulled on 
the tail with all their strength, to uncoil it. But 
in vain. We wrestled with that small animal until 
we were fairly exhausted, and so great was the 
power of the tail that we gave up beaten. 



From the very first, I had no end of trouble 
with my scaly pet. I could not tie him, for on 
no part of his body or limbs would a rope hold 
ten minutes without hurting him. During the 
day, he was reasonably quiet, but at night he was 
very restless, and anxious to go out ant-hunting. 
For the first night, I shut him up in the main 
room of the Rest House; and in' the morning I 
found him fully ready to break through a hole he 
had dug with his big front claws in the ten-inch 
wall of solid masonry. Well may naturalists 
assign the Pangolins to the independent Order 
of Diggers! 

The next night, I placed the Pangolin in a 
large tin box, well covered with boards. At 
three o'clock in the morning the village dogs 
raised such a row at the edge of the jungle that 
my servant went to them to investigate; and 
it was that animal. It had torn a hole in one 
corner of its tin prison, and escaped; and but for 
the very dogs that had so often annoyed me by 
trying to steal my specimens, it would have been 
lost to me forever. 

THE AARD-VARK FAMILY. 

This Family contains but one genus and two 
species, the Cape Aard-Vark, 1 of South Africa, 
and the Ethiopian Aard-Vark, of East Central 
Africa. 

With their usual facility in misnaming wild 
animals, the Boer pioneers in Cape Colony be- 
stowed upon the species found there the name 
Earth-" Pig," and it has become a fixture. 

The Cape Aard-Vark is as much like a pig 
as it is like a jack-" rabbit," but no more. Cut 
off its extremely long and rabbit-like ears, cover 
it with imbricated scales to fit its body, and ex- 
ternally we will have a rather tall pangolin, about 
5 feet long. Unlike the pangolins, the jaws are 
provided with teeth. The tail is long, thick and 
heavy, and its special use is not quite apparent. 

In the usually wise economy of Nature, these 
insect-eating animals were developed in Africa 
for the special purpose of checking the ants of that 
region. Their powerful front claws enable them 
to dig with great success into the tall and also 
numerous ant-hills of Africa, and before the days 
of universal game destruction, the Aard-Vark 
was oftenest found where ant-hills were most 
numerous. 

1 0-ryc-ter'o-pus n'jer. 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE ORDER OF POUCHED MAMMALS 

MARSUPIALIA 



An animal is said to be "low" in zoological rank according to the distance of its position 
below the highest types of animal life. Thus, a hairless, fish-like mammal, with very simple 
teeth, like a porpoise, is far lower than the monkeys and carnivores. 

As we approach the Orders of mammals which we have been taught to place at the end of the 
list, we encounter some very strange forms, which are of greater interest to the special student 
than some higher forms which are duplicated many times over. Fortunately for our purpose, 
all the Orders of living mammals, save two, are represented in North America. 

Although the Order Marsupialia is too extensive, and the majority of its members too far away, 
to justify its full exposition here, it is desirable to mention all its Families: 

FAMILIES. HABITAT. 

■ K ANGAR oo S ,. . . . , A - CR o- P o», D , E j^SSftK*. 

Phalancers, . . . phal-an-ger'I-dae, . . . Australia. 
Wombats, .... piias-co-lo-my' dae. . . S. Australia. 

' Caenolestes, . . . E-PAN-OR' thi-dae South America. 

ORDER , v , ,- i v 

MARSUPIALIA. ( Bandicoots, .... per-a-meui-dae Australia and -New 

( Guinea. 

Dasyukes and Tas- / . , ,. 

manian Wolves, . \ das-y-U'ri-dae Australia. 

~ j North, Central and 

Opossums, .... di-del-PHY'I-dae \ gou^ America. 

Marsupial Moles, . no-to-rycti-dae Australia. 



Of these eight Families, only two, the first 
and seventh, will be specially noticed. 

Marsupials are distinguished from all other 
mammals by the fact that the female possesses 
in the skin of her abdomen a large, flexible 
pocket, or pouch, in which the nursing glands 
are situated, and in which the young are carried 
for a time after birth, until more fully de- 
veloped. They differ from ordinary mammals in 
being without what is called a pla-cen'ta, which 
is an arrangement of veins by which the blood 
of the mother circulates through the veins of 
the unborn young. In other words, in a marsu- 
pial, the blood of the mother does not circulate 
through the veins of the unborn young. As a re- 
sult, at the time of its birth, the young marsupial 



is a tiny creature, hairless, blind, and utterly 
helpless. Even the young of a large kangaroo 
looks more like a little lump of jelly than a 
highly organized living creature. One which I 
saw in the London Zoological Gardens was less 
than an inch in length, and no thicker than a 
lead-pencil. 

The newly born young is taken by the mother, 
in her front paws, and placed in her pouch ; and 
the half-formed creature, with a mouth specially 
formed for suction, attaches itself to the nursing 
gland, and so remains for many days, or even 
weeks. Slowly it grows, until it develops hair, 
and its eyes open. At length it becomes large 
enough so that it ventures to stick its little head 
out, and view the world. By and by it climbs 



163 



164 



OKDBES OF MAMMALS— POUCHED ANIMALS 



out, to take exercise, but jumps back again at 
the first alarm. In an animal which travels as 
far each day as the kangaroo, a pouch for the 
conveyance of the young is a great convenience. 

THE KANGAROO FAMILY. 

Alacropodidae. 

In Australia, the land of queer things, nearly 
all the land mammals are marsupials. The 
Order includes the kangaroos, large and small, 







^•^w ' 



E. F. Keller, Photo. . National Zoological Park. 

brush-tailed rock wallaby (Petrogale penicillata) 
Length, head and body, 2S inches ; tail, 24. 



wombat, Tasmanian wolf, Tasmanian devil, 
koala, and many others. All kangaroos come 
either from Australia, Tasmania, or New 
Guinea, but one group of small wallabies extends 
its range to New Britain and the Aru Islands. 
The great majority of these creatures dwell on 
the ground in the open plains, or in the "bush" 



of Australia. In northern Queensland and New 
Guinea are four species of Tree Kangaroos, 
which actually climb trees, and inhabit them. 

The largest species is the great Gray Kan- 
garoo, 1 also called "Old man" and "Boomer," 
which stands over 4 feet high, weighs nearly 
200 pounds, and when frightened can leap twenty 
feet or more. The smallest species are the Rat 
Kangaroos, some of which are but 14 inches high. 
Despite their nocturnal habits specimens are fre- 
quently seen in captivity. One of the handsom- 
est of all the species is the Red 
Kangaroo, 2 a creature about 4 
feet high, frequently seen in cap- 
tivity, and quickly recognized 
by its brick-red color, and fine, 
silky hair. Several small species 
of Kangaroos are called Wal'- 
labies, and the species figured 
herewith is a good representative 
of this whole Family. 

The Kangaroo is a strange 
variation in form from the ordi- 
nary terrestrial mammal. Its 
extremely long, strong hind legs, 
and massive tail, also of great 
length, form a wonderful jump- 
ing machine. The tail not only 
assists the animal in leaping, 
but it also serves as a balancing 
pole, and keeps its owner from 
losing his proper position when 
in mid-air. It is reasonably 
certain that a Kangaroo without 
a tail would frequently overbal- 
ance when leaping, and turn 
somersaults. Kangaroos were 
once very abundant in Austra- 
lia, but the general settlement 
of that country, and the syste- 
matic killing of the animals for 
their skins, which are used as 
leather for shoes, has so greatly 
reduced the number that now 
far inland in order to find them 






nJ 



one must go 
wild. 

Most pouched mammals are strictly herbivor- 
ous, but some, like the opossum and Tasmanian 
wolf, are true flesh-eaters. 

' Mac-ro'pus gi-gan'te-us. 
2 Macro-pus ru'fus. 



THE OPOSSUMS 



1G5 



THE OPOSSUM FAMILY. 

Didelphyidae. 

The New World contains more than twenty 
species of omnivorous animals, varying in size 
from a large cat to a small rat, mostly provided 
with long, hairless tails that are fully prehensile, 
and always well clad with fine and abundant 
hair. In all species save a few, the female pos- 
sesses the abdominal pouch to which every mar- 
supial female is entitled, but in some species it is 
either rudimentary or wholly lacking. These 
animals are the Opossums, and while the major- 
ity of the species are confined to South America, 
our North American representative is about as 
widely known as all the tropical species com- 
bined. 

The Virginia Opossum 1 is a typical marsu- 
pial, but differs widely from all the Australian 
members of that Order. Seemingly it is a dull- 
witted, slow-moving creature, and so ill-fitted by 
Nature either to fight or to run away, that it 
might be considered almost defenceless. But 
let us see what use this odd little animal makes 
of the physical and mental equipment which 
Nature has given it. 

It eats almost everything that can be chewed, 
— wild fruit, berries, green corn, insect larvae, 
eggs, young birds and quadrupeds, soft-shelled 
nuts, and certain roots. It is a good climber, 
and has a very useful prehensile tail. It forages 
on the ground quite as successfully as a raccoon. 
Usually it burrows under the roots of a large 
tree, where it is impossible for a hunter to dig it 
out, but sometimes it makes the mistake of enter- 
ing a hollow log. Like the bear and woodchuck, 
it stores up under its skin a plentiful supply of 
fat for winter use, when food is scarce and dear. 
Above all, the female has a nice, warm pouch in 
which to carry and protect her helpless young, 
instead of leaving them in the nest to catch their 
death of cold, or be eaten by some enemy. 

The young of the Opossum vary in number 
from seven to eleven. Not until they are about 
five weeks old do they begin to venture away 
from the mother ; but for a season they are very 
careful not to get beyond grabbing distance of 
her shaggy coat. 

The Opossum is a very hairy animal. Its un- 
der fur is woolly and white, and the outer coat 
' Di-del'phis vir-gin-i-an' a . 



is straight, coarse, and tipped with black. The 
nose, lips, and half the ear are pinkish white, 
and the eyes are like a pair of shoe-buttons. The 
tail is naked, white, and strongly prehensile. 

A large specimen has a head-and-body length 
of 15 inches, tail 12 inches, and the weight of a 
large specimen is 12 pounds. In the South, the 
flesh of this animal is much prized as food, and 
I can testify that when properly roasted, and 
served with nicely browned sweet potatoes and 
yellow corn bread, it is an excellent dish. 

One habit of this animal is so remarkable and 
so widely known it has passed into a proverb, — 



-•' ■■' 


HI 






■■ - TO 




; " r :Jk 


:", : ;1| 




' ■-■■ '-r <?£ *«~ ' 




mm. 





VIRGINIA OPOSSUMS. 

"playing 'Possum." When found by hunters, 
the Opossum deliberately feigns death, hoping to 
escape by being "left for dead." Give it a tap 
on the head or back, and it stretches out, limp, 
motionless, and seemingly quite dead. Its 
breath is so short and feeble the thick fur almost 
conceals the chest movement. 

When but a lad I killed my first Opossum in 
an Indiana forest, and had carried it by the tail 
for half a mile when we came to a rail fence. In 
climbing through, I noticed that the front claws 
of my Opossum caught on a rail, and held fast 
in a manner highly unbecoming in an animal 
that was honestly and sincerely dead. A close 
examination revealed the fact that my victim 
was only nominally dead. In other words, it 
was fully alive, and sharply watching for a chance 
to escape. This discovery led me to keep the 
animal alive in confinement, until finally it did 
escape. 

The Virginia Opossum is the species found in 
the United States, from New York to Florida, 
and westward through the southern States to 



166 



ORDERS OF MAMMALS— POUCHED ANIMALS 



Texas. In Mexico and tropical America several 
other species are found. Notwithstanding the 
persistent destruction of the Opossum, both for 
moonlight sport and for food, it still manages 
to survive throughout its entire original range, 
and bids fair to outlive the native American. 



means Mouse-Like Opossum — is a South Ameri- 
can species which is remarkable because of its 
diminutive size. The full-grown female specimen 
shown in the accompanying illustration, with a 
brood of seven hairless young clinging to the fur 
of her body, is about the size of an eastern chip- 




E. R. Sanbokn, Photo., New York Zoological Park. 



MURINE OPOSSUM AND YOUNG. 
About one-half life .size. 



As a pet, or cage animal, the Opossum shows 
off very poorly, and is rather uninteresting. In 
the daytime, its sole desire is to curl up into a 
furry ball, and sleep. If disturbed, it opens its 
pink mouth very widely, in silent protest, and 
as soon as the trouble is over, again tucks its 
head under its bod}', out of sight, and sleeps on. 

The Murine Opossum' — a name which 
1 Mar-mo 1 'sa murina. 



munk. The abdominal pouch is wholly wanting 
in this species, and from birth the naked and al- 
most helpless young must either cling to the fur 
of the mother or die. As they grow larger, they 
travel on the back of the mother, with their 
tendril-like tails clinging to her tail. 

The specimen shown reached New York just 
as a score of others have before it, — hidden in 
the interior of a bunch of bananas! 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE ORDER OF EGG-LAYING MAMMALS 

MONOTREMATA 



" There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, 
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." 

There are two Families of mammals the members of which lay eggs, from which their young 
are hatched as are those of birds. They form the lowest order of mammals, and in one respect 
this group forms a good connecting link between mammals and birds: 



FAMILIES. 



ORDER f Dock-Bill, 

MONOTREMATA: 

Egg-Layers. { Echidnas, 



OR-NI-THO-RIIYN'CHI-DAE, 



T ACH-Y -GLOS' Sl-D AE , 



\ The Ornithorhynchus 
) or Duck-Bill. 

\ Five-Toed Echidna. 
/ Three-Toed Echidna. 



The Platypus, or Duck-Bill, 1 

is found only in Australia, — a 
land of queer things. Not only 
is it bird-like in laying eggs, but 
it also possesses webbed feet, and 
a flat, duck-like bill, from which 
it derives one of its popular 
names. The beak is of black 
horn, and the food is crushed be- 
tween the cross-ridged plates of 
the lower jaw and the roof of 
the mouth. 

This animal is about as large 
as a prairie-"dog," and its body 
is similarly shaped; but there 
the resemblance ends abruptly. 
Its front feet are webbed quite 
beyond the ends of the toes, and in digging, the 
outer edge of the web is rolled back underneath 
the foot, to expose the claws. The hind feet are 
webbed only to the base of the claws, and each 
is provided with a strong, sharp spur an inch 
long, which is said to be connected with a poison 
gland. 

The tail is broad and flattened, well haired on 

the upper side, and almost naked below. The 

hair of the Platypus is dark brown in color. 

The outer coat is stiff and harsh outside, but the 

1 Or-ni-tho-rhyn'chus an-a-ti'nus. 

167 




THE PLATYPUS, OR DUCK-BILL. 

inner is fine and soft. The length of head and 
body is 1 3 inches, tail, 5 inches. 

The habits of the Duck-Bill are very similar 
to those of our old friend the muskrat. It in- 
habits quiet but deep pools of fresh water, bur- 
rows deeply into the banks, and is seldom seen 
save at nightfall. In its burrow it builds a 
nest for its young, and deposits two eggs, which 
are enclosed in a strong, flexible shell three- 
fourths of an inch in length by two-thirds of an 
inch in greatest diameter. When first hatched 
the young are blind and hairless, and the beak 



168 ORDERS OF MAMMALS— EGG-LAYING ANIMALS 

is very short. The food of this creature eon- consisting of a single species which occurs in 

sists of aquatic insects, crustaceans and worms. Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea, and the 

The other Family of egg-laying mammals be- Three-Toed Echidnas (Zaglossus), comprising 

longing to this Order contains the Echidnas two species, are confined to New Guinea. The 

(pronounced E-kid'nas) of Australia and New Five-Toed Echidna is covered with strong 

Guinea. These animals are arranged in two spines set very thickly all over its outer sur- 

genera, the Five-Toed Echidna (Tachyglossus), face, and its nose is a slender and narrow beak. 



BOOK II 
BIRDS 




THE BALD EAGLE. 

170 



CHAPTER XV 
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BIRD WORLD 



Bird Destruction. — There are many things 
to be learned about birds besides their names, 
and their length in millimetres. To-day the 
first thing to be taught is the fact that from 
this time henceforth all birds must be protected, 
or they will all be exterminated. 

To-day, it is a safe estimate that there is a 
loaded cartridge for each living bird. Each 
succeeding year produces a new crop of gun- 
demons, eager to slay, ambitious to make records 
as sportsmen or collectors. If a bird is so un- 
fortunate as to possess plumes, or flesh which 
can be sold for ten cents, the mob of pot-hunters 
seeks it out, even unto the ends of the earth. 
Quite recently two "plume-hunters" went at the 
risk of their lives to Tiburon Island, Cult of 
Lower California, to kill egrets for their plumes; 
and both were killed by the savage Indians there. 

In 1S97-98 the writer made for the New York 
Zoological Society a careful inquiry into the vol- 
ume of bird life in the United States, with special 
reference to its increase or decrease during the 
fifteen years prior to that date. From one hun- 
dred and eighty competent and conscientious 
observers, representing thirty-four states and 
territories, reports were received in answer to a 
series of questions, all of which were carefully 
tabulated. 1 Throughout my calculations, wher- 
ever a doubt existed, the living birds were given 
the full benefit of it. 

Four states, Kansas, Wyoming, Utah and 
Washington, show an increase in bird-life. Thirty 
states show decreases varying from ten per cent, 
to ninety per cent., but with a general average 
decrease from 1S83 to 1898 of forty-six per cent.! 
In the adjoining detailed statement, the shaded 
portions show the percentages of decrease 
throughout the states named during the period 
reported upon: 

1 " The Destruction of Our Birds and Mammals." 
By William T. Hornadav. Second Annual Report 
( 1898) of the New York 'Zoological Society. Until 
the present edition is exhausted, copies of this paper 
will be mailed to teachers, on application. 





DECREASE IN BIRD LIFE IN 30 STATES, 
IN 1.5 YEARS. 

Maine 52% 

New Hampshire- -32% 

Vermont 30%' 

Massachusetts ...27% 
Rhode Island.... 60% 

Connecticut "5% 

New York 48% 

New Jersey 37% 

Pennsylvania .... 51 % 

Ohio 38% 

Indiana 60% 

Illinois 38% 

Michigan 23% 

Wisconsin 40% 

Iowa 37% 

Missouri 30% 

Nebraska 10% 

North Dakota.... 58% 
Dist. of Columbia. 33% 

South Carolina... 32% 

Georgia 65% 

Florida 77% 

Mississippi 37% 

Louisiana 55% 

Arkansas 50% 

Texas 67% 

Indian Territory. 75% 

Montana 75% 

Colorado 28% 

Idaho 40% 

Average of above. 46% 

Since the above inquiry was made, the volume 
of bird-life appears to have changed so slightly 
that in 1903 conditions are practically as they 
were in 1898. 




171 



172 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— INTRODUCTION 



Causes of Decrease In Bird Life. 

The temptation to offer a full statement of the 
causes and means of prevention of bird-slaugh- 
ter is very great; but those subjects must be 
left to other pages. There is, however, much 
food for thought in the following summary of 
causes of destruction, as reported by the one hun- 
dred and forty-four observers who entered into 
this branch of the subject. They are listed very 
nearly in the order of their importance according 
to the reports: 
No. Reports. 

1. Sportsmen, and " so-called sportsmen". . . 54 

2. Boys who shoot 42 

3. Market-hunters and "pot-hunters" 26 

4. Plume-hunters, and milliners' hunters. . . 32 

5. "Shooters, generally" 21 

6. Egg-collecting, chiefly by small boys .... 20 

7. English sparrow IS 

8. Clearing off timber, development of towns 

and cities 31 

9. Italians, and others, who devour song- 

birds 12 

10. Cheap firearms 5 

1 1 . Drainage of marshes 5 

12. Non-enforcement of laws 5 

13. Gun-clubs and hunting contests 5 

14. Collectors (ornithologists and taxider- 

mists) 5 

15. Colored population 4 

16. Indians (for decrease of game quadrupeds) 4 

The Slaughter of Birds for Food.— The 

craze for the destruction of bird-life is almost 
beyond belief. No matter how much the bird- 
protectors may say about the destruction of our 
birds, and their impending extermination, far 
more than the half will remain untold. As our 
game-birds become fewer and fewer, the mar- 
ket-shooters begin to slaughter birds of song 
and beauty, which twenty years ago were safe 
because they were not considered " game." Even 
ten years ago, no self-respecting American would 
have lowered himself to the level of the hawk 
and buzzard by killing and eating the poor little 
sand-piper and snow-bunting. But mark what 
is going on to-day: 

There is now pending (1903) in the courts the 
case of the People of the State of New York 
against two men of New York City, to enforce 
the payment of fines amounting to 11,168,315 for 



having in their possession contrary to law, in a 
cold storage warehouse, certain dead birds out of 
season, game and not game. When the state 
game wardens searched the premises of the 
defendants, it is stated that they found the fol- 
lowing appalling mass of birds : 



8,058 Snow-Buntings! 
7,607 Sand-Pipers! 
5,218 Plover! 
7,003 Snipe, 
788 Yellow Legs, 



7,560 Grouse, 
4,385 Quail, 
1,756 Ducks, 
288 Bobolinks, 
96 Woodcock. 



And all this in one cold storage warehouse, for 
poor, starving New York! 

To the public it was a profound surprise to 
find that snow-buntings and sand-pipers were be- 
ing slaughtered by thousands for food. At least 
half a dozen species of song-birds are served on 
bills of fare under the name of reed-bird. This 
fact is equivalent to a notice that hereafter no 
bird is safe from the deadly "market-shooter," 
and only the strictest watch and the severest 
measures will save any considerable portion of 
our birds. 

Protect the Birds. — Young reader, learn to- 
day that the birds are the natural protectors of 
man and his crops from the hordes of insects 
which without them ravage leaf, flower and 
fruit. But for the hawks and owls, the wild 
mice and rats soon would multiply into an in- 
tolerable pest. But for the insectivorous birds, 
destroying grubs and perfect insects by the 
million, the life of the farmer, fruit-grower and 
forester would be one long battle against the 
pests of the insect-world. 

Learn that it is wise to encourage birds, as 
well as to protect them from slaughter. A little 
food intelligently bestowed is always accepted 
as a token of friendship and hospitality. Any 
country dweller can draw birds around him, if 
he will. Why grudge a few simple shelter-boxes, 
a few handfuls of grain, and a few pounds of 
fat pork when in exchange for them you may 
have, even in winter's dreariness, the woodpeck- 
ers, chickadees, crows, and many other winter 
"residents" and "visitants"? Surely, no right- 
hearted man or boy can prefer solitude to the 
company of cheerful and beautiful feathered 
friends. 

Don't make Bird or Egg " collections." — 
Learn to take broad views — bird's-eye views, 



BIRD-PROTECTION 



173 



if you please — of the bird-world. Consider 
how you can promote its enjoyment, its better- 
ment, and its perpetuation. Think not that in 
order to take an interest in birds it is necessary 
to buy a gun and a bushel of cartridges. Don't 
think that a badly made bird-skin in a smelly 
drawer is as pleasing an object in the sight of 
God or man as the living bird would be. Do not, 
I beg of you, make a "collection of bird-skins;" 
for the "bird-skin habit," when given free rein, 
becomes a scourge to the bird-world. 

Do not think that ornithology is the science of 
dead birds, named in a dead language; or that 
an attic room is the best field for the study of 
birds. Study bird-life, not merely the mummied 
remains of dead birds. And, finally, don't col- 
lect eggs! They teach no useful lesson. The 
majority of them have no beauty, and are as 
meaningless as marbles. The pursuit of them 
is interesting, I grant, but the possession nearly 
always palls. The collector of eggs destroys 
life, fearfully, and has for all his labors and his 
pains only such as this: — O O o o. 

If you think enough of birds to mount, or have 
mounted, every fine specimen that you kill — 
aside from legitimate game — then you will be 
justified in forming a collection. There is some 
excuse for collections of well-mounted birds, 
especially those that are presented to schools, 
where thousands of young people may study 
them; but wild life is now becoming so scarce 
that the making of large private collections, for 
the benefit of one man, is a sin against Nature. 

Don't be narrow. — In studying birds, do not 
be narrow! Use the field-glass, the camera and 
pencil, rather than the shot-gun and the micro- 
scope. Any fool with a gun can kill a bird; but 
it takes intelligence and skill to photograph 
one. 

The time was when the analysis and classifi- 
cation of our American birds were important 
work, because the bird fauna was only partially 
discovered and written up. In their days, 
Audubon, Wilson, Baird and Coues did grand 
work, because so many birds were strange, and 
needed introducing. The time was when analyz- 
ing, naming, and working up geographical dis- 
tribution were desirable and necessary. But in 
North America that period has gone by. There 
is no longer any real need for new technical 
books on the birds of this continent north of 



Mexico. The describing, and re-describing, the 
naming, re-naming and tre-naming of microscopic 
varieties, has been done enough, and in places 
overdone. 

What to do. — Henceforth, these are the things 
to be done with and for our American birds : 

1. Join actively in protecting the few birds 
that remain, and help to save them from com- 
plete extermination. 

2. Aid in teaching the millions how to know 
and enjoy the beautiful and useful birds without 
destroying them. 

It is not at all necessary that people generally 
should be able to name correctly every bird that 
the forest and field may disclose. Many species 
of warblers, and sparrows, and larger birds also, 
are so much alike that it is very difficult for any 
one save a trained ornithologist to analyze them 
correctly. The general public is not interested 
in differences that are nearly microscopic. When 
birds and mammals cannot be recognized with- 
out killing them, and removing their skulls, it is 
quite time for some of us to draw the line. 

It is entirely possible for any intelligent person 
to become well acquainted with at least one hun- 
dred and twenty-five of our birds without killing 
one ; and any person who can at sight recognize 
and claim acquaintance with that number of bird- 
species may justly claim to be well informed on 
our birds. Because birds are more common than 
quadrupeds, bird-books are also more common, 
and now the most of them are beautifully illus- 
trated. The road to ornithology is now strewn 
with flowers, and the rough places have been 
made smooth. 

The Vastness of the Bird-World. — Go where 
you will upon this earth — save in the great des- 
erts — some members of the bird-world will either 
bear you company, or greet you as you advance. 
Some will sing to cheer you, others will interest 
and amuse you by the oddities of their forms 
and ways. On the mountain back-bone of the 
continent, you will meet the spruce-grouse, the 
raven, and the mountain-jay. In the foothills 
and on the great sage-brush plains, the stately 
sage-grouse and the garrulous magpie still break 
the monotony. 

In the fertile regions of abundant rain, bird- 
life is — or rather was once — bewildering in its- 
variety. In the tropics, the gorgeous colors 
and harsh voices of the birds remind you that 



174 



ORDEES OF BIRDS— INTRODUCTION 



you are fairly within another world. In mid- 
ocean, the stormy petrel causes you to wonder 
how it survives the storms. On the bald moun- 
tains of Alaska, or the barren shores of the Arc- 
tic Ocean, the snow-white ptarmigan may be 
the means of saving you from death by starva- 
tion; and when you discover new lands in the 
mysterious and forbidding waters of the Antarc- 
tic, the huge and helpless emperor penguin will 
be there to greet you. 

The greatest wonders of bird-life are the im- 
mense variety of its forms, and the manner in 
which the members of the various groups have 
been equipped to perform so many functions 
in the economy of life. It seems as if Nature 
has undertaken to furnish birds for every por- 
tion of the globe, and provide food and shelter 
for each in its own place. This is why different 
birds fly, wade, swim, dive, scratch, run and 
climb. 

How we Study Birds. — To-day, in the pri- 
mary schools, little children learn something of 
the wild-birds by which they are surrounded. 
These studies of Nature are but contributions of 
bricks and mortar toward what must be the com- 
plete building. It is now our purpose to lay 
the foundation for a structure of bird-knowl- 
edge which may be built upon all through life, 
as elaborately as the builder may choose. But, 
even those who wish to build only one story in 
height need just as correct a foundation as those 
who build the highest. 

Our purpose now is to offer the student a gen- 
eral introduction to the bird-world of North 
America, and illustrate its groups by about one 
hundred prominent types, all so typical and so 
representative that every one should know them 
all. Herein, the student is urged to pay special 
attention to the systematic groups set forth. 
Once these are permanently fixed in the mind, 
the detailed study of the different species of 
birds becomes a genuine joy. 

Learn well the various Orders of our birds, 
the prominent Families, and the prominent types 
representing them. Details regarding anatomy, 
seasonal changes, migration, breeding-habits, 
distribution and exact food-habits can be sought 
later on, and found in great abundance in the 
wealth of beautiful bird-books now available at 
small cost. In presenting herein the individual 
birds which have been chosen to represent the 



different groups, we shall strive to give in a few 
words an accurate and clearly defined general 
impression of each, but no more. 

Remembering the Orders of Birds. — The 

birds of North America are divided into seven- 
teen Orders, besides which two additional Or- 
ders exist elsewhere. Under different circum- 
stances, the student might find some difficulty 
in remembering these Orders, and the relations 
they bear toward each other. In this, however, 
we find ourselves aided by Nature in a remark- 
able way. 

By a very simple and natural arrangement, 
with fair regard to the forms and habits of birds, 
and their haunts upon the earth, it is possible to 
show upon a chart, the following facts: 

1. The various Orders of North American 
birds ; 

2. The relative size of each Order, in number 
of species; 

3. The haunts of each Order, on land or water, 
and 

4. Approximately, the rank of each order, 
from lowest to highest. 

On the accompanying chart of bird-life, an 
ideal panorama of land and water is divided be- 
tween the various Orders of North American 
birds, just as we find them in Nature. By a 
fortunate coincidence, the Orders that are lowest 
in the scale of natural classification are those con- 
taining the sea-birds, of deep water, which there- 
fore belong at the bottom of the chart. On the 
other hand, the birds that are highest in the zoo- 
logical scale — the perching birds — are also the 
birds of the tree-tops, and must be placed at the 
top of the chart. 

The birds of the shore, the river-bank, and the 
uplands have their respective areas in the mid- 
dle portion of the scale, and we are thus enabled 
to see almost at a glance the geography of the 
bird- world, at least as we find it in North 
America. 

Beginning with the highest, we shall endeavor 
to point out the leading characters of the various 
Orders, and the examples which best represent 
them. Just at present, however, it is not wise 
for the student to go too far into the subdivis- 
ions of the Orders, and only the most important 
Families will be mentioned by name. 

Any student who is unwilling to devote a few 
hours to learning the names and places of the 



THE FOUNDATION FOR BIRD-STUDIES 175 

various Orders of birds may as well refrain from For the purpose of making the contents of each 
attempting to know our feathered friends; for Order familiar to the reader, representatives of 
that knowledge is quite as necessary as founda- the most important Families it contains will 
tion-stones are to a tall building. The names of be mentioned, and illustrated by the presenta- 
ble Orders must be learned, and remembered ! tion of at least one species. 

THE ORDERS OF LIVING BIRDS. 

CHARACTER OF BIRDS 
ORDER. PRONUNCIATION. ,„„„„„„ EXAMPLES. 

INCLUDED. 

Passerbs Pas'se-rez Perching-Birds Robin, Warbler and Jay. 

( Goatsuckers, Swifts ) 
Macrochires. . . .Mac-ro-chi'rez . . . . 1 and Humming- VNighthawk, Swift, Uuby-Throat. 

( Birds ) 

Psittaci Sit'ta-si Parrots and Macaws. . .Carolina Parakeet, Macaw. 

Pici Pi' si Woodpeckers Golden-Winged Woodpecker. 

Coccyges Coc'si-gez j Cu fl ck ° 0S aad Eng ~ } Belted Kingfisher, Cuckoo. 

* ( fishers \ ° ' 

Raptores Rap-to' rez Birds of Prey Eagle, Owl and Vulture. 

Columbae Co-lum'be Pigeons and Doves. . . . Band-Tailed Pigeon,Mourning- Dove. 

Gallinae Gal-li'ne Scratching-Birds Quail, Grouse, Wild-Turkey. 

Limicolae Li-mic'o-le Shore-Birds Plover, Woodcock, Snipe. 

Paludicolae . . . .Pal-u-dik'o-le Cranes and Rails Whooping Crane, Virginia Rail. 

Herodiones Her-o-de-o'nez Herons and Egrets . . . .Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret. 

Odontoglossae . .O-don-to-glos'se Flamingoes American Flamingo. 

Anseres An'se-rez j ^^^^^ \ Mallard, Canada Goose, Swan. 

■Steganopodes . . .Steg-a-nop'o-dez. . . j Vt ^* hh * d , ^ \ Pelican, Darter, Cormorant. 

Tubinares Tu-M-na'rez j ^ Nosed S ^ \ Albatross. 

Longipennes . . . . Lon-gi-pen' nez . . . . j ^1^ .^ \ ^ and Tern. 

Pvgopodes Py-gop'o-dez Diving-Birds Loon, Grebe, Auk, Murre. 

Impennes Im-pen'-ez Flightless Divers Penguin. 

Ratitae Ra-ti'te Flightless Runners . . . .Ostrich, Cassowary. 



EXPLANATION OF THE CHART OF THE ORDERS OF NORTH 

AMERICAN BIRDS. 

The Orders of North American birds lend themselves with gratifying readiness to the purposes 
of a landscape chart. In this way more than any other known to the author can the greatest 
number of facts regarding the Orders and their relationships be set forth in a manner easily un- 
derstood, and calculated to appeal to the eye. 

As with the mammals, the highest Orders are found in the tree-tops and the air; and as nearly 
as possible the relative sizes of the various Orders are shown. The birds of the highest and most 
perfect organization appear at the top of the chart, and the lowest forms are those of deep 
water, farthest- from the land. 

The great size of the Order Passeres is strikingly apparent; and it is situated in the tree-tops 
where its members live. 

The curious shape of the Order Macrochires is due to the fact that the Goatsuckers, Swifts 
and Humming-Birds have so little in common that they are wellnigh separated; but the larger 
body — the Hummers — are closely related to the Perehing-Birds. 

The Order Coccyges is composed of two groups equally ill matched, the Cuckoos and Kingfishers. 
The former touch the Perching-Birds, the latter the sharp-beaked fishers; but the association of 
the two in one Order is not satisfactory, and not likely to stand. 

The Orders Columbae, Gallinae and Paludicolae are found on the uplands, immediately 
above the Limicolae, or Shore-Birds. 

The Herodiones (Herons, Egrets and Bitterns) range along the shore from the sea, up the 
river, to the interior lake, while the Anseres — Ducks and Geese — cover lake, river and sea. 

The Flamingo's Order — Odontoglossae — is of the shallow water of an estuary, connecting the 
Herons and Ducks. 

The Steganopodes (Cormorants, Pelicans, etc.) prefer the shallow waters of the sea, while the 
Gulls and Terns (Longipennes) range from shallow to deep waters. 

The Tubinares (Albatrosses, Fulmars, etc.) and Pygopodes (Auks, Murres, and other weak- 
winged divers) are birds of deep water. 

For obvious reasons, it has not been considered a practicable matter to include on a landscape 
chart the birds of the world, or even those of South America. 




Copyright, 1903, by W. T. Hornaday. 
LANDSCAPE CHART OF THE ORDERS OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS. 







' \ KM 



u , i 



m '■$*& 



THE BOBOLINK IN SPRING. 

178 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE ORDER OF PERCHERS AND SINGERS 

PASSERES 



This Order is the highest in the scale of birds, and it is by far the largest of the whole nineteen 
Orders. In the zone of agriculture it contains the birds which are of the greatest importance 
to mankind, the insect-eaters. It also contains all the real song-birds of the world, and its North 
American Families are as shown below: 



ORDER 
PASSERES. 



Thrushes, . . 
Kinglets, . - . 
Nuthatches, . 
Tree-Creepers, 
Dippers, . 
Wrens, . 
Wagtails, 
Warblers, 
Vireos, . 
Shrikes, . 
Waxwings, 
Swallows, 
Tanagers, 

Finches, 

Blackbirds, 

Crowds, . . . 
Horned Larks, 
Flycatchers, . 



SCIENTIFIC NAMES. 

TUR'DI-DAE, . . 
SYL-VI'I-DAE, . . 
PA'RI-DAE, . . . 
CER-TM'I-DAE, 
CIN'CLI-DAE, . . 
TRO-GLO-D }" TI-DA E, 
MOT-A-CIL'LI-DAE, 
MNI-O- TIL' TI-DAE, 
VI-RE-ON'I-DAE, . 
LAN-I'I-DAE, . . 
AM-PEUI-DAE, . . 
HI'RUN-DIN'I-DAE, 
TAN-A-GRI'DAE, . 

FRIN-GIL'LI-DAE. 

IC-TER'I-DAE. . . 

COR'Vl-DAE, . . 
A-LAV'DI-DAE, 
TY-RAN'NI-DAE, . 



EXAMPLES. 

Robin, Thrush, Bluebird. 
. Kinglet and Gnatcatcher. 
. Nuthatch, Chickadee, Titmouse. 
. Brown Creeper. 

Water-Ouzel. 

Wren, Cat-Bird, Mocking-Bird, Thrasher. 
. Wagtail and Pipit. 

Warbler, Water-Thrush, Redstart,- Chat. 

Red-Eyed Vireo. 

Butcher-Bird and Loggerhead Shrike. 

Bohemian Waxwing, Cedar-Bird. 

Swallow and Martin. 
. Scarlet Tanager. 

j Sparrow, Finch, Grosbeak, Cardinal, 
j Snow-Bunting, Redpoll. 
t Blackbird, Oriole, Meadow-Lark, Bobo- 
) link. 

Crow, Raven, Jay, Nut-Cracker. 

Horned Lark. 

Flycatcher, Pewee, Phcebe, Kingbird. 



The majority of perchers are birds of plain 
feather, quite as if Nature had intended that 
these, the best friends of the farmer and fruit- 
grower, should be the last to be destroyed by 
the merciless Man-With-a-Gun. 

It will be a sad day for the American farmer 
when the last insect-eating bird of our country 
is brought fluttering and lifeless to the ground. 
When the armies of destroying insects begin to 
multiply unchecked, and send forth their mill- 
ions and tens of millions, then will the husband- 
man realize the value of the allies he has lost, 
and vainly wish to exchange any number of 
grapes and cherries for the once-despised robin, 
thrush and blackbird. 



Quite apart from their cash value to the agri- 
culturist, it is the song-birds that appeal most 
strongly to the ear and heart of man. Even the 
exquisite plumage of the resplendent trogon, 
most beautiful of all American birds, does not 
thrill the soul as does the song of the robin, the 
brown thrasher and the mocking-bird. Next to 
sunshine and green verdure, the most cheering 
thing in Nature is the song of a bird. At this 
moment (early spring) a robin, in the big ma- 
ple in front of my windows, is pouring forth a 
song that is at once restful and inspiring. It re- 
minds me that we who live in the temperate zone 
are greatly favored by the presence in our bird- 
life of the sweetest singers in the world. Shall 



179 



180 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PERCHERS AND SINGERS 

Scapulars 



Fovehea-d.. 



Secondaries 



..Ztsser 

.Jtfiddle I Coverts. 




THE PARTS AND PLUMAGE OP A PERCHING-BIRD. 



we, then, be so utterly barbarous and mean as 
to engage in, or permit, the killing of our song- 
birds in order that they be used either as food 
for biped pigs, or to adorn(?) the cheap millinery 
of servant-girls? Never! 

Let it not be thought, however, that the Order 
Passeres has not a good share of birds of beauti- 
ful plumage. In our own fields and forests, be- 
hold the waxwing, the oriole, the cardinal, the 
tanager, the grosbeak, the magpie, the jay and 
the bobolink. The tropics contain the wonder- 
ful birds of paradise, and a bewildering array of 
humming-birds, cotingas,finches,ground-thrushes 
and many others. 

If the temperate zone lacks anything in perch- 
ing-birds of brilliant plumage, that lack is more 
than made up by the singing-birds. With all its 
wealth of bird-life, brilliant and plain, the tropics 
are generally silent, and a joyous or musical bird- 
song is rarely heard. Of the bird-cries that one 
occasionally hears, the majority are harsh and 
unpleasant squawks. The tropical day has 
neither robin nor mocking-bird, the night no 
whippoorwill. True, there is the awful "brain- 



fever " bird of the Indian night, but it is neither 
musical nor joyous. One may spend months 
in the tropics, both of America and of the Far 
East, and in all that time hear less of real bird- 
song than can be heard on many an American 
farm in one day. 

As might be expected in a large Order of birds, 
the food habits of the perchers cover a wide 
variety of foods. The great majority prefer to 
live upon insects, and the young of all species 
are absolutely dependent upon soft-bodied in- 
sects, larvae and earth-worms. Many birds 
are really limited to insect-food, and can sub- 
sist on no other kind. Next in importance, 
and for the longest period, perhaps, come seeds 
and grain, especially the seeds of weeds that are 
a pest to the farmer. As a rule, fruit is taken 
in its brief season more as a dessert than as a staff 
of life. 

A very few species, like the crow, magpie and 
jay, eat meat whenever opportunity offers it, 
and welcome the discovery of raw meat or eggs. 

The great value of the perching-birds lies in the 
enormous quantities of insects which they con- 



THE THRUSHES 



181 



sume as food. 1 These birds have been specially 
developed by Nature to combat and destroy 
the hordes of insects destructive to fruit, grain 
and tree life, which otherwise would in a short 
time increase to such enormous numbers that 
no vegetation could withstand their attacks. 

To young pupils, the Order of Perching and 
Singing Birds may at first seem difficult to grasp ; 
but in reality it is not. A knowledge of forty 
birds will give one a very good idea of its various 
Families; and any one can learn about forty 
birds. After this Order has been mastered, all 
others will be found quite easy. The examples 
introduced have been selected with great care, 
and concerning those illustrated, the pictures 
will tell of their forms and markings far better 
than wordy descriptions could do. 



around New York and in some parts of the South 
who shoot Robins for food, are wholly unfit to 
inhabit the Robin's country, unless they reform. 3 

The Robin is one of the sweetest and most 
joyous songsters I know. As well try to describe 
the glories of a sunset as to set forth in words 
the liquid melody, clear and sweet, which pours 
from his throat when he feels particularly joy- 
ous. 

Everywhere, the Robin is a very sociable bird, 
and exceeding quick to distinguish a friend from 
a foe. Give it absolute protection, and security 
from cats, and it will cheerfully nest on your win- 
dow-sill. This is what one actually did in Buffalo, 
under our roof, — built her nest on the sill of an 
upper window, close against the glass, and reared 
her brood there. We went many times to see 



THE THRUSH FAMILY. 

Turdidae. 

The Robin.'- — All lovers of birds should agree 
in placing this dear old friend at the head of the 
list of the birds of this continent. This is be- 
cause it is the highest avian type. It has typical 
plumage, it flies well, it perches, it sings beauti- 
fully, it migrates, and its anatomy is thoroughly 
representative. Moreover, it quickly discerns 
a friend and protector, and it is not driven away 
by the English sparrow. 

Of all our birds, the Robin comes the nearest 
to being "folks." It is always one of the first 
birds to arrive in the spring, it remains all sum- 
mer, and it is one of the last to depart at the ap- 
proach of winter. Often the late spring snows 
catch it on its early migration, and its staying 
powers are put to the test. It is a good plan to 
scatter food for these early birds. Nothing save 
the sun itself is more gladdening on a raw March 
day than the joyous note by which the Robin 
announces the arrival of himself and spring. 

Who is there who can know the Robin and not 
love him? Few indeed; and those persons 

' Up to 190.3 the Biological Survey of the United 
States Department of Agriculture had published 
twenty important bulletins and shorter papers on 
the food habits of our birds, with especial reference 
to the species either most beneficial or most harm- 
ful to the farmer and fruit-grower. A list of those 
now available, and the terms on which they are 
procurable, will be furnished by the Department 
upon application. 

2 Me-ru'la mi-gra-to'ri-a. Length, from end of 
beak to end of tail, 9 to 10 inches. 




how she was getting on, and she, knowing well 
that glass is a barrier, permitted us to put our 
faces within two inches of her head. 

In the Zoological Park, the Robins were the 
first wild creatures to learn, in 1900, that the 
reign of the poacher was over ; and they quickly 
told it to the crows, and thrushes, and other 
birds. In an eight-foot pine-tree, that was 

3 " In central Tennessee are large tracts of cedars, 
the berries of which serve to attract myriads of 
Robins in the winter. One small hamlet in this dis- 
trict sends to market annually enough Robins to 
return $500, at five cents per dozen, equal to 120,000 
birds." They are killed at night by torchlight, with 
sticks. An officer of the Louisiana Audubon Society 
states that a conservative estimate of the number 
annually killed in Louisiana for food purposes is a 
quarter of a million when they are usually plentiful. 
— William Duteher, in Educational Leaflet No. 4, of 
the National Committee of Avdubon Societies. 



182 



ORDERS OR BIRDS— PERCHERS AND SINGERS 



planted six feet from the edge of the main walk, 
and directly in front of our head-quarters, a Rob- 
in built her nest, only five feet from the ground ; 
and there she reared her young. To many visit- 
ors who loved birds, her nest was shown, but to 
the Robin-killers and the nest-robbers no one 
said a word. On Gardiner's Island, where cats 
live not, the Robins nest on fence-rails only two 
feet from the ground, in full view of the bird- 
loving inhabitants of that small world. 







WOOD-THRUSH. 

Often we have been greatly interested by the 
keenness of sight of the Robins which visit our 
lawn. After every shower, certain Robins of 
our acquaintance take possession of the lawn, 
and stride over the grass with an air of great 
importance and earnestness of purpose. After 
several wise and sidewise cocks of the head, a 
Robin will suddenly drive his bill far down into 
the grass, and brace himself for a hard struggle. 
By dint of many hard tugs, out comes the earth- 
worm, to be borne away in triumph to a certain 
nest. Often I have tried to see worms clown 
among the roots of the grass, as the Robins do, 
but never once have I succeeded. Evidently 
my objectives never were focused just right for 
worms in green grass. 

In all save a very few localities in North Amer- 
ica, the Robins are treated as friends. In the 
"grape belt" of western New York, they are a 
great annoyance to some grape-growers because 
of the bunches they disfigure. Elsewhere they 
are of great benefit to farmers, and the few cher- 
ries they take in cherry time are very modest 



compensation for the noxious grubs they pick 
out of the freshly ploughed fields. 

The investigations of the Biological Survey 
of the Department of Agriculture have demon- 
strated the great economic value of the Robin 
as a destroyer of harmful insects. The contents 
of three hundred and thirty stomachs of birds 
taken in all seasons revealed the fact that in the 
course of an entire year, insects make up 40 
per cent of the food of Robins, wild fruit 43 per 
cent, cultivated fruit 8 per cent, and miscel- 
laneous vegetable food 5 per cent. 

Regarding the killing of Robins, and other 
song-birds, and also doves, as food for man in a 
land of plenty, there cannot be two opinions. 
It is not necessary; it is not "sport"; it is very 
injurious to our farmers and fruit-growers, and 
entirely reprehensible. No self-respecting boy 
or man can be guilty of such wrong-doing; no 
civilizsd community should tolerate it for one 
moment, and no farmer can afford to permit it! 
I would rather that any friend of mine should 
be caught stealing a sheep than killing Robins, 
either for food or "sport." 

Let us protect the great American Robin, and 
all other perching-birds, even at the point of the 
bayonet if it be necessary. 

The Wood-Thrush 1 is one-fifth smaller than 
a robin, arid is easily recognized anywhere by 
its beautifully spotted breast. It has about 
fifty dark-brown spots, often arranged in rows 
up and down its breast, belly and throat, on a 
creamy-white ground color. Other thrushes 
have dark spots on the breast, but not down to 
the legs. The head and shoulders of this bird 
are of a bright cinnamon color. 

This graceful creature often works overtime 
to make the woods melodious, and it is one of our 
sweetest singers. It is not so bold and confi- 
dent as the robin, and is much given to follow- 
ing the robin's lead. Its favorite haunt is the 
sweet seclusion of shady woods and thickets, 
where the half-bare earth affords good hunting- 
grounds, and a fair degree of safety from ob- 
servation. Its nesting habits are very much 
like those of the robin, and its range includes 
the whole eastern half of the United States, to 
the Great Plains beyond the Mississippi. 

The Common Bluebird. 2 — The United 

1 Hy-h-ci'chla mus-tel-i'na. Length, S inches. 

2 Si-a'li-a si-a'Hs. Length, 6.75 inches. 



THE BLUEBIRD 



183 



States is a country of such vast extent it is a 
physical mosaic of different elevations, soils, and 
climates. Roughly speaking, these are its physi- 
cal divisions: 

1. The eastern half, of ideal rainfall, boun- 
tiful harvests, and abundant shade. 

2. The Great Plains, fine for grazing, but mostly 
too dry for agriculture. 

3. The Rocky Mountain region, embracing a 
perfect medley of physical conditions, mostly 
high, rugged, and rather lacking in insect-life. 

4. The arid regions, of the country between 
the Rockies and Sierra Nevadas, extending from 
southern Washington to the City of Mexico, and 
including southern California. 

5. The region of great rainfall, on the north- 
western Pacific coast (northern California, Ore- 
gon and Washington). 

It is not strange, therefore, that we find typi- 
cal species of eastern animals developing west- 
ward into different colors, and also different 
pelage, and designated scientifically by different 
names. Take these examples by way of illus- 
tration : 

In the East we have the Common Bluebird. 

In the Rockies we have the Chestnut-Backed 
Bluebird, and also the Mountain Bluebird. 

In Arizona we have the Azure Bluebird. 

In the Pacific states we have the Western 
Bluebird, 

And in Lower California, the San Pedro Blue- 
bird. 

Is it at all necessary that the general student 
should know about all these different species in 
order to not be accounted ignorant? Let us see. 

Any sensible civilized person knows a cow at 
sight, also something of its place in Nature, and 
its habits. No one, however, save the special 
student of domestic cattle, is expected to be able 
to say, without "looking it up," whether a par- 
ticular cow is an Alderney, a Jersey, a Short- 
Horn, a Hereford, or a Durham. 

The case of the Bluebird is quite similar. He 
who knows one Bluebird well, may justly claim 
a bowing acquaintance with all the others, and 
feel at home when in their company. 

Here in the East, the Bluebird is a thing of 
beauty, and a joy until the abominable English 
sparrows drive it away. It comes with the robin, 
to help chase winter away; and though we have 
heard it a hundred times, it is always welcome 



news, late in February or early in March, to 
hear some one say triumphantly, "I saw a Blue- 
bird to-day!" It is as needless to describe this 
feathered beauty, with the brown breast, and 
back of heaven's bluest sky-tint, as it would be 
to describe a rainbow. 

Unfortunately, the Bluebirds are not good 
fighters, and the English sparrows harry them 
shamefully. They are timid, and easily driven 
away. Worse than this, they are easily killed 
by cold weather. The cold wave which visited 
the South in 1895 killed so many thousands of 
Bluebirds, especially in North Carolina and Ar- 
kansas, that for some time afterward the number 
visible in the North was alarmingly small. If 
not molested by the English sparrow, the Blue- 




BLUEBIKD. 

bird takes readily to boxes erected on poles near 
farm-houses, similar to those frequently erected 
by the farmer boys to attract the purple marten. 
A good way to encourage robins and Bluebirds is 
to kill the English sparrows. 

THE KINGLET FAMILY. 

Sylvidae. 
The Ruby-Crowned Kinglet 1 is one of our 

smallest birds, and it is easily recognized by the 

tiny tuft of ruby-red feathers on the crown of its 

1 Reg'u-lus cal-en-du'la. Length, 4.25 inches. 



184 



OEDEES OF BIEDS— PEECHEES AND SINGEKS 




RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. 

head. In life it is a dainty little feathered gem, 
but it is so modest and retiring that it is seen 
only by sharp eyes. "Kinglet" means "Little 
King." Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright testifies 
strongly to its value as an insect-destroyer, 
especially in the late autumn, when other in- 
sectivorous birds have gone, when it works in- 
dustriously upon the trunks of evergreens. Dr. 
Coues considered the Kinglet an exquisite singer, 
but I must confess that its vocal powers have 
quite escaped me. 

THE NUTHATCH AND TITMOUSE 
FAMILY. 

Paridae. 
The birds of this Family deserve to rank as 
prime favorites. They remain with us through 
"the long and dreary winter," when all save a 
corporal's squad of the grand army of birds have 
fled southward, and left us to our fate. They 
are exceedingly industrious, and their efforts 
arc directed against insects of very destructive 
habits, the tree-borer and the bark-louse. In 
their work they are not continually " playing to 



the gallery," and telling people how busy they 
are. 

The Chickadee, or Black -Capped Tit- 
mouse, 1 is one of the dearest little fellows that 
flies. It always reminds me of a forest-elf, in 
a black cap and a feather cloak. Instead of 
making a great show of fright, like a girl in the 
presence of a ferocious mouse, little Black-Cap 
perches on a tiny twig growing low down on the 
trunk of a big tree, and cocks his head at you, 
while he looks you over with a fraternizing air. 
His attitude and manner say as plainly as Eng- 
lish, "You are a good fellow, and I'm another. 
We understand each other perfectly, don't we?" 

And then his greeting. If you have never be- 
fore had the pleasure of meeting him, he pipes 
out cheerily, " CHiCK-a-dee-dee-de e! " Watch 
for him the next time you go into the woods in 
winter, — a jet-black cap with a white waistcoat 
below it; a black necktie, bluish-gray overcoat, 
and a very pert and saucy air. You can hardly 
fail to recognize him, but in case you hesitate, 
and think his "face is familiar," he will up and 
tell you his name, as nliinly as print. 




CHICKADEE. 

