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SNOW OWL 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 X – The Snow Owl.
This beautiful chromolithographed print measures 11 5/8” x about 14 ˝”. A little ragged along the left edge where it was detached from the volume, and a few small hole (see above owl’s eye in scan), but otherwise the print is in quite good condition as shown in scan. Ready for framing & display. This print also pictures the Snow Bunting.
The information that appeared in Studer’s book with this plate is as follows:
The Snow Owl. (Zyetea nivea.) Fig.1.
The Snow Owl, the largest of all the so-called Day Owls, inhabits all parts of the North. However near men have approached to the pole, they have seen this Owl, not only on the land, but they have observed him likewise sitting on icebergs, or flying close over the
water with powerful flapping of the wings. It is, therefore, probable that they inhabit not only the whole of North America, but also the corresponding latitudes of Europe and Asia.
In extremely cold winters they regularly wander southward, and are by no means scarce in Illinois. Several of them were shot near Chicago, in the winter of i871-72. Our drawing was prepared from a beautiful female specimen. A gentlemen from Cuba assures us that he has frequently seen this Owl there.
Some ornithologists of Europe hold that the color and markings of this species are different at different ages, and that some are like the one on our plate, while others are almost or perfectly white. It may be so; but on dissection the white ones have been invariably found to be males and the others to be females. The white Owls are the smaller.
During the summer they generally keep in the mountainous part of the North; in winter they take up their abode in the plains. 'In his manners, the Snow Owl has many peculiarities. In his quiet sitting position, his resembles all other large Owls; but his movements are quicker and more graceful, his flight being like that of the slow-flying birds of prey. In boldness and tenacity he surpasses all the rest of the Owl tribe. His food consists chiefly of small quadrupeds, such as the muskrat; partly also of fish, which he catches with great skill, in nearly the same manner as the Fish-hawk, sitting on a projecting rock and watching for them,
until they come to the surface of the water. In winter he prefers the evening or the night to day-time for hunting. His cry is a rough, harsh " craw craw.
The eggs are laid in the month of June. Their number varies from five to ten-a remarkable number for a large bird of prey like the Snow Owl; they are oblong and of a dirty white color.
The nest consists of a small cavity in the ground, lined with withered grass and a few feathers from the mother bird. Both parents are much attached to the young, and on the approach of man, the female flies off a short distance from the nest, and, feigning lameness, remains with spread wings, lying on the ground, in order to coax the enemy away from the nest. It has been tried many times to keep Snow Owls in cages; but they invariably died in a short
time without any apparent cause.
The Snow Bunting. (Plectrophanes nivalis.) Fig. 2.
The Snow Bunting inhabits, like the Snow Owl, the northern regions not only of this continent, but also of Europe and Asia. His home is in the mountains, where he builds his nest in crevices of rocks or under stones; the outside of it is composed of dry grass,
moss and lichen, the inside of feathers and soft down: the entrance
to it is always narrow; the eggs, five or six in number, are so irregularly marked and colored that a description of them is almost impossible. The song of the male is very pleasant but short. The young birds, when fully fledged, remain for a-short time in their old home, then form large flocks and begin their regular wanderings. As hardly any other birds fly in as large flocks, at least not in northern regions, their wanderings attract the attention, not only of naturalists, but of almost everybody. In Indiana they appear only in small groups of from sixteen to fifty. They travel also considerable distances over the sea.
In their manners, Snow Buntings resemble Larks. They fly easily, with little flapping of the wings, in long curving lines, generally at considerable heights, and sometimes just above the ground. They are of a lively, frolicksome disposition, and seem to be in good humor even on the coldest winter days. In summer they subsist chiefly on insects; in winter they feed also on several kinds of seeds. It is very amusing to see a flock of them in winter, on the snow-covered fields, on a foraging tour. They hover over the ground, a part of them alighting to pick up what little seed they can find on such withered plants as extend above the snow, the rest flying just over them a little further along, and then alighting also, after a while the first party fly over the others, and in this way they go over the whole field. Their cry on such occasions sounds like " I fit ;" sometimes it is a shrill " tzirr," uttered during the flight. Our
plate represents this bird in its winter dress. The summer dress of the old male is really handsome, notwithstanding its plain colors. The whole middle of the back, the tips of the primaries, and the middle of the tail feathers are black. There is also a black spot on the metacarpus. All the rest of the plumage is snow white.
Buyer pays $5.00 postage & handling in US, plus USPS insurance.
VA residents add 5% sales tax to selling price.
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