Page:Condor21(6).djvu/3

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.



THE CONDOR

A Bi-Monthly Magazine of Western Ornithology


Volume XXI
Number 6
November-December, 1919
[Issued November 29, 1919]



AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

By HENRY WETHERBEE HENSHAW

(Continued from page 181)

EQUIPMENT OF THE NATURALIST

MY equipment as naturalist was simple enough. A pair of roomy saddle-bags enabled me to carry a few bottles for the reception of small specimens, especially insects, and a supply of cartridges, cotton, matches, and other trifles of like nature. I also carried an insect net attached somewhere about my person, while a good doubled-barreled shot-gun, slung on the horn of the saddle, completed my everyday outfit. Thus equipped and clad in rough but serviceable clothing, I have reason to believe that my personal appearance was more striking than ornamental. More than once, when I chanted to meet a solitary horseman on the lonesome trail I saw him slip a hand furtively behind to make sure that his gun was ready. Unquestionably my appearance was quite out of the ordinary, even in a wild country, where the old saw "clothes make the man" is lightly regarded, or not regarded at all, and was, perhaps, equally suggestive to the chance traveller of an escaped lunatic or a highway-man. The insect net particularly excited curiosity, but when I explained I was a "bug hunter from the Smihsonian" I was at once accepted as harmless.

Two stout boxes, one for supplies as powder, shot, arsenic, cotton, and the like, and the other fitted with trays in which to dry and carry bird and mammal skins, a copper tank of alcohol, enclosed for prudential reasons in a stout locked box, and a plant press, were also part of the naturalist's impedimenta. My skinning table was improvised by placing one collecting box on top of the other, and a folding stool enabled me to Sit down and. to ski n birds with reasonable comfort, although several hours work usually developed a number of different sorts of backache.