Pa'rus at-ri-cap'ilrhis. Length, 5.25 inches 



THE NUTHATCH, CHICKADEE AND CREEPER 



185 



Six well-marked types and several races of 
Chickadees inhabit North America from Alaska 
to Mexico, but the one most widely known is that 
just named. 

The White-Breasted Nuthatch 1 deserves 
the most perfect protection and encouragement 
that the people of this country know how to 
offer. One good look at this bird on the trunk 
of a valuable tree, searching as if with a magnify- 
ing glass for the trees' deadly enemies, — the 
borers, — ought to convert any person to the cause 
of bird-protection. Like the chickadee, the 
Nuthatch remains in the north all winter, be- 
cause he feels that he has not a moment to lose 
in his war on the borers. 

The tree-trunks are his favorite hunting- 
ground, and he goes over them, literally inch by 
inch. He becomes so absorbed in his work that 
he forgets all about himself, and works half the 
time head downward, or oblique, or horizontal, 
as it may happen to be. Rarely does he stop 
to talk, and even then he only clucks in his throat, 
" not necessarily for publication, but as a guar- 
antee of good faith." 

Often in the silent and snowy woods, when 
your feet go rip! rip! rip! through the frozen 
crust, you hear close overhead a scratching, dig- 
ging sound, as of some one gouging into rough 
bark with a pocket-knife. Look up, and it will 
be a Nuthatch, working away as if his job de- 
pended upon the doing of a daily stint. He 
thinks that in his case it is the late bird that 
catches the worm! His beak is like that of a 
small woodpecker, and although his friend the 
chickadee has more style than he, he himself is 
much better fitted for digging in bark. The top 
of his head is black, his sides, throat and breast 
are pure white, while his back is dull blue, or 
gray-blue. As a climber, this bird surpasses 
the woodpecker, because in clinging to a tree- 
trunk it makes no use of its tail. 

Nuthatches are easily encouraged to make 
your trees their head-quarters. In December, 
nail to a tree-trunk here and there, about twelve 
feet from the ground, some lumps of suet, or fat 
pork on the rind, or beef bones with a little raw 
meat upon them, and see how quickly the birds 
find them out. The "winter residents" will 
feast upon them until the last morsel has disap- 
peared, and they will appreciate your thought- 
1 Sit'ta carolinensis. Length, about 6 inches. 



fulness thus displayed precisely when tree- 
borers burrow deepest, and are most difficult 
to get at. 

THE TREE-CREEPER FAMILY. 

Certhiidae. 

The Brown Creeper- represents a small Fam- 
ily of small birds of tree-climbing habits, but 
with bills that are rather too slender for work in 
bark. They are not fitted by nature for digging 
a modest and retiring borer from the bottom of 
his tunnel, and therefore they make a specialty 
of bark-lice and other surface wood-workers 
which can be picked off without hard digging. 

As an example of protective coloration, this 




WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH. 

little creature is worthy of special note. Its 
back is brown, marked by about twelve broad 
stripes of dull gray, and between the two colors 
the striations of bark are surprisingly well imi- 
tated. On the side of an oak, or elm, or chest- 
nut, this little bird is almost invisible until it 
moves. It does not work head downward, like 
the nuthatch, but creeps about with its head up, 
braced by its tail, like a woodpecker. Like 

2 Cer'thi-a fa-mil-i-ar'is americanus. Length, 5* 
inches. 



180 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PERCHERS AND SINGERS 



both the preceding species, it is a winter resident, 
and in fact is not much in evidence at any other 
season. The four species of this group cover the 
United States, and extend from Alaska to Guate- 
mala. 

THE WRENS AND CAT-BIRDS. 

Troglodytidae. 
In some respects, the wrens are but a short 
step from the tree-creepers, but in others they 
are widely apart. For its size the House-Wren 1 




BROW'N CREEPER. 

is the most pert and saucy bird in North Amer- 
ica. Forty years ago, a pair of these merry little 
sprites took up their abode in the wild fastnesses 
of the grape-arbor that sheltered our well; and 
I can hear their shrill chatter yet. It was like the 
piping of a piccolo. For eight years, they and 
their children and grandchildren possessed the 
outskirts of our dwelling, and it was a great day 
when we discovered a beautiful, feather-lined 
nest, nearly six inches deep, that the Wrens had 
built in an old-fashioned lantern that hung in the 
wood-house. I wish it were possible to have 

1 Tro-ylo-d 1/ tes ae'don. Length, 4.75 to 5.25 
inches. 



Wrens around a city dwelling, or in a Zoological 
Park. 

A Wren is known by the way it carries its 
tail, so very straight up in the air that sometimes 
it tilts forward. The House-Wren is the most 
sociable of all our wild birds, and also the one 
most confident of its place in the hearts of its 
countrymen. I never knew of a Wren being 
killed by any one save a collector of bird-skins. 
As for myself, I would go Wrenless forever rather 
than take the life of a creature so winsome and 
trustful. Even the cats of our household used 
to respect the family Wrens. In the country, 
where there are no English sparrows, it is easy 
to attract these interesting birds by putting up 
nesting-boxes for them. Five species of Wrens 
occupy the United States, from ocean to ocean, 
the Pacific species, west of the Rockies, being the 
Tule Wren. 

The Brown Thrasher. 2 — Vocally, this 
bird is practically the northern understudy of 
the mocking-bird. When, after a warm spring 
shower and a sudden burst of sunshine, an able- 
bodied Brown Thrasher perches on the tip-top 
of a red-haw bush, and for fifteen minutes pours 
forth a steady stream of delicious melody, in be- 
wildering variations, one is tempted to declare 
that no mocking-bird can surpass it. It is sim- 
ply indescribable. Often when sadly toiling in 
the Iowa fields, I have been stopped and held by 
this feathered spellbinder for what seemed to my 
brothers like very long intervals. 

In form this bird is very much like the mock- 
ing-bird, but its back is colored a rich iron-rust 
brown, and its under surface is dull white, strongly 
spotted with large, triangular brown spots. Its 
home is the whole of the United States east of 
the Rocky Mountains, and it is the sweetest 
singer of the North. Unfortunately, its song- 
period is rather short, and terminates about the 
end of June. 

The Cat-Bird 3 of the North bears a strong 
resemblance to the mocking-bird, in form, color 
and movement. It is also a good singer, though 
hardly in the same class as its southern relative. 
It is very sociable in its habits, and loves the 
orchards, gardens, fruit-trees, and berry-bushes 
of the country dweller. Its name is derived 
from its favorite exclamatory cry, which sounds 

2 Har-po-rhyn' chus ru'fus. Length, 11.25 inches. 

3 Gal-e-os-cop'tes carolinensis. Length, S.75 inches. 



THE MOCKING-BIRD 



18 1 ; 




■?S ;v 



HOUSE-WEEN. 

like the plaintive mew of a half-grown kitten. 
Its prevailing color is dark, slaty gray. 

The Mocking-Bird, 1 of the states south of 
the Ohio River, is a singing wonder. It is a 
little bundle of nerves, covered with modest drab 
feathers, and its throat is tuned up to concert 
pitch. When it is silent, it can be recognized 
by its slender body, long legs and long tail ; but 
when it is singing, only a deaf man needs an in- 
troduction. This bird can also be recognized 
by its nervous and irregular movements, hopping 
and darting about, up, down and sidewise. If 
the Mocker feels well, he sings as he darts about, 
as jerkily and impulsively as he moves. 

The Mocking-Bird loves to sing almost as well 
as some persons love to hear him. His typical 
song is a bewildering medley of warbling, chirp- 
ing and twittering, many passages being very 
clever imitations of other birds, but the majority 
of it is improvised for the occasion. Next to 
1 Mi'mus pol-y-glot' tos . Length, about 10 inches. 



the marvellous variety of his vocal exercises is 
the clearness and sweetness of his notes; for this 
singer never sharps nor flats. The amount and 
variety of the melody that comes from that in- 
significant little gray midget in feathers are truly 
marvellous, livery person who has heard the 
free, wild bird performing in its home thicket 
knows that the singing of caged specimens is but 
a spiritless imitation of the wild song. 

Strange to say, this bird not only sings in the 
daytime, but there are periods, especially during 
the breeding season, when the male sings at 
night. 

As usual, man's destructiveness reaches out for 
this the greatest of all American singers Thou- 
sands of nestlings are caged, the majority of them 
in Louisiana. Those that do not die in the proc- 
ess of rearing, live for brief periods in wretched 
little 12 by 14-inch cages, and die without having 
known one happy, joyous hour. It is reported 
that in most portions of the South, the Mocking- 
birds are rapidly decreasing in number, espe- 
cially in Arkansas. The killing of a bird of this 
species, on any pretext, should be made a penal 
offence. 

THE DIPPER FAMILY. 
Cinclidae. 

The Water-Ouzel, or Dipper, 2 is one of the 
most remarkable little birds on this continent. 




It is a genuine water-elf, and the things it can 

do are almost beyond belief. I first saw it in late 

2 Cin'clus mex-i-can' us . Length, about S inches. 



188 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PEEOHERS AND SINGERS 



November, on the strip of ice which fringed the 
edge of the roaring, swirling, icy-cold water which 
plunges into the Shoshone Canyon at the forks 
of the Shoshone River. Man or beast stepping 
into that foaming torrent would have been 
crushed against the rocks, and drowned at the 




.MOCKING-BIRD. 

same moment, — two deaths in one. In that 
grim and terrible solitude, fast in the embrace 
of early winter, we saw on the snow-white brink 
of the ice-bank a tiny dark object, which closer 
inspection revealed to be a bird. It looked like 
a large gray wren. 

As we paused to regard it, it blithely flew 
down into mid-stream, and dived head foremost 
into a chilly wave that ran ten miles an hour. 
An instant later it reappeared, all unruffled and 
unwet, blithely flew back to the edge of the ice, 
and alighted once more. Then we knew well 
what it was ; for it could be nothing else than the 
Water-Ouzel. Afterward, we saw others along 
the line of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway 
where it winds its way through the Rocky Moun- 
tains. Where the walls of the Royal Gorge al- 
most crowd the train into the Arkansas River 
is a good place to watch for them. 

This bird is a diving thrush ! Nature has 



fitted it to dive boldly into the coldest and most 
turbulent water, or through a water-fall, and 
even to walk on the bottom of a still pool, with- 
out being at all disturbed. Both in form and 
size this little creature is like a large wren, but 
it is so peculiar it occupies a genus quite alone. 
Of course it is not web-footed; and in appear- 
ance it exhibits not one feature suggestive of a 
semi-aquatic life. Its home is along the foam- 
ing torrents of the Rocky Mountains, and Sierra 
Xevadas, from Alaska to Guatemala. It nests 
close beside swift-running streams, sometimes 
beside or even behind a cascade. It is known 
that this strange bird gives forth a song both 
clear and sweet, but I have never seen one else- 
where than near a roaring torrent, where no or- 
dinary bird-song could be heard. 

THE WARBLER FAMILY. 

Mniotiltidae. 
From the middle of April to the middle of 
September, the woods and thickets of the north- 
ern states are inhabited by a very considerable 
number of tiny bird-forms. They are trim- 
built little creatures, quiet and business-like, 
and they take themselves very seriously. A 
few of them are clad in refined shades of yellow, 
but — most fortunately — the great majority wear 
dull olive, gray or brown colors, and thereby 
escape the hostile attention that bright plumage 
always attracts. 

These are the warblers, grand in the destruc- 
tion of insects, but the most elusive and difficult 
little creatures with which bird-students have to 
deal. 

The difficulty lies in studying them effectively 
without killing them. As for myself, I have not 
yet seen the day wherein I could find myself 
willing to slaughter from five hundred to a thou- 
sand of these exquisite little creatures for the sake 
of becoming sufficiently acquainted with them 
to name them when they are dead! I blush 
not in admitting that I have gone half way 
through life knowing less than a score of war- 
blers to the point of naming them, accurately, as 
they fly before me. My exhortation to all young 
people is — do not slaughter birds, oj any kind, 
merely to become acquainted with their names. 
Some of the wild flowers can endure that method 
without extermination, but the wild birds and 
mammals cannot. 



THE WARBLERS 



189 



It is not at all essential that such tiny, incon- 
spicuous creatures as warblers should be recog- 
nized and correctly named at sight. Already 
a million warblers have died to make holi- 
days for collectors. Not long since I received 
from an egg-dealer a circular advertising the 
following eggs for sale: 

Worm-Eating Warbler.... 84 sets, 416 eggs. 

Yellow Warbler 94 " 388 " 

Oven-Bird 10. r > " 458 " 

Yellow-Breasted Chat 139 " 521 " 

Kentucky Warbler 210 " 917 " 

Total for 51 species. . 1,274 sets, 5,433 eggs. 

It is such wanton destruction as this which 
makes me "down" on egg-collecting. It is safe 
to say that the taking of those 5,433 warbler 
eggs, robbed the farms and forests of New York 
state of that number of useful birds, not count- 
ing possible progeny, and did not one dollar's 
worth of good to the "cause of science," or any 
other public interest. Already, poor "Science" 
has an awful load of crimes against Nature to 
answer for. Do not add to it without very strong 
justification. 

The members of the Warbler Family, commonly 
called wood warblers, are distributed all over 
North America, wherever insects abound, from 
the southern edge of the arctic Barren Grounds 
to southern Mexico. In her very scholarly and 
useful book entitled " Birds of the Western United 
States," Mrs. Florence Merriam Bailey enumer- 
ates forty species; and Mr. Frank M. Chapman, 
in his "Birds of Eastern North America," gives 
fifty-two. Of these, however, twenty-one are 
duplicated, and therefore the whole number of 
warblers described in the two handbooks is 
seventy-one. When we consider the fact that 
about sixty of those species are very small birds, 
of uniform size, and many of them quite un- 
marked by striking special colors, the diffi- 
culty of becoming acquainted with the different 
species will begin to appear. For present pur- 
poses, the whole Family can be very fairly rep- 
resented by three species. Two of them are of 
universal distribution, and the third (the chat) 
is nearly so. 

The Yellow Warbler, or Summer Yellow- 
bird, 1 is chosen as the type of about sixty species 

1 Den-dro'i-ca aes'ti-va. Length, 5 inches. 



of small wood warblers each of which is called 
"Warbler" with a descriptive name prefixed, 
such as palm warbler, prairie warbler, Calaveras 
warbler, etc. It is of a bright, greenish-yellow 
color, and is easily recognized on the wing. On 
the Western prairie farms, the boys call it a " Wild 
Canary," because it strongly resembles the orange 
yellow phases of that popular cage-bird. As if 
courting acquaintance with man, it loves to fre- 
quent the roadside thickets, the edges of woods, 
and even the orchard and garden. 

The beauty of this bird far surpasses its min- 
strelsy, for it is but an indifferent singer. The 
fact is, however, that it has so much work to do 
in catching insects it has little time for music; 
for it will be noticed throughout the bird-world 
that the most diligent insect-catchers are not 
in the habit of singing over their work. This 
is due to the same reason that a good deer-hunter 
does not talk and tell stories while following a 
trail. 

The Yellow Warbler ranges from the Atlantic 




YELLOW WARBLER. 

to the Pacific, and over practically the whole 
of North America save the arctic barrens, Alas- 
ka, and our arid southwestern states. Mrs. 
Mabel Osgood Wright says "it is one of the par- 
ticular victims which the cow blackbird selects 
to foster its random eggs, but the Warbler puts 
its intelligence effectively to work, and some- 



100 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PEROHERS AND SINGERS 



times builds a floor over the unwelcome egg.'' 
(Birdcraft, p. 95.) 

The Yellow-Breasted Chat 1 is much larger 
than the typical wood warblers, being 1\ inches 
long to their 5 or 5 \ inches. It has an olive-green 
back and a sulphur-yellow breast and throat, 
with a white line extending from its beak above 
and around its eye. By these colors, and its 




RED-EYED VIREO. 

erect tail, it may easily be recognized. It is a 
very pert and saucy bird, and much given to 
frequenting the haunts of country dwellers. 

The Chat is not a great singer. He has no 
regular song, and the notes he utters are jerky, 
erratic and elusive. Its voice has some peculiar 
quality which renders this bird very difficult to 
locate by sound alone. Many times I have been 
completely misled by its call notes coming from 
a thicket, and finally found the bird yards away 
from the spot whence its go-as-you-please voice 
seemed to come. 

"A Chat courtship," says Mr. A. C. Webb, in 
" Some Birds, and their Ways," " is a sight never 
to be forgotten. In the spring, when birds begin 
housekeeping, the male Chat charms himself 
and his mate by some remarkable performances 
in the air. Launching himself from the top of 
some tall tree, he flutters from side to side, flirts 
his tail, stops, stands on his head, dangles his 
1 Ic-te'ria vi'rens. Length, 7.25 inches. 



legs as if they were broken, turns somersaults, 
and makes a monkey of himself generally, as he 
descends to the thicket below, where his mate 
is perched among the briers. Sometimes he 
starts from the low bushes and rises almosl 
straight up into the air until he is above the tree- 
tops. He chatters and screams as he goes, telling 
her to watch him now as he comes down, and see 
if in all her life she ever saw a bird that could 
do such wonderful feats. Xo doubt to he> 
eyes he is the picture of grace and elegance as he 
performs on his flying trapeze, but to us his clown 
like antics seem ridiculous." 

The Chat of the East is represented in the far 
West by a long-tailed variety, and between the 
two their range covers nearly the whole of the 
United States, British Columbia and Mexico. 

The American Redstart 2 looks like a small, 
pinkish-yellow understudy of the Baltimore 
oriole, 5% inches long. Its colors and color- 
pattern are very similar to those of our old friend 
of the elm-trees, velvety black on the back and 
head, reddish-orange on the sides and breast, 
and white on the belly. The tail is orange and 
black, and the colors are very prettily disposed. 

On the whole, this bird has (in my estimation) 
the most beautiful color-pattern to be found in 
all our long procession of warblers and ground- 
thrushes. The female is so different in color it 
is at first difficult to believe her of the same spe- 
cies. Her body-colors are brownish-olive above 
with sides of pale yellow, and the head is gray 
instead of black. 

This beautiful bird is to be looked for all over 
North America from Labrador and Fort Simp- 
son to northern South America. In the North 
it arrives in May, and abides until September. 

The Water-Thrushes. — Beginners in bird- 
study are warned to note the fact that in the 
Warbler Family are several birds called "Water- 
Thrushes," which do not belong to the Thrush 
Family. It is a pity that they have not been 
distinguished by some other name. There are 
two species, the Common Water-Thrush, 3 
and the Louisiana Water-Thrush, 4 the first a 
northern, the latter a southern bird. Both live 
in the dark recesses of virgin forests, where clear 
brooks gurgle over mossy stones, between fern- 

2 Se-toph'a-ga ru-ti-cil'la. Length. 5.50 inches. 

3 Se-i-u'rus 7io-ve-bo-ra-ccn'sis. Length, 6 inches. 

4 S. mot-a-cil'la. 



THE VIEEOS AND SHRIKES 



191 



covered banks. They are watchful and suspi- 
cious, but when flushed they do not immediately 
fly beyond gunshot, as nowadays every bird 
should do. The Louisiana Water-Thrush strong- 
ly resembles the wood-thrush, but is one-fourth 
smaller. 

THE VIREO FAMILY. 

Vireonidae. 

It is quite difficult to point out peculiarities 
by which the vireos can be distinguished from 
the warblers. They are placed next to the 
shrikes because of a supposed resemblance to 
those birds in the shape of the upper mandi- 
ble — hooked and notched. The vireos look 
so much like warblers that only an expert can 
distinguish them. 

The Red-Eyed Vireo 1 is distinguishable at 
close range by its red eye with a white line over 
it, and the White-Eyed Vireo 3 also is marked 
by the white color of its eyes. Both are fairly 
good songsters, and the former is about as "do- 
mestic," in its habit of frequenting the haunts of 
man, as the yellow warbler. The former ranges 
from New York northwestward across the conti- 
nent, the latter only as far as the Rocky Moun- 
tains. 

THE SHRHiE FAMILY. 

Lanidae. 

The Great Northern Shrike, or Butcher- 
Bird, 3 is a bird of very striking personality. In 
appearance he is a high-headed, well-dressed 
dandy. In disposition, he is to-day a fierce lit- 
tle bird of prey, feeding solely upon flesh food; 
but to-morrow he will change into a modest in- 
sect-eater. It seems very odd to find a bird of 
prey among the Perching-Birds. 

The Butcher-Bird is a bird of the North, breed- 
ing from Labrador to Alaska and visiting the 
LTnited States only in winter, when it is almost 
impossible to obtain food at home. The species 
which we find in the United States in summer is 
the Loggerhead Shrike, 4 which closely resem- 
bles its northern relative, both in form and 
habits. 

In the fields, you can easily recognize a Shrike 



by his bluish-gray back, and large head. His 
strong, hooked beak has a notch, or tooth, near 
the end of the upper mandible. He is deliber- 
ate and dignified in his movements, and like the 
true sportsman that he is, he is happiest when 
hunting. He catches and feeds upon small 
frogs, mice, small snakes and even birds (so it is 
said), and has the odd trick of hanging up, 
impaled upon a thorn, dead game which he can- 
not eat as soon as caught. Once I saw a Butcher- 
Bird seize a large field-mouse out of a freshly up- 
turned furrow, and fly away with it, struggling 
vigorously. The mammal was so large and 
heavy it was surprising to see the bird bear it 
away. Many times I have seen dried frogs hang- 
ing upon thorns, where they had been placed 
when fresh, by Shrikes. 

Every Shrike is a feathered Jekyll and Hyde. 
In summer and autumn, the harvest of insects 
is everything that could be expected. In Dr. 
Judd's Bulletin No. 9, Biological Survey, De- 
partment of Agriculture, the list of groups of in- 
sects destroyed by the Loggerhead Shrike fills a 




1 Vir'e-o ol-i-va' ce-iis . 

2 V . no've-bo'ra-cen'sis. 

3 La'ni-us bo-re-al' is . 
* L. lu' do-vi' ci-an' us . 



Length, 6 inches. 
Length, 5 inches. 
Length, about 10 inches. 



LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE. 

page, and includes such pests as caterpillars, cut- 
worms, canker - worms, grasshoppers, crickets 
and weevils. 

But mark the winter and early spring record. 
Thirteen species of small birds are numbered 
among the Loggerhead's victims, of which five 
are sparrows, and others are the ground-dove, 
chimney-swift, Bell's vireo and snow-bunting. 
The Butcher-Bird is known to kill twenty-eight 
species of birds, some of them valuable insect- 



192 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PEKCHERS AND SINGERS 



destroyers, and none of them to be spared with- 
out loss except the English sparrow. On the 
other hand, this bird is a great destroyer of wild 
mice, which in cold weather formed one-fourth 
of its entire food. The Loggerhead also feeds 
freely upon lizards, snakes, frogs and fish, when 
they are obtainable. The Butcher-Bird is a 
deadly enemy of the English sparrow, and kills 
and eats them so industriously that in Boston 
certain city officials once felt called upon to order 
the Shrikes to be shot. 

The accompanying table is a very full ex- 
position of the food habits of the two members 
of the Shrike Family referred to. 



THE WAXWING FAMILY. 

A ynpelidae. 

The Bohemian Waxwing. 1 — Once, on a cer- 
tain cold and bleak Thanksgiving spent on the 
banks of the Musselshell River in Montana, 
when the mercury stood at S° below zero and 
the face of nature was a "gray and melancholy 
waste," a flock of birds settled in the top of a 
dead cedar that stood near our camp. They 
were like so many exquisite gems, found ready 
cut and polished in a desert of rocks; and the 
whole camp quickly turned out to admire the 
exquisite creatures at short range. 



Table showing Percentages of Principal Elements of Food of the Butcher-Bird and 
Loggerhead Shrike, calculated by volume. 

By Sylvester D. Judd, United States Biological Survey, Bulletin No. 9. 



Name. 


H 


to 

a 

H 

3 

a 


'A 




C/3 


2 «5 

a g 


CO 

is 


CO 


CO 

a ai 

1 a 

« ° 


CO 
H 

a 
a 

M 

p 


CO 

a 

E< 

a 
a 
pa 

pi 


Month. 


CO 



< 

3 
o 

H 






a 


9 


Q 


"S3 


< 





CO 


a a 


O 


a 


















K Z 










Eh 








77 


23 


j*s 


pq 
55 





o < 
8 


K 


Is 
1 


Q "* 


O 
4 


o 
1 




55 


Butcher-Bird .... 


22 


3 


6 


> Dec, Jan. and Feb. 


33 




























Loggerhead 


76 


24 


55 


14 


7 


13 


1 




2 


4 


6 


14 




77 


23 


40 


31 




9 


1 


3 


5 


3 


2 


} 


17 




> March and April. 




Loggerhead 


•^o 


80 


9 


9 


2 


24 


9 


4 


11 


14 


IS 


16 


Do 


11 


89 


3 




8 


71 


3 




4 


7 


4 


May and June 

July, Aug. and Sept. 


17 


Do 


2 

27 


98 
73 


11 


16 


2 


67 
57 


2 
4 


4 


1 
6 


5 

4 


19 

2 




22 




} 


17 




^■October and Nov. 




Loggerhead 


10 


90 


26 


10 
34 




50 
24 


5 
3 


7 
2 


3 


13 


12 


19 








Butcher-Bird . . 


fin 


40 


6 


4 


1 


( Average Oct. to April, 






?8 


72 


Ifi 


8 


4 


39 


4 


3 


4 


9 


13 


67 


Loggerhead . . . 


j Average for the whole 






























88 









The Great Northern Shrike is able to sing, but 
seldom does so; and many of his friends think 
he sings not at all. In summer -it ranges all the 
way to Cook Inlet, Alaska, and in winter it mi- 
grates as far south as Virginia. In the south- 
ern states it meets the Loggerhead Shrike, and 
the two species so strongly resemble each other 
they are like two feathered Dromios. 



I think that the Bohemian Waxwing, when 
alive and in perfect plumage, is one of the most 
exquisite perching-birds I know. It is not gor- 
geous or resplendent; but in dainty prettiness 
of form, immaculateness of plumage, and deli- 
cate refinement in color-scheme combined, it 
has few equals. The red wax-like tip on the 
1 Am-pel'is gar-ru'lus. Length, 8 inches. 



THE WAX WINGS AND SWALLOAVS 



193 




BOHEMIAN WAXWING. 

end of each secondary feather gleams like a ruby. 
No picture of this bird ever can fairly portray 
its beauties. The Cedar Waxwing or Cedar 
Bird 1 of the eastern United States is but a fair 
understudy of its more robust and also more 
beautiful brother of the Northwest and the far 
North. Any one can instantly identify one of 
these birds by its jaunty top-knot, and the little 
drops of vermilion wax on the tips of its secon- 
daries, eight on each side. 

THE SWALLOW FAMILY. 

Hirundinidae. 

The members of the Swallow Family are among 
the most sociable of our feathered friends, and 
also the most conspicuous. 

The Purple Martin 2 loves the little house 
atop of a tall pole, which the country boy who 
loves birds takes pleasure in erecting for it. 
Forty years ago, thousands of the prairie farms 



of the Middle West bore these tall monuments 
to the love of wild birds which is born in every 
right-minded boy ! And how gracefully the 
glossy-black Martins used to circle, and swoop, 
and gyrate about them. Sometimes the blue- 
birds took possession of the martin-boxes, and 
then George or John was troubled; for having 
designed and erected on high a dwelling espe- 
cially for the Martins, it seemed morally wrong 
that they should be forestalled, or crowded out. 

And then came Ahab, the English sparrow, 
a homely, quarrelsome, low-minded and utterly 
uninteresting little wretch, a gutter-rat among 
birds. Unless coerced with a shot-gun, he steals 
the nesting-boxes of all other small birds, driv- 
ing before him the Martins, bluebirds, and 
many others who used to love our company. In 
the North the Purple Martin does not seem to 
thrive away from the haunts of man, and I be- 
lieve their great decrease in number has been 
due almust wholly to the English sparrow. It 
is really a bird of the South, but there was a time 
when it was common in at least some of the 
northern states. 

The Eave, or Cliff Swallow 1 is still more 
sociable than the purple martin, and also more 
enterprising. With complete confidence in man's 




A. ce-dro'rum. 
'■ Prog'ne su'bis. 



Length, about 7 inches. 
Average length, 8 inches. 



PURPLE MARTIN. 

good-will toward the bird-world, it chooses 
a barn that is big and high, and prosperous- 
looking, and calls it home. From the edge of 
3 Pet-ro-chel'i-don lu'ni-frons. Length, 5| inches. 



194 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PERCHEES AND SINGERS 



the nearest pond, it brings pellets of mud, and 
sticks a lot of them in a solid circle, against the 
outside wall of the barn, and close up under the 
eaves. Upon this, working most industriously 
to finish before previous layers have had time 
to dry, the cup-shaped nest is built out, pellet 
by pellet. At the last, the cup is narrowed down 
to a tube barely large enough to admit the bird, 
and the opening thrusts out into the air, usually 
tilted slightly upward. 

All the members of a flock of Swallows build 
close together, nest joined to nest very frequently, 



are the Cliff, Bank and Tree Swallows. The 

Barn-Swallow ran be distinguished from these 
three by its very long and deeply forked tail, 
the tails of all the others being rather short. 

THE TANAGER FAMILY. 

Tanagridae. 

he mule Scarlet Tanager 1 is one of the most 
showy small birds of our American Passeres. 
Excepting its wings, which are jet black, its en- 
tire pi mage is of a clear scarlet hue, as bright 




CLIFF-SWALLOW AND NESTS. 
Nests under eaves of log house, photographed by E. R. Warren. 



and thus depends a most interesting Swallow 
town, usually called a "colony." Surely, any 
one who is not pleased and cheered by their 
sweet chattering and chirping under the eaves 
is " fit for treason, stratagems and spoils." Their 
flight is poetry expressed in motion. In catch- 
ing the insects which constitute their food, they 
love to skim close to the surfaces of ponds and 
streams. 

There are three i wallows which so much re- 
semble each other it requires a reference to a 
good handbook of birds to identify them. These 



as the brightest ribbon. There is no precious 
stone which compares with it, for beside it the 
ruby is dull. The cardinal grosbeak is not nearly 
so bright as the male Tanager. 

Wherever seen, the male Scarlet Tanager 
fixes the attention of the observer, and chal- 
lenges admiration. It is an early spring arrival 
from the South, and in Washington, D. C, I 
have seen it in the parks while the trees were 
yet leafless. Some of those which came last year 
to the Zoological Park, New York, felt so secure 
1 Pi-ran'ga e-ryth-ro-me'las. Length, 6.50 inches. 



SCARLET TANACrER AXD SNOW-BUNTING 



195 



\^ 



>r 




BARN-SWALLOW. 
Hi-run' do e-ryth'ro-gas-tra. 

in our protection that they permitted their ad- 
mirers to approach within ten feet of them. 

The female of this species is widely different 
in color from the male, being dull olive-green 
above and greenish-yellow below. 

THE FINCH AND SPARROW FAMILY. 

Fringillidae. 
This Family is a large one, and it embraces 
the perching-birds with strong beaks, such as the 
finches, sparrows, snow-birds and their near rela- 
tives, and one group of grosbeaks. By their 
beaks you shall know them, — short, and wide at 
the base, like the jaws of a pair of pliers. They 
are made for cracking all seeds which the owner 
does not wish to swallow entire. 

The American 
Cross-bill 1 is a dull-red 
bird with brown wings 
and tail, and its bill is 
so emphatically crossed 
it seems like a deformity 
which must necessarily 
be fatal to a seed-eater. But Nature has her 
own odd ways; and it seems that the scissor 
arrangement of this bird's beak is to promote 
the husking of pine cones, and the cracking of 
the seeds. 

This is a bird of the North, and in the East 
comes no farther south than a line drawn from 
1 Lox'i-a cur-vi-ros'tra minor. Length, 6.50 inches. 



i 




Colorado to Washington, D. C. In the West it 
descends to Arizona, but even r where in the 
United States it is only a winter visitor. With 
an opera-glass it is always easily recognized by 
its crossed bill. 

The American Goldfinch- is a conspicu- 
ously yellow bird, though quite small. It is a 
plump-bodied, fluffy little bird, all sulphur yel- 
low except a circular black cap atop of its head, 
and black trimmings on its wings and tail. It 
is exquisitely pretty, and, like a feathered co- 
quette, loves to pose on the steep side of a tall 
mullen stalk, with no leaves about to cut off the 
admirers' view. It is sociable, also, and loves 
the garden, orchards and meadows of the self- 
elected "lord of creation," man. 

As a weed-destroyer, this bird has few equals. 
It makes a specialty of the seeds of members of 
the Order Compositae, and is especially fond of 
thistles, ragweed, wild lettuce and wild sun- 
flower. (Sylvester D. Judd.) 

The Snow-Bunting 3 comes down from the 
far North, in the dead of winter, when the snow 




SCARLET TANAGER. 
Male and female. 

falls fluffy and deep, and the song-birds of sum- 
mer are basking in the sunshine of the South. 
They do not appear every winter, however. 



2 A.s-trag-a-li' 'nus tris'tis. 

3 Pas-ser-i'na ni-val'is. 



Length, 5 inches. 
Length, 6i inches. 



196 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PERCHERS AND SINGERS 




tops of granite ledges from which the wind has 
blown the snow. 

The Slate-Colored Junco, 1 often called the 
Snow-Bird, is also a bird of the snow-fields; but 
it is a home product rather than a visitor from 
the desolate Barren Grounds. When seen on 
snow, its slaty-blue back makes it appear like 
a dark-colored bird, but underneath it is dull 
white. Like the snow-bunting, it goes in small 
flocks, and in winter feeds chiefly upon weed- 
seeds and grain. It breeds in our northern states, 
and in winter migrates southward almost to the 
Gulf of Mexico. Altogether, thirteen species 
and varieties of Juncos are recognized in North 
America, and they are at home all the way from 
Alaska to Mexico and the Gulf. 

The Sparrows. — There was a time when in 
America it was not only respectable but even 
honorable to be a Sparrow; but during the past 
ten years, the doings of one alien species, most 
unwisely introduced here have tended to bring 
the name into disrepute. How our native species 
must hate the interloper! But we protest that 
our native Sparrows are as sweet-voiced and 
interesting as ever they were; and as wholesale 
destroyers of noxious weeds, they are unsur- 
passed. After a careful investigation of the 
quantity of weed-seeds consumed in Iowa by 
the Tree-Sparrow, 2 Professor F. E. L. Beal 
calculated the total amount for one year to be 
1,750,000 pounds, or about 875 tons! Practi- 



AMBKICAN GOLDFINCH. 

They come in flocks of from ten to twenty birds, 
and Settle in the snow as if they love it. But for 
a few dark streaks on back and wings, they are 
the color of snow, and generally have the plump 
outlines which betoken good feeding and con- 
tentment. 

When you see this bird, remember that it 
belongs to the polar world, quite as much as the 
arctic fox and musk-ox, and in summer it goes 
to the "farthest north" on our continent. 
Rarely indeed does it breed in even the most 
northerly portions of the United States, and 
seldom enters a southern state. 

In winter the food of this pretty bird con- 
sists chiefly of the seeds of weeds that send tall 
fruit-stalks above the level of the snow. In our 
park grounds, we scatter wheat for it, on the 



wMUm 



i 



cally without exception, all our Sparrows are 

diligent consumers of the seeds of noxious weeds. 

If you doubt the vocal powers of Sparrows go 

1 Jun'co hy-e-mal'is. Length, 6 inches. 

2 Spi-zel'la mon-ti-co'la. Length, 6 inches. 



THE SPABEOWS 



197 



with me to the country roads, and listen for three 
minutes to the delicious melody that pours from 
the quivering throat of a Song-Sparrow. 1 When 
he feels well, he will perch on the top of a hedge, 
secure a good grip on a comfortable twig, point 
his beak skyward at an angle of sixty degrees, 
and sing as if trying to burst his little throat. 
Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright justly calls him "the 
darling among the song-birds," and "the most 
constant singer among our northern birds. ' In 
some localities, at least, they sing all summer long. 
In Iowa I have heard them a thousand times, 
bravely piping and trilling in the sweltering 
heat of July and August, when other birds were 
silent, and have been moved to wonder at the 
amount of energy stored up in their little bodies. 

I think the best way to identify this bird is by 
its singing. Pick out the sparrow in gray and 
brown which sings to surpass all others, and it 
will be a Song-Sparrow. Its home is the eastern 
half of North America, from northern Manitoba 
to Mexico. West of the Rocky Mountains it 
becomes the Mountain Song-Sparrow. In the 
southwestern deserts it grows pale, — to match 
its environment, — and becomes the Desert 
Song-Sparrow. There are thirteen species of 
the Song-Sparrow genus, — or at least that num- 
ber have been described, and Alaska is yet to be 
heard from. 

The White-Throated Sparrow 2 is the spe- 
cies which comes next in general attractive- 
ness. It is a very pert and pretty bird — for a 
sparrow, and its oddly marked head is easily 
identified. It wears a white goatee and a black 
cap, and on the latter is laid a broad arrow, in 
white. A white line comes down along the cen- 
tre line of the head, and another comes forward 
over each eye, until the three come together at 
the base of the upper mandible. The song of 
this bird is pleasing, and nearly every self-re- 
specting ornithologist translates it into English 
to suit his or her fancy; but, to tell the truth, 
the White-Throat never will win a prize as a 
great singer. 

The English Sparrow. 3 — Let me dip my pen 
in blu ■ vitriol; for my temperature rises at the 
thought of writing the name. Daily we see 
the unclean little wretches grubbing in the filth 

1 Md-o-spi'za fas-ci-a'ta. Length, 6J inches. 

2 Zo-no-tri'chi-a al-bi-col'Us. Length, 6^ inches. 

3 Parser do-mes'ti-cus. Length, about 6 inches. 



and microbes of the street, where n > American 
bird will humble itself to feed. After twenty 
years of acquaintance, I am obliged to say that 
I never saw one catch a worm, a c. terpillar, or 
an insect of any kind. When the elm-trees are 
loaded with tent caterpillars, an English Spar- 
row will let them crawl all over him, and not 
kill one. Instead of ranging out into the open 
fields and hunting for clean weed-seeds, this 
bird revels in the foulest dirt of the street. It 
does, however, manage to eat the seeds of the 




WHITE-THROATED SPARROW. 

dandelion, when the heads are filling, in April 
and May. 

The English Sparrow is not beautiful, either 
in form or plumage, and it cannot sing a note. 
Its tastes are low and vulgar. It is quarrelsome, 
and crowds out many other species of small 
perching-birds. In Cheyenne, Wyoming, when 
Mr. Frank Bond killed all the English Sparrows, 
and kept them killed, other perching-birds flocked 
into the city in great numbers, and many spe- 
cies bred there. The more persistently these 



198 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PERCHERS AND SINGERS 



interlopers are killed off, the better for all other 
birds. They can be made to serve well as sub- 
jects for dissection in the school-room, and for 
amateur taxidermists ; and they make excellent 
food for captive hawks, owls, small carnivores, 
and live snakes of several species. 

The introduction of this bird may well serve 
as a solemn warning against any further med- 
dlings with Nature on that line. In the first 
place, there never existed the slightest reason 




CARDINAL. 

or need for this importation. Without serious 
consideration, or consultation with the persons 
most competent to advise, this bird was im- 
ported and planted in twelve widely separated 
localities in the United States. To-day it is a 
feathered nuisance that spreads over one-half 
the United States, and excepting locally cannot 
be abated. Nevertheless, it is within the power 
of western towns and cities wherein it has not yet 
gained a foothold to follow the example of Mr. 
Bond in Cheyenne, and destroy every colony 
that enters before it has time to breed. 

The Cardinal, or Cardinal Grosbeak, 1 also 
called the Cardinal Redbird, is the pride of 
the South. From New Orleans to New York 
it is persistently trapped and "limed," — not to 
"keep " as a cage-bird, but to sell as such. Poor, 
unhappy Cardinal! How much better its fate 
1 Car-di-nal'is car-di-nal'is. Length, S.50 inches. 



had it been created black instead of bright cardi- 
nal red, with no jaunty top-knot, and no fatal 
gift of song! 

In a cage 6 by 9 feet, or even 4 by 4, a bird like 
this flies to and fro, and in company with a dozen 
other small birds finds life far from dull. But if 
you put a wild song-bird in a cage barely large 
enough for a canary, the bird is wretched, it dies 
soon, and the keeping of it is a sin against Nat- 
ure. Excepting canaries and a very few other 
species, if you cannot keep birds (and mam- 
mals, also) in big cages, do not keep them at all ! 
The way thousands of song-birds are caught in 
some portions of the South, to sell as cage-birds, 
is a sin and a shame. At this date, New Orleans 
in particular has before her an imperative duty in 
breaking up this business. Children everywhere 
should be taught that it is almost impossible 
for any one save an expert bird-man to take 
young song-birds, and rear them successfully. 
Young insectivorous birds require specially 
compounded bird-food, and it must be given to 
them every hour, with small forceps — a very tedi- 
ous operation. 

In the kindness of their little hearts, children 
often take young song-birds from the nest, cage 
them, and try to feed them on what some little 
folks like best — cake and cream! They might 
as well give them poison ! For any one ignorant 
of the precise methods necessary in rearing in- 
sectivorous birds, to take such birds from their 
parents is cruelty and destruction! 

The sight of a wild Cardinal always compels 
attention. The bird is not only beautiful in color, 
but it is aristocratic in form and manner. It 
comes up from the South into New York state, 
and the Ohio River region, and extends westward 
to the edge of the plains region. 

The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak- is, in all re- 
spects save one, a very beautiful bird. It has a, 
big, clumsy-looking, conspicuously white beak, 
which almost spoils the whole bird. But the 
pink-sunset flush on the clear skj r of its breast, 
its glossy-black head and tail, and black-and- 
white wings, are so beautiful a combination the)'' 
lead one to forgive the homely beak. The deli- 
cate pink-rose tint on the breast renders the iden- 
tification of this bird very easy, even at first 
sight. 

I must confess that I remember nothing of 
2 Zam-e-lo'di-a lu-do-vi-ci-an'a. Lensrth, S inches. 



GROSBEAK AND BOBOLINK 



199 



the Grosbeak's song, and that it made no im- 
pression on me, even when these birds were 
around me. Certainly it is no great singer, not 
more than third-rate, at the best, or its song 
would be more in evidence. It is celebrated 
as an enemy of the potato-bug, and it feeds om- 
nivorously upon other insects, buds, blossoms, 
seeds and fruit. 




ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK. 

The range of this species is bounded by the 
great Rocky Mountain barrier. Westward 
thereof is found the Black-Headed Grosbeak, 
and the arid lands of Texas, Arizona and south- 
ern California are inhabited by the Western 
Blue Grosbeak. 

The bluest bird that flies in North America 
is the Indigo Bunting, 1 a trim little craft, built 
and rigged like a warbler, and of warbler size. 
Like the ocean, it is 

" Deeply, darkly, beautifully blue," 

— not the sky-blue of the jay, but like indigo. 
In the East you cannot possibly mistake it. 
The deep-blue bird of the Far West is the Lazuli 
Bunting, our bird's nearest relative. 
1 Cy-a' no-spi-za cy-a'ne-a. Length, 5.50 inches. 



THE BLACKBIRD FAMILY. 

Jcteridae. 

This Family includes several showy species 
of birds which are very much in evidence, and 
quite generally known to country dwellers. Five 
representative and very interesting species will 
be noticed. 

The Bobolink- is a bird with two very dis- 
tinct characters. It has a name and a suit of 
leathers for the North, another suit and another 
name in the South; and it has three reputa- 
tions. 

When in springtime a certain jolly and vigor- 
ous little song-bird comes up from the South, he 
puts on a dress-suit of marvellous design, in 
black, white, brown and gray, as shown on 
page 178. He is then a regular swell, and his 
name is Bobolink. His mate, however, is a plain 
little bird, clad in yellowish-brown, with slight 
trimmings of yellow and white. They frequent 
the marshes and low meadows, nest on the ground , 
and rear from five to seven young. 

That accomplished, the male bird doffs his 
pretty spring suit, acquires plumage like that 
of the female, and then they go South. There 
they become Rice-Birds, and they raid the rice- 
fields of the southern states until they grow 
quite fat. Next, enters the Man-With-a-Gun ; 
and the birds fall easy victims. The birds are 
shot for two reasons: The rice-planters find 
them a nuisance in their fields, and many people 
think Rice-Birds are good eating. 

Consider the "Reed-Bird on toast," or, worse 
still, "on a skewer." It is a trifle too large for 
one mouthful, but by no means large enough for 
two. A healthy, able-bodied American at work 
upon this two-ounce bird with a ten-inch knife 
is a sad but impressive spectacle. It is to be 
hoped that it will be long ere the people of this 
country really have cause to turn to this tiny 
song-bird — or any other song-bird — as a source of 
food with which to satisfy hunger. How can 
any self-respecting man deliberately order so 
pusillanimous a dish as "Reed-Birds on a skewer?" 
There is a land so populous and poor that its peo- 
ple eat sparrows because they need them for food; 
but it is far from America. 

The Bobolink is really a very acceptable singer, 
2 Dol-i-cho'nyx o-ry-ziv' o-rus . Length, 6.75 inches. 



200 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PEROHEES AND SINGERS 




RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD. 

and has furnished a theme for several poets, of 
whom Bryant was the most celebrated. 

The Red-Winged Blackbird ' is a bird that 
delights my soul. No marsh or cat-tail swamp 
is complete without him. No spring ever can 
be perfect without his sweet, liquid gurgle — 
"O-ka-lee." You hear that flute-like call when 
the sky is clear, the warm sunshine is flooding 
field and stream, and you are glad that you are 
alive. 

The jet-black plumage of this bird, with epau- 
lettes of scarlet and white, make a brave show 
among the dull green blades of the cat-tails. 
As a rule, bird-songs translated into English do 
not appeal to me very strongly; but the Red- 
Wing does say "O-ka-lee" to perfection! 

The typical Red- Wing is an eastern bird, but 
its half-dozen subspecies are so well dispersed 
throughout the United States that almost every 
region possesses one. 

The Yellow-Headed Blackbird 2 is a very 
conspicuous species throughout the West, from 
Indiana almost to the Pacific. Its entire head, 
neck and breast are of a dull-yellow color, but 
elsewhere it is wholly black, save a white patch 
on the wing. In Montana it is very common in 
summer. 

The Meadow-Lark :l is one of the most trust- 
ful and sociable of our birds. As its name im- 
plies, it is partial to open grass-lands, and its fa- 

1 Ag-e-lai'us phoe-ni' ci-us . Length, 9 inches. 

2 With an apology to the reader, it is stated that 
the Latin name of this bird is Xan-tho-ceph'a-lus 
xan-tho-ceph'a-lus : and its length is about 9 inches. 

3 Stur-nel'la mag'na. Length, about 10 inches. 



vorite hunting-grounds are the bits of waste 
land in sloughs (called "slews" in the West), 
that are full of low weeds. This bird does not 
like tall grass or weeds, for it is very curious to 
know all that is going on in the world about it. 
It is an indifferent flyer, — slow and short, — and 
manifests a decided preference for the haunts of 
man. 

The Lark contributes much to the pleasures 
of life on a farm. Its bright-yellow breast and 
throat, with a jet-black neck-scarf, are as cheer- 
ful as an April sunburst. The long, conical beak, 
rather long legs and erect carriage of this bird 
give him an air of cheerful confidence which 
says to you, "I'm a good fellow, and you're an- 
other!" His song is nothing to boast of, but 
he always pipes up cheerfully, and does the best 
he can. I always liked this bird, and count him 
as one of the dear friends of my boyhood. To 
me, his plumage is beautiful, especially when 
seen on a fresh, dewy morning, when the sun is 
newly risen, and the song-birds are greeting the 
new day. 

According to the investigations of the Biologi- 
cal Survey, the Meadow-Lark is one of the most 
valuable of all birds that frequent farming re- 




MEADOW-LAEK. 



BLACKBIRDS, LARKS AND ORIOLES 



201 



gions. Throughout the year, insects make up 
73 per cent of its food, grain, 5 per cent, and 
weed-seeds, 12 per cent. During the insect sea- 
son, insects constitute over 90 per cent of this 
bird's food supply. As a destroyer of insects 
and weeds, this bird is entitled to the most per- 
fect protection that laws and public sentiment 
combined can afford. 

In Montana, the Western Meadow-Lark ' 
quite wearied me by the tiresome iteration, day 
after day, of its one short, seven-word song. This 
was it: 



$ 



As our "outfit" pulled over the smoothly 
shaven Missouri-Yellowstone divide, in the 
month of May, I think we heard that song re- 
peated a thousand times, or less; and when 
the wind blew hard for five long days without in- 
termission, even that cheerful welcome at last 
became irritating. 

The eastern Meadow-Lark inhabits the east- 
ern half of the United States, and the western 
species begins at the western edge of Iowa and 
Missouri; but neither of them belongs to the Lark 
Family ! 

The Baltimore Oriole, 2 or Hang-Nest, has 
beautiful plumage of orange and black, a very 
pleasing song, good habits, and therefore is one 
of our feathered favorites. Either wdien perch- 
ing or on the wing, it is a very graceful bird. It 
is the most skilful builder in North America, 
and constructs a strong and durable hanging 
nest which is a marvel of intelligent and skilful 
effort. The Oriole does not believe in having 
boys make collections of Oriole eggs. The out- 
ermost branches of a very tall and very drooping 
elm are particularly suited to its views of an ideal 
building site. 

The nest of this Oriole is bound to create in 
the mind of any one who examines it attentively 
a high degree of admiration for the mental ca- 
pacity of its builder. Its superstructure is com- 
posed very largely of long, spring-like horse- 
hairs, so tightly woven together that even when 
the end of a hair waves freely in the air, it is im- 

1 Sturnella neglecta. Average length, about 9.50 
inches. 

2 Ic'te-rus gal-bu'la. Length, S inches. 



possible to pull it out. Here is genuine weaving, 
done with hair and fibrous fragments of soft, 
weathered bark. Let it be remembered at this 
point that not even the higher apes know how to 
weave a nest or a roof. 

The mouth of the Oriole's bag-like nest is thin 
but strong, and terminates in an edge as thin 
and firm as hair-cloth. A nest now before me is 




BALTIMORE ORIOLE AND NEST. 

five inches long, four inches in outside diameter 
at a point half-way between bottom and top, 
and its opening is two inches in diameter. For 
a space of two inches, the horse-hairs of the upper 
margin are wrapped around an elm-twig the size 
of a slate-pencil. At no point are the walls more 
than a quarter of an inch in thickness, and the 
inside is as symmetrical and shapely as if the 
nest had been woven around a form. 

The usefulness of the Baltimore Oriole is fully 
equal to its beauty. As a destroyer of cater- 



202 



OEDEKS OF BIEDS— PEECHEES AND SINGERS 



pillars it has few equals among birds. In May, 
insects constitute 92 per cent of its food, and in 
April and July 70 per cent. For the entire year, 
animal food, chiefly caterpillars and beetles, con- 
stitute 83.4 per cent of its food, and vegetable 
matter the remainder of 16.6 per cent. 

The Purple Grackle, or Crow Blackbird, 1 
has prompted scores of persons to ask, "What is 
the name of that very shiny, jet-black bird with a 
long tail?" No wonder it attracts attention, 
especially in contrast with the lustreless rusty 
blackbird. Its color is deep purple-black, and 
it is as shiny as if it had been varnished all over. 
It loves to follow the plough, and pick up the 
big, fat grubs that are exposed to view, before 
they have had time to burrow out of sight. 
Often in their eagerness not to miss a chance, 
these birds will approach within ten feet of the 
plough-handles. It is then that one notices that 
their eyes are light yellow, and very odd-looking. 
This bird has no song, and its sign of content- 
ment with life is like a great asthmatic wheeze. 
The tail of this bird is creased lengthwise along 
the middle, or "keeled." 




•^»»?*- 



PURPLE GRACKLE. 

Prior to the systematic investigations of the 
Department of Agriculture the value or harm- 
fulness of the Crow Blackbird was in dispute. 
The examination of 2,346 stomachs revealed 
that during an entire year the food supply of 
this bird is made up in the following percentages: 
insect food, 26.9; other animal food, 3.4; corn, 
37.2; oats, 2.9; wheat, 4.8; other grain, 1.6; 
domestic fruit, 2.9; wild fruit, 2.1; weed-seed, 

1 Quis'ca-lus quis'cu-la. Length, about 12 inches. 



4.2; mast, 14; total, 100. "The charge that 
the blackbird is a habitual robber of birds' nests 
is disproved by the stomach examinations." 
(F. E. L. Beal.) 

THE CROW FAMILY. 

Corvidae. 

Take them all in all, there is no Family in the 
whole Order of Perching-Birds whose members 
have more striking individual traits, or more 
commanding personality than the Family which 
contains the ravens, crows, jays and magpies. 
All these birds are bold and conspicuous, and 
fond of entering into the affairs of man. The 
crow feels it to be his duty to assist in planting- 
operations. The blue-jay robs you, and scolds 
while he does it. The magpie will hold a fifteen- 
minute conversation with you, and tell you of 
all his troubles. Go where you will in the United 
States, some of the twenty species of birds of 
this Family will cheerfully bear you company. 

The American Magpie," of the somewhat 
"wild West," is a beautiful and showy bird, 
and in winter especially it bravely strives to 
adorn the bare and bleak valleys, foothills, di- 
vides and mountain-sides of the Rocky Mountain 
region. In the whole of the West, I know of no 
bird more beautiful in flight than this. Its 
plumage is half glossy-purple black, and half 
snow-white; and this, with its extremely long 
tail streaming after it in its flight, makes it a 
very striking object. In winter the absence 
of other birds renders the Magpie trebly con- 
spicuous and welcome. Its flight is slow, dig- 
nified, and as straight as an arrow. 

