21 June 2013

Missouri Valley Birds to New Zealand

American Wild Birds for Auckland

May 11, 1876. Marshall County Republican, new series 1(48): 4. From the San Francisco Bulletin.

A novel shipment will soon be made to New Zealand. Sontag & Co., of this city, recently sent an order to
a firm in Council Bluffs, to ship, as early as practicable, one pair of prairie chickens, ten pairs of wild turkeys and ten pairs of wild geese to a house in Auckland for breeding purposes. Arrangements have been made to capture the birds, which is done by trapping the chickens and turkeys. The mode of capturing the prairie chicken is thus described: A pit is dug in the ground, say three feet deep and five or six feet long, near where grain is stored, and the opening is covered by a light board, resting only by the center. It is held in position by means of weights suspended underneath. Grain is then scattered on this trap, which is disguised by corn husks, straw or brush. The unsuspecting chicken steps upon the treacherous board and is precipitated into the pit. The manner of catching wild turkeys is more simple. It is well known that a turkey will not seek to escape from an inclosure by crawling under anything, but it strut around with head erect, looking for an opening above. A pen is constructed of rails placed far enough apart to permit the head of the turkey to pass through, but not its body. The pen is usually placed on the slope of a hill, and in the lower side an opening is left large enough for a turkey to pass through freely. Grain is then scattered in a train leading to the hole. The turkey will follow the grain unsuspectingly until it walks into the trap. Once within the inclosure, the simple bird walks to the upper side and looks in vain for a chance to escape until taken out by the trapper. Wild geese are usually wounded in the wing by a skillful hunter, and it is not a difficult matter then to bag them.