Page:Condor6(4).djvu/3

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THE. CO.IB.R Volume VI July-Augusl, 1904 Number A Dusky Grouse and Her Brood in New Mexico

BV FLORENCE MERRIAM BAILEY

ONE of our pleasantest field experiences last summer was with an old Dendragapus in the Rocky mountains, which, after a short acquaintance flattered us by coming to accept us as neighbors. We had a hint of the pleasure in store for us as we were packing up the mountains, for when my horse, leading the way for the pack horses, flushed an old cock grouse which had been dusting himself at the foot of a tree close to the trail, he lit again on a branch so near that we could see his sinfill pointed head and craned neck as he watched us. "If they're all as tame as that !"--I thought with a thrill of expectancy. When we had climbed to ,ooo feet we made camp in the blue spruces and established ourselves for our Canadian zone work. Our neighbors were discovered one morning soon afterwards by Mr. Bailey who, bound for his mammal traps, started up the grassy slope on the edge of camp, a sunny slope dotted with mariposa lilies and bountifully supplied with patches of wild strawberry, which is a favorite mountain delicacy with the grouse. Half way up the hill two little grouse about a third grown, sprang from the long grass at his feet, one whizzing off in one direction and one in another. Quick as a flash the mother grouse appeared from behind a rock close by and 'sputtered and fussed', standing for some time within five feet of the enemy, effectually distracting his at- tention from her brood. Hoping that she would wait, he called me to bring the camera, but on my approach she started up the hill leading us to the woods, point- ing the way with flags flying--head, crest, and tail up, an alert, conspicuous figure. On reaching the woods I followed Mr. Bailey inside for a short distance to give the old bird time to compose herself, and on my return found her sitting quiet- ly by a log on the edge of the woods. I wanted to get her into the light to ploto-