46 THE CONDOR VOL. VI elf owl is in the deserted woodpecker holes common to saguara or giant cactus of the desert region of the country. Strangely enough this plant (Cereus ?ig'anleus) also finds its western line of demarkation in the same stream. To the general observer the characteristics of the country, on either side of the river, are identi- cal, but conditions, evidently, are different. On the Arizona side the saguara is widely distributed and is, frequently, of great growth, but in California it occurs only as stragglers in an unresponsive land. To locate the elf owl in California it became necessary to locate this cactus there also. For a time the location of one promised as many difficulties as the other. In reply to numerous inquiries, ver- bally and by letter, I learned that a few straggling specimens of the saguara were to be found in the Duncan Flats, or as iris known to some people, the Senator Mine Basin, between twenty and twenty-five miles north of here, on the California side of the river, and that others were to be found opposite Ehrenberg, also west of the river, about one hundred miles further north. So far as I now know there are none in the intermediate country. Hereabouts the nesting season of 32ricrofiallas whitneyi may be said to com- mence about the end of the first week in May, and to continue at intervals throughout the month. Knowing this I had arranged to examine the cactus on the Duncan Flats on or about May tenth, 09o3), but was delayed till the seven- teenth. At that time the Colorado river was over-running its banks and travel was both difficult and dangerous, the intersecting sloughs being full of water and their bottoms slippery and uncertain. All told there are probably a dozen sagu- aras in the fiats, and they are scattered over a radius of several miles. The large ones contained numerous woodpecker holes and because of their apparently worn exterior had the appearance of being occupied. The first one examined stood at the intersection of several small gulches; it was set with numerous arms, all wood- pecker bored, and offered an ideal nesting place for numerous small owls, but to my surprise, the only life it contained was a nest of gilded ?voodpeckers (Colafiles chrysoides.) Although I cut into and carefully examined every pronfising hole I did not find even a feather of the bird I was looking for. Because of my long familiarity with this owl and its ways I generally know where to expect it, but here the best of indications went for nothing. Such a tree in southern central Arizona would have been richness itself. Although I examined everything in that direction I found nothing till I reached the last cactus in the upper end of the Basin. In this one, at an elevation of about twenty feet, I found four partially incubated eggs of an elf owl. They were black and apparently cold. From a hole on the other side of the cactus an owl flew to the opposite bank of the wash in which the cactus was standing, gave one of the characteristic cries, then flew to a bush further up the gulch where it was taken. It proved to be a nesting female and was, undoubtedly, the mother of the four eggs. This was my first find of the bird and its eggs in California. In the topmost hole of the same cactus I found five eggs of a sparrow hawk. They were partially incubated but not suffciently so as to injure them. In another cactus some three hundred yards north and in the same wash, I found a second nest of the elf owl. It also contained four partially incubated eggs, and, in this case, the female was on the nest. High up in the same cactus, was the nest of a woodpecker. The young in it were very noisy. I did not see the parent birds and did not interfere with them. In still another cactus I came across a Mexican screech owl (3I. a. cineraceus,) and four young ones. The latter were about ten days old. A nest of Gila woodpeckers (31elan- erpes uropy?ialis) completed my day's work in the field, but not in getting home. I could not find a male owl although I looked high and low for them.
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