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Title: Birds, Illustrated by Color Photography, Vol. 1, No. 3 - March 1897
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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       *       *       *       *       *


              Vol. One       MARCH, 1897       No. 3

       *       *       *       *       *


                       _STATE OF NEW YORK_
               _Department of Public Instruction_
                    _SUPERINTENDENT'S OFFICE_

                                _Albany_ December 26, 1896.

  [Illustration: (seal)]
  _Stenographic Letter_
  Dictated by __________

  W. E. Watt, President &c.,
                   Fisher Building,
                       277 Dearborn St., Chicago, Ill.

  My dear Sir:

  Please accept my thanks for a copy of the first publication of "Birds."
  Please enter my name as a regular subscriber. It is one of the most
  beautiful and interesting publications yet attempted in this direction.
  It has other attractions in addition to its beauty, and it must win its
  way to popular favor.

  Wishing the handsome little magazine abundant prosperity,
  I remain

                   Yours very respectfully,
                                State Superintendent.

       *       *       *       *       *

 _"The KING can do no wrong"_


                   CYCLE MF'G CO.
                 CHICAGO, NEW YORK,

      Please mention "BIRDS" when you write to advertisers.

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 Manufactured under patents granted by the governments of the
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       finds daily in her work
       some new and perplexing
       problem to solve.


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     mentioning this paper.

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       *       *       *       *       *


Boys and girls, don't you think that is a pretty name? I came from the
warm south, where I went last winter, to tell you that Springtime is
nearly here.

When I sing, the buds and flowers and grass all begin to whisper to one
another, "Springtime is coming for we heard the Bluebird say so," and
then they peep out to see the warm sunshine. I perch beside them and
tell them of my long journey from the south and how I knew just when
to tell them to come out of their warm winter cradles. I am of the same
blue color as the violet that shows her pretty face when I sing, "Summer
is coming, and Springtime is here."

I do not like the cities for they are black and noisy and full of those
troublesome birds called English Sparrows. I take my pretty mate and
out in the beautiful country we find a home. We build a nest of twigs,
grass and hair, in a box that the farmer puts up for us near his barn.

Sometimes we build in a hole in some old tree and soon there are tiny
eggs in the nest. I sing to my mate and to the good people who own
the barn. I heard the farmer say one day, "Isn't it nice to hear the
Bluebird sing? He must be very happy." And I am, too, for by this time
there are four or five little ones in the nest.

Little Bluebirds are like little boys--they are always hungry. We work
hard to find enough for them to eat. We feed them nice fat worms and
bugs, and when their little wings are strong enough, we teach them how
to fly. Soon they are large enough to hunt their own food, and can take
care of themselves.

The summer passes, and when we feel the breath of winter we go south
again, for we do not like the cold.

       *       *       *


    I know the song that the Bluebird is singing
    Out in the apple tree, where he is swinging.
    Brave little fellow! the skies may be dreary,
    Nothing cares he while his heart is so cheery.
    Hark! how the music leaps out from his throat,
    Hark! was there ever so merry a note?

              Listen a while, and you'll hear what he's saying,
              Up in the apple tree swinging and swaying.
              "Dear little blossoms down under the snow,
              You must be weary of winter, I know;
              Hark! while I sing you a message of cheer,
              Summer is coming, and springtime is here!"

    "Dear little snow-drop! I pray you arise;
    Bright yellow crocus! come open your eyes;
    Sweet little violets, hid from the cold,
    Put on our mantles of purple and gold;
    Daffodils! daffodils! say, do you hear,
    Summer is coming! and springtime is here!"

[Illustration: BLUE BIRD.]


    Winged lute that we call a blue bird,
        You blend in a silver strain
    The sound of the laughing waters,
        The patter of spring's sweet rain,
    The voice of the wind, the sunshine,
        And fragrance of blossoming things,
    Ah! you are a poem of April
        That God endowed with wings.      E. E. R.

       *       *       *

Like a bit of sky this little harbinger of spring appears, as we see
him and his mate househunting in early March. Oftentimes he makes his
appearance as early as the middle of February, when his attractive note
is heard long before he himself is seen. He is one of the last to leave
us, and although the month of November is usually chosen by him as the
fitting time for departure to a milder clime, his plaintive note is
quite commonly heard on pleasant days throughout the winter season,
and a few of the braver and hardier ones never entirely desert us. The
Robin and the Blue Bird are tenderly associated in the memories of most
persons whose childhood was passed on a farm or in the country village.
Before the advent of the English Sparrow, the Blue Bird was sure to
be the first to occupy and the last to defend the little box prepared
for his return, appearing in his blue jacket somewhat in advance of
the plainly habited female, who on her arrival quite often found a
habitation selected and ready for her acceptance, should he find favor
in her sight. And then he becomes a most devoted husband and father,
sitting by the nest and warbling with earnest affection his exquisite
tune, and occasionally flying away in search of food for his mate and

The Blue Bird rears two broods in the season, and, should the weather
be mild, even three. His nest contains three eggs.

In the spring and summer when he is happy and gay, his song is
extremely soft and agreeable, while it grows very mournful and
plaintive as cold weather approaches. He is mild of temper, and a
peaceable and harmless neighbor, setting a fine example of amiability
to his feathered friends. In the early spring, however, he wages war
against robins, wrens, swallows, and other birds whose habitations are
of a kind to take his fancy. A celebrated naturalist says: "This bird
seems incapable of uttering a harsh note, or of doing a spiteful,
ill-tempered thing."

