By Jim Blanchard
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Extra resources for A Thousand Miles of Prairie: The Manitoba Historical Society and the History of Western Canada
An adult prairie chicken weighs two pounds, each of its wings is eleven inches long and five inches across, which gives a total wing surface of 110 square inches or 3 1/2 square inches to each ounce of weight. The young one weighs an ounce, each of its wings is four inches long by two inches across, which gives a total wing surface of -30 — The Prairie Chicken 16 square inches to its one ounce of weight. Therefore the young chick has in proportion nearly five times as much wing support as the mature bird, although, of course, the latter is more than compensated by the vastly greater proportion of muscular power.
When they squatted in the grass their color was a perfect concealment. Their only note was the triple whistle call, in a higher key, however, than that of the old ones. At first their wings all appeared with rows of large blood quills. As soon as they could run they showed a desire to drink, and on water being set before them they drank much and often. This was rather surprising, as in a state of nature they are hatched in the driest places and far from water. , they care little for any kind of food but that of living insects, but will now and then eat a little hard-boiled egg, or if oatmeal be wetted and splashed about the grass they will peck off a good deal of it.
I have seen a number of specimens taken within — 27 — ERNEST THOMPSON SETON twenty miles of Winnipeg. It is desirable that a record be kept of any new facts regarding this encroachment. . " They commence at dawn. The birds may be seen standing in ordinary attitudes until suddenly one lowers his head, spreads out his wings horizontally, but slightly dipped, and his tail perpendicularly, distends his air sacs and erects his feathers, then taking the very shortest steps, but stamping his feet so fast and hard that the sound is like that of a kettle drum, he careers about, beating the air with his wings and vibrating the tail so that it rattles loudly, uttering a sort of cribbing crow, which seems to come from the air sacs.