The Magpie is fatally fond of fresh meat, 
and many a fine bird meets its death by devour- 
ing poisoned meat laid out for wolves. If hos- 
pitably received, this bird will come close to 
the haunts and camps of man, investigating 
everything, and looking for scraps of food. If 
not fired at, it soon becomes very friendly, and a 
small cabin easily becomes the haunt of a score 
of birds. Some of those in the Flying Cage 
of the New York Zoological Park are at times 
as amusing as monkeys. They come close up 
to the wires, and when the visitor bends down, 
to listen or converse, the}' actually talk — in their 
language. In low, confidential tones they tell 

2 Pi'ca pi'ca hud-son' i-ca . Length, about IS 
inches. 



THE MAGPIE AND BLUE-JAY 



203 



of their fear of the big condor, the painful pecks 
they get from the herons, and the greediness of 
the ducks in devouring all of their kind of food. 
In the days of elk and buffalo slaughter, the 
Magpies feasted continually upon fresh meat. 
Now they make friends with the ranchmen, and 
eat all kinds of food. This interesting bird 
ranges from Alaska, and the edge of the arctic 
barrens, southward through the great plains 
and mountains to the arid regions of the South- 



Besides his harsh "Jay," a crow is a sweet 
songster. He will take your cherries right before 
your eyes, and then scold you roundly for not 
looking pleasant about it! He robs the nests of 
other birds, eating eggs or young, whichever 
may be there ; and to that extent he is a pest. 
During the closed season on eggs and young 
nestlings, he lives on insects — until berries and 
small fruits ripen. If Jays were as numerous 
as English sparrows, it would be necessary to 




AMERICAN MAGPIE. 



west. It is easily kept in confinement, if pro- 
vided with a large cage and a suitable house, 
out-of-doors . 

The Blue-Jay 1 needs no description — only 
toleration; for his reputation would be all the 
better for washing. He is a bird of unbounded 
assurance, and being well known as a marauder, 
it is only his audacity which saves him from 
extermination. Externally, he is really a beauti- 
ful bird, but his voice is strident and unmusical. 

1 Cy-an-o-cit'ta cris-ta'ta. Length, 1 1 .50 inches. 



reduce their number; but they are not so nu- 
merous or so destructive that we need to attack 
them. 

Steller's Jay- is one of the handsomest birds 
of the moist and dark forest region of the Pacific 
coast, which extends from Mount St. Elias to 
San Francisco Bay. It is also the type of three 
subspecies, or varieties, found farther east and 
south. It is the Pacific coast counterpart of 
our blue-jay, — high-crested, barred with black 

2 Cy-an-o-cit'ta stel'ler-i. Length, 12.50 inches. 



204 



OEDEES OF BIRDS— PEECHERS AND SINGERS 



on wings and tail, and with blue as its prevail- 
ing color. 

The Pinon Jay 1 (pronounced pin'yone) is a 
bird well worth knowing. On the Sierra Nevada 
mountains and adjacent plateaus, where the 
pinon pine, juniper and cedar bravely struggle 
against the scarcity of water, and only half 
clothe the rugged nakedness of Nature, this Jay 
is a welcome habitant. I think it safe to say 
that you will find it wherever you hnd the pinon 




BLUE-JAY. 

pine, whose big, husky cones furnish a generous 
quantity of seeds, called "nuts," which are good 
for man, and grand food for all the wild creatures 
that can crack their delicate shell. 

I have never seen the Pinon Jay so numerous 
that it could be called a " common " bird through- 
out an extensive region. At the same time, it 
is a bird of social habit, and given to flocking, 
quite like our eastern crow. It is really a con- 
necting link between the crows and jays. It 
has a short, square tail, no crest or "top-knot;" 
its predominating color is grayish-blue, and its 
cry is a crow-like "caw." 

Clarke's Nut-Cracker- is a bird of the western 
mountain-tops and canyons, and a companion 
of the mountain-sheep. Wild creatures that 
love to dwell on high mountains, amid grand 
scenery, appeal to my affections more strongly 
than some others. To me. this bird recalls 

1 Cy-an-o-ceph' a-lus cy-an-o-cepnaAus. Length, 
11 inches. 

2 Nu-ci-fra'ga co-lum-bi-an'a. Length, 12 inches. 



pictures of mountain-parks, "rim-rock," "slide- 
rock," pines and cedars bravely climbing up 
steep acclivities, gloomy canyons, and rushing 
streams of icy-cold water below all. 

I first made acquaintance with this bird while 
hunting elk and mountain-sheep, on a fearfully 
steep mountain-side, with a magnificent pano- 
rama spread out below. It greeted me in friendly 
fashion with the rasping "Kurr, Kurr!" which, 
when heard amid such surroundings, is not soon 
forgotten. It has been my misfortune, how- 
ever, never to see the remarkable habit thus 
graphically described by Mrs. Florence Merriam 
Bailey in her delightful "Handbook" : 

"Living mainly on the crests of the ranges, 
the birds fly to the high peaks to get the first 
rays of the sun, and when warmed go for food 
and water to the lower slopes. Their method 
of getting down is startling at first sight. Launch- 
ing out from a peak, with bill pointed downward 
and wings closed, they drop like a bullet for a 
thousand feet, to the brook where they wish to 
drink. Sometimes they make the descent at one 
long swoop, at other times in a series of pitches, 
each time checking their fall by opening their 
wings, and letting themselves curve upward 
before the next straight drop. They fall with 
such a high rate of speed that when they open 
their wings there is an explosive burst which 
echoes from the canyon walls." 

The head, neck and body of this bird are uni- 
form ashy gray, and the wings and tail are black, 
with a white patch half-way down the former. 
The Nut-Cracker is really a small crow, twelve 
inches long, and much resembles the common 
gray and black crow of Europe. It is found in 
all the mountains of the West, from Alaska to 
Mexico, and straggles eastward to the eastern 
edge of the Great Plains. It is often called 
Clarke's Crow. 

The Canada Jay, Whiskey-Jack, or Moose- 
Bird, 3 is by reason of its personal oddities and 
assertiveness perhaps the most conspicuous and 
widely known of all the perching-birds of the 
great coniferous forests of Canada. Every man 
who has trailed moose or caribou, or for any rea- 
son has camped in the Laurentian wilderness, 
knows well this audacious camp-follower, and 
remembers him with interest, if not even friend- 
ship. He has no real song, and his cries are 

3 Pr.r-i-so' re-us canadensis. Length, 12 inches. 



THE CROW AND RAVEN 



205 



rather harsh and strident ; but in his native soli- 
tudes, where bird-sounds are so seldom heard, 
(he voyageur is always glad to hear his call. 
And surely, every perching-bird that chooses to 
brave the rigors of the northern winter instead of 
migrating is entitled both to respect and admira- 
tion. 

The plumage of the Canada Jay has a peculiar 
fluffy appearance, suggestive of fur. Its pre- 
vailing color is ashy-gray. The nape and back 
of the head are black, but the forehead is marked 
by a large white spot. The wings and tail are of 
a darker gray than the body. The home of this 
interesting bird — the companion of the moose, as 
well as of forest-haunting man — extends from 
Nova Scotia, and northern New England, through- 
out Canada to Manitoba, and northward to the 
limit of the great forests. 

The Common Crow ' needs no description. 
When finer birds were abundant, we cared little 
for him; but now that bird-life generally has so 
greatly diminished, we feel like welcoming him 
as a friend. His cheerful "Caw" is a welcome 
sound, and his services to the farmer overbal- 
ance the bad things he perpetrates. The De- 
partment of Agriculture, through Professor 
F. E. L. Beal, has officially investigated him, 
published the court records of his case, and pro- 
nounced him a bird worthy of protection. It is 
declared, after an examination of the stomachs 
of specimens, that the noxious insects destroyed 
by the Crows — cut-worms, caterpillars, grass- 
hoppers, and also mice — represent a saving of 
more grain than the bird consumes. 

It must be admitted, however, that the Crow 
does many things he should not. He is too fond 
of eggs, and also of young birds. He will pull 
up, by the roots, altogether too much newly 
planted corn ; which is very unfair toward the 
farmer. While the damage is seldom serious, 
it is always annoying ; but when the Crow passes 
the limit of human endurance, powder and lead 
are his portion. For example: when a Crow 
nesting in Beaver Valley elected to make visits 
to our duck-pond where young wild-ducks were 
hatching, and take three mallard ducklings in 
one morning, Curator Beebe was compelled to 
choose quickly between ducks and Crows, and 
provide for the survival of the fittest. 

1 Cor'vus a-mer-i-can'us. Length, 18 to 20 
inches. 



The American Raven 2 is a bird of the "wild 
West," quite rare, and seldom seen beyond the 
mountains. Even when you see it for the first 
time, you will readily recognize it by its all-black 
plumage, large size, slow and heavy flight, and 
its hoarse and seldom "Quock!" The crow is 
at all times a cheerful citizen, but the Raven 
always has a sore throat, and is always going 
to a funeral. 

He lives with Clarke's nut-cracker and the other 
dwellers on the mountain-tops north of the arid 
regions of Arizona and New Mexico, and nests 
in the crevices of high, rugged cliffs or canyon 
walls that are as completely inaccessible as can 
be found. He is suspicious of all attentions, 
wants no companions save of his own kind, and 




Photographer! by E. R. Warren. 

Clarke's nut-cracker. 

mighty few of those. The "Quock" of a Raven 
in a rock-ribbed and gloomy canyon is anything 
but a cheerful sound. 

Like the vulture, this bird feeds upon dead 
animals, dead fish, and sometimes also upon the 
poisoned meat that wolfers distribute so gen- 
erously. 

2 Cor'vus co'rax sin-u-a'tus. Length, 22 to 2-1 
inches. 



200 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PERCHERS AND SINGERS 



THE HORNED LARK FAMILY. 

Alaudidae. 

There is a Lark Family which we regret to say 
does not include the meadow-lark; for this sepa- 
ration of birds bearing the same general name 
tends to create confusion. In Europe the Lark 
Family is a very large one, and contains about a 
hundred species, the most celebrated of which is 
the unfortunate skylark. It is unfortunate be- 
cause of the wholesale and heartless manner in 
which it is caught and kept in pitiful captivity 
as a "cage-bird." In London these wretched 
little creatures are sold by the thousand, some- 
times at sixpence each, or even less. 

Strange to say, in America the Lark Family 
is represented by only twelve species and sub- 
species, of which the Horned Lark or Shore 
Lark 1 is the best type. It is called "Horned" 
Lark because of a small, pointed tuft or brush 
of feathers which lies along the side of the head 
above the eye, pointing backward and thrusting 
its tip through the regular outline of the back 
■of the head. The resemblance of these points 
to horns is quite far-fetched, but it seems to 
have been brought in to stay. 

This bird looks very much like a small plover. 
Our eastern species is by habit a shore-bird, 
■whence its second name. It comes to us in 
winter, in flocks of from six to twenty individ- 
uals, and at that season its plumage is not so 
bright and pleasing as in spring. 

The West and Southwest are inhabited by 
nine subspecies of Horned Larks, ranging all 
the way from Mexico to British Columbia, some 
of them necessarily living in hot countries, and 
far from large bodies of water. 

THE FLYCATCHER FAMILY. 

Tyrannidae. 

There are many little birds, in size next above 
the sparrows, which look as if they ought to sing; 

1 O-toc'o-ris al-pes'tris. Length, 7.50 inches. 



but in reality they do not. They are very ex- 
pert at catching insects, however, and nothing 
that flies can escape them in mid-air. These 
birds make up the Family of Flycatchers, and 
to the farmers of this country every flycatcher 
is worth double its weight in pure silver. Alto- 
gether there are about thirty species. 

The Kingbird,- also called the Bee "Martin" 
and Bee-Bird, may well stand as the repre- 
sentative of this Family. Whenever you see a 
small bird swiftly and actively chasing a large 
crow in mid-air, darting down upon the back of 
the black fellow every hundred feet or so, with 
a peck that sends a thrill of life along his keel, 
you may know that the gallant little warrior is 
a Kingbird, and it is driving the crow away from 
the vicinity of its nest. The performance is like 
that of a man and a mad hornet. The crow 
thinks not of battle, but only of getting on in 
the world, and giving the nestlings of his tor- 
mentor a good square mile of crowless space in 
which to grow. 

Look long enough, and you will see the King- 
bird return from the chase, perch on his favorite 
dead limb at the edge of the field, smooth his 
feathers and renew his watch for flying in- 
sects. Presently you will see him dart from 
his perch, swoop to a certain point in space, 
and then return to his place. He has caught 
some flying insect, and like Oliver, "wants some 
more." 

Never shoot a Kingbird. It is easier to " iden- 
tify the species" on the wing than lying dead, 
all shot to pieces. Without killing this most 
courageous of all birds — which can whip almost 
anything that wears feathers, but attacks 
only crows and hawks — you can see that its 
colors are bluish-gray, trimmed with black and 
white. 

The Crested Flycatcher, the dear little Phasbe- 
Bird, and the Wood-Pewee belong to the Fly- 
catcher Family. 

2 Ty-ran'nus ty-ran'nus. Length, 8 inches. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE ORDER OF ODD FAMILIES 

MAGROCHIRES 

With certain exceptions, the different Orders of American birds are founded on reasonable grounds 
and built up of homogeneous materials. As a rule, a few moments' examination of a bird enables 
one to name the Order to which it belongs. There is no difficulty about the birds of prey, swimmers, 
fishers, waders or woodpeckers. 

Unfortunately, however, Nature has turned out of her workshop so many odd forms that it has 
been found necessary to have a certain number of Orders for them. In mammals we have seen 
that the Order Ungulata is of this character. In birds, there are two such Orders. One is that 
which contains the cuckoos, road-runners and kingfishers, and the other is that which forms the 
subject of this chapter. 

The Order Macrochires means literally "odd ones," and its members do not belie the name. On 
the strength of certain resemblances in anatomical structure, observable only after the birds are dead 
and dissected, our humming-birds, swifts and goatsuckers (i.e., birds like the whippoorwill and night- 
hawk) are grouped together in this Order, in three Families, as follows : 



FAMILIES. 



Goatsuckers, 
ORDER 
MACROCHIRES. ( Swifts, 



CAP-RI-UUL'Gl-DAE. 
MI-CRO-POD'I-DAE. . 
HrjMMING-BlRDS, TRO-CHIL'1-DAE, ■ ■ 



EXAMPLES. 

Nighthawk, Whippoorwill. 
Chimney-Swift. 
Ruby-Throated Humming-Bird. 



THE GOATSUCKER FAMILY. 

Caprimulgidae. 

The Nighthawk 1 is far from being a true 
hawk. It belongs to a Family of birds which 
have soft, owl-like plumage, and enormous 
mouths, fringed above with a row of stiff bristles, 
for use in capturing insects on the wing. Many 
years ago, when people believed many things 
that were not true, some believed that these big- 
mouthed birds sucked goats; hence the absurd 
name applied to the Family. 

Whenever, during the hour just before sun- 
set, you see a good-sized bird with dark plumage, 
long, sharp-pointed wings, and a big white spot 
on the under surface of each wing, — wheeling, 
soaring, dropping and circling through the air, — 
you may know that it is a Nighthawk, catching 
insects. Its flight is graceful and free, and when 

1 Chor-dei'les 
inches. 



virginianus. Length, about 9.50 




THE NIGHTHAWK. 



on the aerial war-path it is a very industrious 
bird. Some people compare this bird on the 
wing with bats: but I see no resemblance save 
the bare fact of semi-nocturnal flight. 



207 



208 



OEDEKS OF BIRDS— ODD FAMILIES 



When this bird alights upon a tree to rest, 
it chooses a large and nearly horizontal limb, on 
which it usually sits lengthwise. As it sits mo- 
tionless on a large limb, the bird strongly resem- 
bles a knot. This is a trans-continental bird, 
being found from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in 
wooded regions, and northward to the Mackenzie 
River. 

The Whippoorwill 1 needs no introduction. 
It is more than a bird. It is a national 
favorite. 

When the mantle of night has fallen, and the 
busy world is still, we who are in the country in 
summer often hear a loud, clear, melodious 
whistle from somewhere near the barn. As 
plainly as print, it exclaims, " Whip-Foor-Will' !" 
and repeats it, again and again. Before each 
regular call, there is a faint "chuck," or catch- 
ing of the breath, strong emphasis on the "whip," 
and at the end a piercing whistle which is posi- 
tively thrilling. 

Sometimes the bird will come and perch within 
thirty feet of your tent-door, and whistle at the 
rate of forty whippoorwills to the minute. Its 
call awakens sentimental reflections, and upon 
most persons exercises a peculiar, soothing in- 
fluence. It has been celebrated in several beau- 
tiful poems and songs. 

The range of this interesting bird is the same 
as that of the nighthawk. In the South, both 
are replaced by another goatsucker called, from 
its whistle, the Chuck-Will's-Widow. Until 
actually hearing it, one can scarcely believe that 
any bird of this Order can say things as plainly 
as this bird says " Chuck Will's Wid-ow ! " The 
Pacific states, from British Columbia to Mexico, 
and eastward to Nebraska, have the Poor-Will. 

THE SWIFT FAMILY. 

Micropodidae. 

The Chimney-Swift, or Chimney-"Swal- 
lovv," 2 has been for a century or more classified 
with the swallows and martins, but recent studies 
of its anatomy have caused its removal from their 
group. This is the bird whose nest and young 
sometimes tumble down into your fireplace in 
spring or summer, and cause commotion. 

To me, the nesting habits of this bird seem 

1 An-tros'to-mus vo-cif er-us . Length, about 9.50 
inches. 

2 Chae-tu'ra pe-lag'i-ca. Length, 5 inches. 



like faulty instinct. A chimney is a poor place 
of residence for a bird, and the habitants fre- 
quently come to grief. If the aperture is small, 
the householder objects to having the chimney 
stopped by nests; and if it is large, so many 
Swifts may nest there that their noise is an an- 
noyance. These birds get up and out before 
daylight, to hunt insects that fly at night, and 
doubtless many a " ghost " in a " haunted-house" 
is nothing more frightful than a colony of these 
birds in the chimney. 

This bird has the ability to fly straight up, 
or straight down, else it could not enter or leave 
a chimney. It is quite an aerial gymnast, and 
feeds only when on the wing. Its flight is very 
graceful, and both in manner of flight and person- 
al appearance it so closely resembles a short- 
tailed swallow that there are few persons who can 
distinguish the difference in the flying birds. 

One strongly marked peculiarity of this bird 
is that the tip of each tail-feather ends in a sharp, 
wire-like point, caused by the shaft of the feather 
being projected considerably beyond the vane. 
The eastern Chimney-Swift ranges westward to 
the Great Plains. On the Pacific slope is found 
another species, a close parallel to the preceding, 
called the Vaux Swift. The White-Throated Swift 
of the Pacific States is distinguished by its white 
throat and breast, and a few white patches else- 
where. 

THE HUMMING-BIRD FAMILY. 

Trochilidae. 

The Ruby-Throated Humming-Bird 3 rep- 
resents the Family which contains the smallest of 
all birds. When the trumpet-vine on your 
veranda is in flower, you will see this delicate 
creature dart into view, like a large-winged in- 
sect, and poise itself easily and gracefully in mid- 
air at the mouth of the most conspicuous flower. 
Its tiny wings beat the air with such extreme 
rapidity and machine-like regularity that you 
see only a gray, fan-shaped blur on each side of 
the living bird. It holds itself in position with 
the greatest exactitude, thrusts its long and 
delicate beak into the heart of the flower, and, 
with the skill of a surgeon probing a wound, 
extracts the tiny insects or the honey so dear to 
its palate. 

3 Troch'i-lus col'u-bris. Length, 3.25 inches. 



THE SWIFTS AND HUMMING-BIRDS 



209 



As the bird poises in mid-air, the sunlight 
catches the patch of brilliant ruby-red feathers 
on its throat, and sets it aflame. To make up for 
their diminutive size, and give them a fair share 
of beauty, Nature has clothed the throats and 




RUBY-THROATED HUMMING-BIRD. 

breasts of many Humming-Birds with feather- 
patches of the most brilliantly iridescent colors, — 
ruby-red, scarlet, green, blue and gold, — which 
flash like jewels. Others again have long, orna- 



mental tail-feathers, ruffs, and other showy deco- 
rations in feathers. 

The Humming-Birds are so very diminutive 
one never ceases to wonder how such frail and 
delicate creatures, feeding only upon the small- 
est insects and the nectar of flowers, can make 
long journeys over this rough and dangerous 
earth, withstand storms, build their wonderful 
little nests, rear their young, and migrate south- 
ward again without being destroyed. Of course 
their diminutive size enables them to escape the 
attention of most of the living enemies which 
gladly would destroy them. 

The nest of a Humming-Bird is about as large 
in diameter as a lady's watch, and the eggs, of 
which there are two, are the size of adult peas. 
The food of these birds generally consists of 
minute insects, many of which they find in large 
flowers. When at rest, perching, the average 
Hummer is not beautiful in form. Its head 
seems too large, its neck and body much too 
short, and its wings too long. It seems top* 
heavy, and as if destitute of legs. It is on the 
wing that these creatures look their best. 

What Humming-Birds lack in size, they try to 
make up in number. There are nearly five 
hundred species, and they are found only in the 
New World. They are thoroughly tropical, but 
in warm weather, and the season of flowers, they 
migrate as far north as Alaska, and as far south 
as Patagonia. Our country makes an accept- 
able summer home for about sixteen species. 

The Ruby-Throat is the only one inhabiting 
the eastern half of the United States, all the 
others being found west of Arkansas, and the 
Rocky Mountains. 



CHAPTER XVIII 
THE ORDER OF WOODPECKERS 

PICI 



The Woodpeckers are the natural protectors 
of the forests of the temperate zone. But for 
them, tree-borers would multiply without limit, 
and the number of trees that would fall before 
the insect pests is quite beyond computation. 
While the robin, the thrush and the warblers 
take care of the caterpillars and the leaf-insects 
generally, the woodpecker sticks to the business 
of his own guild, and looks after the pests that 
attack the bark and the wood. The tree-creep- 
ers assist by picking off insects from the outside, 
but when it comes to the heavy work of digging 
borers out of the bark by main strength, the 
woodpecker is the only bird equal to it. 

There are about twenty-five species of wood- 
peckers in the United States. 

Usually, the long, barbed tongue of this bird 
is sufficient to spear a borer, and drag it forth 
to meet the death it deserves. When this will 
not do the work, the woodpecker's claws take 
a good grip on the bark, and serious work be- 
gins. 

Do not think, however, that because a rolling 
tattoo beaten on a hard dead limb can be heard 
a quarter of a mile, that the bird making the 
noise is working unusually hard. Quite the con- 
trary. The loud tattoo is a signal, like the 
"' certain whistle " of a small boy. In our Beaver 
Pond, the golden-winged woodpeckers some- 
times beat on the galvanized-iron drums which 
protect the bases of the trees from the teeth of 
the beavers. 

When a woodpecker is working hardest, you 
hear only a faint "chuck! chuck! chuck!" as 
he drives his sharp, wedge-like beak into the 
bark, or soft wood. Often the falling chips are 
your first notice that a winged forester is at work 
aloft, digging out and devouring the larvae that, 
if left alone, bring decay and death to trees. 

You may be sure that whenever you find one 
of these valuable birds at work, there is need for 
him. To-day, a great many persons know their 



value, and protect them. Occasionally, how- 
ever, men who are so thoughtless or so mean as 
to engage in the brutal pastime known as a " side 
hunt," do lower themselves, and injure the land- 
owners about them, by killing every woodpecker 
that can be found, — for "points." If all farm- 
ers only knew what a loss every "side hunt" 
means to them, such wicked pastimes would not 
be tolerated. 

Although the woodpeckers are not counted 
as birds of song, to me the loud, joyous cry of 
the flicker, the downy and the red-head, ringing 
through the leafy forest aisles, is genuine music. 
One species cries "CVieer-up! Cheer-up\" and it 
cheers-up and thrills me to hear it. Even in 
summer, when other birds are plentiful, it is a 
welcome sound. In bleak winter, when the 
great bulk of bird-life has vanished southward, 
and you toilsomely tread the silent forest, ankle- 
deep in snow, the world seems lifeless and drear — 
until you hear the clarion greeting of the golden- 
winged woodpecker. It is enough to stir the 
soul of a Digger Indian with a pleasing sense of 
companionship in life. 

It is only the children of the cities who need 
to be told that woodpeckers have two toes in 
front and two behind, to enable them to cling 
to tree-bark; that the natural perch of such a 
bird is the perpendicular trunk of a tree; that 
sometimes they store acorns in holes which they 
dig in the sides of decayed trees, not in order that 
worms in those acorns may develop, but in order 
to eat the acorns themselves. They nest high 
up in hollow tree-trunks, which they enter through 
round holes of their own making. 1 

1 Those who are specially interested in the habits 
of woodpeckers mav profitablv consult a report on 
" The Food of Woodpeckers " by Prof. F. E. L. Beal, 
published by the Department of Agriculture in 1S95. 
The exact proportions of the various kinds of food 
consumed by seven species have been determined by 
examination of the stomachs of several hundred 
birds, and the figures quoted later on are from that 
report. 



210 



THE GOLDEN-WING AND RED-HEAD 



211 



It is a good thing to feed wild birds of all spe- 
cies that are cither useful or beautiful. The 
woodpeckers are the largest insectivorous birds 
that remain in the North over winter, and they 
appreciate friendly offerings of suet or fat pork, 
nailed high up on conspicuous tree-trunks. In 
the Zoological Park we put up every winter at 
least twenty-five two-pound strips of fat pork, 
for the woodpeckers and chickadees which live 
with us all the year round. 

The Golden-Winged Woodpecker 1 is my 
favorite of the members of this Order. It is a 
bird of good size, dignified in bearing, decidedly 
handsome, and a great worker. He loves to 
hunt insects on the ground, occasionally, but 
is very alert and watchful, meanwhile. If you 
approach too near, he leaps into the air, and with 
a succession of wave-like sweeps upward and 
downward, his golden wings flash back one of 
his names as he flies to safety on some distant 
post or tree. Unlike most birds of this Order, 
this species frequently perches crosswdse on a 
limb, like a true perching-bird. 

This is the woodpecker of many names, some 
of which are Flicker, High-Hole and Yellow- 
Hammer. His regular call sounds like "Cheer 
up!" but in spring he gives forth a call which 
comes very near to being a song. When written 
out, it is like "Cook-cook-cook-cook! " At that 
season, also, you hear this bird beat the "long 
roll," on a drum which Nature provides for him 
in the shape of a hollow tree with a thin, hard 
shell. The rapidity and force with which the 
bird strikes the blows producing this sound are 
almost beyond belief. 

An examination of the stomach contents of 
many specimens of this species showed 56 per 
cent of insect food, 39 vegetable, and 5 mineral. 
Of the insect food, ants made up 43 per cent and 
beetles 10 per cent. The vegetable food repre- 
sented two kinds of grain (corn and buckwheat), 
eighteen kinds of wild berries, and fifteen kinds 
of seeds, mostly of weeds. Out of ninety-eight 
stomachs examined in September and October 
only four contained corn. Practically, this bird 
does no damage to man's crops, but destroys 
great quantities of harmful insects. 

The range of the Golden-Wing embraces the 
eastern half of the United States to the Rocky 



Mountains, where it is met by the Red-Shafted 
Flicker of the Pacific slope. 

The Red-Headed Woodpecker 2 need not 
be described, because, in "Hiawatha," Long- 
fellow has immortalized it. This bird, "with 
the crimson tuft of feathers," was the identical 
Mama which gave Hiawatha the timely tip 
which enabled him to put the finishing touch to 
old Megissogwon, and so end in triumph "the 
greatest battle that the sun had ever looked on." 




GOLDEN -WINGED WOODPECKER. 

As a return for this kindness, Hiawatha did 
the one mean act of his life. He took Mama's little 
red scalp, and "decked " his pipe-stem with it, — 
as coolly as if he had been a modern servant-girl 
decorating a forty-nine-cent hat. 

This is a very showy bird, and recognizable 
almost as far as it can be seen, — brilliant crim- 
son head and neck; white breast, sides and rump, 
and jet-black back and tail. In the Mississippi 
Valley, thirty years ago, this was one of the most 
common birds. Now, thanks to man's insa- 
tiable desire to "kill something" that is un- 



1 Co-lap'tes au-ra'tus lu'te-us. 
inches. 



Length, about 12 



2 Mel-an-er'pes e-ryth-ro-ceph'a-lus. 
inches. 



Length, 9£ 



212 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— WOODPECKERS 



protected, it has been so greatly reduced in 
number that it is seldom seen. It is an omniv- 
orous feeder, eating insects, fruit, beech-nuts, 
corn and other grain, according to necessity. 
Its cry is loud and far-reaching, and sounds like 
"Choor! Choor!" As to migrating, it seems 
unable to make up its mind whether to become 
a "regular migrant" or a "winter resident." 




HED-HEADED WOODPECKER. 

Sometimes it migrates southward during the 
early winter, and sometimes it winters in the 
North. 

An examination of the stomachs of one hun- 
dred and one Red-Headed Woodpeckers re- 
vealed 50 per cent of animal food and 45 per 
cent vegetable. Of the former, ants made up 
11 per cent, and beetles 31 per cent. The fruit 
and vegetable food represented five kinds of 



cultivated fruit (strawberries, blackberries, cher- 
ries, apples and pears), and fifteen kinds of wild 
fruit and seeds. The insect food consisted of 
ants, wasps, beetles, bugs, grasshoppers, crickets, 
moths, caterpillars, spiders and thousand-legged 
worms. In the fruit season, the Red-Head un- 
doubtedly does considerable damage to fruit 
crops, more by mutilating fruit, perhaps, than 
by actual loss through fruit wholly consumed; 
and if these birds were as numerous as sparrows, 
it would be necessary for fruit-growers to take 
precautions against them during the fruit season. 
The damage done to corn appears to be quite in- 
significant. (Professor F. E. L. Beal's report.) 

The great fondness of the Red-Head for beech- 
nuts, and its habit of storing them up for winter 
use, in holes and crevices, are well known. 

The Ant-Eating Woodpecker 1 of the Pacific 
slope is the most conspicuous and interesting 
bird of this Order in that region, either around 
the suburban home, on the ranch, or in the moun- 
tain forests. This is the species which is now 
celebrated in word and picture for its habit of 
digging hundreds of holes in soft bark or dead 
tree-trunks, and "storing" an acorn in each 
hole, for future food. 

The Downy Woodpecker 2 is a small gray- 
and-black species, modest and quiet in demeanor, 
but quite as common about the haunts of man 
as the golden-wing. It is the smallest species 
found in the United States and is the one which 
is most in evidence in winter. 

This bird ranks high as a destroyer of insects, 
and in the percentage of insect food consumed 
leads all other woodpeckers that have been 
studied by the Biological Survey of the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture. An examination of one 
hundred and forty stomachs revealed 74 per cent 
of insect food and 25 of vegetable. The vege- 
table food consisted chiefly of seeds of the poison 
ivy, poison sumac, mullen, poke berries, dog- 
wood and woodbine. The fruits consisted of 
service berries, strawberries and apples. 

Apparently this bird is almost worth its weight 
in gold to the farmer who has valuable trees 
and fruit ; and in winter, the farmer who is wise 
will put up suet, fat pork, and bones bearing 
some raw meat, on the trees in his orchard and 
woods. 

1 M el-an-er' pes for-mi-civ' o-rus. 

2 Pi'cus pu-bes'cens me-di-an'us. Length, 7 inches. 



THE SAPSUCKEE 



213 



The Hairy Woodpecker 1 is so closea coun- 
terpart of the downy, in appearance and habits, 
that it is unnecessary to describe both. The 
former is larger, but its rank as an insect exter- 
minator is a little lower. Its proportion of in- 
sect food is 68 per cent, and vegetable, 31 per 
cent. Of the former, ants make up 17 per cent, 
beetles 24 per cent, and caterpillars 21 per cent. 
The only cultivated fruits found in eighty-two 
stomachs were blackberries ; but wild fruits were 
well represented. 

This bird inhabits practically the same region 
as the downy woodpecker, and belongs in the 
ranks of the farmer's best friends. 

The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker 3 is prac- 
tically the only woodpecker which inflicts serious 
damage upon man's property; and possibly it 
may in some localities become so numerous as to 
require thinning out. Any bird which deliber- 
ately girdles a tree and kills it is a bird entitled 
to serious consideration, and punishment ac- 
cording to the harm it does. 

This bird eats great cjuantities of insects, but 
as dessert it is fond of the sap of certain trees, 
among which are the maple, birch, white ash, 
apple, mountain-ash and spruce. Into the soft, 
green bark, of these trees, this Sapsucker drills 
small, squarish holes, that look like gimlet holes. 
Usually they are placed in a horizontal line, 
and sometimes in mathematical groups. Oc- 
casionally several lines of these holes will quite 
girdle a tree. The bird not only drinks the sap 
that exudes, but he lies in wait to catch the 
winged insects and ants that are attracted to the 
sweet fluid, and devours great numbers of them. 

Dr. C. Hart Merriam, who has closely observed 
the work of the Sapsucker, states that frequently 
mountain-ash trees are girdled to death by this 
bird, but that trees of greater endurance, like 
the apple and thorn-apple, are more able to sur- 
vive its attacks. Another observer, Mr. Frank 
Bolles, declares that in well-wooded regions the 
damage it does is too insignificant to justify its 
destruction. Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright states 
that in Connecticut "where these birds are plen- 
tiful, many orchard-owners cover the tree- 
trunks with fine wire netting." 

"This species," says Professor Beal, "is prob- 
ably the most migratory of all our woodpeckers, 

1 Dry-o-ba'tes vilAo'sus. Length, 10.50 inches. 

2 Sphy-ra-pi'cus va'ri-us. Length, 8.25 inches. 



breeding only in the most northerly parts of the 
United States, and in some of the mountains 
farther south. In the fall it ranges southward, 
spending the winter in most of the eastern states. 
It is less generally distributed than some of the 
other woodpeckers, being quite unknown in 
some sections, and very abundant in others." 

In its general color-scheme, this is a bird of 
many and much-mixed colors — black, white and 
yellowish indescribably varied — both above 
and below. The top of the head and the throat 




DOWNY WOODPECKER. 

are bright red; and the sides of the head have 
two broad streaks of white, and two of black. 
The name of the bird is derived from the pre- 
dominating greenish-yellow color of its breast 
and abdomen. 

The Pacific coast has the Red-Naped Sap- 
sucker, a subspecies of the above, of similar tree- 
girdling habits; the Red-Breasted Sapsucker, one 
of the commonest woodpeckers found from 
Oregon to Lower California, and two others, — 
the Northern Red-Breasted and Williamson's. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE ORDER OF CUCKOOS AND KINGFISHERS 

COCCYGES 



This Order (pronounced Coc'-si-jez) represents 
an effort to find a place for three familiar Fami- 
lies of birds whose members have something in 
common, yet in their most noticeable features 
are widely different. Both in their structure, 
habits and mode of life, the kingfisher and 
cuckoo are 'widely different from each other; 
and if there is one really good reason why these 
birds should be placed in the same Order, the 
writer would be pleased to have it pointed out. 
Their feet are totally different, and so are their 
beaks, their tails and their plumage. Any future 
revision of the classification of birds should 
strike this Order, early and hard. 

THE CUCKOO FAMILY. 

Cuculidae. 

The Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, 1 or Rain- 
"Crow," will fitly represent the Cuckoo Family. 
It looks like an insect-eating perching-bird, and 




YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO. 

in reality it is one! You can easily recognize it 
by its extreme length and slenderness, the fan- 
like shape of its tail when spread, its upper sur- 
face of glossy drab — or gray-brown — and its white 
1 Coc-cy'zus americanus. Length, about 12 inches. 



under surface from throat to tail. To carry out 
this color-scheme to its logical sequence, the 
upper mandible is dusky brown, and the lower 
one is yellow. 

This bird derives one of its common names — 
Rain-" Crow" — from the fact that its peculiar 
cry is heard oftenest on still and cloudy summer 
days, — two conditions which to the weather- 
wise farmer always portend rain. Its cry is a 
weird, gurgling note which sounds like "Cowk- 
cowk-cowk-cowk!" and usually it comes from 
the heart of a thick bush or tree which effectually 
screens the bird. It seems to be fully aware of 
the dangers which beset all birds which attempt 
to live in the open with civilized man, for it lives 
amid the forest shadows. 

This bird, and also its twin species, the Black- 
Billed Cuckoo, lives almost wholly upon in- 
sects. Of one hundred and fifty-five Cuckoo stom- 
achs examined by the Department of Agriculture, 
only one contained any vegetable food — two 
small berries. Nearly half the Cuckoo's food 
proved to be caterpillars, 2,771 of which were 
found in 129 stomachs. It was not uncommon 
for one bird to contain more than 100 of them. 
"During May and June, when tent-caterpillars 
are defoliating the fruit-trees, these insects con- 
stitute half of the Cuckoo's food." 

The stomachs examined contained remains 
of sixty-five species of insects, in the following 
percentages: beetles, 6; bugs, 61-; grasshoppers, 
30 ; caterpillars, 48* ; other insects, such as web- 
worms, tussock-moths, army-worms, and moth 
larvae, 9. 

From the results of this investigation it is clear 
that our two species of Cuckoo are to be numbered 
with the farmers' best friends among birds. As 
an estimate, I should say that each of these birds 
that enters a section devoted to farming and 
fruit-growing is worth to that section about $10 
per season. The charge that Cuckoos devour 



214 



THE ROAD-RUNNER AND KINGFISHER 



215 



the eggs or egg-shells of other birds was proven 
by the finding of shells "in several stomachs, 
but only in very small quantities — no more than 
was found in the stomachs of nearly every spe- 
cies that has been examined." Thus the offence 
charged proves to be too trivial to consider. 

The Yellow-Billed Cuckoo inhabits the east- 
ern half of the United States to the Great Plains, 
and the Black-Billed ranges westward to the 
Rocky Mountains, from Canada to the tropics. 
From the Rockies to the Pacific, and up to Brit- 
ish Columbia, is found the California Cuckoo, a 
close counterpart of the Yellow-Billed species. 

The Road-Runner, or Chaparral Cock, 1 is 
a very strange bird; and many strange "yarns" 
have been told of it. It is remarkably odd in 
form, and also in its habits. It is about the size 
of a small crow, with a tail as long as its entire 
body and head, and legs that are so long and 
strong they seem like those of a grouse, save that 
the toes are longer. The body is slender, but 
the neck and head are large, and the head has a 
conspicuous crest. The beak is large. Although 
this bird has wings, it seldom uses them, and 
they must be constantly growing smaller through 
disuse. 

This strange bird is a habitant of the South- 
west, from Texas to southern California and 
southward, and lives on the ground, in the low, 
dry brush which is called chaparral (shap-a-ral'). 
It feeds upon every living thing inhabiting that 
region which it can catch and swallow, — mice, 
lizards, small snakes, centipedes and insects. 
It is one of the most nervous birds imaginable, — 
suspicious of everything that moves, and ready 
to make off without stopping to reason why. 

It exhibits a decided preference for the smooth 
trails and paths through its beloved chaparral, 
and when alarmed it does not rise and fly, but 
makes off running, in the trail. It runs with 
great swiftness and seeming ease, but Dr. D. T. 
MacDougal has been informed that Mexican boys 
sometimes run them down, on foot, and either kill 
them with sticks or catch them alive. 

This bird is also great at leaping, as we have 
seen in keeping it in captivity. Instead of fly- 
ing to the top of a cedar-tree perch six feet high, 
and down again, it always leaps, with closed 
wings; but in leaping up it prefers to take a short 

1 Ge-o-coc' cyx cal-i-jor-ni-an'us. Length, 21 to 23 
inches. 



run to acquire momentum. If this bird goes 
on ten thousand years in its present habits, by 
the end of that period its descendants probably 
will be without the power of flight, but provided 
with legs and feet so strong and full of spring 
that they can leap twenty feet. 

THE KINGFISHER FAMILY. 

Alcedinidac. 

This family is widely and beautifully repre- 
sented in the Malay Archipelago, but only three 
species are found in the United States. The 
Belted Kingfisher 2 is of almost universal 
distribution throughout North America, from 
the arctic Barren Grounds to Panama and the 
West Indies. Go where you will, in its season, 
where small fish abide, there will you find it. 
It is dignified, handsome, alert, and a true sports- 
man. Its favorite perch is a dead limb over 




THE BELTED KINGFISHER. 

still water, from which it can command a wide 
view, and swoop to the surface of the water in 
five seconds of time. You will know it by its 
bright blue upper surface ; high and saucy crest ; 
long, dagger-like beak; white under surface 
and broad belt of blue around the upper breast. 
Its cry is a metallic rattle, like " Churr-r-r-r-r-r!" 
and its food is small fish. It nests in a hole 
dug several feet horizontally into a perpendicu- 
lar bank of earth, near water, or in a hollow 
tree. 

2 Cer'y-le al-'cy-on. Length, about 12 inches. 



CHAPTER XX 
THE ORDER OF PARROTS AND MACAWS 

PS ITT AC r 



The parrots, parrakeets, macaws and cocka- 
toos form a large group, containing in all more 
than 500 species. Of these, about 150 inhabit 
the New World, but only one species is found 
in the United States. South America contains 
the greatest number of species ; Africa and Asia 
are but poorly supplied, and Europe has none. 
The widest departures from the standard types 
are found in New Zealand and Australia. 




Drawn by Edmund J. Sawyer. 

CAROLINA PAEKAKEET. 

Although these birds are by nature thoroughly 
tropical, some of them range far into the tem- 
perate zones. This Order contains a larger pro- 
portion of beautifully colored birds than any 
other. Among the parrots, parrakeets, ma- 
caws and lories, there is a lavish display of brill- 
iant scarlet, crimson, blue, green, yellow and 
purple, while all save a few of the cockatoos are 
snowy white. 



The members of this Order are specially dis- 
tinguished by their bills and feet. Of the for- 
mer, the lower mandible is a short but power- 
ful gouge, while the upper mandible is a big hook, 
with a thick and heavy base, and a long, sharp 
point. 

The foot of a bird of this Order is evenly di- 
vided, with the second and third toes pointing 
forward, and the first and fourth pointing back. 
The tails of most parrots are rather short, and 
square at the end, and the legs are very short. 
With but one or two exceptions, all the 500 spe- 
cies of this Order feed upon fruit, seeds and 
flowers. 

The Parrots are celebrated by reason of the 
natural inclination of some species to mimicry, 
and their ability to learn to talk. They are 
naturally sedate and observant, possess ex- 
cellent memories, and are fond of the companion- 
ship of man. The broad, fleshy tongue of a 
parrot renders possible the articulation of many 
vocal sounds, and when a certain phrase is end- 
lessly repeated to a parrot that is secluded from 
other sounds, the bird is sometimes moved to 
remember and repeat them. The African Gray 
Parrot is the most celebrated talker, and its 
value is from $15 upward. Next in rank comes 
the Mexican Double Yellow-Head, although the 
Carthagena Parrot, being a good talker and a 
more hardy bird, is rapidly becoming more popu- 
lar. Of both these species, the price in the New 
York bird-stores is from $10 to $12. 

The parrot of the most remarkable habits 
is the Kea, of New Zealand, a bird with very 
large and strong feet, which not only loves fresh 
mutton, but sometimes kills sheep on its own 
account, for food purposes. 

The Parrakeets are really small, trim-built 
parrots, with long, sharp-pointed tails. Ex- 
cepting the Thick-Billed Parrot, which has been 
seen in southern Arizona, this Family contains 
the only member of the Order Psittaci which 



216 



THE TALKING BIRDS 



217 



inhabits the United States. The Carolina 
Parrakeet 1 once ranged northward in summer 
to Maryland, Lake Erie and Iowa, and as far 
west as Colorado; but now all that is only so 
much history. The hand of the destroyer has 
been heavy upon this pretty bird. To-day it is 
found only in a few localities in Florida, and 
the prospects are that in a very few years it 
will be totally extinct. To illustrate: In 1893, 
a colony of about thirty birds which nested 
on the Sebastian River was completely destroyed 
in one night by a local hunter, who captured the 
entire flock, and sent the birds to a New York 
dealer, in whose hands all those which reached 
him alive died in a short time. 

In color this bird has a bright green body, 
and yellow head and neck. It feeds upon fruit 
and seeds, and nests in hollow trees. 

The Macaws are large, showy birds with 
very long, pointed tails, and the most awful 
voices for screeching ever made for feathered 
folk. They are found only in the New World 
from Mexico to Paraguay, and in the Andes up, 
to 10,000 feet. Either in flight, or at rest in the 
green tree-tops, they are exceedingly showy 
and attractive birds, and to find a flock in the 
depths of a tropical forest is an event to be re- 
membered. In hunting macaws in the delta of 
the Orinoco, about every fourth bird that was 

1 Co-nu'rus carolinensis . Length, about 12 inches. 



mortally wounded would hook its beak over a 
small branch, die, and hang there until I would 
be reluctantly compelled to make my fellow-col- 
lector, who was a good climber, climb up to the 
bird and throw it down, with much anger and 
unnecessary violence. 

It is a pity that such beautiful birds should 
have such ear-splitting, nerve-racking voices. 
Although they seldom can be taught to talk, 
never cease to scream until dead, and are very 
apt to bite most unexpectedly, they are often 
kept as household pets. 

The Blue-and-Yellow Macaw, 2 orange yel- 
low below and cobalt blue above, is one of the 
species most frequently seen in captivity. In 
the bird-stores of New York, they sell at from 
$10 to $15 each. The Red-and-Blue Macaw 
is another common species. The beautiful plum- 
colored bird occasionally seen is the Hyacinthine 
Macaw, from Brazil. 

The Cockatoos are mostly — but not all — 
snow-white birds, with lofty and beautiful tri- 
angular crests which can be erected at will, with 
striking effect. They inhabit Australia, Celebes, 
the Philippines and the southern islands of the 
Malay Archipelago. They are easily tamed, talk 
readily, take kindly to training, and become 
very affectionate and satisfactory companions. 

2 Ar'a ar-a-rau'na. Length, about 30 inches, of 
which the tail constitutes about 18 inches. 



CHAPTER XXI 
THE ORDER OF BIRDS OF PREY 

RAPT ORES 



To every farmer and poultry-raiser, the birds of this Order are divided nto two groups, friends 
and enemies. Inasmuch as feathered friends are to be encouraged, and all enemies slain, the standing 
of each species becomes a life-or-death matter. America is a wide and populous country, and despite 
the labors of the Biological Survey of the Department of Agriculture, there are yet millions of 
persons who desire precise information regarding our hawks and owls. Because of the economic 
importance of the subject, we will devote a liberal amount of space and effort to the important mem- 
bers of this group. The Families of the Order are as follows: 



EXAMPLES. 



ORDER 
RAPTORES. 



Barn-Owls, . stri-gvdae, . . Barn, or Monkey-Faced Owls. 

Horned Owls, bv-BON'1-dae, . Horned, Burrowing, Snowy and Screech-Owls. 

Hawks, . . . FAL-CON'l-DAE, . Hawks, Kites, Buzzards and Eagles. 

Vultures, . . CA-THAR'TI-DAE, California, Turkey and Black Vultures. 



THE BARN-OWL FAMILY. 

Strigi.dae. 

It is now a well-established fact that "owls 
are among the most beneficial of all birds," in- 
flicting little damage upon the producers of 
poultry, and conferring vast benefits upon the 
farmer by the destruction of mammal and insect 
pests. Inasmuch as their regular working hours 
are from sunset to sunrise, they wage success- 
ful war on the nocturnal mammals which remain 
quiet during the daytime in order to escape 
hawks and other daylight enemies. 

Owls are exceedingly interesting birds, and 
in them there is also much to admire. They 
take life seriously; they have but few nerves, 
and seldom use them. Rarely do they become 
really tame or affectionate, but easily become 
very indignant at real or fancied affronts. Like 
many people of few words and solemn manner, 
they are not nearly so wise as they look. They 
are easily caught in steel traps, or shot; and they 
are much given to nesting in situations that are 
wide open to attack. 



Omitting the subspecies, — which are only geo- 
graphic races, — there are eighteen species of 
owls in North America, north of Mexico. They 
vary in size from the tiny elf-owl, of Arizona, 
only 6 inches in total length, to the great gray 
owl, of the arctic regions, 30 inches long. 

With the exception of the great horned owl, 
the owls of our country are by no means so de- 
structive to poultry and wild bird life as is gen- 
erally supposed. The great majority of the 
species feed upon wild mice, rats, squirrels, 
shrews, fish, crustaceans and insects; and some 
of them render great service to man. Nearly 
all owls are night-flyers, and by reason of their 
soft, fluffy plumage, which renders their flight 
quite noiseless, they are specially fitted to keep 
in check the grand army of destructive rodents 
that roam abroad under cover of darkness. 

Owls do very well in captivity, provided they 
are properly housed and fed, and have com- 
fortable perches to sit upon. Naturally, they 
are most active at night, and quiet in the day- 
time. Be it known, however, that they cannot 
live long on a steady diet of beefsteak. Every 



218 



THE BAEN OWL 



219 



owl must have a liberal allowance of small birds, 
like English sparrows, and, if possible, an occa- 
sional small mammal, in each case with the feath- 
ers or hair upon it. Nature has constructed 
the owl to devour its prey entire, — feathers, 
hair, bones and all, on the spot where it is 
captured. 

By a curious rotary action of the stomach, 
all the desirable elements are extracted and as- 
similated, and the indigestible refuse — hair, 
feathers, bones, claws, etc. — is rolled into a 
ball called a "pellet," which is cast up, and ex- 
pelled through the mouth. These pellets are 
sometimes collected at roosting-places, and when 
carefully examined by expert zoologists, it is 
possible to identify most of the animal remains, 
and tell what the bird has fed upon. 

The Barn-Owl, or Monkey-Faced Owl, 1 is 
the most oddly shaped of all the owls; it has 
the smoothest and most compact plumage, and 
proportionately the longest legs. Its general 
color is that of scorched linen — light brownish- 
yellow. Each small black eye is the centre of a 
sunburst of radiating feathers, and the whole 
face is surrounded by a heart-shaped ring of 
brown. 

The Barn-Owl is to rats and mice as the 
cuckoo is to the caterpillar. As a destroyer of 
the meanest vermin on earth (rats) this bird has 
no equal. Whether North or South, in the tropics 
or the temperate zone, it loves to live under the 
roofs of civilized man, especially in church bel- 
fries, where it is not molested. In the town of 
Barrancas, at the head of the Orinoco delta, 
some Venezuelan boys piloted me into the best 
church in the place, showed me two Barn-Owls 
nesting over the altar, and urged me to shoot 
them then and there. My refusal because the 
birds were very thoroughly in sanctuary was 
with difficulty comprehended. 

Many observations on the food habits of this 
bird have been made by examining the pellets 
that have been gathered from its roosting place. 
In June, 1890, Dr. A. K. Fisher collected 200 
pellets that had accumulated from two birds 
that roosted and nested in one of the towers of 
the Smithsonian building. These contained 
454 skulls, of which 225 were of meadow-mice, 
2 of pine-mice, 179 of house-mice, 20 were of 

1 Strix pra-tin'co-la. Length, from 15 to 17 
inches. 



rats, G of jumping mice, 20 shrews, 1 star-nosed 
mole and 1 vesper-sparrow. 

The Barn-Owl rarely molests birds — probably 
never does so except when forced by hunger — 
and all over the world, wherever it is found, its 
favorite food is rats and mice. The number 
an industrious pair will destroy in a year is really 
very great, and this species deserves the most 




SKELETON OF A BIKD OF PREY. (BALD EAGLE.) 



1, 


Upper mandible 




11. 


Radius, 


2 


Lower mandible 




12, 


Carpals, 


s! 


Hyoid, 




13, 


Metacarpals, 


4, 


External nostril, 




14, 


Digits, 


5, 


Orbit. 




15, 


Sternum. 


6, 


Occiput, 




IB, 


Keel of sternum 


7, 


Cervical vertebrae, 


1", 


Pelvis, 


8, 


Clavicles, 




18, 


Fibula, 


9, 


Coracoid, 




19, 


Tibia, 


10, 


Ulna, 




20, 


Tarsus, 




21, 


Digits 


of foot. 





careful protection that man can give it. Fort- 
unately, it and its subspecies are very widely 
distributed, — more cosmopolitan, in fact, than 
any other owl, save the short-eared. 



OEDEES OF BIRDS— BIRDS OF PREY 




Zoological fark. 



BARN-OWL. 



THE HORNED-OWL FAMILY. 

Bubonidae. 

The Long-Eared Owl 1 looks like a small 
and imperfect imitation of the great horned owl. 
It can always be distinguished by its small size, 
and the fact that its horns appear to have been 
set too close together on the top of its head, and 
do not fit very well. Its total length is about 
15 inches, and its general color is a fine mottling 
of gray, tawny and black, which produces a 
brownish-gray bird. It is found all over the 
United States. 

The food of this very useful bird consists 
mainly of mice. In April, 188S, at Munson 
Hill, Virginia, Dr. Fisher collected about 50 
pellets from under a tree in which a Long-Eared 
Owl had roosted, and found that they contained 
the following remains: 95 meadow-mice, 19 
pine-mice, 15 house-mice, 5 white-footed mice, 
3 Cooper's mice, 26 short-tailed shrews and 13 
birds. Of the birds, there were 11 sparrows, 1 
blue-bird and 1 warbler. Of this species Dr. 

1 A'si-o wil-son-i-an'us. 



Fisher says: "It is both cruel and pernicious 
to molest a bird so valuable and innocent as the 
one under consideration." 