Nearly everybody has his anecdote to tell of the Blue Bird's courage,
but the author of "Wake Robin" tells his exquisitely thus: "A few years
ago I put up a little bird house in the back end of my garden for the
accommodation of the wrens, and every season a pair have taken up their
abode there. One spring a pair of Blue Birds looked into the tenement,
and lingered about several days, leading me to hope that they would
conclude to occupy it. But they finally went away. Late in the season
the wrens appeared, and after a little coquetting, were regularly
installed in their old quarters, and were as happy as only wrens can
be. But before their honeymoon was over, the Blue Birds returned. I
knew something was wrong before I was up in the morning. Instead of that
voluble and gushing song outside the window, I heard the wrens scolding
and crying out at a fearful rate, and on going out saw the Blue Birds in
possession of the box. The poor wrens were in despair and were forced to
look for other quarters."


    "Come, summer visitant, attach
      To my reedroof thy nest of clay,
    And let my ear thy music catch,
    Low twitting underneath the thatch,
      At the gray dawn of day."

Sure harbingers of spring are the Swallows. They are very common birds,
and frequent, as a rule, the cultivated lands in the neighborhood of
water, showing a decided preference for the habitations of man. "How
gracefully the swallows fly! See them coursing over the daisy-bespangled
grass fields; now they skim just over the blades of grass, and then with
a rapid stroke of their long wings mount into the air and come hovering
above your head, displaying their rich white and chestnut plumage to
perfection. Now they chase each other for very joyfulness, uttering
their sharp twittering notes; then they hover with expanded wings
like miniature Kestrels, or dart downwards with the velocity of
the sparrowhawk; anon they flit rapidly over the neighboring pool,
occasionally dipping themselves in its calm and placid waters, and
leaving a long train of rings marking their varied course. How easily
they turn, or glide over the surrounding hedges, never resting, never
weary, and defying the eye to trace them in the infinite turnings and
twistings of their rapid shooting flight. You frequently see them glide
rapidly near the ground, and then with a sidelong motion mount aloft, to
dart downwards like an animated meteor, their plumage glowing in the
light with metallic splendor, and the row of white spots on the tail
contrasting beautifully with the darker plumage."

The Swallow is considered a life-paired species, and returns to its
nesting site of the previous season, building a new nest close to the
old one. His nest is found in barns and outhouses, upon the beams of
wood which support the roof, or in any place which assures protection to
the young birds. It is cup-shaped and artfully moulded of bits of mud.
Grass and feathers are used for the lining. "The nest completed, five or
six eggs are deposited. They are of a pure white color, with deep rich
brown blotches and spots, notably at the larger end, round which they
often form a zone or belt." The sitting bird is fed by her mate.

The young Swallow is distinguished from the mature birds by the absence
of the elongated tail feathers, which are a mark of maturity alone. His
food is composed entirely of insects. Swallows are on the wing fully
sixteen hours, and the greater part of the time making terrible havoc
amongst the millions of insects which infest the air. It is said that
when the Swallow is seen flying high in the heavens, it is a never
failing indication of fine weather.

A pair of Swallows on arriving at their nesting place of the preceding
Summer found their nest occupied by a Sparrow, who kept the poor birds
at a distance by pecking at them with his strong beak whenever they
attempted to dislodge him. Wearied and hopeless of regaining possession
of their property, they at last hit upon a plan which effectually
punished the intruder. One morning they appeared with a few more
Swallows--their mouths filled with a supply of tempered clay--and, by
their joint efforts in a short time actually plastered up the entrance
to the hole, thus barring the Sparrow from the home which he had stolen
from the Swallows.

[Illustration: BARN SWALLOW.]


    "However the world goes ill,
      The Thrushes still sing in it."

The Mocking-bird of the North, as the Brown Thrush has been called,
arrives in the Eastern and Middle States about the 10th of May, at which
season he may be seen, perched on the highest twig of a hedge, or on the
topmost branch of a tree, singing his loud and welcome song, that may be
heard a distance of half a mile. The favorite haunt of the Brown Thrush,
however, is amongst the bright and glossy foliage of the evergreens.
"There they delight to hide, although not so shy and retiring as the
Blackbird; there they build their nests in greatest numbers, amongst the
perennial foliage, and there they draw at nightfall to repose in warmth
and safety." The Brown Thrasher sings chiefly just after sunrise and
before sunset, but may be heard singing at intervals during the day. His
food consists of wild fruits, such as blackberries and raspberries,
snails, worms, slugs and grubs. He also obtains much of his food
amongst the withered leaves and marshy places of the woods and
shrubberies which he frequents. Few birds possess a more varied melody.
His notes are almost endless in variety, each note seemingly uttered at
the caprice of the bird, without any perceptible approach to order.

The site of the Thrush's nest is a varied one, in the hedgerows, under a
fallen tree or fence-rail; far up in the branches of stately trees, or
amongst the ivy growing up their trunks. The nest is composed of the
small dead twigs of trees, lined with the fine fibers of roots. From
three to five eggs are deposited, and are hatched in about twelve days.
They have a greenish background, thickly spotted with light brown,
giving the whole egg a brownish appearance.

The Brown Thrush leaves the Eastern and Middle States, on his migration
South, late in September, remaining until the following May.

       *       *       *


    "Within a thick and spreading hawthorn bush
      That overhung a molehill, large and round,
    I heard from morn to morn a merry thrush
      Sing hymns of rapture while I drank the sound
    With joy--and oft an unintruding guest,
      I watched her secret toils from day to day;
    How true she warped the moss to form her nest,
      And modeled it within with wood and clay.
    And by and by, with heath-bells gilt with dew,
      There lay her shining eggs as bright as flowers,
    Ink-spotted over, shells of green and blue:
      And there I witnessed, in the summer hours,
    A brood of nature's minstrels chirp and fly,
      Glad as the sunshine and the laughing sky."


Dear Readers:

My cousin Robin Redbreast told me that he wrote you a letter last month
and sent it with his picture. How did you like it? He is a pretty
bird--Cousin Robin--and everybody likes him. But I must tell you
something of myself.

