Birds of the Cottage Country by William C. Mansell, William Blair Mansell, Sheila Smith

By William C. Mansell, William Blair Mansell, Sheila Smith

A digital storybook account of the author's customized observations all through Ontario's cottage playground. It truly illustrates the downright enjoyable, mammoth attractiveness, and eating involvement of fowl gazing -- even for the main skeptical of laymen.

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The goshawk and its relatives, Cooper's and sharpshinned hawks, are very bold birds whose fixity of purpose is rarely deterred by the presence of humans. There are reports of their taking food which itself is feeding at a person's feet. The goshawk is also a fierce defender of its nest. An attempt to fell a tree containing such a nest was successful only when both members of the pair were despatched, so vicious were their attacks on the lumbermen. Once, while viewing a small lake from a vantage point, a goshawk appeared, found me an unexpected and unwanted object, and veered sharply to avoid further confrontation.

I found the road fatality to be a grouse chick, badly crushed except for the head. It is well known that man is the only animal with the ability to count, notwithstanding diverse dogs and horses of vaudeville and TV exposure. Unable to enumerate, a hen grouse will not be aware that one of her brood, usually the straggler, has fallen prey to some predator. She will show concern only when she witnesses the attack, and even then will not resort to grieving when the chick is carried away or consumed on the spot.

In order to see swimming prey, terns fly with the bill pointing down. 49 Most cottage occupants will be familiar with the herring gull (121). It is the only gull likely to be found on lakes in from Georgian Bay. While I have never seen one on Mansell's Lake, which has an area of about one-eighth square mile, I suppose the occasional bird would drop to it or one as small to feed if attracted by some moribund fish, as the species is largely an eater of carrion. The herring gull made an early appearance on my recorded life list.

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