The Short-Eared Owl 2 is of about the same 
size as the preceding species, but its ears are so 
short that they look like two small feathers that 
have been thrust carelessly into the plumage di- 
rectly above the eyes. Above it is a brownish- 
yellow bird, and buffy white mnderneath. It is 
found from the arctic regions of North America 
to Patagonia, and throughout nearly the whole 
of the Old World except Australasia. Its food 
habits are very similar to those of the long-eared 
owl, and it is equally deserving of a perpetual 
close season. 

The Barred Owl 3 has not quite so good a 
reputation as the three noticed above, but its 
record is by no means bad. Out of 109 stomachs 
examined by the Biological Survey, three con- 
tained domestic fowls, one a ruffed grouse and 
one a pigeon. Six contained screech-owls, one 
a saw- whet owl, three held sparrows, one a wood- 
pecker, and two small birds were not identified. 
Against this debit was a credit of 46 mice, 18 
other small mammals, 4 frogs, 1 lizard, 2 fishes, 
2 spiders, 9 crawfish and 20 empties. The 
eighteen small mammals consisted of 5 red 




Photo, and copyright, 1902. by W. L. Underwood. 
BARRED OWLS. 

squirrels, 1 flying squirrel, 1 chipmunk, 4 rab- 
bits, 2 shrews, 2 moles, 1 weasel and 2 rats. 
From this very exact evidence, the reader 

2 A'si-o ac-cip-i-tri'nus. Length, from 14 to 16 
inches. 

3 Syr'ni-vm va'ri-um. 



THE HORNED OWL FAMILY 



221 



can judge of the value or lack of value of this 
bird to the country at large. It does not seem 
as if the forty-six mice are a fair equivalent for 
the useful birds and small mammals destroyed. 

Dr. Fisher's conclusion is as follows: "If a 
fair balance be struck, it must be considered 
that this Owl is on the whole beneficial, and 
hence should occupy a place in the list of birds 
to be protected." 

The Barred Owl is next in size to the great 
horned owl. It is from 20 to 22 inches long, 
heavy-bodied, round-headed, and quite with- 
out "horns," or "ears." Its head, neck and 
breast are marked by many black horizontal 
bars on a gray or creamy-white ground, and the 
breast and abdomen have a few thick, perpen- 
dicular bars. Many times a big Barred Owl of 
my acquaintance has exclaimed to me through 
the darkness, in a fearfully hollow and sepul- 
chral voice, — "Who? Who-who-who-who-w/id- 
WHO? Ah!" It is like the war-cry of an angry 
ghost. 

This bird ranges throughout the eastern half 
of the United States, and westward almost to 
the Rocky Mountains; and it frequently finds 
its way into captivity. 

The Great Gray Owl 1 is the largest member 
of this Family found in the New World. It 
is an arctic bird, one-fourth larger than the great 
horned owl, and even in winter has never wan- 
dered farther south than the Ohio River. In 
Alaska and British Columbia it inhabits the tim- 
bered regions, and does not wander far into the 
treeless Barren Grounds. Anyone who captures 
a very large owl of a dusky brown or dusky gray 
color, larger than a great horned owl, but with no 
ear-tufts, may know that he has secured a speci- 
men of the rare and handsome Great Grav Owl. 
The Saw-Whet Owl 2 is a very small Owl, 
and so shy that few people ever see it; but it 
feeds almost exclusively upon mice, and any 
bird which wages perpetual war on those pests 
deserves honorable mention in these pages. In 
appearance it looks very much like a small gray- 
phase screech-owl without ears. It may be 
looked for — but it will seldom be found — almost 
anywhere in the United States from the inter- 
national boundary to the Gulf States and Cali- 
fornia. 

1 Sco-ti-ap'tex neb-u-lo'sa. Length, 25 to 30 inches. 

2 Nyc'ta-la a-ca'di-ca. Length, 8 inches. 



The Sereech-Owl 3 — with an awful shiver 
in its voice, but no screech whatever — is so 
widely distributed, and so easily affected by cli- 
matic variations, that the original species has 
been split up into eight varieties, or subspecies. 
Thus we now have the Texas, California, Rocky 
Mountain, Mexican, and Florida Screech-Owls, 
and others too numerous to mention. The dif- 
ferences between all these are not very great. 
Let each American know his own Screech-Owl, 
and study its habits, and he will then know 
the others, quite well enough for all practical 
purposes. 

To me, the cry of this little Owl is one of the 
most doleful sounds in animated nature, not even 
excepting the howl of a wolf. It is like the 




N. Y Zoological Park. 



SCREECH-OWL. 

quivering, shivering, heart-broken wail of a lost 
spirit, and suggests chattering teeth and freezing 
vocal chords. Written out it is "Woe-woe- 
woe-woe-woe-woe-woe ah!" But no phonetic 
spelling can even suggest the high-pitched men- 
tal and physical anguish expressed in the cry 
that one hears. 

The Screech-Owl is a round-bodied little fel- 
low, sometimes almost as broad as it is high; 
and its head is surmounted at the corners by 
very respectable ears. In its gray phase, this 
bird looks very much like a dwarf great horned 

3 Meg'as-cops a'si-o. Length, 7 to 9 inches. 



222 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— BIRDS OF PREY 



owl; but of course the black markings are not 
the same. 

This Owl exhibits a peculiarity in color which 
must be specially noted. It has two distinct 
and widely different colors, red and gray. In 
the same locality will be found owls that are of 
a cold, black-and-white gray color, and others 
that are pale, rusty red, with white mottlings 
on the abdomen. For this very odd develop- 
ment, we are quite unable to account; and such 




Sanborn, Photo., N. Y. Zoological Park. 

YOUNG SCREECH-OWLS. 

lawless color-variations are called "phases," pos- 
sibly because they phase the naturalists who try 
to study out their whys and wherefores. 

In its food habits, the Screech-Owl prefers, 
if it can procure them, mice, grasshoppers, lo- 
custs, cut worms, beetles, caterpillars, crickets, 
spiders, lizards, frogs and crawfish. If these 
are lacking, it attacks the English sparrow and 
almost any other small bird that comes handy, 
usually other sparrows. To show that when 
very hungry all birds look alike to him, he oc- 
casionally kills and eats a bird of his own 
species! Dr. A. K. Fisher's ever useful and 
scholarly report on the "Hawks and Owls 
of the United States" sets forth in full detail 
tne results of the examination of 255 stomachs 



of Screech-Owls, of which the following is a 
summary of contents: 100, insects; 91, mice; 
12, English sparrows; 26, other birds; 11, miscel- 
laneous mammals; 9, crawfish; 7, miscellaneous 
food; 5, spiders; 5, frogs; 2, lizards; 2, scorpions; 
2, earth-worms; 1, poultry; 1, fish, and 43 were 
empty. The following is a full list of the birds 
found: 12 English sparrows, 9 other sparrows, 
3 juncos, 2 Screech-Owls, 1 shore-lark, 1 water 
thrush and 15 unrecognized. 

Leaving out the two Screech-Owls, of the birds 
that were identified, the English sparrows formed 
practically one-half. On this basis we will 
allow that of the unrecognized birds, seven were 
song-birds. Add these to the fifteen recog- 
nized-song birds and we have a total of twenty- 
one song-birds out of two hundred and fifty-five 
stomachs examined. 

The question is, what shall be the fate of the 
Screech-Owl, — encouragement, toleration, or 
limitation? To me it seems that the number of 
Screech-Owls should be limited, for the benefit of 
the song-birds; but I do not believe in their ex- 
termination. 

The Great Horned Owl 1 is, by necessity, an 
aerial pirate and highway robber — the tiger 
of the air. Its temper is fierce and intractable, 
and if you attempt to make friends with one 
in captivity, it will hiss like a snake, snap its 
beak like an angry peccary, and dare you to 
come on. Of all the birds I know, there is no 
other so persistently savage in captivity as this 
bloody-minded game-killer. Of course, the Owl 
is not to blame for the raw-meat appetite which 
Nature gave him, and for which he feels bound 
to provide; but there is no reason why he should 
have a temper like a black leopard toward those 
who feed him. 

"Of all the birds of prey, with the exception 
possibly of the goshawk and Cooper's hawk," 
says Dr. A. K. Fisher, "the Great Horned Owl 
is the most destructive to poultry. All kinds 
of poultry seem to be taken, though when Guinea- 
fowls and turkeys are obtainable, it shows a 
preference for these. In sections of the country 
where it is common, the inhabitants complain 
bitterly of its ravages." In the museum of the 
Philadelphia Academy is an Owl which carried 
off from one farm twenty-seven individuals of 
various kinds of poultry before it was shot. 

1 Bu'bo virginianus. Length, from 20 to 24 inches. 



THE GIIEAT HORNED OWL 



223 




GREAT HORNED OWL. 
With "horns " laid back in anger. 



2 quail, I pinnated grouse, 1 pigeon, 1 rail, 1 
wild duck, 1 Cooper's hawk, and 2 unknown. 

The mammals found were as follows : 46 mice 
and rats, 32 rabbits and hares, 7 shrews, F> squir- 
rels, 3 chipmunks, 4 pocket-gophers, 2 skunks, 1 
weasel and 1 bat. 

Beyond question, the debit balance against 
this bird is heavy, and justifies its destruction, 
wherever found; but at the same time, it goes 
against the grain to kill a bird which destroys 
so many rats. 

The Great Horned Owl, or Hoot-Owl, as it is 
frequently called, is a bird of dignified and im- 
posing appearance. Its big, round-topped horns 
of feathers are singularly like cats' ears in shape, 
and when with these are seen the fiercely-glaring 
eyes of yellow and black, the half-yellow face 
and fluffy white feathers on the throat, the whole 
head of this bird is singularly like that of a Ben- 
gal tiger. The body plumage is a complex mot- 
tling and barring of black and brown, dull yellow 
and white, impossible to describe successfully. 

But this bird can always be recognized by its 
large size, cat's-ear "horns," and the fine, black 
horizontal bars across its breast-feathers. From 
wing to wing, across its upper breast there is an 
assemblage of heavy splashes of black. 

The eastern Great Horned Owl is the type 
species on which are based the Western, Arctic, 
Dusky and Pacific Horned Owls, which in com- 



But let us give even the Horned Owl its just 
due. Mr. 0. E. Niles, of Ohio, once found in a 
nest of this bird "several full-grown Norway 
rats with their skulls opened and brains removed," 
and on the ground under the tree which contained 
the nest he found "the bodies of one hundred and 
thirteen rats, most of them full grown!" Now, 
in the course of a year, would not one hundred 
and thirteen Norway rats consume and destroy 
enough grain to feed one hundred and ten head 
of poultry? 

This is the summary of the contents of 127 
stomachs of Great Horned Owls examined by 
the Biological Survey: 31 contained poultry or 
game-birds; 8 contained other birds; 13 con- 
tained mice; 65 contained other mammals; 1 
contained a fish; 1 contained a scorpion; 10 
contained insects, and 17 contained nothing. 

The bird-food represented the following: 21 
domestic birds, 11 song-birds, 3 ruffed grouse, 




Photographed by E. R. Warren. 

YOUNG GREAT HORNED OW 



LS. 



224 



OEDBES OF B1EDS— BIRDS OP PREY 



bination cover practically the whole of North 
America down to Costa Rica. By reason of the 
live food available in winter, these birds are not 
migratory. 

The Snowy Owl 1 is a bird of the Arctic 
wastes, and reaches the northern United States 
only as a winter visitor. Its occurrence with us 
varies from a total scarcity during some years to 
an abundance during others. During December, 
1886, — the beginning of the awful winter which 
killed over 90 per cent of the range cattle in 
Montana, — we saw in the country in which we 




Photo, by C. William Beebe, N. Y. Zoological Park. 
SNOWY OWL. 

were hunting buffalo, in central Montana, at 
least twenty-five Snowy Owls. They were liv- 
ing on hares, rabbits, and sage-grouse, out in the 
open, twenty miles from the nearest timber. It 
was their habit to alight upon the tops of the 
low buttes, in reality upon the ground, from 
which they could survey a wide circle of sage- 
brush plains. Whenever there is an annual 
"flight" of Snowy Owls, they are always par- 
ticularly numerous in Minnesota. 

But for its perfectly round and rather comical- 
looking head, this bird would be the most beau- 
tiful of all American owls. Its plumage varies 

1 Nyc'te-a nyc'te-a. Average length, about 23 
inches, the female being larger than the male. 



from almost spotless snow-white, in some indi- 
viduals, to white barred all over with narrow 
horizontal bands of black — which is really 
the standard color-plan. The number and width 
of the black bands vary exceedingly in differ- 
ent individuals, some birds being rendered much 
darker than others. 

The food of this species consists of every kind 
of wild bird or small mammal it can catch; but 
there is no evidence that it ever destroys poul- 
try. In summer, when its far-northern home 
is full of migratory birds, nesting and rearing 
their young, its bill of fare is quite varied, but 
in winter it is confined to such winter residents 
as the ptarmigan, hare, rabbit, sage-grouse, and 
such small rodents as dare to venture forth from 
their burrows. 

With the Burrowing Owl 2 of the western 
plains, the Owl Family may justly be regarded 
as "run to earth." This odd little owl indeed 
takes shelter in the mouths of prairie-" dog " 
holes, but as far as I am aware there is no proof 
that it ever descends to the bottom of a deep 
burrow, or that it is chummy with the rattle- 
snake. It is reasonably certain that no owl in 
its right mind ever would fraternize with a 
rattlesnake, and neither would a prairie-" dog." 

The Burrowing Owl lives in the plains of the 
West and Southwest, from North Dakota to 
southern California. A closely related species 
is found in Florida, where it easily digs burrows 
in the sandy soil. 

Many persons have the idea that this Owl is 
unable to dig, and is therefore dependent upon 
prairie-" dogs " and badgers for a home. This is 
entirely erroneous. In soil that is reasonably 
loose, the Burrowing Owl is a most industrious 
and successful digger, and with his feet flings 
out the loose dirt and gravel in a shower. A 
pair of western birds which we kept in the Bird- 
House of the New York Zoological Park for two 
years burrowed so deeply into the big pile of 
solid gravel in their enclosure that its interior 
became a perfect cavern. 

In the land of plains and prairie-" dogs," the 
Burrowing Owl is a frequent corollary to a " dog " 
town, sitting on the highest point of a burrow 
mound, or, if alarmed, taking short flights to the 
suburbs. Between bird and rodent there ap- 

2 Spe-ot'i-to cv-nic-u-la'ri-a hy-po'gce-a. Average 
length, about 10 inches. 



SNOWY OWL, BURROWING OWL AND OSPREY 



pears to exist a modus Vivendi, which is good so 
long as the bird does not come within reach of 
the legitimate owner of the soil. As already 
mentioned (page 77), when the two are inti- 
mately mixed, the prairie-" dog " quickly kills 
the Burrowing Owl. It seems practically cer- 
tain that the bird inhabits only the mouth of 
the prairie-" dog's" burrow, or burrows that 
have been abandoned. 

This owl is far too small to kill even a half- 
grown "dog;" besides which, its favorite diet 
is grasshoppers, locusts, other insects, lizards 
and scorpions. It is to be noticed that in thirty- 
two stomachs examined in Washington, one 
really did contain a portion of a prairie-" dog," 
and two contained one mouse each, but thirty- 
three contained insects only, some of them 
showing from forty-nine to sixty each of locusts 
and grasshoppers. 

The color of a Burrowing Owl is a grayish 
mixture, darkest on the back, and lighter below* 
and the legs are long and naked, like those of a 
sharp-shinned hawk. In captivity our specimens 
dug extensive burrows for themselves, in doing 
which they threw out gravel and earth with 
astonishing force. They are savage little wretch- 
es, and murder each other at a shocking rate. 
The males fight savagely, and the western spe- 
cies will not live peaceably with that of Florida. 

THE HAWKS AND EAGLES. 

Falconidae. 

This section of the Order Raptores contains 
a remarkable assemblage of forms, and the wide 
differences between some of the groups add 
zest to the study of them. Some are expert in 
fishing, some are of dignified and imposing bear- 
ing, some have beauty of plumage, and one is 
the most beautiful flyer in all the bird-world. 
Until only ten years ago, most people regarded 
all hawks as so many robbers, deserving death. 

In 1S93, the investigations of the Department 
of Agriculture revealed the surprising fact that 
of all the forty-one species of day-flying birds 
of prey in North America, there were only four 
species whose destructiveness so far outweigh 
their useful services that they deserve to be de- 
stroyed. The others are either harmless to 
man's interests, or else so positively beneficial 
that they deserve careful protection. Beyond 



doubt, the careful and thorough investigations 
made by the Biological Survey, under the di- 
rection of Dr. C. Hart Merriam, and the publi- 
cation of the results, have resulted in the cor- 
rection of popular errors which if persisted in 
would have caused enormous losses to the farm- 
ers of the United States. 

As an object lesson, take the case of Pennsyl- 
vania. 

In 18S5, the legislature of that State enacted 
a law aimed at the wholesale destruction of 
hawks and owls, and authorizing the various 
counties to pay cash bounties for the "scalps" 
of those birds, at the rate of fifty cents each. 
Immediately the work of slaughter began. Many 
thousand scalps of hawks and owls were brought 
in, and over $90,000 were paid out for them. 
Tt has been estimated that the "saving" to the 
agricultural interests of the state amounted to 
$1 for every $1,205 paid out as bounties! In 
this manner the balance of Nature was quickly 
and completely destroyed. 

The awakening came even more swiftly than 
anyone expected. By the end of two years 
from the passage of the very injudicious "hawk 
law," the farmers found their field-crops and 
orchards so completely overrun by destructive 
mice, rats and insects, they appealed to the 
legislature for the quick repeal of the law. This 
was brought about with all possible haste. It 
was estimated by competent judges that the 
"hawk law" cost the farmers and fruit-growers 
of Pennsylvania not less than $2,000,000 in 
actual losses on valuable crops. 

The moral of this episode is, — it is always 
dangerous, and often calamitous, to disturb violently 
the balance of Nature, cither by the destruction of 
existing species of birds or mammals, or by the in- 
troduction of new ones. 

The American Osprey, or Fish-Hawk, 1 
is, by common consent, regarded as a sort of 
connecting link between the Owl and Falcon 
Families. It is a good bird to lead a large Fam- 
ily, and it is to be regretted that those who dwell 
far from the sea-coast and large rivers lack op- 
portunities for becoming well acquainted with 
it. Surely this bold fisher, who thinks nothing 
of dropping a hundred feet into ice-cold water, 
seizing a fish of nearly half his own weight, and 

1 Pan'di-on hal-i-ae-e'tus carolinensis. Average 
length, about 24 inches ; weight, 3 pounds. 



J2G 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— BIRDS OF PREY 



flying five miles with it, must appeal to every 
man and boy who loves the grasp of a good rod, 
and the musical click of a reel. 

The boat trip up the Shrewsbury River, from 
New York to Long Branch, is worth taking in 
midsummer solely for the sight of the Ospreys, 
winging slowly over the still lagoon, stalking 
their finny prey, and anon plunging with a loud 




AMERICAN OSPREY. 



into the water. Sometimes the bold 
go quite out of sight. The most sur- 



splash 

fishers 

prising thing about such performances is the 

size of the fish that an Osprey can lift and carry 

away. 

In carrying a fish, an Osprey always grasps 
it on the back, with one talon well ahead of the 
other, and the head of the fish pointing straight 
forward. This is to secure a minimum of resist- 
ance from the air, and render it an easy matter 
to steer the prize to the home-nest, or to a tall 
tree on which it may be devoured at leisure. It 
is no wonder that a three-pound Osprey carrying 
a one-pound fish is moved to jettison his cargo 
when he sees a hostile bald eagle bearing down 
upon him with empty claws and his decks 
cleared for action. 



The story of the Ospreys of Gardiner's Island 
is a most interesting chapter in bird-life. The 
owner of that island is a relentless enemy to 
cats and gunners, and a fierce protector of all 
the wild life on the island, which is wholly his. 
His weapons are loaded for hunters only, and 
for several years the Ospreys have bred regu- 
larly around Mr. Gardiner's house, and all over 
the island. A pair of birds occupies the same 
nest year after year, adding to the mass each 
year, until the nest contains a wagon-load of 
sticks of many sizes, and measures six feet in 
diameter. To-day, strange to relate, some of 
the Ospreys are nesting practically upon the 
ground, serenely confident of their security from 
all harm. 

The Osprey is built like a light-weight athlete, 
all bone, tendon, hard muscle and wing-power, 
and no fat. Its long, half-naked legs and pow- 
erful claws remind one of patent grappling- 
hooks. The wings are long and acutely pointed, 
going well beyond the end of the tail. The 
whole neck and lower surface of the bird is white, 
but the back, wings, and upper surface of the 
tail is dark colored, as also is the upper half of 
the head. The plumage is compact, smooth 
and oily, as befits a diving-bird. 

In summer this bird is at home on the sea- 
coast from Alaska and Hudson Bay to the Gulf 
of Mexico, and along a few rivers, but in winter 
it migrates to southern Florida, the West Indies 
and northern South America. 

The jaunty little Sparrow-Hawk 1 is the 
smallest American hawk, and also the most 
beautiful. Its form is elegant, and its colors 
are varied and pleasing. As if desirous of ad- 
miration, it tolerates man at shorter range than 
any other hawk I know. Its cap is dull blue, 
its throat white with black side-patches, and its 
upper neck and back are bright rusty brown. Its 
breast is salmon color, sparingly spotted, its 
knickerbockers are wdiite, and its tarsi and feet 
are bright yellow. It inhabits the whole United 
States, and on northward to Great Slave Lake, 
but I think it is most plentiful on the prairie 
farms of the middle West. 

As a destroyer of grasshoppers, beetles, crick- 
ets, caterpillars and other insect enemies, this 
little Hawk deserves to rank with the birds most 
beneficial to man. For so small a bird, the 

1 Fal'co spar-ve'ri-us. Length, 9 to 10 inches. 



SPAEROW-LTAWK AND DUCK-HAWK 



227 



number of grasshoppers it consumes in a year 
is enormous. It never molests poultry, and 
when insects are obtainable never kills a song- 
bird, but it does destroy great numbers of mice. 
Dr. Fisher reports that of 320 stomachs exam- 
ined, 21.5 contained insects; 29, spiders; 89, 
mice; 12, other mammals; 53, small birds; 1 
game-bird, and 29 were empty. Many stomachs 
contained from 10 to 35 grasshoppers each, and 
of other insects, from 25 to 40 in one bird was 
of common occurrence. 

It must be noted at this point that when the 
Sparrow-Hawk is rearing its young, it does some- 
times catch young chickens; but the extreme 
infrequency of this may be judged from the fact 
that in the entire series of 320 specimens ex- 
amined at Washington, taken at all seasons 
from January to December, and throughout a 
wide range of localities, not one stomach con- 
tained any remains of a domestic bird. In the 
early spring, before grasshoppers come, Sparrow- 
Hawks often follow a plough very closely, to 
capture the mice that are ploughed up. Some- 
times this bird is half domestic in its habits, aud 
nests in buildings erected by man. Wherever 
it is found, it should be a welcome visitor. 

The Pigeon-Hawk 1 is a slightly larger bird 
than the preceding, very destructive to song- 
birds, of little use to man, and deserves to be 
shot wherever found. It kills sparrows, thrushes, 
goldfinches, vireos, bobolinks, swifts, and a host 
of other species. Out of 50 specimens examined 
by Dr. Fisher, 41 contained small song-birds, 
and 2 poultry; 2 only had mice, and 16 insects. 
This is a bird of plain colors, being bluish-gray 
or brownish above, and lighter below. 

Apparently the Duck Hawk,' a geographic 
race of the Peregrine Falcon, never devours a 
mouse or an insect save by mistake. Out of 
20 specimens, 7 contained game-birds or poultry, 

9 had eaten song-birds, only 2 contained insects, 
and 1 a mouse. You may know this bird by 
the great size and strength of his "pickers and 
stealers." It can best be studied with a rope, a 
basket, and a chokebore shot-gun loaded with 
No. 6 shot. 

First shoot both male and female birds, then 

1 Fal'co col-um-ba'ri-xis. Length of male, about 

10 inches; female, 2 to 3 inches more. 

2 Fal'co per-e-gri'nus an-a'tum. Length of male, 
17 inches; female, 19 inches. 



collect the nest, and the eggs or young, whichever 
may be present. In doing this, however, be 
careful not to shoot the Red-Tailed or Red- 
Shovldered Hawk, — both good friends of ours, 
who are entitled to protection. A Duck-Hawk 
has no red nor decided brown upon it, anywhere. 
In general effect it is a dull black bird with a 
white breast and throat, and white abdomen 
cross-barred with black. It inhabits all of 
America north of Chili. 

The time was when the Bald Eagle, 3 orWhite- 
Headed Eagle, was known to every human be- 
ing within the limits of the United States. To- 
day there are probably two million men in 
this country, speaking foreign languages only, 
but voting regularly and persistently, who do 







SPABROW-HAWK. 

not know an Eagle from a parrot, nor the num- 
ber of stripes there are in Old Glory. It is re- 
lated by a reliable eye-witness that when an es- 
caped parrot recently perched in one of the trees 
of City Hall Square, New York City, a dispute 

3 Hal-i-ae-e'tus leu-co-ceph'a-lus. Average length 
of male, about 34 inches; female, 38 inches; spread 
of wings, from 7 to 8 feet. See plate on page 170. 



228 



OEDEBS OF BIEDS— BIRDS OF PEEY 



as to its identity was ended satisfactorily by 
some who oracularly pronounced it an "eagle 
bird." 

But, no matter how many persons there are 
in this country who do not know our national 
bird, I will not humiliate "OldBaldy" by for- 
mally introducing him. To every intelligent 
American, the perfect bird, with its snow-white 
head, neck and tail, is recognizable at a distance 
of a mile or more. To see one perching on the 
topmost branch of a dead tree, overlooking a 
water prospect, with its snowy head shining 
in the sunlight like frosted silver, is enough to 
thrill any beholder. Even when in flight, an 
eagle can be distinguished from all other birds 
by its slow and powerful wing-strokes, and the 
great breadth of its wings, especially near their 
extremities. 

It is unfortunate that this Eagle does not 
acquire its white head and tail until its fourth 
year. The head is fully feathered, and the name 
"Bald" refers solely to its white appearance. 
Up to three years of age it is of the same general 
color as the golden eagle, and to distinguish the 
two species it is necessary to look at the lowest 
joint (tarsus) of the leg. If it is naked, the bird 
is a Bald Eagle ; but if it is covered with feath- 
ers quite down to the toes, it is a golden eagle. 

As a rule — to which there are numerous ex- 
ceptions — the White-Headed Eagle is found 
along rivers, and the shores of lakes and ponds 
containing fish. Fish are its favorite food, and 
lambs are purely supplementary. As a regular 
thing, it catches fish out of the water, with neat- 
ness and despatch; but when it sees an osprey 
flying by with a large fish in its talons, the Eagle 
does not hesitate to levy tribute on the subject 
bird. Taken thus at a great disadvantage, the 
fish-hawk has no option but to drop its fish, 
and go away to catch another, while the Eagle 
catches the prize before it touches the water 
and bears it away. 

This act of the Eagle, and the extra trouble 
it puts upon the fish-hawk in catching duplicate 
fish, is by a few writers taken seriously to heart. 
So is the additional fact that Eagles — like many 
human beings — often eat dead fish that are 
found floating upon the water, or are cast up 
on the shore. For these, and other reasons 
equally weighty (!), it has become almost a 
fashion among writers to denounce the Bald 



Eagle, and declare it a shame that such a bird 
ever was chosen as our national standard-bearer. 
Some have asserted that the brave and high- 
minded wild turkey would have been more ap- 
propriate ! 

Against all of this, I have nothing to say. The 
American Eagle needs no defence from me. 
Whether 

" He clasps the crag with hooked hands, 
Close to the sun in lonely lands," 

or perches defiantly on the United States eoat- 
of-arms, with a brow to threaten or command, 
he is beloved by at least seventy-two million 
people who will rise as one whenever he is really 
in need of defenders. Abroad, it once was well- 
nigh an international fashion to flout this bird, 
and the standard he bears; but since May 1, 1900, 
that fashion has gone out. Abroad, those who 
do not respect this bird fear him, wholesomely. 
At home, it is quite time for all strangers to 
secure an introduction to him, and for some of 
those who should be his friends but are not, to 
write him down no longer. 

In its distribution, this Eagle ranges over 
the whole of North America from Mexico to 
Kamchatka. Considering the size of this bird, 
it holds its own remarkably well, even in New 
England. In Florida it is very abundant all 
along Indian River, and in one locality in the 
State of Washington it is so numerous that its 
depredations on the flocks of sheep-raisers are 
cause for serious complaint and reprisals. 

In the East so many Eagles are caught alive 
and offered for sale that it is a difficult matter 
to find sale for one at $10. This bird so seldom 
destroys domestic animals, or game-birds, there 
is no excuse for its destruction save possibly in 
a few far-western localities where it happens to 
be very numerous, and evinces a particular fond- 
ness for lambs. 

About every six months there appears in 
some newspaper an account of a child having 
been attacked by a fierce Eagle, and rescued by 
a heroic mother, or else actually carried off to 
the top of a tall tree or rocky cliff, from which 
the child was finally rescued unhurt, etc., etc. 
It is quite time that this absurd yarn, which is 
nearly as old as the Swiss Alps in which it origi- 
nated, were consigned to the oblivion it deserves. 
Eagles know what guns are, and nothing is 



THE AMEKICAN EAGLE 



229 



farther from their thoughts than attacking the 
children of Man, the destroyer of life. 

The Golden Eagle ' is in no sense whatever a 
golden-colored bird. Its plumage is dark brown, 
with a very slight outside wash of lighter brown. 
It would be much more appropriate to call it the 
"brown eagle." In appearance it looks very 
much like a white-headed eagle in its second 
year, except that its tarsi are feathered quite 
down to the toes. By this point it can always 
be distinguished from its nearest relative. 

This bird has a very bad record as a destroyer 
of lambs, poultry, game-birds, young deer, ante- 
lope, rabbits, and other small mammals. It 
cares very little for fish, and prefers to frequent 
interior regions, where either domestic animals 
or wild species of good size are abundant. By 
preference it is a bird of the mountains, and 
although found all the way from the Atlantic 
to the Pacific, and from Mexico to the Arctic 
Ocean, it is most abundant in the great mountain- 
ranges of the West. In the cattle country east 
of the Rockies, many a Golden Eagle dies igno- 
miniously from eating poisoned meat that is in- 
tended for wolves. 

The Hawks of North America above Mexico 
form a group of about thirty-four species, not 
counting subspecies, and the conspicuous types 
are well worth serious attention. 2 Some of 
them are useful to man, and some are so de- 
structive and generally useless that they de- 
serve death. It is highly important that hawk 
enemies should be distinguishable from hawk 
friends. 

The Red-Tailed Hawk 3 is the greatest of 
all destroyers of noxious four-footed animals. 
It might well be called the Mammal-Eater, in- 
stead of being universally miscalled the Hen- 
Hawk, or Chicken-Hawk. 

The species of the above name inhabits the 
entire eastern half of the United States, and 
ranges westward to the Rocky Mountains, where 
it meets the subspecies known as the Western 

1 A-guil'a chrys-a-e'tos. Size, about the same as 
the white-headed eagle. 

"To avoid the possibility of confusion, attention 
is called to the fact that the sparrow-hawk, pigeon- 
hawk and duck-hawk, already described, belong to 
Falco, the genus of the falcons, a group quite dis- 
tinct from those of the hawks now to be intro- 
duced. 

3 Bu'teo bo-re-al'is. Average length of male, about 
21 inches; female, 24 inches. 



Red-Tail. By reason of the abundance of this 
bird, and its undoubted influence' for good or 
evil upon agricultural communities, the De- 
partment of Agriculture has made a study of it 
which was particularly thorough. From Ari- 
zona to Connecticut, and in all seasons of the 
year, collections were made, until finally 562 
stomachs had been collected and examined. 

The result was a complete vindication of the 
moral character of the previously despised and 
persecuted "Hen-Hawk." Two hundred ami 
seventy-eight specimens contained mice; 131, 
other mammals; 54, poultry or game-birds; 51, 
other birds; 47, insects; 37, amphibians and 
reptiles', 13, offal; 8, crawfish, and 89 were 
empty. It was found that poultry and game 
did not constitute 10 per cent of the food of this 
Hawk, and that all other beneficial creatures 
preyed upon, including snakes, did not increase 
this proportion to 15 per cent. Against this 
small debit stands a credit of 85 per cent, made 
up chiefly of destructive rodents. 

" It is not to be denied," says Dr. Fisher, "that 
a good deal of poultry is destroyed by this Hawk; 
but the damage done is usually among the less 
vigorous fowls, in the late fall, and in view of the 
great number of injurious rodents as well as 
other noxious animals which this Hawk destroys, 
it should seem equivalent to a misdemeanor to 
kill one, except in the act of carrying off poultry. 
The fact that there are robbers among Hawks is 
no sound argument for exterminating any and 
every one." 

This bird is very omnivorous in its habits. 
In the examination noted above, the remains of 
35 species of small mammals were found, of which 
30 were rodents, 5 were insectivores and 1 (a 
common skunk!) was a carnivore. Of birds 
there were only 20 species. 

The important markings of the Red-Tailed 
Hawk are its rusty-brown tail, back and head of 
blackish-brown, white throat, and light-colored 
breast streaked with dusky or brown. The im- 
mature bird has a gray tail, crossed by from 6 to 
10 dark bands, and the rusty-red tone of the adult 
bird is everywhere absent. The head is large, and 
rather square in outline at the back. 

There are varieties of this bird scattered all 
over the United States, and under most cir- 
cumstances it is rather difficult to tell them 
apart. 



230 



OKDERS OF BIRDS— BIEUS OF PREY 



The Red-Shouldered Hawk 1 has not only 
"red" shoulders, but also a red head, neck, back 
and breast. But there are many shades of red, 
and the so-called red on this bird is as widely 
different from the red of a cardinal as blue is 
from green. The so-called "red" on this Hawk 
is really a rusty brown ; and by the great amount 
of it, the small, round head of the bird, and its 
black tail crossed by about six bands of white, 
ttus species may easily be distinguished from 
the preceding. 




SHARP-SHINNED HAWK. 

This Hawk is to be counted with the farmer's 
best friends. Mr. J. Alden Loring knew a pair 
which for two years nested within fifty rods of a 
poultry-farm on which were about 800 young 
chickens and 400 ducks, but never attempted 
to catch one. Mice constitute two-thirds of its 
food, but it is very fond of frogs and toads. In 
the 220 specimens which he examined, Dr. Fisher 
found the remains of creatures representing 
eleven classes of life. The food exhibit was 
made up as follows: 3 stomachs contained do- 
mestic fowls; 12, other birds; 102, mice; 40, 
other small mammals (16 species in all); 20, 
reptiles; 3, fish; 39, amphibians (frogs and toads); 

1 Bu'te-o lin-e-a'tus. Average length of male, 18 
inches; female, 20 inches. 



92, insects; 16, spiders; 7, crawfish, and 1, earth- 
worms. 

The service rendered by the Red-Shouldered 
Hawk consists chiefly in the destruction of mice 
and grasshoppers; and birds of all kinds are 
touched very lightly. This species inhabits 
eastern North America from Nova Scotia and 
Canada to the Gulf, and westward to the Plains. 
The Pacific coast contains a variety known as 
the Red-Bellied Hawk, which is quite as honest 
about poultry as the eastern species. 

The Sharp-Shinned Hawk 2 is a swift flyer, 
a keen hunter, and a great murderer of small 
birds. Like all the hawks, its upper surface is 
dark, and its lower surface light. Its tail is long, 
and has three or four narrow, dark-colored bands 
across it, far apart, with the widest band nearest 
to the end. The wings, back, upper neck sur- 
face and upper tail are all bluish-gray. The 
throat and under parts of the body are white, 
plentifully cross-barred with rusty brown. 

This is a small hawk, — next in size to the 
pigeon-hawk. Its beak seems rather small and 
weak, but its legs are long and its feet large, 
and these, backed up by swift flight and great 
courage and impudence, render this bird a winged 
terror. It hunts along fences like a dog hunting 
rabbits, and pursues song-birds into their thickets 
and out again. Its principal food is song-birds, 
and only at long intervals does it capture a mouse. 
This bird is rather too small to handle poultry 
with complete success. 

The complete list of the bird-remains found 
in 159 stomachs of Sharp-Shinned Hawks con- 
stitutes a tale of slaughtered innocents that is 
appalling. Six stomachs contained poultry, 
and 99 contained song-birds, woodpeckers and 
a few others. Only six contained mice, and 5, 
insects ; and 52 were empty. Of the wild birds, 
56 species were identified. There can be no 
question regarding the necessity for the destruc- 
tion of this bird, wherever it is found. It breeds 
throughout the entire United States, northward 
to the arctic circle, and southward to Guatemala. 
(Fisher.) In some localities it is quite abundant. 

Cooper's Hawk 3 is a companion in crime to 
the preceding species, and equally deserving an 

2 Ac-cip'i-ter vel'ox. Average length of male, 10.50 
inches; female, 13 inches. 

3 Ac-cip'i-ter cooperii. Average length of male, 
15.50 inches; female, 19 inches. 



TWO HAWKS TO BE DESTROYED 



231 



early and violent death. By a strange coinci- 
dence, it bears a strong resemblance to the sharp- 
shinned hawk, both in form and color, but it is a 
much larger bird. Leaving size out of consider- 
ation, it is difficult to describe in words the 
slight differences that exist between the two. 

Being a bird of strong and rapid flight, much 
strength and activity, and great boldness, it is well 
equipped for raiding poultry-yards, and carrying 
off almost anything except geese and turkeys. 
Of 133 stomachs examined by Dr. Fisher, 34 
contained poultry or game-birds; 52, other birds; 
11, mammals; 1, a frog; 3, lizards; 2, insects, 
and 39 were empty. The game-birds found were 
1 ruffed grouse, 8 emails and 5 pigeons. Alto- 
gether, 21 species of useful birds had been eaten, 
but only 4 mice, 1 rat and 1 grasshopper. 

No record could be much blacker than this, 
and Cooper's Hawk is a pest whose career de- 
serves to be ended by three drachms of powder 
and an ounce and a half of No. 6 shot, whenever 
opportunity offers. If gunners could only dis- 
criminate, the killing off of this species would 
make great sport for them; but the trouble is, 
many innocent birds would be killed by mistake. 

This bird inhabits the whole United States, 
but stops at the Canadian boundary, and goes 
south to southern Mexico. 

The American Goshawk 1 is to Canada 
and Alaska what Cooper's hawk is to the United 
States, — a wholesale destroyer of game-birds, 
serving no useful purpose whatever. To the 
unprotected flocks of ptarmigan it is a genuine 
scourge, and it merits destruction. Fortunately 
this hawk visits the United States only in winter, 
and even then is by no means numerous. Those 
who have had opportunities to observe it in 
action consider it the boldest and most audacious 
hawk in America. It has been known to seize 
a freshly killed chicken from the side of the farmer 
who had slain it for dinner, and also to follow a 
hen into a house, and seize it in the presence of 
its owner. (Fisher.) 

The length of the Goshawk is from 21 to 25 
inches. The top of its head is black, and its up- 
per surface is bluish-slate color. Its whole under 
surface is white, with many gray cross-bars, in 
addition to which it is lined up and down with 
short, black lines, rather far apart. The lower 
tail surface is crossed by four gray bands. 
1 Ac-cip'i-ter at-ri-cap'il-lus. 



The Marsh-Hawk 2 is essentially a prairie- 
hawk; and in the open and fertile uplands of 
the Mississippi valley, it is one of the most con- 
spicuous species. It loves farming regions 
wherein members of the Mouse Family are plenti- 
ful and cheap. In hunting it flies low, in a very 
business-like w r ay, just above the grain or tall 
grass, and its intentions are so apparent that 
the American farmer gave it credit for its good 
work, years before the true value of the once- 
despised "Hen-Hawk" became known. 

This hawk is not beautiful, either in form, 
color or movement. To me it always seems to 
have too much sail area for the size of its hull. 
Its adult color is drab, or bluish-gray, but the 




cooper's hawk. 

females and immature males are rusty brown, 
much like the red-shouldered hawk. However, 
this hawk can always be distinguished by the 
large white patch on the rump, just above the 
tail. 

One of the first facts about the nesting of hawks 
that comes to a Western farmer boy by personal 

2 Cir'cus hud-son' i-us . Average length, about 22 
inches. 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— BIRDS OF PREY 



observation is that the Marsh-Hawk nests on the 
ground, preferably in tall grass, in a nest that is 
anything but a workmanlike affair. When I 
found my first nest of this bird, — a patch of 
trampled grass in the head of a slough, with four 
big, downy nestlings wallowing around upon it, — 
the Marsh-Hawk fell several points in my esti- 
mation. 

This species ranges all the way from Alaska, 
Hudson's Bay and Ontario to Panama and Cuba. 
Regarding its value, Dr. Fisher has this to say: 

"The Marsh-Hawk is unquestionably one of 
the most beneficial as it is one of our most abun- 
dant hawks, and its presence and increase should 
be encouraged in every way possible, not only 




SWALLOW-TAILED KITE. 

by protecting it by law, but by disseminating a 
knowledge of the benefits it confers. It is prob- 
ably the most active and determined foe of 
meadow-mice and ground-squirrels, destroying 
greater numbers of these pests than any other 
species, and this fact alone should entitle it to 
protection, even if it destroyed no other injuri- 
ous animals." 

One hundred and twenty-four specimens of 
this species were examined, and the stomachs 
revealed the following contents. 57, mice; 27, 
other mammals; 34, birds; 14, insects; 7, poul- 



try or game-birds; 7, reptiles; 2, frogs; 1, un- 
known and 8 were empty. 

The Swallow-Tailed Kite, 1 or, as the boys of 
the prairies call it, the Forked-Tailed "Hawk," 

is in flight the most graceful bird I ever saw on 
the wing. No matter whether the sky be blue 
or gray, the snow-white head, neck and body, 
and glossy black tail and wings are sharply 
outlined in the heavens, drawing attention as a 
magnet draws nails. The bird is instantly iden- 
tified by its long and deeply V-shaped tail, and 
its striking colors, which divide evenly between 
themselves the under surface of the wing. 

In the golden days of boyhood, I saw scores 
of these birds in Iowa, but never saw one alight 
and perch, even for a moment. Several times we 
saw them with snakes in their talons, devour- 
ing them as they sailed through the air, and we 
also saw two or three seizures of prey. But it 
is the flight of this bird that makes the most 
lasting impression. In hunting and prospect- 
ing it never flies in a straight line, but always in 
graceful curves, and reverse curves, circles, 
parabolas, and spirals, like an expert skater 
"showing off." Its flight is indeed the poetry 
of motion in mid-air. 

Unfortunately, this beautiful bird is not 
of wide distribution in the North, for its real 
home is in the tropics. In the United States 
it migrates northward in April into Iowa, Min- 
nesota, Illinois, southern Michigan, and at rare 
intervals farther east and west to the Carolinas 
and the plains. So far as known, its food con- 
sists exclusively of small reptiles and large in- 
sects. 

This bird fitly represents the whole group 
of Kites, of which the White-Tailed Kite is the 
Pacific coast species. The Mississippi Kite in- 
habits the Gulf states, and the Everglade Kite 
reaches our country only in Florida. 

THE VULTURE FAMILY. 

Cathartidae. 

This Family ranks at the bottom of the list 
of the birds of prey, because its members are 
less intelligent, less active and resourceful in 
obtaining their food, and less able to take care of 
themselves than the hawks and owls. Although 

1 El-a-noi'des for-fi-ca'tus. Average length, about 
23 inches. 



THE KITES AND VULTURES 



233 



not so highly developed as the hawks, the vult- 
ures serve a most useful purpose in the economy 
of Nature, and exhibit some traits that are really 
wonderful. The broad-minded student will not 
turn from these birds with aversion merely be- 



seen the Common Turkey Vulture 1 sailing 
and circling on wide-spread but motionless pin- 
ions, so high in the heavens that its distance 
from the earth seemed to be two miles or more. 
Clearly, these aerial promenades, often con- 



cause their heads are bare, and they feed on dead tinned until the observer is weary of watchil 









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Photographed by E. P. Keller, National Zoological Park. 

CALIFORNIA VULTURE. 



food. Their heads are naked for professional 
reasons. 

Two things about vultures are particularly 
striking. One is the enormous heights to which 
they soar, the other is their marvellous quick- 
ness in discovering the body of a dead animal. 
Many times, in clear summer weather, I have 



them, are taken for pleasure. One great circle 
succeeds another in a series that seems unend- 
ing, but all the while the wings are as motion- 
less as if wired in position. On such occasions, 
even a homely and unlovely Buzzard can become 

1 Ca-thar'tes au'ra. Average length, about 29 
inches. 



234 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— BIRDS OF PREY 



an object of admiration, and a reminder of 
William Toll's Alpine eagle, which — for senti- 
mental reasons, only — he "could not shoot." 

" His broad, expanded wings 
Lay calm and motionless upon the air, 
As if he floated there without their aid, 
By the sole act of his unlorded will, 
That buoyed him proudly up." 

The flight of the Vulture, by which it gains 
enormous heights without any serious exertion 
after getting well clear of the earth, is an inter- 
esting illustration of what a perfect areodrome 
might accomplish if it could flap its wings for a 
lofty rise, sail with abundant wing-power, and 
be intelligently guided. Beyond doubt, the 
bird keeps aloft by properly utilizing the lifting 
power of air-currents. 

By a strange coincidence, the bird which flies 
highest and longest, and soars most majestically, 
is also the bird of lowest tastes on the earth. 
Although it has strong talons and a strong beak, 
it kills nothing, and feeds upon dead animals. 
In every country on earth, vultures are treated 
as highly useful creatures. In the tropics, 
where their services really are of great value, 
they are fully protected by law. 

The species found farthest north, with a bright- 
red head and neck, is the Turkey Vulture, and 
it ranges across the continent from the plains 
of the Saskatchewan to Patagonia. 

The Black Vulture, 1 marked by a head and 
plumage which is perfectly black, is seldom seen 
in the northern portions of the United States, 
but is abundant in the Gulf states, and south- 
ward far down into South America. In ap- 
pearance this bird is most funereal. It is a 
smaller bird than the turkey vulture, but does 
not fly so well, and flaps its wings oftener. 
Around the cities of the South it is a great 
domestic economist and labor-saver. 

In Bombay, India, the Parsees expose their 
dead in two great, shallow, open-topped towers, 
called the Towers of Silence, and the vultures 
regularly devour them, — all except the bones, 
which fall down into a central pit. 

The California Vulture, or California 
"Condor," 3 is, among naturalists, the most 

» Cath-ar-is'ta ur'u-bu. Average length, about 25 
inches. 
2 Gym' no-gyps calif ornianus. 



celebrated bird of this Family, partly because 
it is our largest bird of prey, and also because 
of its great rarity. The " collectors" are certain 
to exterminate it in a very few years. Its ap- 
pearance depends upon its attitude. With its 
wings spread, it is a grand bird; but with them 
closed its personality is far less impressive. On 
the wing, in the wild, rocky fastnesses of its na- 
tive mountains, those who have seen it there say it 
is a grand and imposing object, and it is not to 
be wondered at that its pursuit is quite as ex- 
citing as the chase of the big-horn. 




E. F. Keller, Photo., National Zoological Park. 
YOUNG CALIFORNIA VULTURE. 

Mrs. Florence Merriam Bailey 3 gives the fol- 
lowing as the dimensions of this bird: "Length, 
44 to 5.5 inches; wing-spread, Si to nearly 11 
feet; weight, 20 to 25 pounds. Distribution: 
coast ranges of southern California from Mon- 
terey Bay south to Lower California, and east 
to Arizona." 

This great Vulture breeds in the most inac- 
cessible crags it can find, but of course collectors 
find it. In 1894, Mr. Stephens actually encoun- 
tered a flock of twenty-six of these magnificent 

3 "Handbook of Birds of the Western United 
States," p. 144. 




Photo, by E. R. Sanborn, N\ Y. Zoological Park. 



THE CONDOR. 



236 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— BIRDS OF PREY 



birds. For three years, a very fine specimen 
has lived in the National Zoological Park, at 
Washington, shut up at night in an elevated sleep- 
ing-box. In the morning when liberated in its 
enclosure, it perches aloft, spreads its wings 
and holds them out to catch the sun's rays, in 
true vulture fashion. 

Largest of all the Birds of Prey is the Condor 1 
of the Andes, a bird of lofty home but lowly hab- 
its. In the Andes of Chili and Peru, its range is 
from 9,000 to 16,000 feet above the sea, and it 
not only feeds upon dead guanacos and vicunias, 
horses and other domestic animals, but it also 
ventures to attack living calves and old horses 

1 Sar-co-rham' pus gry'phus. Length of male, 4S 
inches; spread of wings, Si to 9J feet. 



that are almost incapable of defence. Condors 
are so easily captured alive that the zoological 
gardens of the world are always well stocked 
with them. 

By nature the Condor is a peace-loving bird, 
and for two years visitors to the New York Zoo- 
logical Park have witnessed the strange spectacle 
of the world's largest bird of prey — the fine adult 
male shown in the accompanying plate — living 
in the great Flying Cage in peace and harmony 
with about eighty flamingoes, herons, egrets, 
ibises, ducks, other water-birds and various land- 
birds. Encouraged by the success of the Condor 
experiment, a large griffon vulture has been 
added to the "happy family," with very satis- 
factory results. 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE ORDER OF PIGEONS AND DOVES 

COLUMBAE 



The Passenger Pigeon 1 was until very re- 
cently only a bird of history; and, until 1899, it 
was regarded as a species practically extinct. 
The men who lived in the Mississippi Valley forty 
years ago remember the flocks that flew swiftly 
over the farms, sometimes fifty and sometimes 
two hundred or more birds together. It was a 
wonderful sight to see the perfect mechanical 
precision with which they kept together, wheel- 
ing and circling in as perfect formation as the 
slats of a Venetian blind. 

This very rare bird is much larger than a dove. 
Its color is bluish above, and reddish-brown 
underneath, and the feathers of its neck have 
a rich metallic lustre. Its tail is long and -pointed, 
and its feet and legs are red. It never was 
found in the far West, and never will be. The 
pigeon of the Pacific coast is a totally different 
species. 

In the early days, Ohio seemed to be the cen- 
tre of abundance of this bird, and the accounts 
that have been written of that period relate how 
the Pigeons sat so thickly upon the trees that 
branches were broken by their weight; how 
they covered the earth when they alighted in 
the fields to feed, and darkened the sky when 
they flew. 

As usual, that great abundance of wild life 

Wisconsin, Milton 1891 to '99 

Canada, Ft. QuAppelle July, 1898 

Illinois, Edinburg " 

Kentucky, Caldwell Co Oct., " 

Michigan, Ann Arbor Oct., " 

Wisconsin, Lime Ridge April, 1899 

Indiana, Sullivan May, " 

Ohio, Litchfield April, " 

Wisconsin, Amherst " " 

Illinois, Chadwick Oct., " 

Wisconsin, Milwaukee " " 

" Norway May, " 

Manitoba, Southern " 

New York, Willsville Sept., " 

Canada, Three Riveis Dec, 1S99 

New York, Willowemoc Nov., " 

Minnesota, Dumont July, " 

Michigan, Lowell 1900 



provoked great slaughter. Migrating Pigeons 
were killed by wholesale methods. While breed- 
ing they were attacked in their nesting-places, 
and in an incredibly short time the great flocks 
vanished. As in the case of the blotting out of 
the great northern buffalo-herd, in 1884, many 
persons have wondered, and do still, whether the 
great flocks of Pigeons have not migrated, and 
found a permanent home elsewhere. There is not 
a single fact on which to base either belief or sup- 
position that the Passenger Pigeon exists abun- 
dantly in Mexico, Central America or elsewhere. 
Among naturalists, the blotting out of this 
interesting species has been a source of sincere 
regret. As usual, no one thought of protecting 
it until it was entirely too late. But it seems 
as if we are to be given another opportunity to 
count this bird in our avifauna. Beginning 
about 1891, a few small flocks began to appear 
in the United States, first four or five birds to- 
gether, and then larger flocks. Mr. George O. 
Shields, Editor of Recreation Magazine, has 
carefully sought out and published the details of 
every Pigeon occurrence that came to his knowl- 
edge. Up to January, 1901, the following ob- 
servations of the occurrence of Passenger 
Pigeons were reported in the magazine mentioned 
above : 

. .Several annually Recreation 



flock, 
birds. 



...A 
.. 3 
. 30 " 
.200 " 
.100 " 
. 25 " 
. 150 " 
.100 " 
. 50 " 
. 17 " 
.200 " 
.A few" 
. 10 " 
. 1 bird 
. 200 bird; 
. 45 " 
. 40 " 



Sept. 


, 1899 


Dec, 


1898. 


May, 


1899. 


Feb., 


" 


Apr., 
Julv, 




June, 




Aug., 


" 


Sept. 


" 



Jan., 1900. 
Feb., " 

It U 

Dec, " 



1 Ec-to-pis'tes mi-gra-to'ri-vs. 



Average length, about 16 inches. 
237 



238 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PIGEONS AND DOVES 



The latest and most gratifying information 
on this subject is contained in a letter dated Nov. 
9, 1903, transmitted by Mr. Shields. In Penn- 
sylvania, in a locality that shall be nameless here, 
three flocks of Passenger Pigeons, containing 
in all about 300 birds, have been feeding for three 
weeks on the farm of a sportsman and nature- 
lover who is protecting them. 




