Wilson, Alexander, 1766-1813. / American ornithology; or The natural history of the birds of the United States
Species 9. Strix nævia. Mottled owl, pp. -142
SPECIES' 9. STRIX NE VIA.*9 MOTTLED OWL. [Plate XIX. -Fig. 1. Female.] .rct. Zool. 231. .2Vio. II 8.-LATIHAM, I, 126.-TuERTON, I, 167.- PEALE'S .Miuseum, .No. 444. ON contemplating the grave and antiquated figure of this night wanderer, so destitute of every thing like gracefulness of shape, I can scarcely refrain from smiling at the conceit, of the ludicrous appearance this bird must have made, had nature be- stowed on it the powers of song, and given it the faculty of warbling out sprightly airs, while robed in such a solemn exte- rior. But the great God of Nature hath, in his wisdom, assigned to this class of birds a more unsocial, and less noble, though, perhaps, not less useful, disposition, by assimilating them, not only in form of countenance, but in voice, manners, and appe- tite, to some particular beasts of prey; secluding them from the enjoyment of the gay sunshine of day, and giving them little more than the few solitary hours of morning and evening twi- light, to procure their food, and pursue their amours; while all the tuneful tribes, a few excepted, are wrapt in silence and re- pose. That their true character, however, should not be con- cealed from those weaker animals on whom they feed, (for hea- ven abhors deceit and hypocrisy) He has stamped their coun- tenance with strong traits of their murderer the Cat; and birds in this respect are, perhaps, better physiognomists than men. The Owl now before us is chiefly a native of the northern regions, arriving here, with several others, about the commence- * Strix asio. This is the adult of the following species, and the name asio given to the young, must be retained for the species, as the young was first desciibedl Scc LxINN. Sy6S. J, p. 92, No. 3, Ed. 10.
Based on date of publication, this material is presumed to be in the public domain.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright