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was made of general summaries of the progress of science. Within the past few years these have been discontinued, and there is a return to the old plan of placing in an appendix papers having special value. Further, since the National Museum has fairly begun its work, the annual report has been swelled far beyond the compass of one, and so is now issued in two volumes. One of these is devoted to the Smithsonian, and the other to the Museum. The annual reports and other publications of the Bureau of Ethnology will not be considered here.
The second series of publications of the Smithsonian is the “ Miscellaneous Collections. In this are given papers which are the results of original investigation, and which are too long to be included in the annual reports. The volumes are in octavo form, and some of them, like Gray's “Synoptical Flora of North America," contain from 900 to 1,000 pages. There are now about 35 volumes in tbis series. The third series, “ Contributions to Knowledge," is in quarto form, and includes many elaborate and finely illustrated monographs. Among them are Squier and Davis's “ Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley,” Wood's "Fresh Water Algæ," etc. There are about 25 volumes in this series.
Of the publications relating to the work of the U. S. National Museum, the annual reports bave already been referred to. Papers in these admit of considerable elaboration, but are not considered extensive enough to be published in separate form except as excerpts, which is the case with the second of the books given in our title. When it became apparent that the results of the work of the curators of the Museum would be too long delayed if issued in the annual reports, the “Proceedings” of the Museum was established. This contains advance notices of work, with preliminary descriptions and short notes, which could find no place in other series of the Institution. It is now in its fifteenth volume, but it is published in so small an edition that it is only rarely seen outside of public libraries. Excerpts from it, however, are frequently distributed to specialists. In 1875, previous to the establishment of the “' Proceedings,” there began to appear a series under the name of “ Bulletins." These are octavo in form, and consist of long and elaborate monographs of various orders, or catalogues of birds, beasts, or plants. There are now some 39 of these Bulletins,
Finally, a new series of “Special Bulletins " in quarto form has been begun. Of this series, the volume which forms the first portion of our title is No. 1. The author, Capt. Bendire, is the curator of oölogy in the museum, and he gives in the volume descriptions of the breeding habits of gallinaceous birds, (partridges, grouse, etc.), pigeons, doves, and birds of prey. The nomenclature followed is that of the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list. There is no attempt at synonomy, only the original and the latest name being given. The geographical range for each is also given. In the text there is no description of the bird itself, but the breeding habits, food, nest, and eggs are all fully described. This information has been derived from original notes, from private correspondence, and from published statements. Many interesting facts are given, and a few extracts will serve to show the rich store it contains. The following account of the dance of the prairie sharp-tailed grouse of Manitoba is quoted from the unpublished notes of Mr. E. E. Thompson :
“ After the disappearance of the snow, and the coming of warm weather, the chickens meet every morning at gray dawn, in companies of from six to twenty, on some selected hillock or knoll, and indulge in what is called a 'dance.' This performance I have often watched, and it presents the most amusing spectacle I have yet witnessed in bird life. At first the birds may be seen standing about in ordinary attitudes, when suddenly one of them lowers its head, spreads out its wings nearly horizontally and its tail perpendicularly, distends its air sacs, and erects its feathers, then rushes across the floor,' taking the shortest of steps, but stamping its feet so hard and rapidly that the sound is like that of a kettle. drum; at the same time it utters a sort of bubbling crow, which seems to come from the air-sacs, beats the air with its wings and vibrates its tail, so that it produces a loud, rustling noise, and thus contrives at once to make as extraordinary a spectacle of itself as possible. As soon as one commences, all join in, rattling, stamp
ing, drumming, crowing, and dancing together furiously; louder and louder the noise, faster and faster the dance becomes, until at last, as they madly whirl about, the birds leap over each other in their excitement. After a brief spell the energy of the dancers begins to abate, and shortly afterward they cease, and stand or move about very quietly, until they are again started by one of their number leading off. . . . The space occupied by the dancers is from 50 to 100 feet across, and, as it is returned to year after year, the grass is usually worn off, and the ground trampled down hard and smooth. The dancing' is indulged in at any time of the morning or evening in May, but it is usually at its height before sunrise. ... When the birds are disturbed on the hill, they immediately take wing and scatter, uttering as they rise their ordinary alarm note, a peculiar vibrating 'cack, cack, cack.' This is almost always uttered simultaneously with the beating of the wings, and so rarely, except under these circumstances, that at first I supposed it was caused by the wings alone, but since then I have heard the sound both when the birds were sailing and when they were on the ground, besides seeing them fly off silently."