Folks call me by different names--some of them nicknames, too.

The cutest one of all is Brown Thrasher. I wonder if you know why they
call me Thrasher. If you don't, ask some one. It is really funny.

Some people think Cousin Robin is the sweetest singer of our family, but
a great many like my song just as well.

Early in the morning I sing among the bushes, but later in the day you
will always find me in the very top of a tree and it is then I sing my

Do you know what I say in my song? Well, if I am near a farmer while he
is planting, I say: "Drop it, drop it--cover it up, cover it up--pull it
up, pull it up, pull it up."

One thing I very seldom do and that is, sing when near my nest. Maybe
you can tell why. I'm not very far from my nest now. I just came down to
the stream to get a drink and am watching that boy on the other side of
the stream. Do you see him?

One dear lady who loves birds has said some very nice things about me in
a book called "Bird Ways." Another lady has written a beautiful poem
about my singing. Ask your mamma or teacher the names of these ladies.
Here is the poem:

    There's a merry brown thrush sitting up in a tree.
    He is singing to me! He is singing to me!
    And what does he say--little girl, little boy?
    "Oh, the world's running over with joy!
        Hush! Look! In my tree,
        I am as happy as happy can be."

    And the brown thrush keeps singing, "A nest, do you see,
    And five eggs, hid by me in the big cherry tree?
    Don't meddle, don't touch--little girl, little boy--
    Or the world will lose some of its joy!
        Now I am glad! now I am free!
        And I always shall be,
        If you never bring sorrow to me."

    So the merry brown thrush sings away in the tree
    To you and to me--to you and to me;
    And he sings all the day--little girl, little boy--
    "Oh, the world's running over with joy!
        But long it won't be,
        Don't you know? don't you see?
        Unless we're good as good can be."

[Illustration: BROWN THRASHER.]

[Illustration: JAPAN PHEASANT.]


Originally the Pheasant was an inhabitant of Asia Minor but has been
by degrees introduced into many countries, where its beauty of form,
plumage, and the delicacy of its flesh made it a welcome visitor. The
Japan Pheasant is a very beautiful species, about which little is known
in its wild state, but in captivity it is pugnacious. It requires much
shelter and plenty of food, and the breed is to some degree artificially
kept up by the hatching of eggs under domestic hens and feeding them in
the coop like ordinary chickens, until they are old and strong enough to
get their own living.

The food of this bird is extremely varied. When young it is generally
fed on ants' eggs, maggots, grits, and similar food, but when it is full
grown it is possessed of an accommodating appetite and will eat many
kinds of seeds, roots, and leaves. It will also eat beans, peas, acorns,
berries, and has even been known to eat the ivy leaf, as well as the

This Pheasant loves the ground, runs with great speed, and always
prefers to trust to its legs rather than to its wings. It is crafty, and
when alarmed it slips quickly out of sight behind a bush or through a
hedge, and then runs away with astonishing rapidity, always remaining
under cover until it reaches some spot where it deems itself safe. The
male is not domestic, passing an independent life during a part of the
year and associating with others of its own sex during the rest of the

The nest is very rude, being merely a heap of leaves and grass on the
ground, with a very slight depression. The eggs are numerous, about
eleven or twelve, and olive brown in color. In total length, though they
vary considerably, the full grown male is about three feet. The female
is smaller in size than her mate, and her length a foot less.

The Japan Pheasant is not a particularly interesting bird aside from his
beauty, which is indeed brilliant, there being few of the species more


A great variety of names does this bird possess. It is commonly known
as the Golden Winged Woodpecker, Yellow-shafted Flicker, Yellow Hammer,
and less often as High-hole or High-holer, Wake-up, etc. In suitable
localities throughout the United States and the southern parts of
Canada, the Flicker is a very common bird, and few species are more
generally known. "It is one of the most sociable of our Woodpeckers,
and is apparently always on good terms with its neighbors. It usually
arrives in April, occasionally even in March, the males preceding the
females a few days, and as soon as the latter appear one can hear their
voices in all directions."

The Flicker is an ardent wooer. It is an exceedingly interesting and
amusing sight to see a couple of males paying their addresses to a coy
and coquettish female; the apparent shyness of the suitors as they sidle
up to her and as quickly retreat again, the shy glances given as one
peeps from behind a limb watching the other--playing bo-peep--seem
very human, and "I have seen," says an observer, "few more amusing
performances than the courtship of a pair of these birds." The defeated
suitor takes his rejection quite philosophically, and retreats in a
dignified manner, probably to make other trials elsewhere. Few birds
deserve our good will more than the Flicker. He is exceedingly useful,
destroying multitudes of grubs, larvæ, and worms. He loves berries and
fruit but the damage he does to cultivated fruit is very trifling.

The Flicker begins to build its nest about two weeks after the bird
arrives from the south. It prefers open country, interspersed with
groves and orchards, to nest in. Any old stump, or partly decayed limb
of a tree, along the banks of a creek, beside a country road, or in
an old orchard, will answer the purpose. Soft wood trees seem to be
preferred, however. In the prairie states it occasionally selects
strange nesting sites. It has been known to chisel through the weather
boarding of a dwelling house, barns, and other buildings, and to nest
in the hollow space between this and the cross beams; its nests have
also been found in gate posts, in church towers, and in burrows of
Kingfishers and bank swallows, in perpendicular banks of streams. One
of the most peculiar sites of his selection is described by William A.
Bryant as follows: "On a small hill, a quarter of a mile distant from
any home, stood a hay stack which had been placed there two years
previously. The owner, during the winter of 1889-90, had cut the stack
through the middle and hauled away one portion, leaving the other
standing, with the end smoothly trimmed. The following spring I noticed
a pair of flickers about the stack showing signs of wanting to make it
a fixed habitation. One morning a few days later I was amused at the
efforts of one of the pair. It was clinging to the perpendicular end of
the stack and throwing out clipped hay at a rate to defy competition.
This work continued for a week, and in that time the pair had excavated
a cavity twenty inches in depth. They remained in the vicinity until
autumn. During the winter the remainder of the stack was removed. They
returned the following spring, and, after a brief sojourn, departed for
parts unknown."

