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Title: Birds, Illustrated by Color Photography, Vol. 2, No. 4 - October, 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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Birds, Illustrated by Color Photography, Vol. 2, No. 4 - October, 1897" ***

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       *       *       *       *       *









         VOL. II.     OCTOBER       NO. 4


It was our intention in this article to give a number of instances of
a pathetic nature concerning the sufferings of the various species of
birds which it has been, and still is, a habit with many people to keep
confined in cages totally inadequate for any other purpose than that of
cruelty. The argument that man has no moral right to deprive an innocent
creature of liberty will always be met with indifference by the majority
of people, and an appeal to their intelligence and humanity will rarely
prove effective. To capture singing birds for any purpose is, in many
states, prohibited by statute. But the law is violated. Occasionally an
example is made of one or more transgressors, but as a rule the officers
of the law, whose business it should be to prevent it, manifest no
interest whatever in its execution. The bird trappers as well know that
it is against the law, but so long as they are unmolested by the police,
they will continue the wholesale trapping. A contemporary recently said:
"It seems strange that this bird-catching industry should increase so
largely simultaneously with the founding of the Illinois Audubon
Society. The good that that society has done in checking the habit of
wearing birds in bonnets, seems to have been fairly counterbalanced by
the increase in the number of songsters captured for cage purposes.
These trappers choose the nesting season as most favorable for their
work, and every pair of birds they catch means the loss of an entire
family in the shape of a set of eggs or a nestful of young left to
perish slowly by starvation."

This is the way the trappers proceed. They are nearly all Germans. Bird
snaring is a favorite occupation in Germany and the fondness for the
cruel work was not left behind by the emigrants. More's the pity. These
fellows fairly swarm with their bird limes and traps among the suburbs,
having an eye only to the birds of brightest plumage and sweetest song.
"They use one of the innocents as a bait to lure the others to a
prison." "Two of the trappers," says one who watched them, "took their
station at the edge of an open field, skirted by a growth of willows.
Each had two cage traps. The device was divided into two parts by wires
running horizontally and parallel to the plane of the floor. In the
lower half of each cage was a male American Goldfinch. In the roof of
the traps were two little hinged doors, which turned backward and
upward, leaving an opening. Inside the upper compartment of the trap,
and accessible through the doorway in the roof, was a swinging perch.
The traps were placed on stumps among the growth of thistles and dock
weed, while the trappers hid behind the trees. The Goldfinches confined
in the lower sections of the traps had been the victims of the trappers
earlier in the season, and the sight of their familiar haunts, the
sunlight, the breeze, and the swaying willow branches, where so often
they had perched and sung, caused them to flutter about and to utter
pathetically the call note of their days of freedom. It is upon this
yearning for liberty and its manifestation that the bird trappers depend
to secure more victims. No sooner does the piping call go forth from the
golden throats of the little prisoners, than a reply comes from the
thistle tops, far down the field. A moment more and the traps are
surrounded with the black and yellow beauties. The fact that one of
their own kind is within the curious little house which confronts them
seems to send all their timidity to the winds and they fairly fall over
one another in their endeavor to see what it all means. Finally one
finds the doorway in the roof and drops upon the perch within. Instantly
the doors close and a Goldfinch is a prisoner."

Laurence Sterne alone, of sentimental writers, has put in adequate
language something of the feeling that should stir the heart of the
sympathetic, at least, on seeing the unjust confinement of innocent
birds. The Starling, which is the subject of his elevated sentiment,
will appear in an early number of BIRDS. Sterne had just been
soliloquizing somewhat favorably of the Bastile, when a voice, which he
took to be that of a child, complained "it could not get out." "I looked
up and down the passage, and seeing neither man, woman, nor child, I
went out without further attention. In my return back through the
passage, I heard the same words repeated twice over, and looking up, I
saw it was a Starling hung in a little cage. 'I can't get out, I can't
get out,' said the Starling. I stood looking at the Bird, and to every
person who came through the passage, it ran fluttering to the side,
towards which they approached it, with the same lamentation of its
captivity. 'I can't get out,' said the Starling. 'God help thee!' said
I, 'but I'll let thee out, cost what it will;' so I turned about the
cage to get the door. It was twisted and double-twisted so fast with
wire, there was no getting it open without pulling the cage to pieces. I
took both hands to it. The bird flew to the place where I was attempting
its deliverance, and thrusting his head through the trellis, pressed his
breast against it as if impatient. 'I fear, poor creature,' said I, 'I
can't set thee at liberty.' 'No,' said the Starling, 'I can't get out,'
'I can't get out,' said the Starling. I vow I never had my affections
more tenderly awakened; or do I remember an incident in my life where
the dissipated spirits, to which my reason had been a bubble, were so
suddenly called home. Mechanical as the notes were, yet so true in tune
to Nature were they chanted, that disguise thyself as thou wilt, still,
'Slavery,' said I, 'still thou art a bitter draught; and though
thousands in all ages have been made to drink of thee, thou art no less
bitter on that account. No, thou thrice sweet and gracious goddess
liberty, whose taste is grateful, and ever will be so, till nature
herself shall change; no tint of woods can spot thy snowy mantle.'"

The bird in his cage pursued Sterne into his room, where he composed
his apostrophe to liberty. It would be well indeed, if a sentiment
could be aroused which would prohibit absolutely the caging of birds,
as well as their wanton destruction, and if the children are taught that
"tenderness which is the charm of youth," another generation will see it

                                                C. C. MARBLE.

 [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.]


If the children had had the naming of birds we venture to say that it
would have been more appropriately done, and "Blackburnian," as many
other names of Warblers, would have had no place in literature. There
are about seventy-five well known Warblers, nearly all with common
names indicating the most characteristic colors or habits, or partly
descriptive of the bird itself. The common names of this beautiful
Warbler are Orange-throated Warbler and Hemlock Warbler. Some one has
suggested that it should be called the Torch Bird, for "half a dozen
of them as they flash about in the pines, raising their wings and
jerking their tails, make the darkest shadows seem breaking into
little tongues of flame."

