Page:Ethnological studies (Roth).djvu/122

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and holds others in front of him: to prevent the bird "smelling" him, he gets rid of the-perspiration from under the armpits and from between the thighs by rubbing these parts with earth.

At Roxburgh, and higher up the Georgina, emus may be hunted with dogs, the latter always making for the bird's neck.

136. In the Boulia District Turkey Bustards are either caught with a grasshopper and noose (cf. sect. 140) fixed to the extremity of a long thin switch held by the hunter, who gradually creeps forward unobserved enveloped in boughs and bushes, or else quietly surrounded in the open. In the latter case, numerous fires are simultaneously raised in more or less of the line of a circle right round the group of unsuspecting birds, which, dazed with the smoke and din, are rushed upon and easily knocked over with boomerangs, nulla-nullas, &c.

137. "Flock"-Pigeons (Histriophagus histrionica) along the Burke, Georgina, and other rivers, where they can be met with in thousands, are caught in small-mesh nets of a particular shape, the mok-wu-ri of the Pitta-Pitta language. The upper edge of this net is attached along its whole length to a long thin curved stick, the handle of which is free, and held by the hunter when all is in readiness: its lower edge, about 10 or 12 feet in length, is about 3 feet longer than the upper, and when in use fixed along its entire extent into the ground by means of little forked twigs. The diagram in Fig. 230 is intended to explain this more graphically. A small artificial water-hole A, about 6 feet long and 2 or 3 wide, is made parallel with, and at a little distance from, the main channel B, where the birds have been noticed to usually alight: this miniature lake is effected by a scooping up with the hands, and, what with the sandy formation of the soil, it quickly fills with beautiful clear water. When in the late afternoon the birds come down to drink they will in all probability make for it, thinking it to be a new hole, and its water fresher. The hunter knows this, and lays his net quite flat upon the ground, with the lower edge fixed close to that side of the artificial water-hole further removed from the creek: he hides himself in a crouching position under some bushes and sand close enough to have full control of the long handle. The pigeons settle down in time, walk on and over the net, and collect on the miniature lake where they "sit" the water like ducks. As soon as the individual in ambush thinks the opportunity suitable, he revolves the net around its fixed axis by a very swift movement of the arm and wrist, thus enclosing the unsuspecting birds beneath.

A similar but smaller mokwari net is used by the Mitakoodi in the Cloncurry District, not only for flock pigeons, but also for galah parrots and other birds: the handle, however, is more curved, and the lower edge of the net itself only just a little longer than the upper. The artificial water-hole is not necessarily made near a river, but usually anywhere in the open. A small excavation is made, 18 inches to 2 feet in diameter, and filled with water carried in big koolamons, &c. The gin comes forward and fills the hole as it dries up: as she retires, the birds of course think the coast is clear and come down to drink, when they are easily caught by the hunter, who is lying concealed all the time half-hidden underground, and covered with bushes. This method is adopted especially in the summer months when all the natural water-channels have dried up.

On the head-waters of the Georgina, the Workia and Taroinga tribes bring down flock-pigeons by throwing a hook-boomerang into the middle of a mob of them.

138. The green "shell-back" ("love"-bird or "budgeregar") and other similarly small birds are caught with net and alley-way at Herbert Downs, Glenormiston, Roxburgh, Carandotta, &c.—i.e., in the Boulia and Upper Georgina Districts—by a method which the diagram Fig. 231 is intended to illustrate. Stretching from some water-hole D, two long divergent palisades A B are built: these are made with thick bushes, saplings, and twigs about 8 or 10 feet high, and 40 or 50 yards long. The space C C C in the narrower, portion of the alley is cleared of trees, &c, those in the diverging portion E E E being left untouched. In the very early