From five to nine eggs are generally laid. They are glossy white in
color, and when fresh appear as if enameled.

The young are able to leave the nest in about sixteen days; they crawl
about on the limbs of the tree for a couple of days before they venture
to fly, and return to the nest at night.

[Illustration: FLICKER.]


    "When Nature had made all her birds,
    And had no cares to think on,
    She gave a rippling laugh,
    And out there flew a Bobolinkon."

No American ornithologist omits mention of the Bobolink, and naturalists
generally have described him under one of the many names by which he is
known. In some States he is called the Rice Bird, in others Reed Bird,
the Rice or Reed Bunting, while his more familiar title, throughout the
greater part of America, is Bobolink, or Bobolinkum. In Jamaica, where
he gets very fat during his winter stay, he is called the Butter Bird.
His title of Rice Troopial is earned by the depredations which he
annually makes upon the rice crops, though his food "is by no means
restricted to that seed, but consists in a large degree of insects,
grubs, and various wild grasses." A migratory bird, residing during the
winter in the southern parts of America, he returns in vast multitudes
northward in the early Spring. According to Wilson, their course of
migration is as follows: "In April, or very early in May, the Rice
Buntings, male and female, arrive within the southern boundaries of
the United States, and are seen around the town of Savannah, Georgia,
sometimes in separate parties of males and females, but more generally
promiscuously. They remain there but a short time, and about the middle
of May make their appearance in the lower part of Pennsylvania. While
here the males are extremely gay and full of song, frequenting meadows,
newly plowed fields, sides of creeks, rivers, and watery places, feeding
on May flies and caterpillars, of which they destroy great quantities.
In their passage, however, through Virginia at this season, they do
great damage to the early wheat and barley while in their milky state.
About the 20th of May they disappear on their way to the North. Nearly
at the same time they arrive in the State of New York, spread over the
whole of the New England States, as far as the river St. Lawrence, and
from Lake Ontario to the sea. In all of these places they remain during
the Summer, building their nests and rearing their young."

The Bobolink's song is a peculiar one, varying greatly with the
occasion. As he flys southward, his cry is a kind of clinking note; but
the love song addressed to his mate is voluble and fervent. It has been
said that if you should strike the keys of a pianoforte haphazard, the
higher and the lower singly very quickly, you might have some idea of
the Bobolink's notes. In the month of June he gradually changes his
pretty, attractive dress and puts on one very like the females, which is
of a plain rusty brown, and is not reassumed until the next season of
nesting. The two parent birds in the plate represent the change from the
dark plumage in which the bird is commonly known in the North as the
Bobolink, to the dress of yellowish brown by which it is known
throughout the South as the Rice or Reed Bird.

His nest, small and a plain one, too, is built on the ground by his
industrious little wife. The inside is warmly lined with soft fibers of
whatever may be nearest at hand. Five pretty white eggs, spotted all
over with brown are laid, and as soon

    "As the little ones chip the shell
    And five wide mouths are ready for food,
    'Robert of Lincoln' bestirs him well,
    Gathering seeds for this hungry brood."


Other birds may like to travel alone, but when jolly Mr. Bobolink and
his quiet little wife come from the South, where they have spent the
winter, they come with a large party of friends. When South, they eat so
much rice that the people call them Rice Birds. When they come North,
they enjoy eating wheat, barley, oats and insects.

Mr. and Mrs. Bobolink build their simple little nest of grasses in some
field. It is hard to find on the ground, for it looks just like dry
grass. Mrs. Bobolink wears a dull dress, so she cannot be seen when she
is sitting on the precious eggs. She does not sing a note while caring
for the eggs. Why do you think that is?

Mr. Bob-Linkum does not wear a sober dress, as you can see by his
picture. He does not need to be hidden. He is just as jolly as he
looks. Shall I tell you how he amuses his mate while she is sitting?
He springs from the dew-wet grass with a sound like peals of merry
laughter. He frolics from reed to post, singing as if his little heart
would burst with joy.

Don't you think Mr. and Mrs. Bobolink look happy in the picture? They
have raised their family of five. Four of their children have gone to
look for food; one of them--he must surely be the baby--would rather
stay with his mamma and papa. Which one does he look like?

Many birds are quiet at noon and in the afternoon. A flock of Bobolinks
can be heard singing almost all day long. The song is full of high notes
and low, soft notes and loud, all sung rapidly. It is as gay and bright
as the birds themselves, who flit about playfully as they sing. You will
feel like laughing as merrily as they sing when you hear it some day.

[Illustration: BOBOLINKS.]


    "Drifting down the first warm wind
      That thrills the earliest days of spring,
    The Bluebird seeks our maple groves
      And charms them into tasselling."

    "He sings, and his is Nature's voice--
      A gush of melody sincere
    From that great fount of harmony
      Which thaws and runs when Spring is here."

    "Short is his song, but strangely sweet
      To ears aweary of the low
    Dull tramps of Winter's sullen feet,
      Sandalled in ice and muffled in snow."

       *       *       *

    "Think, every morning, when the sun peeps through
       The dim, leaf-latticed windows of the grove,
     How jubilant the happy birds renew
       Their old, melodious madrigals of love!
     And when you think of this, remember, too,
       'Tis always morning somewhere, and above
     The awakening continents, from shore to shore,
     Somewhere the birds are singing evermore.

