Theodore Roosevelt (18581919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.
Where there were no ponds of sufficient size the capybaras sought refuge in flight through the tangled marsh. They ran well. Kermit and Fiala went after one on foot, full-speed, for a mile and a half, with two hounds which then bayed itliterally bayed it, for the capybara fought with the courage of a gigantic woodchuck. If the pack overtook a capybara, they of course speedily finished it; but a single dog of our not very valorous outfit was not able to overmatch its shrill-squeaking opponent.
Near the ranch-house, about forty feet up in a big tree, was a jabirus nest containing young jabirus. The young birds exercised themselves by walking solemnly round the edge of the nest and opening and shutting their wings. Their heads and necks were down-covered, instead of being naked like those of their parents. Fiala wished to take a moving-picture of them while thus engaged, and so, after arranging his machine, he asked Harper to rouse the young birds by throwing a stick up to the nest. He did so, whereupon one young jabiru hastily opened its wings in the desired fashion, at the same time seizing the stick in its bill! It dropped it at once, with an air of comic disappointment, when it found that the stick was not edible.
There were many strange birds round about. Toucans were not uncommon. I have never seen any other bird take such grotesque and comic attitudes as the toucan. This day I saw one standing in the top of a tree with the big bill pointing straight into the air and the tail also cocked perpendicularly. The toucan is a born comedian. On the river and in the ponds we saw the