!&*'•' ■ 



THE BAND-TAILED PIGEON. 

So it seems that our old friend is striving to 
ignore the black record of the past, and come 
back to us, to live and breed. Wherever it elects 
to be seen, or to breed, it should be accorded the 
most thorough protection, both by public sen- 
timent, and by law. 

The Band-Tailed Pigeon, 1 of the Pacific 
states from British Columbia to Guatemala, 
and eastward to the Rocky Mountains, yet ex- 
ists in fair abundance, and it is earnestly hoped 
that it never will be annihilated without reason 
or mercy, as was the sad fate of its eastern rela- 

1 Co-lum'ba fas-ci-a'ta. Average length, 15 inches. 



tive. Wherever found it should be accorded 
legal protection, without delay. 

This fine bird is conspicuously marked by a 
white collar around its neck, and a square-ended 
tail which terminates with a dull-white band from 
one to two inches wide. The head and under 
parts are purplish-pink, fading downward to a 
lighter color. The back is brownish-gray, fad- 
ing out toward the tail into a dull-blue tone. 

This Pigeon subsists upon acorns, seeds and 
berries, and attracts attention to itself by its 
noisy flight. Its strange vocal utterances are 
graphically described by Mrs. Florence Merriam 
Bailey : 

"If you follow the pigeons to their breeding- 
grounds in some remote canyon you will be 
struck by the owl-like hooting that fills the place, 
and you will locate the sound here and there 
along the sides of the canyon at dead tree-tops, 
in each of which a solitary male is sunning him- 
self, at intervals puffing out his breast and hoot- 
ing. The hooting varies considerably. Some- 
times it is a calm whoo'-hoo-hoo, whoo'-hoo-hoo, 
at others a spirited hoop-ah-whoo' , and again 
a two-syllabled lohoo'-ugh, made up of a short, 
hard hoot and a long coo, as if the breath was 
sharply expelled for the first note and drawn in 
for the second." ("Handbook," p. 139.) 

To me the Mourning-Dove 2 has always 
seemed like a sacred bird ; and although I could 
have killed thousands, I never took the life of 
one. When a very small boy at my mother's 
knee, she related to me the story of the winged 
messenger which Noah sent out of the ark, over 
the waste of waters, to look for real estate. She 
told me that Doves were innocent and harm- 
less little birds, and that I must never harm 
one in the least. Had my good mother issued 
an injunction covering the whole animal king- 
dom, I think I would have grown up as harm- 
less to animals as any Hindoo ; for her solemn 
charge regarding Doves has always seemed as 
binding as one of the ten commandments. 

1 mention this in order to point out to mothers 
the far-reaching extent of their pow r er in behalf 
of our wild creatures, and the vast influence 
which they can easily wield in behalf of birds 
and mammals in sore need of protection. Is it 
not a good thing to teach all boys that it is rnor- 

2 Ze-na-i-du'ra ma-crou'ra. Average length, 12 
inches. 




MOURNING-DOVE. 



240 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— PIGEONS AND DOVES 



ally wrong (which it is!) to kill wild creatures 
without reason, mercy and common-sense? 

The Mourning-Dove received its " given " name 
from the mournful sound of its call-notes. Its 
sad-voiced "Coo, coo, coo," suggests moaning, 
and, next to the awful, storm-beaten wail of the 
screech-owl, it is, under certain conditions, 
the most doleful sound uttered by an American 
bird. I knew one sensitive woman who was 
so affected by the daily "mourning" of a neigh- 
boring Dove that she begged a sportsman to 
frighten it away. 

Another peculiar fact about this bird is the 
strange musical note that is sounded by the 
vibration of its wings. As the bird springs from 
the ground in flight, or wings its way overhead, 
the pulsations of its wings give forth a ringing, 
metallic sound, like the twanging of a tight wire. 

This Dove loves country roads, more than any 
other bird, and to those who love beautiful 
things, its exquisitely moulded form and im- 
maculate plumage is always a pleasing touch of 
Nature. One might as well try to describe in 
words the colors in a fire opal as those of this 
bird. There is pink iridescence, and brownish, 
and grayish, and blackish, and other shades too 
numerous to mention, but the combination baf- 
fles description. 

This Dove breeds throughout the United 
States from the international boundary to the 
Gulf, and migrates as far south as Panama. In 
California it is now counted as a "game-bird," 
and killed by sportsmen, and in the South also 
it is killed by the negroes for food. A great 
"game-bird" this, truly! A genuine sportsman 
must be very hard pressed for gun victims when 
he can seriously call this tamest of all birds 
"game." And can any farmer in his senses 
afford the expense of having Doves shot on his 
farm, or in his neighborhood? Let us see. 

When the Biological Survey of the Depart- 



ment of Agriculture took up the case of the 
Mourning-Dove, and examined the stomachs of 
237 specimens, the summary of results proved 
that as a weed-destroyer this bird is one of the 
most valuable in North America. Weed-seeds 
constitute 04 per cent of its food, all the year 
round, with little monthly variations. In order to 
arrive at an exact determination, the seeds in 
three stomachs were carefully identified and 
counted. One contained the following: 

Orange hawkweed (Hieracium au- 

rantiacum) 4,820 seeds. 

Slender paspalum {Paspalum seta- 

ceurn) 2,600 " 

Hoary vervain (Verbena stricta) .. . 950 " 

Panicum 620 " 

Carolina crancsbill (Geranium caro- 

linianum) 120 " 

Yellow wood-sorrel (Oxalis stricta). 50 " 

Miscellaneous weeds 40 " 



9,200 



The second specimen of the three contained 
6,400 seeds of the farmers' ancient and persistent 
enemy, fox-tail (Chactocloa), while the third 
turned out 7,500 seeds of the yellow wood-sorrel. 
The grand total of weed-seeds for those three 
Doves was 23,100! And this for only one day's 
supply. Assuming that those three Doves had 
been killed as "game" by some "sportsman (!)," 
previous to their meal, and those seeds had pro- 
duced 23,100 weeds, how much would it have cost 
in labor at $1.50 per day to destroy them? 

Besides the 64 per cent of weed-seeds in the 
237 stomachs, there was found 32 per cent of 
grain, but of this three-fourths was waste grain, 
gleaned in the fields after harvest. 

Whoever does aught for the protection of 
Doves, does well ; and a word to the wise is suf- 
ficient. 



CHAPTER XXIII 



THE ORDER OF UPLAND GAME-BIRDS 

OALLINAE 

It is natural that a country possessing the at all. If any species becomes so rare that it is 
wide diversity of uplands that exists in the threatened with extinction, stop killing it, and 
United States should possess a great variety of take measures for its complete protection until 
ground-dwelling birds. In response to the in- it has had time to recover. Above all, never 
viting fields and forests, plains and mountains, — engage in a "side-hunt," which is a wholesale 
cold and warm, wet and dry, — the birds of the slaughter of wild creatures "for points," and 
Order Gallinae have greatly multiplied, both in never tolerate one in your neighborhood. Side- 
number and in species. hunting should be prevented, at the muzzle of 

It is no wonder that men and boys like to breech-loaders, if necessary, 
hunt upland game-birds; and when the con- Some of the most interesting hunting expe- 
ditions are properly observed, it is right that they riences ever recorded have been in hunting game- 
should do so. The natural death of a game- birds with the camera. If space were available, 
bird or quadruped is by shot or bullet, from the it would be a pleasure to record here the names 
gun of a true hunter, who hunts only at the prop- of some of those who have made beautiful pict- 
er time, in a fair manner, and kills sparingly. ures of ruffed grouse, pinnated grouse, wood- 
Wherever game-birds are most plentiful, each cock, ptarmigan and many other species. A 
hunter is in honor bound to kill only a small fine bird photograph is a joy forever, but a bag- 
number, and give others a chance. ful of dead birds disappears in an hour. 

If you arc a boy, or man, don't be a "game- The table below affords a bird's-eye view of this 

hog!" Shoot like a gentleman, or don't shoot Order as it exists north of Mexico: 

FAMILIES. GROUPS. EXAMPLES. 

I Virginia "Quail," or Bob-White. 
1 California Mountain " Quail." 
Quail 1 and Partridges: . . ( California Valley " Quail." 

Mearns' Partridge. 
ri i i; a v Scaled Partridge. 

2 • 1 J / Ruffed Grouse. 

-! J J Grouse Family: . . . \ _ J Canada Grouse. 

i-J x / i Grouse: ( Pinnated Grouse. 

j | / TET-BA-ON'l-DAE. J Sharp-Tailed Grouse. 

jS ^, \ f \ Sage-Grouse. 

q/ 5 § v Ptarmigan: Willow Ptarmigan. 

o z I „ /Turkeys: Wild-Turkey. 

£ I Pheasant Family: . . \ 

q J phas-i-an'i-dae. / , Ring-Necked Pheas- 

Pheasants: ) ant. f Intro- 

All of the Old World only. \ Golden Pheasant. C duced. 

' Silver Pheasant. / 

1 By technical writers the name " quail " is now case. The good old name " quail " is so universally 
considered as applying only to the members of a known that no power on earth could supplant it, 
group of Old-World birds, much smaller than our and in a work of this kind it would be folly to ignore 
quails; and our quails are called " partridges," be- it in favor of " partridge," even though the latter be 
cause they are related to the Old- World birds of more correct, 
that name. But this is only another " buffalo " 

241 



242 



OEDEKS OF BIEDS— UPLAND GAME-BIEDS 




BOB-WHITE. 

As the preceding diagram shows, there are no 
true pheasants in America save those that have 
been introduced from China and Japan. All 
the birds to which that name correctly applies 
inhabit the Old World. 

THE GROUSE FAMILY. 

Tetraonidae. 
Our dear old friend the Common " Quail " is 
now called Bob-White l in all the modern bird- 
books, but to about fifty million Americans it 
is yet, and ever will be, the Quail. It is our 
longest-known and most widely known Ameri- 
can game-bird, and it is almost wholly a United 
States bird. It is at home from Maine and Flor- 
ida to Texas, the western border of Oklahoma 
and South Dakota. In very many eastern lo- 
calities, however, it has been almost exterminated 
by excessive shooting, and during the past ten 
years, Mr. Charles Payne, of Wichita, Kansas, 
has caught and shipped east fully hvo million 
live quail for use in restocking quailless game- 

1 Co-li'nus virginianus. Average length, 10 inches. 



preserves. The extermination of desirable spe- 
cies always costs money. 

The call of this bird is one of the most cheer- 
ful sounds in nature, and for carrying qualities 
it is far-reaching. From the heart of a hazel 
thicket one hears his loud, shrill whistle, saying 
"CLERK-*/ CLERK-*/ CLERK-*/" until 
everything rings again. On the hurricane deck 
of a high stump, or the top rail of a fence, he 
poises himself, points his bill at the sky, swells 
out his white throat and whistles long and loud, 
"Bob! bob! WHI-EET!" But the feathered 
rascal knows very well when the close season is 
on; and when the "law is off" he sings very 
small. 

That many men enjoy Quail shooting is no 
cause for wonder or reproach. The birds he 
close in the edge of the brush until the dogs 
are ready to tread upon them, when " Burr-r-r-r! " 
the covey explodes in the air like a bomb, the 
gray and brown fragments fly in half a dozen 
directions, and the young sportsman is so "rat- 
tled" he is almost sure to miss. A well-scared 
Quail is no easy mark. 

Quail are rapid breeders, and in protected 
localities they increase rapidly. A good bird- 
law in Kansas has resulted in bringing back the 
vanished flocks, to a surprising extent. Un- 
fortunately, however, it is not possible to breed 
Quail in large numbers in confinement, even 
with a quarter section of land for the experi- 
ment. 







CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN PARTRIDGE. 

The flesh of this bird is a great table delicacy, — 
provided it has not been kept in cold storage. A 
cold-storage Quail is as good to the taste as a 
chunk of pressed sawdust, but no better; and 



THE BOB-WHITE AND CALIFORNIA "QUAILS" 



243 



as human food an eminent New York physician, 
Dr. Robert T. Morris, pronounces it unwhole- 
some and dangerous. In flavor, cold-storage 
Quail is far inferior to fresh chicken or turkey. 
In a court of law, a cooked Quail can easily be 
identified from squab, reed-bird, "rail-bird" 
and many others by the fact that the meat on 
its breast is white, while all the others wear dark 
meat. 

The California Mountain "Quail," or 
Mountain Partridge, 1 is a bird of most pleas- 
ing appearance, which inhabits California, Ore- 
gon and Washington. Wherever protected it is 
spreading rapidly in the settled portions of the 
Northwest. It loves moist regions, wherein the 
rainfall is abundant. This is the bird with a 
black throat, a white crescent running down 
from the eye, two rows of white markings on 
each side, and a long, drooping plume on its 
head running back on the same curve as the 
forehead. This bird goes in small flocks, of ten 
to twenty, hides well, and is not easily flushed 
without a dog. 

The Valley "Quail," or Valley Partridge, 2 is 
the bird of the Pacific coast which has the very 
jaunty, erect black plume, rising from the top 
of its head and gracefully curving forward. Its 
color markings are rich and beautiful, but not 
gaudy, and in form as well as color, it is very 
handsome. In fact, it is the most beautiful of 
all our small upland game-birds. It inhabits 
Oregon, Nevada, the whole of California and the 
Lower California peninsula, and in some places 
ascends the mountains to 9,000 feet. It has been 
acclimatized in Utah, and there are many other 
localities in which it might well be introduced. 

This partridge is the most widely distributed 
and frequently seen game-bird in California, not- 
only in the mountains, but also in the cultivated 
valleys, everywhere, and even in Golden Gate 
Park, San Francisco. It breeds readily in con- 
finement in the New York Zoological Park, and 
when safe from rats is not difficult to keep. 

The Mearns' Partridge, 3 of Mexico, western 
Texas and southern New Mexico and Arizona, 
must be mentioned because it is too odd and 



1 Or-e-or'tyx pic'tus. Average length, 11 inches. 

2 Lo-phor'tyx californicus. Average length, 9 
inches. 

3 Cyr-to'nyx mon-te-zu'mae mearnsi. Average 
length, 8.50 inches. 



striking in appearance to be ignored. It may 
be known by the numerous large white spots on 
the sides of its body just below the wings, and 
its harlequin head of black and white bars and 
collars. It is of great interest to Americans re- 
siding in Mexico, and many attempts have been 
made to acclimatize it in captivity in the Uniter 1 
States. I once had in my possession two of these 
birds whose white spots had been artificially 
changed by some enterprising Mexican to a beau- 
tiful golden-yellow color. Until the trick was 
discovered, the birds were quite a puzzle, for the 




CALIFORNIA VALLEY PARTRIDGE. 

fact that they had been dyed was not proven 
until they moulted. 

The Ruffed Grouse 4 is the dandy of Ameri- 
can game-birds. In various places it is called 
by various names, some of which are mischiev- 
ously confusing. By many persons it is called a 
"Pheasant," and by others a "Partridge"; 
but both these names are entirely incorrect, and 
when applied to this bird create confusion. Of- 
ten it is impossible to converse understanding^ 
about this bird without first defining boundaries, 
and coming to an agreement regarding the names 
"Pheasant" and "Partridge." Now that a 
real pheasant (the ring-necked) has been intro- 
duced from China into many portions of the 
United States, it is all the more imperative that 

,] Bo-na'sa um-bel'lus. Average length, 16 inches. 



244 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— UPLAND GAME-BIRDS 



the Ruffed Grouse should be called by that name, 
and no other! It is called "Ruffed" because of 
the ruff of feathers that it wears just in front of 
its shoulders, and under the name "Redruff" 
this bird has been most charmingly introduced 
by Mr. Ernest Thompson Seton to many thou- 
sand readers who never had known it previously. 
This Grouse is in every respect a forest-bird. 
Its ideal home is mixed forest of hardwood and 
coniferous trees, with the white-tailed deer and 




EASTERN RUFFED GROUSE. 

gray squirrel for company. Its home extends 
from Massachusetts and northern New York to 
northern Georgia, and westward very sparingly 
bej'ond the Mississippi to the Dakotas. Besides 
being beautiful, it is a bird of interesting habits, 
and its flesh is entirely too fine for its own good. 
In size it is smaller than the pinnated grouse, or 
prairie-chicken, but in intelligence it is second 
to no other grouse living. 

The prevailing color of the Ruffed Grouse is 
rusty brown, but the mottlings of black, gray 
and white defy intelligent description. Open 
or shut, the tail is a dream — cross-barred, band- 
ed and mottled most exquisitely. It is no 
wonder that the male bird is fond of strutting, 
with spread tail; but besides this it has a still 
more effective means of attracting the female. 
It perches on a log, secures a good grip with its 
feet, then beats the air with its wings until you 
hear at the end of the performance a long, quiv- 
ering resonance disturbing the solitude, like 
beating upon a Hindoo tom-tom. 

The beats start slowly, but quickly increase in 
rapidity to the end, thus: " Dum!-dum!-dum!- 
dum-dum-dumdumdumdum." The bird does not 



beat the log, and it does not beat its own sides. 
Thoreau declares that its wings strike together 
behind its back! This "drumming" of the 
Ruffed Grouse is heard oftenest in spring, and 
is a. signal to the female ; but it is also heard oc- 
casionally in summer and autumn. 

This Grouse is a strong flier, and gets up be- 
fore the hunter with such a tremendous "burr- 
r-r-r" of wings, and goes off so explosively, that 
it takes a quick eye and hand to bring it down. 
It can dash off through timber like a feathered 
rocket, dodging trees and branches, and zig- 
zaging in all directions leading away from danger, 
with a degree of speed and certainty that is really 
marvellous. No wonder the young hunter who 
kills one, fairly and squarely, feels proud of his 
skill, and hastens away to have the trophy 
mounted for his den. 

Unfortunately, in most eastern states, where 
the Ruffed Grouse should hold its own for a hun- 
dred years, this bird is doomed to complete ex- 
tinction — unless its sale for the table is immedi- 
ately and effectually stopped! So long as it is 
lawful to sell it, pot-hunters will shoot it, and 
snare it, in season and out of season, as "food" 
for the already over-fed patrons of fashionable 
hotels and restaurants of the large cities. As 
food for the hungry, this beautiful bird is not 
needed in the least. As a means of inducing 
thousands of brain-weary men to take health- 
ful exercise in the woods, it will serve a highly 
useful and important purpose — if not meanly 
and foolishly exterminated. 

The following subspecies, closeh r related to 
the typical Ruffed Grouse, are found in North 
America : 

The Oregon, or Sabine's Grouse, is found on 
the mountains of the Pacific coast, west of the 
Coast Range, from northern British Columbia 
to California. This species possesses rich red 
plumage, and is quite beautiful. 

The Canadian Ruffed Grouse belongs to 
Canada and Maine, but in the Northwest it 
ranges south of the international boundary. 
The Gray Ruffed Grouse inhabits the Rocky 
Mountains from the Yukon to Colorado. 

The Dusky Grouse ' is a conspicuous type 
which inhabits the Rocky Mountains from 
Idaho and Montana to Arizona. Its other 

1 Den-drag' a-pus obscu'rus. Average length of 
male, about 21 inches; female, IS inches. 



THE RUFFED GROUSE, AND OTHERS 



245 



names are Blue, Pine, and Gray Grouse, and 

also Pine-Hen. I first saw it alive in the 
Shoshone Mountains, while skirting a very 
steep mountain-side in search of mountain- 
sheep. The stunted pines that struggle with 
the slide-rock for existence, were not more than 
thirty feet high, but in them perched, dan- 
gerously near the ground, this handsome slaty- 
blue Grouse. Its nearest neighbors were the 
mountain - sheep, elk, magpie, Clarke's nut- 
cracker, and golden eagle. 

This fine bird ranges up to timber-line, but 
loves rough mountain-sides that are partially 
covered with pines, cedars and firs. It usually 
lives alone, but sometimes forms very small 
flocks. The crop of a specimen which I shot 
was stuffed full of fresh, green pine needles, 
some of them two inches long. At that time, 
however, the snow was a foot deep. 

This bird is recognizable by the broad, white 
band across the end of its tail, and its slaty- 
blue color. From Alaska to California is found 
a subspecies, very much like the preceding, 
called the Sooty Grouse. From western Mon- 
tana to the Coast Range in Oregon and Wash- 
ington, and northward to Alaska, is found the 
Franklin Grouse, known very generall}- as the 
"Fool Hen." because it trusts too much to 
man's humanity, and often finds itself a victim 
of misplaced confidence. This is one of the 
last American birds to learn that man is a very 
dangerous animal, and often devoid both of 
mercy and of appreciation of the beautiful in 
bird-life. 

The Canada Grouse, 1 also called the Spruee- 
Grouse and Black " Partridge," is, as its most 
acceptable name implies, the grouse of Canada 
and the Northwest. It has the widest range of 
any American member of the Grouse Family, — 
from the Alaskan Peninsula southeastward to 
northern Minnesota, Michigan, New York and 
New England. It inhabits the evergreen forests 
of that vast region, usually in very small flocks. 
It does not really migrate, but by reason of 
seasonal changes which affect its food supply, 
it often shifts from one locality to another. (D. 
G. Elliot.) 

In many localities it is known as the "Fool 
Hen," — a name which is applied in various 

1 Ca-nach'i-tes canadensis can-a' ce. Length, about 
It inches. 



places to several other species. Man is so con- 
scious of his own insensate destructiveness, and 
so accustomed to seeing all wild creatures fly in 
terror before his baneful presence, he naturally 
feels that any bird which trusts its life to his 
tender mercies, and does not live in constant 
fear of him, must indeed be a feathered fool! 
For some strange reason, several members of the 
Grouse Family arc surprisingly slow to com- 
prehend man's true nature, and acquire the 
flight instinct, which most other species learn by 
experience in a few generations of contact with 
the Universal Killer. 

The male Canada Grouse is readily recognized 
by its black breast and throat, and black tail, 
which handsomely set off the barred gray back 
and sides. 

The Pinnated Grouse, or Prairie-Chicken,'- 
lives chiefly in the memories of those who from 
I860 to 1875 were " Western men," or boys. At 
that time, Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, and 
the states adjoining, were the "West." Rail- 
roads were few, all guns were muzzle-loaders, 
and the game-dealers of Chicago were not 
stretching out their deadly tentacles, like so 
many long-armed octopi, to suck the last drop 




CANADA GROUSE. 

of wild-game blood from prairie and forest. 
The "market-shooter" was a species of game- 
butcher then unknown, and the beautiful, fer- 
tile prairies, and prairie-farms of Illinois, Wis- 
consin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and 

2 Tym-pa-nu'chus americanus. Average length of 
male. IS inches. 



246 



OKDERS OF BIRDS— UPLAND GAME-BIRDS 



Nebraska were well stocked with Prairie-Chick- 
ens. 

In spring they courted openly, and even 
proudly. The cocks strutted, and inflated the 
bare, salmon-yellow air-sacs on the sides of their 
necks, bowed low, and " Boo-hoo-hooed ! " 
until the sound rolled over the bare earth in 
great waves. Then they scattered, to nest and 
rear their young. In summer, they hid them- 
selves closely; and no self-respecting farmer 



early spring, and the long, flaming days of July 
and August. If the farmers only had been far- 
sighted, and diligent in protecting for their all- 
too-scanty recreation, and for their own tables, 
the game that was theirs, they might have had 
Prairie-Chickens to hunt for a century. 

But the game-devouring octopi began to 
reach out, from Water Street, Chicago, and 
from New York and Boston. An army of men 
began to "shoot for the market," and the Pin- 




PINNATED GROUSE, OR PRAIRIE-CHICKEN. 



dreamed of such a low act as killing one, or 
meddling with a nest. 

In the fall, after the harvesting, and just 
before the corn-cutting and corn-husking, the 
young broods were ready to fly, and the flocks 
began to gather. They first ranged through 
the wheat and oat stubble, gleaning; and the 
sport they furnished there, — dear me! Those 
were the golden days of life on a prairie-farm. 
The flocks of Pinnated Grouse and quail were 
the rightful heritage of the boys and men who 
toiled in the fields through the raw cold of 



nated Grouse and quail began to "go east," 
by the barrel. Some markets were so glutted, 
time after time, that unnumbered barrels of 
dead birds spoiled. That was before the days 
of cold storage. 

The efforts that were made to stop that 
miserable business were feeble to the point of 
imbecility; and absolutely nothing permanent 
was accomplished. Had farmers generally 
stopped all shooting on their farms, as every 
farmer should, the war on those birds would 
have stopped also ; but the barn was not locked 



PINNATED AND SAGE GROUSE 



247 



until after the horse had been stolen. A species 
destroyed is rarely regained. 

To-day, the Prairie-Chicken is to be numbered 
with the buffalo and passenger-pigeon. It is 
so nearly extinct that only a few flocks remain, 
the most of which are in Kansas and Nebraska. 
If hunting them with dogs continues, five years 
hence the species will probably be quite extinct. 



Even as late as 1S74, many birds were killed 
every winter by flying against the telegraph 
wires along the railways. 

The Prairie Sharp-Tailed Grouse 2 inhabits 
the Great Plains, from the states bordering the 
Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains. It is the 
plains counterpart of the pinnated grouse, and 
like it, is rapidly disappearing before the set- 




■~£ 



SAGE-GROUSE. 



It is useless to describe this bird. The 
chances are that no reader of this book ever will 
see one outside of a museum, or a large zoological 
garden. 1 The great flocks of from one to three 
hundred that from 1860 to 1875 were seen in 
winter in the Iowa cornfields, are gone forever. 

1 During the first four years of its existence, the 
N. Y. Zoological Park was able to secure only four 
living specimens. 



tlements that are fast filling up its home. The 
neck of the male lacks the side tuft of long, 
pointed feathers and the naked air-sac so con- 
spicuous on the male pinnated grouse. 

To-day, this bird is seldom seen in the open 
sage-brush plains and bad lands of Montana 
and Wyoming, but is occasionally found in or 

2 Ped-i-oe-ce'tes phas-i-an-el'lus cam-pes'tris. Av- 
erage length, about 17 inches. 



248 



ORDERS OF BIEDS— UPLAND GAME-BIRDS 



near the foot-hills of the Rocky and Big Horn 
Mountains. When flushed, it makes the mis- 
take of its life in alighting in the low, isolated 
cottonwood-trees that straggle along the creeks, 
for when thus perched it takes a strong man to 
resist the temptation to cut off its head with a 
rifle ball, — or try to do so. This bird will fly 
out of the most impregnable cover, and perch 
aloft to be shot at in a manner indicating a 
total absence of the most ordinary instinct of 
self-preservation. 

The Sage -Grouse, or " Cock - of - the- 
Plains," 1 is a superb bird — big, handsome 
and showy. It is one of the very few creatures 
which can eat with pleasure and benefit the 
leaves of the common sage-brush, and subsist 
upon that food indefinitely. Naturally, how- 
ever, this diet often imparts to the flesh of the 
bird an excess of sage flavor which renders it 
quite unpalatable. On this fact alone, the Sage- 
Grouse can base a hope of a better fate than that 
of its more edible relatives in the Grouse Family. 

Of the realty conspicuous members of the 
Plains fauna, — buffalo, antelope, elk, coyote, 
gray wolf, swift fox, jack "rabbit," prairie- 
"dog," and Sage-Grouse, — all have vanished 
from frequent sight, save the last two, and 
some have wholly disappeared. In riding in 
October, 1901, from Miles City to the Missouri 
River and back, about 250 miles all told, we 
saw only three coyotes, one gray wolf, and four - 
prairie-hares. Cotton-tail rabbits abounded in 
the bad-lands, and we saw about six flocks of 
Sage-Grouse — a very small number for so much 
territory. 

One of those flocks, however, was a sight to 
be remembered. In the valley of the Little 
Dry, it spread out, in open order, on a level 
flat that was covered with short, gray buffalo- 
grass, and dotted here and there with low clumps 
of sage-brush. Halting the outfit wagon, I 
slowly rode forward until within thirty feet of 
the vanguard of the flock. There were in all 
forty-six birds, and all were on dress parade. 
They stood proudly erect, headed across the 
trail, marched forward in a slow and stately 
manner, and every weather eye was kept on me. 
The majority were big, long-tailed cocks. 
At last the parade terminated in the flight of 

1 Cen-tro-cer'ciiK u-ro-phas-i-an'us . Length of 
male, 27 inches ; female, 22 inches. 



the birds nearest me, gradually followed by all 
the others. 

In size, the Sage-Grouse is the largest member 
of the (irouse Family in America, — next in 
fact to the magnificent black cock of Europe. 
When a whole flock suddenly rises out of the 
sage-brush and takes wing, it is an event to 
remember. The rush and beat of wings makes a 
startling noise, and the size of the bird is also 
highly impressive. This grouse is so large that, 
as it flies away, you see its body rock violently 
from side to side, and note the effort of the wings 
to carry the bird, and maintain a true balance. 

The male has an air-sac on each side of its 
neck, which it inflates in the courting season, 
when it struts to attract the attention of the 
females. Recently Mr. Frank Bond has ob- 
served, and reported in The Auk, that the 
male also rubs its breast along the ground, as a 
part of its strutting performance, which accounts 
for the mysteriously worn condition of the 
breast-feathers. 

It is no more necessary to describe a Sage- 
Grouse than an elephant. Its size, and its ex- 
tremely long and pointed tail proclaim its 
identity anywhere. According to Mrs. Bailey, 
it ranges "from Assiniboia and British Columbia 
to Utah, Nevada and California, from the 
Sierra Nevadas and Cascades east to the Black 
Hills, Nebraska and Colorado." I will only 
add the earnest wish that every one who reads 
these notes may some day have the pleasure 
of seeing at close range this glorious bird in its 
ideal home, — on a sage-brush flat in the land of 
buttes, where the world is big and free, and full 
of sunshine. 

The Ptarmigans (pronounced tar'mi-gans) 
form a sharply distinguished group of the 
Grouse Family, with which, in view of the dif- 
ferent species we possess in Alaska, and also 
nearer home, every American should become 
acquainted. The most striking and peculiar 
character about these birds is that at the ap- 
proach of winter they turn snow-white. They 
prefer to nest on the tops of rugged mountains, 
above timber-line, and in Alaska are at home 
either on the lofty snow-fields of the mountains, 
or the desolate barrens. 

There are four well-defined species, and six 
varieties. The only species which is at home 
in the United States is the White-Tailed 



THE PTARMIGANS 



249 



Ptarmigan 1 — in Colorado sometimes called the 
"White Quail," — which lives in the Rocky 
Mountains from the Liard River, British Co- 
lumbia, to New Mexico. It is said that another 
species (the Willow) does occasionally wander 
down into northern New England. The ma- 
jority of the species are found in Alaska, but 
the Rock Ptarmigan covers nearly the whole of 



Lena River, their last food was one of these 
birds, shot with a rifle by Alexy, the Eskimo. 
In northern Greenland and Grinnell Land 
Peary and Greely ate it, and in the Kenai 
Peninsula, flocks of it were photographed by 
Dall DeWeese and others. 

This bird is almost constantly busy in chang- 
ing its clothes. In the spring it goes by slow 







Summer plumage. 



Winter plumage. 



WILLOW PTARMIGAN. 
Drawn from photographs made in Alaska by Dall DeWeese. 



Arctic America from Alaska to Labrador and 
Greenland. Two of its subspecies inhabit New- 
foundland. 

The Willow Ptarmigan 2 may well be chosen 
as the typical representative of the whole group, 
for its distribution covers the Arctic lands en- 
tirely around the pole. When De Long and his 
party fought starvation at the mouth of the 

1 La-go'pus leu-cu'rus. Length, about 12 inches. 

2 La-go'pus lagopus. Length, about 14 inches. 



degrees from winter white to chestnut brown, 
barred with black. By July the dark plumage 
of midsummer is fully developed; but not for 
long. By the first of September, the trouble 
begins once more, and feather by feather the 
plumage gradually changes to snowy- white. In 
winter the legs and feet of Ptarmigans generally 
are heavily clothed with feathers, and often 
only the ends of the toes are visible. 

As might be expected, this bird and its rela- 



250 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— UPLAND GAME-BIRDS 



tives often constitute an important source of 
food supply for the Indians and Eskimos of the 
arctic regions. 

THE PHEASANT FAMILY. 

Phasianidae. 
The Pheasant Family was originally rep- 
resented on this continent only by the wild- 
turkeys; but during recent years certain foreign 
species have been successfully introduced, and 




WILD-TURKEY, FROM VIRGINIA. 

are now becoming so numerous as to require 
notice. 

The Ring-Necked Pheasant 1 has been in- 
troduced from China, and acclimatized in Wash- 
ington, Oregon, California, British Columbia, 
and elsewhere with pronounced success. In 
many localities it has become so abundant that 
now it is shot by sportsmen as upland game- 
birds once were killed in New York state. From 
Portland, Oregon, to Vancouver the taxider- 
mists are annually called upon to mount scores 
of these birds, because they are so beautiful 
that many of the sportsmen who shoot them 
cannot consent to see their skins destroyed. 

Following the examples of the Pacific states, 
Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsyl- 
vania, and several other states both east and 
west have entered seriously upon the business 
of breeding, rearing and introducing this valua- 
ble bird at state expense. 

The Silver Pheasant, and the very beautiful 

1 Phas-i-an' us tor-quat'us. 



Golden Pheasant, both natives of China, have 
also been acclimatized in Washington and Ore- 
gon. In view of the strong and hardy natures 
of both these birds, there should be little diffi- 
culty in introducing them in any well-wooded 
farming region east of the Mississippi, and 
south of the fortieth parallel. 

The Wild-Turkey 2 once inhabited nearly 
one-half of the United States; and, considering 
the great size of the bird, the earnestness of our 
efforts to exterminate it, and the very little 
that has been done toward its protection, its 
survival to-day is cause for wonder. It is yet 
found in a few heavily timbered regions in the 
East and South, — such as Florida, the Virginias, 
Pennsylvania, and a few of the southern states. 
It is doubtful if even one flock exists in the 
north anywhere west of Pennsylvania. In 
Oklahoma and Texas it still lives, but the gun- 
ners of the cattle-ranches are fast killing off the 
few flocks that remain. 

The Wild-Turkey is the king of upland game- 
birds. It has been given to but a few hunters 
to seek this bird in its native forests, witness 
its splendid flight, and afterward shoulder a 
giant gobbler weighing from twenty-five to 
thirty pounds for a ten-mile carry. He who has 
done this, however, will thereafter rank this 
bird as second to none on earth. In the United 
States only one species exists, but three geo- 
graphic races have been described. The wild bird 
so closely resembles the domestic turkey that 
almost the only difference observable is the white 
upper tail coverts of the tame bird. 

The Ocellated Turkey, 3 of Yucatan, British 
Honduras and Guatemala is a bird of more 
splendid plumage but smaller size than our 
northern species. Its name refers to the beau- 
tiful eye-spots of blue, green and purple which 
adorn the tail-feathers. The prevailing color of 
the body plumage is a rich metallic green, ex- 
hibiting the brilliant iridescence and burnished- 
bronze effects so strongly displayed in most 
turkeys in full plumage. On account of its great 
beauty, several attempts have been made to 
establish this species in zoological gardens, but 
thus far quite without success. It is to be hoped 
that future efforts will succeed. 

2 Me-le-a'gris gal-lo-pa'ro. Length of large male, 
about 46 inches; weight, 28 pounds. 

3 Me-le-a'gris oc-el-la'ta. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE ORDER OF SHORE-BIRDS 

LIMICOLAE. 



There are many genera and species of birds in 
this Order, but for certain reasons it is difficult 
to form an acquaintance with more than a very 
few of them. The majority of them reach us 
only as birds of passage, on the way to or from 
their breeding grounds farther north, and during 
the year are with us only a few weeks. Others 
are so few in number, and live in such remote 
localities that they, also, are beyond our ac- 
quaintance. As usual, therefore, we will in- 
troduce only those species that are sufficiently 
abundant, long-tarrying and generally interest- 
ing to make them worth knowing. 

As the name of the Order indicates, these 
birds live on the ocean and lake beaches, and 
the banks of rivers, ponds and pools, where they 
find many kinds of queer things to feed upon. 
On the boundary line betwixt sea and land they 
find many insects, shell-fish, crustaceans and 
worms. The Turnstones make a business of 
turning over pebbles and small stones, in order 
to capture the worms and insects that take 
shelter under them. 

The Kill-Deer Plover 1 makes an excellent 
representative of a large section of this Order. 
It is of average size, and handsome appearance, 
and is such a loud and frequent caller its 
presence is always well advertised. It is so 
widely distributed that millions of people may 
know it if they will. It is a bird of the inland 
ponds and pools, not of the sea-shore, and it is 
found throughout the whole temperate portion of 
North America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. 
It is not a bird of heavily timbered regions, how- 
ever, and is most abundant in the lake regions 
of the Mississippi valley. On the prairies of the 
Middle West, wherever there are small, shallow 
ponds, or even pools in wet meadows, all through 
the season of mild weather you will hear its 
clear and rather strident cry of " Kill-d-e-e-r ! 

1 0x-y-e'chue vo-cif'er-a. Length, 10} inches. 



KiU-d-e-e-r ! " And it is always a pleasing 
sight to see this immaculate bird in snow-white, 
brown and black plumage standing at the edge 
of a bit of water — a stroke of living high-light 
in the landscape. I always liked the Kill Deer, 
and, although I have seen hundreds, and heard 
its cry a thousand times, I never wearied of its 
companionship. In my opinion it is our most 
beautiful shore-bird. 

The American Golden Plover, 2 also called 
Green and Field Plover, is (or, at least ivas 
until recently) the Plover most frequently seen 
in the Atlantic states, and in the markets. It 
frequents the banks of marshes and tide pools 
along the sea-shore, but it is equally fond of the 
pools and ponds of the uplands, particularly in 




KILL-DEER PLOVER. 

old meadows. They are seldom seen during the 
spring migration; they do not remain with us 
during the summer, and it is only during the 
months of their fall migration, from August 15, 

Average length, 10 



2 Char-a-dri'us do-min'i-cus 
inches. 



251 



252 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— SHORE-BIRDS 




r Jw: . 



AMERICAN WOODCOCK. 

to November 1. that they are really in evi- 
dence. During the open season they are much 
sought by gunners, — which is the reason why 
there is now only one bird where formerly there 
were ten. 

The American Woodcock 1 is the oddest- 
looking land-bird in North America. Its legs 
are too short for so large a body, its tail is only 
half as long as it should be, its neck is too short 
and too thick, and its head is entirely out of 
drawing. The eyes are placed too far back, 
and the bill is too long and too straight. In 
appearance, the Woodcock looks like an avian 
caricature. 

But, odd or not, this bird is very dear to the 
heart of the great American sportsman, and its 
plump brown body is a genuine delicacy. It 
has a long array of local names, some of which 
are so uncouth that the less said concerning 
them the better. 

The long, sensitive beak of this bird is really 
a probe and a pair of forceps combined, for 
probing in soft earth or mud after earthworms, 
and dragging them out when found. In order 
to feed, the Woodcock has no option but to fre- 
quent the moist banks of wooded streams, or 
wet grounds in the shelter of bushes or timber, 
where it can work unobserved. During the day, 
it lies low to escape observation, and does the 
most of its feeding at night. It is seldom found 
in open ground, and Woodcock shooting is 
much like shooting quail among brush — quick 
and difficult. 

1 Phi-lo-he'la mi'nor. 
10.50 inches. 



This bird ranges throughout the United States 
from the Atlantic coast to the edge of the Great 
Plains. In the course of much hunting in cen- 
tral Iowa I never but once shot a specimen of 
this species. 

As a highly esteemed game-bird, Wilson's 
Snipe, or the Jack Snipe, 2 is a close second to 
the woodcock. Like the latter, it has a long, 
straight bill with a sensitive tip, with which to 
probe down in mud or soft earth of pond mar- 
gins or spring holes, to the home of the angle- 
worm. Unlike the woodcock, however, this 
Snipe is a very well-formed bird, and it feeds 
more in the open, which renders its pursuit 
more fruitful of results. On the wing, it is 
awkward and angular looking. It flies in a 
very angular course, but so rapidly it is a diffi- 
cult mark to hit. When it rises, it utters a 
shrill cry, half scream and half squawk, and in 
windy weather it often flies quite high. 

This Snipe has a very wide range — from 
Alaska and Hudson's Bay through all the 
United States, except the arid regions, to north- 
ern South America. Its most conspicuous 
color is brown, striped on the back with black, 
which in brushy ground protects the bird so 
well it is difficult to distinguish it. 

Whenever at the sea-shore in warm weather 




Average length, about 



WOODCOCK ON NEST. 

Photographed at a distance of 6 feet, by Le Roy M. 
Tufts, and copyright, 1903. 

you wander "far from the madding crowd," 
you may make the acquaintance of the Semi- 
palmated Sand-Piper, 3 or possibly it will be 

2 Gal-li-na'go del-i-ca'ta. Length, about 11 inches. 

3 Er-e-un-e'tes pu-sil'lus. Length, 6 inches. 



SNIPE, SAND-PIPER AND CURLEW 



253 



the Least Sand-Piper, 1 — a trifle more minute, 
and with no web at the base of its toes. At a 
distance of ten feet the two species look precisely 
alike, and there is no need to worry about an 
exact identification. They are also called 
"Peeps," and "Ox-eyes," and the toes of the 
Semipalmated Sand-Piper are partly webbed. 

As the green-topped surf dashes to pieces on 
the pebbles, and goes sliding in a silvery sheet 
up the yellow sand, you will notice just above 
its frothy edge a flock of little gray sprites, 
their tiny legs twinkling as they patter swiftly 
over the smooth floor. Sometimes the sliding 
sheet of water overtakes them. If it is nearly 
spent, they mind it not; but if the rush is too 
strong, up springs the flock, all members at the 
same instant, and with quick flashes of light 
gray wings, it skims the surf-sheets or the sand, 
to a point farther on. The unison of action in 
the rising, flight, and landing of the flock is as 
perfect as if each little pair of wings were worked 
by the same wires. How does each bird know 
the impulses of all the others? Watch them, 
and see if you can guess the secret. 

At the sea-shore I never weary of watching 
these busy little creatures, and never fail to be 
amused by the twinkling of their tiny legs as 







WILSON S SNIPE. 

they run before the water. As the sheet of 
surf recedes, down they run after it, to pick 
up whatever of insect or other edible animal life 

1 Ac-to-dro'mas min-u-til'la. Average length, 5.50 
inches. 



it has brought to them from the sea, or un- 
covered on the sand. 

Fortunately these birds are so small the 
gunners are not slaughtering them — as yet. 




LEAST SAND-PIPER. 

But their day of doom is not far distant. There 
is in every country on earth a lawless, miscreant 
element which is devoid of all love for Nature 
and wild life, and which sticks at nothing in 
the line of destruction. It pollutes streams, 
dynamites fish, poisons dogs, steals ash-eans 
and swill-pails, and kills song-birds for "food." 

Some day, alas! the evil eye of this bad breed 
will fall upon the flocks of Sand-Pipers by the 
sea, and on the shores of inland lake, pond and 
stream. Then the little gray clouds will 
quickly vanish forever. To-day, however, both 
the species mentioned above are found sprinkled 
throughout the whole eastern United States, 
and they breed northward quite up to the 
arctic Barren Grounds. Wherever they are, 
they are interesting birds, and worthy of your 
friendship. 

The Long-Billed Curlew 2 is a bird which 
has caused much wonderment and many guesses 
in the Middle West, where on the virgin prairies 
it once was frequently seen. This bird's trick 
of holding its wings high above its back for two 
or three seconds after it alights upon the ground 
always attracts special attention. Its cry, also, 
oft repeated in spring, is very weird and pe- 
culiar, and well calculated to make the bird 
remembered. 

This bird once was common on the rolling 

2 Nu-men'i-us lon-gi-ros'tris. Average length, 
about 23 inches; bill of adult bird, about 8 inches. 



254 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— SHORE-BIRDS 



prairies of Iowa, regardless of ponds or streams, 
where it sought every sort of animal life small 
enough to be swallowed. It is easily recognized, 
even in flight, by its long, curved bill. In its 
form, its beak and its legs, it is almost a per- 
fect counterpart of a typical ibis, but it has 
the mechanically mottled plumage of a typi- 
cal shore-bird. Although by some ornitholo- 
gists this bird is credited to the whole length 
and breadth of the United States, there cer- 
tainly are some very wide regions from which 
it is totally absent. In various' localities it 
has various names, some of which are Sickle- 
Bill, Saber Bill, Smoker, Spanish Curlew and 
Mowyer. 



This bird is very sympathetic toward its 
wounded mates, and in response to the cries of 
a bird that has been shot, a flock sometimes 
will return, and with loud cries circle near the 
gunner, at close range, until several more have 
been brought down. (D. G. Elliot.) 

Besides the shore-birds mentioned above, 
there are several groups which are of interest 
chiefly to the special student, and which there 
is no space to introduce here, save by name. 
There are the oyster-catchers, turnstones, god- 
wits, stilts, and phalaropes. In the Order 
Limicolae as a whole there are in North America, 
north of Mexico, about seventy-five species 
and subspecies. 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE ORDER OF CRANES, RAILS, AND COOTS 

PALUD1C0LAE 



The name of this Order, Pal-u-dic'o-lae, 
means "marsh-dweller," and the presence in it 
of the cranes is enough to make it notable. It 
must be admitted, however, that from the 
stately and commanding crane down to the 
humble coot, the scared gallinule, and the di- 
minutive rail, is a long step downward. But it 
is inevitable that the efforts of science to classify 
the birds of the world in as few Orders as pos- 
sible, should bring together many widely di- 
vergent forms. To have a greater number of 
Orders would be still more confusing to the 
general student than the present number. 

In the order of Marsh-Dwellers there are 
only two Families which are entitled to notice 
here. These are the Cranes, and the Rails, 
Gallinules and Coots. 

THE CRANE FAMILY. 

Gruidae. 

The Cranes of the world form a group of about 
eighteen species, which, in stateliness, beauty 
and oddity of habit, are second only to the 
ostriches and their allies. Every zoological 
garden which possesses a good collection of 
cranes has good reason to be proud of it. The 
Crowned Cranes of Africa are the most beautiful 
species of all, the Paradise Crane is the oddest 
in appearance, the little Demoiselle Crane, of 
the Nile region, has the most amiable disposition. 
The big, red-headed Saras Crane of India is the 
most quarrelsome, and the stately Whooping 
Crane of North America is the species which 
comes nearest to being pure white. 

Through some mischievous and unfortunate 
circumstance, the great majority of the people 
who live in the eastern United States have be- 
come almost fixed in the habit of calling the 
great blue heron the "blue crane." The former 
is common enough along watercourses and tidal 



rivers, but it is probable that not more than one 
person out of every ten thousand has ever seen 
in America a living wild crane. As applied to 
wild-birds, the word "crane" should be used 
most sparingly. Along the Atlantic coast, the 
only locality in which it might correctly be used 
afield is on the interior savannas of Florida. 

The Whooping Crane 1 is now one of the 
rarest of all living North American birds. 
Three years of diligent quest for living speci- 
mens have produced but one bird. There were 
in captivity on January 1, 1903, exactly six 
specimens, four of which were in the United 
States. Inasmuch as this bird is of no value 
save to zoological gardens, it must be believed 
that it has been wantonly shot, down to the 
verge of extinction. Since it is a practical im- 
possibility to induce it to breed in captivity, 
the species seems almost certain to disappear 
from our fauna at an early date. 

As seen with its wings closed, the visible 
plumage of this grand bird is all snowy white. 
When the wings are spread, however, it is found 
that the largest feathers, called the primaries, 
are jet black. The upper tail coverts form a 
plume that arches upward over the tail, and 
gives the bird a very jaunty air. The top of 
the head is bare of feathers, and the rough skin 
has a dull-red glow. The eye is big and keen, 
and the bill is long, strong and rather blunt on 
the end, for digging angle-worms out of the 
ground, not for spearing fish. 

The strength of the beak and neck of the 
Whooping Crane in the New York Zoological 
Park is truly remarkable. The bird roams at 
will in a grassy meadow of about two acres in 
extent. Soon after it attained full growth, it 
was noticed that after every rain, it would 
vigorously attack the grass. With mandibles 
1 Grus americana. 



255 



256 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— CRANES, RAILS, AND COOTS 



two inches apart at the tips, it would drive its 
beak into the earth to a depth of from two to 
three inches, grasp a tuft of grass between them, 
and by main strength deliberately pull it up 
by the roots. A few vigorous shakes sidewise 
dislodged any angle-worms which might have 
been brought up, after which the roots of the 
tuft would be carefully looked over before 
being cast aside. Next in order, the wounded 
earth would be carefully probed and picked 




New York Zoological Park. 
WHOOPING CRANE. 

over. In a few hours, this bird sometimes 
pulled up the grass on a space fifteen feet square, 
and finally disfigured the ground so seriously 
that after every rain the Crane had to be shut up. 
A living full-grown Whooping Crane stands 
4 feet, 3 inches high. Its name is due to its 
wonderfully clear, powerful, and trumpet- 
like call, which is uttered with the beak pointing 
straight upward. When properly delivered, 
the crane's call consists of two notes, an octave 
apart, one following the other so closely that 
there is no interval, thus: "Quah-KEE-E- 



E-oo!" I believe that a Crane's trumpet-call 
will carry as far as the roar of a lion. 

All our Cranes are strictly open-country 
birds, and formerly inhabited the fertile, froggy 
prairies and cornfields of the Mississippi valky; 
but the species named above never was really 
numerous anywhere. In travelling, cranes 
always fly in single file, with their long necks 
and legs in a straight line, and in that position 
the length of the bird seems very great. 

The Sandhill Crane' is a smaller bird than 
the preceding, always has been more numerous, 
and therefore is much more widely known. In 
color it is a dull bluish-slate, and it has a half- 
bald, dull-red head, like a whooping crane. 
The pioneers who were on the western prairies 
from 1S50 to 1870 occasionally saw long lines 
of enormously long birds sailing high in the 
heavens, trumpeting their identity to those un- 
able to see them, or alighting on stilt-like legs 
in the cornfields. In springtime, when the 
birds alighted in the bare fields, and stalked 
about with majestic stride, they seemed fairly 
gigantic. They went far north in spring to 
breed, and on their return trips sought their 
winter home in Texas, Florida, and elsewhere 
along the Cult coast- 
Cranes in captivity, and wild ones, also, 
often indulge in strange antics. Suddenly, 
and for no apparent reason, one will half-open 
its wings, leap into the air, and begin to dance. 
It bobs and bows, salaams, and courtesies almost 
to the ground, and in sheer delight repeatedly 
leaps into the air. Often the lead of one bird 
is followed by several others, and occasionally 
(as I have myself seen), a whole wild flock of 
fifteen or twenty birds will join in the fandango. 

Whenever the days are cool and clear, 

The sandhill crane goes walking 
Across the field by the flashing weir, 

Slowly, solemnly stalking. 
The little frogs in the tules hear, 
And jump for their lives if he comes near; 
The fishes scuttle away in fear 

When the sandhill crane goes walking. 

The field folk know if he comes that way, 

Slowly, solemnly stalking, 
There is danger and death in the least delay, 

When the sandhill crane goes walking. 

1 Grvs mexicana. Height, about 3 feet, 10 inches. 



KAILS AND GALLINULES 



257 



The chipmunks stop in the midst of play; 
The gophers hide in their holes away; 
And " Hush, oh, hush!" the field-mice say, 
When the sandhill crane goes walking. 

Mrs. Mary Austin, in St. Nicholas. 1 

THE FAMILY OF RAILS. 

Rallidae. 

From the stately crane to the timid, self- 
effacing Virginia Rail 2 is going at one step 
from the sublime to the ridiculous. To the 
latter, which is a bird about half the size of a 
bob-white, a crane must seem like a giant 
whose head is in the clouds. The crane can 
either fight, run or fly away; but the rail is 
safe only when threading the mazes of a reedy 
marsh, where no enemy can follow it far. When 
boating on a marsh filled with cat-tails, or reeds, 
or tall grass, you may hear a score of rails 
clucking and calling in the heart of the green 
tangle about you without seeing one. There 
are times when it seems as if this bird is a de- 
liberate and intentional ventriloquist, for its 
voice seems to come from all directions save 
that which points toward its owner. A marsh 
is as necessary to rails as water is to fishes. 

When a rail flies up out of a marsh or a 
meadow, you can recognize it by its feeble, 
fluttering flight, and its hanging legs. Often 
in alighting it seems to fall helplessly into the 
tall cover. 

In the mosquito-ridden marshes along the 
New Jersey shore, dwells a species known as the 
Sora Rail 3 in numbers sufficiently numerous 
to attract gunners. The moment the "law is 
off," the flat-bottomed boats are brought out, 
and the fusillade begins. With no larger game 
available, even a small Rail can form an excuse 
for a day's outing on the marshes, bringing the 
grip of the gun-stock, the dull "boom" that is 
music to the desk-weary man, and the welcome 
smell of gunpowder. Therefore, rail not at all 
those who shoot rails; for there be some who 
do not shoot "for revenue only." 

As may be inferred, rails are good to eat, 
though not very good; for they are several sizes 
too small for real comfort. There are only 

*By courtesy of The Century Co., and of the 
Author. 

2 Ral'lus virginianvs. Average length, 9 inches. 

3 Por-za'na Carolina. Length, about 9 inches. 



about twelve species in North America, of which 
the King Rail, 15 inches long (of eastern North 
America), is the largest, and the Virginia Rail 
is the most widely distributed. The latter has 
a long bill (l\ inches), and is found from Long 
Island to British Columbia, breeding every- 
where that marshy lands occur. It is an olive- 
brown bird, streaked and barred with black, 
and in places with white, also. 

While the most typical rails have long bills, 
some species are short-billed. 

