The term cattle range was an American term used to describe a sparsely settled region over which cattle graze. The term was especially applied to the prairie regions of the old West.
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Prairie (from the French, for meadow), is the name given in North America to the vast natural meadows or plains of the Mississippi valley, especially those lying between it and the Rocky Mountains, and extending into Canada. Similar areas are the steppes of eastern Europe, the pampas of Argentina and the veldt of South Africa.
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Prairie Schooner was a popular term in America for a large, covered wagon used by emigrants to the west.
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The coyote or prairie wolf (Canis latrans) is a type of wild dog or small wolf found on the prairies of North America.
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The gopher (prairie squirrel or pouched rat) is a burrowing rodent of the genus Spermophulus found in the prairies of north and central America. They live in burrows and resemble the marmot. They have cheek pouches in which they carry food of plants, roots and seeds.
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The grouse is a fowl like bird common in North America and north Europe of the family Tetraonidae whose distinguishing mark is a naked band, often of a red colour, in place of an eyebrow. They are wild, shy and almost untameable living in families in forests and barren regions and feeding on berries, buds and leaves. They are polygamous, the male abandoning the female, and leaving to her the whole care of the progeny. The eggs number eight to fourteen. The largest species is the capercailzie or wood grouse. Other British species are the black grouse, the red grouse, commonly called simply the grouse, and the white grouse or ptarmigan.
The black grouse (Tetrao tetrix) is about the size of a common fowl. The male has the outer feathers of the tail curved outwards, so that the tail is lyre-shaped. It chiefly lives in high and wooded situations, feeding on various kinds of berries. The female is commonly called gray hen. To this genus belong several species peculiar to North America, the most remarkable of which is the pinnated grouse or prairie hen (Tetrao cupido), which inhabits open desert plains in particular districts of the Union. The male is furnished with wing-like appendages to his neck, covering two loose, orange sacs, capable of being inflated. Another species is the cock of the plains.
The grouse with hairy feet and which undergo seasonal change of plumage form the genus Lagopus. Of these the red grouse (Lagopus scoticus) is the most important. This bird, also called the moor fowl, is found in the Highlands of Scotland, also in Wales, the north of England, Ireland, and the Scottish islands. It pairs in the spring; the female lays eight or ten eggs. As soon as the young have attained their full size they unite in flocks of forty or fifty, and are extremely shy and wild. This bird attracts large numbers of sportsmen every August to the Scottish moors to take part in the grand sporting campaign which follows 'the twelfth.' The ptarmigan or white grouse (Lagopus mutus or vulgaris) is. ash-coloured in summer but its hue changes to a pure white in winter. It is found in Scotland and in the most northern regions, imhabiting the tops of mountains.
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Hare is the common name of all the species, except the rabbit, of the genus Lepus, the type of the Leporidae, a family of Rodents. The genus Lepus, which contains nearly forty species, differs from all other rodents except the Calling Hares (Lagomys) by the possession of four incisor teeth in the upper jaw, the hinder pair being very small. The molars are twenty-two in number, five in each lower jaw and six in each upper, the last of which are very small. The molar teeth are destitute of true roots, and are formed each. of two distinct laminae. The hares have five toes before and four behind, an enormous caecum five or six times larger than the stomach, and furnished within with a spiral lamina, which runs throughout its length. The soles of the feet are clothed with hair. The claws are long and narrow. The hares have long ears, a short tail, the hind feet much longer than the fore feet, imperfect clavicles, and the suborbital space in the skeleton pierced like network.
Hares are found in nearly all parts of the world. They are all very timid animals and defenceless against enemies, except for their acute eyesight, speed and the protection which the colour of their fur affords them. Its voice is never heard except when seized or wounded, when it utters a sharp loud cry, not very unlike that of a child. Its flesh is rather dry, but is much prized for its peculiar flavour.
The Common Hare (Lepus timidus) is to be met with throughout Europe, except in Norway and Sweden, Russia, and Ireland. The general colour of the fur is tawny-grey, inclining to brown on the back, and to a rusty tint lower down; underneath the belly and throat it is white, as well as on the inferior surface of the tail, which is usually directed upwards. The ears are longer than the head, and more or less tipped with black in different individuals. The common hare is about 60 cm long. The hare feeds exclusively on vegetable substances, and causes terrible injury to young plantations, fields of early wheat, and other cereal crops. The habits of hares are for the most part nocturnal. During the day they rest in open fields and stubbles, and especially in grassy situations. For partial concealment and comfort, they construct superficial hollows in the soil, which are technically termed 'forms'. Hares are good swimmers when occasion requires. After their wanderings they return to their forms. Hares are very prolific, several broods being produced in a year. The female generally produces two young (leverets) at a litter, but frequently as many as three, four, and even five, the leverets having their sight at the time of birth, and being able to move for themselves at about a month old. The hare has never been known to breed in confinement. Crosses between the hare and the rabbit, called leporides, have been successfully produced.
