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in them, as is that of their courtship / centre feathers do not move, but each aud family life.

side expands and contracts alternately There are no less than thirty-eight with each step as the bird walks. This kinds of gallinaceous birds inhabiting movement of the tail produces a peculNorth America, and though the habits iar rustling like that of silk, and his of the different species, including, of attitude gives him a very dignitied and course, the several ways in which the even conceited air. He tries to attract males comport themselves during their attention in every possible way — by courtship, present a general resem- flying from the ground upon a perch blance, they also present considerable and back again, making all the noise le differences. In the very early spring can in doing so. Often, seemingly to - the latter part of February, often in increase the noise, he thumps some northern latitudes before the snow has hard substance with his bill. Somedisappeared — the cock birds begin to times he sits with his breast nearly utter their love calls, and their plumage touching the earth, his feathers erect; becomes gradually developed into great meanwhile he makes a peculiar noilfulness and beauty. The males are ding and circular motion of the head generally furnished with two very pe- from side to side, and remains in this culiar appendages called air sacs position two or three minutes at a time. peculiar in respect both to their appear. He is a most beautiful biril, and, not ance and function. There is one, re- unlike some human beauties, shows by sembling the half of an orange, on each some of his actions that he is perfectly side of the upper part of the neck. well aware of the fact. These sacs are connected with the air In his account of Gambell's parpassages of the lungs, and can be dis- tridge, Mr. Cobb, of Albuquerque, retended with air at the will of the bird. marks : Above these sacs on either side, just

It is a pleasing and interesting sight to where the head joins the neck, are a watch the male courting his mate, uttering few feathers which ordinarily lie back- at the same time low cooing notes, and ward on the neck, but which, when the strutting around the coy female in the most bird is excited, he can turn straight stately manner possible, bowing his heail forward.

and making his obeisance to her. While a The cock's love calls are soon fol- handsome bird at all times, he certainly lowed by demonstrations of a

looks his best during this love-making decisive and often very remarkable period. character. These are chiefly of three

The entertainment called drumming kinds, named respectively “strutting,” is seldom performed alone, but, asso- drumming,” and “ dancing.” Strut- ciated with strutting, is commonly reting may be described as a sort of lied on by the cock bird to induce the promenade during which the cock birds hen whose affection he is intent on lisplay themselves in their fresh spring gaining to accept his proposals. plumage to the hens in order to excite

The curious antics of the spruce partheir admiration and love. Strutting tridge are thus (lescribed by an old begins usually in March. The attitude backwoodsman, Mr. James Langley :and conduct of the strutter during his After strutting back and forth for a few performance are very striking. His minutes, the male flew straight up, as high tail becomes almost erect, his wings are as the surrounding trees, about fourteen slightly raised from the body and a feet ; there he remained stationary an inlittle drooped, the head is elevated, the stant, and while maintaining himself in the feathers of the head and throat are air did the drumming with the wings, and raised, and the red comb over each eye meanwhile he dropped down slowly to the is enlarged until the two nearly meet spot from wliich he started. He repeated over the top of the head. While the

the performance over and over again. bird is strutting the expanded tail is The noise produced by the drumming moved from side to side. The two / is said to resemble that of distant thun



der. Another observer, referring to The drumming of the rutfed grouse has the Canadian grouse, says :

often been described, and many different

theories have been advanced as to how the The cock performs its drumming upon

sound is produced. It is generally conthe trunk of a standing tree of rather small

ceded now by most naturalists, including size, preferably one that is inclined from such well-known ornithologists as Brewster, the perpendicular, and in the following ananner : commencing near the base of the Merriam, and Henshaw, that the sound is tree selected, the bird flutters upwards with produced by the outspread wings of the

birds being brought suddenly downward somewhat slow progress, but rapidly beat

against the air without striking anything. ing wings, which produce the drumming sound. Having then ascended fifteen or Adverting to the willow ptarmigan, twenty feet, it glides quietly on wing to the whose courting performance resembles ground and repeats the manoeuvre. Favor- somewhat that of drumming, Mr. J. ite places are resorted to habitually, and L. Turner, in his paper on the birds of these “drumming-trees” are well known to Labrador and Ungava, says: observant woodsmen. I have seen one that was so well worn upon the bark as to lead Early in April a male selects a favorite to the belief that it had been used for this tract of territory for the location of the nest, purpose for many years.