One of the dangers of egg-bunting in the western wilds is given in an account of the zone-tailed hawk. One day, while riding up Rillitto Creek, in Arizona, Capt. Bendire observed one of these birds fly from its nest, and he determined to examine it. “Climbing to the nest," he says, “I found another egg, and at the same instant saw from my elevated position something else which could not have been observed from the ground, namely, several Apache Indians crouched down on the side of a little cañon which opened into a creek bed about eighty yards further up. They were evidently watching me, their heads being raised just to a level with the top of the cañon. In those days (1872) Apaché Indians were not the most desirable neighbors, especially when one was up a tree and unarmed. I therefore descended as leisurely as possible, knowing that if I showed any especial baste in getting down they would suspect me of having seen them; the egg I had placed in my mouth as the quickest and safest way that I could think of disposing of it, — and rather an uncomfortably large mouthful it was, too, — nevertheless, I reached the ground safely, and, with my horse and shot-gun, lost no time in getting to high and open ground. . . . I found it no easy matter to remove the egg from my mouth without injury, but I finally succeeded, though my jaws ached for some time afterward.”
The author puts in a number of good words for the much-abused owls, considering that, as a rule, they are more useful to the farmer and poultry-raiser than harmful. This is especially the case with the barn owl, barred owl, screech owl, and burrowing owl. The great horned owl, on the contrary, is destructive, and merits the condemnation generally accorded it. Domestic fowls and game birds are killed by it in quantities, besides which it feeds upon various mammals, such as rabbits, squirrels, skunks, muskrats, etc. The account given of the burrowing owl disposes of the story that the bird lives in harmony with the prairie-dog and the rattlesnake, and the following extracts are thought to be of interest sufficient to quote :
“A good deal of nonsense has found its way into print about the life-history of this owl; and the sentimental story of its living in perfect harmony with prairie-dogs and rattlesnakes, both of which inhabit a considerable portion of the range occupied by these owls, was for years accepted as true, and furnished the ground-work for many an interesting tale. ... From an extended acquaintance with the habits of the burrowing owl, lasting through a number of years' service in the West, I can most positively assert, from personal experience and investigation, that there is no foundation based on actual facts for these stories, and that no such happy families exist in reality. I am fully convinced that the burrowing owl, small as it is, is more than a match for the average prairie dog, and the rattlesnake as well; it is by no means the peaceful and spiritless bird that it is generally believed to be, and it subsists, to some extent, at least, on the young dogs, if not also on the old ones.
“In Washington, Idaho, and Oregon they appear to migrate about the beginning of November, and sometimes earlier, returning to their summer homes in the early part of March. At any
rate, without actually examining their burrows duriog the winter
• They hunt their prey mostly in the early evening and throughout the night, more rarely during the day-time. As soon as the sun goes down they become exceedingly active, and especially so during the breeding season. At such times they are always busy hunting food, and go and come constantly, and they may often be seen hovering suspended in the air, like the sparrow-bawk, locating their prey, or darting down noiselessly and swiftly, and grasping it with their talons without arresting their fight an instant. The actual amount of food a pair of these birds require to bring up their numerous family, generally averaging eight or nine, is something enormous. Each owl will eat fully its own weight in twenty-four hours, if it can get it. . . . As nearly all the food used by them consists of noxious rermin, it readily appears what an immensely beneficial bird the burrowing owl is, considered from an economic point of view, and deserving of the fullest protection.
“In southern California the burrowing owl commences laying about the beginning of April; in Oregon, Washington, and Idabo, rarely before the fifteenth of the montb, and usually about the latter part of it; in Kansas and northern Texas, it begins about the same time; in Utah, fresh eggs have been found as late as June 15, and at Fort Collins, Colorado, on July 1.
Although incubation does not appear to begin until the clutch is nearly completed, I have always found one of the parents at home, even if there was but a single egg in the nest. The old bird is courageous in the defence of its domicile, and, as a rule, will not leave it, although the way may be left clear for it to do
Backing up to the extreme end of its burrow, it will strike with beak and claws in defence of its nest. Frequently, when within a foot or two of the nest proper, and before it was yet visible, the occupant made a rattling noise, produced by the rapid movement of its mandibles, which sounded very much like the warning of the rattlesnake when disturbed; this would easily impose on the average investigator, and, proceeding out of the burrow somewhat muffled and subdued, it is very similar indeed to the rattle of the latter."
