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Title: Birds and Nature Vol. 9 No. 2 [February 1901]
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 and Nature Vol. 9 No. 2 [February 1901]" ***

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                           BIRDS AND NATURE.
  Vol. IX.                   FEBRUARY, 1901.                      No. 2


    FEBRUARY.                                                         49
    FROST-WORK.                                                       49
    THE HAWKS.                                                        50
    INTERESTING STONE HOUSES.                                         55
    THE ALASKAN SPARROW.                                              56
    THE DOWITCHER. (_Macrorhamphus griseus._)                         59
        All the beautiful stars of the sky                            59
    THE GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE. (_Quiscalus macrourus._)                62
    THE EAGLE.                                                        62
    THE GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OF BIRDS.                           65
    THE HOODED WARBLER (_Sylvania mitrata._)                          71
    MRS. JANE’S EXPERIMENT.                                           72
    A STROLL IN THE FROST KING’S REALM.                               73
    SNAILS OF THE FOREST AND FIELD.                                   74
    THE GILA MONSTER. (_Heloderma suspectum._)                        80
    BIRD NOTES.                                                       85
    THE POMEGRANATE. (_Punica granatum._)                             86
    CINNAMON. (_Cinnamomum cassia blume._)                            95
    AT DUSK.                                                          96


  Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
  And reigns the winter’s pregnant silence still;
  No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
  And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
  These are the days when ancients held a rite
  Of expiation for the old year’s ill,
  And prayer to purify the new year’s will;
  Fit days, ere yet the spring rains blur the sight,
  Ere yet the bounding blood grows hot with haste,
  And dreaming thoughts grow heavy with a greed
  The ardent summer’s joy to have and taste;
  Fit days, to give to last year’s losses heed,
  To reckon clear the new life’s sterner need;
  Fit days, for Feast of Expiation placed!
                                                    —Helen Hunt Jackson.


  These winter nights, against my window-pane
  Nature with busy pencil draws designs
  Of ferns and blossoms and fine spray of pines,
  Oak-leaf and acorn and fantastic vines,
  Which she will make when summer comes again—
  Quaint arabesques in argent, flat and cold,
  Like curious Chinese etchings.... By and by,
  Walking my leafy garden as of old,
  These frosty fantasies shall charm my eye
  In azure, damask, emerald, and gold.
                                                 —Thomas Bailey Aldrich.

                               THE HAWKS.

Among the birds that are most useful to man may be classed the Hawks.
They, with the vultures, the eagles and the owls, belong to the bird
order Raptores, or birds of prey. Unlike the vultures the Hawks feed
upon living prey while the former seek the dead or dying animal. The
vultures are often called “Nature’s Scavengers,” and in many localities
they have been so carefully protected that they will frequent the
streets of towns, seeking food in the gutters.

The family Falconidae, which includes the Hawks, the falcons, the
vultures, the kites, and the eagles—all diurnal birds of prey—numbers
about three hundred and fifty species, of which between forty and fifty
are found in North America. The remainder are distributed throughout the

The flight of the Hawks is more than beautiful, it is majestic. Even
when perched high in the air on the top of a dead monarch of the forest,
there is a silent dignity in their pose. It is from these perches that
some of the species watch the surrounding country for their prey,
swooping down upon it when observed and seizing it in their long, sharp
and curved claws. Their food is almost invariably captured while on the
wing. The bill, which is short, hooked and with sinuate cutting edges,
is used for tearing the flesh of its victim into shreds.

Among our more common hawks there are but five or six that may
truthfully be classed among the birds that are injurious to the
interests of man. Among these, the Cooper’s hawk and the sharp-shinned
hawk deserve the most attention, as they feed almost entirely upon other
birds and poultry. To these two the name chicken hawk may be aptly
applied. The domestic pigeon is a dainty morsel for these ravagers of
the barnyard. On the other hand, by far the larger number of the Hawks
are of great value to man. They are gluttonous whenever the food supply
is unlimited, and, as their powers of digestion are wonderfully
developed, it takes but a short time for the food to be absorbed and
they are then ready for more. With their keen eyesight they readily
detect the rodents and other small mammals that are so destructive to
crops and with a remarkable swiftness of flight they pounce upon them.
Dr. Fisher says, “Of the rapacious birds with which our country is so
well furnished, there are but few which deserve to be put on the black
list and pursued without mercy. The greater number either pass their
whole lives in the constant performance of acts of direct benefit to man
or else more than make good the harm they do in the destruction of
insectivorous birds and poultry by destroying a much greater number of
mammals well known to be hostile to the farmer.”

Dr. Fisher obtained the following results from the examination of the
stomachs of two thousand, two hundred and twelve birds of prey. This
number does not include any of those that feed extensively upon game and
poultry. In three and one-half per centum the remains of poultry or game
birds were found; eleven per centum contained remains of other birds;
forty-two and one-half per centum contained the remains of mice; in
fourteen per centum other mammals were found and twenty-seven per centum
contained insect remains. This summary includes not only the Hawks but
also the owls, eagles and related birds. It is evident from these
results that man has a friend in these birds that is of inestimable
value to him.

                            [Illustration: ]

The use of falcons and Hawks in the chase dates far back in the history
of the Old World. For ages it was one of the principal sports of mankind
and especially of the nobility. Hawks may be trained to a high degree of
efficiency in the capturing of other birds. It is said that the Chinese
knew of this characteristic of the Hawks at least two thousand years
before the time of Christ. In Japan the art of falconry was practiced
about six or seven hundred years before Christ.

The art is also believed to be represented in a bas-relief found in the
Khorsahad ruins in which a falconer is apparently bearing a hawk on his
wrist. Thus these ancient ruins of Nineveh show that the art must have
been known at least seventeen hundred years before Christ.

That falconry was known to the ancient races of Africa is highly
probable, though there is but little in the earlier written history of
that continent regarding it. Egyptian carvings and drawings, however,
indicate without a doubt that the art was there known centuries ago.
Falconry is still practiced to some extent in Africa.

The art, though not obsolete in those countries of Europe where, in the
middle ages, it was regarded as the greatest and most noble of all
sports, is not national in its character. During the reign of William
the Conqueror laws were enacted in England which were most stringent
regarding falconry. At one time “falcons and hawks were allotted to
degrees and orders of men according to rank and station, to royalty the
jerfalcon, to an earl the peregrine, to a yeoman the goshawk, to a
priest the sparrow-hawk, and to a knave or servant the useless kestrel.”

To train a hawk for this sport requires great skill and patience. The
temper, disposition and, in fact, every peculiarity of each individual
bird must be carefully studied. In these respects it may be said that no
two birds are exactly alike. Technically the name falcon, as used by the
falconer, is applied only to the female of the various species used in
the conducting of this sport.

The peregrine falcon or hawk is usually accepted as the type falcon of
falconry. The name peregrine, from the Latin peregrinus, means
wandering, and refers to the fact that this species is almost
cosmopolitan, though the geographical races are given varietal names.
The duck hawk (Falco peregrinus anatum) is one of the representatives in
America. “The food of this hawk consists almost exclusively of birds, of
which water-fowl and shore birds form the greater part.”

The Hawks of our illustration are natives of North America ranging from
Mexico northward. The American Rough-legged Hawk (Archibuteo lagopus
sancti-johannis) is a geographical variety of a rough-legged form that
is found in northern Europe and Asia. It is also known by the names of
Black Rough-legged and Black Hawk.

This Hawk is one of the largest and most attractive of all the species
of North America. Dr. Fisher tells us that “it is mild and gentle in
disposition, and even when adult may be tamed in the course of a few
days so that it will take food from the hand and allow its head and back
to be stroked. When caged with other species of hawks, it does not as a
rule fight for the food, but waits until the others have finished,
before it begins to eat.”

In spite of its large size and apparent strength it does not exhibit the
spirit that is so characteristic of the falcons. It preys almost
entirely on field mice and other rodents, frogs and probably, at times
and in certain localities, upon insects especially the grasshoppers. It
is said that they will feed upon lizards, snakes and toads. They do not
molest the poultry of the farmer or the game birds of the field, forest
or of our water courses, at least not to any extent. Their size and
their slow and heavy flight would nearly always give sufficient warning
to permit the ordinary fowls to seek cover.

No better evidence as to the character of its food can be furnished than
the results of the examination of forty-nine stomachs as related by Dr.
Fisher. Of these forty contained mice; five, other mammals; one,
lizards; one, the remains of seventy insects (this specimen was killed
in Nebraska); and four, were empty. It is interesting to note “that the
southern limit of its wanderings in winter is nearly coincident with the
southern boundary of the region inhabited by meadow mice.”

Sir John Richardson says, “In the softness and fullness of its plumage,
its feathered legs and habits, this bird bears some resemblance to the
owls. It flies slowly, sits for a long time on the bough of a tree,
watching for mice, frogs, etc., and is often seen sailing over swampy
pieces of ground, and hunting for its prey by the subdued daylight,
which illuminates even the midnight hours in the high parallels of
latitude.” Mr. Ridgway says, “for noble presence and piercing eye this
bird has few equals among our Falconidae.”

The eggs of this species vary from two to five and are usually somewhat
blotched or irregularly marked with chocolate brown on a dull white

The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo borealis) of our illustration is young and
shows the plumage of the immature form.

This species may be called our winter hawk and for this reason the name
borealis is most appropriate. “The coldest days of January serve to give
this hawk a keener eye and a deeper zest for the chase.” The best
locality to seek the Red-tail may be found at the wooded borders of
pastures and streams, where it can easily perceive and swoop down upon
its prey. It seldom visits a barnyard, but will occasionally catch a
fowl that has strayed away from the protection of buildings. Its food
consists to a great extent of meadow and other species of mice, rabbits
and other rodents. The remains of toads, frogs and snakes have also been
found in its stomach. One writer says, “The Red-tailed Hawk is a
powerful bird and I once saw one strike a full-grown muskrat, which it
tore to pieces and devoured the greater part.”

Dr. Fisher gives an interesting summary of the examination of five
hundred and sixty-two stomachs. Fifty-four contained poultry or game
birds; fifty-one, other birds; two hundred and seventy-eight contained
mice; one hundred and thirty-one, other mammals; thirty-seven, frogs and
related animals or reptiles; forty-seven, insects; eight, crawfish; one,
centipedes; thirteen, offal, and eighty-nine were empty. This surely is
not a bad showing for this bird, so often maligned by being called “hen”
or “chicken-hawk.” Its preferred food is evidently the smaller mammals,
and as it is common or even abundant it must be of great value to
agricultural interests. The younger birds are more apt to take poultry
because of “a lack of skill in procuring a sufficient quantity of the
more usual prey.”

Mr. P. M. Silloway says, “None of the Hawks has suffered more undeserved
persecution than has the Red-tailed Buzzard or Hawk, whose
characteristics place it among the ignoble falcons, or hawks, of feudal
times. Lacking the swiftness and impetuosity of attack peculiar to the
true falcons, it depends on its ability to surprise its prey and drop
upon it when unable to escape.”

During the summer months it retires to the forests to breed, where it
builds a large and bulky though shallow nest in trees, often at a height
of from fifty to seventy-five feet from the ground. The nest is
constructed of sticks and small twigs and lined with grass, moss,
feathers or other soft materials. The number of eggs is usually three,
though there may be two or four. They are a little over two inches long
and less than two inches in diameter. They are dull whitish in color and
usually somewhat marked with various shades of brown.

The full plumage of the adult is not acquired for some time and the bird
has been long full grown before the characteristic red color of the tail

                                                          Seth Mindwell.

                       INTERESTING STONE HOUSES.