The Orange-throat is only migratory in Illinois, passing through in
spring and fall, its summer home being chiefly if not wholly, to
the northward, while it passes the winter in Central America and
northern South America. It is found in New York and in portions of
Massachusetts, frequenting the coniferous forests, and building its
nest in bushes or small trees a few feet above the ground. Dr. C. Hart
Merriam found a pair of these birds nesting in a grove of large white
pines in Lewis County, New York. In the latter part of May the female
was observed building, and on the second of June the nest contained
four fresh eggs of the Warbler and one of the Cow bird. The nest was
saddled on the horizontal limb about eight feet from the ground and
about ten feet from the trunk. Nests have been found in pine trees in
Southern Michigan at an elevation of forty feet. In all cases the
nests are placed high in hemlocks or pines, which are the bird's
favorite resorts. From all accounts the nests of this species are
elegantly and compactly made, consisting of a densely woven mass of
spruce twigs, soft vegetable down, rootlets, and fine shreds of bark.
The lining is often intermixed with horse hairs and feathers. Four
eggs of greenish-white or very pale bluish-green, speckled or spotted,
have usually been found in the nests.

The autumnal male Warblers resemble the female. They have two white
bands instead of one; the black stripes on the side are larger; under
parts yellowish; the throat yellowish, passing into purer yellow
behind. Few of our birds are more beautiful than the full plumaged
male of this lovely bird, whose glowing orange throat renders it a
conspicuous object among the budding and blossoming branches of the
hemlocks. Chapman says, coming in May, before the woods are fully
clad, he seems like some bright plumaged tropical bird who has lost
his way and wandered to northern climes. The summer is passed among
the higher branches in coniferous forests, and in the early fall the
bird returns to surroundings which seem more in keeping with its

Mr. Minot describes the Blackburnian Warbler's summer song as
resembling the syllables _wee-see-wee-see_, while in the spring its
notes may be likened to _wee-see-wee-see, tsee, tsee, tsee_, repeated,
the latter syllables being on ascending scale, the very last shrill
and fine.


    Shine! Shine! Shine!
    Pour down your warmth, great Sun!
    While we bask--we two together.

    Two together!
    Winds blow south, or winds blow north,
    Day come white, or night come black,
    Home, or rivers and mountains from home,
    Singing all time, minding no time,
    If we two but keep together.

    Till of a sudden,
    May be killed, unknown to her mate,
    One forenoon the she-bird crouched not on the nest,
    Nor returned that afternoon, nor the next,
    Nor ever appeared again.

    And thence forward, all summer, in the sound of the sea,
    And at night, under the full of moon, in calmer weather,
    Over the hoarse surging of the sea,
    Or flitting from briar to briar by day,
    I saw, I heard at intervals, the remaining one.

    Blow! blow! blow!
    Blow up, sea-winds, along Paumanok's shore!
    I wait and I wait, till you blow my mate to me.

                                          --WALT WHITMAN.

 [Illustration: From col. F. M. Woodruff.
                Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.]


"Look, Mamma, look!" cried a little boy, as one day late in June my
mate and I alighted on a thistle already going to seed. "Such a lovely
bird! How jolly he looks, with that black velvet hat drawn over his

"That's a Goldfinch," replied his mamma; "sometimes called the Jolly
Bird, the Thistle Bird, the Wild Canary, and the Yellow Bird. He
belongs to the family of Weed Warriors, and is very useful."

"He sings like a Canary," said Bobbie. "Just hear him talking to that
little brown bird alongside of him."

That was my mate, you see, who _is_ rather plain looking, so to please
him I sang my best song, "_Per-chic-o-ree, per-chic-o-ree_."

"That sounds a great deal better," said Bobbie; "because it's not sung
by a little prisoner behind cage bars, I guess."

"It certainly is wilder and more joyous," said his mamma. "He is very
happy just now, for he and his mate are preparing for housekeeping.
Later on, he will shed his lemon-yellow coat, and then you won't be
able to tell him from his mate and little ones."

"How they are gobbling up that thistle-down," cried Bobbie. "Just

"Yes," said his mamma, "the fluff carries the seed, like a sail to
which the seed is fastened. By eating the seed, which otherwise would
be carried by the wind all over the place, these birds do a great
amount of good. The down they will use to line their nests."

"How I should like to peep into their nest," said Bobbie; "just to
peep, you know; not to rob it of its eggs, as boys do who are not well
brought up."

My mate and I were so pleased at that, we flew off a little way,
chirping and chattering as we went.

"Up and down, up and down," said Bobbie; "how prettily they fly."

"Yes," said his mamma; "that is the way you can always tell a
Goldfinch when in the air. A dip and a jerk, singing as he flies."

"What other seeds do they eat, mamma?" presently asked Bobbie.

"The seeds of the dandelion, the sunflower, and wild grasses
generally. In the winter, when these are not to be had, the poor
little fellows have a very hard time. People with kind hearts, scatter
canary seed over their lawns to the merry birds for their summer
songs, and for keeping down the weeds."


According to one intelligent observer, the Finches are, in Nature's
economy, entrusted with the task of keeping the weeds in subjection,
and the gay and elegant little Goldfinch is probably one of the most
useful, for its food is found to consist, for the greater part, of
seeds most hurtful to the works of man. "The charlock that so often
chokes his cereal crops is partly kept in bounds by his vigilance, and
the dock, whose rank vegetation would, if allowed to cast all its
seeds, spread barrenness around, is also one of his store houses, and
the rank grasses, at their seeding time, are his chief support."
Another writer, whose study of this bird has been made with care,
calls our American Goldfinch one of the loveliest of birds. With his
elegant plumage, his rhythmical, undulatory flight, his beautiful
song, and his more beautiful soul, he ought to be one of the best
beloved, if not one of the most famous; but he has never yet had half
his deserts. He is like the Chickadee, and yet different. He is not so
extremely confiding, nor should I call him merry. But he is always
cheerful, in spite of his so-called plaintive note, from which he gets
one of his names, and always amiable. So far as I know, he never
utters a harsh sound; even the young ones asking for food, use only
smooth, musical tones. During the pairing season, his delight often
becomes rapturous. To see him then, hovering and singing,--or, better
still, to see the devoted pair hovering together, billing and
singing,--is enough to do even a cynic good. The happy lovers! They
have never read it in a book, but it is written on their hearts:

    "The gentle law that each should be
     The other's heaven and harmony."