and endeavors to induce a female to resort

to that place. He usually selects the highThe drumming-place is resorted to by

est portion of the tract, whence he launches the male from year to year. It may be into the air, uttering a barking sound of a log, a rock, an old stump, or, when nearly a dozen separate notes ; thence sails such are not available, a small hillock is or flutters in a circle to alight at the place made to answer the purpose equally well. whence he started, or to alight on another The drumming of the ruffed grouse high place, from whence he repeats the act is described by Mr. Manly Hardy, of while flying to his former place. ImmediBrewer, Maine, as follows:

ately on alighting, he utters several times a

sound like the Indian word “chu-xwan" When about to drum de erects his neck (what is it ?), and in the course of a few feathers, spreads his tail, and with droop- minutes again launches into the air. This ing wings steps with a jerking motion along performance continues until nearly eleven the log for some distance each way from his drumming-place, walking back and about three o'clock, he resumes it, though

o'clock, and, after remaining quiet until forth several times and looking sharply in with less vigor than in the morning. In every direction ; then, standing crosswise, the course of a few days a female may be lie stretches himself to his fullest leiglit, found in the vicinity. The actions of the and delivers the blows with his wings fully male are then redoubled, and woe be to any upon his sides, his wings being several bird of his kind which attempts eren to inches clear from the log. After drumming

cross his chosen locality. he settles quietly down into a sitting posture, and remains listening for five or ten As human beings, by meeting at balls minutes, when, if no cause for alarm is dis- and parties, very often take the precovered, he repeats the process.

liminary step in the direction of court“Drumminy" cannot be considered ship, so many of the birds in question a love note exclusively, for, as remarked hold their meetings seemingly for the by Captain Bendire, it may be heard in same reason and with like results. The almost every month of the year, and quail, generally known as the “prairie sometimes in the night as well as in chicken," is especially remarkable in the daytime ; yet it must undoubtedly this respect. In the early part of each have some attraction for the hen. It year a number of these birds hold what may be performed as a sign of bodily may be called their spring assemblies, vigor and to notify her of his where- at which are combined dancing promeabouts. Occasionally it causes a jeal- nades, “strutting,” and that peculiar ous rival to put in an appearance also, kind of music called - drumming” alwhen a rough-and-tumble fight ensues. ready mentioned. The hen is seldom seen near the drum- After the disappearance of the snow, ming-place.

and the coming of the warmer weath.

er, the prairie chickens (sharp-tailed long before the snow has disappeared. grouse) meet every morning at grey While not at any time what might be dawn in companies of from six to called a graceful bird when on the twenty, on some selected hillock or ground, the sage cock during this seaknoll, and indulge in what is called son, when actively engaged in his " the dance.” This performance is a courtship, is unquestionably a most very amusing spectacle. At first the peculiar-looking creature. At one of birds stand about in ordinary attitudes, the March meetings of sage grouse the resembling people at a ball before the performance of a single cock while paymusic begins, when suddenly one of the ing court to several hens near him was cocks lowers his head, spreads out his carefully observed, and is thus dewings nearly horizontally and his tail scribed : perpendicularly, distends his air sacs and erects his feathers, then rushes inflated, and not only expanded forward,

His large pale yellow air sacs were fully across the “ floor,” taking the shortest but apparently upward as well, rising at of steps, but stamping his feet so hard least an inch above his head, which conseand so rapidly that the sound is like quently, being scarcely noticeable, gives that of the kettle-drum ; at the same the bird an exceedingly comical appearance. time he utters a sort of bubbling crow, He looks decidedly top-heavy and ready to which seems to come from his air sacs, topple over at the slightest provocation. beats the air with his wings, and vi- | The few long spiny feathers along the brates his tail, so that he produces a edges of the air sacs stand straight out, and loud, rustling noise, and thus becomes the greyish white of the upper parts show

