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date some of the more enterprising have selected their homes, and, in a few instances, begun to lay (April 19, 1888). The majority, however, wait until nearly a month later.
After the nest has been finished and laying begun, one egg is deposited each morning, with an occasional intermission, until the set is complete. The number of eggs laid varies greatly. I have found incubated sets of from ten to nineteen eggs, and reports of nests containing twenty-five have reached me from reliable farmers. Two pairs kept in captivity during the summer of 1888 laid sixtysix eggs (twenty-five and forty-one).
Single eggs are often found on the ground in places where least expected. This, I believe, is due to indecision on the part of the female, for caged birds deposited several eggs at random before choosing a definite nest. It is not unlikely that nests sometimes receive eggs from more than one female. This certainly is true of caged quail. I have found two nests of Pipilo maculatus oregonus which contained, besides the usual four eggs of the towhee, one and three quail's eggs respectively.
Sometimes both birds are fushed from the nest, but the duties of incubation usually fall to the lot of the female. A hint of the tragedies that sometimes occur at this time is given in the following items from my notebook :
On May 18, 1898, while clearing away some vines, a quail's nest was discovered in the corner of a chicken-yard. When first shown me this nest contained six eggs and was partially hidden by some dead vines which had been placed over it. May 26 : Female sitting on nine eggs. May 27: Female incubating. May 28 : The eggs were
cold and quail feathers were scattered all about. Evidently the feniale had been caught and eaten during the night. May 29 : The male has taken the female's place on the nest. I fear he will share her fate. May 30 : The male's feathers are mingled with those of his mate.
Often, while the female is incubating or has gone on the nest to lay, her mate mounts upon some post or tree nearby and gives vent to his feelings in a metallic call that may be represented by the monosyllable “ kayrk." This note, which is repeated drawlingly at frequent intervals, is heard only at this season.
The period of incubation is, to judge from caged birds, twentyone days. The young often leave the nest before their down has dried, and are from the first gifted with great ability to hide. It is
probable that two broods sometimes are reared in a season, for I have found nests containing fresh eggs as late as June 26 (1889).
The very young birds feed, to a great extent, on the seeds of a small grass, which ripen in May and June. Later in the summer various seeds and grains are eaten, and during the autumn and early winter grapes, and then the berries of the California holly form a large part of their diet. In the early spring, after tne seeds have sprouted, the quail live almost entirely on the tender leaves of the young weeds which cover the ground. They are very fond of the inner portions of various small bulbs turned up by the plow. A pair made daily visits to a cherry tree during the season of that fruit.
Many of the oaks near Los Gatos contain nests made of twigs by a species of wood-rat. The quail often resort to these when hunted and it is very difficult to get one to leave when once it is thus hidden. On the 16th of May, 1886, I fushed a pair of quail from such a nest, built about eight feet from the ground, and upon climbing to it found it to contain five eggs. Two days later this nest was empty. Columba fasciata. Band-tailed Pigeon.
This pigeon is a rather common migrant and winter resident, occurring from October 6 (1889) to May 9 (1890). It feeds on the red fruit of the Christmas berry, acorns, oak buds and grain, but rarely descends to the ground. The largest flock, containing between seven hundred and a thousand birds, was observed near Los Gatos in November, 1887. Usually the flocks are composed of from two to three dozen individuals. At Palo Alto they may be found throughout the winter and well on into May. Zenaidura macroura. Mourning Dove.
A common spring and summer resident, arriving about the end of March. I have found fresh eggs from the first week in May until the last in June. The doves eat large quantities of the shiny black seeds of a sort of “cockscomb" which grows very abundantly in parts of the valley. Pseudogryphus californianus. California Vulture.
Two vultures seen near Los Gatos are my only records of this species in Santa Clara county. Cathartes aura. Turkey Buzzard.
Buzzards may be seen at any season of the year, sometimes in
large companies. They formerly nested near Los Gatos, and still do so among the redwoods near Boulder creek, Santa Cruz county.
Elanus leucurus. White-tailed Kite.
I have never seen this beautiful hawk near Los Gatos. In the vicinity of San José and Palo Alto, however, it is a common resident, and its nests are not infrequently found. It hunts in pairs throughout the year. Accipiter velox. Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Sharp-shinned hawks are very abundant in winter, both at Los Gatos and Palo Alto, where they wage ceaseless war on the Juncos and Zonotrichias. One was shot while trying to get at some quail in a trap. I have never observed them in summer.
Accipiter cooperi. Cooper's Hawk.
