Characteristic Birds of the Dakota Prairies. II. Along the Lake Borders

Florence Merriam Bailey
1915 The Condor  
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more » ... out Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. 222 THE CONDOR Vol. XVII mally marked (see fig. 75 ). This raised the question in my mind as to when and at what stage the pigment is deposited on the shell, and I would be pleased to be enlightened by some one more versed in the matter than myself. The bird had deposited only three eggs in the nest during a period of five days, and either it was on the nest at the time taken, for the purpose of depositing this white egg, or else resting after having laid" her fifth egg; in the latter case she had laid but one egg in three days. The only other records I have of nesting dates of this species are those of Carter (deceased) of Breckenridge, Colorado, and are as follows: June 17, 6 eggs; June 27, 5 eggs; July 2, 6 eggs; July 6, 6 eggs. Although more or less familiar with these birds for the past thirty years (though I never before searched for their nests), I never saw one run or move on ground faster than a turtle, or before heard of it. I am convinced the finding of a nest, unless the bird is on it, would be pure accident. That if they build, or line, any systematic nest it is done as with many species of ducks, i. e., while they are laying their clutch and during the incubation of same. The moulting of the females was much farther advanced than that of the males. The males always appeared more on the alert than the females (compare the photos). The moulting had made marked advancement between June 11 and 21. Having always considered the ptarmigan the champion fool of all land birds, relying almost solely on its protective coloration and slow movements for safety, it maintained this reputation with me in all the preliminaries of this trip, but when it came to the finals in matters of nidification and the perpetuation of its species it created an admiration for its tact and ability in outwitting us in fine shape; but I am in hopes of getting the resultant grouch out of my system during the next nesting season. Being taken seriously ill on Sunday, I had to be quickly removed to a lower altitude for treatment, and on instructions the boys broke camp and followed me the next day. T HE BIRDS of the prairie region include not only those of the open grass- land, such as Prairie Chickens, Upland Plover, Short-eared Owls, and Bobolinks, but also those of the brush patches and timbered borders of the numerous prairie lakes, together with those that frequent the sloughs and marshes and the lakes themselves. The Stump Lake wheat farm where I spent part of the summer was east of the hundredth meridian, but its proximity to the arid regions was attested by the alkaline water of the lake and lines of frothy suds along its shores, while partly buried but well preserved bones of buffalo that had come to water from the surrounding prairie were to be picked up along the beaches. In the first
doi:10.2307/1362308 fatcat:aehrj3p5b5fzha5dlqchbpwvhi