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

[Plate CX. Femoral or aplomado falcon. (Falco femoralis.) cont.],   pp. 167-168

Page 167

in a faunal sense, for the decrease of latitude. Fitted to endure great
cold, it is resident in our northern districts. He procured a speci-
men, in the depth of winter, at Boar's Head, on the New Hamp-
shire coast, and another at Fort Randall, in January, when the
temperature had been ranging far below zero. The last-named, a
fine adult example, was brought to him alive by Lieut. W. J.
Campbell, who found it in the possession of an Indian, and he kept
it for'some time in the doctor's study before it died, probably of
inanition. It refused food, and after death its body was found
greatly emaciated. Although so puny and weak, the little bird
showed good spirit, setting back with an air of defiance when ap-
proached, snapping its little bill, and pecking as hard as it could
when he took it in hand; but after soothing it for a few moments,
it would seem appeased, roost quietly on his finger, and apparently
liked to have its poll quietly scratched. In its noiseless fluttering
about the room by night, it more resembled a big bat than a bird;
in perching, as it did by preference, on the edge of the table or
of a pile of books, it stood with its claws bent inward, so that their
convexities, and not the points, rested against the support.
The food of this interesting little Owl, which is not so large as a
Robin, though it appears bulkier, consists chiefly of insects. Its
nesting, according to Wilson and Audubon, is various: sometimes
it builds in the branches of trees, while at other times it will occupy
the deserted nests of other birds, or lay in a hollow tree. The eggs
are pure white, subspherical, of crystaline clearness, measuring
one and one-eighth inches by one and seven-eighth inches.
Mr. Gentry informed him of a curious circumstance in regard to
this Owl. Referring to the association of the Burrowing Owl of
the West with the prairie-dog, he continues: "I In the hollow of an
oak-tree, not far from Germantown, lives an individual of the
common chickaree squirrel (Sciurus hudsonius), with a specimen
of this little Owl as his sole companion. They occupy the same
hole together in perfect harmony and mutual good-will. It is not
accidental temporary association, for the bird and squirrel have re-
peatedly been observed to enter the same hole together, as if they
had always shared the apartment. But what benefit can either de-
rive from the other?"
Western Mottled Owl; McCall's Owl. (Scops asio, var. maccalli.)
Fig. &
Northern Mottled Owl; Kennicott's Owl. (Scopsasio,var. cennicotti.)
Fig. 9.
McCall's Owl is a variety or southern form, from the south-
western borders and southward; and Kennicott's Owl is a northern
form or variety, from Alaska, of the common Mottled Owl, of
North America, represented on Plate LXXXI, fig. 3, page I2$.
Harlan's Buzzard, or Hawk; Black Warrior. (Buteo harlani.)
Fig. zo.
Audubon obtained a pair of these birds at St. Francisville,
Louisiana. He considered it allied to the Red-tailed Hawk, or
Buzzard, represented on Plate XXX, page 37. Its flight is de-
scribed by him as rapid, greatly protracted, and so powerful as to
enable it to seize the prey with apparent ease, or effect its escape
from its stronger antagonist, the Red-tail, which pursued it on all
occasions. He saw it pounce upon a fowl, and kill it almost in-
stantly, and afterward drag it along the ground several hundred
yards. He did not see it prey on hares or squirrels, but it seemed
to evince a marked preference for poultry, partridges, and the
smaller specify Qf wild duck.
Cooper's Red-tailed Hawk, or Buzzard. (Buteo coo .)
Fig. ii.
Dr. Cooper obtained the only specimen known of this species,
near Mountain View, in the Santa Clara Valley, California, in
November, I855. Its colors are somewhat lighter than any other
of our North American Buteos.
Harris' Buzzard, or Hawk. (Buteo anicinctus var. harrisi.)
Fig. 12.
This bird is a South and Central American species, extending
its migrations from the Isthmus of Panama north to our southern
Gulf States. It was named in honor of Mr. Edward Harris, by
Mr. Audubon, who first met with it in Louisiana. It is very com-
mon about the mouth of the Rio Grande. Mr. Dresser, who
found it quite common throughout Texas, to the Colorado River,
and at Matamoras, in summer, describes it as a heavy, sluggish
bird, seldom seen on the wing, and subsisting, so far as he could
see, entirely on carrion. All along the road from Brownsville to
San Antonio, he noticed it, either perched on some tree by the
roadside, or busy, in company with Vultures and Caracaras, re-
galing on some offensive carrion. He found it breeding in the
neighborhood of San Antonio, Medina, and Altascosa Rivers,
having eggs in the month of May. A nest found near Medina
River was built of sticks, very slightly lined, and was placed in a
low hackberry tree. The eggs, four in number, were white, with
a faint bluish tinge, very sparingly spotted and blotched with red.
Chicken Hawk; Cooper's Hawk. (Accipiter cooperii.)
Fig. 13.
We copy from Dr. Coues' interesting account of this species-
Birds of the Northwest, page 334-the following:
" The range of Cooper's Hawk is, in a measure, complemen-
tary to that of the Goshawk; not that the two are never found
together, for such is the case in all our Northern States; but one
is as decidedly southern as the other is northerly. The present
species does not appear to penetrate any great distance into the
British possessions, like its smaller relative, the Sharp-shinned;
and I have found no indication whatever of its presence far north.
It is abundant in most parts of the United States; particularly so
in New England, where it is, perhaps, the most numerous of all
the birds of prey. It appears to breed indifferently in all suitable
places throughout its United States range; and, to judge by the
well-known rule of difference in size according to latitude, it is a
resident bird. Gulf-coast examples average about two and a half
inches smaller than others from New England. Possessed of
spirit commensurate with its physical powers, it preys upon game
little if any humbler thart that of our more powerful Falcons. It
attacks and destroys hares, Grouse, Teal, and even the young of
larger Ducks, in the state in which they are known as ' flappers,'
besides capturing the usual variety of smaller birds and quadrupeds.
It occasionally seizes upon reptiles, or picks up insects. In secur-
ing its prey, it gives chase openly, and dives down on its quarry
with almost incredible velocity."
Gruber's Buzzard. (Onychotesgrudcri.)
Fig. I.
This new species was first obtained by Mr. F. Gruber, procurator
of Woodward's Garden, San Francisco, California, between Vallejo
and Nana cities. on May vmth. i867. Its habits were not reported.
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