I have seen but two specimens of this hawk, both at Los Gatos in autumn.
Buteo borealis calurus. Western Red-tail.
This fine hawk is a very common resident in all parts of the county. Measurements of a young bird, which was taken from a nest near Palo Alto, April 30, 1893, and fed upon raw beef, show great rapidity of growth: May 1, length 5.86 inches, extent 7.00 inches, weight 145 grammes. 5.90 7.05
250 This bird was covered with soft down, pure white, except on the top of the head, the scapular and interscapular areas, the dorsal surfaces of the wings, and two bands running forward from each eye to the cere, where the down was slightly tinged with slaty gray. Pinfeathers were just beginning to appear along the sides of the body.
Buteo swainsoni. Swainson's Hawk.
I have never seen this species at Los Gatos. It is not common at Palo Alto, but specimens are occasionally killed.
Aquila chrysætos. Golden Eagle.
In the eastern parts of the valley and in the mountains near Mount Hamilton, this eagle breeds abundantly, but it seems to avoid the western portions of the county, where I have seen it but once, at Los Gatos, in winter. Falco sparvarius deserticola. Desert Sparrow Hawk.
This is the commonest of our hawks. It is resident in all parts of the valley, and breeds abundantly in the cavities of the white oaks in April and May. Strix pratincola. Barn Owl.
Barn Owls are very common at Palo Alto and near San José, but are rarely seen at Los Gatos. A nest in a hollow oak near Palo Alto, visited May 13, 1894, contained one egg, three young owls and five gophers. The gophers were arranged in a row at one side of the cavity, their headless necks all directed away from its centre, where the egg and young owls lay. Asio wilsonianus. Long-eared Owl.
I have seen this owl but once, on Black Mountain, February 18, 1893Asio accipitrinus. Short-eared Owl.
A single specimen was killed near Los Gatos in the fall of 1891. Megascops asio bendirei. California Screech Owl. '
This is a resident species, which breeds abundantly in all parts of the county, usually in May. Bubo virginianus pacificus. Pacific Horned Owl.
This large owl may often be seen toward five or six o'clock in the afternoon of warm, clear days in April and May soaring in pairs or skimming over the fields in search of food. Near Palo Alto the species is quite common and nests in the large oaks which abound in that district. The nest examined May 14, 1892, contained two half-grown young. The following year this pair constructed a nest in a white oak about two hundred yards from that which contained their nest of 1892. This new nest was made of course twigs and was partially lined with moss. Its construction occupied the owls about two weeks. When deprived of the two eggs which they laid in this nest the birds returned to the nest of 1892 and laid two
there. The extreme rarity of this owl at Los Gatos is doubtless due to the absence of large trees. Speotyto cunicularia hypogaa. Burrowing Owl.
This a common resident in many parts of the county. A pair have nested near the same spot on the campus of Leland Stanford Junior University three successive years. In winter one bird may always be seen near this nest burrow (of Spermophilus), but I have never seen two there at that season. In this burrow I have found at various times remnants of gophers, meadowlarks and toads. Glaucidium gnoma californicum. California Pygıny Owl.
Twice, in May, 1898, a Pygmy Owl came at about six in the morning and dashed itself against the wire netting of my bird cage. Geococcyx californianus. Road-runner.
Road-runners are not very common. I have seen them either at Los Gatos or Palo Alto in every month of the year except January, and have taken their eggs in May. A nest found in a white oak near Los Gatos, May 31, 1888, held four eggs, two of which contained large embryos. This nest was made of oak twigs, lined with weeds and grasses, fifteen feet from the ground. Diameter, twelve inches; height, eight inches ; cavity diameter, seven inches; cavity depth, three inches. Another nest, in a cypress near Palo Alto, contained four highly incubated eggs, May 14, 1892. Ceryle alcyon. Belted Kingfisher.
Kingfishers are sometimes found along the larger streams of the county, where they occasionally breed. Dryobates pubescens gairdnerii. Gairdner's Woodpecker.
This active little bird is nowhere very common, although seem: ingly more abundant at Palo Alto than at Los Gatos. A nest in a maple near Los Gatos contained five fresh eggs, May 5, 1860. Dryobates nuttallii.
Nuttall's Woodpecker. I have seen this bird only on Mount Hamilton, where it is said to breed. Sphyrapicus varius nuchalis. Red-naped Sapsucker.
A bird which I shot at Palo Alto, February 17, 1893, is, while not typical of this sorm, much nearer S. varius nuchalis than S. ruber. It was busy in a small grove of pepper trees when found.