While the children were playing in a small brook, they found something
entirely new to them, and as usual, came with hands full, shouting, “We
have found something new! Do you know what these are?”

These new treasures proved to be the larvae of the caddis fly in their
stone houses. This little creature is noted for its complete
metamorphosis. The female fly often descends to the depth of a foot or
more in water to deposit her eggs. As the eggs hatch the habits of their
larvae are exceedingly interesting.

They are aquatic, being long, softish grubs, with six feet. The fish are
very fond of them, for which reason they are in great demand for bait.
The angler looks for “cad-bait” along the edges of streams, under
stones, or on the stalks of aquatic plants. One can easily see that
their lives are not free from care and danger, and so to protect
themselves, they are very wise in building cylindrical cases in which
they live during this dangerous period. The different species, of which
there are many, seem to have their individual preference as to the
substance which they employ in building these houses, some using bits of
wood, others shells, pebbles, or straws. They readily disregard these
preferences when there is a lack of the material which they usually

Those brought to me were made of different colored pebbles and were very
pretty homes. We counted the pebbles in one of them and found there were
eighty-nine used, and built so securely that it could not be easily
crushed by our fingers. They were all about an inch in length, a quarter
of an inch in diameter and were perfect cylinders with a large pebble
fastening one end; so no fish could catch them unawares. We placed them
in water, where we could watch their development. They never willingly
left their homes, only thrusting the head and a portion of the body out
in search of food.

When about to pass into the torpid pupa state, they fastened their
houses to some sticks and stones in the water, and then closed the end
with a strong silken grating, which allowed the water to pass freely
through their houses, keeping them sweet and fresh. We are told that
this fresh water is necessary for the respiration of the pupa. Thus they
remain quiet for a time until they are ready to assume the imago form.
When that important period arrives they make an opening in the silken
grating with a pair of hooked jaws, which seem to have developed while
resting in the pupa state. They also have become efficient swimmers,
using their long hind legs to assist them. After enjoying this new
exercise of swimming for a short time they evidently become anxious for
a wider experience, and coming to the surface of the water, usually
climbing up some plant, the skin of the swimmer gapes open and out flies
the perfect insect. Sometimes this final change takes place on the
surface of the water, when they use their deserted skin as a sort of
raft, from which to rise into the air, and away they go to new fields
and new experiences. These insects are known as the caddis-fly of the
order Neuroptera, having four wings, measuring about an inch when full
spread, with branched nervures, of which the anterior pair are clothed
with hairs; the posterior pair are folded in repose. The head is
furnished with a pair of large eyes, with three ocelli, and the antennae
are generally very long.

If you know the haunts of this interesting house builder, scatter some
bright sand and tiny pebbles in the water, and when they are deserted,
gather the houses for your collection.

                                                        Rest H. Metcalf.

                          THE ALASKAN SPARROW.

  There’s a far-away country, a wonderful land
    That the twilight loves best, where the finger of God
  Touched the land into shadows; unlighted they stand
    As they stood at the first over-ocean and sod,

  And the cloud and the mountain are one; all unheard
    Is the murmur of traffic, the sigh of unrest,
  And the King of the land is a golden-crowned bird
    With a robe of plain brown and an ashy-gray vest.

  Where the shadows are deepest a musical sound
    Cleaves their darkness, the song of the golden-crowned King.
  Never day is so dark but the sweet notes are heard,
    Never forest so dense but the melodies ring.

  Sing on, little King of the twilight land, sing,
    Thy kingdom extend through the oncoming days,
  Till the spaces between us with music shall ring,
    And the world hush its breath but to listen and praise.
                                                  —Nelly Hart Woodworth.

                            [Illustration: ]

                             THE DOWITCHER.
                       (_Macrorhamphus griseus._)

The range of the Dowitcher is limited to the eastern part of North
America. It has been reported as far west as the Mississippi river. It
breeds in the far north, usually within the Arctic Circle. Its migration
is extensive for it winters in Florida, the West Indies and in the
northern portion of South America.

The Dowitcher is one of the best known of our coast birds. It bears many
popular names, such as Gray Snipe, Gray-back, Dowitch, Driver,
Brown-back and Bay Bird. The generic name Macrorhamphus is derived from
two Greek words, makros, meaning large, and rhamphos, meaning bill. The
specific name griseus means gray, and probably has reference to the
grayish color of the winter plumage.

The Dowitchers are the most numerous of the seaside snipes. Inland it is
replaced by the Long-billed Dowitcher (Macrorhamphus scolopaceus), which
has a longer bill and is a little larger. Mr. Wilson, in his
Ornithology, gives the following interesting account of their habits:
“They frequent the sandbars and mud of flats at low water in search of
food and, being less suspicious of a boat than of a person on shore,
they are easily approached by this medium and shot down in great
numbers. I have frequently amused myself with the various actions of
these birds. They fly rapidly, sometimes wheeling, coursing and doubling
along the surface of the marshes; then shooting high in the air, there
separating and forming in various bodies, uttering a kind of quivering
whistle.” At the retreat of the tide flocks will frequently settle on
the shore in such large numbers and so close together that several dozen
have been killed at a single shot.

Mr. Chapman tells us that “they migrate in compact flocks, which are
easily attracted to decoys by an imitation of their call. Mud-flats and
bars exposed by the falling tide are their chosen feeding grounds. On
the Gulf coast of Florida I have seen several hundred gathered in such
close rank that they entirely concealed the sandbar on which they were

In summer the general color of these birds is dark-brown and the
feathers are more or less edged with a reddish tinge. Underneath, the
general color is light cinnamon, with white on the belly. In the winter
the plumage is more gray and the under parts are much lighter in color.

This bird usually lays four eggs of a buffy olive color, which are
marked by brown, especially near the larger end.

  All the beautiful stars of the sky,
    The silver doves of the forest of Night,
  Over the dull earth swarm and fly,
    Companions of our flight.
                                                         —James Thomson.


Man has been instructed in many things by lower animals, but there is
yet much to be learned. It is said that the first suspension bridge
across the Niagara was constructed after the plainest sort of hint from
a spider. Yet we have never found the name of Mr. Spider cut upon the
buttresses of a bridge. Who knows but that the builders of the pyramids
of ancient Egypt copied their engineering plans from the ants who for
generations had pursued similar methods in the architecture of their
cities? Spiders had been ballooning for many centuries before man swung
his first parachute to the breeze. In fact, there is a species of
spider, which, although they have no wings, are able to spin for
themselves a sort of apparatus by means of which they navigate the air;
yet man, with all his boasted intelligence, has not accomplished this,
even with the most complicated machinery. So I might go on to suggest
many mechanical and economic contrivances used by lower animals, some of
which man has copied but many of which he has as yet been unable to

Before the first potter of old had fashioned a vase or a jug the Eumenes
fraterna had constructed his dainty little jugs of mud. But the making
of jugs is not the only art man might learn from this little wasp. Upon
examination we find the jug filled with small green caterpillars. After
depositing her egg Mrs. Wasp thus provides for her baby when it shall
appear upon the field of action. Now the peculiar part of this
proceeding to which I wish to call attention is that the worm is not
dead, but is merely in a comatose state. If it had been killed it would
have putrified and entirely disappeared before the young wasp was
hatched. Furthermore, the young wasp is fond of fresh caterpillar steak,
preferably from the living animal. So Mrs. Wasp must have a method of
preserving the fresh living victim for her rapacious progeny next
spring, while he is too young to hunt for himself, and while the
caterpillars are still securely hiding in their mummy cases, Mrs. Wasp
finds the venturesome young caterpillar crawling somewhere, and pouncing
upon him, carefully inserts her sting into the nerve ganglia that are
located in a line along his dorsal surface. We don’t know how she
learned the exact location of the ganglia and that a few well-directed
stabs will produce more effect than hundreds of misdirected thrusts in
other parts of the body, but it is certainly true that she selects the
very segments in which the ganglia are located to inflict the wound. And
she had the location of these nerve centers for a long time before
biologists made the discovery. What a fine thing it would be for the
biologist if he could learn the secret of thus preserving living animals
instead of the stiff, discolored and uninteresting alcoholic specimens.
Then think of the economic value of such a discovery. Animals could be
fattened in summer at much smaller expense and then injected and set
away until needed. We would have no more difficulty in providing our
armies with beef on the hoof, and fresh meat could be shipped at much
less expense over long distances, as no ice would be necessary. We would
have no more complaint of embalmed beef and putrid canned goods.

The common mud wasp that builds in old garrets fills his nest with a
species of spider much relished by the young wasp and exhibits much
judgment in supplying exactly the right number to provide for the
growing wasp until he is able to sally forth and seize prey for himself.
These spiders—often seventeen or eighteen of them—are stupefied in the
same manner as in the case of the potter wasp, and are living when the
young wasp begins his repast. This habit is peculiar to many species of
wasp and is, I think, worthy of careful study. I wish I had space to
tell of the almost fiendish ingenuity that certain parasites show in
maintaining themselves at the expense of their hosts.

The ground hog has a knack of spending his winter in a way that is at
once economical and pleasant. They generally hibernate in pairs, rolling
themselves up into balls. They do not seem to breathe or to perform any
of the life functions during their long six months’ sleep. There is, I
fear, no foundation of fact for the ancient fiction of the ground hog
appearing and making weather prognostications on the second of February.
A gentleman writing in the New York Sun of some years since says: “I
took the trouble once to dig into a woodchuck’s burrow on Candlemas day,
and a warm, cloudy day it was; just such a day when the ground hog is
said to come out of his hole and stay out. I found two woodchucks in the
burrow, with no more signs of life about them than if they had been shot
and killed. From all outward appearances I could have taken them out and
had a game of football with them without their knowing it.”

Nor is it true that hibernating animals live upon their accumulated fat,
for digestion, as well as other active life processes, ceases.
Hibernating animals always begin their long sleep upon an empty stomach,
and food injected into their stomach is not digested. The fat
disappears, it is true, but it is not in any strict sense digested. Any
experienced hunter is aware that unless the entrails are removed from
the shot rabbit the fat will disappear from about the kidneys. The fat
may, and no doubt does, assist in some way in the long sleep. It may act
as fuel to keep up the right living temperature. At any rate, it is true
that hibernating animals eat voraciously and grow very fat just before
they go to sleep. It is a peculiar fact that many hibernating animals
bring forth their young during this period. This is especially true of
woodchucks and bears. It is a common experience with hunters that only
male bears are killed during the winter season.

Mr. Andrew Fuller of Ridgewood, New Jersey, according to the article
above quoted, had an interesting experience with a pair of Rocky
Mountain ground squirrels. After missing them for a month he
accidentally found them curled up under some straw, apparently frozen
stiff. He brought them to the house to show his wife the misfortune that
had befallen his pets. Soon they seemed to thaw out and scampered about
as lively as ever. No sooner were they put out in the cold than they
resumed their sleep, which continued all winter, their bodies
maintaining a fairly constant temperature, seldom falling below three
degrees above the freezing point of water. They came out in the spring
as chipper as if they had been asleep but one night. Many hibernating
animals will if wakened by being placed in a warm room, eat eagerly, but
they soon show a desire to resume their nap.

The Loir, a peculiar little native of Senegal, never hibernates in its
native clime, but every specimen brought to Europe becomes torpid when
exposed to cold. The common land tortoise—wherever he may be and he is a
voracious eater of almost anything—always goes to sleep in November, and
wakes some time in May.

Just as in the north numerous animals hibernate upon approach of cold,
so in the south there are species that may be said to estivate during
the hottest weather. While the northern animals curl up so as to retain
heat, his southern cousin straightens out as much as possible to allow
the heat to escape from all parts of the body.