    "Think of your woods and orchards without birds!
       Of empty nests that cling to boughs and beams
     As in an idiot's brain remembered words
       Hang empty 'mid the cobwebs of his dreams!
     Will bleat of flocks or bellowing of herds
       Make up for the lost music, when your teams
     Drag home the stingy harvest, and no more
     The feathered gleaners follow to your door?"
                    FROM "THE BIRDS OF KILLINGSWORTH."


Caw! Caw! Caw! little boys and girls. Caw! Caw! Caw! Just look at my
coat of feathers. See how black and glossy it is. Do you wonder I am
proud of it?

Perhaps you think I look very solemn and wise, and not at all as if I
cared to play games. I do, though; and one of the games I like best is
hide-and-seek. I play it with the farmer in the spring. He hides, in the
rich, brown earth, golden kernels of corn. Surely he does it because he
knows I like it, for sometimes he puts up a stick all dressed like a man
to show where the corn is hidden. Sometimes I push my bill down into the
earth to find the corn, and at other times I wait until tiny green
leaves begin to show above the ground, and then I get my breakfast
without much trouble. I wonder if the farmer enjoys this game as much
as I do. I help him, too, by eating worms and insects.

During the spring and summer I live in my nest on the top of a very
high tree. It is built of sticks and grasses and straw and string and
anything else I can pick up. But in the fall, I and all my relations and
friends live together in great roosts or rookeries. What good times we
do have--hunting all day for food and talking all night. Wouldn't you
like to be with us?

The farmer who lives in the house over there went to the mill to-day
with a load of corn.

One of the ears dropped out of the wagon and it didn't take me long to
find it. I have eaten all I can possibly hold and am wondering now what
is the best thing to do. If you were in my place would you leave it here
and not tell anybody and come back to-morrow and finish it? Or would you
fly off and get Mrs. Crow and some of the children to come and finish
it? I believe I'll fly and get them. Good-bye.

Caw! Caw! Caw!

[Illustration: COMMON CROW.]


    "The crow doth sing as merry as the lark,
     When neither is attended."

Few birds have more interesting characteristics than the Common Crow,
being, in many of his actions, very like the Raven, especially in his
love for carrion. Like the Raven, he has been known to attack game,
although his inferior size forces him to call to his assistance the aid
of his fellows to cope with larger creatures. Rabbits and hares are
frequently the prey of this bird which pounces on them as they steal
abroad to feed. His food consists of reptiles, frogs, and lizards; he
is a plunderer of other birds' nests. On the seashore he finds crabs,
shrimps and inhabited shells, which he ingeniously cracks by flying with
them to a great height and letting them fall upon a convenient rock.

The crow is seen in single pairs or in little bands of four or five.
In the autumn evenings, however, they assemble in considerable flocks
before going to roost and make a wonderful chattering, as if comparing
notes of the events of the day.

The nest of the Crow is placed in some tree remote from habitations of
other birds. Although large and very conspicuous at a distance, it is
fixed upon one of the topmost branches quite out of reach of the hand of
the adventurous urchin who longs to secure its contents. It is loosely
made and saucer shaped. Sticks and softer substances are used to
construct it, and it is lined with hair and fibrous roots. Very recently
a thrifty and intelligent Crow built for itself a summer residence in an
airy tree near Bombay, the material used being gold, silver, and steel
spectacle frames, which the bird had stolen from an optician of that
city. Eighty-four frames had been used for this purpose, and they were
so ingeniously woven together that the nest was quite a work of art.
The eggs are variable, or rather individual, in their markings, and
even in their size. The Crow rarely uses the same nest twice, although
he frequently repairs to the same locality from year to year. He is
remarkable for his attachment to his mate and young, surpassing the
Fawn and Turtle Dove in conjugal courtesy.

The Somali Arabs bear a deadly hatred toward the Crow. The origin of
their detestation is the superstition that during the flight of Mohammed
from his enemies, he hid himself in a cave, where he was perceived by
the Crow, at that time a bird of light plumage, who, when he saw the
pursuers approaching the spot, perched above Mohammed's hiding place,
and screamed, "Ghar! Ghar!" (cave! cave!) so as to indicate the place
of concealment. His enemies, however, did not understand the bird, and
passed on, and Mohammed, when he came out of the cave, clothed the Crow
in perpetual black, and commanded him to cry "Ghar" as long as Crows
should live.

And he lives to a good old age. Instances are not rare where he has
attained to half a century, without great loss of activity or failure of

At Red Bank, a few miles northeast of Cincinnati, on the Little Miami
River, in the bottoms, large flocks of Crows congregate the year around.
A few miles away, high upon Walnut Hills, is a Crow roost, and in the
late afternoons the Crows, singly, in pairs, and in flocks, are seen on
the wing, flying heavily, with full crops, on the way to the roost, from
which they descend in the early morning, crying "Caw! Caw!" to the
fields of the newly planted, growing, or matured corn, or corn stacks,
as the season may provide.


     "Everywhere the blue sky belongs to them and is their appointed
     rest, and their native country, and their own natural home
     which they enter unannounced as lords that are certainly
     expected, and yet there is a silent joy at their arrival."

