. [Articles about birds from National geographic magazine]. Birds. 220 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. Photograph by William L. and Irene Finle>' ELF OWLS ARE AS ACCESSIBLE AS GNATS ON PORCUPINES Woodpeckers drill holes in giant cacti. Oozing sap hardens. A gourd- like nest is formed. Result: a home to be appropriated by the tiny, night-foraging elf owl (see illustration, opposite page). eared owls (page 225) gather in abundance and aid in reducing the numbers of the pests. Burrowing owls feed extensively on beetles and other large insects, and the barn owl in California destroys many Jer

- Image ID: PFYGDD
. [Articles about birds from National geographic magazine]. Birds. 220 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. Photograph by William L. and Irene Finle>' ELF OWLS ARE AS ACCESSIBLE AS GNATS ON PORCUPINES Woodpeckers drill holes in giant cacti. Oozing sap hardens. A gourd- like nest is formed. Result: a home to be appropriated by the tiny, night-foraging elf owl (see illustration, opposite page). eared owls (page 225) gather in abundance and aid in reducing the numbers of the pests. Burrowing owls feed extensively on beetles and other large insects, and the barn owl in California destroys many Jer
Central Historic Books / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: PFYGDD
. [Articles about birds from National geographic magazine]. Birds. 220 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE. Photograph by William L. and Irene Finle>' ELF OWLS ARE AS ACCESSIBLE AS GNATS ON PORCUPINES Woodpeckers drill holes in giant cacti. Oozing sap hardens. A gourd- like nest is formed. Result: a home to be appropriated by the tiny, night-foraging elf owl (see illustration, opposite page). eared owls (page 225) gather in abundance and aid in reducing the numbers of the pests. Burrowing owls feed extensively on beetles and other large insects, and the barn owl in California destroys many Jerusalem crick- ets (see pages 225, 237). BARN OWLS DWELL IN THE HEART OF THE nation's CAPITAL Since the early days of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, barn owls have inhabited the northwest tower of the Smith- sonian building, a secure retreat in the midst of the city. From 1,247 of their regurgi- tated pellets, picked up on the tower floor, I have taken the skulls and other bones of 1,987 field mice, 656 house mice, 210 rats, 92 sparrows and black- birds, and 4 frogs. The usefulness of these birds in the de- struction of injurious rodents is evident, but in spite of this all owls are considered vermin by some and are killed by hunters whenever seen. The sins of the larger species, which eat chickens and game, are visited on all their brethren, to the end that, with the hawks, owls have been in- cluded in bounties, and hundreds of useful kinds are killed under the mistaken belief that they are injurious. The majority of them should be protected at all times. Barn Owl (Tyto alba pratincola) When encountered in a barn, hollow tree, or other retreat, the barn owl exhibits manner- isms so grotesque and utters calls so strange that often there is ques- tion as to whether it is bird or beast. Fre- quently letters come to the Smithsonian Insti- tution asking informa- tion regarding it, and to most it is known as the "monkey-faced owl" (see page 225). This owl remain

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