In building his nest, the Goldfinch uses much ingenuity, lichens and
moss being woven so deeply into the walls that the whole surface is
quite smooth. Instead of choosing the forks of a bough, this Finch
likes to make its nest near the end of a horizontal branch, so that
it moves about and dances up and down as the branch is swayed by the
wind. It might be thought that the eggs would be shaken out by a
tolerably sharp breeze, and such would indeed be the case, were they
not kept in their place by the form of the nest. On examination, it
will be seen to have the edge thickened and slightly turned inward, so
that when the nest is tilted on one side by the swaying of the bough,
the eggs are still retained within. It is lined with vegetable down,
and on this soft bed repose five pretty eggs, white, tinged with blue,
and diversified with small grayish purple spots.

       *       *       *

A curious story is told of a caged Goldfinch, which in pleasant
weather always hung in a window. One day, hearing strange bird voices,
the owner looked up from her seat and saw a Catbird trying to induce
the Finch to eat a worm it had brought for it. By dint of coaxing and
feeding the wild bird, she finally induced it to come often to the
window, and one day, as she sat on the porch, the Catbird brought a
berry and tried to put it into her mouth. We have often seen sparrows
come to the window of rooms where canaries were imprisoned, but it has
uniformly been to get food and not to administer it. The Catbird
certainly thus expressed its gratitude.

 [Illustration: From col. Eugene Bliss.
                CHIMNEY SWIFT.
                Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.]


Chief Pokagon, of the Pottawattamie Indians, in an article in _The
Osprey_, writes delightfully of the Chimney Swift, and we quote a
portion of it describing a peculiar habit of the bird. The chief was
a youth when he made the observation, and he writes in the second

"As you look, you see the head of the young chief is turning slowly
around, watching something high in air above the stream; you now begin
to look in the same direction, catching glimpses every now and then,
of the segment of a wild revolving ring of small unnumbered birds
circling high above the trees. Their twittering notes and whizzing
wings create a musical, but wild, continued roar. You now begin to
realize he is determined to understand all about the feathered bees,
as large as little birds, the village boy had seen. The circle
continues to decrease in size, but increases the revolution until
all the living, breathing ring swings over the stream in the field
of your vision, and you begin to enquire what means all this mighty
ingathering of such multitude of birds. The young chief in admiration
claps his hands, leaping towards the stream. The twittering, whizzing
roar continues to increase; the revolving circle fast assumes a funnel
shape, moving downward until the point reaches the hollow in the stub,
pouring its living mass therein until the last bird dropped out of
sight. Rejoicing in wonder and admiration, the youth walks round the
base of the stub, listening to the rumbling roar of fluttering wings
within. Night comes on, he wraps his blanket closer about him, and
lies down to rest until the coming day, that he may witness the
swarming multitudes pass out in early morning. But not until the hour
of midnight does he fall asleep, nor does he wake until the dawn of
day, when, rising to his feet, he looks upward to the skies. One by
one the stars disappear. The moon grows pale. He listens. Last night's
familiar roar rings in his ears. He now beholds swarming from out the
stub the living, breathing mass, forming in funnel shape, revolving
like a top, rising high in air, then sweeping outward into a wide
expanding ring, until the myriads of birds are scattered wide, like
leaves before the whirlwind."

And then what do they do? Open the mouth of a swallow that has been
flying, and turn out the mass of small flies and other insects that
have been collected there. The number packed into its mouth is almost
incredible, for when relieved from the constant pressure to which it
is subjected, the black heap begins to swell and enlarge, until it
attains nearly double its former size.

Chimney Swallow is the name usually applied to this Swift. The habit
of frequenting chimneys is a recent one, and the substitution of this
modern artificial home for hollow trees illustrates the readiness with
which it adapts itself to a change in surroundings. In perching, they
cling to the side of the chimney, using the spine-pointed tails for a
support. They are most active early in the morning and late in the
afternoon, when one may hear their rolling twitter as they course
about overhead.

The question whether Chimney Swifts break off twigs for their nests
with their feet is now being discussed by ornithologists. Many curious
and interesting observations have been made, and the momentous
question will no doubt in time be placed beyond peradventure.


    Up with me! up with me into the clouds!
      For thy song, Lark, is strong;
    Up with me! Up with me into the clouds!
          Singing, singing,
    With clouds and sky about thee ringing.
      Lift me, guide me till I find
    That spot which seems so to thy mind.

    I have walked through wildernesses dreary,
      And to-day my heart is weary;
    Had I now the wings of a Fairy
      Up to thee would I fly.
    There is madness about thee, and joy divine
      In that song of thine;
    Lift me, guide me high and high
    To thy banqueting place in the sky.



If the variety of names by which this Lark is known is any indication
of its popularity, its friends must be indeed numerous. Snow Lark,
Snowbird, Prairie Lark, Sky Lark, American Sky Lark, Horned Lark, are
a few of them. There is only one American Species, so far as known. It
breeds in northeastern North America and Greenland, wintering in the
United States. It also inhabits northern portions of the old world.
The common name is derived from the tufts of black feathers over each
ear, which the birds have the power of erecting at will like the
so-called horns of some owls.

In the Eastern States, during the winter months, flocks of Horned
Larks, varying in size from a dozen to those of a hundred or more, may
be seen frequenting open plains, old fields, dry shores of bays, and
the banks of rivers. According to Davie, as there are a number of
geographical varieties of the Horned Lark, the greatest uncertainty
has always attended their identification even by experts, and the
breeding and winter ranges of the various subspecies do not yet seem
to be clearly defined.

Audubon found this species on the low, mossy and sheltered hills along
the dreary coast of Labrador. In the midst of the mosses and lichens
that covered the rocks the bird imbedded its nest, composed of fine
grasses, arranged in a circular form and lined with the feathers of
grouse and other birds.