The return of the birds to their real home in the North, where they
build their nests and rear their young, is regarded by all genuine
lovers of earth's messengers of gladness and gayety as one of the most
interesting and poetical of annual occurrences. The naturalist, who
notes the very day of each arrival, in order that he may verify former
observation or add to his material gathered for a new work, does not
necessarily anticipate with greater pleasure this event than do many
whose lives are brightened by the coming of the friends of their youth,
who alone of early companions do not change. First of all--and ever the
same delightful warbler--the Bluebird, who, in 1895, did not appear at
all in many localities, though here in considerable numbers last year,
betrays himself. "Did he come down out of the heaven on that bright
March morning when he told us so softly and plaintively that, if we
pleased, spring had come?" Sometimes he is here a little earlier, and
must keep his courage up until the cold snap is over and the snow is
gone. Not long after the Bluebird, comes the Robin, sometimes in March,
but in most of the northern states April is the month of his arrival.
With his first utterance the spell of winter is broken, and the
remembrance of it afar off. Then appears the Woodpecker in great
variety, the Flicker usually arriving first. He is always somebody's old
favorite, "announcing his arrival by a long, loud call, repeated from
the dry branch of some tree, or a stake in the fence--a thoroughly
melodious April sound."

Few perhaps reflect upon the difficulties encountered by the birds
themselves in their returning migrations. A voyager sometimes meets
with many of our common birds far out at sea. Such wanderers, it is
said, when suddenly overtaken by a fog, completely lose their sense of
direction and become hopelessly lost. Humming birds, those delicately
organized, glittering gems, are among the most common of the land
species seen at sea.

The present season has been quite favorable to the protection of birds.
A very competent observer says that not all of the birds migrated this
winter. He recently visited a farm less than an hour's ride from
Chicago, where he found the old place, as he relates it, "chucked full
of Robins, Blackbirds, and Woodpeckers," and others unknown to him.
From this he inferred they would have been in Florida had indications
predicted a severe winter. The trees of the south parks of Chicago,
and those in suburban places, have had, darting through their branches
during the months of December and January, nearly as many members of the
Woodpecker tribe as were found there during the mating season in May

Alas, that the Robin will visit us in diminished numbers in the
approaching spring. He has not been so common for a year or two as
he was formerly, for the reason that the Robins died by thousands of
starvation, owing to the freezing of their food supply in Tennessee
during the protracted cold weather in the winter of 1895. It is indeed
sad that this good Samaritan among birds should be defenseless against
the severity of Nature, the common mother of us all. Nevertheless the
return of the birds, in myriads or in single pairs, will be welcomed
more and more, year by year, as intelligent love and appreciation of
them shall possess the popular mind.

 [Illustration: BLACK TERN.
 Mother and Young with Eggs.]


"The Tern," says Mr. F. M. Woodruff, of the Chicago Academy of Sciences,
"is the only representative of the long-winged swimmers which commonly
nests with us on our inland fresh water marshes, arriving early in May
in its brooding plumage of sooty black. The color changes in the autumn
to white, and a number of the adult birds may be found, in the latter
part of July, dotted and streaked here and there with white. On the
first of June, 1891, I found a large colony of Black Terns nesting on
Hyde Lake, Cook County, Illinois. As I approached the marsh a few birds
were seen flying high in the air, and, as I neared the nesting site, the
flying birds gave notes of alarm, and presently the air was filled with
the graceful forms of this beautiful little bird. They circled about me,
darting down to within a few feet of my head, constantly uttering a
harsh, screaming cry. As the eggs are laid upon the bare ground, which
the brownish and blackish markings so closely resemble, I was at first
unable to find the nests, and discovered that the only way to locate
them was to stand quietly and watch the birds. When the Tern is passing
over the nest it checks its flight, and poises for a moment on quivering
wings. By keeping my eyes on this spot I found the nest with very little
trouble. The complement of eggs, when the bird has not been disturbed,
is usually three. These are laid in a saucer shaped structure of dead
vegetation, which is scraped together, from the surface of the wet,
boggy ground. The bird figured in the plate had placed its nest on the
edge of an old muskrat house, and my attention was attracted to it by
the fact that upon the edge of the rat house, where it had climbed to
rest itself, was the body of a young dabchick, or piedbilled grebe,
scarcely two and one-half inches long, and not twenty-four hours out of
the egg, a beautiful little ball of blackish down, striped with brown
and white. From the latter part of July to the middle of August large
flocks of Black Terns may be seen on the shores of our larger lakes on
their annual migration southward."

The Rev. P. B. Peabody, in alluding to his observation of the nests
of the Tern, says: "Amid this floating sea of aquatic nests I saw an
unusual number of well constructed homes of the Tern. Among these was
one that I count a perfect nest. It rested on the perfectly flat
foundation of a small decayed rat house, which was about fourteen
inches in diameter. The nest, in form, is a truncated cone (barring
the cavity), was about eight inches high and ten inches in diameter.
The hollow--quite shallow--was about seven inches across, being thus
unusually large. The whole was built up of bits of rushes, carried to
the spot, these being quite uniform in length--about four inches." After
daily observation of the Tern, during which time he added much to his
knowledge of the bird, he pertinently asks: "Who shall say how many
traits and habits yet unknown may be discovered through patient watching
of community-breeding birds, by men enjoying more of leisure for such
delightful studies than often falls to the lot of most of us who have
bread and butter to earn and a tiny part of the world's work to


        "Not an inch of his body is free from delight.
    Can he keep himself still if he would? Oh, not he!
        The music stirs in him like wind through a tree."

