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Dorth and west. Nevertheless the hunter cannot complain of want of occupation. The largest animal of the forest is the Virginian stag, midway in size between the European stag and roe. Of carnivorous animals may be found the red fox (Vulpes fulvus Desm.), the gray
fox (Vulpes Virginianus Dekay), the prairie wolf (Canis latrans Say), the common wolf (Lupus Occidentalis Richardson), the wild cat (Lyncus rufus, Temm,); but scarcely a single specimen of the panther (Felis concolor L.); the otter (Lutra Canadensis Sabine), the mink (Putorius visor L.), the marten (Mustela Canadensis L.), the pole-cat (Mephitis Americana Desm.), the badger (Meles Labradoria Sabine); lastly, the raccoon (Procyon lotor, L.), (Waschbär, in German), which can be easily tamed, and runs freely about the dwellings; he has received his Latin and German names probably on account of his rubbing every object with his forepaws, and splashing about in the water. That he immerses every morsel of food in the water before devouring it, is a mere fable, which, however, may still be found in many treatises on zoology. The farmer is his sworn enemy, since the raccoon not only steals away bis poultry, but entering the maize-fields at a time when the grains are just milky, commits great devastation, by spoiling more than twenty times the amount he devours. The opossum (Didelphys Virginiana Pendant), with his naked rat-like tail, looks extremely ugly, but furnishes excellent roast-meat, for which reason he is not skinned, but, like the hog, dipped in boiling water. This animal brings forth eleven young ones, which she carries about in a pouch in her belly.
We have besides, the red, gray, black, and mottled, together with the flying squirrel (Pteromys volucella Harl), the American marmot (Arctomys mopax Gm.), the muskrat (Fibes Zibethicus L.), and two species of rabbits, to wit: Lepus nanus Schreb., and Lepus Americanus Erzl. ; an infinite number of rats, mice, &c.
The largest bird of prey is the white-headed eagle (Haliætus leucocephalus L.), which the Union has chosen for its emblem. With his wings spread he measures more than seven feet. The Washington eagle (Haliætus Washingtonii, And.), is by many believed to be identical with the white-beaded eagle, although, while both head and tail of the latter are white, those of the former on the contrary are black, and further, while the beak of the white-headed eagle is yellow, that of the Washington eagle is of an entirely different dusky hue. The Washington eagle is believed first to get the white plumage of his head and tail, and his yellow beak when three or four years old, change of colors being not unusual in the case of birds of prey. - A certain naturalist has embraced this opinion because the birds have the same manner of living, and are frequently seen together. They subsist like the smaller Pandion Haliætus, L., on fish. The royal eagle (Aquila Chrysætos, L.), is said to build its nest here, on high trees, in the absence of rocks, as do also from fifteen to twenty smaller species of falcons. The only kind of vulture to be met with here (Cathartes Aura, L.), is called the turkey-buzzard, because of his resemblance to the turkey: he feeds on carrion.
The larger among the ten or twelve different species of owls are, the snowy owl (Lurnia Lyctia, L.), and the great horned owl (Bubo Virginianus, Gm.), which last is quite similar to the European eagle-owl.
Numerous species of smaller birds* belonging to the order of the Oscines Clamatores and Scansores, populate the forest and prairie.
