120 THE CONDOR VoL. XII examined the previous year, and were placed on the branches against the tree trunks at a uniform hight of about twenty feet. Most of them contained incomplete sets, or fresh, complete sets. The nesting season of 1909 closed without affording another opportunity to visit this colony, and now we look forward with much interest to the nesting season of 1910; for these peculiar birds seem to have a surprise in store for us each year, and we are at a loss to know what the next one will be. Our four years' experience with these birds brought to light a wide variation in habits and actions, and a few peculiarities that were remarkably constant. We found nests in the tallest trees; in medium-sized saplings; just over the surface of the water in low willows; on or just above the ground amid cat-tails; and literally floating on the surface of the water far out from shore. We found complete and Fig. 38. YOUNG BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS WELL GROWN AND OUT OF THE NEST CLIMBING AWKWARDLY ABOUT AMONG THE BRANCHES heavily incubated sets of three, four, five and six eggs. We found sets of fresh eggs within a few feet of nests containing half-grown young; and on the same day we saw young on the wing. We found some birds so timid that it was impossible to approach within a hundred yards of them, and others so tame that we could almost put our hands on them. We found some parent birds that exhibited abso- lutely no signs of anxiety for the safety of their nests, and others that showed every evidence of uneasiness during our visits. We found young birds that seemed totally indifferent to our presence; others that exhibited a craven fear of us; and still others that were extremely pugnacious, and apparently fearless. On the other hand we noted a remarkable similarity between all nests bilt in similar locations, and a surprisingly small variation in the shape and color of the
This page needs to be proofread.