Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/618

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
602
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and locusts in the grass. At the first cry of warning the youngsters scramble down into the thick foliage, and hide there as skillfully as young owls. At first they have no especial fear of man, and sometimes on approaching them I have seen the old birds

PSM V51 D618 Coopers hawk.png
Cooper's Hawk.

deliberately knock them off their perch and compel them to fly, driving them into the pines for safety.

I once took a hawk of this kind from the nest when only a few days old, and brought him up according to the rules most approved by the old falconers. He was never confined in any way, and as soon as he had learned to fly had the run of the entire place. His favorite haunt was a series of gutters under the eaves, where he would spend hours at a time hunting for spiders or digging the wasps' nests to pieces for the larvæ. When spoken to at such times he would look out over the edge of the gutter, with his head on one side, and answer with soft, chattering cries, and immediately go back to his work. Let no one make the mistake of thinking that the loud screaming or whistling of hawks is their usual voice, although it is the only one easily heard at the distance hawks usually insist on keeping from the observer. One has only to watch a pair of hawks of any kind close at hand, to learn that probably nine tenths of the cries uttered by them in the course of a day are either low and guttural or soft and almost musical. But it was not until I had had one about me for an entire summer that I realized what an almost limitless variety of