Chapman says these Larks take wing with a sharp, whistled note, and
seek fresh fields or, hesitating, finally swing about and return to
near the spot from which they were flushed. They are sometimes found
associated with Snowflakes. The pinkish grey coloring is very
beautiful, but in the Middle and Eastern States this bird is rarely
seen in his spring garb, says an observer, and his winter plumage
lacks the vivid contrasts and prime color.

As a singer the Shore Lark is not to be despised, especially in his
nesting haunts. He has a habit of singing as he soars in the air,
after the manner of the European Skylark.

 [Illustration: From col. F. M. Woodruff.
                HORNED LARK.
                Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.]


    When the veins of the birch overflow in the spring,
    Then I sharpen my bill and make the woods ring,
    Till forth gushes--rewarding my tap, tap, tap!
    The food of us Suckers--the rich, juicy sap.

                                          --C. C. M.

Many wild birds run up and down trees, and it seems to make little
difference which end up they are temporarily, skirmishing ever to the
right and left, whacking the bark with their bills, then quiet a brief
moment, and again skirmishing around the tree. Sometimes an apple
tree, says a recent writer, will have a perfect circle, not seldom
several rings or holes round the tree--holes as large as a buck shot.
The little skirmisher makes these holes, and the farmer calls it a
Sapsucker. And such it is. Dr. Coues, however, says it is not a bird,
handsome as it is, that you would care to have come in great numbers
to your garden or orchard, for he eats the sap that leaks out through
the holes he makes in the trees. When a great many holes have been
bored near together, the bark loosens and peels off, so that the tree
is likely to die. The Sapsucker also eats the soft inner bark which is
between the rough outside bark and the hard heart-wood of the tree,
which is very harmful. Nevertheless the bird does much good in
destroying insects which gather to feed on the oozing sap. It sweeps
them up in its tongue, which is not barbed, like that of other
woodpeckers, but has a little brush on the end of it. It lacks the
long, extensile tongue which enables the other species to probe the
winding galleries of wood-eating larvæ.

Mr. William Brewster states that throughout the White Mountains of New
Hampshire, and in most sections of Northern Maine, the Yellow-Bellied
Woodpeckers outnumber all the other species in the summer season.
Their favorite nesting sites are large dead birches, and a decided
preference is manifested for the vicinity of water, though some nests
occur in the interior of woods. The average height of the nesting hole
from the ground is about forty feet. Many of the nests are gourd-like
in shape, with the ends very smoothly and evenly chiseled, the average
depth being about fourteen inches. The labors of excavating the nest
and those of rearing the young are shared by both sexes. While this
Sapsucker is a winter resident in most portions of Illinois, and may
breed sparingly in the extreme northern portion, no record of it has
been found.

A walk in one of our extensive parks is nearly always rewarded by the
sight of one or more of these interesting and attractive birds. They
are usually so industriously engaged that they seem to give little
attention to your presence, and hunt away, tapping the bole of the
tree, until called elsewhere by some more promising field of
operations. Before taking flight from one tree to another, they stop
the insect search and gaze inquisitively toward their destination. If
two of them meet, there is often a sudden stopping in the air, a
twisting upward and downward, followed by a lively chase across the
open to the top of a dead tree, and then a sly peeping round or over a
limb, after the manner of all Woodpeckers. A rapid drumming with the
bill on the tree, branch or trunk, it is said, serves for a love-song,
and it has a screaming call note.


The Vireos are a family of singers and are more often heard than seen,
but the Warbler has a much more musical voice, and of greater compass
than any other member of the family. The song ripples like a brook,
floating down from the leafiest tree-tops. It is not much to look at,
being quite plainly dressed in contrast with the red-eyed cousin, the
largest of the Vireos. In nesting time it prefers seclusion, though in
the spring and mid-summer, when the little ones have flown, and
nesting cares have ceased, it frequents the garden, singing in the
elms and birches, and other tall trees. It rambles as well through the
foliage of trees in open woodland, in parks, and in those along the
banks of streams, where it diligently searches the under side of
leaves and branches for insect life, "in that near-sighted way
peculiar to the tribe." It is a very stoic among birds, and seems
never surprised at anything, "even at the loud report of a gun, with
the shot rattling about it in the branches, and, if uninjured, it will
stand for a moment unconcerned, or move along, peering on every side
amongst the foliage, warbling its tender, liquid strains."

The nest of this species is like that of the Red-eyed Vireo--a
strong, durable, basket-like fabric, made of bark strips, lined with
fine grasses. It is suspended by the brim in slender, horizontal forks
of branches, at a great height from the ground.

The Vireo is especially numerous among the elms of Boston Common,
where at almost any hour of the day, from early in the month of May,
until long after summer has gone, may be heard the prolonged notes of
the Warbling species, which was an especial favorite of Dr. Thomas M.
Brewer, author of "History of North American Birds." Its voice is
not powerful, but its melody, it is said, is flute-like and tender,
and its song is perhaps characterized more by its air of happy
contentment, than by any other special quality. No writer on birds has
grown enthusiastic on the subject, and Bradford Torrey alone among
them does it scant justice, when he says this Vireo "is admirably
named; there is no one of our birds that can more properly be said to
warble. He keeps further from the ground than the others, and shows a
strong preference for the elms of village streets, out of which his
delicious music drops upon the ears of all passers underneath. How
many of them hear it and thank the singer, is unhappily another

 [Illustration: From col. F. M. Woodruff.
                Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.]

 [Illustration: From col. F. M. Woodruff.
                WARBLING VIREO.
                Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.]


My Dear Young Friends:

During the long summer days, when you were enjoying golden vacation
hours, I often took a peep at you from some dead tree limb or the side
of a hemlock or beech. You saw me, perhaps, and were surprised at my
courage; for other small birds whose voices you heard, but whose tiny
bodies escaped your young eyes, appeared very timid in comparison.

But I am not so brave, after all, and know full well when my red hat
is in danger. I am a good flyer, too, and can soon put a wide space
between myself and certain wicked boys, who, I hope, by next vacation
time will have learned so much about us that they will love every
little feathered creature, and not seek to do them any harm.