But it was not my intention to write an essay upon hibernation and
allied phenomena, but merely to speak of it as a subject that should be
investigated. What a splendid arrangement it would be for the poor, the
sick, and the melancholy folk if they could just hibernate for six
months occasionally.

I will merely speak of the light of the so called lightning bug, with
its over ninety per centum efficiency and no heat and no consumption of
fuel to speak of. Why doesn’t some genius learn her language and find
out how she does it? She has been trying for centuries to demonstrate it
but we are too stupid to learn her secret.

                                                          Rowland Watts.

                       THE GREAT-TAILED GRACKLE.
                        (_Quiscalus macrourus._)

The Great-tailed Grackle belongs to a family of birds that is “eminently
characteristic of the New World, all the species being peculiar to
America.” It is the family of the blackbird and oriole, of the bobolink
and the meadowlark. It is called the Icteridae, from a Greek word
ikteros, meaning a yellow bird. The majority of the one hundred and
fifty or more species that are grouped in this family make their home in
the tropics where their brilliant colors are emphasized by the ever
green foliage and the bright sunshine.

The family is interesting because the species, though closely related,
vary so widely in their habits. They “are found living in ground of
every nature, from dry plains and wet marshes to the densest forest
growth.” Here are classed some of the birds which are among the most
beautiful of our songsters. Here, too, are classed some species that
never utter a musical sound, and whose voices are harsh and rough. The
sexes are usually dissimilar, the female being the smaller and generally
much duller in color.

The Great-tailed Grackle is a native of Eastern Texas, and the country
southward into Central America. The Grackles are sometimes called Crow
Blackbirds. There are five species, all found in the United States, The
Bronzed and the Purple Grackles are the most generally distributed and
best known.

The Great-tailed Grackle, as well as the other species, usually builds
rude and bulky nests in trees, sometimes at quite a height from the
ground. It will also nest in shrubs and it is said that it will
occasionally select holes in large trees. The males are an iridescent
black in color and the females are brown and much smaller. Both sexes
spend most of their time on the ground. Their feet are strong and large,
and, when upon the ground, they walk or run and never hop.

                               THE EAGLE.

  He clasps the crag with hooked hands;
  Close to the sun in lonely lands,
  Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

  The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
  He watches from his mountain walls,
  And like a thunderbolt he falls.
                                                       —Alfred Tennyson.

                            [Illustration: ]


What do we mean by the “Geographical Distribution” of birds? Are not
birds to be found everywhere, over both land and sea? Are they not,
then, universally distributed? As a class they certainly are, but not as
species nor even orders. Parrots are not found in frigid regions, nor
are snowflakes and snowy owls found in the tropical regions. Our Wood
Warblers and Vireos are not found outside of America, while there are no
birds of Paradise anywhere in America. We shall see that most of the
birds found in the eastern hemisphere differ from those found in the
western, speaking broadly, but that many of the island birds are
different from birds of continents.

Since most birds migrate shorter or longer distances in search of a
place to rear their young, and return again to warmer regions to pass
the winter months, the question at once arises, What is the geographical
distribution of such migratory birds? That is not so difficult as it may
seem at first glance. We have only to inquire what governs the movements
of the species in question in such a way that its appearance at certain
places at certain known times may be confidently expected. The study of
migration and breeding has shown that the impulse to move northward in
the spring to the old nesting-places where the young are reared is more
reliable than the impulse to move southward on the approach of cold. The
birds are more certain to appear at their old summer homes in spring
than they are to be found at any particular place during the winter. But
if there be any objection to this view it will yet remain true that
where a bird rears its young should more properly be called its home
than the place to which it is forced by the approach of cold or the lack
of food. In either case, therefore, we may regard the home of the bird,
and therefore treat its distribution geographically as the place where
it habitually rears its young. Having settled the question as to what
shall determine the distribution of the separate species, it remains to
study the physical conditions of the earth for the sake of finding what
it is that determines the limits to which the different species may go.

We know that the distribution of land and water over the earth has not
always been the same as it is now, but that many places that are now
covered with water were once dry land, and that in many places where
there is now land there used to be water. Now, America is wholly
separated from Uro-Asia-Africa, but once they were connected together by
a broad neck of land where Bering Sea now lies, and there may have been
another neck of land connecting Europe with Iceland and Greenland and so
with North America. Now Australia and New Zealand are wholly separated
from all other lands, but they were not so long ago. So of the larger
islands in general, they have not always been isolated as now, but
connected with great land masses, sharing with them the animals which
roamed over the whole vast regions. For in the earlier times before Man
had appeared upon the earth, before the great Glacial Period, the whole
earth was tropical in climate, making it possible for plants as well as
animals to live anywhere upon the earth, as they cannot now. Then
extensive migrations north and south were not necessary, but instead
there were roamings about in all directions, or great invasions of new
regions by hosts of animals of one kind.

As the land sank away here and there, and the sea covered it, barriers
were thus formed to further roamings, except by the birds of strong
flight or animals that could swim long distances, and there could no
longer be an intermingling of the animals of the whole land surface of
the world. Since all animals are inclined to change somewhat to meet or
keep pace with the changes that are going on in vegetation and the
general physical conditions of the earth, those that have been separated
in this way will grow more and more unlike. In some such isolated
regions there may not be much change in their environment and so they
will change but little, if at all, and so will not keep pace with those
in other regions where life is a constant struggle with others for
supremacy. It is just as true in the natural world as in the commercial,
that competition is necessary for the highest development. It is
probably true that the disturbances which caused the land to sink in
places and so disconnect what had been connected lands, possibly a
splitting up of one great flat land mass, also brought about the changes
which made out of one great tropical world the one that we know with its
frigid, temperate and tropical zones. So that just at the time when the
animals of the different regions were separated from each other forever
there came these changes in physical conditions which would make them
change to meet the new conditions. But that is a long story for the
geologist to tell. Of course the sinking of the land in different
regions occurred at different times, probably thousands of years apart
in many cases. And the changes from tropical to temperate and frigid
must have been very gradual also, or there would have been no animals
left alive in the northern and southern regions. Only those near the
equator could have lived.

Probably New Zealand was the first considerable land mass to be
separated absolutely and for all time from all other land, because here
we find the lowest type of birds and lower animals. There are no
terrestrial indigenous mammals even. Such birds as were not able to fly
across the now wide stretches of ocean did not continue to develop
rapidly because there was little change in their environment and because
there was little or no competition with other similar forms. So to-day
we find them either very similar to what they were when their island
home was made an island home, or else even degenerated into flightless
creatures. Australia seems to have been the next tract of land cut off,
for here, too, we meet with the lower forms which show the lack of the
keen competition which their relatives further north had to sustain.
When North America was cut off from Siberia, marking the close of more
or less extensive interchange of communication of the animals of both
regions, there was little difference in their animal life; but following
this separation there came about a more rapid change in the Orient than
in the Occident. It may not be quite clear why this was so, but that it
was cannot be doubted, for some of the lower forms of animals which
still inhabit America have been completely destroyed in the Orient. At
the time of their separation these forms were found in both places. What
seems a probable explanation of this more rapid change in the Orient may
be briefly stated. The configuration of the Orient is such that animals
would have a far greater range east and west than north and south. A
great mountain range and a great desert are thrown as barriers across
the way of the northward and southward movement. In America there is a
continuous gateway to the north and south, but barriers to an eastward
or westward movement. With such creatures as the birds freedom to move
north and south would always lessen competition, while the crowding of
one group or race upon another eastward or westward would increase the
competition. But Geology tells us that in the Orient such westward
invasions have actually occurred, causing the death of the less hardy
forms and the modification of all forms of animal life.

It must not be understood, from what has been said, that all the
animals, especially the birds, found in any one country or island, are
different from the birds found in all others, for that is not true.
There are many species of birds that are found practically all over the
earth. But what is true is that each country or region of any
considerable extent, or group of oceanic islands has some species which
are not found anywhere else in the world.

From what has already been said it will be clear that the world may be
divided into several different regions, according to the animals which
are peculiar to the different ones. Following Newton’s system, because
it seems the most logical, at least so far as the birds are concerned,
we have first

                        THE NEW ZEALAND REGION.

Here we find the flightless Apteryx and a flightless goose now extinct,
also the extinct Moa. There, are also peculiar forms among the
shore-birds, the birds of prey, the parrots, and some rather curiously
constituted passerine birds. There have been several species introduced
in relatively recent times, some of which already show signs of change.

                         THE AUSTRALIAN REGION

is but slightly connected with the preceding. The line separating this
region from the Indian passes between the islands of Bali and Lombok,
through the Strait of Macassar, between Borneo and Celebes, thence
northward between the Philippines and Sanguir and Pelew; including,
further on, the Ladrones, Hawaiians, all of Polynesia except the
northern outliers of the New Zealand group, and finally sweeping back to
encompass Australia. Here we find the curious egg-laying mammal,
Ornithorhynchus. But to pass at once to the birds. Here we find such
peculiar forms as the megapodes, cassowaries, sun-bitterns,
birds-of-paradise, lyre-birds, and many not so familiar. Of the higher
birds there are but few compared with Europe or America. It is evidently
a continent which has long been separated from the rest of the world.

                         THE NEOTROPICAL REGION

includes, broadly, tropical America. The forms found here bear certain
resemblances to those found in the two regions already discussed; but
this resemblance is probably rather because they are low in the scale of
development than that there has ever been any direct land connection
between them. Much the same conditions of life must have prevailed for
all, thus making the rate of development nearly equal. Here we find the
rhea, tinamou and hoactzin, which show low grade; but mingling freely
with them the higher forms which seem to have come down from the north
later and all but crowded out these lower ones. There is abundant
evidence that the struggle for existence in South America has been far
less severe than in North America.

                         THE HOLARCTIC REGION,

as the name implies, includes all of North America, Europe, Asia north
of India, and the Himalaya mountains, northern Africa where the great
Sahara forms the natural boundary, and all islands belonging to the
north temperate and north frigid zones. Many have divided this great
belt into Palearctic and Nearctic, but the intermingling of species
between northeast Siberia and Alaska seems to make such a distinction
impracticable. But these distinctions should be and are retained in the
divisions of the Holarctic. When we understand that at least one-third
of the species found in the Nearctic are also found in the Palearctic,
we shall understand why these two are grouped under one region. There
are no orders, and there seem to be no families which are found in the
Holarctic and nowhere else. Indeed, it is difficult to find even genera
which do not have some species ranging into the Neotropical, Ethiopian
or Indian. But among the species we find many. Indeed, there are few
species which nest in both the Holarctic and in the regions bounding it
on the south, and many of these are found only on the southern
boundaries of the Holarctic. In our part of the Holarctic, that is, the
Nearctic, the familiar birds about us do not nest also in the tropical

                         THE ETHIOPIAN REGION,

as the name suggests, includes the whole of Africa except that portion
north of the Sahara desert, and Arabia and Egypt, with Madagascar and
other islands in the immediate vicinity. It seems hardly necessary to
even mention the forms that are peculiar to this peculiar region. Even
the word Africa brings trooping to our minds a whole continent of
peculiarities in more realms than one. Here we find the Ostrich, the
plantain eaters, the colies and several, other families—nine in all. Of
the lower groups there are the rollers, bee-eaters, horn-bills, the
curious secretary-bird and many others. It is significant that among the
Passerine birds there are but three families that are peculiar. So on
the whole, this region has not developed so rapidly as the Holarctic.
There has not been the intense struggle for supremacy here which we see
in the north temperate and higher regions.