A Gallinule is a bird which lives, acts and 
looks like a rail, and is easily mistaken for either 
a rail or a coot; but it stands midwav between 




VIRGINIA RAIL. 

the two. It is distinguished from the rails by 
the bare, horny shield upon the forehead, and 
from the coots by the long, slender, unwebbed 
toes. The Florida Gallinule* is also called the 
Blue "Rail," and Red-Billed "Mud-Hen," and its 
general color-effect is bluish-gray. It is found 
in localities adapted to its habits throughout 
temperate North America, north to Canada, and 
as far south as Brazil. 

The Purple Gallinule 5 of the southern half 
of the eastern United States, is a bird of beauti- 
ful plumage. Its colors are a rich, dark purple 
on the head, neck and shoulders, lightening to 

4 Gal-li-nu'la gal-e-a'ta. Length, about 13 inches. 

5 I-o-nor'nis mar-tin' i-ca . Length, 12 inches. 



258 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— CRANES, RAILS, AND COOTS 



peacock blue on the back and lower breast. 
Even as it rises beside your railway train you 
can easily recognize it before it is lost to view. 
It still breeds on the head waters of the St. 
Johns, opposite Melbourne. 

The Coot, or Mud-Hen,' is a bird of the 
small creeks, and the shores of shallow lakes 
and ponds where cat-tails, lizard-tails, iris and 




rushes grow abundantly. It is natural for any 
one who writes about a bird to think of it as he 
saw it most impressively. My memory goes 
back to my first days of alligator and crocodile 
hunting, in the little creeks that flow from the 
Florida Everglades into the head and western 
side of Biscayne Bay. Then and there, Mud- 
1 Fu-li'ca americana. Average length, 14.50 inches. 



Hens were so numerous and so tame they be- 
came positively monotonous. As we rowed 
silently along Snake Creek, or Arch Creek, the 
man in the bow ready for the next "big, old 
'gator" found sunning himself at the edge of 
the saw-grass, up would go three or four slaty- 
blue birds of the size of bantam hens. With 
feeble flight, and feet pattering on the water to 
help along, they would fly ahead of the boat 
in a most offensively ostentatious manner. 
Of course any old alligator knows that a scared 
Coot usually means a boat; and since every 
boat is known to be loaded, the natural sequence 
of a frightened Coot is the bottom of' the creek. 

The foot of the Coot is very curiously formed. 
It looks as if originally it had been fully webbed, 
but some one in sportive mood took a pair of 
scissors, cut out the centre of the web, and cut 
deep scallops in the web along each side of each 
toe. The foot, therefore, is half webbed, — an 
excellent arrangement for running on water 
when the wings lend their assistance. This 
bird never rises on the' wing without a prelim- 
inary run on the water of from fifty to one 
hundred and fifty feet. It swims and dives 
quite well, but as a rule it prefers to live as do 
the rails and gallinulcs, in the edges of heavy 
marsh vegetation, where it can pick up its living 
of buds, blossoms, seeds, aquatic insects and 
snails, and also hide from its enemies. 

As yet the Coot is not considered a "game- 
bird," and is not slaughtered for food ; but, once 
let the evil eye of the Epicure fall with favor 
upon this bird — or any other — and its doom will 
be sealed. 

The distribution of this species is given as 
"from Greenland and Alaska southward to the 
West Indies." 



CHAPTER XXVI 

THE ORDER OF HERONS, STORKS, AND IBISES 

HERODIOXES. 



All the members of this Order are either sturdy 
fisherfolk, or longshoremen. They wait not 
for bud or blossoms, or ripening grain, but when 
hunger calls they go a-fishing. Then woe be- 
tide the small fish or frog of any size which is 
tempted to stray into the warm shallows, and 
linger there. 

The neck of the heron is specially formed by 
Nature for quick lunging. At rest, it folds 
upon itself, in angular kinks, until the neck 
totally disappears, and the bird's head seems to 
rest down upon its shoulders. But alarm this 
neckless bird, and presto! it is another creature. 
Up goes the head into the air, borne on a long, 
flat-sided neck, which curves like a capital S. 

When a heron is fishing, it stalks slowly and 
silently along the shore, preferably in water 
about six inches deep, its head carried well 
forward but about on a level with the top of 
its shoulders, while its big eyes keenly scru- 
tinize every object in the water. It takes long 
steps, and plants each foot softly, in true fitill- 
hunter fashion, to avoid alarming its game. 
When a fish is found within range, the kinks of 
the neck fly straight, and the fish is seized be- 
tween the mandibles. The fish is not stabbed 
through and through, as is generally supposed. 
In swallowing a fish, it is, of course, taken 
head first- 
Herons, egrets and ibises are gregarious, or 
sociable, in their nesting habits. In other 
words, they are fond of nesting together; and 
a place of many nesting birds is called either a 
"heronrv," or a "rookery." The nesting 
sites are chosen with due regard to seclusion 
and food supplies. Usually the heronry is lo- 
cated in low trees that stand on a small island, 
or else grow up out of a swamp or bayou, so 
that without a boat they are almost inaccessible. 
Thirty years ago, the greatest and most nu- 
merous heronries in the United States were in 



Florida, on the head waters of the St. Johns, on 
the edge of the Everglades, and the small rivers 
and creeks that run down to the sea. To-day 
it is difficult to find in Florida a heronry worthy 
of the name, or one which belongs to a large 
assemblage of birds. Herons, egrets and ibises 
have been so persistently destroyed for their 
"plumes" that not one-fiftieth of the original 
number remain. 

As will be seen by the following table, the 
Order Herodiones contains quite a number of 
important water-birds which are not herons: 



FAMILIES. 



Heron, 



AR-DE'I-DAE, 



I-BID'I-DAE, 



H 1 Stork, . CIC-O-NI'I-DAE, 

a 
s 

S \ Ibis 

a, 

K 
2 

a 
o 



EXAMPLES. 

( Herons, 
■j Egrets and 
( Bitterns. 

Wood Ibis. 

( White Ibis 
< and Scarlet 
( Ibis. 



Spoonbill, plat-a-LE'I-dae, \ Q 0sea ^„ 

| Spoonbill. 



THE HERON FAMILY. 

Ardeidae. 

The Great Blue Heron 1 is the largest, hand- 
somest and most conspicuous Heron in North 
America — if not the world. This is the bird 
so persistently called the "Blue Crane"; and 
one of the first things for the beginner to learn 
about birds is to call this bird a Heron, instead 
of a "crane!" 

Whether fishing in the shallows along the 
shore, or perching on a dead tree, or winging 
his way slowly and majestically through the 
air, this is a fine, handsome bird, and a welcome 
sight to see. Its height when standing fairly 
erect is 3 feet, 3 inches. It has plumes on its 
head, breast and back, which American cranes 

1 Ar-de'a her-o'di-as. Length, from 40 to 48 inches. 



259 



260 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— HERONS, STORKS, AND IBISES 



do not have. It is never seen away from water- 
courses, and, it may be added, in warm weather 
no river-scene is truly complete and perfect 
without one! 

When seen with closed wings, its upper neck 
and body are of a bluish-slate color, and its 
under surfaces are white, streaked up and down 
with black. In the North, this bird is shy, and 
afraid of being shot at; but in the tropics, 
where they are not persecuted, I have some- 




GREAT BLUE HERON. 



times approached within thirty feet of full- 
grown birds without alarming them. 

The range of this bird is from the arctic 
regions southward wherever the conditions of 
water, timber and food are suitable, to the West 
Indies and South America; but there are many 
arid and treeless regions from which it is totally 
absent. 

The Little Green Heron, or "Fly-up-the- 
Creek," 1 is found throughout the well-watered 
regions of the United States, wherever timber 

1 Bu-tor'i-des vi-res'cens. Average length, about 
18 inches. 



is plentiful. In many localities of the Middle 
West and the Mississippi valley from which the 
great blue heron is now absent, this is the only 
heron to be found; and away from the Atlantic 
coast it is the most familiar member of its 
Order. 

Its body is about as large' as that of a sparrow- 
hawk, and when in a crouching attitude it is a 
very proper-looking bird. With its neck 
stretched, however, and its head held high, the 
body seems much too small, and 
the neck makes the bird seem top- 
heavy. Start it off in flight, 
however, and it is one of the 
most ill-fitting herons that ever 
took wing. It is so angular and 
loose-jointed it seems ready to fall 
to pieces, and its flight is slow 
and feeble. The prevailing color 
of its plumage is a beautiful me- 
tallic green, but the flat shape 
of its neck, and the peculiar set 
of the feathers thereon have 
caused many young taxider- 
mists some very sad hours. 

The food of the Green Heron 
consists of minnows, small frogs, 
tadpoles and insects. 

The Little Blue Heron- is yet 
fairly abundant in Florida, be- 
cause it bears no fatal "plumes." 
In summer, this species some- 
times wanders northward as 
far as Illinois and Maine. One 
striking peculiarity of its plu- 
mage is worthy of special men- 
tion. Until one year old, the 
voung birds are snow-white, and 
look precisely like young snowy egrets which 
are of corresponding size and form. Sometimes 
it is a matter of difficulty to convince a per- 
son that a snow-white bird is a Little Blue 
Heron, in its first year. But the moulting 
finally tells the story. First the plumage is 
flecked with blue, then it is half blue, and at 
last the solid blue color prevails. It seems to 
me that in clothing young and inexperienced 
birds in snow-white robes, which attract all 
eyes to them, Nature forgot all about "protec- 
tive coloration!" 
2 Ar-de'a cae-ru'lc-a. Average length, 24.50 inches. 



New York Zoological Park 



FASHION'S VICTIMS 



261 



The Black-Crowned Night-Heron 1 breeds 
all around New York City, and every summer 
two or three come and try to break into the great 
Flying Cage of the New York Zoological Park. 
As its name implies, this bird has a crown of 
glossy black feathers, with two or three long 
white occipital plumes. This is a southern bird, 
but it breeds as far north as Massachusetts 
and Illinois. Like its twin, the Yellow-Crowned 
Night-Heron, it is half nocturnal in its habits. 
When at night in Florida you hear a bird say 
"Quawk!" and repeat it to you from the depths 
of the mangroves as your boat glides by, you 
know it is a Night-Heron. Both these species 
have beautiful plumage, and are handsome 
birds. Their distinguishing marks are, thick 
bodies, and short, thick necks; short legs (for 
herons), and two or three round, wisp-like 
plumes from five to seven inches long growing 
out of the top of the head, and drooping back- 
ward. 

The Snowy Heron, or Snowy Egret, 2 when 
fully adult, is the most beautiful white bird in all 
the avian world. Its form is the embodiment 
of symmetry and grace, its plumage is immacu- 
late, and the filmy "plumes" on its head and 
back are like spun glass. Its black legs and bill 
merely serve to intensify the whiteness of its 
feathers. 

But the vanity of women has been the curse 
of the snowy egret. Its plumes are finest during 
the breeding season, and it was then that the 
hunters sought them, slaughtering the parent 
birds in the rookeries by thousands (when they 
were abundant), and leaving the nestlings to 
die of starvation. If all women could know the 
price in blood and suffering which is paid for 
the accursed "aigrettes" of fashion, surely but 
few could find any pleasure in wearing them. 3 
It is strange that civilized women — the tender- 
hearted, the philanthropic and compassionate — 
should prove to be the evil genius of the world's 
most beautiful birds. 

1 Nye-ti-eo'rax nycticorax nae'vi-us. Length, 24.50 
inches. 

2 E-gret'ta can-di-dis' si-ma . Length, about 23 
inches. 

3 Thanks to the efforts of the Audubon Societies, 
the American Ornithologists' Union and the United 
States Biological Survey, the laws of the United 
States now prohibit the sale of aigrettes throughout 
the United States, irrespective of the countries from 
which thev come. 



In Florida, this bird once lived and bred, in 
thousands, on the head waters of the St. Johns, 
around the Everglades, and the heads of the 
streams that run down to the sea. At the 
first shot fired in a rookery, a white cloud 
would arise, and old residents tell how "the 
savannas were sometimes white " with these 
beautiful creatures. To-day, not half enough 




LITTLE GREEN HERON. 

remain to stock our zoological gardens. The 
slaughter has been exasperatingly complete, 
and protection has come too late. 

In the United States the Snowy Egret ex- 
ists now only by accident, and the "plume- 
hunters" are pursuing this and the next species 
in Central and South America, to their most 
remote haunts, sometimes even at the risk of 
their lives. Fashion, cruel and remorseless, 
has decreed that the egrets must go! 

The American Egret, or Great White 
Egret, 4 is, when adult, our second largest bird 

4 Her-o'di-as e-gret'ta. Length, about 40 inches. 



W2 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— HERONS, STORKS, AND IBISES 




New York Zoological Park. 
GREAT WHITE EGRET. 

of the Order of Herons with pure white plumage, 
the great white heron being the first. Much to 
the misfortune of this species, it possesses about 
fifty "aigrette" plumes which droop in graceful 
curves from the middle of its back, far beyond 
the tail and wing tips. For these beautiful 
feathers this bird also has been pursued by plume- 
hunters, to the point of total extermination. 
A very few individuals are yet living in Florida, 
but they will all be blotted out within a short 
period. 

The American Bittern 1 is a fairly large 
bird, of a yellowish-brown color, elaborately 
mottled and streaked with various shades of 
light and dark. When standing in concealment, 
it draws in its neck until it wholly disappears in 
its plumage. The result is an egg-shaped, bird, 
with a beak at the small end, pointing heaven- 
ward, and short, thick legs below. I have seen 
a Bittern stand motionless in that idiotic atti- 

1 Bo-tau'rus len-tig-i-no' sus . Length, 26 inches. 



tude for nearly an hour at a time. Even in 
the whirling gayety of a big Flying Cage, it 
takes life sadly, and never makes merry, as do 
all other birds, even the funereal vultures. 
Standing erect, however, the Bittern is a bird 
with a fair length of neck; but its neck seems 
much too large and heavy for its body. 

Because of the peculiar sound it utters, the 
Bittern is called the " Stake -Driver," and 
"Thunder-Pumper." I have never heard thun- 
der pumped, but with stake-driving am quite 
familiar, and must say that I never heard a 
Bittern give forth a cry that sounded like it. 
I think also that the "booming" of the Bittern 
should be taken subject to inspection and ap- 
proval; for to at least one tympanum there is 
a wide difference between a real "boom" and 
the alleged "boom" of the Bittern. 

This bird inhabits sloughs and marshes of 
tall, rank grass, in which it hides most success- 
fully by standing very erect, and pointing its 




AMERICAN BITTERN. 

beak toward the zenith. It feeds chiefly upon 
frogs, small snakes, lizards, and crawfish. 



BITTERNS AND IBISES 



263 



The Least Bittern 1 is the smallest member 
of the Heron Order, — a queer little brownish- 
yellow and black creature, duly mottled, of 
course, with a sparrow-like bod}', and a wide, 
flat neck several sizes too large for the body of 
the bird. On the whole, it is a pretty little 
creature, associated by habit with the long- 
billed marsh-wren, the rail, and the red-winged 
blackbird. 

THE STORK FAMILY. 

Ciconiidae. 

The real Storks are found only in the Old 
World; but the Wood Ibis 2 is a member of 
the Stork Family, and he looks it. He is a 
big, burly, bald-headed, good-natured bird, 
standing 31 inches high. No matter what goes 
on around him, he is as solemn as an owl. Al- 
though large enough to do much damage to 
birds smaller than himself, he associates with 
herons, ducks, geese, and ibises, of all sizes, 
without the slightest desire to harm any of them, 
or even to rule them. In a large bird, capable 
of much mischief, such perpetual good temper 
is worthy of note. 

When this bird is adult and clean, its plumage 
is pure white, and it is a noteworthy member 
of any feathered community. Specimens are 
nearly always procurable in Florida at a reasona- 
ble price ($S), and there are always several in 
the New York Zoological Park. This species 
"breeds in Florida and the Gulf states, after 
which it wanders north as far as Kansas, In- 
diana and New York." (F. M. Chapman.) 

THE IBIS FAMILY 

Ibididae. 

In North America this Family contains three 
species of birds that are heron-like in general 
form, but are quite differently provided as to 
their bills. The bill of a true ibis is long, slen- 
der and curved, much like that of a long-billed 
curlew, and it is fitted for probing in soft earth, 
or shallow water. The neck is round, and the 
head also, instead of being flat-sided like that 
of a heron. 

The White Ibis 3 is yet found in Florida, and 
excepting the four outer wing-feathers (prima- 

1 Ar-dei'ta ex-i'lis. Length, 13 inches. 

2 Tan'ta-lus loc-u-la'tor. Average length, 38 inches. 

3 Guar'a al'ba. Average length, 24 inches. 



eris), which are black, it is a pure-white bird. 
Specimens in the first year are grayish-brown 
and white, and in color do not even suggest the 
pure-white plumage of the second year, and 
thereafter. This species rarely comes into any 
of the northern states. 

The beautiful and brilliant Scarlet Ibis, 4 
once a habitant of southern Florida and Louisi- 
ana, is no longer found in the United States. 
In color it is one of the most brilliant birds in 
all America, though by no means so beautiful 
as the resplendent trogon. I saw it in great 
numbers on the mud-flats at the mouth of the 




WHITE IBIS. 

Orinoco, and shot it on the coast of British 
Guiana. On Marajo Island, in the delta of the 
Amazon, it breeds in hundreds — a sight worth 
a long journey to see. Unfortunately, it is 
impossible to keep specimens of this species in 
confinement and have them retain their color. 
In a few months they fade until they are pale 
pink. 

The Glossy Ibis 5 is a dark-colored bird, its 
prevailing color being rich brownish-purple with 
metallic-green reflections, and abundant irides- 
cence. It seems smaller than the two light-colored 
species mentioned above, but in realitj r it is not. 
In 1899 two specimens were captured on the St. 
Johns River, opposite Melbourne, Florida, and 
one of them lived two years in the Zoological 
Park. This species is rare, even in Florida, but 
in Texas and the Southwest the White-Faced 
Glossy Ibis is of more frequent occurrence. 

4 Guar'a ru'bra. Length, 23 inches. 

5 Pleg'a-dis au-tum-nal'is. Length, 23 inches. 



264 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— HERONS, STORKS AND IBISES 



THE SPOONBILL FAMILY. 

Plntalciddc. 

The Roseate Spoonbill, 1 or Pink "Curlew," 

is the only member of the Spoonbill Family in 
America, and it is also the farthest from the 
type of the Order Herodiones. It is really an 
ibis with a wide bill which terminates in two 
rounded, flat plates, nearly two inches wide. 
When standing erect, it is about 16 inches high. 
Its body plumage is either rosy gray or white, 
and its wing coverts and secondaries are tinted 
a delicate and very beautiful rose-madder pink, 
the color being most intense on the lesser coverts. 

Once quite abundant throughout the lagoons, 
streams and swampy districts of Florida, this 
beautiful bird is now so nearly extinct there 
that no live specimens have been obtainable 
nearer than the Gulf coast of Mexico. Indeed, 
until very recently there were good reasons for 
the belief that not one Roseate Spoonbill re- 
mained alive anywhere in Florida. Now, how- 
ever, it is a pleasure to record the fact that this 
species has not wholly disappeared from our 
avifauna. 

In The Auk for January, 1904, Mr. A. C. Bent 
describes the finding of a few small flocks of these 
birds near Cape Sable, which he found nesting 
in two localities. "The principal breeding- 
ground of the Roseate Spoonbills was a great 
morass on the borders of Alligator Lake, a few 
miles back from the coast near Cape Sable, where 
the mangrove islands in which the birds were 
nesting were well protected by impenetrable 
jungles of saw-grass, treacherous mud-holes, 
and apparently bottomless creeks. . . . The 
Spoonbills were here in abundance, and had 
eggs and young in their nests, in all stages, as 
well as fully grown young climbing about in the 
trees. The old birds were tamer than at Cuth- 
bert Lake, and allowed themselves to be photo- 
graphed at a reasonable distance. 
1 A-ja'i-a a-ja'i-a. 



"The Spoonbills," continues Mr. Bent, "will 
probably be the next to disappear from the list 
of Florida water-birds. They are already much 
reduced in numbers and restricted in habitat. 
They are naturally shy and their rookeries are 
easily broken up. Their plumage makes them 
attractive marks for the tourist's gun, and they 
are killed by the natives for food. But fortu- 
nately their breeding-places are remote, and 
almost inaccessible; and through the earnest 
efforts of the A. O. U. wardens they are now 
protected. It is to be hoped that adequate 
protection in the future will result in the 
preservation of this unique and interesting 
species." 

The nests found by Mr. Bent on Cuthbert 
Lake, almost on the edge of the Everglades, 
were built in red mangrove-trees on the edge of 
the water, all on nearly horizontal branches, 
from 12 to 15 feet from the ground. "They 
were well made, of large sticks, deeply hollowed, 
and lined with strips of bark and water-moss. 
One nest contained only a single, heavily in- 
cubated egg, one a handsome set of three eggs, 
and the other held two downy young, not quite 
half grown." 

In my opinion, there is no "cause," either 
existent or creatable, not even the " cause of 
science," which could justify the killing or capt- 
ure of any of the birds composing those last 
small flocks of Spoonbills. Not even the ne- 
cessities of a zoological garden should for one 
moment be accepted as an excuse for meddling 
with that avian remnant; and let no hunter 
think of offering a bargain in live Spoonbills 
frdm Cape Sable, or of now writing to ask "What 
will you give? " 

It is to be hoped that the people of Florida 
will see to it that the Spoonbill is absolutely 
protected for the next twenty years, with the 
same intelligent interest and humane reason 
that has saved the manatee down to 1903. 




ROSEATE SPOONBILL. 



CHAPTER XXVII 



THE ORDER OF FLAMINGOES-A CONNECTING LINK 

ODONTOGLOSSAE 



The long-legged, long-necked Flamingo is 
a very perfect connecting link between the 
wading-birds and the swimmers, and a most 
curiously formed bird. It has enormously long, 
stilt-like legs, like a heron ; but its feet are fully 
webbed, like the feet of a duck. Its standing 
height is from 48 to 54 inches. It has a long, 
slender, crane-like neck; but its thick, broken- 







'■•'. ■ ' ~ > n \ 



New York Zoological Park 
THE FLAMINGO. 



backed bill is provided with lamillae along the 
edges, like the bill of a shoveller-duck. The 
anatomy of the bill and tongue of this bird is 
particularly interesting. 

This bird is by habit a true wader, and lives 
and breeds near shallow lagoons, where it can 
walk in the water, and feed on the bottom. 



In 1902, Mr. Frank M. Chapman, of the Amer- 
ican Museum of Natural History, visited a great 
breeding-place of the American Flamingo, 1 on 
Andros Island, Bahamas, where he saw about 
700 birds in one flock, and about 2,000 mud- 
nests in one group, situated on a level mud-flat 
close beside a shallow lagoon. 

The nest of this queer bird proved to be a 
low, flat pillar of mud from 6 to 12 inches 
in height, 13 inches in diameter at the bot- 
tom, and 10 inches across the top — which 
is flat, and slightly depressed, 2 The eggs 
are two in number. 

Up to 1890, the Flamingo flocks still 
visited southern Florida, near Cape Sable, 
and it is possible that at rare intervals 
they still do so. Besides those in the 
Bahamas, flamingoes are found in Cuba. 
Every year from twenty to fifty live 
birds are brought to New York by the 
dealers in live animals, and sold at prices 
ranging from $12 to $20 each. When 
they arrive they are all over bright red, 
but in captivity all gradually fade out until 
they are pale pink. 

In all the world there are eight species 

of flamingoes. While our species is bright 

scarlet, all over, those of Europe and Africa 

are almost white, with pink wing coverts. 

The food of this bird in captivity is dried 

shrimps, boiled rice, and cubes of stale 

bread, fed in water. In a room which 

is warmed to 60 c F., it can live all 

winter, wading half the time in water 

that is almost icy cold, without catching 

The voice of this bird is fearfully and 

It is a resonant, deep bass, 

honk," like a rasping blast 



cold. 

wonderfully made. 

utterly unmusical ' 

on a large tin horn, blown by an amateur. 

1 Phoe-ni-cop'ter-vs ru'ber. Length, 45 inches; 
spread of wings, 62 inches; tarsus, 12.50 inches. 

2 Bird Lore Magazine. IV., p. 180. 



266 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
THE ORDER OF DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS 

AN AT I DAE 

We have now reached the first Order of a great group of birds which might well stand as a Sub- 
class — the Web-Footed Swimmers. It embraces six different Orders, and before touching any 
one of them, it is highly necessary that the student should take a bird's-eye view of the whole sub- 
division. A clear conception of these six Orders, and the characters on which they are based, will 
be of great and perpetual service to every person who desires a comprehensive view of the avian 
world : 

THE ORDERS OF SWIMMING-BIRDS. 



THE 

WEB-FOOTED 

BIRDS. 



FLYING 
SWIMMERS : 

with good 
wings. 



DIVING 
SWIMMERS : 

with small 

wings, or none 

for flight. 



Ducks and Geese 

(three toes webbed) . 

Fully Palmated Birds 

(four toes webbed) . 
Cormorants, Pelicans, Snake- 
Birds, etc. 

Tube-Nosed Swimmers. 

Albatrosses and Petrels. 

Long-Winged Swimmers. 

Gulls, Terns, etc. 

Weak-Winged Divers. 

Loons, Grebes, Auks, Puf- 
fins. 

Flightless Divers. 

Penguins. 



AN-A-Tl'DAE. 



,STEG-A.X-OP'0-DES. 



TU-BI-NA'RES. 



LON-GI-PEN'NES. 



PY-GOP'O-DES. 



IM-PEX'.XES. 



This group is not only extensive, but its mem- 
bers show a wide diversity in form and habits, 
and they are fitted for life in all climates, on 
waters great and small. Having before us 
such a host of swimming-birds that six Orders 
are necessary to classify them, it is difficult to 
select only a few examples, and resolutely ex- 
clude all others. However, the student who 
becomes permanently acquainted with about 
thirty-five web-footed birds specially chosen 
to represent these Orders, will have a very good 
foundation on which to build higher, with the 
aid of special books and specimens. 

As heretofore, we will take up the selected 
examples in the order in which it is easiest for 



the student to receive them, — the highest types 
first, — rather than in the very curious sequence 
adopted by the A. O. U., and most technical 
writers on birds. 

Once a year, the grand army of birds of the 
Order Anatidae take wing, and sweep north- 
ward from the tropics and sub-tropics. Many 
halt in the temperate zone, where food is abun- 
dant, but many more press on to the arctic 
circle, and far beyond it. Wherever they pause 
for the summer, they nest and rear their young ; 
and many pages might be filled with descriptions 
of the different kinds of nesting-sites and nests. 

One would naturally suppose that in any 
civilized country, birds in flight to their breeding- 



267 



268 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS 



grounds, or in occupancy of them, would be 
immune from the attacks of gunners. In some 
states (of which New York now is one!) the 
laws prevent "spring shooting," but in others 
it does not. In view of the changes for the bet- 
ter that are being made year by year, it is best 
not to particularize; but it is surprising that in 
some states a prolonged fight should be neces- 
sary to secure laws prohibiting spring shooting! 
The need for absolute protection for birds while 



Atlantic coast and the Mississippi valley, 
literally teem with roaring guns and flying 
shot, and to-day the wonder is not that the 
wild-fowl have become "so scarce," but rather 
that so many have escaped slaughter! In view 
of the enormous annual output of new gunners, 
guns and ammunition, nothing but the strongest 
kind of public sentiment for bird-protection, 
backed by stringent laws, rigidly enforced, can 
save the ducks, geese and swans of North Amer- 




Male. 



THE MALLARD DUCK. 



they are breeding, or about to breed, is so im- 
perative that it is difficult to see how any 
sensible and honest person can oppose the 
•enactment of laws to provide it. The killing 
of wild-fowl in spring, or at any time during 
their breeding-season, should everywhere be 
made a penal offence. 

During the autumn migration southward, the 
flocks run a gantlet of guns a thousand miles 
long. Whenever and wherever a duck or goose 
alights to rest and feed, the guns begin to roar. 
The more important migration routes, like the 



ica from becoming as extinct as the great auk 
and the dodo. 

To-day, we are advised that automatic re- 
peating shot-guns are about to be put upon the 
market, — to hasten the total extinction of all 
our game-birds. Their manufacture, sale and 
use should be rigidly prevented by law. 

North America is — or was — particularly rich 
in species of birds belonging to the Order Ana- 
tidac, and once was richly stocked with indi- 
viduals. Even yet, a very interesting remnant 
remains. Of the whole assemblage of species, 



26!> 




FULVOUS TREE-DUCK. 
Dendrocygna fulva. 



t^^23k 



BLACK DUCK. 
Anas obscura. 




GADWALL: CRAY DUCK. 
Chaulelasmus strepera, 




AMERICAN WIDGEON. 
Mareca amcricana. 




GBEEN-WINGED TEAL. 
N ettion carolincnsis. 




SCAUP DUCK. 
Aythya mar-da. 




RING-NECKED DUCK. 
Aythya collaris. 




BARROW S GOLDEN-EYE. 
Clangula islandwa. 




OLD SQUAW. 
Harelda hyemalis. 




HARLEQUIN DUCK. 
Uistrionicus histrionicus. 




SURF SCOTER. 
Oidcmia perspicillata. 



AMERICAN SCOTER. 
Oidemia amcricana. 



270 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS 



great, medium and small, I think the Mallard 
Duck 1 is the highest type, and the best average. 
It is one of the largest ducks; it is one of the 
handsomest; it is strong on the wing, and 
highly intelligent. It is a joy unto the sports- 
man who finds it in its haunts, and a delight 
to the epicure who finds it upon the bill of fare. 
Sluggish indeed must be the pulse which does 
not beat faster at the sight of a flock of wild 
Mallards, free in its haunts, and ready to leap into 
the air and speed away at the slightest alarm. 

The Mallard is recognizable by its large size, 
and the brilliant metallic-green head and neck, 
and pearl-gray body, of the male. The female 
is a very different-looking bird, of a modest brown 
color, streaked with black. There is only one 
tiling at all annoying about this bird, and that 




BLUE-WINGED TEAL. 

is its close resemblance to our domestic duck; 
but for this there is a very good reason. It is 
the wild ancestor of all our domestic ducks, 
save one or two varieties. 

The Mallard is found throughout the tem- 
perate zone in both the Old World and the New, 
and therefore it is known by many names. In 

1 An'as bos'chas. Average length, 22 inches. 



England it is called the Stock Duck, because it 
was the original stock from which the domestic 
duck has descended. In North America its 
range covers practically the whole continent 
down to Panama, and in Asia it reaches to 
India. It breeds persistently throughout the 
greater portion of its immense range — in the 
long grass of pond margins; in the woods, be- 
tween the spur roots of trees; and on the prai- 
ries, beside streams of the smallest size. 

Once while collecting in Montana, late in 
May, I found a tiny water-hole, barely ten feet 
in diameter, hiding in the sunken head of a very 
dry coulee. For miles in every direction 
stretched a billowy sea of sage-brush, already 
shimmering in the heat of early summer. As I 
dismounted to scramble over the edge of the 
bank for a drink, up rose a Mallard Duck from 
her nest in a thick patch of sage-brush, within 
a yard of my feet. 

The nest was the old, familiar type, — a basin 
of grass lined with a thick layer of down from 
the breast of the prospective mother, and a 
bunch of eggs that almost overflowed the boun- 
daries of their resting-place. As I gazed in 
astonishment at this nest and its contents 
beside an insignificant bit of water in a land- 
scape that certainly was not made for ducks, I 
understood how it is that this bird has been 
able to spread itself all around the northern 
two-thirds of the globe. 

In captivity the Mallard is the best of all 
ducks, and the most persistent and prolific 
breeder. Put a flock on any pond having long 
grass or timber about it, keep away the rats, 
raccoons, mink, thieves, and other vermin, and 
each female will do her utmost to surround her- 
self with a downy flock of about fifteen small 
Mallards, regularly every summer. In the Zo- 
ological Park, several nests have been built 
within twenty-five feet of walks that are in 
daily use by crowds of visitors, the immunity 
of their builders being due in each case to their 
wonderful color resemblance to the dead oak- 
leaves which surrounded them, and with which 
they almost covered themselves. 

The Blue-Winged Teal 2 represents with us 
a group of three species which contains the 
smallest ducks found in North America. 

2 Quer-qued'u-la dis'cors. Average length, 15 
inches. 



MALLARD, TEAL AND SHOVELLER 



271 



Throughout its home, which embraces the 
■whole United States east of the Rockies, and 
also far north and far south, it is so common — 
and also so small — it is not highly prized by 
sportsmen, and its worst enemy is the sordid 
market-hunter. Like the other teal, it prefers 
quiet, inland waters to the wide expanses that 
back up from the sea. 

All the teal are quick risers, and also speedy 
on the wing; but they are rather dull of sense, 
and easy to approach. The Blue-Wing is 
known by the conspicuous white crescent in 
front of and half encircling the eye, and the 
bright blue patch, called the "speculum," on 
its wing. 

The Cinnamon Teal 1 is a cinnamon-brown 
bird of the western half of the United States, 
once common, but rapidly diminishing in 
numbers. This species is very difficult to keep 
long in captivity, being very sensitive to all 
adverse influences. 

The Green-Winged Teal 2 has a very noticea- 
ble crest, and a beautiful emerald-green specu- 
lum on each wing. It is found scattered over 
practically the whole of North America, from 
the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Barren 
Grounds to Cuba and Honduras. 

The Shoveller, 3 also called the Spoonbill, 
is a handsome duck, recognizable by its extreme- 
ly broad and spoon-shaped bill — the broadest 
of any American duck. The head and neck 
of the male are either black, or dark metallic- 
green; and the body-colors are black, white, 
blue, and green, handsomely disposed. 

The bill of this bird shows the limit of de- 
velopment in width, and the comb-like lamellae 
along the outer edges, which are designed for 
use in straining minute particles of food out of 
water, are very pronounced. These minute 
plates are set cross-wise at the edges of the 
mandibles, and perform the same functon as 
the plates of hairy baleen, or "wdialebone," 
in the mouth of a baleen whale. All the mem- 
bers of the Order Anatidae are provided with 
lamellated bills, as also are the flamingoes. 

This fine duck is a bird of inland waters, and 



1 Quer-qued' u-la cy-an-op'ter-a. Average length, 
16 inches. 

2 Net'ti-on carolinensis. Average length, 13.50 
inches. 

3 Spat'u-la cly-pe-a'la. Average length, 19 inches. 



appears to dislike salt water. It is found 
sparingly "pretty much everywhere throughout 
the northern hemisphere . . . but is not 
common in the eastern states, and breeds from 
Alaska to Texas." Its flight is much like that 
of a teal, but less swift, and in cruising about 
for good feeding-grounds it is irregular and 
hesitating. "The body of the Shoveller is not 
large, and its apparent size in the air is made 
up chiefly of wings and head. . . . As a 
bird for the table, I have held it in very high 
esteem." (D. G. Elliot.) 




Male. 



Female. 



THE SHOVELLER-DUCK. 

In captivity it is a difficult bird to acclima- 
tize and keep alive, which for several reasons is 
to be regretted. The females and immature 
birds are colored very differently from the 
adult and perfect males. The following local 
names of this bird have been recorded by Mr. 
Elliot in his admirable book on "The Wild 
Fowl of North America": Blue-Winged Shovel- 
ler, Red-Breasted Shoveller, Spoonbilled "Teal," 
Spoonbilled "Widgeon," Broad-Bill, Broady, 
Swaddle-Bill and Mud-Shoveller. 

I regard the Pintail, or Sprigtail, 4 as the 
most beautiful duck in America, not even ex- 
cepting the wood-duck. On land its outlines 
are trim, graceful and finely drawn, and on the 
water it makes one think of a finely modelled 
yacht. In beauty of form it far surpasses all 

4 Daf'i-la a-cu'ta. Average length of male, 27 
inches; female, 22 inches. 



72 



ORDEBS OF BIEDS— DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS 



other American ducks ; and nowhere among 
wild-fowl is there to be found a more charming 
color-scheme than in the plumage of the drake. 
It is a harmony of delicate drabs, grays and 
white, used to set off several pleasing shades 
of brown, black, and iridescent green. None 
of the colors are gaudy or cheap-looking, and as 
a whole the combination of form and colors pro- 
duces a bird that is in every way an exquisite 
creature. 

It is in recognition of its beauty that this 



southward before the advance of snow and ice 
begins in September. On our Atlantic coast, 
many of the flocks winter in the labyrinth of 
sounds, bays and channels that fringe the coast 
of Virginia and the Carolinas. 

During recent years, quite a number of 
these birds have been caught alive near Water 
Lily, North Carolina, which is a locality famous 
for its wild ducks, geese and swans. 

Fortunately the Pintail is easily acclimatized, 
and although not a good breeder, like the* 




THE PINTAIL DUCK. 



Male. 



duck is sometimes called the Water -Pheasant. 
Its correct name, however, has been bestowed 
in honor of its 7-inch long, finely pointed tail. 

This bird ranges over nearly the whole of 
North America, but its favorite breeding-grounds 
are in the subarctic regions, particularly in 
the Yukon valley, and in the lake regions of the 
Canadian Barren Grounds. It is equally at 
home on the fresh-water lakes and rivers of the 
interior, and the salt-water inlets and channels 
of the Atlantic coast. The annual migration 



mallard, it does well in captivity, and is truly a 
thing of beauty, and a joy as long as it lives. 

The beauty of the Wood-Duck, or Summer- 
Duck, 1 depends almost wholly upon its brill- 
iantly colored plumage; for its form is quite 
commonplace. It may be wrong to make a 
cold-blooded analysis of its points, but for beauty 
of form, the neck of this bird is too small and 
too short, its head is too large, and its body is 
very ordinary. Its plumage, however, presents 

1 Aix spon'sa. Average length of male, 19 inches. 



OUR MOST BEAUTIFUL DUCKS 



273 



a color-scheme of brilliant reds, greens, blacks, 
browns, yellows and whites which is quite be- 
wildering. Even its weak little bill is colored 
scarlet and white, and its iris is bright red. 

In my opinion the claims of the two duck 
species which are rivals for the prize for web- 
footed beauty may fairly be expressed by the 
following proportion: 

The Pintail is to the Wood-Duck as a well- 
gowned American Woman is to a Chinese Man- 
darin. 

The Wood-Duck needs no description. 
Among ducks it is equalled in gorgeous colors 
only by its nearest relative, the mandarin duck 
of China — a painted harlequin. Our species 
is a tree-duck, and not only perches on trees, 
but also makes its nest in them, and rears its 
young at an elevation of from ten to thirty or 
forty feet. The nesting-site is always above 
water, in order that as the ducklings finally 
scramble out of the nest and fall, they will 
alight in the water without injury, and quickly 
learn to swim. 

In captivity the best nesting arrangement 
for this bird consists of a long, narrow box 
set on end on a stout post, well out in a pond, 
roofed over to keep out the rain. There must 
be a hole in one side, near the top, and a slanting 
board with cross slats reaching up to it from the 
water, for use as a ladder. The Wood-Duck 
will sometimes nest on the ground, either in 
captivity' or out. This species is being bred in 
captivity in England in large numbers, and 
also with some success in this country. Duck 
fanciers find no difficulty in purchasing live 
specimens of this interesting bird at $15 per 
pair. 

During the summer of 1902, a pair of wild 
Wood-Ducks made daily visits to the Ducks' 
Aviary in the New York Zoological Park, and 
in the autumn of that year a small flock settled 
with the Wood-Ducks, mallards and pintails on 
the Aquatic Mammals' Pond, and remained there 
permanently. In the spring of 1903, a fine 
drake manifested a fixed determination to break 
into the great Flying Cage, and become a mem- 
ber of the happy family within. After he had 
flown around the cage two or three times, 
Keeper Gannon opened wide the wire gates at 
the north end, drove him in, and he is there now, 
serene and happy. 



The Wood-Duck is a bird of great discern- 
ment. 

Although this bird is called the Summer- 
Duck, and migrates far in advance of winter, it 
winters very comfortably in the northern 
states if it is fed and continuously provided 
with open water to keep its feet from freezing. 
The natural range of this species is from Hud- 
son Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, chiefly on fresh 
water; but often it is found on brackish sounds 
and channels along the Atlantic coast where 
food is plentiful. 

Like all other wild clucks that are impcra- 




W r OOD-DUCK. 
Male and female. 

tively needed to keep the American people from 
starving, there remains to-day about one Wood- 
Duck where formerly there were from thirty to 
fifty. Apparently, the only winged creatures 
that are too beautiful or too good to be shot 
and eaten are angels; but I doubt if even a 
white-winged seraph with webbed feet would 
be safe for half an hour anywhere between Cape 
Cod and Charleston. 

The Redhead Duck 1 is one of our largest 
and best species, and one of the most satis- 
factory to keep in captivity. It belongs to the 
same genus as the canvas-back, and in size, 
habits, table value and beauty it is in no sense 

1 Ay-thy'a americana. Average length, 19 inches. 



274 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS 



whatever inferior to its more famous relative. 
When shot in the same locality, I think there is 
no one who could distinguish the two species 
by a difference in the flavor of their flesh. 

In the color of their plumage, the Redhead 
and canvas-back look so much alike that the 
casual observer might easily mistake one spe- 
cies for the other. Both have heads and necks 
of solid rusty brown, but the head-color of the 
Redhead is the more intense and conspicuous. 

The head of the Redhead has a high and 
well-rounded forehead and crown, while that 
of the canvas-back is wedge-shaped, the fore- 
head forming a straight line with the top of 
the bill. The Redhead has a short bill, with a 
blue band across it ; the other species has a long 
bill, with no band. 




THE REDHEAD DUCK. 

The Redhead (like the canvas-back) feeds 
chiefly upon aquatic plants, its favorite food 
being the vallisneria, a kind of trailing water- 
weed which grows in many of the inlets along 
the Atlantic coast. 

Through countless generations of diving after 
food-plants, the Redhead has become a deep 
diver. It is accustomed to seeking its food in 
mid-stream of deep rivers, and in the open water 
of lakes and sounds, where many other ducks 
would be quite unable to reach the bottom. 
Reliable lake fishermen at Lakeside, Orleans 
County, New York, have informed me that they 
have taken drowned Redhead Ducks from 
nets that had been set on the bottom of Lake 
Ontario, at a depth of ninety feet, where the 



ducks could not possibly have become entangled 
save in going to the bottom for food. It also 
appeared that those Ducks sought their food 
and became entangled only at night. It takes 
a bold and energetic bird to feed successfully 
at night in ninety feet of water! 

Naturally this fine bird has ever been a 
prime favorite with sportsmen and "market- 
shooters," and during the past fifteen years 
its numbers have diminished to about one- 
fiftieth of what they were prior to 1885. It is 
as easily deceived by decoys as green hunters 
are; and in preparing to alight the Redhead 
flock has a fatal habit of coming together in a 
manner called "bunching," which is as deadly 
to the birds as "close formation" is to soldiers 
in a modern battle. 

Much more might be noted regarding this in- 
teresting bird, which must be left to the special 
works on birds. For many reasons it is very de- 
sirable that the Redhead should be semi-domesti- 
cated, and by protection and breeding in cap- 
tivity saved from the final blotting out which 
otherwise will be its fate. While it does not 
breed in captivity as bravely as the mallard, it 
can be taught to do so, and the prices at which 
living birds can be procured ($5 each) is so 
very moderate that experiments with it are not 
costly. 

The distribution of this bird is given as 
"North America, breeding from California, 
southern Michigan, and Maine northward;" 
but in North America there are to-day more 
lands and waters without this duck than with 
it. In addition to its best and most appro- 
priate name it is also called Raft- Duck, and 
American Pochard. 

The Canvas-Back Duck 1 had the misfortune, 
early in its history, to attract the evil eye of the 
deadly epicure, whose look of approval is a 
blighting curse to every living creature upon 
which it is bestowed. Because of this, the 
unfortunate Canvas-Back is now little more than 
a bird of history. It is of no present interest, 
outside of museums and the zoological parks 
and gardens which have been so fortunate as to 
secure a very few specimens. Unfortunately, 
it has been impossible for even the most ener- 
getic duck-fanciers to secure a sufficient number 

1 Ay-thy'a ral-lis-ne'ri-a. Average length, 22 
inches. 



REDHEAD AND CANVAS-BACK 




THE CANVAS-BACK DUCK. 

of unwounded specimens to carry out the ex- 
periments necessary to determine the precise 
conditions under which this species will breed 
in captivity. No one ever sees more than two 
or three living Canvas-Backs together in an 
aviary, and thus far I believe none have bred. 

It is unnecessary to describe this species, 
for it is probable that no one of the readers 
hereof ever will see one wild and unlabelled. Its 
range was once the same as that of the redhead, 
and its habits also were quite similar. 

The Buffle-Head Duck, or Butter-Ball, 1 is a 
small, tree-nesting duck, so pretty and so very 
odd-looking that when seen every one wishes to 
know its name; and when named, it is not soon 
forgotten. When you see a short-bodied, 
plump-looking little duck, black above and white 
below, with a head that is a great round mass 
of soft feathers, half snow-white, and half a 
rich metallic mixture of purple, violet and green, 
— that is a Butter-Ball, and nothing else. 
Wherever seen, it commands instant attention. 

Unfortunately, this picturesque little creature 
does not like our country as a summer resi- 
dence, for it breeds from Maine, Iowa and Brit- 
ish Columbia, northward, and returns to us 
only when snapping cold weather heralds the 
approach of winter. On the water it is the 
most nervous and watchful duck that I know, 
and its habit of constantly turning from side 

1 Char-i-ton-et'ta al-be-o'la. Average length, 14.50 
inches. 



to side is certainly in the interest of self-preserva- 
tion. But after all, what is the alertness of any 
duck against the deadly, cold calculation of 
the greedy "market-shooter" with a choke- 
bore gun? 

The Buffle-Head is one of the ducks that 
is rarely seen in captivity. A specimen that 
is so seriously wounded that it can be caught, 
usually dies a few days later. So far as I know, 
it has not yet been induced to breed in cap- 
tivity; but that is no reason for believing that 
it never will. We hold that if conditions are 
made satisfactory, any wild species will breed 
in captivity. Usually it is a question of suffi- 
cient seclusion, and immunity from disturbance. 
The range of this bird is said to include all 
North America, from the Arctic Ocean to 
Cuba. And so it does, all save those localities 
wherein it docs not occur. 




THE BUFFLE-HEAD, OR BUTTER-BALL. 

The Harlequin Duck 2 is most fantastically 
marked. The prevailing colors of the male are 
dark blue, blue-black and violet, with various 
white collars, stripes and patches that seem to 
have been laid on with a paint-brush. This bird 
is to be looked for along the Pacific coast above 
Oregon to Japan, and on the Atlantic coast from 
Newfoundland northward. It is nowhere com- 
mon, rather solitary, but frequents costal rivers 
as well as the sea. As a rarity to be prized, one 
Harlequin is equal to twenty ducks of almost any 
other species in America. 

2 His-tri-on' i-cus his-tri-on'-i-cus. Length, 16 inches. 



276 



ORDERS OP BIRDS— DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS 




Reproduced from Recreation Magazine. 



A HAVEN OF REFUGE. 



An Object Lesson in Bird-Protection. — As a fitting conclusion to our studies of the ducks 
of our interior rivers, lakes and ponds, we present a remarkable instance of what bird-pro- 
tection can accomplish. The picture of the pond described might well be entitled — " An 
Oasis in the Great American Desert of Game Destruction!" By the courtesy of Mr. G. 0. Shields, 
Editor of Recreation Magazine, we reproduce from that periodical for June, 1903, the above 
illustration, and the following description by Mr. Charles C. Townsend, which appeared under 
the caption, "A Haven of Refuge." 



"One mile north of the little village of Mosca, 
Colorado, in San Luis valley, lives the family of 
J . C. Gray. On the Gray ranch there is an artesian 
well which empties into a small pond about 100 
feet square. This pond is never entirely frozen 
over and the water emptying therein is warm 
even during the coldest winter. 

"Some five years ago Mr. Gray secured a few 
wild-duck eggs, and hatched them under a hen. 
The little ducks were reared and fed on the little 
pond. The following spring they left the place, 
to return in the fall, bringing with them broods 
of young; also bringing other ducks to the home 
where protection was afforded them, and plenty 
of good feed was provided. Each year since, 
the dueks have scattered in the spring to mate 
and rear their families, returning again with 
greatly increased numbers in the fall, and again 
bringing strangers to the haven of refuge. 

"I drove out to the ranch November 24, 1902, 
and found the little pond almost black with the 
birds, and was fortunate enough to secure a pict- 
ure of a part of the pond while the ducks were 
thickly gathered thereon. Ice had formed 
around the edges, and this ice was covered with 
ducks. The water was also alive with others, 



which paid not the least attention to the party 
of strangers on the shore. 

"From Mr. Gray I learned that there were 
some GOO ducks of various kinds on the pond at 
that time, though it was then early for them to 
seek winter quarters. Later in the year, he as- 
sured me, there would be between 2,000 and 3,000 
teal, mallards, canvas-backs, redheads and other 
varieties, all perfectly at home and fearless of 
danger. The family have habitually approached 
the pond from the house, which stands on the 
south side, and should any person appear on the 
north side of the pond the ducks immediately 
take fright and flight. Wheat was strewn on 
the ground and in the water, and the ducks wad- 
dled around us within a few inches of our feet 
to feed, paying not the least attention to us, or 
to the old house-dog which walked near. 

"Six miles east of the ranch is San Luis lake, 
to which these ducks travel almost daily while 
the lake is open. When they are at the lake it is 
impossible to approach within gunshot of the 
then timid birds. Some unsympathetic boys 
and men have learned the habit of the birds, and 
place themselves in hiding along the course of 
flight to and from the lake. Many ducks are shot. 



THE EIDER-DUCKS 



277 



in this way, but woe to the person caught firing a 
gun on or near the home-pond. When away 
from home, the birds are as wild as other wild- 
ducks and fail to recognize any members of the 
Gray family. While at home they follow the 
boys around the barn-yard, squawking for feed 
like so many tame ducks. 

"This is the greatest sight I have ever wit- 
nessed, and one that I could not believe existed 
until I had seen it. Certainly it is worth travel- 
ling many miles to see, and no one, after seeing 
it, would care to shoot birds that, when kindly 
treated, make such charming pets." 




AMERICAN EIDER. 

The Group of Eider-Ducks. — The arctic 
and subarctic regions contain a group of about 
seven species of large sea-ducks, called eiders 
(i'ders). The representative species are dis- 
tinguished by their flat foreheads and wedge- 
shaped heads; by a long, wedge-shaped point 
of the cheek-feathers which extends forward 
and divides the base of the upper mandible; and 
by the possession of more or less bright green 
color on the head. 

On land, the eiders are heavy and clumsy 
birds, but on the sea they are at home, and dive 
with great ability. The females line their 
nests very liberally with down from their own 



breasts, and this when gathered and utilized 
becomes the well-known "eider-down" of com- 
merce. Unfortunately, the natives of arctic 
America are unable to make use of eider-down, 
save on the skin, and this leads to the slaughter 
of great numbers of the birds. 

Eiders nest on the tops of rocky islets, using 
sea-weed or grass for a foundation, and covering 
this with down plucked from their own breasts. 
So abundantly is the nest lined that by the 
time the eggs are all deposited they are fairly 
embedded and covered in the softest of beds. 
In Iceland, the eider-ducks are half domes- 
ticated. The inhabitants collect the down 
from the nests for sale, and therefore they are 
much interested in preserving the birds. Nest- 
ing-places are made for the birds by building 
thick stone walls with spacious crevices along 
each side, at the base, or by scooping out 
shallow cavities in the hard earth. The Eiders 
permit their human friends to go among them, 
and even to handle their eggs. 

On the Atlantic coast, from Labrador to 
Delaware in winter, we have the American 
Eider, 1 which appears to be the best type for 
the eider group. Fortunately for our chances 
of close acquaintance with it, this species oc- 
casionally penetrates westward along the great 
lakes to Illinois and Wisconsin — a very unusual 
proceeding for a sea-duck. Any bird which 
will go so far out of its natural range in order 
to become acquainted with interocean Ameri- 
cans surely is worth knowing. Moreover, the 
eider of the Old World so closely resembles 
this bird in all essential details that to know 
one species is to know the other also. 

The colors of this bird are black and white, 
as shown in the illustration, except that the 
nape and the rear portion of the region around 
the ear are sea-green, and the tail and the pri- 
maries are pale brown. The bill and feet are 
olive-green. 

The Spectacled Eider,'- of northwestern 
Alaska, is a bird easily remembered by its 
name, and the large, white spot around each 
eye which at once suggests a pair of spectacles. 
This bird is limited to our arctic territory, and 
is said, by Mr. E. W. Kelson, to be threatened 
with extinction by man at no very distant day. 

1 So-ma-te'ri-a dres'ser-i. Length, about 23 inches. 

2 Arc-ton-et'ta fisch'er-i. Length, about 21 inches. 



278 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS 



Our occupation of Alaska, after the Russians, 
has led to the arming of the natives with modern 
rifles and shot-guns, before which wild life gen- 
erally is rapidly being swept out of existence. 

The White-Winged Scoter 1 (sko'ter) quite 
acceptably represents a group of sea-ducks 
and deep divers, called Scoters, and of which 
there are three species resident in North Amer- 
ica. These are the blackest of all our ducks. 
The species known as the American Scoter 



southern California, northern Missouri, Illinois 
and Maryland. Like most of our ducks, it 
breeds in the far north, and returns to us only 
for the winter. It is a deep and persistent 
diver, and it is said that when wounded and 
pursued it will sometimes dive to the bottom, 
even fifty feet if necessary, seize a bunch of 
grass or weeds with its bill, and hold on until 
it has quite drowned. Its food consists of fish, 
crustaceans and mollusks. 



