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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.),   p. 142

Page 142

American Barn Owl. Barn Owl. (Strix ftammea, var. Americana.)
Fig. 2.
The type of this division of the family of Owls is met with in
most all the temperate parts of the globe. Our variety is found in
the United States as far north as Long Island, and southerly from
the Atlantic to the Pacific, but is rarely ever seen in the interior.
According to Cooper, it is abundant throughout the southern
part of California, especially near the coast, frequenting chiefly
old buildings, barns, etc., but often found hid in dark thickets and
hollow trees. It closely resembles the European Barn Owl, and
others of almost every part of the world, and its habits seem to
resemble closely those of its Old World relative. In the Atlantic
States, it is said rather to avoid human habitations; but this is
probably on account of the thoughtless persecution too much prac-
tieed among our countrymen against all Owls, under the impression
that they destroy fowls. Careful observations of the habits of the
European species have shown that they very rarely ever do so, and
that, on the contrary, they destroy an incredible number of rats
and mice-in fact, more than they and their young can eat, a pair
of old ones being watched, and seen to arrive at the nest every
few minutes with a rat or mouse, during the early night. When
flying about at dusk, they utter a variety of loud, harsh, and
rather strange cries, which are sometimes heard throughout the
night. Their nest is merely the natural floor of the cavity in
which they live, and their eggs are said by Nuttall to be three to
five, of a whitish color.
Pygmy Owl. (Glaucidium tasserinum var. Californicum.)
Fig 3.
This straightforward and unsuspicious little Owl is found in the
Western Province of North America. It is a common species, but
is difficult of observation on account of their retiring and unobtru-
sive habits. Its food consists of small birds and insects. The nest
is usually built in knot-holes. Dr. Newberry writes of this species:
" It flies about with great freedom and activity by day, pursuing
small birds, upon which it subsists, apparently as little incommoded
by the light as they are." Dr. Luckley says: " I have obtained
two specimens of this Owl at Puget Sound, where it seems to be
moderately abundant. It appears to be diurnal in its habits, glid-
ing about in shady situations in pursuit of its prey. I saw a bird
of this kind, about midday, in a shady alder swamp near Nisqually.
It flitted noiselessly past me several times, alighting near by, on a
small branch, as if to examine the intruder. It seemed quite tame,
and entirely unsophisticated."
Ferrugineous Owl. Red-tailed Owl. (Glaucidium ferrugineum.)
Fig. 4.
In size, shape, and habits, this species is similar to the Pygmy
Owl. It is met with throughout the whole of eastern South Amer-
ica, and middle America, and north into the southern borders of
the United States. I n Mexico it is a very common bird.
Burrowing Owl. (Speotyto cuxicularia, var. hypaogwa.
Fig. 5.
This species is to be met with in the open places in the country
between the Pacific coast and the Mississippi river. It is a com-
mon and familiar species, and may be seen at all times of the day, in
company with the large ground-squirrel, living with them, as com-
panions, in their deserted burrows. Their call note sounds some-
what similar to the word "'cuc-koo," which is continued through
the month of March, and occasionally during the day throughout
the year. Its food consists of small birds, mice, and insects, for
which they seek at night.
Harris' Finch or Sparrow. Black-hooded Sparrow. (Zonotrichia quer-
Fig. 6.
Nuttall first described this species from specimens taken by him
in i840, in the State of Missouri. It is a bird of commanding ap-
pearance, and is met with in the Missouri region. Its habits and
song resemble those of the White-throated Sparrow, figured on
Plate XXVI., and described on page 49.
Oregon Snow-bird. (bunco oregonus.)
Fig. 7.
The range of this species is from the Rocky Mountains to the
Pacific coast. In summer this Snow-bird is found inhabiting the
pine woods of the mountains, and in winter it descends to the low-
lands, entering towns and gardens in the same manner as its re-
lation figured on Plate XXXVIII., and described on page 53.
Canada Grouse. Spruce Grouse.  Wood Grouse. Swamp Partridge.
Black Grouse. Black-spotted Heath Cock. ( Tetrao canadensis.)
Fig. I.
This species is found in favorable localities, from the northern
parts of the United States, from whence it extends its migrations
as far north to the limit of the woods, and to the Arctic ocean.
The black-spruce forests between Canada and the Arctic Sea are
a favorable abiding place of this species. An interesting ac-
count of this bird by Archer, author of "1 Game of Arctic Lands,"
appeared in Vol. IX., No. 9, of the Chicago Field, from which
we take the following extracts:
"I There are few Grouse in the fauna of North America of which
so little is known by sportsmen and the people at large, as the sub-
ject of this chapter. It is seldom that the former consider it worth
their while to spend a few hours in its pursuit alone, for in some
inconceivable manner they have obtained the impression that the
Wood Grouse is totally wanting in all attributes which constitute
gameness, and that in table qualifications it is at any time inferior
to all other known species. The sooner the public are disabused
of such errors the better. These desirable qualities are not lack-
ing in this species, but, as with other Grouse, depend largely upon
the local habits of the birds, and the season at which they are pur-
sued. In the deep, coniferous forests and dark swamps, seldom
pressed by the foot of man, it can not be expected that they would
be otherwise than tame. The researches of scientists and natural-
ists lead us to believe that the fear of man is an implanted in-
stinct, and it is only as this destroyer encroaches upon their haunts,
and ruthlessly pursues them for his own purposes, that they learn
to fear him; consequently birds acquire the characteristics which
constitute gameness as a means of protecting them from their
hitherto unknown enemy. So, too, this beautiful bird develops
these qualities only as the northern forests are opened up by the
pioneer and land-hunter; and, a few years hence, it is highly

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