Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/327

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313
WAYS OF THE OWL.

channels of least resistance are used, and the greatest amount of labor performed with a given amount of energy.

As long, therefore, as physical exercise is grossly neglected, and unpsychological methods of teaching remain in general use, disease must continue in abundance, though ever so many improvements be made in sewerage, ventilation, and disinfection; for, as our argument has shown, attempts at prevention will in great part remain ineffectual until good systems of physical and natural methods of mental development have been introduced into the schools.

 

WAYS OF THE OWL.
By FRANK BOLLES.

SINCE June, 1888, I have had in my possession for longer or shorter periods eleven live owls, including snowy, great-horned, long-eared, barred, and screech owls. I have also had opportunities of watching Acadian and screech owls in a wild state. In June, 1888, I secured two young barred owls from a hollow beech tree in a White Mountain forest. I have them still after three and a half years of happy companionship. During the first summer they were pets not easily petted. They used beak and claws fiercely and resented familiarity. I kept them in a large slatted cage in my barn, where they had plenty of air and light. They bathed freely and frequently. They ate largely of animal food. They were awake by day, restless at twilight, but profoundly quiet by night. They could see perfectly in bright sunlight, and better at night than most creatures. In the autumn I took them to Cambridge, where they were given a large cage in my cellar. During the winter I handled them more and more freely, beginning by using stout leather gloves, but soon stroking and rubbing their heads with my bare hands. They became more and more gentle, and I found that even when they nipped me with their beaks they did not attempt to cause serious pain. One of them, whose name is Puffy, injured his wing early in his captivity, and has never been able to fly. The other I keep clipped in one wing. In the spring of 1889 I began taking Puffy with me on walks. I found at once that he was wonderfully useful in attracting other birds. During the summer of 1889, the following winter, and the summers of 1890 and 1891 he was my companion on walks, drives, and trips in my Rushton boat. To a smaller extent I have taken his mate Fluffy with me, but he is of a less patient disposition than Puffy, and during a long walk is sure to hop from the stick upon which I carry him many more times than Puffy would in an equal period. In May, 1891, 1 secured a third baby barred owl from the same beech