Page:The birds of Tierra del Fuego - Richard Crawshay.djvu/216

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The two species associate freely; but this is the less wary, and, indeed, in the neighbourhood of settlements is so tame that it can be shot without a stalk. A few years ago, the sheepmen tell me, these Geese did not exist in anything approaching their present numbers: a yearly increase has been remarkable in their immigration which is attributed to the brushwood being eaten away by sheep, and the growth of fine grass.

In the Falkland Islands. Capt. Abbott observes of this bird that it is "not so common as the other varieties (e.g., C, magellanica and C, antarctica), except in some places in the North Camp, where I have seen very large numbers, probably a hundred, but always in pairs. The usual nesting place is among dry bushes, the male bird, while the female is sitting, usually being found on the edge of the nearest water (generally salt), which, however, is frequently not in sight of the nest. The eggs are generally five (sometimes, but rarely, six) in number. The time of laying is the first week in October."

In Tierra del Fuego the nesting season commences perhaps a little later. In the warm spring weather the males become exceedingly pugnacious and noisy, engaging in combat on land or water, while others of their kind are spectators and scream encouragement. All day long are they tourneying on the Rio San Martin, at San Sebastian Settlement, within sight and earshot of the manager's house, until at times the noise becomes irritating.

There I took my first eggs on October 28th, and many more elsewhere for food: the usual complement is five, which I do not remember having seen exceeded.

The eggs are of somewhat varying shape—some oval, some pointed oval. They are of a brownish cream colour. My two examples, taken from my first nest, represent to some extent the prevailing variation in shape: they measure, respectively, 2.75 by 2.0 inches and 28.5 by 1.95 inches.

This bird, in fat condition, weighed 4 pounds 7 ounces.

The Ona name is "Shohli."