                           THE INDIAN REGION

completes the list. Broadly speaking, this region comprises that part of
Asia which lies east of the Indus river south of the Himalaya mountains
except the eastern half of the drainage basin of the Yang-tse-kiang
river, reaching the coast just south of Shanghai, including the island
of Formosa, the Philippines, Borneo, Java, Sumatra and Ceylon. This is
the Oriental Region of Wallace. There are, apparently, but two families
of birds peculiar to this region: the bulbuls and the broad-bills; but
there are very many genera and species found nowhere else in the world.
The king-crows, sun-birds, swallow-shrikes, argus pheasant, jungle fowl
and the well-known peacocks belong here. Very many of the birds of this
region are gaudily colored and striking in appearance.

Each of these great regions, except possibly New Zealand, are readily
divisible into sub-regions, and these again into areas of lesser extent,
until each fauna may be assigned its proper place. Thus in the Holarctic
Region we recognize the Nearctic, which comprises about all of North
America, and a Palearctic sub-region, the outlines of which have already
been sketched. Within the Nearctic three minor regions are recognized.
The Arctic “includes that part of the continent and its adjacent islands
north of about the limit of forest vegetation” (Allen). That is, extreme
northern and northwestern Alaska, sweeping southeasterly through British
America to and including Hudson Bay, northern and northeastern Labrador
and northern Newfoundland. The Cold Temperate, which lies next south,
begins in the east near Quebec, then sweeps westward past the Great
Lakes almost to Winnipeg, thence in a northwesterly direction just west
of Lake Winnipeg; from there in a more westerly direction to the
mountains, which it follows even into northern Mexico as a narrow line;
from the west coast at the north end of Vancouver Island it runs east to
the mountains. Maine and Nova Scotia are a part of the Allegheny belt
which reaches to Alabama. Below this southern limit of the Cold
Temperate lies the Warm Temperate, extending almost to Central America.
But this is again subdivided into an eastern Humid Province which ends
at the Plains, and a western Arid Province. These are again subdivided
into an Appalachian Subprovince and an Austroriparian Subprovince for
the Humid Province, and a Sonoran and Campestrian Subprovince for the
Arid Province. But the boundaries of these minor subdivisions are not
yet definitely settled, nor are the characteristic species in each
finally decided upon, so it will not be profitable to carry our
investigation further at this time.

We learn from this that when we find that one region, be it large or
small, is unlike every other region in some particulars of climate or
vegetation or temperature, or when it is not easily accessible from
other regions, we may expect to find the animals somewhat different
according to the conditions which prevail. From this it is a clear step
to the truth that an animal’s environment exerts a considerable
influence upon its life and through its life upon its form; changing the
form in some particulars that make it different from all other animals.
It is also true of plants. Since, then, there are different physical
conditions in every country of any considerable size, these changes in
plants and animals are going on now, but so slowly that we are not able
to see them. At the end of another thousand years or longer, the species
of birds which we now know may be so changed that we should not know
them if we could see them. But that need not worry us!

                                                            Lynds Jones.

                            [Illustration: ]

                           THE HOODED WARBLER
                         (_Sylvania mitrata._)

“He was recognizable at once by the bright yellow hood he wore, bordered
all around with deep black. A bright, flitting blossom of the bird
world!”—_Leander S. Keyser, in Bird Land._

This beautiful little warbler is a resident of the eastern United
States. It is more common in the southern portion of this district and
throughout the Mississippi Valley. Its breeding range extends from the
Gulf of Mexico as far to the northward as southern Michigan. It winters
in the West Indies, in Mexico, and in Central America. Though a wood
warbler it prefers the shrubby growths in low and well-watered places
rather than the forest. It is said to be abundant among the canes of the
Southern States. Many other names have been given this warbler, all
having reference to the arrangement of the black and yellow colors on
the head. It is called the Black-headed Warbler, the Hooded Flycatching
Warbler, the Mitred Warbler, and the Black-cap Warbler.

Activity seems to be the keynote of its life. It is in constant pursuit
of insects, which it catches while they are on the wing. Unlike the
flycatchers it seldom returns to the same perch from which it flew to
catch its prey.

The words of Mr. Keyser most aptly describe the habits of the Hooded
Warbler. He says, speaking of an hour spent in observing the bird’s
behavior, “He was not in the least shy or nervous, but seemed rather to
court my presence. Almost every moment was spent in capturing insects on
the wing or in sitting on a perch watching for them to flash into view.
Like a genuine flycatcher, as soon as a buzzing insect hove in sight, he
would dart out after it, and never once failed to secure his prize.
Sometimes he would plunge swiftly downward after a gnat or miller, and
once, having caught a miller that was large and inclined to be
refractory, he flew to the ground, beat it awhile on the clods, and then
swallowed it with a consequential air which seemed to say, ‘That is my
way of disposing of such cases!’ Several times he mounted almost
straight up from his perch, and twice he almost turned a somersault in
pursuit of an insect. Once he clung like a titmouse to the hole of a

To some its notes, which are quite musical, lively, sweet and happy,
seem to resemble twee, twee, twitchie. Mr. Chapman says the song “is
subject to much variation, but as a rule consists of eight or nine
notes. To my ear the bird seems to say, ‘You must come to the woods, or
you won’t see me.’”

The nest of the Hooded Warbler is usually built in low shrubs, sometimes
but a few inches from the ground and seldom higher than two feet. It is
constructed of fine rootlets, and fibers of bark compactly interwoven
with leaves, fine grass and hair. It is lined with grass, hair and
feathers. The eggs, which are usually five in number, are white, or
nearly white, in color, with red or brownish spots near the larger end.
They are nearly three-fourths of an inch in length, and a little over
one-half of an inch in their greatest diameter.

Three years or more are required for the development of the fully adult
plumage. The throat of the female, though black, is not as pure a black
as that of the male, and it is not so extensive or as well defined.

                        MRS. JANE’S EXPERIMENT.

One is surprised at the wonderful vitality to be found in an egg. The
following incident, almost incredible as it seems, is an absolute fact.

Mrs. Jane, very fond of raising select breeds of chickens, put a setting
of fine Brahma eggs under what she considered an absolutely trustworthy
Biddy,—but, alas! Biddy proved unstable, like many another biped, and
went off in a few days, leaving her nest and rather costly contents to
the mercy of the elements.

Mrs. Jane, in three or four days, discovered the abandoned domicile,
and, determined not to be outdone by any such maneuver on the part of
Biddy, proposed to show her that Brahma chickens could be developed
without the assistance of any old hen.

So, not having an incubator of any approved manufacture, she proceeded
to make one. She secured a large bread pan to hold the water, a small
wooden pail to hold the eggs, which were wrapped in warm flannel, and a
good kerosene lamp, which was placed under the pan holding the water and
then lighted.

The bucket containing the eggs was then placed in the pan of water and
the whole apparatus left in a quiet bedroom.

Oh, how Mr. Jane and the boys and the neighbors twitted Mrs. Jane about
wasting coal oil and time in keeping those eggs warm! But, behold! in a
little over two weeks, one morning a shell was chipped, at noon another,
and by the next morning four pert little downy fellows occupied the
bottom of the bucket, with seven unhatched eggs.

Those chickens grew faster than almost any chickens ever known. They
were never anything but tame, and the most active of the four, who bears
the appropriate name of Theodore Roosevelt, allows any one to pick him
up and fondle him, but is ready to fight with anything in the poultry
yard—big chicken, little chicken, the skye terrier, the cat or anything
else that is or might be in his way. Mrs. Jane says she never was sorry
for her experiment but once, and that is all the time.

The cause for Mrs. Jane’s regret is the fact that whether she be in the
hen yard, kitchen or parlor, no place except right under her motherly
gown is quite good enough for these enterprising birds.

Recently I saw “Teddy” open the screen and walk into the kitchen.

He lifted his foot, pulled the screen open wide enough to admit his head
and then pushed his whole body, now quite large and plump, through the

How long this interesting little hero, with his mates, will be permitted
to enjoy the rights of chickendom yet remains to be seen, but the fact
that “Mrs. Jane’s incubator was a success” has been admitted by all who
were so skeptical when she began her novel experiment.

                                                            Mary Noland.


The rain of the night before had turned into a heavy sleet, followed by
blustering weather. All day the sun was hidden by gray clouds,
accompanied with fitful snow showers; but at last the clouds were
dispelled and the following morning dawned clear and cold.

As the sun slowly rose above the horizon he added dazzling brilliance to
the already lovely landscape.

The mercury was very little above zero as I sought the woods to reap the
full benefit of this wonderful transformation of Nature. Just two days
ago she wore her usual garb of neutral tints; but what a magical change
the Frost King had wrought in this time! The earth was now covered with
a white mantle of snow and every tree and shrub had on a glittering
armor of sleet. A few minutes’ brisk walk over the crisp snow brought me
to a corn field, and by wending my way along a path through this field I
arrived at a strip of woodland. Here the path merged into a narrow wagon
road cut out of a steep bluff. The entrance to this road introduced me
to a land of enchantment.

On either side the face of the bluff was covered with a tangled growth
of shrubs, briers and weeds, while above were trees whose over-arching
branches sparkled in the sun, showing all the colors of the rainbow.
Every branch and twig was decked with gems—rubies, sapphires, emeralds
and diamonds everywhere—and diamond dust formed a carpet underneath. The
low bushes at the base of the bank where sheltered from the wind’s
disarranging blast, were wrapped in finest ermine. Just in front of me,
to the left, was a wild rose, a fountain of purest crystal, the effect
heightened by its scarlet hips. A little further on was a small tree
draped with a tangled vine with clusters of pendant fruit, like
crystallized grapes. On the other hand were raspberry canes, the livid
red gleaming through the dazzling frost, and all around was goldenrod,
more resplendent than when its golden blossoms lighted the way in
autumn, and the asters shone like jewel-rayed stars.

A barbed-wire fence, as far as the eye could reach, was converted into
endless strings of pearls. I gazed upon this vision until, becoming
dazzled, I turned from the sun to rest my eyes, and in the background
saw trees that formed pearly silhouettes against the dark blue sky. Was
any enchanted land more entrancing?

Turning again, I resumed my walk to the foot of the hill, and, by the
aid of the bushes and saplings, scrambled up its precipitous face and
pushed onward through the underbrush, parting the interlacing branches
as I went until I reached a ravine.

I continued onward, recognizing the familiar trees everywhere; though
divested of foliage and incased in crystal, each variety has its
distinctive form and bark. A musical tinkle accompanied every movement
as I brushed the twigs and grasses along the way.

One not accustomed to the study of Nature in her various moods might
suppose that such a landscape would be devoid of animation. But this was
not the case. A very pleasing feature of the scene was the animal life
that abounded. A rabbit snugly concealed beneath a bunch of grass
started up, bounded away, and was soon lost to view in the thicket.
Small flocks of snowbirds and chickadees were flitting gaily about. A
crow sat in the top of a majestic oak and cawed lustily in answer to one
that was faintly heard in the distance. A pair of cardinals flew about
the border of the woods, and a single woodpecker was high up on the
trunk of a tree, while another, whose form could not be detected, was
hammering away. All these were suited to the environment, but not so was
yonder lone blackbird, doubtless a straggler from a flock which had
settled in the tree of the yard in the early morning.

Lured by the pleasant, mild weather of the preceding week, they had
arrived only to encounter snow and mid-winter, and would doubtless
retreat to more congenial surroundings and absent themselves until the
true springtime should herald the approach of summer.

                                                        Addie L. Booker.

                    SNAILS OF THE FOREST AND FIELD.

The forest is the home of the snail, where these interesting little
animals may be found by any one desiring a closer acquaintance. They are
not generally easy to find, being mostly nocturnal in habits and
remaining hidden away under leaves, stones and old logs during the
daytime. On rainy days, however, they may be seen crawling about,
enjoying the delicious moisture.