There are 146 species described in the volume. Illustrations of the eggs of 94 of these are given on 12 beautifully colored lithograpbic plates. In looking over them, it is noticeable that, while the eggs of game birds and birds of prey are variously speckled and mottled, those of dores, pigeons, and owls are uniformly white. The last generally nest in holes in trees or similar places and are not conspicuous by reason of this color. The eggs of doves and pigeons, while placed in open nests, are screened by the parent birds, which are protectively colored. Grouse and other game birds generally lay their eggs on the ground, where their mottling prevents their being conspicuous; white birds of prey have similarly marked eggs, which may be considered as protectively colored also. The book contains a great mass of interesting information which will be welcomed both by ornithologists and the ordinary lover of birds. One cannot but regret that the index
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is so defective. The authorities quoted from or referred to are in winter in Mexico, more than 2,000 miles to the southward of frequently mentioned, but there are innumerable cases where they its summer station. In the eastern United States the common are not. It thus becomes an impossibility to ascertain from the ruby-throat ranges in summer as far north as 57°, and in winter index whose work has been and whose has not been referred is not known to occur north of southern Florida (latitude 29°), to.
while its most southern limit is on the Isthmus of Parama, only. The second title mentioned in our heading pertains to a paper 8° north of the equator. Species are most numerous in mounof quite a different character from the foregoing. The first is a tainous countries where there is great diversity of soil and probulletin in itself, the second is an excerpt from the annual report ductions within small areas. The State of Ecuador bas 100 species of the U. S. National Museum for 1890: the one treats of special within its borders, more than one-half not occuring elsewhere. features in the life of birds, the other discusses in general and Mr. Ridgway says regarding their geographical distribution: particular the characters of a small group. In this monograph “ Their centre of abundance is among the northern Andes, beon humming birds the author, Mr. Robert Ridgway, gives an in- tween the parallels of 10° north and south of the equator, from teresting account of these wonderful little creatures. Among which region they gradually diminish in numbers both to the the many subjects discussed, we find an account of the early his- northward and southward, but much more rapidly toward the extory of the literature of the group; remarks on the geographical tensive lowlands of the eastern portion of the continent. The distribution of the species; mention of their habits, manner of northern limit of tbeir abundance may be approximately given ås fight, migrations, intelligence, nests and eggs, food, variations, the Tropic of Cancer, beyond which but few of the fifty Mexican etc. The last 70 pages are devoted to descriptions of the species species extend, while only eighteen of them bave been detected occurring in the United States, seventeen in all, of which illustra- across the boundary line in the equally mountainous portions of tions are given of all but five. Tbere are many other figures, the south-western United States, including the semi-tropical Rio some of which are original and others copied from Gould's “ Mon- Grande Valley. Small as this number may appear, the southograph of the Trochilidæ.”
western portion of the Union may be considered richly endowed The family is essentially one of the New World, not a single compared with the vast valley of the Mississippi and the Atlantic species being known outside of its bounds. Their diminutive size water-shed, a region of unsurpassed fertility and Juxuriant vege. and brilliant coloration have made them favorites with ornitholo- tation, yet which throughout its whole extent, even including the gists, and, as in the case of every other well-studied group, in- peninsula of Florida, possesses only a single species of humming numerable genera and species have been made. Dr. Coues refers bird !” to this fact, and notices that it was carried to such length that it The usefulness of this monograph would be greatly increased finally reached “the farcical and scandalous extreme of some 350 by the addition of a table of contents and an index. Neither of genera for few more than 400 known species.” In size the species these is present in the excerpt, a though they are probably provary from about 87 inches long to only 27 inches. Notwithstand- vided for in tlwe report from which it is taken. One must turn ing their smalldess, they are capable of the most rapid flight, and page after page to find remarks upon any special subject. Notsome perform journeys of 2,000 miles in their semi-annual migra- withstanding this, however, readers must be grateful to Mr. tions. On the west coast the highest latitude attained is in Ridgway for the work be bas done.
JOSEPH F. JAMES, A laska, about 61°, by the rufous-backed bummer, which is found Washington, D.C., Sept. 16.
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Welch, Wm. H., Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Ma. ACK NUMBERS and complete sets of leading Mag. Ashmeao, Albert 8., New York City. BA
West, Gerald M., Clark University, Worcester, Mass. azines.
Rates low. AM. MAG. EXCHANGE. Balley, L. H., Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y. Whitman, C. O., Clark University, Worcester, Mass. Schoharie NY
Baldwin, J. Mark, University of Toronto, Canada. Williams, Edward H., Lehigh Univ., Bethlehem, Pa
OCT 4 1892
A WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF ALL THE ARTS AND SCIENCES.
To the Readers of SCRUCE:
THE LABRADOR COAST. Clark
, York ; and have in hand for
early publication a number of papers from
THE EFFECTS OF CIVILIZATION ON OUR BIRDS.
