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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/703

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FLAMINGOES AT HOME.

washed off by the rains since last tenanted. If the nest is very low, four or five inches may be added, and sticks, shells, or anything else that may be lying about the base, are scooped up and worked in PSM V32 D699 The flamingo.jpgThe Flamingo. without any apparent arrangement, just as if the soft mud with the d├ębris contained in it were lifted with a trowel and placed on the top. There is no preparation made for the new repair of the old nest, and, if an addled egg remains, it is simply covered over with the fresh stuff and built into the cone. I measured some scores of nests. The highest was fifteen inches, the lowest eight inches, the latter being the height of the nests in the first year. The nests were about eighteen inches in diameter at the bottom, and nine to eleven inches on the top. The concavity was very slight. In a few cases about half a dozen feathers were found on the nest, but in general the eggs were laid on the bare mud. I said "eggs," but, out of some hundreds of nests examined by me in June, there were not half a dozen which contained two eggs, one being the usual number. As some of those taken at the time were in an advanced stage of incubation, it is probable that at each breeding-season but one egg is usually laid.

The nesting-season is from the middle to the end of May. The young birds are hatched about the end of June or beginning of July, and about the first week in August are so fully fledged that, while some can fly, almost all are capable of taking care of themselves. It is at this time that the young birds are taken, sometimes by scores. As the nests are in places so difficult of access, and the birds could not be carried without danger of breaking their slender legs, the problem of getting them to the shore for shipment would be difficult to solve, were it not that a flock of young birds are easily driven. When they are first approached, those who can fly get up and circle overhead, but in a very short time they pitch with the other young birds now being driven away, and they do not fly again. The entire lot are then driven like a flock of sheep over the flat banks of marl or through the shallow lagoons. In the molting-season the old birds are sometimes thus driven, as they can not then fly.