In our last article we reviewed a few of the most interesting families
of bivalve shells, and in the present paper we desire to draw the
attention of the reader to the order Pulmonata, which includes those
snails breathing air by means of a modified lung. The snails differ from
the clams in having the body generally protected by a spiral shell which
is capable of containing the entire animal. The former have a more or
less expanded creeping disk which we call a foot, a head generally
separated from the body by a neck (the reader will remember that the
clams are headless), and also a pair of rather long eye peduncles
protruding from the top of the head, which bear at their tips the round,
black eyes, and a pair of short tactile organs, or tentacles, extending
from the lower part of the head. The eye-peduncles are peculiar in being
invertible in the same manner that a kid glove finger is pulled inside

The mouth is placed in the lower plane of the head and is recognized
externally as a simple slit. Inside of the mouth is placed one of the
most wonderful dental apparatuses known to science. This is called the
radula, odontophore or tooth-bearer, and is a belt of chitinous,
transparent, yellowish or colorless material, its upper surface being
armed with numerous siliceous teeth arranged in longitudinal and
parallel rows. The radula is placed in an organ called the buccal sac
and occupies a position in the sac analogous to that of the tongue in a
cat or dog, viz., on the floor of the mouth. It is formed from a layer
of cells in the posterior part of the buccal sac, called the radula sac,
and new teeth are constantly forming here to take the place of those
which have become worn by use. The whole radula rests upon a cartilage,
is strongly fastened at the anterior end, and is brought down between
the two fleshy lips of the mouth where it performs a backward and
forward movement, thus rasping off with the sharp teeth particles of
food which have been cut into small pieces by the horny jaw. During this
process the morsel of food is pressed against the top or roof of the
mouth. The jaw is placed in the upper part of the mouth in front of the
radula, and is frequently armed with ribs to aid in cutting or biting
off pieces of food, as leaves or vegetables.

As before remarked, the radula is made up of parallel rows of teeth, the
whole area being usually divided into five longitudinal rows, each row
differing from the one next to it. We have first a central row, on each
side of this a lateral row and finally a marginal row. Each tooth in
each row is made up of different parts, a basal part attached to the
radula belt and an upper part which is turned over or reflexed and bent
backward so as to tear off food particles by a backward movement of the
whole apparatus. This diversity of form in the teeth has led
conchologists to adopt a tooth formula similar to that adopted for
vertebrate animals, so that the teeth of different species can be
compared and the animals classified thereby. Thus each tooth has certain
prominences called cusps, which vary in size, number and position, and
serve admirably to describe the different groups of snails. All the
mollusca, except the bivalves, are provided with this radula.

                            [Illustration: ]

  First row:
    Helix fidelis (California)
    Helix pomatia (Europe)
    Liguus fasciatus (Florida)
  Second row:
    Cyclophorus appendiculatus (Philippines)
    Bulimus chiliensis (South America)
  Third row:
    Helix albolabris (U. S.)
    Helix haemastoma (India)
  Fourth row:
    Helix profunda (U. S.)
    Nanina lamarkiana (Philippines)
    Glandina truncata (Florida)
  Fifth row:
    Zonites fuliginosus (U. S.)
    Achatinella (Sandwich Islands)
    Helix intorta (Philippines)
  Bottom row:
    Cerion microstoma (Cuba)
    Clausilia macarana (Dalmatia)
    Bulimulus multilineatus (Florida)
    Helix nemoralis (Europe)

One of the most wonderful and interesting facts connected with the
radula is the large number of teeth on each membrane. Thus in some
species of our common snails there are seventy-one teeth in a single
row, and the whole radula is made up of a hundred rows of teeth, making
a grand total of seventy-one hundred teeth in the mouth of a single

Land snails are found almost everywhere, in valleys, high up on
mountains, and even in deserts. They may be found in the cold climate of
Alaska or in the tropical zone under the equator. As a rule, they prefer
moist localities, where there is an abundance of vegetation and where
the ground is strewn with rotting logs, beds of decaying leaves or
moss-covered rocks. Open woodlands may be said to be their best habitat
in the northern part of the United States.

The shells of the Pulmonata vary to a wonderful degree in size, shape
and coloration. Some are so small that they can scarcely be seen with
the unaided eye, while others attain a length of six inches; some have
the aperture of the shell armed with numerous folds or teeth, while
others are smooth and the colors vary from whitish or horn-colored to
the gorgeously colored helices of the tropics with their bands and
blotches of red, brown, white or green. With all this diversity the land
shells or helices may always be distinguished from their salt or
fresh-water relatives. The land snails breathe by means of a so-called
lung which is a sac lined with a network of blood vessels and occupying
the last turn or whorl of the shell. The air taken into this lung
purifies the blood.

Much is written at the present time upon our new possessions, the
Philippine Islands, but few people are aware that these islands are
tenanted by the most interesting and beautiful group of all the land
shells, the Cochlostylas, or tree snails. The animals live for the most
part in the trees and bushes of the islands, the island of Luzon having,
probably, the best known fauna. The animals are large and quite bold and
the shells are of surpassing beauty, with their colors of white, green,
brown, etc. Now that these islands have come into the possession of the
United States it is to be hoped that these handsome creatures will
receive the study they deserve.

The land shells of the United States, while numerous in species, are not
as conspicuous in color-pattern as those of Europe, South America or the
islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, although California produces
some highly-colored species, as will be seen by consulting the figure of
Helix fidelis, on our plate. The majority of our species are uncolored,
like the figure of Polygyra albolabris.

One of the largest and most interesting of American shells is the
Bulimus, found in South America. The shell of Bulimus ovatus attains a
length of six inches and the animal is correspondingly large. In the
markets of Rio Janeiro this mollusk is sold as food and is eagerly
sought by the poorer people, among whom it is considered a great
delicacy. Another interesting fact in connection with this species (as
well as others of the genus) is the size of the eggs which it deposits,
they being as large as pigeons’ eggs. These are also eaten with avidity
by the negroes of Brazil.

One of the most beautiful of the land shells found in the United States
is the Liguus fasciatus, found in Florida and Cuba. The shell is about
two inches long and is encircled by bands of white, brown and green.
This species lives in great numbers at Key West, associated with many
small shells of the Bulimus group. Closely related to the last-mentioned
shell (Liguus) is the agate shell (Achatina), which attains a length of
seven inches and is the largest of the land shells. Like the Bulimus
mentioned above it lays eggs of large size with a calcareous shell, some
being over an inch in length. Both the animal and the egg are eaten by
the natives of Africa. The shells are very attractive, being variegated
with different colors, like agate, from which they receive their common

Another of our new political possessions, the Hawaiian Islands, has a
molluscan fauna peculiar to itself. This is the family Achatinellidae
which is confined solely to the Sandwich Islands. There are no shells
which can compare in beauty with the Achatinella with their encircled
bands of black, yellow, white, red, etc. They live on the bushes,
generally rather low and near the ground, and recently they have been
threatened with extinction because of the cattle which have been
introduced into the islands. In feeding on the bushes, they also consume
large quantities of these snails. A bush inhabited by these little
creatures must be a beautiful sight, with the green foliage set off by
the handsomely colored shells, like jewels on a costly dress.

Among the edible snails none excel in public favor the common edible
snail of Europe (Helix pomatia). The cultivation of this animal has
become an established business, like our oyster fisheries, and thousands
are consumed annually. The early Romans considered this animal a dainty
dish, and the inhabitants of France, Spain and Italy have inherited or
cultivated a liking for the succulent “Shell-fish.” This species has
been introduced into New Orleans where it is eaten by the French
inhabitants. Helix nemoralis, an edible snail of England, with a
beautifully banded shell, is sold in the streets of London and eaten
much as we eat walnuts, by picking out the animal with a pin! The edible
snails, as well as many others, make good and interesting pets in
captivity, the Helix pomatia being of such a size that it may be easily
studied. It is interesting to watch one of these snails feeding upon a
piece of lettuce. First the jaw is seen to protrude and to cut off a
small piece of the leaf, which is drawn into the mouth and reduced to
still smaller pieces by the rasp-like radula. A large piece of lettuce,
after this snail has made a meal upon it, looks as if an army of worms
had been at work. The pomatia is also of an inquisitive disposition and
will wander about the snailery (or even the whole house if he can get
out), examining everything in a very curious manner. No more interesting
object can be placed in a library or study than a snailery with several
species of snails. They are far superior in interest to goldfish or

The most interesting snails are by no means the largest. Frequently the
small snail shells with their animals have habits or shell structures of
absorbing interest. Among these are the Pupas, whose tiny shells
frequently reach the astounding size of one-sixteenth of an inch in
length! It is not until we place these mites under the microscope that
their interesting characters are seen and appreciated. By such an
examination we find that the little apertures are armed with many teeth
and folds, and sometimes we wonder how it is that the animal ever gets
in and out through such a labyrinth of apparent obstructions. These
teeth serve in a manner to protect the little animal from its enemies.
These tiny shells are always to be found plentifully under starting bark
and under chips, stones and debris, in more or less moist localities.

In another genus of Pupidae, Clausilia, nature has provided the aperture
of the shell with a little valve called a “clausilium,” which acts as a
spring door to close the shell against all its enemies. This door is an
additional safeguard as the aperture is already provided with numerous
teeth and folds. In this manner does Mother Nature look after her

It is a curious fact that in all the larger groups of animals there are
one or more genera which have the cruel and bloodthirsty propensities of
the shark. The Mollusca are no exception to this rule, and we find in
the genus Testacella an animal having all the ferocious propensities of
the terrible man-eating tiger. This mollusk has a long, worm-like body,
the shell being very small and rudimentary, ear shaped, and placed on
the extreme posterior end of the animal. Its principal food consists of
earth-worms, although it will attack other mollusks and even its own
species. It has been likened to the tiger and the shark in its cunning
while pursuing its prey and in its ferocity when attacking it. The poor
earth-worm stands but a slight chance of escape when Testacella scents
it and starts in pursuit. The worm tries to escape by retreating into
its underground galleries, but this is of no avail because the mollusk
has a long, narrow body and can go wherever the worm does. If the worm,
perchance, has the opportunity of retreating far into its galleries, the
mollusk will dig tunnels to intercept it. Frequently the mollusk will
make a sudden spring upon its victim, taking it by surprise. This
slug-like snail will frequently devour a snail much larger than itself,
but if the victim is too large for one meal it will be broken in the
middle and one half eaten and digested and then the meal completed with
the other half.

The Testacella also resembles the tiger and the shark in the possession
of long, fang-like teeth upon its radula. These teeth are recurved and
aid the mollusk in getting a firm hold upon its victim, and also assist
in the operation of swallowing. It is a curious fact that this animal
will not feed upon other dead animals nor upon fresh meat, nor
freshly-killed worms. Like the snake, which it greatly resembles in
habits, it must hunt and kill its own food. Its wanderings are nocturnal
and during the day it remains concealed, buried in the earth. Testacella
is quite long lived, as snails go, its duration of life being about six

A genus allied to Testacella, and having the same predaceous habits, but
being protected by a large shell into which the whole animal can
withdraw, is the Oleacina or Glandina. The shell is long, with a narrow
aperture and a dome-shaped spire; the animal is long and narrow and the
head near the mouth is furnished with a pair of elongated lips which may
be used as tentacles. The South American species feed on the larger
mollusks, as the Bulimus before spoken of, and the aperture of each
intended victim’s shell is carefully examined before any attempt is made
to enter. When our “tiger” is satisfied that its victim is really
within, it will enter the aperture and devour the animal. Sometimes it
will make a hole for itself in the shell of its victim and will eat the
contents through this aperture instead of the natural one. In Florida
these animals prey upon the large pulmonates like Lignus and Orthalicus.