183 During the past year it has been found possible to enlist the interest of THE DUCK ISLANDS. Levi W. Mengel...
181 PREPARATION OF TEACHERS OF SCIENCE AS
scientific workers in the success of Science to such an extent that more than eight CARRIED FORWAR IN THE MICHIGAN STATE
hundred have promised contributions during the coming twelve months. Not NORMAL SCHOOL. E. A. Strong NOTES AND NEWS..
187 only are contributions of merit coming in ever increasing numbers from American THE FICTION OF THE AMERICAN HORSE AND THE
TRUTH ON THIS DISPUTED POINT. E. L. scientific men and women, but we are now securing our first contributions, in any Trouessart
188 ADAPTATION OF SEEDS TO FACILITATE GERMINA- quantity, from abroad.
TION W, W. Roulee. Woman's WORK FOR Wages. C R. Henderson.. 190 We know that this development in the usefulness of Science is appreciated, HEREDITY, Julia Brown Strode.
190 not only from the many kind letters received, which are always inspiring and A CONSIDERATION OF THE CLAIMS OF CHEMISTRY
AS THE BASIS OF MODERN AGRICULTURE. which we wish our friends would mark as at our disposal for publication, but Frank T. Shutt .....
191 THE REAL MOTIONS OF THE FIXED STARS. A. W. from a marked increase in the number of new subscribers. Williamson...
192 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
Science owes its existence to the munificence of two gentlemen, whose names The Ancient Libyan Alphabet. D. G. Brinton 192 we do not feel at liberty to publish, who contributed very nearly $100,000 toward Twins Among the Indians on Puget Sound. M. Eells.
192 the support of the paper in its early years. There is no longer need of such Prevention of Cholera Asiatica. Hugh Hamilton
193 liberal subsidizing, but we do need cash subscriptions from all who feel at all inA Large Southern Telescope. Edward C. Pickering
193 terested in a weekly journal of science in America, Maltunne Tunne Measures. J. Owen Dorsey, 194 Omaha Arrow-Measure. J. Owen Dorsey.... 194
There is no question that scientists are cosmopolites and that a journal is the Book REVIEWS.
more useful to them the more it is international in its character. As the result of Elementary Text-Book of Entomology. R. W. Shufeldt.....
194 our efforts to develop the use of Science abroad, we have recently published Primitive Man in Ohio
articles from V. Ball, Dublin ; Edward T. Dixon, Cambridge, England ; A. H. Entered at the Post-Office of New York, N.Y., as Second-Class Mail Matter.
Keane, London; David MacRitchie, Edinburgh ; Edward Seler, Berlin ; Isaac
a A JOURNAL OF TWO SUMMER CRUISES
prominent European scientific men. TO THAT REGION.
To develop this international feature of the paper an enlargement to twice WITH NOTES ON ITS EARLY DISCOV- its present size will be necessary, and an increase of the price to six dollars.
ERY, ON THE ESKIMO, ON ITS PHY- If we can secure a sufficient increase in the number of subscribers we can
to subscribe six dollars, and we urge each and all our friends to do what they By ALPHEUS SPRING PACKARD, M.D., Ph.D. can to help. If the number of new subscribers is as large as we hope, one half of
Sportsmen and ornithologists will be interested in the enlarged Science would be printed and published in London to facilitate the list of Labrador birds by Mr. L. W. Turner
, promptness of publication. which has been kindly revised and brought down to date by Dr. J. A. Allen. Dr. S. H. Scudder has contributed the list of butterflies, and Prof. John Macoun, of Ottawa, Canada, bas prepared the list of
Form of Subscription. Labrador plants.
Much pains has been taken to render the bibliography complete, and the author is indebted to Dr. N. D. C. Hodges, 874 BROADWAY, New YORK : Franz Boas and others for several titles and important suggestions; and it is hoped that this feature of Enclosed is check (money order, or whatever it may be) for six dollars, for the book will recommend it to collectors of Ameri- which enter me as a subscriber to Science for one year and thirty-seven weeks, it
It is hoped that the volume will serve as a guide being understood, however, that if the number of new subscribers received justito the Labrador coast foris the ause naturale de ras fies the enlargement of the paper to twice its present size, the price being raised
artists, and , well as those interested in geographical and histori- to six dollars per year, the term of my subscription shall be curtailed pro rata for cal studies. 513 pp., 8°, $3.50.
the unexpired term.
Name.... N. D. C. HODGES, 874 BROADWAY, NEW YORK.