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

[Plate CXVIII. Alaskan gray jay; dusky Canada jay. (Perisoreus canadensis, var. obscurus.) cont.],   p. 181

Plate CXIX. Baird's sandpiper. (Tringa bairdii.),   pp. 181-182

Page 181

making their entry at a certain point instinctively, and their exit
at another, if undisturbed. Here, sportsman, is your field, if you
can kill a goose I If you never did, ten to one if you draw a
feather.  Nothing is more deceptive than a long line of old
hunkers bearing down on the hiding-place of a novice at goose
hunting.  The size of the bird, the clack of their goose-talk as
they approach a feeding ground, the apparent proximity of the
noisy fellows, as they seem to fly almost in one's face, create the
impression in the mind of the uninitiated that they are only a few
feet off; but when he rises and fires, to his chagrin he discovers
that the flock has turned about at some eighty yards distance,
without a scratch. Many a splendid shot have we lost in this way,
through the nervousness of some amateur sportsman, who was
sure of almost any other bird, and who could make his right and
left shots very creditably, but who had never shot a goose.
1 'The Canada Goose is a heavily-fledged bird, and bearing
down in a direct line upon the hunter, is no easy prey, until it is
passing, or has passed. It is better to wait until you can see its
white tips; then a quartering shot under the wing will bring down
your game. Four drachms of good powder, an ounce of No. 2
shot (which is coarse enough), and a little attention to the busi-
ness, will usually settle your goose question.
"s ' But shooting geese on the vast wheat fields, in early spring,
or late in the fall, after the winter wheat has sprouted nicely, is
another thing. Here are miles of expanse like the ocean, without
cover of any kind; there are the geese, numbering thousands-
the knolls are black with them. Now is the time for strategy.
You must select a windy day-for they can not rise down the
wind-provide yourself with a team of oxen and an old sled; lie
down; allow the oxen to graze gradually toward them, making a
circular tour toward the last, so that it will bring you to the wind-
ward; and work toward them until you notice symptoms of alarm,
shown by the double note of the gander. Now is your chance.
To your feet, before they can gather I You are near enough.
They must pass to the right or left, for they can not rise in any
other direction. Each man select his birds, and if you do not bag
two each, you should never shoot at a wild goose again, unless
absolutely in self-defense.
" ' Much cunning is exhibited by these, birds in localities where
they are frequently disturbed. We have often seen them in the
great swamps of the Bureau Valley, along the Illinois, come in
about dark, when it was just too late to draw a sight, noiselessly
stealing along, so as to avoid the random shot of the hunter return-
ing to camp after a long day's work. So attached are they to their
old grounds, and so liable to be pursued at night by reckless ad-
venturers, that after a few warnings they baffle the most intelligent.
Should their line of entry be discovered to-night, as they come
across the marsh from the south, to-morrow night, if you watch,
you may hear the vibration of their wings, as they pass over the
timber to the north, in their approach to the old rice pond, or open
water on the big slough. Upon all occasions, and also when dis-
turbed, they exhibit their usual propensity to indulge in gabble and
"1 The different varieties of geese lay from six to ten eggs in
nests built by them near the marshes and water-courses, where
they love to dwell. These nests are lined with soft grass and fea-
thers, and are well adapted to the purpose for which they are
made. It is said that the smaller variety of wild goose builds its
nest in trees, and that this is frequently the case in Dakota and
Montana Territories."
Barnacle Goose. (Branta leucojsis.)
Fig. 13.
An abundant European species that is very rarely met with in
North America. Its habits are likely similar to the last named.
Gadwall; Gray Duck. (Chaulelasmus strefJerus.)
Fig. IS.
The Gadwall is a very rare bird, but is pretty generally dis-
tributed over North America, and is usually met with accompanied
by others of its relatives. It is prised by the sportsman on ac-
count of its gamy nature.
Fulvous Tree Duck. (Dendrocygwa fulva.)
Fig. i6.
This is a rare species of Duck, inhabiting the southwestern por-
tions of the United States and Mexico, as well as South and
Central America.
Autumnal Tree Duck. (Dendrocygna aulumnalis.)
Fig. 17.
This Duck has about the same habitation as the last.
Steller's Eider Duck. (Somateria stbllerii.)
Fig. IS.
Steller, the voyager, discovered this species inhabiting the inac-
cessible rocks and precipices on the coast of Kamschatka, where
it builds and breeds.   It is a very beautifully colored species,
rarely ever met with, either in the northwest coast of North
America or in its European habitat. When seen, it is usually in
large flocks; is exclusively a sea bird, seldom entering the estu-
aries of rivers.
Baird's Sandpiper. (Tringa bairdii.)
Fig. i.
This Sandpiper, whose soft, piping note is similar to others of
its kindred, is quite generally dispersed throughout the interior
of North America, east of the Rocky Mountains. During the
migrating season, it visits the Atlantic coast, passing chiefly
through the interior, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific.
English Teal. (9_uerquedula crecca.)
Fig. 2.
An European species that is occasionally met with on the Atlan-
tic coast. It is very similar to our common Teal, represented on
Plate VI, page 8.
Mexican Cormorant. (Graculus mexicanus.)
Fig. 3.
Pallas' Cormorant. (Graculus perspicillatas.)
Fig. 4.
Red-faeed Cormorant. (Gracudus bicristatus.)
Fig. 5.

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