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

[Plate XCVI. Canada grouse. Spruce grouse. Wood grouse. Swamp partridge. Black grouse. Black-spotted heath cock. (tetrao canadensis.) cont.],   p. 143

Page 143

probable that this Grouse will be almost the only game available
-for the amusement and gratification of the sportsman."
" In their movements upon the ground these birds are peculiarly
graceful, imitating the walk of the quail, rather than the grouse,
never, seemingly, exhibiting the peculiar flirt of the tail, so char-
acteristic of the ruffled variety (Bonasa umbellus) ; but the step is
a stately one, embodying a great amount of dignity and pride for
so small a bird, which conveys a very pleasing picture to the eye
as it moves over the long, elastic moss, so abundant in the muskys
and swamps which it inhabits."
"1 In summer the Wood Grouse feeds upon the various wild fruits,
as well as the buds and leaves of numerous plants and shrubs; and
even larvae and beetles are most eagerly sought. In autumn, when
they gorge themselves with the berries of the Solomon's seals
(Polygonatum and smi lacina), the flesh attains a delicate flavor,
and becomes in no way inferior for the table to that of other Grouse;
but in winter it is darker, that which was before of a rich, reddish
brown, assuming a blackish hue, and acquiring a peculiar bitter,
piny taste-' a flavor of fir tops,' as some one has it, owing to the
nature of the food consumed. An examination of their crops at
this season reveals the fact that they feed mainly on the buds and
leaves of the pine, larch, hackmatack, spruce, and other conifera.
Some epicures, however, enjoy, and even prefer this strong, resin-
ous flavor. The nest of this species is constructed from leaves and
moss, artistically arranged over a groundwork of twigs, and con-
cealed beneath the dark, overhanging branches of a dwarf spruce
or fir. The eggs are from ten to eighteen in number, and present
a dull cream or fawn color, beautifully speckled and spotted with
Willow Grouse.
Willow Ptarmigan. White Ptarmigan.
Fig. 2.
This species is an inhabitant of Arctic America, from New
Foundland to Sitka, on the shores of Hudson's Bay. They may
be seen during the winter season assembled together in large flocks,
and, according to Mr. Hutchins, they have been captured by
the ten thousand in a single season at Severn river. Thickets of
willows and dwarf birches are said to afford them shelter during
the severe cold weather of winter, and their food during the
time consists of the buds of the smaller shrubs. *" When pursued
by sportsmen or birds of prey, they often terminate their flight by
hastily diving into the loose snow, making their way beneath its
surface with considerable celerity. In thick, windy, or snowy
weather, they were very shy, perching on the taller willows,
when it required a sharp eye to distinguish them from flakes of
snow. In the summer season they feed chiefly on the berries of
the Alpine arbutus and other shrubs and plants, which are laid
bare by the thaw, and which do not disappear until they are re-
placed by a new crop. They incubate about the beginning of
June, at which time the females molt. The males assume their
red-colored plumage as soon as the rocks and eminences become
bare, at which time they are in the habit of standing upon large
stones, calling in a loud and croaking voice to their mates, which,
still in their white wintery garb, are hidden in the snows below.
These birds are more usually in motion in the milder light of night
than in the broad glare of day."
Northern Sharp-tailed Grouse. (Pediacetes zihasianellus.)
Fig. 3.
There are two varieties of this species, the Northern and South-
ern. The first-named is an inhabitant of the Arctic regions, where
*North American Birds, vol. 3, p. 459.
they may be met in coveys of from twelve to eighteen, and in
abundance, throughout the wooded districts of the fur countries,
frequenting the open glades or low thickets on the borders of the
lakes, especially where the forests have been partially cleared.
During the winter they are usually perched on trees, but in sum-
mer they keep to the ground. In winter these birds hide them-
selves in the snow, passing through the loose drifts with ease. At
this season their food consists of buds of the willows, larches, and
aspens, and in summer their food consists principally of berries.
The nest, which is usually built on the ground, is composed of
grasses, and lined with feathers, in which the female lays about
twelve eggs.
Western Ruffed Grouse.
Oregon Grouse. (Benasa umbellus, va=.
Fig. +
This species is the western variety of the well-known Ruffed
Grouse, represented on Plate LXXVIII., and described on page
120. Dr. Cooper says: " It is an inhabitant of the forests, espe-
cially those of deciduous trees along streams, and about the bor-
ders of prairies, but never ventures far from the woods. At times
they feed about grain-fields, and early in the morning are fond of
dusting and sunning themselves on roads. From the dense covert
they usually inhabit they are not easy to shoot, but often alight
in trees, and, if quickly shot at, give time for killing them before
Mexioan Trogon. (Trogon mexicanus.)
Fig. x.
This beautiful species is an inhabitant of the valley of the Rio
Grande, and, like all members of its family, is possessed of gor-
geous colors. It is usually met with in woods and forests, espe-
cially preferring such as have a considerable height above the level
of the sea. The beauty of this bird can best be seen when it is
floating along in the air. Its song consists of a piping note, and
its food consists mostly of fruit and insects.
Mot-Mot. Blue-headed Sawbill. Sawbill. (Momotus caruleiceps.)
Fig. 2.
This species is an inhabitant of Mexico, and is the only repre-
sentative that is occasionally met with in the United States. They
are said to lead a retired life, either alone or in pairs, and far from
the abode of man; their cry, which resembles a note from a flute,
is most frequently heard in the morning and evening. Insects af-
ford their principal means of subsistence, and these they obtain in
a great measure from the surface of the ground.
Costa Hummingbird. (Selasphorus costa.)
Fig. 3.
This Hummingbird is a resident of the Colorado Valley, South
and Lower California. Its habits are doubtless similar to that of
the Anna Hummingbird, represented on Plate LXXIII., and de-
scribed on page III.

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