in strong contrast with the black of the a really astonishing spectacle. Soon

breast. His tail is spread out fan-like, at after one commences all the cocks join right angles from the body, and is moved in rattling, stamping, drumming, crow- from side to side with a slow, quivering ing, and dancing together furiously ; movement. The wings are trailed on the louder and louder the noise, faster and ground. While in this position he moves faster the dance becomes, until at last around with short, stately, and hesitating they mally whirl about, leaping over steps, slowly and daintily, evidently highly each other in excitement. After a

satisfied with his performance, uttering at brief spell the energy of the dancers the same time low, grunting, guttural begins to abate, and shortly afterwards sounds, somewhat similar to the purring of they cease, and stand or move about a cat when pleased, only louder. This pervery quietly, until they are again started formance is kept up for some ten minutes

at a time. by one of their number leading off, as human dancers are observed to do dur- The cocks of the pinnated grouse, ing the intervals of rest between their which have similar morning assemblies, performances.

carry on their courting in a fashion The whole operation reminds the very like to that generally adoptel by looker-on so strongly of a Cree dance the males of most other grouse, ani, as to suggest the possibility of its being therefore, make great use of their ornathe prototype of the Indian exercise. ments, the air sacs, which they display The space occupied by the dancers is to the best advantage before the hens from fifty to a hundred feet across, and at these love meetings. as it is returned to year after year the Then it is that the proud cocks, in grass is usually worn off, and the order to complete their triumplı, rush ground trampleıl down harıl and smooth. forward at their best speed for two or “Dancing” is indulged in at any time three rods through the midst of the of the morning or evening in May, but hens, pouring out as they go a booming it is usually at its height before sun- noise, almost a hoarse roar, only more rise.

subdued, which may be heard for at The meetings of the sage grouse be- least two miles in the still morning air. gin early in March, and sometimes in This heavy, booming sound is by no the latter part of February — in fact, I means harsh or unpleasant; on the contrary, it is soft and even harmoni- | the head, neck, and breast strewing the ous. When standing in the open prairie ground.” Referring to the whiteat early dawn, listening to hundreds of tailed ptarmigan, Mr. Evans Lewis, different voices pitched in different who found a nest of this bird in the keys, coming from every direction and vicinity of the Chicago lakes, Colorado, from various distances, the listener is at an altitude of over twelve thousand rather soothed than excited. If this feet, says, “Should two males meet sound is heavier than the deep key- they immediately commence fighting, notes of a large organ, it is much softer, and continue the contest till one finally though vastly more powerful, and may drives the other away.” be heard at a much greater distance. Sometimes a pursued bird has reOne who has ever heard such a concert course to the ruse of leading its purcan never after mistake or forget it. suer off a great distance and then

Every few minutes this display is re- suddenly flying back to the female, peated. Not only one, but often more which sits or feeds as unconcerned as it ihan twenty cocks may be scen going is possible for a bird to be. She acts as through this remarkable and comical a thoroughly heartless coquette while performance at one and the same time, he is a passionately devoted lover. In when, however, they seem careful not short, during nearly the whole pairing to run against each other, for their pas- time there is fighting for the favor of sionate excitement has not yet reached the coveted females by the males until the fighting point. After a little while they are suitably matched and the nestthe hen birds begin to show an interesting season arrives. in the proceedings by moving about During the nesting season even the quickly a few yards at a time, and then females of the Canada grouse, at all standing still a short time. When events, are very quarrelsome, and at these actions are continued by a larger this time, if they are confined in an number of birds simultaneously, their enclosure, more than two or three canperformance is very striking, and the not be kept in the same pen ; in July spectator may easily imagine that the they may be all turned together again, birds are moving to the measure of and they will agree very well until the music.

following March. The party breaks up when the sun is Successful courtship is quickly fol. half an hour high, to be repeated the lowed by serious engagements, and, next morning, and every morning for these being effected, the interval be. a week, before all make satisfactory tween them and marriage is very brief, matches.