Before closing this brief sketch of the Land Mollusks we must not
neglect to mention their wonderful protection against the cold of winter
and the heat of summer. This is a tough, leathery secretion, which
completely covers the aperture, and its formation is thus described by
Mr. W. G. Binney in his “Manual of American Land Shells.”

“Withdrawing into the shell, it forms over the aperture a membraneous
covering, consisting of a thin, semi-transparent mixture of lime, mucus
or gelatine, secreted from the collar of the animal. This membrane is
called the epiphragm. It is formed in this manner: The animal being
withdrawn into the shell, the collar is brought to a level with the
aperture, and a quantity of mucus is poured out from it and covers it. A
small quantity of air is then emitted from the respiratory foramen,
which detaches the mucus from the surface of the collar, and projects it
in a convex form, like a bubble. At the same moment the animal retreats
farther into the shell, leaving a vacuum between itself and the
membrane, which is consequently pressed back by the external air to a
level with the aperture, or even farther, so as to form a concave
surface, where, having become desiccated and hard, it remains fixed.
These operations are nearly simultaneous and occupy but an instant. As
the weather becomes colder the animal retires farther into the shell,
and makes another septum, and so on, until there are sometimes as many
as six of these partitions.”

The air-breathing snails which we have so briefly discussed in this
article, are but a very limited number of the many thousand species of
this very interesting group of animals. Their shells are easily gathered
and require but little trouble to prepare for the cabinet and for study.
The writer, therefore, trusts that what has been written may act as a
stimulus and induce many to take up the collection and study of these
beautiful objects.

                                                    Frank Collins Baker.

                           THE GILA MONSTER.
                        (_Heloderma suspectum_.)

The reptile fauna of the North American continent includes a curious
lizard known as Gila Monster, in science called Heloderma. It represents
a family all to itself, with only two species: Heloderma horridum and
Heloderma suspectum.

Francisco Hernandez, a Spanish physician and naturalist, was the first
to know of its existence when he found it in Mexico in the year 1651. In
an account of his explorations he mentions a lizard three feet long,
with a thick-set body, covered with wart-like skin, gaudily colored in
orange and black, and generally of such horrid appearance that Wiegmann,
another scientist, two hundred years later, called it Heloderma

For a long time this name was given indiscriminately to all lizards of
this kind, living either south or north of the boundary line of Mexico
and the United States, till Professor Cope discovered a difference
between them and called the variety found in our southwestern
territories and states Heloderma suspectum.

Many other naturalists have since taken up the study of this interesting
reptile. The result of their observations and experiments was that they
all agree in acknowledging the Heloderma as the only poisonous lizard in
existence, although their opinions are at variance as to the effect of
its venom on the human system. Dr. van Denburgh in his latest researches
has found two glands, one on each side of the lower jaw, located between
the skin and the bone. Such a venom-producing gland being taken out of
its enveloping membrane proves to be not a single body, but an
agglomeration of several small ones, differing in size, and each
emptying through a separate duct. These glands are not directly
communicated to the teeth. When the animal is highly irritated, caused
by constant teasing or rough handling or by being trodden upon, the
poison is emitted by the glands, gathers on the floor of the mouth,
where it mixes with the saliva, and is transmitted through the bite.

A Heloderma has no fangs, but a goodly number of sharp, pointed teeth,
both on the upper and lower jaws. They are curved backward and about an
eighth of an inch long, or even less than that. The principal
characteristic of these teeth is that they are grooved, facilitating
thus the flow of the venom into the wound. It bites with an extremely
swift dash, directed sideways, and holds on tenaciously to whatever is
seized with its powerful jaws. Sumichrast says when the reptile bites it
throws itself on its back, but none of the later naturalists makes
mention of this peculiarity.

The venom of the Gila Monster injected into the veins and arteries of
smaller animals as rats, cavies and rabbits and into the breast of
pigeons and chickens, causes death within twenty seconds to seven
minutes. Brehm relates that a young Heloderma, and in poor physical
condition besides, was induced to bite the leg of a large, well-fed cat,
which did not die, but gave signs of prolonged terrible sufferings. It
became dull and emaciated and never regained its former good spirits.

Among several cases of Gila Monster bites inflicted on human beings can
be quoted that of Dr. Shufeldt, who, in “The American Naturalist,” gave
an interesting account of the sensations he experienced. It is
sufficient to say that the pain, starting from a wound on the right
thumb, went like an electric shock through the whole body and was so
severe as to cause the victim to faint. Immediate treatment prevented
more serious consequences. The Doctor, nevertheless, was a very sick man
for several days and began to recover only after a week had elapsed.

                            [Illustration: ]

The constituents of the venom are as yet not thoroughly known, but it is
said to be of an alkaline nature, the opposite of snake poison, which is
acid. It acts upon the heart, the spine and the nerve centers and causes

Other scientists claim the saliva of the Heloderma is poisonous only in
certain cases and under certain circumstances. It may also depend upon
the physical condition of the victim at the time the venom enters into
the system. Yet there is little doubt that, if help is not at hand
immediately, the bite may prove fatal.

The Apaches stand in dire fear of this animal, so that, at least, with
their older people no amount of money seems tempting enough to make them
go near it, much less to capture one. A former resident of the
territories says both Indians and Mexicans believe firmly that if a Gila
Monster only breathes in your face it is quite sufficient to cause
immediate death. On an old Indian trail, a good day’s journey west from
the present site of Phoenix, can be found, crudely outlined on the face
of a rock, the picture of two Helodermas pursuing a man who runs to save
his life. Numerous hieroglyphic inscriptions tell probably the story of
the event and prove not only the prehistoric origin of this primitive
piece of art, but also the erroneous ideas which were prevalent in these
remote times, for the reptile never attacks and never pursues. It is
safe to say that the animal has been vastly misrepresented at all ages.

Nature has kindly provided the Heloderma with a compensation for its
partially undeserved bad reputation in giving it beauty. For whosoever
looks upon a fine specimen with unprejudiced eyes cannot fail to admire
at least the combination of its colors and especially the odd,
capriciously disposed markings; the delicately tinted skin, studded in
transverse rows with shiny tubercles, like so many beads on strings.

The illustration to this paper is so excellently made that scarcely any
description is necessary as to the animal’s exterior in color and
markings. This Heloderma is a little over nineteen inches in length by
ten inches in circumference of the body and five inches at the thickest
part of the tail, which makes one-third of the total length of the body.
When such a reptile grows to the size of eighteen inches it is called
adult. Those growing beyond these figures are unusually large specimens
and in very rare instances the species of our illustration reaches the
extraordinary length of two feet. An adult Gila Monster weighs about two
or three pounds, and in winter less than in summer.

The four short and stubby legs seem quite out of proportion to the
massive body, much more so as the two pairs are widely separated
lengthwise of the body. When walking the body is elevated, while in rest
it lies flat on the ground. Each foot is provided with five digits armed
with curved white claws.

The skin has generally the appearance as if covered with rows of uniform
beads; but, on closer examination, these beads, or more correctly,
tubercles, prove to have different shapes and are differently set,
according to the part of the body which they cover. On the head from the
nose up to between the eyes they are flat, irregularly cut, closely
joined and adhere completely to the skull. Those following form
polygonal eminences, each one separated from the other by a circle of
tiny dermal granulations, while behind the eyes on both sides of the
head they are larger, semi-spherical and stand far apart. The throat and
the nape of the neck are studded with very closely set small tubercles,
increasing in size only above the forelegs, whence they extend in
well-defined, transverse rows along the whole upper side of the body and
the tail. The under side of the latter and the abdomen are covered with
tessellated scales of a light-brown and dull yellow color arranged in
another handsome pattern.

A Heloderma’s head, with its triangular shape, is very like that of a
venomous snake; it gives the animal—especially when it is raised in
anger—a truly awe-inspiring appearance.

The wide-cleft mouth reaches far behind the eyes. These are very small
and, like all lizards, provided with eye-lids that close when the animal
sleeps. The eye itself has a dark-brown iris, with the round pupil that
indicates diurnal or at least semi-nocturnal habits. Between the
nostrils, well in front of the blunt nose, is a wide space. The nostrils
are so far down as to nearly touch the margin of the supra-labial
scales. This position denotes terrestrial habits in reptiles rather than
an all aquatic life. For to most of them water is indispensable to their
welfare. Thus the Gila Monster shows this structure as it likes to bathe
in shallow water, often for many hours at a time.

The crescent-shaped openings of the ears are situated not far from the
edge of the mouth, between the head and the neck, and are partly
concealed and also protected by the overlapping gular fold; the tympanum
is exposed. The animal sees and hears well. The remaining three senses
are more or less concentrated in the tongue which is one of the most
remarkable features of the Heloderma. It is slightly forked at the tips,
half an inch wide and two to three inches long; it is dark reddish-brown
with a shade of purple. When in rest it is drawn together into a small,
conical shaped mass, scarcely an inch in length. But as soon as
something disturbs the usual quietude of the animal the tongue is thrown
out immediately. In fact, it is used for smelling, tasting, feeling. It
is used for measuring depth and distance, for expressing desire and
satisfaction; and with what rapidity is this instrument of communication
projected and retracted!

A Gila Monster may be trusted to some extent as long as the tongue is
freely used, but if that is not the case it is wise to be careful in
handling it. Fear and hostility are expressed by deep, long-drawn
hisses; by opening the mouth to its fullest extent and by quick jerks of
the head from one side to the other.

At the present time these reptiles are not so very common.
Ever-prevailing superstition among the ignorant and exaggerated bad
reputation have brought on a relentless war of extermination against
them, so that now in the neighborhood of settlements they are seen
seldom if ever. Their center of distribution is more and more confined
to the region along the banks of the Gila river in Arizona, although
less frequently they may still be found as far west as the Mojave desert
in California. But those are wrong who believe that the Heloderma is
living only in the most arid portions of the southwest. There are
several reasons why the reptile seeks eagerly irrigated places, which
are productive of some vegetation, for it needs water, food and shady

In the middle of summer, when even the larger streams are dried up, the
Gila Monster retires to some burrow, abandoned by another animal, or to
deep crevices in the rocks, and spends there in a torpid state several
weeks, until the great rainfalls relieve the country, give fresh plant
life and fill again the barren riverbeds. This is the animal’s summer
retreat. During the course of a year it takes a second and longer one,
the regular hibernation, that lasts about from November to the middle of
February, when it resumes its outside life again. It loves to bask in
the still mild rays of the sun, but as soon as the heat increases the
Gila Monster seeks shelter for the day behind stones and bowlders, under
clumps of cacti and in small mesquite groves along the river banks. It
roams about only after sunset or early in the morning. The idea that
this lizard enjoys the quivering heat on an open Arizona plain, while
other sun and heat-loving reptiles keep in hiding, is as erroneous as
many others. Nothing is so absolutely fatal to the Heloderma as to be
exposed only for half an hour to the direct rays of the sun in
midsummer. Another reason why it prefers to live in the neighborhood of
streams where plant life is more abundant explains itself by the
necessity to provide for food.

Whoever has an opportunity to observe reptiles in confinement for an
extended period of time can easily draw conclusions as to their mode of
living in freedom. A captive Gila Monster is fed on hens’ eggs; in
summer one each week, in winter one every two or three weeks. It refuses
every other kind of food, however temptingly it may be offered, such as
mice, frogs, angleworms, mealworms and the like. It is more than
probable that in their wild state they live on a similar diet,
consisting then of eggs of other lizards, of turtles and of birds. The
animal has the reputation of being destructive to the Arizona quail.

