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Studer, Jacob Henry, 1840-1904. / Birds of North America
(1903)

Plate LXXVII. Jer-falcon, or gyr-falcon. (Falco sacer, var. candicans.),   p. 120


Page 120


SHRIKES-FALCONS-RUFFED GROUSE.
along the sides'of the valleys and across the whole coast range,
excepting the windy and cold neighborhood of the sea. They
range at least as far north as the Straits of Fuca, and across the
interior to the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains."
"'A well-known and often-recorded point in the economy of the
Swallows is the readiness with which they modify their ways of
nesting according to circumstances. Those species, like the Barn
Swallows, the White-bellied and Cliff Swallows, and the Purple
Martin, which inhabit populous countries, have almost completely
changed their modes of nidification, now breeding in the conveni-
ent places afforded by buildings, or in shelters expressly provided
for their use. In the case of the Cliff Swallows, the change is of
very recent date, and many records are preserved of the precise
time when, in particular localities, the birds deserted cliffs to build
under eaves, or when, adopting this habit, they appeared and bred
in places where they were before unknown. With the Purple
Martins the nidification occurred earlier, and I am not aware that
the time is recorded. But in the west both these birds still adhere
to their primitive ways. Along the Missouri I saw great numbers
of nests of Cliff Swallows stuck in batches on the high, vertical,
water-worn exposures; and in Arizona the Martins occupied the
blasted tops of tall pine-trees, in colonies, having driven off the
Woodpeckers, the rightful proprietors of the holes that riddled the
trunks. It becomes an interesting speculation, whether the Bank
Swallow will ever abandon its burrows, and so far modify its fos-
sorial nature as to build in chinks and crannies, or affix a nest any-
where about a building. As far as is now known, the Violet-green
Swallow retains its primitive habits, but the same easy adaptability
to varying circumstances may be observed in this case, warrant-
ing the inference that before long it will accept the conditions
that civilization imposes, and breed about buildings like its allies."
-Coues.
Loggerhead Shrike (Collurio ludovicianus) [Fig. ii], and the White-
rumped Shrike (Collurio ludovicianus, var. excubitoroides) [Fig. lo].
This bird, which has much the appearance of a bird of prey, and
much similar habits, is yet one of the singing birds, and though it
may not exercise its gifts in this respect, much more than does the
Blackbird and Crow of the same class, its structure shows it to be
more nearly related to the Robin and Vireo than to even the
smaller hawks.
The Loggerhead Shrike is found throughout the Southern
States, and on the Pacific coast as far at least as Lower California.
Its occurrence in the Mississippi valley is as far north at least as
Columbus, Ohio, where it is of common occurrence. In that lo-
cality it is one of the first birds to arrive in spring, and frequently
has its nest built and eggs laid in April.
As will be seen from the plate, its general appearance resembles
that of the Mocking Bird, and for that bird it is often mistaken.
Frequently the young are taken from the nest and sold for young
Mocking Birds. Generally they die before their luckless possessor
discovers his mistake, and if by chance they live, no sweet sounds
will reward the care which has been bestowed upon them. Their
common note is a harsh, creaky cry; while their song, which is
comparatively seldom heard, is a Tapid repetition of monotonous
notes, not, however, unmusical. They frequent open country, and
are especially attached to the bushy borders of field tall osage
orange hedges. Their nest is usually built, with some attempt at
concealment, in a low treetop covered with a wild grapevine, or in
a dense bush. It is large and bulky, often lined with feathers.
The eggs are four or five, grayish, thickly speckled over with
brownish-ash. Their food consists, for the most part, of large in-
sects, such as grasshoppers and crickets. They are noted for the
curious habit of impaling grasshoppers and other prey upon thorns
and twigs. No sufficient reason has ever been discovered why
they do this.
The White-rumped Shrike is the northern variety of the Log-
gerhead, from which it differs in the genarally darker color of the
upper parts, with a conspicuously whiter rump. It is found from
Illinois to Wisconsin, north and west. In habits it does not differ
from the Loggerhead. These birds may be distinguished from
the Northern Shrike by their smaller size, darker colors, and uni-
form ashy white color beneath. The Northern Shrike has the
under parts faintly barred with dusky ash, and is only found in
winter, in localities frequented by the Loggerhead and White-
rumped Shrike during the summer.
PLATE LXXVII.
Jer-falcon, or Gyr-faloon. (Falco sacer, var. candicans.)
Fig. !
This species, a variety of the Jer-falcon-spelt also Ger and
Gyr-inhabits Arctic America, North Greenland, Iceland, and
Europe.
Brehm says: "They appear to prefer such rocky localities as
are in the immediate neighborhood of the sea-coast, and upon
which hundreds and thousands of sea birds settle during the breed-
ing season; nevertheless, they do not entirely avoid the wooded
parts of the country, for such amongst them as are too young to
pair make long excursions inland, even occasionally visiting the
mountain ranges of the interior, amongst which the old birds are
rarely ever seen. The attachment of these various species to their
breeding places is very remarkable; they return to them with such
unfailing regularity that we were once accurately directed where
to look for an eyrie, even though our informant had neither seen
the spot, nor heard it spoken of, for many years. In their other
habits they closely resemble the Peregrine Falcon. During the
summer months it subsists upon sea birds, in the winter upon
Piarmigans, and, according to some naturalists, will devour hares,
and live upon squirrels for whole months together. We were on
one occasion for three days in the vicinity of the Nyker (two
mountains much frequented by sea birds), and watched a pair of
Gyr-falcons come down morning after morning punctually at ten
o'clock, in order to obtain their breakfast. This was very speedily
accomplished; both took a rapid survey of the, feathered swarm
they were about to attack, and then, swooping down with unerring
aim, carried off one bird after another, until they had obtained the
necessary supply. Howell mentions having seen a Polar Falcon
pounce upon two Sea Gulls at the same time, and bear them away
in triumph, one in each foot.  They are also said to destroy
Pigeons."
This species is about two feet in length.
Polar, or Iceland Falcon. (Falco sacer, var. islaxdicus.)
Fig. 2.
Closely allied to the last-named species, and recognized as a
variety, by the darker markings on the upper parts of the body.
Its habits and manners are similar.
PLATE LXXVIII.
Ruffed Grouse, Partridge, or Pheasant. (Bonasa umbellus.)
Fig. I.
Although this species is generally known by the name of
Ruffed Grouse, it is also called the Partridge in the New England
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