The plumage of many is resplendent with lively colors, thus Pyranga rubra, Wils., is scarlet-red, but has black wings; Agelajus Phæniceus, L., the notorious corn-thief, better known by the name of blackbird, whole swarms of which pounce upon the maize-fields, picking the grains out of the germs on the soil, has a shining black hue, but scarlet-red wing-shell feathers; the various wood-peckers are most of them carmine, black and white; the Blue Jay (Garrulus cristatus, L.), and
* A complete list of all the birds of Illinois has not yet been compiled; Mr. Lapham, however, has published such a catalogue for Wisconsin,—which may answer for Illinois also — wherein 290 species are enumerated; to wit: — 34 different birds of prey; 9 fowls; 49 swamp-birds (the Canadian crane, Grus Canadensis, is wanting here); 50 swimming birds; 12 climbing birds (to which the woodpeckers, parrots, and cuckoos belong); 4 clamatores (halcyon, colibri, and goat-suckers); lastly, 132 warblers, birds, the heads of whose windpipes are furnished with the song-muscle apparatus ; though some, like the ravens, which belong to this class, are unable to sing. The families of the finches and sylviades are most numerously represented by them; these by 36, those by 33 species; then follow 14 species of gnat-snappers; 10 of the throttles, and 10 of the starlings; 6 of the swallows and vireoninæ, respectively; 5 of the ravens and certhiadæ; 3 of the shrikes, and but 2 of the larks and ampelides, respectively. One of the larks · Alauda alpestris,' L., may be met with anywhere from Texas to Labrador; the other, Otocoris rufa, And., is more frequently seen farther west.
Sialia Wilsonii, Sw., are beautifully blue—the latter has a brownish-red breast; Icterus Baltimore, L., which bears a striking resemblance to the European oriole, is black and yellow; Sturnella Ludoviciana, L., improperly called tit-lark, has a tawny breast. Of the species Fringilla Sylvia, and Muscioapa, there are a great many varieties. The throttles excel in song; we count eight different species; most worthy of mention is the mocking-bird (Mimus polyglottus, Lath.), which closely imitates the voice of every other bird. The southern orders of birds are represented by single species; the parrots, by the Psittacus Carovinensis, Bon.; the humming-bird, by the Trochilus colubris, L., which can be seen every summer, buzzing about the flowers, and is often confounded with a butterfly.
The hunter takes but little notice of these birds, while looking for richer booty, especially in spring and autumn, when the waters are crowded with ducks, geese, or other aquatic birds. The duck most frequently met, is the so-called Anas Borchas, L., then follows the Anas Strepera, L. ; Anas Obscura, Gm.; A. americana, Gm.; A. discors, L. ; the fen duck (A. crecca, Bon.), the shoveler (A. clypeata, L.), A. acuta, L., and the wood-duck (A. sponsa, L.), the most beautiful of them all, which lays and sets on trees, remaining here all summer. Of divers, there may be frequently met with the scaup-duck, Fuligula. Marila, L., Fuligula Valisneria, Bonap., F. rufitorques, Bon., the red-headed duck, (F. ferina, L.), the golden eye L., (F. clangula), the buffalo-headed duck, Fuligula albeola, L., and. Fuligula glacialis, L. Rarer to be seen is the Fuligula Histrionica, L., and Fuligula rubida, Bon. Of geese there are six different species, of which the Canadian goose (Anser Cana. densis, L.), the white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons, Bechst), the ringgoose (A. berniclea, L.), and the snow-goose (Anser hyperborea, Gm.), most frequently occur.
Of swans we distinguish two different species, Cygnus Americanus, And., and Cygnus buccinator, Rich. The mergansers, Mergus merganser, L., Mergus serrator, L., and Mergus cucullatus, L., have a very fishy taste, and are therefore not eaten.
Among the marsh birds that can be hunted there are the cranes, which are good roasted, and of which there are three species: the American crane (Grus Americana, Bon.), the Canadian crane (Grus Canadensis, Temm.), and Grus cinerea, L.; then many gold-breasted trumpeters and plovers (Tringa, Charadrino), the common snipe (Scolopax Wilsonii, Temm.), and the wood-snipe (Scolopax minor, Bon.)
