Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/58

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48
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of night monkeys. The Columba leucocephala (a congener of our ringdove) inhabits the mountain forests in countless swarms, and at the end of the rainy season visits grainfields in such numbers that hundreds are sometimes captured in nets, by means of corn scattered along the furrows.

A closely allied variety is found in San Domingo, where in many upland regions a darkey, equipped with a shotgun and a supply of gunpowder, can dispense with agriculture and raise a family of anthropoids on pigeon pies and tortillas, compounded from the grain found in the crops of his victims.

But the tittyblang (tête-blanc) has scores of smaller and larger cousins, culminating in the Cuban primate of the family, the splendid paloma real, with its coronet of pearl-gray plumes and dark-blue wings.

Ducks, too, must number some twenty West Indian species, and one kind of wild geese often obliged the rice planters to employ mounted sharpshooters, who galloped up and down the long dikes, yelling blasphemies, and every now and then enforcing their quotations with a handful of buckshot. But, for all that, the planter could think himself lucky

PSM V55 D058 Crested curassow and puerto rico parakeet.png
Crested Curassow. Porto Rico Parrakeet.

to gather a sixty-per-cent harvest of the total produce, for experience soon enabled the long-necked depredators to estimate the target range of the cazador within a dozen yards and take wing in the nick of time, only to resume their feast at the other end of the plantation.