Can you guess why I have such a queer name? I really ought to be
popular in Illinois, for they tell me it is called the Sucker State,
and that the people are proud of it. Well, I am called Sapsucker
because much, if not most, of my food consists of the secret juices
which flow through the entire body of the tree which you probably saw
me running up and down and around. But you saw me, you say, very
often on dead branches of trees, and surely they had no sap in them?
No, but if you will look closely into my actions, you will see that I
destroy many insects which drill their way into the wood and deposit
their eggs. In my opinion, I do far more good than harm, though you
will find some people who think otherwise.

Then, again, if there is utility in beauty, surely I am a benefit to
every one. One day I heard a lady say that she never saw my head pop
up from behind an old stump without bursting into laughter, I looked
so funny. Now I took that as a compliment; for to give pleasure to
those around us, I have heard, is one of our highest duties.

Next summer when you seek the pleasant places where I dwell,--in the
old deadening where the trees wear girdles around them; in the open
groves, where I flit from tree to tree; in the deep wooded districts,
whence one hears the tinkling ripple of running waters, you may, if
good and gentle, see pop up behind a stump the red hat of



    The listening Dryads hushed the woods;
      The boughs were thick, and thin and few
      The golden ribbons fluttering through;
    Their sun-embroidered leafy hoods
      The lindens lifted to the blue;
    Only a little forest-brook
    The farthest hem of silence shook;
    When in the hollow shades I heard--
    Was it a spirit or a bird?
    Or, strayed from Eden, desolate,
    Some Peri calling to her mate,
    Whom nevermore her mate would cheer?
      "Pe-ri! Pe-ri! Peer!"

           *       *       *

    To trace it in its green retreat
      I sought among the boughs in vain;
      And followed still the wandering strain
    So melancholy and so sweet,
      The dim-eyed violets yearned with pain.

           *       *       *

    Long drawn and clear its closes were--
      As if the hand of Music through
      The sombre robe of Silence drew
    A thread of golden gossamer;
      So pure a flute the fairy blue.
    Like beggared princes of the wood,
    In silver rags the birches stood;
    The hemlocks, lordly counselors,
    Were dumb; the sturdy servitors,
    In beechen jackets patched and gray,
    Seemed waiting spellbound all the day
    That low, entrancing note to hear--
      "Pe-wee! Pe-wee! Peer!"

           *       *       *

    "Dear bird," I said, "what is thy name?"
    And thrice the mournful answer came,
    So faint and far, and yet so near,
      "Pe-wee! Pe-wee! Peer!"
                               --J. T. TROWBRIDGE.

 [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                WOOD PEWEE.
                Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.]


I am called the Wood Pewee, but I don't always stay in the woods. If
you have an orchard or a nice garden, you will hear me singing there
in June.

People think I am not a happy bird, because my song seems so sad. They
are very much mistaken. I am just as happy as any other little fellow
dressed in feathers, and can flirt and flutter with the best of them.

_Pewee! Pewee! Peer!_

That is my song, and my mate thinks it is beautiful. She is never far
away, and always comes at my call.

Always, did I say?

No; one day, when we were busy building our nest--which is very
pretty, almost as dainty as that of our neighbor the Humming Bird--she
flew away to quite a distance to find some soft lining-stuff on which
to lay her eggs. I had been fetching and carrying all day the lichens
to put round the nest, which was hidden among the thick leaves on the
bough of a tree, and was resting by the side of it.

_Pewee! Pewee! Peer!_

"She will hear that," thought I, and again I sang it as loud as I

"I'll bring that fellow down, too," said a boy, who surely had never
heard anything about our happy, innocent lives, and as I peered down
at him, he flung a large stone, which struck the bough on which I sat.
Oh, how frightened I was, and how quickly I flew away!

"He has killed my little mate," I thought. Still, I called in my
plaintive way, _Pewee! Pewee! Peer!_

A faint, low cry led me to the foot of a large tree, and there on the
ground lay my mate, struggling to rise and fly to me.

"I think my wing is broken," she sobbed. "Oh, that wicked, wicked

I petted her with my broad, flat beak, and after a while she was able
to fly with me to our nest; but it was days and days before she was
out of pain. I am sure if that boy sees my story in BIRDS, he will
never give such an innocent _little_ creature misery again.

I dress plainly, in a coat of olive and brown, and they _do_ say my
manners are stiff and abrupt.

But my voice is very sweet, and there is something about it which
makes people say: "Dear little bird, sad little bird! what may your
name be?"

Then I answer:

_Pewee! Pewee! Peer!_


Although one of the most abundant species, common all over the United
States, the retiring habits, plainness of dress, and quiet manners of
this little bird have caused it to be comparatively little known. Dr.
Brewer says that if noticed at all, it is generally confounded with
the common Pewee, or Phoebe bird, though a little observation is
sufficient to show how very distinct they are. The Wood Pewee will sit
almost motionless for many minutes in an erect position, on some dead
twig or other prominent perch, patiently watching for its insect prey.
While its position is apparently so fixed, however, its eyes are
constantly on the alert, and close watching will show that the bird
now and then turns its head as its glance follows the course of some
distant insect, while anon the feathers of the crown are raised, so as
to form a sort of blunt pyramidal crest. This sentinel-like attitude
of the Wood Pewee is in marked contrast to the restless motion of the
Phoebe, who, even if perched, keeps its tail constantly in motion,
while the bird itself seldom remains long in a fixed position. The
notes of the two species (see August BIRDS) are as different as their
habits, those of the Wood Pewee being peculiarly plaintive--a sort of
wailing _pe-e-e-e-i, wee_, the first syllable emphasized and long
drawn out, and the tone, a clear, plaintive, wiry whistle, strikingly
different from the cheerful, emphatic notes of the true Pewee.

The Wood Pewee, like all of its family, is an expert catcher of
insects, even the most minute, and has a remarkably quick perception
of their near presence, even when the light of day has nearly gone
and in the deep gloom of the thick woods. Dr. Brewer describes it as
taking its station at the end of a low dead limb, from which it darts
out in quest of insects, sometimes for a single individual, which it
seizes with a sharp snap of its bill; and, frequently meeting insect
after insect, it keeps up a constant snapping sound as it passes on,
and finally returns to its post to resume its watch. While watching it
occasionally twitters, with a quivering movement of the head and tail,
uttering a feeble call-note, sounding like _pee-e_.

