Clark, March 1, 1806
Saturday March the 1st 1806
This morning we despatched Sergt. Gass with 12 men in two Canoes in quest of the Elk which had been killed by the hunters the day before yesterday. they returned with the flesh of three of them late in the evening. Thompson was left with the hunters in order to jurk and take care of the flesh of the remaining two. Kuskalar &c. left us about noon. The boy which this Indian offered to Sell to me is about 10 years of age. this boy had been taken prisoner by the Kit a mox from Some Nation on the Coast to the S. East of them at a great distance. like other Indian nations they adopt their Slaves in their famelies and treat them very much like their own Children. Reuben Field and Collins who had been absent Since yesterday morning returned without killing any thing.
The birds on the western Side of the Rocky Mountain's to the Pacific Ocian for Convenience I Shall devide into from the habit of the birds, Terrestrial and Aquatic. i e Fowls of the air, and fowls of the water.
The Prarie Hen sometimes called the Grouse is peculiarly the inhabitent of the Great Plains of Columbia. they do not differ from those of the upper portion of the Missouri, the tails of which is pointed or the feathers in its center much longer than those on the Sides. this Species differ assentially in the construction of this part of their plumage from those of the Illinois which have their tail composed of feathers of equal length. in the winter Season this berd is booted even to the first joint of it's toes. the toes are also curiously bordered on their lower edges with narrow hard scales which are placed very close to each other and extend horizontally about 1/8 of an inch on each Side of the toe, thus adding to the width of the tread which nature Seams bountifully to have furnished them with at this Season for passing over the Snow with more ease. in the Summer Season those Scales fall off. they have four toes on each foot. their colour is a mixture of dark brown redish and yellowish brown and white confusedly mixed in which the redish brown prevails most on the upper parts of the body wings and tail. and the white underneath the belley and lower parts of the breast and tail. they associate in large flocks in autumn & winter and are frequently found in flocks of from five to Six even in Summer. They feed on grass, insects, the leaves of various Shrubs in the Praries, and on the Seeds of Several Species of Spelts and wild rye which grow in the richer parts of the Plains. in the winter their food is the buds of the willow and Cottonwood also the most of the native berries furnish them with food. they cohabit in flock & the Cocks fight verry much at those Seasons.