■ ' r. ' 




Female. 



RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. 



is glossy black throughout, without a single 
patch of color save the bright orange-yellow 
which colors the basal half of the bill and its 
knob. 

The White- Winged species has a white patch 
on each wing, technically known as a "specu- 
lum," and a white patch of variable shape under 
or in rear of the eye. Above and in rear of the 
nostrils the bill and skull together are raised into 
a conspicuous hump, half covered by feathers. 

Like all the scoters, this bird is a fish-eating 
duck, and its flesh is so fishy in flavor it is not 
considered fit for the table. It is widely dis- 
tributed throughout North America down to 

1 Oi-de'mi-a deg-land'i. Average length, 21 inches. 



The Red- Breasted Merganser 2 bravely and 
handsomely represents what is structurally 
the lowest group of ducks, known as the Mer- 
gan'sers, embracing three species. The bill of 
this bird is long, narrow, and set along the edges 
with lamellae that look quite like sharp teeth — 
a most admirable arrangement for seizing fish 
under water. The bill of a Merganser always 
reminds me of two things: the jaws of the 
gavial, or Gangetic crocodile, and Professor 
Marsh's toothed bird, the Hes-per-or'nis, from 
the great extinct inland sea of the Middle West- 
One of the common names of this bird is the 
Saw-Bill; and it is peculiarly appropriate. 

2 Mer-gan'ser ser-ra'lor. Average length, 22 inches. 



THE MERGANSERS 



279 



Among other ducks this fine bird has the bold, 
confident air of a born free-booter. The back 
of its head is ornamented with several long 
feathers which form a crest, like the war-bonnet 
of a Sioux Indian. The whole head and upper 
neck are black, with green and purple reflec- 
tions. Around the middle of the neck is a con- 
spicuous white collar, and under that is the 
pale rusty-red breast, streaked with black, 
which gives the bird its name. 



nervous, and difficult to keep alive in captivity. 
A fine specimen which we cherished for a time 
in the Flying Cage of the New York Zoological 
Park, along with many other water-birds of 
good size, at first seemed inclined to accept 
the situation, and become acclimatized; but 
it lived only two months. With several Mer- 
gansers together, the result might be more satis- 
factory. 

The Hooded Merganser 1 is distinctly 




STBLLER S DUCK. 
Eniconetta stdleri. 



SPECTACLED EIDER. 
Arctonetta fischeri. 



KING EIDER. 
Somateria spectabilis 




RUDDY DUCK. 
Erismatura jamaicensis. 



AMERICAN MERGANSER. 
Merganser americanus. 



HOODED MERGANSER. 
Lophodytes cucullatus. 



This sea-going bird-craft is at home — under 
many names — in both the Old World and the 
New. On our continent it breeds from our 
northern states as far as the Aleutian Islands 
and western Alaska, where the Aleuts prize it 
for food above all other ducks. In winter it 
migrates along our two ocean coasts to southern 
California and Florida. It feeds entirely on 
fish, and the flavor of its flesh is rank and disa- 
greeable. 

Nearly all sportsmen admire this duck, and 
it is much to be regretted that it is so shy and 



marked by a striking, black-and-white semi- 
circular crest of great height, standing stiffly 
erect, and jaunty beyond compare amongst 
water-fowl. By that crest and the slender 
Merganser bill any one may know this bird out 
of ten thousand species, whether seen in New 
York or New Zealand. It ranges all over North 
America, wherever there is water enough 
to float it, down to Mexico and Cuba, and as a 
result has been burdened with an appalling 

1 Lo-phod'y-tes cu-cul-la'lus. Average length, 17 
inches. 



280 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS 



collection of names. It nests in hollow trees, 
near good fishing-grounds, and whenever it 
makes its summer camp near a trout stream, 
the fry fare badly. 

The Geese. — Those who have not looked 
into the subject usually are surprised to find 
what a fine collection of geese is found in North 
America. The continent is so large it requires 
an effort to come in touch with representatives 
of all the species of wild-geese which inhabit 
it. While they are somewhat lacking in the 
fine coloring that characterizes a few foreign 
species, such as the spur-winged goose of Africa, 




CANADA GOOSE. 

they form, as a whole, a highly interesting group, 
well worth the acquaintance of all Americans 
save the market-hunters, and others who shoot 
not wisely but too well. 

Fortunately for those who live where wild- 
geese dare not show themselves for fear of being 
killed, all these species take kindly to captivity, 
and are easily kept in parks and zoological 
gardens. In 1903, five species were living 
quite contentedly in the New York Zoological 
Park. 

In writing of geese, we would not think of 
mentioning any species ahead of our old favor- 
ite and most faithful friend, the Canada 



Goose. 1 Where is the country dweller who has 
not heard, far aloft, the well-known trumpet 
"Honk," and the prompt answers all down the 
two lines as the V-shaped flock winged swiftly 
forward? In the raw, windy days at winter's 
end, from the Gulf to Hudson Bay, the old 
gander's cry is accepted as a guarantee of spring, 
and hailed with joy. Dull indeed is the mind 
that is not moved to wonder and admiration 
by the remarkable V-formation in which the 
wild-goose flock cleaves the air. 

Although wild-geese in transit through the 
Mississippi valley frequently alighted in corn- 
fields to rest and feed, as a rule they were so 
wary and wide-awake it was next to impossible 
to bag one. In Minnesota and the Dakotas, 
however, they often flocked on the ground in 
such numbers that goose-shooting was as regular 
a sport as chicken-shooting, and during a brief 
period- of slaughter yielded weighty results. 
Thousands of geese alighting in cornfields to 
feed have been shot from the interior of innocent- 
looking corn-shocks. 

The Canada Goose is not only the largest of 
the wild-geese of North America, but also the 
most important and valuable member of the 
group. There are times, also, when it seems 
to be the most savory bird that finds its way 
to the platter. One of those times was when 
a flock alighted near our camp, on the ice of 
the Musselshell, in Montana, the day before 
a certain whizzing cold Thanksgiving, and a 
fat young gander was shot, and beautifully 
roasted over the camp-fire in a large Dutch 
oven. 

In captivity the Canada Goose is an all- 
around philosopher; and even when wild, he 
often knows a good thing when he sees it. In 
October, 1901, a flock of nine geese flying south- 
ward over the New York Zoological Park sud- 
denly espied our flock of the same species on 
the Aquatic Mammals' Pond. Without a 
moment's hesitation, the wild-birds sailed down 
and alighted on the shore beside their relatives, 
and invited themselves to the banquet of 
cracked corn. 

On the following day, Mr. H. R. Mitchell 
coaxed seven of the visitors into a huge wire 
cage that was set up on the shore, where they 

1 Bran'ta canadensis. Average length, about 35 
inches; but individuals vary greatly in size. 



WILD-GOOSE AND BRANT 



281 



were caught and wing-clipped to prevent further 
wandering into danger. The seven are still 
there; but the two undipped birds, after re- 
maining all winter, flew away north the follow- 
ing spring, and it is quite likely that their bad 
judgment has ere now cost them their lives. 

Apparently, all the North American geese 
are almost as easy to keep in captivity as do- 
mestic geese. Their favorite food is cracked 
corn and whole wheat, but they will eat almost 
any kind of grain. In winter they require 
low shelter coops, open toward the south; and 
a small portion of their pond must be kept open 
all winter, by frequently removing the ice, to 
keep their feet from freezing. Not all these 
birds, however, care to seek shelter in a humble 
coop. 

The Canada Goose is known by its large size, 
and its jet-black head and neck, with a con- 
spicuous white crescent encircling the throat. 
The black on the neck ends abruptly where the 
neck joins the body, and the general tone of the 
latter is gray-brown. Its neck is longer, and 
also more slender as a rule, than those of other 
birds. 

This fine bird winters in Texas, along the 
Gulf of Mexico, and in the sounds and bays of 
Virginia and the Carolinas, and goes north 
early in spring. Its nesting-grounds begin in 
our northern tier of states, and extend north- 
ward to Labrador, the Barren Grounds and 
Alaska. Throughout much of that vast area, 
the shot-guns and rifles are ever ready, and the 
number of geese that still survive are eloquent 
testimony to the wariness, the keeness of vision 
and the good judgment of this much-prized 
bird. A bird of equal desirability, but with a 
dull brain and poor vision, would have been 
exterminated long ago. 

One of the most interesting things about the 
Canada Goose is the energy and courage of the 
male in defending the female on her nest. 
Last spring two of our geese paired off, and 
built a nest on the south bank of the Mammals' 
Pond, in a very exposed situation. From that 
time until the young were hatched, the gander 
never once wandered from his post. It was 
his rule never to go more than sixty feet from 
the nest, and whenever any one approached it, 
he immediately hastened to intercept the in- 
truder, hissing and threatening with his wings 



in a most truculent manner. Had any one 
persisted in disturbing the female, he would 
willingly, even cheerfully, have shed his blood 
in her defence. His unswerving devotion to 
his duty attracted the admiring attention of 
thousands of visitors, and the proudest day of 
his life was when the first live gosling was led 
to the water, and launched with appropriate 
ceremonies. 

There are three subspecies of the Canada 
Goose, all smaller, but otherwise very similar. 
The White-Cheeked Goose inhabits the Pa- 
cific coast, north to Sitka; and the Cackling 
Goose is found in the same region, and on up 
to the Yukon. Hutchin's Goose is merely a 
small edition of the Canada. 

The Black Brant 1 is a very distinct bird, 
noticeably smaller than the Canada goose, 
and readily recognized by its blackness and its 
small size. Its head, neck, and breast are en- 
tirely black, save for a white collar going two- 
thirds of the way around the upper neck. The 
black of the neck does not end abruptly at the 
shoulders, but spreads back over the back and 
under parts until the final effect is that of a bird 
which is two-thirds black. 

Although this bird is generally accounted 
rare on the Atlantic coast, the New York Zo- 
ological Society has secured a number of fine 
living specimens from Carrituck Sound, on the 
coast of North Carolina. Beyond doubt, how- 
ever, it is rare everywhere in the eastern United 
States. It is remarkable for the fact that it 
migrates northward not only to the desolate 
shores of the Arctic Ocean, but far beyond, and 
must nest and rear its young far out on the great 
polar ice-pack. 

The Brant Goose 2 is quite a different spe- 
cies from the preceding. The black of its neck 
ends abruptly at the shoulders, and the white 
collar is a mere broken patch, without decided 
character. The body is everywhere much 
lighter than the color of the black brant, with 
which this species is often confounded, because 
the two are often found together, though not 
on the Pacific coast. Once the Brant Goose 
was plentiful along the Atlantic side, but it is 
now rare, and fast disappearing. 

1 Bran'ta ni'gri-cans. Average length, about 24 
inches. 

2 Bran'ta ber'ni-cla. 



282 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS 



The American White-Fronted Goose' is, 

in my opinion, the most handsomely colored 
goose we possess. Contrary to expectations 
that are often based upon its name, it has not a 
white breast, nor white shoulders. Its white 
"front" is limited to an inch-wide frill of white 
immediately surrounding the base of its bill. 



rangement of the plumage, and as a whole the 
bird is decidedly beautiful. 

This fine bird is even yet abundant on the 
Pacific coast, from southern California to Alaska, 
where it crosses over to the Asiatic side. It 
appears that Alaska is its favorite nesting- 
ground. On the Atlantic coast it is no longer 




New York Zoological Park. 



TRUMPETER SWANS. 



Other than this the head and the neck are dark 
brown, and the back, sides, breast and abdomen 
are covered with a scale-like arrangement of 
feathers that are various shades of brown or 
black, strongly edged with white or gray. The 
effect of the white edges of the feathers is to 
bring out in strong relief the immaculate ar- 

l An'ser al'bi-jrons gam'bel-i. Average length, 28 
inches. 



seen. The specimens living in the Zoological 
Park were taken in southern Texas, on the Rio 
Crande, where the species is yet a winter visi- 
tant. 

The Snow-Goose 2 is, excepting its large 
wing-feathers (the primaries), an all-white bird. 
Based on the tape-line, two species have been 

2 Chen hy-per-bo're-a. Average length, about 30 
inches. 



SNOW-GOOSE AND SWAN 



283 



described and recognized by ornithologists, 
the "Greater" Snow-Goose, and the "Lesser." 
If the specimen under the tape is a large one, it 
is the former species; but if it is smaller than 
the average, it is booked as the "Lesser." Ob- 
viously, the wisest course is to discard both 
adjectives of size, and recognize the Snow-Goose 
only, be it more or less. 

This easily recognized bird, like the ma- 
jority of our other wild geese and ducks, wan- 
ders over almost the whole of the well-watered 
portion of North America down to Cuba and 
Mexico; but where the guns of civilization are 
most numerous it is now a rare and lonesome 
bird. To-day it is more abundant — or it 
were better to say, less scarce — in the Mississippi 
valley, Texas, and the Pacific states than else- 
where. Where they were permitted to do so, 
these birds often assembled in large flocks, and 
often made themselves conspicuous around 
the prairie-ponds of the Dakotas and Minne- 
sota. When you are travelling over the Northern 
Pacific Railway, or the Great Northern, and 
see on the smooth prairie a flock of rather large 
white birds, it is safe to declare that they are 
Snow-Geese. 

The Swans. — Last of the Order of Ducks, 
and farthest from the type of the Order, are 
the Swans. Although two species are recog- 
nized, the difference between them is not always 
visible to the naked eye. 

The Trumpeter Swan 1 is one of our largest 
birds, and considering its great size it is strange 
that it has not been exterminated ere this. 
Its existence speaks highly for its wariness. 
Living specimens are purchasable at from $20 
to $30 each, and the majority of them come 
from Texas and the plains region. To my 
mind, this is the least attractive of all the 
large swimming-birds, and it certainly is one 
of the most pugnacious and quarrelsome. 
In captivity, Trumpeter Swans always wish to 
do the wrong thing. Even when policy de- 
mands that they at least appear friendly, they 
are always truculently hissing at and threatening 
their human neighbors, friends as well as ene- 
mies. This Swan's voice is like a short blast 

1 O'lor buc-cin-a'tor. Length, 4 feet 8 inches ; 
height, when standing erect, 3 feet 9 inches; 
expanse of wings, 7 feet 10 inches; weight, 22 
pounds. 



on a French horn, but when a large flock rises 
from a pond in a wilderness, and gets fairly 
under way, the chorus given forth on such occa- 
sions I know to be decidedly musical, and 
also heart-breaking when out of range. 

With birds smaller than themselves, Swans 
often are so quarrelsome and murderous they 
require to be separated, and yarded by them- 
selves. 

On level ground, the Swan is the most un- 
gainly of all the American members of the 
Order of Ducks; and even afloat, its bows lie 
much too deep in the water. 

The central line of migration and distribu- 
tion of this species is the western boundary of 
the states forming the western bank of the 
Mississippi. It breeds from Iowa northward 
to the Barren Grounds, and in the United 
States straggles eastward and westward to both 
shores of the continent. I have seen speci- 
mens taken in 1885 in the Potomac River, and 
it has often been observed near Los Angeles, 
southern California. 

Thus far, only one naturalist (so far as we 
know) ever has heard the "Song of the Dying 
Swan." Mr. D. G. Elliot, in "Wild Fowl of 
North America," records the following inter- 
esting observation: 

"Once, when shooting in Carrituck Sound, 
. . . a number of Swan passed over us at 
a considerable height. AVe fired at them, and 
one splendid bird was mortally hurt. On re- 
ceiving his wound the wings became fixed, and 
he commenced at once his song, which was 
continued until the water was reached, nearly 
half a mile away. I am perfectly familiar with 
every note a Swan is accustomed to utter, but 
never before nor since have I heard any like 
those sung by this stricken bird. Most plaintive 
in character, and musical in tone, it sounded 
at times like the soft running of the notec in an 
octave." 

The Whistling Swan 2 is accorded rank as a 
species chiefly on the strength of a small yellow 
patch on the base of the bill — which is not al- 
ways present! Young Swans of both species 
are of a dirty-gray color — not white ; but the 
plumage of the adult bird is perfectly white. 
The bill and feet are jet black. 

2 O'lor co-lum-bi-an'us . 



CHAPTER XXIX 
THE ORDER OF FULLY WEB-FOOTED BIRDS 

STEGANOPODES 

To recognize a member of this Order, look at its foot, and see that the web of the three large 
toes is also united to the fourth, or rear toe. This may seem like a small peg on which to hang an 
Order ; but it is a very useful one, nevertheless. As usual, the best and most conspicuous example 
will be mentioned first. The Families are as follows: 

FAMILIES. EXAMPLES. 

n„. „ „„ ! Brown Pelican ; White 

Pelicans, . . . pel-e-can'i-dae | Pelican. 

Cormorants, . . phal-a-cro-co-raci-dae, . Common Cormorant. 
ORDER / 
STEGANOPODES. \ Darters, . . . an-hing'I-dae Darter, or Snake-Bird. 

Gannets, . . . svli-dae Common Gannet. 

Man-o'-War Birds, fre-gati-dae Frigate-Bird. 




Photographed by C. William Beebe From the Zoological Society Bulletin. 

FLORIDA BROWN PELICANS, ON TELICAN ISLAND. 



THE PELICAN FAMILY. 

Peleeanidae. 

The Brown Pelican 1 is known to every 
tourist who knows Florida thoroughly, or 

1 Pel-e-ca' nus fus'cus. Length, 49 inches; spread 
of wings, 6 feet 91 inches. 



southern California. Somehow this bird ap- 
peals to every one, — possibly by reason of its 
cheerful confidence in man, — and for a wonder 
it has not been exterminated. It takes to 
captivity not only willingly, but gladly, and its 
motto is, "All's fish that cometh to net." 



284 



THE BROWN PELICAN 



285 



It is an amiable bird, sociable to an unlimited 
degree, harms no one, and makes no enemies. 

Pelican Island, in Indian River, Brevard 
County, Florida, is the most interesting sight 
in the land of flowers. On an area of about 
three acres, raised only two or three feet above 
high-water mark, destitute of trees because the 
Pelicans have nested them to death, live about 
2,000 Brown Pelicans, and in 1G02 they made 
976 nests. During every breeding-season they 



babies, as large as their parents, but covered all 
over with down as white as cotton. 

It is no uncommon thing for a young Pelican 
to have from six to nine mullet in its neck and 
crop at one time, as we have discovered by 
catching some of them with a search-warrant, 
and searching their premises. 

To feed these hungry and appallingly capacious 
pouches, the old birds fly about fifteen miles 
up the coast to fishing-grounds where silver 




Photographed by R. J. Beck. 



ages Islands. 



CALIFORNIA BROWN PELICAN. 



inhabit that islet, nesting in small nests of grass 
plucked on the spot, and arranged on the ground. 
The few dead mangroves that still stand are 
loaded with stick-made nests, to the point of 
breaking down. 

Egg-laying begins about the first of February, 
and straggles along until the end of May. By 
March 15, the breeding-grounds contain in 
close proximity, unfinished nests, and nests 
with fresh eggs (usually three); young just out 
of the shell; half-grown young, and, finally, full- 
grown young. The latter are great hulking 



mullet are plentiful and cheap; and there each 
old bird fills its neck and crop with from six to 
nine fish, each from seven to ten inches in length. 
At evening, just before sunset, in groups of 
from three to seven they slowly wing their way 
back along the beach, flying low over the saw 
palmettos that fringe the shore. They give 
about six wing-beats, then sail as far as possible, 
each little company winging in unison. Several 
times I have lain low in the palmettos, to watch 
their flight at a distance of only a few feet as 
they approached and passed over me. 



286 



OEDEES OF BIEDS— FULLY-WEBBED SWIMMEES 



Truly they are fine birds, — rich in coloring, 
remarkably odd in form, and very well set up. 
Unfortunately they do not acquire their full 
colors until in their third year. The neck of the 
adult bird is in two colors, rich blackish-brown 
and white, and the back is a beautiful silvery 
gray-brown effect, composed of many tints. The 
top of the head of the adult bird is yellow. The 
bill is a foot long, the pouch is of a bluish-purple 




New York Zoological 
GKEA.T WHITE PELICAN. 

color, and calls for about four pounds of fish 
daily. 

It is very interesting to watch Pelicans fishing. 
On calm days when the surface of Indian River 
is like a mirror, the eruption of silvery spray 
that rises high when the big bird plunges into 
the water, attracts attention at a distance of 
two or three miles. It is finest, however, to 
see them fishing in the breakers on the ocean 
side of the Indian River Peninsula, about 200 
feet from shore. They sail along so near the 
water it seems a wonder it does not strike them ; 
but they rise over the incoming waves, and 
lower again into the trough with the utmost 
precision, always keenly alert. All of a sudden, 
the wings are thrown out of gear, and a fountain 



of flying spray tells the story of the plunge with 
open pouch for the luckless fish. 

For several years the fate of the great Pelican 
colony in Indian River has been in doubt, and 
its preservation has been due more to public 
sentiment in Brevard County than to the arm 
of the law. In 1903, however, Pelican Island 
was formally declared to be a government 
reservation, and placed under the absolute 
control of the Biological Survey, thus 
insuring the permanent protection of its 
occupants. 

The California Brown Pelican 1 so 
closely resembles the Florida species that 
the differences between the two are not 
easily recognized. The accompanying il- 
lustration is from a photograph taken on 
the Galapagos Islands, directly under 
the equator; and from that locality this 
species ranges northward along the Pa- 
cific coast to British Columbia. 

The Great White Pelican 2 is a grand 
bird, — big, clean, immaculate, and with 
the dignity of a newly appointed judge. 
About him there are two bad things. In 
captivity his appetite for fresh fish makes 
him a costly luxury, and his Latin name 
always frightens timid people. 

The curious horn seen in winter and 
spring atop of the bill of this bird is 
purely a sexual ornament, found only on 
the male in the breeding-season, after 
which it drops off. It begins to grow 
about February 15, is perfect by May 
1, and drops off not later than July 1. 
To-day, as a matter of course, the Great 
White Pelican is a rare bird. On the west 
coast of Florida, where once it was abundant, 
I believe it is no longer found. It is yet found 
inland in certain western localities, where 
there are lakes large enough to shelter it, and 
supply it with fish, and it is to be hoped that 
it will be many years ere this grand bird is 
exterminated. Fortunately, a colony has be- 
come established on an island in Yellowstone 
Lake, in the Yellowstone Park, where it breeds 
regularly every summer, to the great delight 

1 Pcl-e-ca'nvn californicus. 

2 Pel-e-ca'nvs er-yth-ro-rhyn'chos. Length, 61 
inches; spread of wings, S feet 10 inches; weight, 
161 pounds. 



COEMOBANT AND SNAKE-BIRD 



287 



of all tourists who care for the sight of what is 
called a "pelicanery." In winter, southern 
Texas is the haven for this bird, as well as for so 
many other swimming-birds. 

THE CORMORANT FAMILY. 

Phalacrocoracidae. 

The Cormorant 1 is to me a most uninter- 
esting bird. Month in and month out I have 
seen them perching, and perching, — on spar 
buoys in harbors, on mud-bank stakes, and on 
dead trees along shore and up stream. For days 
together have Cormorants fled up stream before 
my boat, yet never once have I seen a wild 
Cormorant do an interesting thing. Instead of 
getting out and hustling for fish, like the pelican, 
or taking delight in architecture, like the osprey, 
the Cormorant tiresomely perches, and waits, 
Micawber-like, for something to turn up. 

In captivity it does better. In our Flying- 
Cage pool, the Cormorants play with sticks, 
and dive for amusement, more than any other 
bird, except the brown pelican. In fact, it 
seems like a different creature from the wild 
bird. 

The Cormorant is, in general terms, a dull 
black bird, wholly devoid of colored plumage. 
Its range is given in the check list of the Ameri- 
can Ornithologists' Union as "coasts of the North 
Atlantic, south in winter on the coast of the 
United States, casually, to the Carolinas." It 
lives upon fish, and wanders inland much farther 
than might be supposed. 

The Double-Crested Cormorant 2 is the 
bird of the interior of the United States, from 
Texas northward into Manitoba, but also rang- 
ing to the Atlantic coast. Its'color is glossy black. 
On the Pacific coast, from Washington to Alaska, 
is found the Pelagic Cormorant, 3 with an erect 
crest rising from its forehead, and by which 
this bird is ea-sily recognized. 

Pallas' Cormorant, which once inhabited the 
northern shore of Bering Sea, was the largest and 
handsomest bird of this Family. Its prevailing 
color was dark metallic-green, set off with blue 
and purple reflections. It was discovered by 
Bering in 1741, but is now quite extinct. 

1 Phal-a-cro-co'rax car'bo. Average length, 34 
inches. 

2 P.'di-lo'phus. 3 P. pe-lag'i-cus. 



THE DARTER FAMILY. 

Anhingidae. 

The Snake-Bird, Darter, or Water -"Tur- 
key," 4 is a web-footed bird, with many pecul- 
iarities. Its most popular name — Snake-Bird 
— has been bestowed in recognition of the fact 
that in this bird the neck and head are so long 
and slender they suggest the body and head of 
a snake. When not in action, the head and upper 
neck are only an inch in diameter, yet so rub- 
ber-like is the skin I have seen a Darter swallow 
a mullet 8 inches long, and 1J inch in diameter— 
a truly snake-like stretch. Frequently when 
the head of a fish is in this bird's crop, the tail 
fin will protrude from a corner of the mouth. 

The beak is like a Spanish dagger, and at all 
times is decidedly a dangerous weapon. One 
well-aimed stroke is enough to stab any or- 
dinary bird to death, or destroy an eye. In a 
cageful of Darters the presence of a quarrel- 




Drawn by Edmund J. Sawyer. 

SNAKE-BIRD. 

4 An-hin'ga an-hin'ga. Average length, 33 inches. 



288 



OKDEES OF BIRDS— FULLY-WEBBED SWIMMEES 



some bird is usually made known by the dead 
body of a cagemate that has been foully mur- 
dered. 

In its home, the habits of the Snake-Bird 
interested me greatly. Almost invariably it 
perches on a dead tree, or a branch which over- 
hangs water, preferably a small running stream. 
Its neighbors are the two white egrets, the 
Louisiana and little blue herons, and an occa- 
sional black vulture. Seldom indeed is one 
of these birds found swimming in the water, 
but Mr. C. E. Jackson once very dexterously 
speared one from his boat, as it was diving under 
him. 

When your boat approaches a Snake-Bird 
and crosses his danger-line, the bird slides off its 
perch, falls straight down, and sinks out of 
sight. It goes down head erect, and "all stand- 
ing," as if weighted with a bag of shot. This 
is the queerest of all bird ways in diving. If 
you halt, and watch sharply for the bird to 
reappear at the surface, for three or four minutes 
you will see nothing. 

At the end of a long wait you will notice a 
sharp-pointed stick, half as long as an adult 
lead-pencil, sticking up out of the water. It 
looks so queer you watch it sharply. Presently 
you see the point of it turn a few degrees; and 
then you discover a beady black eye watching 
you. It is one of the neatest hiding-tricks 
practised by any water-bird I know. 

The Snake-Bird has the power to submerge 
its body at any depth it chooses, and remain 
for any reasonable length of time. It is a very 
expert diver, and the manner in which it can 
pursue and capture live fish under water is 
enough to strike terror to the hearts of finny 
folk. The bird swims with a sharp kink in 
its neck, driving forward by powerful strokes 
of its cup-shaped feet. On overtaking a fish, 
the kink in its neck flies straight, and like the 
stab of a swift dagger the finny victim is trans- 
fixed. Then the bird rises to the surface, — 
for it is unable to swallow its food under water, — 
tosses the fish into the air, catches it head first, 
and in an instant it is gone. 

In the United States this bird is most at 
home in the rivers and creeks of southern and 
central Florida, but it is also found farther 
west, along the Gulf. It is abundant in the 
delta of the Orinoco, in the Guianas, and far- 



ther south. It lives well in captivity, and when 
provided with a large glass tank is quite willing 
to give daily exhibitions in diving after live 
fish. In color the adult male is a glossy black 
bird, and so is the female, except that her 
entire neck is light brown. 

THE GANNET FAMILY. 

Sulidae 

The Common Gannet 1 is, in many respects, 
a bird of very striking appearance. It is a 
goose-like bird, as large as a medium-sized 
goose, and its prevailing colors are white and a 
very beautiful ecru. Its plumage is as smooth 
and immaculate as the surface of a wooden 
decoy; it has a slow and solemn manner, and 
has the least suspicion of man of any swimming- 
bird I know. Its head, neck and bill are mas- 
sive, the latter especiallly being long and very 
thick at the base. The total length of this bird 
when adult is only a trifle under three feet. 

Although the Common Gannet is strictly a 
bird of the ocean coasts, and apparently never 
is seen inland, it is a bird of such striking 
personality it well deserves to be introduced 
in these pages. Any large bird which once 
existed in countless thousands on our coast, and 
has not yet been exterminated, may well be 
known to every intelligent American. 

Although the Gannet wanders as far south as 
Long Island, its real home is where it breeds. 
"While there are many points along the coast 
from Maine to Labrador where the Gannets 
might breed, they are found, so far as I have 
been able to ascertain, only at three places, an 
island in the Bay of Fundy, the Bird Rocks 
near the geographical centre of the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence, and Bonaventure Island, at Perc6, 
Canada, the colony at Mingan being too small 
and too nearly exterminated to be taken into con- 
sideration." (Frederic A. Lucas.) 

In 18C>0, Dr. Bryant estimated the total num- 
ber of Gannets on the Bird Rocks at 150,000. 

In 1S72, Mr. William Brewster estimated the 
number then living there at 50,000. 

In 1887, Mr. Lucas found not a single Gannet 
nesting on Little Bird Rock, and not over 10,000 
on Great Rock. 

Although the Gannets, and other sea-birds, 
make their homes on the most inaccessible 
1 Su'la basso! na. 




THE CORMORANT. 



290 



OEDEES OF BIEDS— FULLY-WEBBED SWIMMEES 



spots they can find, there is no bird which man 
cannot reach with a gun, no nest to which he 
cannot climb, or be lowered at the end of a 
rope. 

Sea-birds everywhere are persecuted by man, 
either for their eggs or for themselves. In 
their breeding-season the Gannets are con- 
tinually visited by Indians and whites, who 
take their eggs. "Scarce a day passes," says 
Mr. Lucas, "without a visit from fishermen in 
search of eggs, or murres. Many barrels of 
eggs are gathered during the season, and alto- 
gether the birds lead a rather precarious ex- 
istence. There is a law regulating the taking 
of eggs, and if this were observed, or could be 
strictly enforced, a large number of eggs could 
be gathered annually, while at the same time 
the number of birds would steadily increase." 

As will be inferred, the Gannet lives wholly 
upon fish, and is an expert deep-water diver. 
In his report on his " Explorations in Newfound- 
land and Labrador," Mr. Lucas gives the fol- 
lowing interesting account: 

"While lying at Grindstone Island we first 
tnade the acquaintance of the Gannets, whose 
head-quarters are at Bird Rocks, and had a good 
opportunity to watch them fishing. The birds 
are usually associated in small, straggling 
flocks, and with outstretched necks, and eyes 
ever on the lookout for fish, they fly at a height 
of from 75 to 100 feet above the water, or occa- 
sionally somewhat more. The height at which 
the Gannet flies above the water is proportioned 
to the depth at which the fish are swimming 
beneath, and Captain Collins tells me that when 
fish are swimming near the surface, the Gannet 
flies very low, and darts obliquely instead of 
vertically upon its prey. 

"Should any finny game be seen within range, 
down goes the Gannet headlong, the nearly 
closed wings being used to guide the living arrow 
in its downward flight. Just above the sur- 
face, the wings are firmly closed, and a small 
splash of spray shows where the winged fisher 
cleaves the water to transfix his prey. Disap- 
pearing for a few seconds, the bird reappears, 
rests for a moment on the water, long enough 
to swallow his catch, then rises in pursuit of 
other game. The appetite of the Gannet is 
limited only by the capacity of its stomach, 
and a successful fisher may frequently be seen 



resting on the water, too heavily laden to rise 
without disgorging a part of its cargo, which it 
sometimes must do to escape from the pathway 
of an approaching vessel." 

Any person who is accustomed to diving, 
even from a very moderate height, knows well 
the serious disturbance to vision caused by the 
shock of impact with the water. That a Gan- 
net — or any other bird — can fall from even a 
height of twenty-five feet, saying nothing of a 
hundred, take the water plunge, and retain its 
gaze upon its prey sufficiently to follow and 
capture it, surely betokens a special optical 
provision which as yet we know nothing about, 




Photo, by R. J. Beck. Galapagos Islands. 

MAN-O'-WAR BIRDS. 

and which remains to be discovered and de- 
scribed. 

Besides the species described above, there 
are five other species of gannets, called Boobys, 
with various prefixes, which touch the coasts 
of the continent of North America. 

THE MAN-O'-WAR BIRD FAMILY. 

Frcgatidae. 

Whenever at sea in the tropics your attention 
is arrested by the flight far aloft of a big, dark- 
colored bird with long, sharp-pointed wings, 
and a long tail that is deeply forked, know that 
it is a Frigate-Bird, 1 or, as the sailors call it, 

1 Fre-ga'ta a'quil-a. Length, about 40 inches. 



GANNET AND FRIGATE-BIRD 



291 



Man-o'-War "Hawk." It is a long-distance 
flyer, and goes out far from land. Its beak 
is long, hooked at the end, and really very strong, 
but its legs are so short and stumpy they seem 
to be deformed. Under the throat there is a 
patch of skin quite devoid of feathers, which 
really is a sort of air-sac. 

I once found the roosting-place of a colony 
of about forty of these birds, on the top of a 
perpendicular cliff seventy-five feet high on the 
seaward side of an island at the northwestern 
point of Trinidad. The birds came there regu- 
larly every night, to roost in some small dead 
trees that almost overhung the precipices. 
They were not nesting at that time, however, 
and were so very wakeful that even though I 



went to their roost before daylight, I did not 
succeed in killing even one bird. 

This bird inhabits the warm oceans of the 
Old World, as well as the New, and Mr. H. O. 
Forbes states that in the Cocos-Keeling Islands 
they are regular pirates, and gain their liveli- 
hood by remaining inactive, and forcing honest 
fisherfolk, like the gannets, and noddy terns; to 
disgorge for their lazy benefit the fish they bring 
home from distant fishing-grounds. 

Mr. R. J. Beck found Frigate-Birds nesting 
in the Guadaloupe Archipelago, which were so 
tame and unsuspicious that he was able to 
approach quite near, and make the photo- 
graph which is reproduced on the opposite 
page. 



CHAPTER XXX 

THE ORDER OF TUBE-NOSED SWIMMERS,— MID-OCEAN 

BIRDS 

TUBINARES 



These are indeed strange birds. To a lands- 
man, it requires an effort to imagine a series 
of birds, some of them small and seemingly 
weak, which prefer to live in the watery soli- 
tudes of mid-ocean, indifferent to calms, and 
defying both tempests and cold. To my mind, 
there is no section of the bird-world so strange 
and so awe-inspiring as this. Just how the 
albatrosses and the petrels ride out the long, 
fierce gales, and keep from being beaten down 
to the raging surface of the sea, and drowned, 
I believe no one can say. It is no wonder that 
sailors hold the albatross in superstitious rev- 
erence, or that Coleridge has immortalized it 
in the "Rhime of the Ancient Mariner." Well 
may a sailor feel that any large bird which lives 
only at sea, and follows his ship day after day, 
is the bird "that makes the breezes blow.'" 

The members of this small group of mid-ocean 
birds are distinguished by the curious fact that 
the nostrils, instead of opening through the side 
of the upper mandible, near its base, are car- 
ried well forward through two round tubes that 
either lie along the top of the bill or along its 
sides. By this arrangement, the nostril opening 
is about half way between the base and tip of 
the bill. The bill terminates in a strong, ser- 
viceable hook, like the beak of a bird of prey. 

This Order consists of the albatrosses, ful- 
mars, shearwaters and petrels, — all of them 
deep-water birds, strong of wing, and brave 
spirited beyond all other birds. Of the thirty- 
five species and subspecies recognized by the 
American Ornithologists' Union, only two or 
three ever wander to inland lakes, even for 
three hundred miles from salt water. The 
variation in size from the largest albatross to 
the smallest petrel is very great; but at least 
half the species of the Order are to be classed 



as large birds. Three species will suffice to rep- 
resent the group. 

THE ALBATROSS FAMILY. 

Diornedeidae. 

The Wandering Albatross 1 is a bird of the 
southern oceans of the New World; it is the 
largest and handsomest species in the Order 
Tubinares. It has the longest wings, but the 
narrowest for their length, and the greatest 
number of secondary feathers (over thirty in 
number) of any living bird. The weight of an 
adult bird is from 15 to 18 pounds, and when 
the wings are fully extended, they have a spread 
of from 10 to 12 feet. Either when on the wing 
at sea, or mounted with spread wings as a mu- 
seum exhibit, the wings of an Albatross are so 
exceedingly long and narrow that they have a 
very odd and unfinished appearance. They 
seem to be out of proper proportion, like wings 
lacking a proper outfit of secondary feathers. 
But they have their purpose. The Albatross 
can sail for hours, to and fro, without rest- 
ing, and with wings so motionless they might 
as well be mechanically fixed. 

Mr. Charles H. Townsend, who, as Naturalist 
of the United States Fish Commission Steamer 
Albatross, has had exceptional opportunities 
for studying Albatrosses at sea in all kinds of 
weather, has kindly furnished the following 
account of the most conspicuous species that 
inhabits the North Pacific: 

"The Black-Footed Albatross 2 is a common 
bird almost anywhere in the Pacific Ocean, from 
the latitude of California northward. This 
dark species is frequently seen the first day 

' Di-o-me'dc-a ex'u-lans. 
2 Di-o-me' de-a ni'gri-pes. 



292 



THE BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS 



J93 



out, and can usually be depended upon to follow 
vessels in increasing numbers. On many voy- 
ages between San Francisco and the Aleutian 
Islands, the average attendance of Albatrosses, 
or 'Gonies,' as they are usually called, was from 
fifteen to twenty. Whether the same indi- 
viduals stayed with the vessel during the whole 



flock of birds would alight upon the water, often 
coming close enough to be caught on cod-hooks 
baited with pork. When on the wing, some- 
times all the birds would assemble at once to 
feed on the waste thrown overboard from the 
galley, alighting in a confused manner, with 
much squawking and fluttering of wings. 




BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS. 



run, or were replaced from time to time by 
other birds encountered along the way, we could 
not determine. 

"The birds were with us from daylight to 
dark, and in all sorts of weather. The S. S. 
Albatross, being engaged in deep-sea investiga- 
tions, made frequent stops for the purpose of 
sounding and dredging. At such times the 



"We often hooked specimens while the ship 
was under way, by paying out the line rapidly 
enough to leave the bait lying motionless, and 
buoyed on the surface with a cork. The birds 
were not able to pick up a bait while on the 
wing, or while it was moving. When hooked 
they would set their wings rigidly at an angle, 
and a rapid hauling-in of the long line would 



294 



OKDERS OF BIRDS— MID -OCEAN SWIMMERS 



send a bird skyward like a kite, which position 
it would retain until hauled down on the deck. 

"Fishing for 'Gonies' was a common amuse- 
ment on the Albatross, and specimens were 
often photographed alive on the decks, or 
marked in some way to determine if possible 
whether the same individuals followed the ves- 
sel throughout the voyage. Marked birds, 
however, never were seen again. The handling 
which they received probably disinclined them 
to follow the vessel. 

"The arrival of an Albatross on deck was 
usually followed by the disgorging of more or 
less food. They could not rise from the deck, 
and frequently were kept on board for several 
days. They walk with great difficulty, and bite 
savagely. 

"Albatrosses rise easily from the sea, and 
when the wind is blowing it is done very quickly. 
In calm weather, several strokes of the wings, 
and a rapid movement of the feet are necessary 
for the bird to clear the water. No bird can 
exceed the Albatross in the gracefulness of its 
flight. Usually following in the wake, it has, 
however, no difficulty in passing ahead of the 
vessel, always on rigid, motionless wings, rising, 
descending, or turning without a wing move- 
ment that is visible to the eye. 

"On voyages southwestward from California, 
the Black-Footed Albatross did not usually 
follow the vessel more than two-thirds of the 
way to the Hawaiian Islands. A species known 
as Diomedea chinensis breeds in great numbers 
on the chain of islands extending northwest- 
ward from Hawaii. So far as I am aware, the 
breeding-place of Diomedea nigripes is not 
known. It probably breeds during the winter 
months on islands in the southern hemisphere. 
It is sometimes found in Bering Sea, particu- 
larly in the Bristol Bay region, and is met with 
all summer long in the Pacific south of the 
Aleutian Islands. During many visits to the 
Aleutian and other American islands, it was 
never found on land, and the natives were not 
acquainted with it as a nesting bird. 

"In Bering Sea we sometimes met with the 
Short-Tailed Albatross (Diomedea albatrus). 
This species is nearly white, and in calm 
weather was usually observed resting on the sea, 
near the great flocks of fulmars. While the 
steamship Albatross was dredging off the south- 



ern coast of Chili, the great wandering alba- 
tross was frequently to be seen resting upon the 
water about the vessel, and we had no difficulty 
in taking specimens with hook and line." 

Perhaps the most wonderful sight in Alba- 
tross life is to be found on Laysan Island, in 
the Pacific Ocean, where thousands of these 
birds nest close together on an open plain. 
There are acres and acres of living Albatrosses, 
stretching away as far as the camera can include 
them, until the plain is white with them. They 
manifest little fear of man, even when iron 
rails are laid down, and small iron box-cars are 




Drawn by J. Carter Beard. 

STORMY PETREL. 

pushed over them, to load with eggs from the 
nests. 

THE FULMAR FAMILY. 

Proccllariidae. 

The Fulmars are like so many understudies 
of the Albatrosses; and the Shearwaters bring 
the Tube-Nosed group still nearer to the gulls 
and terns. The habits of all these are very 
much alike. All are strong-flying, mid-ocean 
birds, following ships for miles in order to pick 
up whatever edible food is thrown overboard. 
In one respect they are marine vultures, for 
some of the species make haste to feed upon 
any dead animal found floating on the sea, or 
stranded on the shore. 

No one with eyes ever need cross the Atlantic 



THE STORMY PETREL 



295 



without seeing the dear little Stormy Petrel, 1 
or "Mother Carey's Chicken," as it is called 
by sailormen. After the last gull has been left 
far behind, and there are about two miles of 
water under the ship, in the trough between 
two waves there suddenly glides into view a 
pair of small black wings, fluttering rapidly, 
while two little webbed feet work violently to 
pat the concave surface of the deep blue water. 
Those who do not know the creature exclaim 
in surprise, "What in the world is that?" 

"That" is one of the wonders of the ocean 
world. The cause for surprise is that so small 
and weak a creature — the smallest of all the 
web-footed birds, no larger, and seemingly no 
stronger than a cat-bird — should live on the 
watery wastes of a landless ocean, eating, sleeping 
and enjoying literally "a life on the ocean wave, 
and a home on the rolling deep." 

1 Pro-cel-la'ri-a pe-lag' i-ca. Length, 5.50 inches. 



Even when seas are calm, and skies are clear, 
one cannot easily imagine how this creature 
can live, and find its food. But when a pro- 
longed storm sets in, and for ten clays, or two 
weeks at a stretch the surface of the sea is a 
seething, boiling caldron, with every wave a 
ragged "white-cap" and every square foot of 
the sea fretted like a fish-net by the force of the 
wind, how does the frail little Stormy Petrel 
survive? 

You nearly always see this bird in the trough 
of the sea, skimming so low that its feet can 
paddle upon the surface of the water, and assist 
the wings. It is a black bird, with a large white 
patch on the rump, just above the tail. It 
rests upon the water fully half its time, I should 
say, and aside from the table and galley refuse 
thrown overboard from vessels, the bulk of its 
food must consist of the tiny crustaceans that 
inhabit the floating bunches of sargasso weed. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

THE ORDER OF LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS 

LONGIPENNES 

The members of the Order of Gulls and Terns appeal to a greater number of admirers than any 
other group of web-footed birds. The reasons are, their wide distribution, both on salt water and 
fresh water lakes; their conspicuous and graceful flight; their partial immunity from wholesale 
slaughter, and their friendliness toward the arch-destroyer, man. Every harbor and every steamer 
track is a safe feeding-ground for these birds, and along thousands of miles of shore line, they are 
the most beautiful wild creatures that greet the eye. 

The three North American Families of this Order are as follows: 



ORDER 
LONGIPENNES. 



FAMILIES. 

Gulls and Terns, . la'ri-dae 

Skimmers, . . . ryn-chop'1-dae, . 

Skuas and Jaegers, ster-co-rar-i'i-dae. 



EXAMPLES. 

Herring-Gull; Common Tern. 
Black Skimmer. 
Parasitic Jaeger. 



THE GULLS AND TERNS. 

Laridae. 

The Herring-Gull, 1 an old and familiar friend 
which ranges far inland, and also far outward on 
the sea, is the best and most interesting type 
of this Family. It is an ideal Gull, — long- 
winged, large, white and pearl-gray in color, 
strong, yet graceful on the wing, a good fighter, 
and sufficiently plentiful in number to be known 
to millions of people. It inhabits the whole 
sea-coast, and all the salt-water bays and inlets 
of North America, the great lakes, the lakes 
and ponds of Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, and 
several of our larger rivers, such as the Potomac, 
Mississippi, Missouri and Columbia. From 
all their regular routes of travel and places of 
residence, they stray inland for an indefinite 
number of miles. 

The Herring-Gull nests from southern Maine 
and the great lakes northward to the Arctic 
Ocean, and makes its winter home in the United 
States. All trans-Atlantic voyagers have seen 
it far out at sea, almost half way between Sandy 
Hook and Queenstown. 

In Georgian Bay the sight of Gull life on the 

1 La'rus ar-gen-ta'lus. Average length, 24 inches. 



crystal-clear waters, and clean, bare islets of 
pink granite near Owen Sound was one of the 
most enchanting I ever beheld. Going down 
Puget Sound on a cold and windy day in No- 
vember, a large flock of the same old friends 
followed the steamer for twenty miles, sailing 
along beside us, sometimes within ten feet of 
the rail of the hurricane-deck, — a sight which 
well repaid one for half-freezing in order to see 
it to the most perfect advantage. 

But why wander so far from home to see 
Gulls? Half a mile from the Zoological Park 
is the Williamsbridge Reservoir of the New 
York City water-works. Not long since, cu- 
riosity to see if any winter birds were being 
attracted by that very small but high basin of 
water, led me to climb up and see. To my 
great astonishment, I found a distinguished 
company of sixty-seven Herring-Gulls, standing 
and sitting in serene contentment on the sheet 
of ice that covered one-half the surface of the 
water. It was a nice, quiet, genteel place, 
well below the sweep of the wind; there was 
plenty of water for the birds to soak their feet 
in when the ice made them too cold, and what 
more could a Gull ask, except a daily delivery 
of fresh fish? 



290 



THE HERRING-GULL 



197 



The voice of this Gull is not melodious; and 
some persons call it harsh and strident. But 
opinions differ, even on as small a matter as 
the voice of a Gull. I never yet heard the cry 
of a wild gull, either on the booming sea-shore, 
or over the silvery mirror of an inland lake, 
which was not music to my ears. 

In captivity the Gull is badly handicapped. 
With the primaries of one wing clipped to 
prevent escape, and without the power of flight, 



two enterprising Gulls decided to nest and rear 
a family. Accordingly they built a nest under 
a bush which stood on a point of the island, in a 
position that strategically was well chosen for 
purposes of defence. The two birds made a 
very wise division of the labor. The female 
built the nest, laid the eggs and hatched them, 
and the male did the screaming and fighting 
that was necessary to protect the family from 
molestation. 




THE HERRING-GULL (1, 2) AND COMMON TERN (3, 4). 



it is not seen at its best; for no Gull is perfect 
save in flight. Our flock is continuallly shriek- 
ing protests against unlawful detention, and 
with perfect wings every one would quickly 
fly away, as did those bred in the park and reared 
to adolescence with perfect wings. We tried 
to colonize them, but once away they never came 
back. 

In an enclosure which embraced a pond and 
an island inhabited by about twenty Gulls, 
twelve Canada geese, and a few other birds, 



Never was there a more bonnie fighter than 
that male bird. During that whole nesting- 
period, lasting from April 1 to May 15, he either 
bluffed or fought to a stand-still everything 
that came within ten feet of that nest. Before 
his defiant and terrifying screams, and his 
threatening beak and wings, no other Gull 
could stand for a moment. When a Canada 
goose crossed his dead-line, the Gull would rush 
at him, seize him by the nearest wing, wing- 
beat him, and hang on like a bull-dog, regard- 



298 



OEDERS OP BIRDS— LONG-WINGED SWIMMERS 



less of being dragged about by the stronger bird, 
until the goose was glad to purchase peace by 
retreating. During all these battles, the female 
sat firmly on her eggs, but pointed her bill at 
the sky, and screamed encouragement with all 
the power of her vocal machinery. Eventually 
the three eggs were hatched, and the young were 
reared successfully. 

On certain islands along the coast of Maine, 
where Gulls nest in considerable numbers, the 
Bird Protection Committee of the American 
Ornithologists' Union, under the leadership of 
Mr. William Dutcher, has done important and 
effective work in securing the protection of 
the birds by the owners of the islands. As if to 
reward Mr. Dutcher for his labors in their be- 
half, the Gulls permit him to photograph them 
on their nests, at very short range. In England, 
the Zoological Society of London has awarded 
its medal to several persons for noteworthy 
services in protecting Gulls from destruction. 

The Common Tern, 1 but for the timely 
interference of the Lacey Law, would ere now 
have become the very Uncommon Tern. The 
persons who for years slaughtered birds whole- 
sale and without check for "millinery purposes" 
would have exterminated this species, at least 
all along the Atlantic coast. 

In an evil hour, some person without com- 
passion, and with no more taste for the eternal 
fitness of things than a Texas steer, conceived 
the idea of placing stuffed Terns on women's 
hats, as "ornaments." Now, unfortunately, 
woman's one universal weakness lies in the 
belief that whatever the Fashion Fetish com- 
mands that she shall wear, that is necessarily 
a beautiful thing for her to deck herself withal. 
As a result, we have seen thousands of angular, 
dagger-beaked, sharp-winged, dirty-plumaged, 
rough-looking and distorted Terns, each one a 
feathered Horror, clamped to the fronts and 
sides of the hats of women, and worn as head 
ornaments! 

Those objects spoke very poorly for their wear- 
ers ; for since the daughters of Eve first began to 
wear things on their heads, the Rumpled Tern 
is the ugliest thing ever devised for head-gear. 
Thus has been developed a new bird species, 
which we will christen as above, with Sterna 
horrida as its Latin name. Thanks to the 

1 Sler'na hi-run'do. Average length, 14.50 inches. 



Lacey Law, however, the wearing of stuffed 
birds has, with fashionable people, quite gone 
out of fashion, and the only exceptions now 
seen are on the heads of servants, who, for mo- 
tives of economy, are wearing the cast-off milli- 
nery of their mistresses. 

The Tern is much smaller than the herring- 
gull ; it has a very short neck, very long and an- 
gular wings, and when on the ground is not a 
bird of beautiful form. On the wing, however, 
and especially over the breakers, its appearance 
is graceful and pleasing. It is a white and gray 
bird, excepting the black bonnet which covers 
the upper half of its head and neck ; and its bill, 
feet, and legs are coral red. 

Along our Atlantic coast, and especially 
from Nantucket to Hatteras, it was once a very 
familiar bird, and its escape from annihilation 
has been of the narrowest. The Lacey Law, 
and the anti-bird-millinery laws passed by New 
York and other states, effectually stopped the 
sale of wild-birds and their plumage for "mil- 
linery purposes," and the Terns are no longer 
slaughtered as heretofore. In several places 
where they breed they are now protected, and 
henceforth should slowly increase in number. 

There are now but few localities on our At- 
lantic coast between New Jersey and Nova 
Scotia where the Common Tern, or "Sea Swal- 
low," breeds. Two of these are Muskeget Island, 
northwest of Nantucket, and Gardiner's Island. 
The once numerous colony that formerly in- 
habited Gull Island, near the eastern end of 
Long Island, was broken up and driven off by a 
"military necessity," no less important than the 
building of a modern fort to protect the City 
of New York. By a strange coincidence, it 
was the 12-inch guns of our coast-defence ar- 
tillery that drove these much-persecuted birds 
from one of their favorite nesting-grounds. 

THE SKIMMER FAMILY. 

Rynchopidae. 

The Black Skimmer 2 is a tern in form, but 
without the spear-like bill of the latter for 
spearing fish. Its lower mandible is formed 
for use as a cut-water, — long, thin, rather 
broad, and flattened vertically. The upper 
mandible is similarly shaped, but is shorter. 

2 Ryn'chops ni'gra. Length, about 16 inches. 



THE COMMON TEEN 



2<J'.) 



When seeking food, the Skimmer looks for 
calm water, and then with most dexterous and 
well-balanced flight, it slowly wings its way 
close down to the surface, so low that the lower 
mandible is actually held in the water while the 
bird is in full flight. Any small edible object 
that happens to lie on the surface is shot into 
the mouth, through what is really a very narrow 
opening. 

This is a bird of the tropics, and is much 
more at home on the coast of British Guiana, 
among the scarlet ibises, than it is on the coast 
of the United States anywhere north of Florida. 
I have never seen it elsewhere than in South 
America, and on our shores it is a visitor of 
great rarity. 

THE SKUA AND JAEGER FAMILY. 