and the paired birds go off into the Towards the latter part, more espe- seclusion of the woods or prairies. cially, of the love season, fighting takes They soon, however, reappear, evincplace among the cocks. Two may have ing a consciousness of new responsifallen in love with the same hen, whose bilities, and intent on discharging the modesty prevents her from choosing new duties the presentiment of which between them, and hence she leaves nature is rapidly awakening. As the them to fight it out. But, in fact, wedded pairs of the highest form of throughout the mating season the males mammalia prepare for the family life fiylit each other more or less persist- which they anticipate by the establishently, and the victor valiantly defends ment of a home, so their winged protohis chosen home against intrusion. types, exemplifying the truth that The males of the ptarmigan, or rock " coming events cast their shadows begrouse, the breeding range of which fore,” prepare suitable dwelling-places includes both shores of Baffin Bay, for the reception and development of Davis Strait, and Iludson Strait, “en- expected, but as yet unseen, strangers, gage in most desperate battles ; the the advent of which is prophesied by engagement lasts for hours or until one mysterious intuitions, the nature and is utterly exhausted, the feathers of source of which we may never knor.


The vast family of gallinaceous birds succeeils her duty of incubation, which give, as a general rule, but scant atten- lasts about three weeks. During this tion to the construction of their nests, trying period the attentions and devowhich usually are placed on the tion of her mate are in many cases ground ; but referring to the Califor- very remarkable, as are those of the nian partridge, Mr. W. E. Bryant, cock ptarmigan (Reinhardt's), for exwhile recognizing that it is essentially ample, which will rather die than fora ground-building species, states that sake his mate's side, and often places several cases have come under his no- himself between the hunter and her, tice of its nesting in trees, upon the uttering notes of warning for her to upright end of a broken or decayed escape while attention is drawn to him, limb), or at the intersection of two who is more conspicuous. large branches. A few years ago a The appearance of the plumage of brood hatched in, and safely the sitting hens of the quail family conducted away from, a vine-covered generally harmonizes so wonderfully trellis at the front door of a popular with the appearance of the surrounding seminary! Ilow the parents managed vegetation that any one passing quite to get the tender young down to the near them is unlikely to see them. In ground is not known.

many cases travellers approach them so Ordinarily the nest consists of a closely as to be in danger of stepping saucer - shaped cavity, more or less upon them before they are discovered. deep, but generally shallow. It is Mr. A. W. Anthony, when writing to lined with grasses or with bits of grain Captain Bendire, observes, “ Although stubble, to which, not unfrequently, are devoid of protection from bush or shrub), superadded a few feathers, plucked, so nearly does the sitting bird resemble probably, by the birds from them- the grey boulders which surround her selves. The nest is well hidden, arched on every side that the discovery of the over naturally by overhanging vines, nest is due largely to accident.” When bushes, or weeds, and usually open on the bird is incubating it is nearly imone side. Occasionally a nest is arched possible to Aush her, or so to frighten over artificially, but in most cases her as to make her fly from her nest. where there is no natural cover exist." Twice have I escaped stepping upon ing no dome is attempted. Sometimes a sitting ptarmigan by only an inch or the male bird constitutes himself the so," writes one observer, " and once I builder ; in 1887 Judge John Clark, of reined in my horse at a time when anSaybrook, Connecticut, wrote to Cap- other step would have crushed out the tain Bendire :

life of a brood of nine chicks but an I found a male Bob White building a nest

hour or so from the eys." in a little patch of dewberry vines.

He was

When the young are with the parents busy carrying in the grass and weaving a they rely upon their color to hide themroof, as well as whistling at his work. The selves among the nearly similar vegetadome was very expertly fashioned, and tion from which they procure their fitted into its place without changing the food. They seem to know at once surroundings, so that I believe I should whether or not they are seen ; if not, never have observed it had he kept quiet

they sit absolutely still and thus aid in The cock mourning dove seems to give escaping detection. Captain W. L. no assistance in nest - building, but Carpenter, United States army, reports leaves his mate to do all the work ; he as follows : merely looks on and coos during its

I was standing alongside a sage bush, performance. Quickly after the nest is completed down carelessly without seeing anything

watching butterflies, several times looking the hen begins to deposit her eggs; unusual, when, happening again to glance usually she increases their number by at the foot of the bush in the very place adding one every other day until from before observed, I saw the winking of an ten to fifteen occupy the nest. Then 'eye. Looking more intently, I discovered

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