Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/330

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

but later experiments showed that Snowdon had no ill feeling toward the barred owls, and ignored them even when they stole his portion of the food. It is now six months since I turned them in together, and during the whole of that time the four birds have been on terms of quiet indifference.

About the middle of September, 1891, a Boston dealer sent me a mature great-horned owl. He reached my country place just in time to be sent back to Cambridge with the snowy and barred owls. Clipping one of his great wings, I placed him with the PSM V41 D330 Great horned owl on a stump.jpgGreat-horned on a Stump. others in the 250 square feet of cellar space fenced off for them. Puffy prepared for war, Fluffy fled, Prince Edward regarded the stranger with indifference, and Snowdon and the great-horned formed an alliance at once. Three months have passed, and, so far as I know, no conflict has occurred. The older barred owls fear and dislike the great-horned. Prince Edward treats him with brassy familiarity, and Snowdon stays with him in the corner of the cellar farthest from the favorite perch of the barred owls.

Having introduced my characters, I will now compare them in several particulars. They arrange themselves, when I think of them as owls merely, into two groups the brown owls and the gray owls. The great-horned, long-eared, screech, and Acadian owls seem to me much alike in disposition and their way of meeting man. They seem like kindred.

The barred and snowy owls, while quite different from the brown owls, are somewhat alike in temper. They show fight when approached, and are very alert. The barred owls make several different sounds expressive of various emotions. They snap their beaks furiously when warning an enemy; they whine when hungry; they make a soft, rather musical "ōō" when meeting after an absence; they chatter with rage when pulling in opposite directions on the same bird or mouse; and they hoot when expressing the sentiments which make the domestic cock crow. While young they make a queer chuckling chatter when cuddled, and as the sound grows faint it suggests the music of a brood of chickens nestling under their mother's feathers. The hooting varies. In the August twilight I often hear the loud trumpeting