In autumn and spring millions of migratory pigeons (Ectopistes migratoria, And.), arrive; immediately everybody hurries into the field to exact a tribute from the passing flights, so that all day long nothing but continuous discharges are heard. Highly interesting is the description by Audubon, of the enormous flights, which he observed on the Ohio, in the fall of 1813; they obscured the day-light, and lasted three days without interruption. According to a very moderate estimate of his, each flight contained the stupendous number of one billion, one hundred and fifteen thousand millions, one hundred and thirtysix thousand pigeons. These flights caused a general commotion among the entire rural population. Desirous of booty, and anxious lest their crops should be spoiled, the farmers, arming themselves with rifles, clubs, poles, torches, and iron pots filled with sulphur, proceeded to the resting places of the birds, in order to shoot the pigeons, or knock them down from the trees, or kill them by sulphurous exhalations, expedients which were rendered necessary by their numbers; since the birds were so numerous on the trees that their excrements covered the ground several inches deep. The work of slaughter being accomplished, everybody sat down amongst mountains of dead pigeons and barrels, busying himself with plucking and salting the birds which they selected, abandoning the rest to the foxes, wolves, raccoons, opossums, and hogs, whole herds of which were driven to the battlefield. Also flocks of eagles, bawks, buzzards, and vultures came thither, having scented the prey from afar. .
The turtle dove (Ectopistes Carolinensis, Aud.), is the permanent resident of the forests, as is also the partridge (Ortyx Virginiana, L.), and the Tetrao umbell., L. The prairie-fowl (Tetrao cupidus, L.), never enters the forest, but stays in the prairies, and approaches in winter so near to the babitations of man, that it may often be seen sitting on the fences. *
It is as large as the domestic fowl; the greatest, however, among the game-birds is the turkey, the same which can be found among the tame poultry, but in a wild state, and always with brown-red plumage, playing from one color into another.
* The sportsman presents a very curious appearance, who, on a fine winter's day, when the earth is covered with snow, turns out to shoot wild fowl. Dressed entirely in white, with his face also painted white, save two great spots below the eyes, which are painted black to absorb the rays of the sun,
Among the birds not hunted, those worth remarking are the various herons, of which the smallest (Ardea exilis, Bon.), measures but one foot from the end of his beak to the tip of his tail, and the largest (Ardea herodias, L.), more than four feet. Besides these, there are the Ardea nycticorax, L., also existing in Europe; the freckled heron (Ardea lentiginosa, Swains.); the Ardea vircocens, L.; the western heron (Ardea occidentalis, And.), the Ardea candidissima, Gmel.; the Ardea egretta, Gmel. The three latter are wbite. Of pelicans there are Phalacrocorax dilophus, Swains., and the Pelicanus Americanus, And., Colymbus glacialis, Bon., several gulls and sea-swallows, among which is the Sterna hirundo, L., with scarlet-red feet and beak.
Of the reptilia, pumerous species of serpents exist, only three of which are venomous, to wit: the striped rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus, L.), the prairie rattlesnake, or Massasauga (Crotalophorus tergeminus, Say.), and the copper-head (Agkistroton contortrix, Baird & Girard, Boa contortrix, L.) The largest snakes are the black serpent (Bascanion constrictor, B. & G., Coluber constrictor, L.), five feet long, and the Pituopbis malansleucus, Holbr., which measures six feet.
Among the batrachii, the bull-frog (Rana pipiens), is most deserving of notice, who, with his feet spread, attains a length of nearly two feet, and raises at night a hideous clamor. The wood-frog (Rana silvatica), and the marsh-frog (Rana palustris), are much smaller. Of toads there is but one species, the American toad (Bufo Americanus); of green frogs, two species, Hyla versicolor, and Hyla lateralis. Of the lizards, we notice Triton dorsalis, Necturus lateralis, Ambystoma punctata, and Menopoma Alleghaniensis, the greatest species, which often attains the length of two feet. Of the numerous Saurii peculiar to the Southern States, there are either few or none in Illinois; of turtles, however, quite a large number. Of the twenty species which belong to the genus of the fresh-water turtles (Emys), Illinois, has several, among which are the beautiful Emys picta, and the Chelonura serpentina, which presents a grim aspect, and is wont to snap with his sharp beak at the intruder. The lower shell of the Cistuda clausa is subdivided he manages to advance stealthily within a short distance of the prairie fowls, sitting on the hedges.