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THE CAT-OWL.   89

 

lowed to testify. Other men have had a like experience with them. I do not know whether these owls actually kill and eat skunks. I de-sired to get at the inside of the one that fell to my gun, to make sure about it, but a close acquaintance like that required was out of the question. It may be that they are pounced upon through a mistake, and it may be that the owl is insensible to the odor. It may be that he likes it. People are fond of musk, secreted by a species of deer, and the skunk-odor is a glandular product a trifle more pungent, and might be exactly of the desired strength to tickle the smell-sense of the cat-owl. If one could see the animals of various kinds that a single owl of this species eats in a lifetime it would be truly surprising. They subsist on birds and rabbits and mice and frogs —an average of one a clay is a moderate estimate. Here and there an individual would live ten years ; but for accidents and hard times they might well live twice as long. The fact that they lay but two eggs at a hatching and rear only one brood in a season is proof that they are well secured against enemies, or they would soon run out altogether. The robin lays four eggs, and brings out two broods of young, and still just holds her own ; the young that reach maturity are only


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