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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.

Page 94

branch as that we visited. He would have to do some collecting, but only a little. Exhaustive observation in the field is what is now most needed. Most of this wonderful and harmless bird life should be protected by law; and the mammals should receive reasonable protection. The books now most needed are those dealing with the life-histories of wild creatures.
  Near the ranch-house, walking familiarly among the cattle, we saw the big, deep-billed Ani blackbirds. They feed on the insects disturbed by the hoofs of the cattle, and often cling to them and pick off the ticks. It was the end of the nesting season, and we did not find their curious communal nests, in which half a dozen females lay their eggs indiscriminately. The common ibises in the ponds near by—which usually went in pairs, instead of in flocks like the wood ibis—were very tame, and so were the night herons and all the small herons. In flying, the ibises and storks stretch the neck straight infront of them. The jabiru—a splendid bird on the wing—also stretches his neck out in front, but there appears to be a slight downward curve at the base of the neck, which may be due merely to the craw. The big slender herons, on the contrary, bend the long neck back in a beautiful curve, so that the head is nearly between the shoulders. One day I saw what I at first thought was a small yellow-bellied kingfisher hovering over a pond, and finally plunging down to the surface of the water after a school of tiny young fish; but it proved to be a bien-te-vì king-bird. Curved-bill wood-hewers, birds the size and somewhat the coloration of veeries, but with long, slender sickle-bills, were common in the little garden