Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/614

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

abundant. I am not absolutely certain, however, as to the species.

One August afternoon I heard an angry croaking that seemed to issue from the top of a large oak. As I approached a goshawk waddled out along a horizontal branch, and on another that extended PSM V51 D614 Goshawk.pngGoshawk. parallel with the first and only a few inches below marched a crow, keeping directly under the hawk and striking savagely at his feet. Both kept their wings tightly closed, and neither seemed in the least excited. I do not know how the quarrel ended, for presently both flew to another part of the woods to argue the matter away from human intelligence. There seems to be a continual feud between the crows and all kinds of hawks, and some of the disputes that arise are humorous in the extreme. I once saw a sharp-shinned hawk that insisted on flying south in company with a flock of crows. To be sure, if he flew at the same height as they did, he would have to fly with them, for the sky was full of crows at the time, all going in the same direction; still, he might have risen above them or kept down nearer to the tops of the trees, but evidently he didn't choose to. Every time a crow dashed at him he would sweep down out of their ranks, only to join them a few yards farther on, and when, miles away, they were only just visible through my glass, the dispute seemed still in progress.

In full plumage the goshawk is bluish-slate color, and differs from the other large hawks in having shorter wings, longer tail, and yellow or orange-colored eyes.

When flying, the marsh hawk has the appearance of being a large bird, but in weight he would be classed among the smaller hawks. A lean-bodied, loose-jointed, long-limbed bird, he sails along close to the grass, carefully beating over ever foot of ground in his day's hunt. The small birds seem to realize that it is useless to try to escape as they do from other hawks by hiding in the tall grass, and as soon as one appears you may see meadowlarks, blackbirds, reedbirds, and sparrows rise in clouds and fly for the nearest woods for protection. When there is a flight of