The well known Meadow or Old Field Lark is a constant resident south
of latitude 39, and many winter farther north in favorite localities.
Its geographical range is eastern North America, Canada to south Nova
Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario to eastern Manitoba; west to Minnesota,
Iowa, Missouri, eastern Kansas, the Indian Territory, and Texas; south
to Florida and the Gulf coast, in all of which localities, except in the
extreme north, it usually rears two or three broods in a season. In the
Northern States it is only a summer resident, arriving in April and
remaining until the latter part of October and occasionally November.
Excepting during the breeding season, small flocks may often be seen
roving about in search of good feeding grounds. Major Bendire says
this is especially true in the fall of the year. At this time several
families unite, and as many as two dozen may occasionally be flushed in
a field, over which they scatter, roaming about independently of each
other. When one takes wing all the others in the vicinity follow. It
is a shy bird in the East, while in the middle states it is quite the
reverse. Its flight is rather laborious, at least in starting, and is
continued by a series of rapid movements of the wings, alternating with
short distances of sailing, and is rarely protracted. On alighting,
which is accompanied with a twitching of its tail, it usually settles on
some fence rail, post, boulder, weedstock, or on a hillock in a meadow
from which it can get a good view of the surroundings, and but rarely
on a limb of a tree. Its favorite resorts are meadows, fallow fields,
pastures, and clearings, but in some sections, as in northern Florida,
for instance, it also frequents the low, open pine woods and nests

The song of the Meadow Lark is not much varied, but its clear, whistling
notes, so frequently heard in the early spring, are melodious and
pleasing to the ear. It is decidedly the farmers' friend, feeding, as
it does, on noxious insects, caterpillars, moths, grasshoppers, spiders,
worms and the like, and eating but little grain. The lark spends the
greater part of its time on the ground, procuring all its food there.
It is seldom found alone, and it is said remains paired for life.

Nesting begins in the early part of May and lasts through June. Both
sexes assist in building the nest, which is always placed on the ground,
either in a natural depression, or in a little hollow scratched out by
the birds, alongside a bunch of grass or weeds. The nest itself is lined
with dry grass, stubble, and sometimes pine needles. Most nests are
placed in level meadows. The eggs and young are frequently destroyed by
vermin, for the meadow lark has many enemies. The eggs vary from three
to seven, five being the most common, and both sexes assist in the
hatching, which requires about fifteen or sixteen days. The young leave
the nest before they are able to fly--hiding at the slightest sign of
danger. The Meadow Lark does not migrate beyond the United States. It is
a native bird, and is only accidental in England. The eggs are spotted,
blotched, and speckled with shades of brown, purple and lavender. A
curious incident is told of a Meadow Lark trying to alight on the top
mast of a schooner several miles at sea. It was evidently very tired but
would not venture near the deck.

[Illustration: MEADOW LARK.]


I told the man who wanted my picture that he could take it if he would
show my nest and eggs. Do you blame me for saying so? Don't you think it
makes a better picture than if I stood alone?

Mr. Lark is away getting me some breakfast, or he could be in the
picture, too. After a few days I shall have some little baby birds, and
then won't we be happy.

Boys and girls who live in the country know us pretty well. When they
drive the cows out to pasture, or when they go out to gather wild
flowers, we sit on the fences by the roadside and make them glad with
our merry song.

Those of you who live in the city cannot see us unless you come out into
the country.

It isn't very often that we can find such a pretty place for a nest as
we have here. Most of the time we build our nest under the grass and
cover it over, and build a little tunnel leading to it. This year we
made up our minds not to be afraid.

The people living in the houses over there do not bother us at all and
we are so happy.

You never saw baby larks, did you? Well, they are queer little fellows,
with hardly any feathers on them.

Last summer we had five little birdies to feed, and it kept us busy from
morning till night. This year we only expect three, and Mr. Lark says he
will do all the work. He knows a field that is being plowed, where he
can get nice, large worms.

Hark! that is he singing. He will be surprised when he comes back and
finds me off the nest. He is so afraid that I will let the eggs get
cold, but I won't. There he comes, now.


The name of the Long-Eared Owl is derived from the great length of his
"ears" or feather-tufts, which are placed upon the head, and erect
themselves whenever the bird is interested or excited. It is the "black
sheep" of the owl family, the majority of owls being genuine friends of
the agriculturist, catching for his larder so many of the small animals
that prey upon his crops. In America he is called the Great Horned
Owl--in Europe the Golden Owl.

Nesting time with the owl begins in February, and continues through
March and April. The clown-like antics of both sexes of this bird while
under the tender influence of the nesting season tend somewhat to impair
their reputation for dignity and wise demeanor. They usually have a
simple nest in a hollow tree, but which seems seldom to be built by the
bird itself, as it prefers to take the deserted nest of some other bird,
and to fit up the premises for its own use. They repair slightly from
year to year the same nest. The eggs are white, and generally four or
five in number. While the young are still in the nest, the parent birds
display a singular diligence in collecting food for them.

If you should happen to know of an owl's nest, stand near it some
evening when the old birds are rearing their young. Keep quiet and
motionless, and notice how frequently the old birds feed them. Every ten
minutes or so the soft flap, flap of their wings will be heard, the male
and female alternately, and you will obtain a brief glimpse of them
through the gloom as they enter the nesting place. They remain inside
but a short time, sharing the food equally amongst their brood, and
then are off again to hunt for more. All night, were you to have the
inclination to observe them, you would find they pass to and fro with
food, only ceasing their labors at dawn. The young, as soon as they
reach maturity, are abandoned by their parents; they quit the nest and
seek out haunts elsewhere, while the old birds rear another, and not
infrequently two more broods, during the remainder of the season.

The habits of the Long-Eared Owl are nocturnal. He is seldom seen in the
light of day, and is greatly disturbed if he chance to issue from his
concealment while the sun is above the horizon. The facial disk is very
conspicuous in this species. It is said that the use of this circle is
to collect the rays of light, and throw them upon the eye. The flight
of the owl is softened by means of especially shaped, recurved
feather-tips, so that he may noiselessly steal upon his prey, and
the ear is also so shaped as to gather sounds from below.

The Long-Eared Owl is hardly tameable. The writer of this paragraph, when
a boy, was the possessor, for more than a year, of a very fine specimen.
We called him Judge. He was a monster, and of perfect plumage. Although
he seemed to have some attachment to the children of the family who fed
him, he would not permit himself to be handled by them or by any one in
the slightest. Most of his time he spent in his cage, an immense affair,
in which he was very comfortable. Occasionally he had a day in the barn
with the rats and mice.