Several writers of Natural History add to this a diet of insects, but
the embarrassed locomotion of the Heloderma seems to exclude flying and
fast-running prey. Nearly all reptiles which feed on eggs climb, as do
some snakes, and as does the slow and clumsy Gila Monster. They are not
able to ascend high and straight trees, which, however, are not found in
these regions, but they are able to climb bushes and low trees, having
somewhat leaning trunks and rough bark. And it is wonderful to see how
cleverly it disposes of the sharp claws and the muscular,
half-prehensile tail, both in dragging itself up and in retarding an
often too rapid descent.

The inquiry may be made: How is it possible that a Heloderma lives on
eggs alone when it can find them only during the relatively short time
of five or six months? First, it may be remembered that this period
corresponds nearly to the active life of the animal before and after
estivation. The second and more important reason is its remarkable
frugality. The digestive organs are so constructed that they adapt
themselves to a fast of many months without injury to the animal.

In captivity the Gila Monster begins to slough about January and
continues this process during several months. The epidermis comes off
not like a snake’s, in a whole piece, but in several, or more frequently
in many, fragments.

There is still a wide field open for accurate observation and definite
knowledge that we relinquish to the professional naturalist and to those
fortunate ones who can study the animal in freedom.

                                                          Amelia Walson.

[Editor’s Note: The Gila Monster of the illustration is still living and
has for some years been the interesting pet of one whose love of nature
in all forms has found beauty in the reptile usually shunned alike by
the savage and by civilized man.]

                              BIRD NOTES.


  Bit of sunshine taken wings,
  Or a spray of golden-rod?
  On thistle top he sways and swings,
  Or flung high to the sun, he sings—
      ’Dita,—Sweet, Sweet—.


  Good morning trolled, then all the day,
  From thicket hidden bramble bush,
  This recluse croons his roundelay.
  But startle him,—a flash of gray,
  And, Hush—Hush—Hush—Hush—
      Go ’way,—Go ’way—.


  Wild cherry bough and hanging nest,
  And calls amid the apple bloom,
  No need to tell whose flaming breast
  And fluting note lead all the rest,—
      Glory,—Come-O, Come-O—.
                                                         —Mary Hefferan.

                            THE POMEGRANATE.
                          (_Punica granatum._)

The Pomegranate is tree-like, growing to a height of about fifteen feet
and in favorable soil even as high as twenty feet. It is probably native
in Persia, though it is found in a wild state in all the countries
bordering on the Mediterranean Sea. It is also found in China and Japan
and has been brought by man to all of the civilized parts of the globe,
where the climate is of a sufficiently high degree of warmth to permit
the ripening of its fruit.

This little tree is frequently cultivated not alone for the beauty of
its form, but for the beauty of its flowers, which, under cultivation,
become doubled and show an increased and striking splendor in the
richness of their color.

The etymology of its name is very interesting. The word Pomegranate is
from two Latin words, pomum, meaning apple, and granatum, meaning
grained or seeded. The former has reference to the shape of the fruit
and the latter word to the numerous seeds contained in the pulp. The
technical name of the Pomegranate plant is Punica granatum. The generic
name Punica is evidently from the Latin word punicus, meaning red, and
refers to the red color of the pulp or possibly also to the scarlet
flowers. The name Punicus was also used by the Romans with reference to
the Carthaginians, and signified untrustworthy or treacherous, this
people having such a reputation with them; thus the name may have been
applied to this fruit which, though it delights the eye, is
disappointing to the taste.

Pliny tells us that the Pomegranate was extensively cultivated by the
Carthaginians at their home in Northern Africa. This may have been the
reason why the name Punica was selected for the genus by Linnaeus. The
Romans also called it “Pomum Punicum,” or Carthage apple.

That the knowledge of this tree is of great antiquity is shown in many
ways. It is frequently referred to in ancient Sanskrit writings of a
time earlier than that of the Christian Era. In this language it was
called “Dadimba.” Homer, in the Odyssey, speaks of its cultivation in
the gardens of the kings of Phrygia and Phaecia. There are frequent
references to it in the Old Testament. In the directions for making
Aaron’s robe we find the following passage: “Upon the skirts of it thou
shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet,” and
again, “They made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the
pomegranates.” Hiram, in the building of Solomon’s house, used the
design of the Pomegranate. In the seventh chapter of the First Book of
Kings we find “the pomegranates were two hundred, in rows round about
upon the other chapiter,” and in another verse we are told that they
were of brass.

Moses spoke of the promised land as a land of “wheat, barley and vines,
fig-trees and pomegranates.” Solomon indicates that this fruit was
cultivated in his time as he speaks of an “orchard of pomegranates with
pleasant fruits.”

The Pomegranate is frequently represented in the ancient sculptures of
the Assyrians and of the Egyptians.

The Pomegranate belongs to the family of plants called Lythraceae. This
family has about three hundred and fifty species which are widely
distributed, but are most abundant in tropical regions, especially in
America. In describing the tree Dr. Oliver R. Willis gives the following
characteristics: “Branches straight, strong, sub-angular, armed near the
ends with spines; young shoots and buds red. Leaves opposite or
fascicled, short-stalked, and without stipules. Flowers large, solitary,
or two or three together in the axils of the leaves, near the ends of
the branchlets. A beautiful object for planted grounds.”

                            [Illustration: ]

The color of the flowers, which develop on the ends of the younger
branches, is a deep and rich scarlet or crimson. Many variations have
been produced by growing the plants from seeds and one of these bears
white flowers. The petals are rounded and usually crumpled.

The fruit, which is a berry about the size of an ordinary orange, is
when fresh usually of a reddish yellow color, becoming brownish in
drying. The rind is thick and leathery, and encloses a quantity of pulp
which is filled with a refreshing juice that is acid. It is of a pinkish
or reddish color, and encloses the numerous angular seeds. Probably the
chief value of the plant lies in the use of the fruit as a relish,
though the rind of the fruit and the bark of the root are used in

The bark contains a large amount of tannin and from it there is also
obtained a bright yellow dye, which is used to produce the yellow Levant

In regions without frost the tree is often grown for ornamental


Greek mythology shows us that for a long time, perhaps many centuries,
the ancestors of the Greeks knew but very little about the sea or about
rivers. The numerous monsters of the sea, products of the imagination,
combined in their forms the parts of marine and land animals, including
man. The angry waves suggested to them some creature that was wroth; in
the ocean depths what more likely to be found than the caverns empty and
dry, the homes of the monsters with which they had peopled it? Their
knowledge of the sea was of very slow growth. It was yet a divine thing
in Homer’s time, who lived just before the dawn of history. Their
knowledge of marine life had made but little if any greater advance than
their knowledge of the sea itself. The people of Homer make no use
whatever of fish. We do not find a word indicating that either noble or
slave ate fish, although the bill of fare in the Homeric household is
given to us with considerable fullness.

Passing over two centuries or more to the Athens of Pericles’ time, we
will find that a great change has been wrought. Fish is now the
daintiest viand that comes into the Athenian market. The fishing
industry has developed and grown to immense proportions. The fishmonger
has taken on a character which seems destined to be eternal. Till this
day it has suffered no change except that he has transferred to his wife
some of the traits that once were his.

The task of supplying the fish-market of Athens and other cities must
have required a large number of fishermen. For at this time fish might
almost be called the national dish, hence an enormous consumption,
whereas the means of capture were far inferior to those of to-day. As a
matter of fact the market was supplied from a very wide area, but
chiefly from the seas to the east. Far along the north and south shores
of the Black Sea the industry was a flourishing one. Particularly from
these regions were salted and dried fish supplied. Here they were
prepared in the huts of the individual fisherman and were gathered up by
the traders, who sailed their little boats far and wide in search of
traffic. The fish were exchanged for merchandise, especially for earthen
utensils and for clothing. These salted and dried fish were the staple
varieties and were supplied to the market in great quantities, as they
were the principal food of the poorer classes and were sold very cheap.

The hours for the fish market in Athens must have been a time of very
great interest, not only to the Athenian householder but to the
foreigner sojourning within the city. To preserve order and also to give
all customers an equal chance to procure the rare specimens offered for
sale, several stringent laws were enacted to govern the market. Among
other regulations was one requiring the opening of the market to be
announced by the ringing of a bell. Apparently there was no fixed moment
of time when this bell should be rung, but the time varied little from
day to day. If we can believe our ancient authorities, the ringing of
the bell was the occasion for a rush, pellmell, to the market, each
seeking to obtain the first choice. Strabo tells us an interesting story
anent this custom. On one occasion a musician was performing before a
number of invited guests, and when, in the midst of a composition, the
bell rang, in a moment the guests were up and away to the market, all
except one man, who was deaf. When the lyrist had finished he was very
careful to thank his lone auditor for his courtesy in remaining to hear
him through, instead of running away when the bell rang, as the rest
did. “Oh, has the bell rung?” asked the deaf man. And when informed that
it had, he, too, hastened to the market.

The Greek interest in fishes seems never to have gone beyond their
utility as an article of food. The building of aquaria and fish-ponds
never came to be the sport of the Greeks, although they became
extravagant luxuries among the Romans. Likewise fishing never became the
sport of a Greek gentleman, unless, perchance, at a rather late period.
Plato excludes fishing from the sports of a free-born gentleman. The
only sport he would have him engage in was the chase, which, athletic
games aside, was about the only outdoor sport a Greek gentleman seems to
have indulged in. For instance, there is no mention in Greek literature
of horseback riding as a pastime, yet horsemanship was an accomplishment
in which every Greek gentleman received special training. Likewise,
though fishing was not a recognized sport, yet the science of angling
was well understood among them by the third century B. C., and probably
much earlier. This we learn from a beautiful poem by the Alexandrian
poet Theocritus, entitled “The Fishermen.” I will quote a portion of the
poem translated into prose, partly because it gives us a picture of some
ancient professional fishermen in the camp, partly because it mentions
all the ancient instruments of the business.

“Two fishers, on a time, two old men, together lay and slept; they had
strown the dry sea-moss for a bed in their wattled cabin, and there they
lay against the leafy wall. Beside them were strewn the instruments of
their toilsome hands, the fishing-creels, the rods of reed, the hooks,
the sails bedraggled with sea-spoil, the lines, the weels, the lobster
pots woven of rushes, the seines, two oars, and an old coble upon props.
Beneath their heads was a scanty matting, their clothes, their sailor’s
caps. Here was all their toil, here all their wealth. The threshold no
door did guard nor a watch-dog; all these things, all, to them seemed
superfluity, for Poverty was their sentinel. They had no neighbor by
them, but ever against their narrow cabin gently floated up the sea.”

Long before daylight one of them awoke and aroused his companion to tell
him the dream he had had. I shall quote the dream, as it graphically
describes an ancient angler busy at his task: “As I was sleeping late,
amid the labors of the salt sea (and truly not too full-fed, for we
supped early, if thou dost remember, and did not overtax our bellies), I
saw myself busy on a rock, and there I sat and watched the fishes, and
kept spinning the bait with the rods. And one of the fish nibbled, a fat
one, for in sleep dogs dream of bread, and of fish dream I. Well, he was
tightly hooked, and the blood was running, and the rod I grasped was
bent with his struggle. So, with both hands, I strained and had a sore
tussle for the monster. How was I ever to land so big a fish with hooks
all too slim! Then, just to remind him he was hooked, I gently pricked
him, pricked, and slackened, and, as he did not run, I took in line. My
toil was ended with the sight of my prize; I drew up a golden, look you,
a fish all plated thick with gold. Gently I unhooked him * * * then I
dragged him on shore with the ropes.”