The nest of the Wood Pewee, which is always "saddled" and securely
attached to a rather stout branch, usually lichen-covered, is said
to be one of the most elegant examples of bird architecture. From
beneath it so much resembles a natural portion of the limb, but
for its betrayal by the owner, it would seldom be discovered. It is
saucer-shaped, with thick walls, and the whole exterior is a beautiful
"mosaic" of green, gray, and glaucous lichen. The eggs are a rich
delicate cream color, ornamented by a "wreath" round the larger end of
madder-brown, purple, and lilac spots.

The Wood Pewee has many admirers, a more interesting creature to watch
while feeding being hard to imagine. Often you will find him in the
parks. Sitting in some quiet, shady spot, if you wait, he will soon
show himself as he darts from the fence post not far away, to return
to it time after time with, possibly, the very insect that has been
buzzing about your face and made you miserable. His movements are so
quick that even the fly cannot elude him.

And to some he is pleasant as a companion. One who loves birds once
saw this Flycatcher flying in a circle and repeating breathlessly his
emphatic _chebec_. "He sang on the wing, and I have never heard notes
which seemed more expressive of happiness."

 [Illustration: From col. F. M. Woodruff.
                SNOW BUNTING.
                Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.]


Bobbie didn't want to go to school that morning, and he looked very
cheerfully out upon the cloudy sky and falling flakes of snow,
pretending to shiver a little when the angry gusts of wind blew the
snow sharply into people's faces.

"I guess it's better for little boys like me to stay at home in such
weather as this, mamma," said he, all the while hoping the snow would
soon be deep enough for him to ride down the hill on his sled.

Before his mamma could reply Bobbie gave a cry of delight which drew
her at once to the window.

As from the snow clouds, on bold and rapid wing, came whirling down an
immense flock of birds, white, streaked with gray and brown, chirping,
calling to one another, the whole flock settling upon the open places
in a field in front of Bobbie's house.

"Oh, the dear little things," said Bobbie, "they looked like little
white angels dropping out of the clouds."

"Those are our winter neighbors," said his mamma, "the Snow Buntings
or Snowflakes--they visit us only in winter, their summer homes being
away up North near the Arctic Circle in the region of perpetual

"Do they build their nests in trees?" asked Bobbie, who never tired
hearing about the birds.

"There are no trees in that bleak region, only scrubby bushes," was
the answer. "They build a thick, deep grassy nest, well lined with
rabbit fur, or Snow Owl feathers, which they tuck under a ledge of
rock or bunch of grass."

"They chirrup just like sparrows," reflected Bobbie, "can they sing?"

"They only sing when up in their Northern home. There a male Snowflake
will sing as merrily as his cousin the Goldfinch."

"They look like Sparrows, too," said Bobbie, "only whiter and softer,
I think."

"In the summer they are nearly all white, the brown edges having
worn away, leaving them pure black and white. They are very shy and
suspicious, and at the least sound you will see them all whirl aloft
braving the blasts of winter like little heroes."

"Well," said Bobbie, after a while, "if those little soft white birds
can go about in such weather, I guess I can too," and in a few minutes
with high rubber boots, and a fur cap drawn over his ears, off trudged
Bobbie like another little hero to school.


This charming bird comes to us at a time when his presence may be
truly welcomed and appreciated, nearly all our summer companions of
the feathered tribe having departed. He might not inappropriately be
named the great Snowflake, though in winter he wears a warm brown
cloak, with black stripes, brown collar, and a brown and white vest.
In summer, however, he is snow white, with black on the back, wings,
and tail. He lives all over northern North America, and in the United
States as far south as Georgia.

About the first of November, flocks of Snowflakes may be seen
arriving, the males chanting a very low and somewhat broken, but
very pleasant song. Some call him White Snowbird, and Snow Bunting,
according to locality. The birds breed throughout the Arctic regions
of both continents, the National Museum at Washington possessing nests
from the most northern points of Alaska, (Point Barrow), and from
Labrador, as well as from various intermediate localities.

These birds are famous seed eaters, and are rarely found in trees.
They should be looked for on the ground, in the air, for they are
constantly seeking new feeding grounds, in the barn-yard, or about the
hay stack, where seeds are plentiful. They also nest on the ground,
building a deep, grassy nest, lined with rabbit fur or feathers, under
a projecting ledge of rock or thick bunch of grass. It seems curious
that few persons readily distinguish them from their sparrow cousins,
as they have much more white about them than any other color. Last
November multitudes of them invaded Washington Park, settling on the
ground to feed, and flying up and scurrying away to successive
pastures of promise. With their soft musical voices and gentle
manners, they were a pleasing feature of the late Autumn landscape.
"Chill November's surly blast" making "field and forest bare," had no
terrors for them, but rather spread before them a feast of scattered
seeds, winnowed by it from nature's ripened abundance.

The Snowflakes disappear with the melting of their namesake, the
snow. They are especially numerous in snowy seasons, when flocks of
sometimes a thousand are seen in the old fields and meadows. It is
unusual, though it has been known to breed in the Northern States. In
July, 1831, Audubon found it nesting in the White Mountains, and Dr.
J. A. Allen notes a pair as breeding near Springfield, Mass. The
Arctic regions are its nesting place however, and these birds were
probably belated on their return migration. The Snowflake and
Shorelark are so much alike in habits, that the two species
occasionally associate. Ernest E. Thompson says: "Apparently the
Snowflakes get but little to eat, but in reality they always find
enough to keep them in health and spirits, and are as fat as butter
balls. In the mid-winter, in the far north, when the thermometer
showed thirty degrees below zero, and the chill blizzard was blowing
on the plains, I have seen this brave little bird gleefully chasing
his fellows, and pouring out, as he flew, his sweet voluble song with
as much spirit as ever Skylark has in the sunniest days of June."

 [Illustration: From col. F. M. Woodruff.
                Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.]