The Varying or Alpine Hare (Lepus variabilis) occurs throughout Northern Europe and Asia, and the mountainous regions of Southern Europe. It is smaller than the common hare and is the only hare found in Ireland. Like many of the northern fauna it changes the colour of its coat with the seasons. The fur, which is full and soft, is in summer grey, intermixed with silky hair of a yellowish-brown; the ears are tipped with black, and the under parts are light gray. The tail is white beneath and gray above. As the winter approaches, the fur gradually becomes white, except that on the lips and the tips of the ears, which remains black. In the mild climate of Ireland this change does not take place at all, and it is only partial in many parts of Scotland, where this hare is known as the blue hare.
Further north a distinct species occurs, the Polar Hare (Lepus glacialis). In this species the fur is quite white, except at the tips of the ears, which are brownish-black. The Polar hare resembles the rabbit in living in burrows, holes scraped in the snow.
The former Lepus cuniculus, now, Oryctolagus cuniculus, is the rabbit, properly so called, distinguished by its smaller size and burrowing habits. The American hare (Lepus Americanus), not much larger than a rabbit, is found in most parts of North America. In North America there are also the polar hare (Lepus glacialis), a variety of the varying hare (Lepus variabilis), but of superior size and purer colour; and the prairie hare (Lepus campestris), one of the species known as jackass hares or Jack-rabbits, from their size and length of limb.
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Owls are a group of birds forming a well-defined family (the Strigidae), which in itself represents the Nocturnal Section of the order of Raptores or Birds of Prey. The head is large and well covered with feathers, part of which are generally arranged around the eyes in circular discs, and in some species form horn-like tufts on the upper surface of the head. The beak is short, strongly curved, and hooked. The ears are generally of a large size, prominent, and in many cases provided with a kind of fleshy valve or lid, and their sense of hearing is exceedingly acute. The eyes are very prominent and full, and project forwards, the pupils being especially well developed - a structure enabling the owls to see well at dusk or in the dark. The plumage is of soft downy character, rendering their flight almost noiseless. The tarsi are feathered, generally to the very base of the claws, but some forms, especially those of fish-catching habits, have the toes and even the tarsi bare. The toes are arranged three forwards and one backwards; but the outer toe can be turned backwards at will, and the feet thus converted into hand-like or prehensile organs.
In habits most species of owls are nocturnal, flying about during the night, and preying upon the smaller quadrupeds, nocturnal insects, and upon the smaller birds. Mice in particular form a large part of their food. During the day they inhabit the crevices of rocks, the nooks and crannies of old or ruined building's, or the hollows of trees and in these situations the nests are constructed. They vary greatly in size, the smallest not being larger than a thrush. In their distribution the owls occur very generally over the habitable globe, both worlds possessing typical representatives of the group.
The common white or barn owl (Strix flammea) is the owl which has the greatest geographical range, inhabiting almost every country in the world. The tawny or brown owl (Strix stridula) is the largest of the species indigenous to Britain, and is strictly a woodland bird, building its nest in holes of trees. The genus Asio contains the so-called horned owls, distinguished by elongated horn-like tufts of feathers on the head. The long-eared owl (Asio otus or Otus vulgaris) appears to be common to both Europe and America. It inhabits woods. The short-eared owl (Asio accipitrinus or Otus brachyotus) frequents heaths, moors, and the open country generally to the exclusion of woods. It has an enormous geographical range. The eagle owl (Bubo ignavus) is rare in Britain, but occurs in Norway, Sweden, and Lapland, and over the continent of Europe to the Mediterranean. A similar species (Bubo Virginianus) extends over the whole of North America.
Owls of diurnal habits are the hawk owl (Surnia) and the snowy owl (Nyotea). The hawk owl mostly inhabits the Arctic regions, but migrates southwards in winter, as does the snowy owl, which is remarkable for its large size and snowy plumage. The little owl (Carine noctua), the bird of Pallas Athena, is spread throughout the greater part of Europe, but is not a native of Britain. One of the most remarkable of owls is the burrowing owl (Athena cunicularia) of America and the West Indies, which inhabits the burrows of the marmots, or prairie-dogs-the owls possessing themselves of these burrows and breeding therein, much to the discomfort of the original possessors of the abodes.
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The pinnated grouse or prairie hen (Tetrao cupido) is a north American bird much prized as a food. The neck of the male is furnished with tufts of eighteen feathers and two loose pendulous wrinkled skins which resemble an orange on inflation.
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Prairie-hen is the popular name of the pinnated grouse of the United States (Tetrao cupido). The neck of the male is furnishbd with neck-tufts of eighteen feathers, and is remarkable also for two loose, pendulous, wrinkled skins, which somewhat resemble an orange on inflation. The prairie-hen is much prized for the table.
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