The owl is of great usefulness to gardener, agriculturist, and landowner
alike, for there is not another bird of prey which is so great a
destroyer of the enemies of vegetation.

[Illustration: GREAT HORNED OWL.]


              We know not alway
              Who are kings by day,
    But the king of the night is the bold brown owl!

I wonder why the folks put my picture last in the book. It can't be
because they don't like me, for I'm sure I never bother them. I don't
eat the farmer's corn like the crow, and no one ever saw me quarrel with
other birds.

Maybe it is because I can't sing. Well, there are lots of good people
that can't sing, and so there are lots of good birds that can't sing.

Did you ever see any other bird sit up as straight as I do? I couldn't
sit up so straight if I hadn't such long, sharp claws to hold on with.

My home is in the woods. Here we owls build our nests--most always in
hollow trees.

During the day I stay in the nest or sit on a limb. I don't like day
time for the light hurts my eyes, but when it begins to grow dark then
I like to stir around. All night long I am wide awake and fly about
getting food for my little hungry ones. They sleep most of the day and
it keeps me busy nearly all night to find them enough to eat.

I just finished my night's work when the man came to take my picture. It
was getting light and I told him to go to a large stump on the edge of
the woods and I would sit for my picture. So here I am. Don't you think
I look wise? How do you like my large eyes? If I could smile at you I
would, but my face always looks sober. I have a great many cousins and
if you really like my picture, I'll have some of them talk to you next
month. I don't think any of them have such pretty feathers though. Just
see if they have when they come.

Well, I must fly back to my perch in the old elm tree. Good-bye.


    In the hollow tree, in the old gray tower,
      The spectral owl doth dwell;
    Dull, hated, despised in the sunshine hour,
      But at dusk he's abroad and well!
    Not a bird of the forest e'er mates with him;
      All mock him outright by day;
    But at night, when the woods grow still and dim,
      The boldest will shrink away!

          O! when the night falls, and roosts the fowl,
          Then, then, is the reign of the Horned Owl!

    And the owl hath a bride, who is fond and bold,
      And loveth the wood's deep gloom;
    And, with eyes like the shine of the moonstone cold,
      She awaiteth her ghastly groom.
    Not a feather she moves, not a carol she sings,
      As she waits in her tree so still,
    But when her heart heareth his flapping wings,
      She hoots out her welcome shrill!

          O! when the moon shines, and dogs do howl,
          Then, then, is the joy of the Horned Owl!

    Mourn not for the owl, nor his gloomy plight!
      The owl hath his share of good--
    If a prisoner he be in the broad daylight,
      He is lord in the dark greenwood!
    Nor lonely the bird, nor his ghastly mate,
      They are each unto each a pride;
    Thrice fonder, perhaps, since a strange, dark fate
      Hath rent them from all beside!

          So, when the night falls, and dogs do howl,
          Sing, Ho! for the reign of the Horned Owl!
              We know not alway
              Who are kings by day,
    But the King of the Night is the bold Brown Owl!

                     BRYAN W. PROCTER
                           (Barry Cornwall.)

       *       *       *       *       *




      Please mention "BIRDS" when you write to advertisers.


                           FRANKFORT, KY., February 3, 1897.
 W. J. BLACK, Vice-President,
                     Chicago, Ill.

Dear Sir: I have a copy of your magazine entitled "Birds," and beg to
say that I consider it one of the finest things on the subject that I
have ever seen, and shall be pleased to recommend it to county and city
superintendents of the state.

                            Very respectfully,
                                    W. J. DAVIDSON,
                   State Superintendent Public Instruction.

       *       *       *

                      SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., January 27, 1897.
           Chicago, Ill.

Dear Sir: I am very much obliged for the copy of "Birds" that has just
come to hand. It should be in the hands of every primary and grammar
teacher. I send herewith copy of "List of San Francisco Teachers."

                            Very respectfully,
                                       M. BABCOCK.

       *       *       *

                            LINCOLN, NEB., February 9, 1897.
     Chicago, Ill.

Dear Sir: The first number of your magazine, "Birds," is upon my
desk. I am highly pleased with it. It will prove a very serviceable
publication--one that strikes out along the right lines. For the purpose
intended, it has, in my opinion, no equal. It is clear, concise, and
admirably illustrated.

                            Very respectfully,
                                      W. R. JACKSON,
                   State Superintendent Public Instruction.

       *       *       *

                         NORTH LIMA, OHIO, February 1, 1897.
 MR. W. E. WATT,

Dear Sir: Sample copy of "Birds" received. All of the family delighted
with it. We wish it unbounded success. It will be an excellent
supplement to "In Birdland" in the Ohio Teachers' Reading Circle, and I
venture Ohio will be to the front with a good subscription list. I
enclose list of teachers.

                            Very truly,
                               C. M. L. ALTDOERFFER,
                                  Township Superintendent.

       *       *       *

                                MILWAUKEE, January 30, 1897.
             227 Dearborn Street, Chicago.

Gentlemen: I acknowledge with pleasure the receipt of your publication,
"Birds," with accompanying circulars. I consider it the best on the
subject in existence. I have submitted the circulars and publication to
my teachers, who have nothing to say but praise in behalf of the

                            JULIUS TORNEY,
             Principal 2nd Dist. Primary School, Milwaukee, Wis.


 A picture of wonderful beauty of the
 Golden Pheasant almost life size in
 a natural scene, plate 12x18 inches,
 on card 19x25 inches, is given as a
 premium to yearly subscribers. Our
 price on this picture in Art Stores
 is $3.50.

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