The Crow, Elf Owl & Prairie Falcon

Aug 12 07:28 2010 David Bunch Print This Article

The Crow is one bird that everyone knows, either by acquaintance or by hearsay. He has been the standard of blackness for centuries. His self-assurance and fearlessness surpass that of any of our birds. Though he takes insects with his vegetables, his fondness for sprouting corn often outweighs his good deeds. He is a noisy fellow who repeats his characteristic "Caw" as he goes about hunting for food.

The Crow is one bird that everyone knows,Guest Posting either by acquaintance or by hearsay. He has been the standard of blackness for centuries. His self-assurance and fearlessness surpass that of any of our birds. Though he takes insects with his vegetables, his fondness for sprouting corn often outweighs his good deeds. He is a noisy fellow who repeats his characteristic "Caw" as he goes about hunting for food. There is always a lookout perched on a high vantage point to keep his tribe informed of any impending interference with their feast. Not that a crow is afraid—just cautious. The youngsters live up to the family tradition in the matter of racket. In the early autumn twilight great flocks come together from their scattered feeding grounds to spend the night in a chosen "roost" and talk over the happenings of the day.

The Elf Owl is the tiniest of the owls, being only six inches long when full grown. There are two color phases, the gray, which is by far the most common, and the brown, in which the feathers are snuff-colored; the markings are the same in both. The desert country from southern California to Texas and over the tableland in Mexico to Puebla, is the limited range of this interesting bird which is supposed to be only locally migratory. Its choice of nesting site is high in a giant cactus where it uses for its home a hole made by a woodpecker. The wood about these homes has become smooth and hard by the setting of the sap that oozes out when the woodpecker first makes them. Here the owl lays two to five white eggs. Elf owls are nocturnal and hunt constantly through the night for beetles and other insects to be found in the semi-desert land. They are so nearly dependent on the giant cactus that they would in all probability disappear if this tree-like species were exterminated.

The Prairie Falcon is a bird of the prairie and desert regions, from Canada to Lower California and Mexico, where it ranges over sagebrush and canyons. It is occasionally found as far east as Illinois and Minnesota. Sometimes it builds a grasslined nest of sticks in a tree hollow, but commonly uses a. cleft on the side of an inaccessible cliff or stream bank where only a few feathers serve as nesting material. Here the two to five creamy eggs, with irregular, red-brown spots, are laid during the very early spring. Both birds share the duties of incubation, though the male more often brings a peace offering to the brooding female as his share in the burdensome task. From a high perch keen eyes discover food at long distances. The prairie falcon belongs to that group of birds that have been trained as hunters, and among our American hawks is the one that most nearly resembles the duck hawk, the American representative of the Old World peregrine.


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