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88   IN THE ACADIAN LAND.

sweet to him. All day he sat in a snug retreat beneath a bush, and, urged by hunger, leaped nimbly forth to fill himself with the food that no other creature wanted. I do not need to witness the performance this time to realize what it was. In an instant that great black shadow was upon him, with upraised wings and gleaming yellow eyes, and crooked, sharp, long claws driven deep into the quivering sides of his victim, that struggles in vain with such a foe. This feathered beast will fill himself, eating even the skin and bones if his appetite is keen. I have observed one devour a full-grown rabbit at a meal that lasted over an hour. One must not suppose that all this crude material goes through his digesting machinery. Nature has been very considerate in his case ; he has no need to pick and cull, but bolts it down wholesale, and after an hour or two the hair and bones will be snugly put up in cartridge-like lumps, and sent back the way they came down. If this owl had not been in luck with the rabbit he would have looked sharp for a sleeping partridge, or some other bird with its head under its wing. Doubt-less he sometimes hunts all night long in vain, and waits another day for a meal. I have killed one of these owls, that might have been taken for a skunk if one's nose alone was al-


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