I leave to the reader the pleasant task of comparing the ancient tackle
with the modern. It must be said, however, that the description is
rather ideal for the Mediterranean fisherman displays no science in
landing his game, but simply throws it high and dry or breaks his
tackle. This fact is well attested for the ancients, by several vase and
wall paintings portraying fishermen actually at work. These paintings
show us that the ancient outfit included a basket, frequently with a
long handle, and a vase painting in Vienna undoubtedly suggests its use.
The man has caught a fish which he is lifting straight up out of the
water, at the same time he is reaching down with his basket, evidently
to scoop up the fish just before it leaves the water, similar to the
practice in trout-fishing to-day.

Before passing over the Ionian Sea to observe what the Romans did in
this field of activity, the quasi-scientific study of fishes among the
Greeks, particularly that of Aristotle, should claim our attention.
Compared with the work of the moderns Aristotle’s work was crude indeed.
Estimated as the first attempts at building up a science his work
deserves our admiration and, in view of the fact that his writings were
standard for nearly two thousand years, it demands our respect.

Aristotle did his work in natural history under the patronage of King
Philip of Macedon, who drew upon the resources of the empire to provide
him with rare or little known specimens from far and wide. How some of
his conclusions were based on insufficient data and are consequently
very inaccurate, or even grotesque, his discussion of the eel will
illustrate. It must not be taken as a fair sample of his work in
general. In fact, it is very unusual. “Among all the animals,” he says,
“which have blood, the eel is the only one which is not born of
copulation or hatched from eggs. The correctness of this statement is
evident from the fact that eels make their appearance in marshy bodies
of water, and that, too, after all the water has been drawn off and the
mud removed, as soon as the rain-water begins to fill these lakes. They
are not produced in dry weather, not even in lakes that never become
dry, for they live on the rain-water. It is, therefore, plain that their
origin is not due to procreation or to eggs. In spite of this some
people think that they are viviparous, because worms have been found in
the intestines of some eels, which they believe are the young of the
eel. This opinion, however, is erroneous, for they are produced from the
so-called ‘bowels of the earth’ (i. e., the earth-worms), the
spontaneous product of mud and moisture.”

Turning now to the Romans, we find a somewhat different state of
affairs, but different only on the aesthetic side; from a scientific or
industrial point of view the Roman, though heir to all the Greek
civilization and learning, in this, as in many other lines, made but
slight advances.

Fish culture never became a serious occupation among the Romans. It was
a pastime, one of the many directions which their senseless luxury took
rather than a carefully directed effort to stock ponds and rear fish for
food, or as a means of nature study. The immense ponds were stocked with
rare fish in preference to useful varieties. Next to the rare species
those that could be tamed were in favor. A qualification of the above
statements should be made probably, in favor of the Romans who lived
during the early Republican period of whom Columella, a Roman writer,
has the following to say in his book entitled De Re Rustica: “The
descendants of Romulus, although they were country folk, took great
pains in having upon their farms a sort of abundance of everything which
the inhabitants of the city are wont to enjoy. To this end they did not
rest contented with stocking with fish the ponds that had been made for
this purpose, but in their foresight went to the extent of supplying the
ponds formed by nature with the spawn of fish. By this means the lakes
Velinus and Sabitinus, and likewise Vulsmensis and Ciminus have
furnished in great abundance not only catfish and goldfish, but also all
the other varieties of fish which flourish in fresh water.” Such were
the practices of the Roman country folk in early times, but, strange as
it may seem in view of the extravagance of which the fish pond became
the object in later times, no measures were taken to secure the
reproduction and free development of staple food fishes.

It is well known that the ancients had a remarkable predilection for
fish as a food. The principal luxury of the Roman banquets consisted of
fish, and the poets speak of sumptuous tables spread with them
exclusively. In the period between the taking of Carthage and the reign
of Vespasian, this taste became a perfect passion, and for its
gratification the senators and patricians, enriched by the spoils of
Asia and Africa, incurred the most foolish expense. Thus Licinius
Murena, Quintus Hortensius and Lucius Philippus, spent millions on their
fish ponds and in stocking them with rare species. Lucullus was by far
the most extravagant of these fish fanciers. A fish pond was to him very
much what the yacht is to the modern millionaire. It is his name that we
find so frequently in Cicero’s letters, when he and his set come in for
several cleverly-framed rebukes. “No matter,” says Cicero, “about the
state, if only their fish-ponds escape harm.” It was Lucullus who had a
channel cut through a mountain at an immense outlay of money, in order
to let salt water into his fish-ponds. We are told by Varro that one
Hirrius had an income of nearly $700,000 from his Roman real estate, and
spent the whole amount on his fish-ponds. Some of these fish-ponds were
very elaborate. They were constructed with many compartments, in which
they kept the different varieties. The care of these ponds, and the
feeding of the animals, required a large force of trained men and
assistants who, we can infer, learned a great deal about the habits of
fishes, their favorite food, and how to propagate them, but their
information was never reduced to anything like a science.

That foolish extravagance of the Roman nobles produced but two results,
the less of which was the impoverishment of some of Rome’s wealthiest
families; the other and more unfortunate result was the destruction of
the fishes along the Mediterranean Sea.

Probably the sole contribution to fish-culture resulting from all this
extravagance, was the introduction of gold-fish into an artificial
habitat and providing them shell-fish for nourishment.

In conclusion, I will note some of the forms that were most popular
among the Romans, either for table use or for the aquarium. For these we
are indebted to a mosaic discovered in Pompeii. They are formed as they
were seen by the artist in an aquarium, but in the mosaic they are
supposed to be seen as if in the sea. The varieties found are: The grey
mullet, electric ray, gilt-head, muraena, scorpion fish, crawfish,
devil-fish, dog-fish, red-mullet, bass, spinola, red gumara, nautis
prawn, and from another mosaic may be added the soft prawn, squid and
some other species whose English names I do not know.

                                                    T. Louis Comparette.

                            [Illustration: ]

  Description of Plate: A, flowering twig; 1, diagram of flower; 2, 3,
  flower; 4, stamen; 5, pistil; 6, fruit.

                      (_Cinnamomum cassia blume._)

  “_Sinament_ and ginger, nutmegs and cloves,
  And that gave me my jolly red nose.”
                           —_Ravenscroft, Deuteromela, Song 7_ (_1609_).

The cinnamons of the market are the inner barks obtained from trees of
tropical countries and islands. The plants are quite ornamental; twenty
to forty feet high; smooth, enduring, green, simple and entire leaves.
The flowers are small and very insignificant in appearance.

Cinnamon is an old-time, highly-priced spice. It is mentioned in the
herb book of the Chinese emperor Schen-nung (2700 B. C.), where it is
described under the name Kwei. From China it was introduced into Egypt
about 1600 or 1500 B. C. The cinnamon and cassia mentioned in the Bible
were introduced by the Phoenicians. About 400 or 300 B. C. cinnamon
still belonged to the rarities of the market and little was known
regarding its origin and cultivation. Plinius stated that it was not a
native of Arabia, but does not explain what its native country was.
About the fourth century of our era cinnamon found its way into Turkey
and Asia Minor, where it was employed as incense in church ceremonies.
In the sixth century Trallianus recommended the still very expensive
spice for medicinal purposes. During the tenth century the price of this
article became much reduced and it was used as a spice, principally in
the preparation of fish meats. In England it was used in veterinary
practice. Although China is undoubtedly the home of the cinnamons they
were apparently entirely overlooked by Marco Polo, the eminent traveler
and historian, who visited the greater part of China. Oil of cinnamon
was prepared as early as 1540.

There are several varieties of cinnamon upon the market. Cassia
cinnamon, which is a Chinese variety, is obtained from Cinnamomum
cassia. The bark is quite thick and contains only a small amount of
volatile or ethereal oil. It is of little value yet it is exported on a
large scale. It forms the cheap cinnamon of the market. There are other
Chinese cinnamons of good quality which constitute the principal
commercial article. The Saigon cinnamon is by far the best article. It
also is Chinese, obtained from an undetermined species. It is the
strongest and spiciest of the cinnamons and it is the only variety
official in the United States Pharmacopoeia. The bark is of medium
thickness, deep reddish brown and rich in volatile oil. The Ceylon
cinnamon, from India, is noted for the delicacy of its flavor, but it
contains comparatively little volatile oil. The bark is very thin and of
a lighter brown color than that of the Saigon cinnamon.

Nearly all of the cinnamon of the market is obtained from cultivated
plants. There are large plantations in southeastern China, Cochin-China,
India, Sunda islands, Sumatra, Java and other tropical countries and
islands. In many instances little or nothing is known regarding the
cultivation, collecting and curing of cinnamons. As a rule the trees are
pruned for convenience in collecting the bark. In the better-grade
cinnamons the bark from the younger twigs only (1½ to 2 years old) is
collected. This is removed in quills, the outer corky inert layers being
discarded and dried. As the drying proceeds the smaller quills are
telescoped into the larger for convenience in handling, packing and
shipping. The color changes to a reddish brown and the aroma increases.
Two crops are collected annually; one, the principal crop, in May and
June; the second from November to January. The blossoms are formed
during May and June and the fruit ripens in January; these periods
correspond to the periods of collecting. The older, dry, corky bark
should not be collected, as it contains little volatile oil. In all
carefully prepared cinnamons the outer bark layers are removed by

Cinnamon is quite frequently adulterated; poor qualities are substituted
for good qualities or added to the better qualities. This applies
especially to ground cinnamon.

Cinnamon is one of the richest of the spices. Its flavor is quite
universally liked. It is employed in pies and other pastry, in drinks,
in the preparation of hair oils and hair tonics, in confectionery, with
pickles, etc., etc. Medicinally it is employed as a corrective, in
dysentery and in coughs. The excessive consumption of spices, cinnamon
included, is a pernicious practice, as may be gathered from the opening
quotation from Ravenscroft. Spices cause pathological changes in
stomach, the liver and other glandular organs in particular. Quite
frequently those addicted to the use of spices are also addicted to the
use of alcoholic drinks, and it is more than likely that the “jolly red
nose” referred to was caused by the alcoholic stimulants rather than the

The not fully matured flowers are known as cassia buds and are used as a
spice. They are not unlike cloves in appearance. The roots of the
various cinnamon trees yield camphor. The leaves yield volatile oil and
the seeds a faintly aromatic fat.

                                                       Albert Schneider.

                                AT DUSK.

  Dark shadows fall upon the earth,
    Cool vapors rise in air,
  The screech-owl in the copse is heard,
    The bees are freed from care.

  The butterfly has closed its wings,
    The lark has gone to rest;
  The nightingale in tree-top sings;
    To sleep the crow thinks best.

  The lightning bug glows in the brake;
    The cricket chirps beneath the stone;
  The whip poor will is yet awake,
    The bull-frog calls in deep, low tone.

  The flowers droop their weary heads,
    The leaves are nodding in the breeze;
  Young birdlings sleep in downy beds;
    Squirrels are resting in the trees.

  The bats are flying low and high;
    The fishes rest in waters deep.
  The red has gone from western sky,
    All nature soon will be asleep.
                                                      —Albert Schneider.

                          Transcriber’s Notes

--Reconstructed the Table of Contents (originally on each issue’s

--Created an eBook cover from elements within the issue.

--Retained copyright notice on the original book (this eBook is
  public-domain in the country of publication.)

--Silently corrected a few palpable typos.

--“Vulsmensis”, an error for “Vulsinensis”, was retained because the
  typo may have originated in the secondary source consulted by the

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