168 THE CONDOR Vo?. XII quality in our birds is ineluctable, even in those who know them best. So much of mystery still surrounds many of them, so much of aloofness characterizes the entire lives of some of them, that a mere list of their names stirs the blood and teases the o?51ogical imagination. For instance, besides the species alredy mentioned, all breeding locally, I heard at this time American Crossbill, Western Evening Gros- beak, Cassin Vireo, Anthony Vireo, Western Winter Wren, Chestnut-backt Chick- adee, Tawny Creeper, Red-brested Nuthatch, Western Golden-crowned Kinglet, Macgillivray Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Northwestern Saw-whet Owl. (Has any o?51ogist personally collected all of these? J.H. Bowles, working in this section for ?thirteen years, has come the nearest to it, but he is still four numbers shy.) At 8 a.m. I shook off the dreamy mood and' set out thru a level bit of wood- land for the distant Chickadee's nest. Almost immediately a scrub oak (Qzterc?ts garryana), killed by the shade of the more rapidly growing fir trees, obstructed my path with a vision for which I have been toiling for years. A bark scale, sharply sprung from the parent stem of the oak tree, here some five inches in diameter, was fairly bursting with its o?51ogical secret. Anchored at the top but free at the bottom, its krinkled skirts were not ample enough to conceal the copious twigs with which a pair of Tawny Creepers (Certkaf. occdentalis) had filled its hollow. These twigs bristled out in every direction, like a Russian peasant's whiskers, and challenged the offises which I was not slow to fulfill. The nest was barely within reach from the ground, and at the first cautious introduction of a finger, the female flitted. I felt something soft and downy; I fell back, and, believe me, nearly fainted. Young! After all these years! But no; it could not be. It was too absurd! I would try again. The soft downy things proved to be catkins bedded in the broad brim of the nest (for the nesting cavity must needs be completely filled). The nest proper was in the center of the mass, deeply cupt (13? inches deep), and held four eggs, well advanced in incubation. The semilune formed by the top of the nest, i. e., the shape of the available cavity in cross-section, was five inches from point to point, and two and a quarter in thickness, while the depth of the accumulated material was ten inches. The birds' tastes.were quite indiscriminate, since the inside of the cup alone displays the .following materials: cowhair (red and black and white), feathers,. horsehair, moss, fine bark, macerated weed-stems, chips, fir needle.s, bits of white cloth, ravelings, string, cocoons, spider-egg cases, catkins, moth-wings, and vegetable fiber. Half an hour was consumed in packing away the nest and eggs. Five minutes later an excited Chickadee, a Chestnut-back (l?enlkesles rufescens), emerged from a tiny hole, "made by one of the Cerambycid beetles", at a hight of ten feet in an old fir stub. The tree had been struck only from force of habit, and no attention would have been paid to results, had it not been for the sharp wing-burst of the flushing bird. The nest contained six eggs, fresh, as the event proved, but so blackened by contact with the mother's brest as to look quite unpromising. Since the advent of the fire-spreading animal, man, the birds have been obliged to accept charred stumps as part of the order of nature, and the contact of feathers and charcoal cuts no inconsiderable figure in local o?51ogy. Fortunately the eggs could be washt, if the bird couldn't. The nest was a simple affair of moss and rabbit fur, set in a tapering cavity, with its brim only two inches below the entrance. But for all it was so simple, some ten minutes were spent in digging it out, and as many more at the base of the stub where the packing of eggs had to be laboriously rearranged. My task completed, I rose, stretcht, yawned,--and the old (Yrot?se's nerves gave out. Not ten feet from the stub on which I had been working, a Sooty
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