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

Plate CX. Femoral or aplomado falcon. (Falco femoralis.),   p. 166

Page 166

broken. The song is only heard for a brief period in the summer,
ceasing when the inspiration of the love season is over, and it is
only uttered when the birds are soaring."
Southwestern Lark. (Eremophila alfestris, var. chrysolama.)
Fig. 19.
This variety is an inhabitant of the southwestern Territories,
thence extending southward to New Grenada. Dr. Cones men-
tions this bird as being a permanent resident of Arizona, in all sit-
uations adapted to its wants. He also had an opportunity of ob-
serving the typical bird (represented on Plate LVI, fig. 4, page 82)
in Labrador, where he found it very abundant on all moss-covered
islands around the coast, and could notice nothing in their view,
flight, or general manners, different from their usual habits in their
southern migrations, except that during the breeding-season they
do not associate in flocks.
Femoral or Aplomado Falcon. (Falco femoralis.)
Fig. I.
This Falcon has an extended range, covering the whole of
South America, thence northward through Central America and
Mexico, across the Rio Grande, into Texas and New Mexico.
Dr. Heerman obtained a specimen on the vast plains of New
Mexico, near the United States boundary line.  It appeared to
him to be flying over the prairies in search of small birds and
mice, at times hovering in the manner of the common Sparrow
Hawk, represented on Plate XXXIX, figs. i and 2, page 54.
This species is said to be easy of approach, differing in that respect
with most Hawks.
Richardson's Falcon, or Merlin; American Merlin. (Falco richardsonii.)
Fig. 2.
The habitat of this Pigeon Hawk covers most of North America.
It is also met with in Arctic America, in the United States, from
the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains. Its habits, Lo far as
known, differ very little from our common Pigeon Hawk (Falco
columbianus), Plate XXXII, figs. 3 and 4, page 40. The two
species are very closely related, and often are taken to be the
same birds.
Isabella Sparrow Hawk. (Falco sparverius, vsrr. isabellinus.)
Fig. 3.
This bird is a southern variety of our common Sparrow Hawk
(Falco s~parverius), Plate XXXIX, figs. I and 2, page 54. Its
habitat being mostly along the gulf coast of Mexico and the
United States, through Texas and Louisiana, to Florida.  The
habits of this variety are similar to the typical species.
Mississippi Kite; Blue Kite. (Ictinia mississifppiensis.)
Fig. 4
This species is mostly confined to the extreme southern and
southwestern portion of the Gulf States or the Atlantic. It ex-
tends as far north as South Carolina. On the Mississippi, where it
is often met with in large numbers, it extends its migrations still
farther north. Wilson first discovered this bird at Natchez, where
he noticed it sailing about in easy circles, an'l at considerable
height in the air, generally in company with the Turkey Buzzards,
whose manner of flight it almost exactly imitated, so much so as
to make it appear either a miniature of that species, or like one of
them at a great distance; both being observed to soar at great
heights previous to a storm. He supposes that this apparent simi-
larity of manner of flight may be attributable to their pursuit oi
their respective kinds of food-the Buzzard on the lookout for car-
rion, and the birds of the present species in search of those large
beetles that are known to fly in the higher regions of the air,
and which, in the three individuals dissected by him, were the only
substances found in their stomachs.  For several miles, as he
passed near Bayou Manahak, the trees were swarming with a kind
of cicada, or locust, that made a deafening noise. He then ob-
served a number of these birds sweeping about among the trees in
the manner of swallows, evidently in pursuit of the insects, which
proved, on dissection, to be their principal food. He was most
impressed with the rapidity of the flight of this bird, also, its great
strength and energy of character.  Audubon admires it for its
devotion to its young, and states that in one instance he saw the
female bird lift up and attempt to carry out of his reach one of her
fledgelings. She carried it in her claws the distance of thirty
yards, or more.
Everglade Kite; Hook-bill Kite, or Black Kite. (Rostrhamus sociabilis.)
Fig. S.
This bird is mostly confined to the southern portion of Florida
and the West Indies in North America. It is well known in its
own countries-Central and South America-and is described as
very sociable in its habits; unlike, in this respect, to most all other
birds of prey. Mr. Maynard noticed six or eight specimens, in
Florida, frequently flying together, at one time, over the marshes,
or sitting in company on the same bush. In their flights, they re-
semble the common Marsh Hawk. Are very unsuspicious, and
may be quite readily approached. On dissecting a number of
these birds, he found that it feeds largely on a species of fresh-
water shell (Pomus detressa).
White-tailed Kite; Black-shouldered Kite. (Elanus leucurus.)
Fig. 6.
This beautiful and harmless bird is met with in the South At-
lantic and Gulf States, chiefly coastwise. They are also found in
Mexico and Central America. Dr. Cooper mentions this species
as quite numerous id California, remaining in large numbers, dur-
ing the winter, among the extensive tuli marshes of the Sacra-
mento and other valleys. He met with these Kites as far north as
Bauline's Bay, and near Monterey, but always about streams or
marshes. Their food consisted entirely of mice, gophers, small
birds and snakes, and they are not known to attack the inmates of
the poultry yard. Audubon saw several of these birds in Texas,
flying, at a small elevation, over the large marshes, and coursing
in search of its prey in the manner of the common Marsh Harrier
Kirtland's Owl; Saw-whet Owl; White-fronted Owl; Acadian Owl.
(Nyctale acadia.)
Fig. 7.
According to Dr. Coues, the Acadian Owl is not so boreal a bird as
its congener, being found throughout the United States in suitable
places, and in the more southerly portions of British America. He
found no decidedly arctic quotations. It is, however, more numerous
in the northern half of the United States; and, although it has been
traced far into Mexico, its southward extension appears to be mainly
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