This page needs to be proofread.

Sept., ?9o7 THE CONDOR FIFTY YEARS AGO i6I ? this Vulture as nearly spherical, JET-BLACK, and about the size of those of a goose.x Following this authority, all writers who have referred to the eggs of the California Vulture have described them in a similar manner. That they should be spherical would be an exceptional case to the whole genus, and is therefore hardly probable, though by no means impossible. Markings of a jet-black color, even to the extent of blotches, spots, or lines, are of very rare occurrence, if not positively unknown. Nor am I aware that any of this family of Vultures ever construct nests. For these reasons, and until the statements of Mr. Douglas can be confirmed by other testimony, I am inclined to discredit his accounts of its nest, eggs, and habits in every respect. In this " unbelief I am in part confirmed by the testimony of Mr. Townsend. He was informed, as he tells us, by the Indians of the Columbia. River, that the Californian Vulture, like all others of its genus, breeds on the ground, fixing the place for a nest in swamps, under the pine forests, chiefly in the alpine country,--in this conforming with the habits of the family. ? The egg in the Garden of Plants corresponds, in its generic characteristics, with the eggs of the Catbarges aura, the C. atratus, and also with those of the joia and brasiliensis of South America. It is also remarkably similar, except in size, to occasional marked varieties of the egg of the Condor (Sarcoramphus gryphus) which, however, is usually white and unspotted. I feel ? justified, therefore, in accepting the drawing as an authentic representative of those of this species. This egg measured 3}? inches in length by 2}? in its greatest breadth. Its ground color is that of all the known eggs of this genus, a rich cream-color, or a yellowish-white. A ring of reddish-brown confluent blotches surround the larger end, leaving the residue nearly free from markings. A few blotches of a smaller size and lighter color are distributed over the whole sur- face. The fMnt purplish-drab markings noticeable iu the eggs of the preceding species (C. atralus) are not observable in this specimen. The Californian Vulture is confined to the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. It is there found from the extreme southern portions of the Pacific coast of North America to Washington Territory and the British possessions, where it abounds in the summer season. It was met with by Mr. Townsend on the banks of the Columbia, upwards of five hundred miles above the mouth of that river, throughout the months of June, July, and August. ADDENDA Cathartes Californianus.--In Newman's "Zoologist" (Vol. XHI, p. 4633 , z855} occurs the following in reference to the nesting and eggs of the California Vulture. It is contributed by Mr. A. S. Taylor, of Monterey. I have given it with the view of putting on record all the state- ments and descriptions made public in this connection, though I do not think the account here given will be confirmed in all respects by more full and certain testimony. Mr. Taylor's infor- mation is, as may be seen, derived from the reports of others, and is therefore not so reliable as it would be if given from his own observations. "The egg of the bird is three inches broad and five long, about one-third longer than a goose's egg. Its color is a dirty pale blue, spotted brown, and it is nearly as thick as an ostrich's egg. The same person informs me, that the female lays only one egg during the season, and makes her nest on the ground in the ravines of the moantaius, aud generally near the roots of the redwood and pine trees. It is three months before the young birds can fly." t?scondido, Cahfornia. FIkOM FIELD AND STUDY Pointers for the Field Naturalist.--tPamboo.-To those who, like myself, make up skins with "sticks in 'em" I can recommend bamboo as the best possible wood for bird necks. It is also useful for extending broken legs in large birds. One end of a small piece is easily whittled down to fit tightly into the stump of the broken member; for mammal tails--he plus X "They build in the most secret and impenetrable parts of the pine forests, invariably selecting the loftiest trees that overhang the precipices on the deepest and least accessible parts of the mountain valleys. The nest is large, composed of strong thorny twigs and grass, in every way similar to the nests of the eagle tribe, but nmre slovenly constructed. The same pair teaoft for several years to the same nest, bestowlug little trouble or attention in repairing it. They lay two nearlyiet-black eggs, about the size of those of a goose. They hatch generally about the ?st of June, and the period of incubation is twenty-nine or thirty days."--(David Douglas, Zoological JournaL)