THE PIGMY ANTELOPE.

THE Pigmy Antelopes present examples of singular members of the family, in that they are of exceedingly diminutive size, the smallest being no larger than a large Rat, dainty creatures indeed. The Pigmy is an inhabitant of South Africa, and its habits are said to be quite similar to those of its brother of the western portion of North America.

     

The Antelope is a very wary animal, but the sentiment of curiosity is implanted so strongly in its nature that it often leads it to reconnoitre too closely some object which it cannot clearly make out, and its investigations are pursued until "the dire answer to all inquiries is given by the sharp 'spang' of the rifle and the answering 'spat' as the ball strikes the beautiful creatures flank." The Pigmy Antelope is not hunted, however, as is its larger congener, and may be considered rather as a diminutive curiosity of Natures' delicate workmanship than as the legitimate prey of man.





BIRDS OF ALASKA.

No sooner had the twilight settled over the island than new bird voices called from the hills about us. The birds of the day were at rest, and their place was filled with the night denizens of the island. They came from the dark recesses of the forests, first single stragglers, increased by midnight to a stream of eager birds, passing to and fro from the sea. Many, attracted by the glow of the burning logs, altered their course and circled about the fire a few times and then sped on. From their notes we identified the principal night prowlers as the Cassin's Anklet, Rhinoceros Auk, Murrelet, and varieties of Petrel. All through the night our slumbers were frequently disturbed by birds alighting on the sides of the tent, slipping down with great scratching into the grass below, where our excited Dog took a hand in the matter, daylight often finding our tent strewn with birds he bad captured during the night. When he found time to sleep I do not know. He was after birds the entire twenty-four hours.

     

In climbing over the hills of the island we discovered the retreats of these night birds, the soil everywhere through the deep wood being fairly honeycombed with their nesting burrows. The larger tunnels of the Rhinoceros Auks were, as a rule, on the slopes of the hill, while the little burrows of the Cassin's Auklet were on top in the flat places. We opened many of their queer abodes that ran back with many turns to a distance of ten feet or more. One or both birds were invariably found at the end, covering their single egg, for this species, like many other sea birds, divide the duties of incubation, both sexes doing an equal share, relieving each other at night.

The Puffins nested in burrows also, but lower down — often just above the surf. One must be very careful, indeed, how he thrusts his hand into their dark dens, for should the old bird chance to be at home, its vise-like bill can inflict a very painful wound. The rookeries of the Murres and Cormorants were on the sides of steep cliffs overhanging the sea. Looking down from above, hundreds of eggs could be seen, gathered along the narrow shelves and chinks in the rocks, but accessible only by means of a rope from the top. — Outing.


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