Page:Condor6(4).djvu/23

This page needs to be proofread.


xo6 THE CONDOR VoL. VI Hylocichla ustulata. Russet-backed Thrush. The song of this bird was heard among the leafless willows at Caleb, June 13, at dusk which is the favorite hour for its concerts. An hour was spent in vain effort to stalk this wary fellow in order to make the identification absolute. The failure was most unfortunate as the song and call note were both slightly different from that of this species in Berkeley. Merula m. propinqua. Western Robin. This was one of the first species noted May 24. In full song song at The Dalles about the yards in town. May 25, Cherry Creek hill--"Robins have been common all along the road; they are probabably nesting already." May 30, Bridge Creek--"A nest was observed in low bush by roadside; contained four large young. It was so near the road as to enable one to look into it easily from the saddle without turning from his coume." These birds were quite plentiful in the sage of Bridge Creek, where they fed upon a small caterpillar found there. We observed them at all points on the road and in all sorts of country up to the pine belt at Spanish Gulch. At the Cove they were observed feeding on cicadas on dry hillsides. Sialia m. occidentalis. Western Bluebird. This species was abundant in flocks with large young among the pines above the Lower Basin . June 27. Sialia arcfica. Mountain Bluebird. A single specimen was observed at Currant Creek hill on May 29, and one other at base of the fossil beds on Bridge Creek, June 3. Berkeley, California. Nesting Habits of the Caracara ADOLPH E. SCHUTZE HE taratara, (Polyborus cheriway) is an 'abundant bird throughout southeast Texas. Since it came under my observation, about five years ago, I have paid considerable attention to its nesting habits and food. It has been my good fortune in recent years annually to make extensive trips into the surround- ing country, namely Travis, Bastrop and Caldwell counties, thus enabling me to become quite familiar with the general habits of the bird. This peculiar creature possesses both the characteristics of a hawk and vulture, but is more frequently seen in company with the latter. Its flight resembles that of neither hawk nor vulture, but is very straight and rapid and I am inclined to believe that it will often go many miles for its food. On a hot summer's day it can sometimes be seen cir- cling high overhead after the manner of a hawk. In central Texas it is also abundant, and is met with everywhere in open country, especially in chaparral and mesquite regions where food abounds and is easy to secure. The prairies which comprise vast areas of this great state are ,cov- ered in most parts by a dwarf growth of mesquite, and distributed among these are elm, oak and hackberry trees of normal height, which afford good nesting places. I have found them breeding in heavy timbered creek bottoms, but on few occasions. Its food consists of a vast amount of carrion, lizards, small snakes, various rodents and the cotton-tail rabbit. This rabbit is abundant throughout the chap- arral regions of the state, and I can safely say that it forms about one-half the diet of this bird. Occasionally the remains of a rabbit is found in the bird's nest. I have often seen it in company with vultures while feeding on carrion, and on sever-