Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/334

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320
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and king-lets enticed me into the darkest part of the growth. The birds were greatly excited, and as I softly drew near them I saw that they were in a circle, all facing toward some focus invisible to me. I crept farther, and saw the tail of a small owl projecting from behind the trunk of a tree. Presently his tiny monkey face was screwed around over his back, and his timid yellow eyes fixed themselves upon me. His tormentors soon flew away, and after studying me attentively for some time the little Acadian floated off out of sight also.

The young screech-owl, whose death at his brother's hands I have already mentioned, irritated the birds of the forest and meadow in the same way. I placed him, one morning, upon a, birch tree which was in use by a family of yellow-billed woodpeckers as a sap-drinking place. The sap-suckers made a great clamor on seeing him, and their cries called together all the birds which were within earshot. At least thirty individuals came, including kingbirds, cuckoos, catbirds, veeries, chickadees, four or

PSM V41 D334 Great horned and snowdon owls.jpg
Great-horned and Snowdon.

five kinds of warblers, red-eyed vireos, song-sparrows, and two humming-birds. Having scolded for nearly ten minutes, they departed, leaving a sap-sucker and a humming-bird, which soon forgot the owl and resumed their usual employment of drinking the birch tree's sap.

Several times during the summer of 1891 I took my snowy owl out to walk. He weighs three and a half pounds, so the task of carrying him by hand upon an outstretched stick was rather a laborious one. The birds noticed him at once, and scolded as though he were of a species with which they were unpleasantly familiar, instead of one with which they were presumably wholly