Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/241

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The Passenger Pigeon

twenty-five years ago, and I there counted as high as forty nests in scrub oaks not over twenty-five feet high; in many places I could pick the eggs out of the nests, being not over five or six feet from the ground.

I stopped then with the Win-a-ba-go Indians, and was much interested in seeing them play mog-i-cin. I had heard the fathers explain the game when a boy, but never saw it before. I call it a gambling game. Certain it is, when nesting in a wild state, the male goes out at break of day; returning from eight to eleven he takes the nest; the hen then goes out, returning from one to four, and takes the nest; then the male goes out, returning, according to feed, between that time and night.

After the young leave their nests, I have always noticed that a few, both males and females, stay with them. I have seen as many as a dozen young ones assemble about a male, and, with drooping wings, utter the plaintive begging notes to be fed, and never saw them misused at such times by either gender. Certain it is, while feeding their young they are frantic for salt. I have seen them pile on top of each other, about salt springs, two or more deep. I wonder if your friend gives his birds, while brooding, salt.

Hartford, Mich., Dec. 18, 1896.

Dear Sir:—Yours of December 17th at hand. It is indeed surprising to me that your place of business