Stercorariidae. 

The members of this family are habitants of 
the cold northern seas and high latitudes. They 



are strong-winged, bold and hardy, and so 
frequently rob other sea-birds of their prey that 
they are sometimes called the hawks of the 
sea. Living examples are rarely seen save by 
persons who are voyaging northward above the 
49th parallel. Of the four species inhabiting 
North America, the following is the one most 
frequently seen in the United States: 

The Parasitic Jaeger 1 is quoted geographi- 
cally in the Cheek-List of the American Ornithol- 
ogists' Union as follows: "Northern part of 
northern hemisphere, southward in winter to 
South Africa and South America. Breeds in 
high northern districts, and winters from New 
York and California southward to Brazil." A 
description of the colors of this bird would be a 
formidable affair, for both adults and young 
birds have each two color-phases. The beak 
of the adult is strongly hooked at the end, like 
that of a cormorant, but still more pronounced. 

1 Ster-co-ra'ri-us par-a-sit'i-cus. Length, about 
17 inches. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

THE ORDER OF WEAK-WINGED DIVING-BIRDS 

PYGOPODES 



With this group, the Class of Birds enters upon a very marked and swift decline from the high 
types. Another step beyond this Order, and we land among birds so nearly wingless that they are 
without the power of flight. The birds of the present Order have wings that are small and weak; 
and while they are able to fly, and also to migrate, they fly feebly in comparison with the cloud- 
cleaving goose, duck, guli and albatross. Their legs are set far back on their bodies, and on land 
they have no choice but to stand erect — a posture which is strikingly characteristic of the wing- 
less sea-birds, generally. 

This Order, as represented in North America, contains but three Families : 



ORDER 
PYGOPODES. 



FAMILIES. 

Grebes, 
Loons, . 



EXAMPLES. 

pod-i-cip'1-dae, Pied-Billed Grebe. 
GAY-l'l-DAE, . Great Northern Diver. 



Atjks and Puffins, auci-dae, 



Razor-Billed Auk; Tufted Puffin; Murre. 



Of these, the first and second are compara- 
tively well known. The third is composed of 
birds that are strangers to the great majority 
of us; but inasmuch as Alaska is constantly 
being brought nearer to us, it is quite necessary 
that we should become acquainted with its 
most prominent forms of bird-life. 

The Pied-Billed Grebe, or "Hell-Diver," 
also called the Carolina Grebe, 1 is well quali- 
fied to stand as the representative of the Grebe 
Family, which in North America contains about 
six species. It is usually seen in the geographi- 
cal centre of a quiet pond, sharply watching in 
every direction for enemies. It is a sad and 
uncomfortable-looking little creature, destitute 
of bright and pleasing colors, and also devoid of 
beauty. At a distance, the hunter is thrilled 
by the sight of what he gladly thinks is a duck; 
but on approaching nearer he sighs regretfully, 
and admits that it is "only a Grebe." If he 
fires at it, in revenge for the disappointment, 
the bird is gone before the charge of shot is 
half way to it, and only an innocent ripple 
marks its disappearance. 

All the Cirebes are expert long-distance 

1 Pod-i-lym'bus pod'i-ceps. Average length, 12 



iches. 



divers. They can either sink straight down, or 
dart down head first in a fraction of a second, 
and remain under water so long a time, and 
wim so far while submerged, that it is very 
difficult to follow their movements. Sometimes 
a Grebe will insinuate only its bill above the 
surface, in order, to breathe without exposing 
even its head and neck. It is a waste of time, 
ammunition and self-respect to shoot and 
actually kill one of these birds; for they are 
very commonplace and useless. 

The only redeeming feature about this bird 
is its breast, which is covered with a thick mass 
of very persistent feathers, set so tightly in 
a very tough skin that the evil-eyed milliners 
once used Grebes' breasts for hat trimmings. 

The nesting habits of the Grebe are remarka- 
ble and interesting. Instead of choosing a dry 
situation, where incubation might proceed under 
the best possible conditions, it frequently chooses 
a clump of rushes in deep water and builds a 
floating nest, attached to the rushes. Some- 
times, however, it selects a spot where the water 
is very shallow, and builds from the bottom up, 
using rushes when possible to procure them. 
In either case, the sodden mass rises only two 
or three inches above high-water mark, and 



300 



THE LOON FAMILY 



301 



how the eggs ever receive warmth sufficient to 
hatch them is a mystery. 

Occasionally a clump of rushes with a floating 
nest breaks loose from its moorings, and floats 
away. Some friends of mine once discovered 
a derelict nest, with the Grebe sitting serenely 
upon it, floating about in Lake Ontario, whither 
it had evidently been borne on the current of 
Johnson's Creek. Doubtless it is a real grief 
to Grebes that they cannot hatch their eggs 
under water! 



Its prevailing color is brownish-gray, with 
black throat and chin. Its bill is dull white, 
with a broad, perpendicular band of black 
crossing it at the middle, like a rubber band to 
hold the mandibles together. In size this 
bird is about as small as a green-winged teal. 

THE LOON FAMILY. 

Gaviidae. 
The Loon, or Great Northern Diver, 1 is a 

large, showy, black-and-white bird, of such 




COMMON MURRE. 

The Pied-Billed Grebe, also called Dabchick, 
and Diedipper, is a Pan-American bird, being 
found throughout North and South America 
from Cape Horn to the Mackenzie River, and 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Its phenome- 
nally wide range includes Cuba, several others 
of the larger islands of the West Indies, and the 
Bermudas. 



THE LOON. 

striking personality that when once well seen it 
is not easily forgotten. In bulk it is as large as 
an ordinary goose, and when standing erect, on 
land, its height is about 25 inches. Its neck 
and head are large and jet black, and the upper 
portion of the former is encircled by a white 
collar which is formed of upright lines of white 
1 Gav'i-a im'ber. 



302 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— WEAK-WINGED DIVERS 



dots. The breast is pure white, and the jet- 
black back is marked by rows of rectangular 
white dots, or broken bars. The legs join the 
body far down, near the tail, and when the bird 
takes to the land, it rests on its feet, the lowest 
joint of the legs (tarsi), and the tail, which lies 
flat upon the ground. 

Either on land or water, this Loon is a very 
showy bird, and also a bird possessing many of 
the mental traits which when combined form 
what we call "character." Usually it is very 
wide-awake, suspicious, and difficult to approach; 
but there are times when it will approach danger 
as if bent on suicide. Its cry is loud and far- 
reaching. Sometimes it is like a distressful 
howl, and again it resembles wild, uncultivated 
laughter. It is an expert diver and fisher, and 
in summer is at home all over the upper two- 
thirds of North America, breeding from our 
northern states to the Arctic Circle, quite across 
the continent. In winter it migrates south- 
ward to the Gulf and the Mexican boundary. 

Its eggs are two in number, of a dull green 
color. The newly hatched birds are covered 
with black down, and in travelling the mother- 
bird often swims with them upon her back. 
The Loon rises from the water with considerable 
effort, and flies heavily, but in migrating its 
powers of flight are sufficient to carry it wher- 
ever it wishes to go. 

In the Potomac River, and along the Virginia 
coast, this bird is called the "War Loon." 

THE CLIFF-DWELLERS OF THE SEA. 

There is a Family of weak-winged birds whose 
members are all fisher-folk, and live high up on 
the ledges of the bold and precipitous cliffs 
which hem in the northern oceans. They are 
sociable birds, and where not destroyed by man, 
live in great companies varying from hundreds 
to thousands. They form, as a whole, a great 
and diverse company, divided into twenty-two 
well-defined species. Collectively, they are 
known as the Auk Family, and include 4 puffins, 
6 auklets, or little auks, 5 murrelets, 3 guille- 
mots, 2 murres, 2 auks, and 1 dovekie. 

Whenever you visit Alaska, or the arctic re- 
gions, almost anywhere on salt water, you will 
be surprised by the abundance of the birds be- 
longing to this Family. Wherever rocky cliffs 



rise out of blue water, you will find them ten- 
anted by these interesting creatures. Doubt- 
less, also, you will find that when such great 
gatherings of bird-life are to be studied and re- 
corded, one good camera is better than ten guns. 

Like the Aztecs who, like eagles, built high 
up in the crevices of the rock-cliffs of the gloomy 
Canyon de Chelly, to be inaccessible to the 
hostile enemies who gave no quarter, for similar 
reasons the feathered cliff-dwellers of the sea 
build in similar situations. Dearest of all spots 
to the nesting sea-bird is a precipitous islet of 
rock rising out of the sea, wholly inaccessible 
to the prowling wolf, fox, and wolverine, and 
if not actually inaccessible to man, at least so 
very difficult that he looks for easier conquests. 

But let it not be understood that the birds 
of the Auk Family confine themselves to high 
cliffs and precipices. On the contrary, they 
congregate in thousands on rocky ridges, or on 
the tops of sandy hills — called dunes — at the 
sea-shore, where their nests are easily accessible 
to all their enemies. Just why their enormous 
colonies do not attract foxes and wolves by 
hundreds, we cannot imagine, unless it be for 
the reason that the general abundance of ani- 
mal life dulls the edge of appetite and enter- 
prise. 

To any one interested in sea-birds, of which 
there is really a great variety, a trip to Alaska 
is replete with interest. Within a few hours 
after leaving Seattle, or, let us say at Port 
Townsend, the bird-life around the ship fairly 
compels attention. A flock of gulls fly so close 
to the rail of the hurrieane-deck that some of 
them might be caught with a dip-net. Pigeon 
guillemots, and ducks of several species afloat 
on the cold waters of the Sound ostentatiously 
swim out of the steamer's track. On the ocean, 
it will be strange if an albatross does not sail 
out of space, and with far-stretching wings 
swoop and soar, and sail after you, hour after 
hour, without once flapping its wings! 

In Bering Sea, no matter where you land, the 
chances are that thousands of murres and 
puffins are there to greet you with noisy cackle, 
and spread a cloud of wings overhead when you 
disturb them. Really, the rookeries of Alaska— 
of seals as well as birds — are alone sufficient to 
repay a trip to that arctic wonderland, aside 
from the wonderful scenery, flora, and big 



THE MUKRES 



303 



game. There are dozens of birds there which 
we would gladly introduce to the reader, but 
owing to uncontrollable limitations, only the 
most interesting examples can be accorded 
space. 

Of all arctic and northern sea-birds, the 
California Murre 1 (pronounced mur) deserves 
to be mentioned first, for the reason that it is 
and ever has been most in the public eye. This 
is really a subspecies of the Common Murre 2 
of the North Atlantic, which nests on Bird 
Rocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and some- 
times comes as far south as Massachusetts. 
There is another North Atlantic species, called 
Brunnich's Murre, 3 also nesting on Bird Rocks, 
which occasionally strays down to Long Island. 
Both the Atlantic species are black above, and 
white underneath. 

The California Murre is the bird which once 
nested on the Farallone Islands, about thirty- 
five miles west of San Francisco, in countless 
thousands, and furnished between 1880 and 
1890, according to Mr. W. E. Bryant, from 
180,000 to 228,000 eggs per annum to the San 
Francisco market. Like true Americans, the 
eggers always endeavored to make " a clean 
sweep," regardless of the future of the rookery, 
and under their ministrations the Murres rap- 
idly declined in number. 

Finally an appeal was made to the United 
States Light-House Board. The admirable rec- 
ord of that body in the preservation of wild life 
was sustained by an order which at once put 
a stop to all egg-gathering on the Farallones. 
It has already been noted in the chapter on 
seals and sea-lions that the only localities on 
the California coast where sea-lions are now 
safe from annihilation are the light-house reser- 
vations, the most important of which are the 
Farallones. 

The following vivid pen-picture of the Cali- 
fornia Murre at home, on Hall Island, Bering 
Sea, Alaska, is from the pen of Mr. John Bur- 
roughs (Harriman Alaska Expedition, p. 109) : 

"The first thing that attracted our attention 
was the Murres — ' urries ' the Aleuts call them — 
about their rookeries on the cliffs. Their num- 
bers darkened the air. As we approached, 
the faces of the rocks seemed paved with them, 

1 U'ri-a tro'i-le californica. 2 U. tfoile. 

3 U. lom'vi-a. 



with a sprinkling of gulls, puffins, black cor- 
morants and auklets. 

"On landing at a break in the cliffs where 
a little creek came down to the sea, our first 
impulse was to walk along the brink and look 
down upon the Murres, and see them swarm 
out beneath our feet. On the discharge of a 
gun, the air would be black with them, while 
the cliffs apparently remained as populous as 
ever. They sat on little shelves, or niches, with 
their black backs to the sea, each bird covering 
one egg with its tail-feathers. In places one 
could have reached clown and seized them by 
the neck, they were so tame and so near the 
top of the rocks. I believe one of our party 
did actually thus procure a specimen. It was 
a strange spectacle, and we lingered long looking 
upon it. To behold sea-fowls like flies, in un- 
counted millions, was a new experience. 

" Everywhere in Bering Sea the Murres swarm 
like vermin. It seems as if there was a Murre 
to every square yard of surface. They were 
flying about over the ship, or flapping over the 
water away from her front at all times. I 
noticed that they could not get up from the 
water except against the wind; the wind lifted 
them as it does a kite. With the wind, or in 
a calm, they skimmed along on the surface, 
their heads bent forward, their wings beating 
the water impatiently. Unable to rise, they 
would glance behind them in a frightened 
manner, then plunge beneath the waves until 
they thought the danger had passed. Their 
tails are so short that in flying their two red 
feet stretched behind them to do the duty of a 
tail." 

Mrs. Florence Merriam Bailey says that 
"When incubating, one bird stays on the nest 
during the day, and the other during the night, 
and when the exchange is made a great com- 
motion ensues, the air being filled with quar- 
relling, screaming masses of bird-life." (" Hand- 
book," p. 17.) 

In its breeding plumage, the California 
Murre has a jet-black head and neck, the back 
is dull black, or slate color, and the under parts 
are white. In winter the sides of the head and 
throat are white. The range of the species is 
from California to Hall Island, Bering Sea. 

The Puffins are the clowns of the bird-world. 
Without exception, they are the drollest-looking 



304 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— WEAK-WINGED DIVERS 



things in feathers. The countenance of a Puffin 
always reminds one of a face in a comical mask, 
while in manner they are so solemn, and take 
life so seriously, their clown-likeness is all the 
more pronounced. 

The most remarkable feature of a Puffin is 
its huge, triangular beak, which is flattened 
out into two high, thin plates, set edgewise 
against the head, and gorgeously colored. 
After the breeding-season, certain plates at 




jc^^'ej^Bta-t^ 



1. COMMON PUFFIN. 2. TUFTED PUFFIN. 

3. RHINOCEROS AUKLET. 

the base of the beak are shed. The bird is 
about the size of a summer-duck. Its wings 
are short, and very scantily feathered, and its 
tail is so short as to be practically invisible. 
In flight its wings look very much like the wings 
of a penguin as it swims with them under water. 
In many respects Puffins are wise birds, and 
if there is aught in the survival of the fittest, 
they should live long and prosper. They have 
the remarkable habit of nesting in burrows, 
which they dig deeply, usually about three feet, 
in the steep sides of sandy hills. In these re- 
treats they can defend themselves against ene- 



mies of several kinds. In the defence of their 
homes they are quite courageous, and often an 
angry or well-frightened Puffin will seize an 
offending nose, or human hand, bite it severely, 
and hang on like a bull-dog. In places where 
these birds nest in burrows, sentinels are always 
posted outside, to give the alarm of any ap- 
proaching enenry. 

It is to be observed, however, that Puffins 
do not always nest in burrows, but frequently 
they find rock-ledges so rugged and broken that 
they can find good nesting-sites in deep and nar- 
row crevices, wherein they are reasonably safe 
from molestation. A Puffin lays but one egg, 
which is large and white, and placed at the end 
of its burrow. Of course all these birds dive 
and swim well. 

The Tufted Puffin 1 is the most widely dis- 
tributed member of this genus, being found 
from southern California all the way up the 
Pacific coast to Alaska, Bering Strait, Siberia 
and on down to Japan. It is (or at least was) 
abundantly represented on the Farallone Islands 
from April to July, when the}' breed there. 

This species is instantly distinguishable by 
its black plumage, its big, triangular bill col- 
ored bright red and olive green, white eye and 
white triangular cheek -patch. In the breeding- 
season, a beautiful flowing tuft of soft, yellow 
feathers, thick as a lead-pencil, comes forth 
just behind the eye, and flows backward and 
downward in a graceful curve. 

On the Atlantic side, from Maine to Green- 
land, and also from Great Britain to North 
Cape, lives the Common Puffin, 2 or "Sea 
Parrot." Of this bird, the whole side of the 
head, and the breast and abdomen are white, 
the remainder of the plumage being deep black. 
Wherever found, it is one of the most interesting 
birds to be met with near the sea, and its comical 
appearance, queer movements and fierce tem- 
per wdien disturbed never fail to amuse the 
observer. 

The Auks and Auklets are really birds of 
the cold northern waters; but on the Pacific 
side there are four species which touch the coast 
of the United States, and two of them even 
push their way down to Lower California. 
These birds are much like puffins with rational 

1 Lun'da rir-ra'la. Length, 15 inches. 
2 Fra-ter'cu-la arc'ti-ca. Length, 13 inches. 



THE PUFFINS AND AUKS 



305 



beaks, and I believe all existing species are black 
above and white below. The beaks show but 
little tendency to the sportive flattening so 
characteristic of the puffins. 

These birds are very strong divers, and get a 
great portion of their food from the bottom of 
the sea. The two species found all along our 
Pacific coast, on the Farallone Islands and 
Santa Catalina, are the Rhinoceros Anklet 1 (14 
inches long), and the Cassin Anklet, the former 
so called because of an erect horny shield at the 
base of its beak. The Least Anklet 2 is only 6£ 
inches long — about the bulk of a small, thinly 
feathered screech-owl. 

The Razor-Billed Auk, 3 of the North At- 
lantic Ocean, sometimes wanders in summer 
to the coast of Maine, and in winter even mi- 
grates as far south as New Jersey. (Robert 
Ridgway.) It is 17 inches long, and is the 
largest living member of the group of auks. As 
might be expected, it is a distinguished resident 
of the Bird Rocks. 

The Great Auk is now a bird of history and 
museums only. It met its fate on Funk 
Island, a treeless dot in the sea, about thirty 
miles northwest of Newfoundland, which was 
the first land met with as the Auks swam south- 

1 Cer-o-rhin'ca mo-no-cer-a'ta. 

2 Sim-o-rhyn'chus pu-sil'lus. 

3 Al'ca tor' da. 



ward on their annual migrations. The wings of 
this bird were so little developed that it was 
wholly unable to fly, and while on land it was 
any one's prey. 

The thousands of Great Auks that visited 
Funk Island naturally attracted men who 
wished to turn them to account. Whalemen 
were landed, and left there to kill Auks and 
secure their feathers. The birds were either 
driven into pens and slaughtered there, or else 
the pens were used to contain their dead bodies. 
Apparently great numbers of the bodies were 
burned for fuel. About 1844, the species be- 
came entirely extinct. 

When Funk Island was visited by Mr. F. A. 
Lucas in 1887, in quest of Auk remains, he found 
deposits of bones several feet in thickness, 
evidently where the bodies of slaughtered 
birds had been heaped up, and left to decay. 
Out of these deposits, several barrels of mixed 
bones and peaty earth were taken which yielded 
several complete skeletons of that species. 

Had the Great Auk possessed wings for flight, 
the chances are that it would not have fallen 
such easy prey to its exterminators. The 
moral lesson of its fate is — in these days of 
fire-arms and limitless ammunition, no bird 
should be hatched without steel-plate armor, 
strong wings for flight, and swift legs for run- 
ning away. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 
THE ORDER OF FLIGHTLESS DIVERS 

IMPENNES. 



No matter where man may go, on land or 
sea, or polar ice-pack, Nature holds birds in 
readiness to welcome him. 

When Peary reached the point of land that 
is nearest the north pole, at the northeastern 
extremity of Greenland, on July 4, 1892, he found 
there the snow-bunting, sand-piper, raven, 
Greenland falcon, and ptarmigan. On the great 
arctic ice-floe, at Lat. 82° 40', Nansen saw the 
fulmar (Procellaria glacialis), and the black 
guillemot, and a little later the ivory gull, little 
auk, and Ross's gull. When the steamer Belgica 
penetrated the awful solitudes of the antarctic 
archipelago, in 1898, and spent there the "First 
Antarctic Night" 1 ever endured by man in that 
region, Dr. Frederick A. Cook and his com- 
panions found, in close proximity to their ice- 
bound ship, flocks of large and very strange 
birds. They had an opportunity to study the 
wonderful Emperor Penguin 2 in its haunts, 
such as never before had been secured by 
naturalists. 

This species is the largest of the wingless 
and flightless swimming-birds. In bulk it is 
about the size of our great white pelican. Its 
height is 3i feet, and it stands as erect as any 
soldier on parade. In its erect posture its 
wings seem like arms, and its queer manner 
of talking, scolding, and prying into man's 
affairs, makes this bird seem more like a feath- 
ered caricature of a big, fat human being than 
an ordinary diving-bird. Its head is black, 
its abdomen is white, and its legs and feet are 
feathered quite down to the claws. The wings 
are covered with feathers that are more like 
fish-scales than feathers, and the feathers of 
the back also are very close and scale-like. 

To a naturalist or bird-lover, the sight of 



1 Dr. Cook's valuable narrative of the exploration 
bears this title. 

2 Ap-te-no-dy'tes fos'ter-i. 



great flocks of Emperor Penguins, and of the 
smaller Pack Penguins, on the antarctic ice- 
floes, must be sufficient to repay the explorer 
for many of the long, dark hours of the voyage 
that is required to reach their haunts. Says 
Dr. Cook: 

"A number of royal and small penguins, and 
some seals, were led by curiosity to visit us. 
They called, and cried, and talked, and grunted 
as they walked over the ice about the ship." 

I have seen and heard the Black-Footed 
Penguin, 3 of South Africa, scold and complain 
m a most human-like manner. On land, or on 
an ice-floe, this bird is so awkward and helpless 
that any blood-thirsty observer can walk up 
and kill it with a stick. Place it in water, 
however, and what a transformation! Imme- 
diately it will give an exhibition of diving which 
is astonishing. 

In an instant, a waddling, slow-moving, 
almost helpless bird is transformed into a feath- 
ered seal. With its feet floating straight be- 
hind, and of no use save in steering, it points 
its beak and head straight forward, and swims 
wholly with its wings. Those flipper-like mem- 
bers reach forward simultaneously, work in 
perfect unison, and strike the water like living 
paddles — which they are. The quickness and 
dexterity of this bird in chasing and capturing 
live fishes, swallowing them under water, and 
instantly pursuing others, is one of the most 
wonderful sights in bird-life. The bird always 
dives with its lungs full of air, and during the 
middle of its period under water, it exhales. 
When it does so, bubbles of air issue from each 
corner of the mouth and float upward like two 
strings of pearls. 

It is strange that the feet perform very little 
service while the Penguin is diving; but such is 

3 Sphe-nis'cus de-mer'sus. 



307 



308 



ORDERS OF BIRDS— FLIGHTLESS DIVERS 



the fact. Of all birds that love water, I think 
the Penguin loves it most. It will lie on its 
side at the surface, and in sheer playfulness 
and excess of joy, beat the water with its upper- 
most wing, wriggle about, then turn over and 
splash with the other. 

In the sea, a flock of Penguins is readily 
mistaken for a school of dolphins, because they 
dive so persistently, in order to swim with their 
wings, and thus get on in the world very much 



faster than if they sat up and paddled with 
their feet. 

There are about twenty species of Penguins, 
of which the Emperor is the largest, and the 
King Penguin second. All are found in the 
southern hemisphere. The largest Emperor 
Penguin ever weighed and recorded, weighed 
78 pounds! Needless to say, these birds live 
almost wholly upon fish, in the capture of which 
they are the most expert of all birds. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 
THE ORDER OF WINGLESS LAND-BIRDS 

RATITAE 



Lowest of the Orders of living birds is that 
which contains the birds which are so nearly 
wingless that they are wholly unable to fly, 
but are provided with long and powerful legs, 
which enable them to run swift- 
ly. Of these, there are a larger, 
number of species than might 
be supposed, but our purpose re- 
quires here only the briefest in- 
troduction of a few important 
forms. The majority of the birds 
of this group are birds of great 
size, and their legs are so long 
and powerful they are able to 
kick or strike quite dangerously. 
These are the ostriches, rheas, 
cassowaries, and emeus. 

The African Ostrich 1 is the 
largest living bird, and in every 
respect it is a worthy descend- 
ant of the still more gigantic 
but now extinct moa of New 
Zealand. Our full-grown male 
Ostrich stands, when fully erect, 
exactly 8 feet in height to the 
top of its head, and weighs about 
275 pounds. The manager of the 
Florida Ostrich Farm at Jack- 
sonville states that the average 
weight of adult African Ostriches 
is about 300 pounds. 

Once abundant in nearly all 
the dry and open country of 
Africa, except the Sahara and Lib- 
yan deserts, this noble bird has 
shared the fate of the elephant, rhinoceros, buf- 
falo and giraffe. To-day it is to be found but 
sparingly, and only in those regions of southern 
and eastern Africa wherein it has been impossi- 
ble for man to exterminate it. The value in 
America of a full-grown African Ostrich is $250. 
1 Stru'thi-o cam'e-lus. 



Fortunately the Ostrich farms of South 
Africa and southern California have proven 
completely successful, and bid fair to perpetuate 
this grandest of all feathered creatures long 




New York Zoological Park. 



CERAM CASSOWARY. 

after the last wild flock has been destroyed. 
If many Ostriches still remain in the Egyptian 
Soudan, the stringent game-laws recently enacted 
to protect the wild life of that region will go 
far toward perpetuating them. 
The Rhea, or South American Ostrich, 2 
2 Rhe'a americana. 



309 



310 



OKDERS OF BIEDS— WINGLESS LAND-BIRDS 



is a bird which is so constantly overshadowed 
by the larger and more showy African ostrich 
that it is not appreciated at its true zoological 
value. In height it stands about 5 feet, its bulk 
is only about one-half as great as that of the 
African ostrich, and its plumage has much 
less value. Nevertheless, the adult bird, in 
full plumage, is a fine creature, of a beautiful 
bluish-gray or drab color, and when it opens 
its wings they seem surprisingly long. A fine, 
male Rhea "showing off" its plumage is an 
object which always commands admiration. 

This bird inhabits Patagonia, the Argentine 
Republic, and the more remote plains of Uru- 
guay and Paraguay. Frequently, half-grown 
birds find their way into the wild-animal mar- 
kets so easily that they sell at from $40 to $50 
each. 

The Emeu 1 stands half way, literally, be- 
tween the ostrich and cassowary, being con- 
siderably larger than the latter. Its neck and 
head are ostrich-like, but in the shape of its 
body it is more like the cassowary. Like the 
latter, its feathers seem like long, coarse hair, 
of a gray-brown color. The lower outline of 
an Emeu's body is almost a straight line, with 
the legs in the centre, and the highest point of 
the back curve comes directly above the inser- 
tion of the legs. Thus the Emeu appears to 
be, and is, a very well-balanced bird. Its home 
is the upland plains of Australia, so far back 
in the interior that it is now found only with 
great difficulty. 

Like the cassowary, the Emeu is easily 
kept in captivity, and is not expensive to buy. 
In Woburn Park, England, owned by the Duke 
of Bedford, troops of these birds stalk freely over 
the vast green lawn; and surely no birds could 
be more striking, or picturesque in such situa- 
tions. Strange to say, a fully grown Emeu 
can be bought in New York for $125. 

1 Dro'mae-us no-vae-hol'land-ae. 



The Ceram Cassowary 2 is a big, purplish- 
black bird, with highly-colored patches of 
naked skin on its upper neck, and an elevated 
helmet or casque on the base of its upper 
mandible. Its feathers look like coarse and 
stiff hair from three to six inches in length, and 
its legs and feet are very thick and heavy for 
its stature. The height of a Cassowary is about 
5 feet. 

Cassowaries are forest-loving birds. They 
inhabit Australia, Ceram, and other islands 
of the Malay Archipelago. Because they take 
kindly to captivity, they are frequently seen 
in zoological parks and gardens, and travelling 
shows. 

The Apteryx, or Kiwi, 3 of New Zealand is 
the lowest species in the scale of living birds. 
It is absolutely without wings, and it lives 
upon the ground in dark forests, where it can 
hide. Unfortunately, it has no means of de- 
fence, and is too small to escape from a dan- 
gerous enemy by running away. It is about the 
size of a Cochin-China hen, covered with long, 
stringy, hair-like feathers of a dark-brown color, 
and it has a long, curved beak like that of an 
ibis, for probing in the earth. Undoubtedly, 
the civilized development of New Zealand will 
cause the total extinction of this very shy but 
interesting species at no distant day. 

In captivity in a zoological garden it is as 
shy and retiring as a beaver. In order to keep 
it from fretting itself to death, it is necessary 
to place in a corner of its cage a sheaf of 
straw, or a bundle of leafy branches, behind 
which it can retreat from observation, and lie 
concealed. 

Outside of its New Zealand home, this bird is 
rarely seen in captivity, which is to be regret- 
ted, because it is one of the most interesting 
forms of the whole avian world. 

2 Cas-u-a'ri-ns gal-e-a'ta. 

3 Ap'-te-ryx aus-tral'is. 



BOOK III 
REPTILES 



CHAPTER XXXV 
INTRODUCTION TO THE CLASS OF REPTILES 



The Point of View. — In studying or not 
studying the world of reptiles, everything de- 
pends upon the point of view. With persons in 
middle life, who hold up their hands and shudder 
at the mention of the word "reptile," there is 
nothing to be done. They are victims of an un- 
reasoning prejudice that often is deliberately 
taught to young people, both by precept and ex- 
ample, until at last it becomes bone of their bone 
and flesh of their flesh. Human children are not 
born with the inherited fear of reptiles which is so 
characteristic of the apes and monkeys of the 
jungles ; and it is not fair to terrorize their inno- 
cent souls with awful "snake stories," any more 
than with the "ghost stories" which most care- 
ful parents forbid. 

With young people whose minds have not been 
artificially warped by older persons who abhor 
all reptilian life, much may be done. 

Now, come ! Let us reason together. 

Despite electricity and steam, this world is 
yet a fairly large place. That it has existed 
through countless ages, and that its animal life 
has gone through many marvellous transforma- 
tions, no one can deny, without being put to 
shame by the silent and immutable testimony 
of the rocks. This world, the animals now liv- 
ing upon it, and those lying within it, entombed 
by Nature's hand, have been millions of years 
in forming. If you doubt it, go into an Arizona 
canyon, half a mile in depth, and at the bottom 
of a mountain-wall of rock, dig out the remains 
of a fossil, then ask yourself this question : " How 
long has it taken Nature to pile half a mile of 
solid rock upon the grave of this creature, and 
then cut down to it again f " 

In the evolution of the birds of to-day, the 
reptiles of the past have played an important 
part ; and the study of the Class Reptilia is very 
much worth while, if for no other reason than to 
learn the nearness of the relationships between 
its members and the birds. 



Remember, first of all, that the reptiles of to- 
day are actually insignificant in comparison 
with those which existed ages ago, the bones of 
which are now fast coming to light. A twenty- 
four-foot python or anaconda of to-day, lying 
beside a sixty-foot dinosaur, with a hind leg ten 
feet high, would be like a garter-snake beside a 
kangaroo. 

In this day of liberal thought and broad rea- 
soning, any person whose knowledge of the world 
of reptiles is limited to the false notion that all 
these creatures are either "slimy" or dangerous, 
is to be pitied. A persistence in that all-too- 
common estimate is a distinct loss to all those 
who entertain it. It means the shutting out, 
with the black curtain of Ignorance, of a whole 
world of interesting forms and useful facts, and 
also a lifetime of cringing fear, largely without 
cause. 

Young Americans, I exhort you to take a broad 
and sensible view of the reptilian world, — as of 
every other great subject. Many of these creat- 
ures are worth knowing, some because they are 
wonderfully interesting, some because they are 
useful, and others because they are dangerous. 
None of them, however, are "slimy" ! A snake 
may be cold to the touch, but its skin is as clean 
and free from slime as a watch-chain. What is 
more, there is no living creature, not even a 
dolphin, dripping from the sea, which possesses 
a skin displaying the beautiful pattern of colors 
and the rainbow iridescence of the reticulated 
python, of the East Indies. In reality there are 
a great number of reptiles that are undeniably 
beautiful. 

I would it were possible to touch upon all the 
Orders of Reptiles, extinct as well as living, and 
introduce some of the gigantic and wonderful 
lizards that were like kangaroos, rhinoceroses, 
and sea-lions, and also like nothing else under 
the sun; but in this volume it is impossible. 
There is space available only for the four Orders 



313 



314 



ORDEES OF REPTILES— INTRODUCTION 



of living Reptiles ; the seven that are extinct can 
be studied elsewhere by those who become spe- 
cially interested in this subject. 

The Grand Divisions of Living Reptiles. — 

There are, all told, eleven Orders of the 
Class Reptilia; but seven of them are extinct, 
and for the present these will be left out of 
consideration. The four Orders of living rep- 
tiles are made up as shown in the following 
synopsis: 



wide range of variation, beginning with the 
clumsy-flippered harp-turtle, passing the gila 
monster, the swift-footed monitor, the kangaroo- 
like collared lizard (of Arizona), the gliding ser- 
pents, and ending with the flying dragon. 

In their food habits, the range of the world's 
reptiles is infinitely great, embracing fruit, vege- 
tables, herbage, and all forms of flesh, living and 
dead. Oddly enough, however, n< modern rep- 
tile has been provided with molar teeth for the 



THE ORDERS OF LIVING REPTILES. 



ORDER. PRONUNCIATION. GROUPS INCLUDED. EXAMPLES. 

Crocodilia Croc-o-dil'i-a Gavials, Crocodiles, Alligators. . . .Florida Crocodile, Alligator. 

( Tortoises, Terrapins and Sea- I Box Tortoise, Painted Ter- 
' ( Turtles. \ rapin, Hawksbill Turtle. 

Lacertilia La-ser-til'i-a Iguanas, Slow-Worms, Skinks . j M ^l^Q^'^^ S d ' ' Smke '" 



Chelonia Kc-lo'ni-a. 



Ophidia O-fid'i-a. 



Colubrine Snakes, Rattlesnakes, ) Anaconda, Timber Rattle- 



Harlequin Snakes. 



snake, Coral Snake. 



General Characters of Reptiles. — Chiefly 
through certain extinct species, the reptiles lead 
so directly into the birds that the two Classes 
overlap each other. 

In the Berlin Museum are the well-preserved 
fossil remains of a bird called the Ar-chae-op'ter- 
yx, which had a long, lizard-like tail fully cov- 
ered with feathers, and lizard-like teeth in its 
beak. In 1873, Professor Marsh discovered in 
the chalk-beds of western Kansas, a low-formed, 
penguin-like bird, called the Hes-per-or'nis, also 
provided with teeth. 

All reptiles are cold-blooded animals, r.nd 
breathe air by means of lungs. Because of the 
low temperature of their blood, and their slow 
heart-action, many of them are able to remain 
under water for quite lengthy periods — of min- 
utes, not hours. Some turtles and terrapins 
become so thoroughly dormant at the approach 
of winter that the vital organs actually suspend 
their functions, for a period of from one to three 
months. It is then that these creatures bury 
themselves in the mud at the bottom of ponds, 
and so pass the winter months. 

The majority of reptiles are covered with scales, 
or armor of solid bone, and are provided either 
with teeth for conflict and offence, or with armor 
for defence. Their means of locomotion show a 



mastication of food. The saurians, lizards and 
serpents have teeth for seizing and holding their 
living prey. The turtles, however, are quite 
toothless, and in place of teeth their homy jaws 
have sharp, cutting edges for clipping up their 
food into pieces small enough to be swallowed 
without mastication. 

The teeth of serpents and crocodilians gen- 
erally are perpetually renewed, as fast as old 
teeth are worn out, and disappear. By reason 
of this, the lives of these reptiles are indefinitely 
prolonged, and it is believed that some of them 
continue to grow almost as long as they live. 

The great majority of reptiles reproduce by 
laying eggs, which are hatched either by the heat 
of the sun, or by the fermentation of muck- 
heaps. Many species of serpents hatch their 
eggs in their own bodies, and bring forth their 
young alive, such species are called vivip'arous. 
Those which lay eggs are called o'viparous. 

Some reptiles, notably the crocodiles and 
tortoises, continue to grow almost as long as they 
live. Doubtless this is also true of some large 
species of serpents, such as the great constrictors 
of India and South America. 

Distribution. — Reptiles reach their maximum 
development in the tropics, and the subtropics, 
between the isothermals of 32° F. North and 



INTKODUCTION TO THE CLASS OF REPTILES 



315 



south of that zone, reptilian life still is abun- 
dantly represented, but chiefly by small species. 
The largest land-serpents are found in the low- 
lying, moist and hot forests of the equatorial 
regions; but crocodilians of the largest size are 
found several hundred miles from the equator, 
both north and south. The largest tortoises live 
directly on the equator. 

Poisonous Species. — Among our reptiles only 
one lizard and a few species of serpents are ven- 
omous, — an exceedingly small proportion of the 
whole number. Indeed, so few in number are 
the dangerous species of North America, it is 
an easy matter for any intelligent person to 
learn to recognize all of them at sight. In a few 
hours of diligent and conscientious study, aided 
by a text-book that has been properly designed, 
any clear-headed person over fourteen years of 
age can learn to determine almost at a glance 
whether any fully grown serpent of North Ameri- 
ca is poisonous or harmless. This is possible 
from the fact that more than half of the venom- 
ous species possess rattles, and those which have 
'■ not are few in number. 



Useful Species. — Many reptiles are of de- 
cided value to mankind, by reason of the rats, 
mice and other destructive vermin which they 
destroy. Others diligently devour insects. Quite 
a number furnish useful food, and some yield 
skins and other commercial products of much 
value. 

Lack of General Knowledge Regarding 
Reptiles. — While birds have been well taken 
care of in books, museums, zoological gardens and 
lectures, and mammals are now coming in for a 
small proportion of the attention they deserve, 
the reptiles have been greatly neglected. Very 
few zoological institutions contain collections of 
reptiles worthy of the name, and the books on 
this Class are mostly to be written. As a result 
of thic well-nigh universal lack of opportunity 
for study, the great majority of persons possess 
very little precise and clear information regard- 
ing these creatures. The following chapters are 
offered merely as a foundation on which to build 
an acquaintance with a world of living creatures 
concerning which we are assured that a large 
number of persons sincerely desire information. 




E. F. Keller, Photo. 



N. Y. Zoological Park. 



MISSISSIPPI ALLIGATOR, OLD MOSE. 
Captured in Indian River, Florida. Length, 12 feet 5 inches. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

THE ORDER OF CROCODILES AND ALLIGATORS 



CROC OB ILIA 



The warm regions of the world contain nineteen species of big, burly, bony-armored reptiles, 
with long tails, powerful jaws, and tempers as ugly as their own rough backs. These creatures are 
known collectively as Croc-o-dil'i-ans, and two Families embrace all the ga vials, crocodiles, alligators 
and caimans of both the Old World and the New. 

So pointed is the need for a clear bird's-eye view of this important group of large reptiles, it is nec- 
essary to set forth a synopsis of the entire Order. The species will be arranged in a regular series 
according to the width of their heads, beginning with the narrowest. 

A SYNOPSIS OF THE CROCODILIANS. 

The measurements given are believed to represent the maximum size attained by each species. 



< 

B 

Q 
O 

o 

§ 

a 

Q 
& 
O 



Gavial 
Family : 



I Crocodile , 
Family : 



COMMON NAME. 



LOCALITY. 



Gav-i-al'is gan-gd 'i-cus . . . 

To-mis'to-ma... .... .schle'gel-i 

' cat-a-phrac'tus. 



in-ter-me'di-us . 
I johns'ton-i . . . . 



\ Indian Gavial, 17 ) ,. ., T ,. 

• - , - Northern India. 

( feet s 

i Bornean Gavial, skull j Borneo and Suraa- 

( 3 feet 3 inches I tra - 

( Sharp-Nosed African J w A£rfca 
I Crocodile \ 

( Orinoco Crocodile, 12 ) Venezuela . 

I feet ) 

. . Australian Crocodile . . .Australia. 



Croc-o-di'lus . 



I j, n. ■ t \ Cuban Crocodile, 7 / „, . _ „„,_ 

| rhom'bi-fer < f . ' > Cuba only. 

,. j American Crocodile, \ Central and South 
a-cu tus | -j^ j ee j. > America. 

I j, ■ , , ( Florida Crocodile, 14 / _. . . 

I a - flor-l-dan'us ] feet g incheg '_ [ Florida. 

nil-ot'i-cus Nile Crocodile Africa generally. 

, S Salt - Water Croco- \ ,, , 
VO-ro'ms j ^ w feet \ Malayana. 

v pa-lus'tris Mugger, 12 feet India. 



I Os-te-o-h 



Cai'man. 



•'mui tptra*'m« S Broad-Nosed African ) Equatorial 

' mus - te ~ tms P ls j Crocodile, 6 feet ..] W. Alrica. 

j Rough-Backed Cai- ) T7 

. , . i D „ ? J- Upper Amazon. 

I man, 6 feet ) 



tri-go-na'tus 

1 pal-pe-bro'sus Banded Caiman South America 

scle'rops 

20 



Spectacled Caiman . j ° B X£££ d South 



I niger 

lat-i-ros'tris 
si-nen'sis. . 



Guianas : Brazil. 



Al'li-ga-tor. . . 



Black Caiman, 

feet (Bates) \ 

j Broad - Nosed Cai- \ Amazon to Rio de 
/ man ) la Plata. 

{Chinese Alligator, 6 1 „, . 
feet ...!.. I chma - 
Common Alligator, j Tj n i teQ states 
16 feet J 

317 



318 



ORDERS OF REPTILES— CROCODILES AND ALLIGATORS 



General Characters of Crocodilians. — A 

crocodilian is a lizard-like reptile, of very large 
size, with short, thick legs, a long tail, and the 
most highly developed vascular system to be 
found among reptiles. Its back and neck are 
protected by powerful armor consisting of rough, 
lozenge-shaped plates of solid bone set in a very 
thick and tough skin, and arranged in rows, both 
lengthwise and crosswise. 

Both the tail and the abdomen and throat are 
covered by a regular arrangement of tough scales. 
The whole animal is covered by a thin, trans- 
parent epidermis which is impervious to water. 
The tail is long, flattened vertically, and fringed 



The eyelids are movable, and the ear opening 
closes tightly by a flap of skin controlled by 
voluntary muscles. 

Most saurians are voiceless or nearly so; but 
the alligator emits a very deep bellow, or roar, 
which in animals over ten feet in length is much 
lower on the scale than any fog-horn. 

"The difference between a crocodile and an 
alligator" (a question that has been asked a 
countless number of times) consists chiefly in 
the shape of the head, and the manner in which 
the teeth are placed in the lower jaw. The typi- 
cal crocodile has a narrow, triangular head, ter- 
minating in a rounded point. The head of an 




1. OAVIAL. 



2. ORINOCO 
CROCODILE. 



5. MISSISSIPPI 
ALLIGATOR. 



along the top with a row of lofty, saw-toothed 
scales of great use in swimming. 

The head is a mass of well-nigh solid bone, 
overlaid by the same thin layer of scaly epi- 
dermis which covers the body, of the thinness 
of writing-paper. The nostrils are placed far 
forward, near the end of the snout. The jaws 
possess great strength, and are armed with rows 
of sharp-pointed, conical teeth which are shed 
when worn out, and renewed. 

The tongue is not free, but is firmly attached 
to the bottom of the mouth. Its color never is 
red, but usually is yellowish-white, and some- 
times pinkish. The iris of the eye is dark 
green, and the pupil is very narrow, and vertical. 



alligator is broad, with almost parallel sides, and 
at the end it is broadly rounded off. The canine 
tooth in the lower jaw of a crocodile fits on the 
outside of the upper jaw, in a notch close behind 
the nostrils; whereas in the alligator, the same 
tooth fits into a pit in the upper jaw. just inside 
the line of the upper teeth. 

The heads of living crocodilians show wide 
but progressive variations in breadth, as the an- 
nexed series of figures reveal. The gavial, of 
the Canges and Jumna, in northern India, has a 
snout like the handle of a saucepan, set with 
four rows of long and very sharp teeth. Alter 
the gavial of Borneo, its nearest relative is the 
Orinoco crocodile. At intervals come in the 



THE CROCODILE FAMILY 



319 



Florida crocodile, the mugger of India, followed 
by the broad-headed West African crocodile, 
and ending with the alligator, widest of all. 

THE CROCODILE FAMILY. 

Crocodilidae. 

Erroneous Impressions Corrected. — Re- 
garding these reptiles, a number of the erroneous 
impressions which are now prevailing should be 
corrected. Some of them are as follows: 

The true crocodiles are not confined to the Old 
World, four species being found in America. 

Alligators are not wholly confined to America ; 
for a small species exists in China. 

The "movement " of a crocodile's jaws differs 
in no manner whatever from that of an alligator. 

Only a very few species of crocodilians are 
dangerous to man. 

So far as the author is aware, there is no au- 
thentic record of the loss of a human life by our 
common alligator. 

All crocodilians swim with their tails, not their 
feet. 

The skin of a large crocodilian is by no means 
impervious to rifle bullets. A bullet sometimes 
strikes a bony plate and glances off ; but a 
proper bullet, properly placed, will penetrate 
the skin or armor of the largest alligator or croco- 
dile, at any point. 

The author believes that no crocodile or alli- 
gator of to-day exceeds 20 feet in length, by actual 
measurement; and one of that length is one out 
of ten thousand. 

Food. — Crocodilians are not epicures, and 
some species devour all kinds of vertebrate ani- 
mals that they can capture, from man to mud- 
hens. But the supply of obtainable mammals 
and birds is very limited, and fish constitutes 
by far the greater portion of their daily food. 
If all the scaly monsters of this Order were 
limited in food to the mammals and aquatic 
birds which can be seized when drinking at the 
water's edge, or swimming in mid-stream, they 
would indeed go hungry. 

It is a comparatively easy matter for a large 
crocodilian to seize a quadruped of medium size, 
draw it into deep water while struggling, and 
drown it. 

In the Reptile House of the Zoological Park, 
during a fight between two large alligators in the 



pool, it was discovered how an alligator dis- 
members a bulky victim in order to devour it. 
An alligator seized a fighting enemy by one leg, 
and using his tail as a propeller, whirled him- 
self round and round like a revolving shaft, until 
in about five seconds the leg was twisted off, 
close up to the body ! That deadly rotary move- 
ment would have torn a leg from a small ele- 
phant. 

On another occasion, a twelve-foot alligator 
named "Moses" became angry at an eight-foot 
companion, seized it by the body, lifted it clear 
of the water, and shook it until the tough skin of 
the back was torn in two at the joint immediately 
in front of the hind legs. 

In the course of work among the crocodiles of 
Ceylon, I found that some crocodiles will eat the 
flesh of their own kind, and do so with genuine 
relish. Crocodiles which I skinned and left be- 
side a pool were promptly eaten by their relatives, 
who in their turn were also killed, dissected and 
eaten. 

Man-Eating Crocodiles. — Out of the nine- 
teen species of crocodiles and alligators (eight of 
which I have observed in their haunts), so far as 
I can learn only three are dangerous to man. 
The most dangerous man-eater is the salt-water 
crocodile of the Malay Peninsula, Borneo and 
surrounding regions. This reptile attains a size 
of sixteen feet, and in the Territory of Sarawak, 
Borneo, it devours so many people the govern- 
ment has for years paid a cash reward for its de- 
struction. Its method is to take advantage of 
the murky waters of the rivers, swim up to a 
village bathing-place, seize any man or woman 
found bathing in the shallow w r ater, or filling a 
water-jar, and back off into deep water. 

The West African crocodiles, 1 of Angola and 
other portions of West Africa, are the boldest of 
all crocodilians, sometimes attacking people who 
are in canoes, and dragging a victim from a boat. 
(William Harvey Brown.) 

The gavial and mugger of India are harmless 
to man, and so are the American crocodiles, and 
the alligator. I have gone swimming in the 
home waters of both the gavial and alligator, — 
the two extremes in jaw development, — and 
therefore feel sure that both are harmless. 
Nesting-Habits.— All the crocodilians repro- 

1 This is the Nile crocodile, which is widely dis- 
tributed throughout Africa. 



320 



ORDERS OP REPTILES— CROCODILES AND ALLIGATORS 



duce by laying from thirty to sixty oblong, per- 
fectly white eggs, in layers, in a low mound of 
muck, or vegetable mould, or sand. The female 
lies in wait to defend her eggs while they hatch 
through the heat of the sun, or by regular fer- 
mentation. From the nest of the salt-water 
crocodile I have taken fifty-five eggs, from the 
gavial, forty-one and forty-four, from the Florida 
crocodile, twenty-six, and from the alligator, 
thirty-eight. The nest of the alligator is about 
two feet high and four feet in diameter. 

At birth, young alligators are about eight 
inches long. As soon as they are out of the 
shell, they are wide-eyed and alert, and ready to 
take to the water. At this period, the muzzle is 
short, abnormally broad, and the arch of the 
forehead very high. 

Growth and Size. — In the Reptile House of 
the New York Zoological Park, we have recorded 
the following facts regarding the rate of growth 
of our alligators: 

Inches. Weight. 
Length when hatched, 8 If oz. 

one year old, 18 9J " 

22 months old, 23 3 lbs. 

29 " " 45 14 " 

An alligator when received measured 6 ft. 11 in. 
During the first year it grew 1 ft. 

3 in. and measured 8 " 2 " 

During the second year it grew 1 ft. 

H in., and measured 9 " 3 " 

During the third year it grew 1 ft. 

7 in. and measured 10 " 11 " 

Length of "Old Mose," July, 1899, 12 feet. 
Length of "Old Mose," July, 1903, 12 feet 5 in. 

Judging by the rate of growth of specimens of 
all sizes under constant observation in the Zoo- 
logical Park, where they probably are growing 
as rapidly as they could in a wild state, I have 
reached the conclusion that, under ordinary 
circumstances, a wild crocodile or alligator is 
about ten years in attaining a length of twelve 
feet. The average rate of growth up to twelve 
feet appears to be about 1.4 inches per month. 
After twelve feet has been attained the rate is 
much slower, being (in the case of our largest 
specimen) about two inches per year. 

The secret in securing rapid growth in captive 
crocodilians lies in giving them a pool four feet 



deep, of water warmed to a temperature of be- 
tween 80 and 90 degrees F. If kept in cold water, 
and but little of it, they are uncomfortable, they 
feed sparingly, and grow either very slowly, or 
not at all. 

AMERICAN SPECIES OF CROCODIL- 
IANS. 

The Florida Crocodile 1 is the type which 
represents the midway average between the two 
extremes of the crocodilian series, — narrow- 
beaked gavial and broad-snouted alligator. It is 
a subspecies of the so-called "American" croco- 
dile (Crocodilus acutus), of Central and South 
America, and is not found elsewhere than in 
southern Florida. It is the only crocodile which 
inhabits a country that is visited by killing 
frosts. 

The presence of a true crocodile in Florida was 
not discovered until 1875, when a pair of speci- 
mens of large size were collected in Arch Creek, 
at the head of Biscayne Bay, by Mr. C. E. Jack- 
son and the writer. The male measured 14 feet 
2 inches (with 4 inches of his tail missing), and 
the female 10 feet 8 inches. Since that date, at 
least seventy specimens have been taken be- 
tween Lake Worth and Cape Sable. Lake 
Worth is the northern limit of the species, but 
it is most abundant in the watery labyrinth of 
low land and shallow water where the mainland 
of Florida reluctantly sinks into the Gulf. 

The alleged "big 'gator" of Arch Creek was 
very wary, and permitted no boat to approach 
within rifle-shot. Even a boat completely masked 
by green branches, and innocently floating with 
the current, was enough to send the old fellow 
quickly sliding from his basking-place on the bank 
into deep water. At last, however, we shot him 
from an ambush in the mangroves opposite his 
mid-day lair, and secured him. His mounted 
skin is now to be seen in the United States Na- 
tional Museum. 

The adult male Florida Crocodile is very rough, 
externally, and usually its natural colors have 
been so far obliterated by age and exposure that 
on its upper surfaces its color is a dull, weather- 
beaten gray. The females, and males under 
eleven feet, are of a clean, grayish-olive color, — 
or dull yellowish-green, — very different indeed 
1 Cro-co-di'lus a-cu'tus flor-i-dan'us. 



THE FLORIDA CROCODILE 



321 



from the funereal black of the alligator. This 
difference in color between our crocodiles and alli- 
gators is so marked it is quite noticeable at a dis- 
tance of 200 feet, or more. 

The Florida Crocodile digs burrows in the 
sandy banks of the Miami River, and other deep 
streams where the ground is suitable. These 
lairs are used as hiding-places, resting-places, 
and doubtless also as warm retreats in which to 
escape the cold waves from the north, which 
about once every five years produce killing frosts 
as far south as Miami. 



that he has become very expert in making capt- 
ures. For $50 he will at any time take out a 
party of "tourists," go to a Crocodile's burrow, 
and with a noose, capture the reptile alive and 
unhurt. In each case he guarantees that the 
Crocodile shall exceed nine feet in length. He 
locates the burrows in advance, by probing for 
them in the sand, with a sharp-pointed iron rod. 
With this iron rod, the reptile is driven out of its 
lair, and rarely does Joe fail to make a capture 
"as advertised." 

Many