Black snowbird, in most of the United States and in Ontario, where it
is a common resident, and White Bill, are names more often applied to
this species of Sparrow than the one of Junco, by which it is known to
ornithologists. It nests in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania,
New York, and New England, and is a resident throughout the year in
northeastern Ohio, and in Michigan. In all probability, the Snowbird
does not breed, even occasionally, anywhere within the limits of the
state of Illinois, though individuals may in very rare instances be
found several weeks after others have departed for the north, these
having probably received some injury which prevents their migration.
Prof. Forbes refers to such an instance, which came under his own
observation. He saw on a tree in the edge of a wood, in the southern
part of the state, an adult specimen of the Junco, and only one,
which, he says, astonished him.

Mr. William L. Kells states that in Ontario this Junco selects a
variety of places for nesting sites, such as the upturned roots of
trees, crevices in banks, under the sides of logs and stumps, a cavity
under broken sod, or in the shelter of grass or other vegetation. The
nest is made of dry grasses, warmly and smoothly lined with hair. The
bird generally begins to nest the first week of May, and nests with
eggs are found as late as August. A nest of the Junco was found on the
rafters of a barn in Connecticut.

Almost any time after the first of October, little excursion parties
of Juncos may be looked for, and the custom continues all winter long.
When you become acquainted with him, as you surely will, during his
visit, you will like him more and more for his cheerful habits. He
will come to your back door, and present his little food petition,
very merrily indeed. He is very friendly with the Chick-a-dee, and
they are often seen together about in the barn-yards, and he even
ventures within the barn when seeds are frozen to the ground.

"The Doctor," in _Citizen Bird_, tells this pretty story of his winter

"My flock of Juncos were determined to brave all weathers. First they
ate the seeds of all the weeds and tall grasses that reached above
the snow, then they cleaned the honeysuckles of their watery black
berries. When these were nearly gone, I began to feed them every day
with crumbs, and they soon grew very tame. At Christmas an ice storm
came, and after that the cold was bitter indeed. For two days I did
not see my birds; but on the third day, in the afternoon, when I was
feeding the hens in the barn-yard, a party of feeble, half-starved
Juncos, hardly able to fly, settled down around me and began to pick
at the chicken food. I knew at a glance that after a few hours more
exposure all the poor little birds would be dead. So I shut up the
hens and opened the door of the straw-barn very wide, scattered a
quantity of meal and cracked corn in a line on the floor, and crept
behind the door to watch. First one bird hopped in and tasted the
food; he found it very good and evidently called his brothers, for in
a minute they all went in and I closed the door upon them. And I slept
better that night, because I knew that my birds were comfortable. The
next afternoon they came back again. I kept them at night in this way
for several weeks, and one afternoon several Snowflakes came in with
them." (See page 150.)


It is somewhat strange that there should be little unity of opinion
concerning a bird as well known as is this charming fellow, who has
at least one quality which we all admire--courage. We will quote a
few of the opinions of well-known observers as to whether his other
characteristics are admirable, and let the reader form his own

John Burroughs says of him: "The exquisite of the family, and the
braggart of the orchard, is the Kingbird, a bully that loves to strip
the feathers off its more timid neighbors like the Bluebird, that
feeds on the stingless bees of the hive, the drones, and earns the
reputation of great boldness by teasing large hawks, while it gives a
wide berth to the little ones." Decidedly, this classifies him with
the English Sparrow. But we will hear Dr. Brewer: "The name, Kingbird,
is given it on the supposition that it is superior to all other birds
in the reckless courage with which it will maintain an unequal
warfare. My own observations lead me to the conclusion that writers
have somewhat exaggerated the quarrelsome disposition of this bird. I
have never, or very rarely, known it to molest or attack any other
birds than those which its own instinct prompts it to drive away in
self-defense, such as Hawks, Owls, Eagles, Crows, Jays, Cuckoos, and
Grackles." That Dr. Coues is a friend of the Kingbird, his language
amply proves: "The Kingbird is not quarrelsome--simply very lively.
He is the very picture of dash and daring in defending his home,
and when he is teaching his youngsters how to fly. He is one of
the best of neighbors, and a brave soldier. An officer of the guild
of Sky Sweepers, also a Ground Gleaner and Tree Trapper killing
robber-flies, ants, beetles, and rose-bugs. A good friend to horses
and cattle, because he kills the terrible gadflies. Eats a little
fruit, but chiefly wild varieties, and only now and then a bee." If
you now have any difficulty in making up your verdict, we will present
the testimony of one other witness, who is, we think, an original
observer, as well as a delightful writer, Bradford Torrey. He was in
the country. "Almost, I could have believed myself in Eden," he says.
"But, alas, even the birds themselves were long since shut out of that
garden of innocence, and as I started back toward the village a Crow
went hurrying past me, with a Kingbird in hot pursuit. The latter was
more fortunate than usual, or more plucky, actually alighting on the
Crow's back, and riding for some distance. I could not distinguish his
motions--he was too far away for that--but I wished him joy of his
victory, and grace to improve it to the full. For it is scandalous
that a bird of the Crow's cloth should be a thief; and so, although I
reckon him among my friends--in truth, _because_ I do so--I am always
able to take it patiently when I see him chastised for his fault."

The Kingbird is a common bird in Eastern United States, but is rare
west of the Rocky Mountains. It is perhaps better known by the name of
Beebird or Bee-martin. The nest is placed in an orchard or garden, or
by the roadside, on a horizontal bough or in the fork at a moderate
height; sometimes in the top of the tallest trees along streams. It is
bulky, ragged, and loose, but well capped and brimmed, consisting of
twigs, grasses, rootlets, bits of vegetable down, and wool firmly
matted together, and lined with feathers, hair, etc.

 [Illustration: From col. F. M. Woodruff.
                KING BIRD.
                Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.]


You think, my young friends, because I am called Kingbird I should be
large and fine looking.

Well, when you come to read about Kings in your history-book you will
find that size has nothing to do with Kingliness. I have heard,
indeed, that some of them were very puny little fellows, in mind as
well as in body.

If it is courage that makes a king then I have the right to be called
Kingbird. They say I have a reckless sort of courage, because I attack
birds a great deal larger than myself.

