Image from page 60 of "Birds of La Plata" (1920)
Title: Birds of La Plata
Contributing Library: Cornell University Library
Digitizing Sponsor: MSN
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r the smooth level plains affordedit no shelter. Now, however, with the spread ofcultivation, it has reappeared, and is once morebecoming a common bird in the more settleddistricts. BURROWING-OWL Speotyto amiadaria Above dark sandy brown, with large white oval spots and smallspots and freckles of pale brown; wings with broad whitish cross-bars ; facial disk greyish brown; beneath white; length lo, wing 7.5,tail 3.3 inches. Female similar, but larger. The Burrowing-Owl is abundant everywhere on thepampas of Buenos Ayres and avoids woods, but notdistricts abounding in scattered trees and bushes.It sees much better than most Owls by day, andnever affects concealment nor appears confused bydiurnal sounds and the glare of noon. It staresfixedly— with insolence, Azara says—^at a passer-by, following him with the eyes, the round headturning about as on a pivot. If closely approachedit drops its body or bobs in a curious fashion, emit-ting a brief scream, followed by three abrupt ejacula-
Text Appearing After Image:
^: ^ BURROWING-OWL 37 tions; and if made to fly goes only fifteen or twentyyards away, and alights again with face towards theintruder j and no sooner does it alight than it repeatsthe odd gesture and scream, standing stiff and erect,and appearing beyond measure astonished at theintrusion. By day it flies near the surface with wingscontinuously flapping, and invariably before alightingglides upwards for some distance and comes downvery abruptly. It frequently runs rapidly on theground, and is incapable of sustaining flight long.Gaucho boys pursue these birds for sport on horse-back, taking them after a chase of fifteen or twentyminutes. As a boy I have myself taken many. Theylive in pairs all the year, and sit by day at the mouthof their burrow or on the Vizcachas mound, thetwo birds so close together as to be almost touching;when alarmed they both fly away, but sometimesthe male only, the female diving into the burrow.On the pampas it may be more from necessity thanchoice that they a
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