Page:Condor12(4).djvu/4

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114 THE 'CONDOR VoL. XII ground. A visit to the spot was promptly arranged for, and early on the morning of June S we reacht the breeding grounds. As we approacht the spot where the colony was supposed to be located, not a sign of the birds was to be seen--save the monotonous expanse of cat-tail marsh, flankt by a small rush-bound lake on one side and the sun-burned prairie on the other. ?re had workt well into the cat- tails, which towered some distance above our heads, when as if by a given signal the breeding birds rose from their nests in a cloud, and with much squawking, scolding and flapping of wings, rapidly retreated to a place of safety in the marsh half a mile or more distant. Fifty yards farther on we came to the spot from which the birds had risen, and here in the dense cat-tails were the nests, probably one hundred and fifty in all, large, clumsy, yet withal well hilt structures of coarse sticks and weed stalks, ranging in hight from six inches to three feet above Fig. 31. ONE oil' THE SETS oil' SIX EGGS oil' THE BLACK-CROVtNED NIGHT HEROX WAS I? A X?SrĀ ? r? C*r-rAI?S W?IC? APP?Aagn rO ?g A rwo-sroav A?'gA?a, rH? ?W ?gSr ?I? ?I?r UPO? r? a?I?S O?' r?g ?Sr V?Aa'S ?gSr the ground, which was wet and boggy and in many places covered with sever? inches of water. The nests contain? young of all sizes and ages, and many awkw?d, half- groxvn youngsters were skulking among the rushes. They did not ap? to be p?ticul?ly timid, but on the contrary s?m? rather dull and stupid. Occasion- ally upon being wo?ied, one would muster enough ener? to ?ck viciously at a finger, giving vent meanwhile to ho? squawksi but on the whole their interest in life appear? to be very casual. Ne?ly every nest contain? the b?ies of one or more "water-dogs" (the l?val fom? of Amblystoma tigrisram) and many of the young birds in the nests disgorged the? animals upon our approach. Whether this was the result of fe?, or of some physical cause we were unable to determine. These pa?iculg cr?tur? evidently constitut? an important p?t of the f? of