I would not call it courage to attack anything smaller than myself,
would you? A big man finds it easy to shoot a little bird in the air;
and a big boy does not need to be brave to kill or cripple some poor
little animal that crosses his path. He only needs to be a coward to
do that!

I only attack my enemies,--the Hawks, Owls, Eagles, Crows, Jays, and
Cuckoos. They would destroy my young family if I did not drive them
away. Mr. Crow especially is a great thief. When my mate is on her
nest I keep a sharp lookout, and when one of my enemies approaches I
give a shrill cry, rise in the air, and down I pounce on his back; I
do this more than once, and how I make the feathers fly!

The little hawks and crows I never attack, and yet they call me a
bully. Sometimes I do go for a Song-bird or a Robin, but only when
they come too near my nest. People wonder why I never attack the
cunning Catbird. I'll never tell them, you may be sure!

To what family do I belong? To a large family called Flycatchers.
Because some Kings are tyrants I suppose, they call me the Tyrant
Flycatcher. Look for me next summer on top of a wire fence or dead
twig of a tree, and watch me, every few minutes, dash into the air,
seize a passing insect, and then fly back to the same perch again.

Any other names? Yes, some folks call me the Bee Bird or Bee Martin.
Once in awhile I change my diet and do snap up a bee! but it is always
a drone, not a honey-bee. Some ill-natured people say I choose the
drones because they can't sting, and not because they are tramp bees
and will not work.

Sing? Yes, when my mate is on her nest I please her with a soft pretty
song, at other times my call-note is a piercing Kyrie-K-y-rie! I live
with you only in the summer. When September comes I fly away to a
warmer climate.


Page 123.

#BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER.#--_Dendroica blackburniæ._

RANGE--Eastern North America; breeds from northern Minnesota and
southern Maine northward to Labrador and southward along the
Alleghenies to South Carolina; winters in the tropics.

NEST--Of fine twigs and grasses, lined with grasses and tendrils, in
coniferous trees, ten to forty feet up.

EGGS--Four, grayish white or bluish white, distinctly and obscurely
spotted, speckled, and blotched with cinnamon brown or olive brown.

       *       *       *       *       *

Page 128.

#AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.#--_Spinus tristis._ Other names: "Yellow-bird,"

RANGE--Eastern North America; breeds from South Carolina to southern
Labrador; winters from the northern United States to the Gulf.

NEST--Externally, of fine grasses, strips of bark and moss, thickly
lined with thistle down; in trees or bushes, five to thirty feet up.

EGGS--Three to six, pale bluish white.

       *       *       *       *       *

Page 131.

#CHIMNEY SWIFT.#--_Chætura pelagica._ Other name: "Chimney Swallow."

RANGE--Eastern North America; breeds from Florida to Labrador; winters
in Central America.

NEST--A bracket-like basket of dead twigs glued together with saliva,
attached to the wall of a chimney, generally about ten feet from the
top, by the gummy secretions of the bird's salivary glands.

EGGS--Four to six, white.

       *       *       *       *       *

Page 135.

#HORNED LARK.#--_Otocoris alpestris._ Other name: "Shore Lark."

RANGE--Breeds in northern Europe, Greenland, Newfoundland, Labrador,
and Hudson Bay region; southward in winter into eastern United States
to about latitude 35°.

NEST--Of grasses, on the ground.

EGGS--Three or four, pale bluish or greenish white, minutely and
evenly speckled with pale grayish brown.

       *       *       *       *       *

Page 140.

#SAPSUCKER, YELLOW-BELLIED.#--_Sphyrapicus varius._

RANGE--Eastern North America; breeds from Massachusetts northward, and
winters from Virginia to Central America.

NEST--About forty feet from the ground.

EGGS--Five to seven.

       *       *       *       *       *

Page 141.

#WARBLING VIREO.#--_Vireo gilvus._ Other name: "Yellow-throated Vireo."

RANGE--North America; breeds as far north as the Hudson Bay region;
winters in the tropics.

NEST--Pensile, of grasses and plant fibres, firmly and smoothly
interwoven, lined with fine grasses, suspended from a forked branch
eight to forty feet up.

EGGS--Three or four, white, with a few specks or spots of black umber,
or rufous-brown, chiefly about the larger end.

       *       *       *       *       *

Page 146.

#WOOD PEWEE.#--_Contopus Virens._

RANGE--Eastern North America; breeds from Florida to Newfoundland;
winters in Central America.

NEST--Compact and symmetrical, of fine grasses, rootlets and moss,
thickly covered with lichens, saddled on a limb, twenty to forty feet

EGGS--Three or four, white, with a wreath of distinct and obscure
markings about the larger end.

       *       *       *       *       *

Page 150.

#SNOWFLAKE.#--_Plectrophenax nivalis._ Other name: "Snow Bunting."

RANGE--Northern parts of northern hemisphere, breeding in the arctic
regions; in North America, south in Winter into the northern United
States, irregularly to Georgia, southern Illinois, and Kansas.

NEST--Of grasses, rootlets, and moss, lined with finer grasses and
feathers, on the ground.

EGGS--Four to seven, pale bluish white, thinly marked with umber or
heavily spotted or washed with rufous-brown.

       *       *       *       *       *

Page 153.

#JUNCO#--_Junco hyemalis._ Other name: "Snowbird."

RANGE--North America; breeds from northern Minnesota to northern New
York and southward along the summits of the Alleghenies to Virginia;
winters southward to the Gulf States.

NEST--Of grasses, moss, and rootlets, lined with fine grasses and long
hairs, on or near the ground.

EGGS--Four or five, white or bluish white, finely or evenly speckled
or spotted, sometimes heavily blotched at the larger end with

       *       *       *       *       *

Page 158.

#KINGBIRD.#--_Tyrannus tyrannus._

RANGE--North America north to New Brunswick and Manitoba; rare west of
the Rocky Mountains; winters in Central and South America.

NEST--Compact and symmetrical, of weed-stocks, grasses, and moss,
lined with plant down, fine grasses, and rootlets, generally at the
end of a branch fifteen to twenty-five feet from the ground.

EGGS--Three to five, white, spotted with umber.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Birds, Illustrated by Color Photography, Vol. 2, No. 4 - October, 1897" ***

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