THE SCALED PARTRIDGE.

THROUGHOUT Northwestern Mexico and the border of the Unites Sates, from Western Texas to New Mexico and Southern Arizona, this handsome Partridge, called the Blue Quail, is found in abundance, especially on the dry mesas of the San Pedro slope of the Santa Catalina Mountains, up to an altitude of three thousand five hundred feet. In Arizona they are found in flocks of from six to ten, sometimes more, in the most barren places, miles away from water.

The Blue Quail, like all the other western and southwestern species, prefers to trust to safety to its powers of running, rather than those of flight.
      The great trouble is to start them from the ground.

A slight depression under a bush serves for the nest of this bird, which is generally lined with a few coarse grasses. Complete sets of eggs have been found as early as April 25. The eggs are extremely thick-shelled, of a buffy-white or cream color. The number laid ranges from eight to sixteen.

The habits of this Quail do not differ greatly from those of Bob White, though they have not been fully studied, and the species is of less extensive distribution.




THE MOUND BIRD.

There are some peculiar birds in the world, and one of the strangest is the Australian Megapod, or Mound bird, that allows nature to perform the labor of hatching its eggs. In some parts of the island continent are found many mounds of considerable size and height, which the first explorers took for burial mounds. These were made by the “Megapodius Tumulus,” which uses them for hatching its eggs. They have sometimes considerable dimensions. A nest that is 14 feet high and 55 feet in circumference may be regarded as large. Each Megapod builds its own nest with materials which it gathers from all sides, and these are exactly what the gardener uses in the month of March to make his forcing beds -- namely, leaves and decomposing vegetable matter, which by their fermentation give off an appreciable amount of heat.       In the forcing beds this heat hastens the sprouting of the seeds; in the nest it suffices for the development and hatching of the young birds, and the mother can go where she likes and occupy herself as she wishes without being troubled by the duties of sitting. In the small islands of Ninafou, in the Pacific, another bird has a somewhat similar habit, in so far as it also abandons its eggs, but in place of obtaining the necessary heat from fermentation it gets it from the warm sand. The Leipoa or native Pheasant of Australia acts like the Megapod and watches the temperature of its mound very closely, covering and uncovering the eggs several times a day to cool them or heat them, as becomes necessary. After hatching, the young bird remains in the mound several hours; it leaves on the second day, but returns for the night, and not until the third day is it able to leave for good the paternal abode. -- American Field.

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