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GROUSE PLATE FROM STUDERS BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA
This is an original old colored plate from the famous book on North American birds by Jacob Henry Studer (1840-1904). BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA, New York: Published under the auspices of the Natural Science Association of America, 1903. There were over 100 full-color plates in the imperial quarto volume of which this is PLATE XCVI – Canada Grouse. Spruce Grouse. Wood Grouse. Swamp Partridge.
Black Grouse. Black-spotted Heath Cock.
This beautiful chromolithographed print measures 11 5/8” x about 14 ˝”. The left side is somewhat uneven where it was detached from the volume, but otherwise the print is in quite good condition as shown in scan. Ready for matting, framing & display.
The information that appeared in Studer’s book with this plate is as follows:
Canada Grouse. Spruce Grouse. Wood Grouse. Swamp Partridge.
Black Grouse. Black-spotted Heath Cock. ( Tetrao canadensis.) Fig. I.
This species is found in favorable localities, from the northern parts of the United States, from whence it extends its migrations as far north to the limit of the woods, and to the Arctic ocean. The black-spruce forests between Canada and the Arctic Sea are a favorable abiding place of this species. An interesting account of this bird by Archer, author of "1 Game of Arctic Lands," appeared in Vol. IX., No. 9, of the Chicago Field, from which we take the following extracts:
"I There are few Grouse in the fauna of North America of which so little is known by sportsmen and the people at large, as the subject of this chapter. It is seldom that the former consider it worth their while to spend a few hours in its pursuit alone, for in some inconceivable manner they have obtained the impression that the Wood Grouse is totally wanting in all attributes which constitute gameness, and that in table qualifications it is at any time inferior to all other known species. The sooner the public are disabused of such errors the better. These desirable qualities are not lacking in this species, but, as with other Grouse, depend largely upon the local habits of the birds, and the season at which they are pur-
sued. In the deep, coniferous forests and dark swamps, seldom pressed by the foot of man, it can not be expected that they would be otherwise than tame. The researches of scientists and naturalists lead us to believe that the fear of man is an implanted instinct, and it is only as this destroyer encroaches upon their haunts, and ruthlessly pursues them for his own purposes, that they learn to fear him; consequently birds acquire the characteristics which constitute gameness as a means of protecting them from their hitherto unknown enemy. So, too, this beautiful bird develops these qualities only as the northern forests are opened up by the
pioneer and land-hunter; and, a few years hence, it is highly probable that this Grouse will be almost the only game available for the amusement and gratification of the sportsman."
" In their movements upon the ground these birds are peculiarly graceful, imitating the walk of the quail, rather than the grouse, never, seemingly, exhibiting the peculiar flirt of the tail, so characteristic of the ruffled variety (Bonasa umbellus) ; but the step is a stately one, embodying a great amount of dignity and pride for so small a bird, which conveys a very pleasing picture to the eye as it moves over the long, elastic moss, so abundant in the muskys
and swamps which it inhabits."
"1 In summer the Wood Grouse feeds upon the various wild fruits, as well as the buds and leaves of numerous plants and shrubs; and even larvae and beetles are most eagerly sought. In autumn, when they gorge themselves with the berries of the Solomon's seals
(Polygonatum and smi lacina), the flesh attains a delicate flavor, and becomes in no way inferior for the table to that of other Grouse; but in winter it is darker, that which was before of a rich, reddish brown, assuming a blackish hue, and acquiring a peculiar bitter, piny taste-' a flavor of fir tops,' as some one has it, owing to the nature of the food consumed. An examination of their crops at this season reveals the fact that they feed mainly on the buds and leaves of the pine, larch, hackmatack, spruce, and other conifera. Some epicures, however, enjoy, and even prefer this strong, resinous flavor. The nest of this species is constructed from leaves and moss, artistically arranged over a groundwork of twigs, and concealed beneath the dark, overhanging branches of a dwarf spruce or fir. The eggs are from ten to eighteen in number, and present a dull cream or fawn color, beautifully speckled and spotted with brown."
Willow Ptarmigan. White Ptarmigan. (Lagopus albus.) Fig. 2.
This species is an inhabitant of Arctic America, from Newfoundland to Sitka, on the shores of Hudson's Bay. They may be seen during the winter season assembled together in large flocks, and, according to Mr. Hutchins, they have been captured by the ten thousand in a single season at Severn river. Thickets of willows and dwarf birches are said to afford them shelter during the severe cold weather of winter, and their food during the time consists of the buds of the smaller shrubs. *" When pursued by sportsmen or birds of prey, they often terminate their flight by hastily diving into the loose snow, making their way beneath its
surface with considerable celerity. In thick, windy, or snowy weather, they were very shy, perching on the taller willows, when it required a sharp eye to distinguish them from flakes of snow. In the summer season they feed chiefly on the berries of the Alpine arbutus and other shrubs and plants, which are laid bare by the thaw, and which do not disappear until they are replaced by a new crop. They incubate about the beginning of June, at which time the females molt. The males assume their red-colored plumage as soon as the rocks and eminences become bare, at which time they are in the habit of standing upon large stones, calling in a loud and croaking voice to their mates, which, still in their white wintery garb, are hidden in the snows below. These birds are more usually in motion in the milder light of night than in the broad glare of day."
Northern Sharp-tailed Grouse. (Pediacetes zihasianellus.) Fig. 3.
There are two varieties of this species, the Northern and Southern. The first-named is an inhabitant of the Arctic regions, where they may be met in coveys of from twelve to eighteen, and in abundance, throughout the wooded districts of the fur countries, frequenting the open glades or low thickets on the borders of the lakes, especially where the forests have been partially cleared. During the winter they are usually perched on trees, but in sum-
mer they keep to the ground. In winter these birds hide themselves in the snow, passing through the loose drifts with ease. At this season their food consists of buds of the willows, larches, and aspens, and in summer their food consists principally of berries. The nest, which is usually built on the ground, is composed of grasses, and lined with feathers, in which the female lays about twelve eggs.
Western Ruffed Grouse. Oregon Grouse. (Benasa umbellus,) Fig. 4.
This species is the western variety of the well-known Ruffed Grouse, represented on Plate LXXVIII., and described on page 120. Dr. Cooper says: " It is an inhabitant of the forests, especcially those of deciduous trees along streams, and about the borders of prairies, but never ventures far from the woods. At times they feed about grain-fields, and early in the morning are fond of dusting and sunning themselves on roads. From the dense covert
they usually inhabit they are not easy to shoot, but often alight in trees, and, if quickly shot at, give time for killing them before flying.
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