National Geographic : 1914 Jul
Photo by Howard H. Cleaves THE "STAMPING GROUND" ON NESTING ISLAND IN LAKE GEORGE Here the gulls preen, feed their young, play, and sleep; also a trail (open space in bushes) where birds walk to and from the shore of the lake. The grass has been torn up by the roots and trampled under foot to keep the space clear. this deep antipathy toward owls is prob ably that the nests of the former are oc casionally rifled during the night by the latter, and at times the owl actually cap tures roosting adult birds, as their feath ers found in the owl's nest-cavity or day time retreat would testify. It is no wonder, then, whenever an owl is so unfortunate as to be driven into a conspicuous position during the hours of light that some jay or crow or catbird should break loose with a series of ter rible curses at the top of his lungs, and thus call together a bevy of irate confed erates, who proceed to mob the poor bird of the night. It is only necessary, then, to secure a stuffed owl and place it on a perch in some open site in order to "start some thing" in the bird world. And by con cealing one's self near by in a blind, either of the umbrella variety or of some nat ural objects, such as corn-stalks, cat-tails, etc., the onslaught may be witnessed and photographed to advantage. An account of one or two of the writer's experiences with a mounted owl may be of interest. I had been rambling through some marshes near the quaint old village of Keyport, New Jersey, and chanced to fall into conversation with an old fisherman who practiced taxidermy as an avocation. It is always well to look over the mounted specimens in possession of these isolated naturalists, for an Eskimo curlew, pas senger-pigeon, or some other rarity may be found perched on a bureau, sideboard, or mantelpiece. There was just one bird in the fisherman's collection that inter ested me, and this was a barred owl which gazed out over the room from his position on top of the grandfather's clock. I wanted that owl. My host protested, saying that the specimen was falling apart, due to age, and asked if I wouldn't care for some other mount. But I insisted that I cared only for the owl, and at last its owner wrapped up the shabby-looking bird and apologetically accepted a dollar for it.