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Title: Birds and all Nature, Vol. IV, No. 3, September 1898 - Illustrated by Color Photography
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 all Nature, Vol. IV, No. 3, September 1898 - Illustrated by Color Photography" ***

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  BIRDS AND ALL NATURE.

  ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.


  VOL. IV. SEPTEMBER, 1898. NO. 3.



                                                    Page

  SOME ANIMAL PROPENSITIES.                           81

  THE PETRIFIED FERN.                                 83

  WATER AND ANIMALS.                                  84

  THE HERRING GULL.                                   87

  USEFUL BIRDS OF PREY.                               88

  THE RACCOON.                                        91

  WILD BIRDS IN LONDON.                               92

  THE PIGMY ANTELOPE.                                 95

  BIRDS OF ALASKA.                                    95

  THE RED-SHOULDERED HAWK                             96

  THE DOVES OF VENICE.                               100

  BUTTERFLIES.                                       102

  THE FOX.                                           105

  THE GRAY FOX.                                      106

  MISCELLANY.                                        109

  THE GRAY SQUIRREL.                                 110

  AH ME!                                             113

  THE PECTORAL SANDPIPER.                            114

  EYES.                                              117

  THE HUNTED SQUIRREL.                               119

  SUMMARY.                                           120



SOME ANIMAL PROPENSITIES.


It is not quite agreeable to contemplate many of the shortcomings, from
a moral point of view, of certain of the animal creation, and even less
to be compelled to recognize the necessity of them. Thievery in nature
is widely extended, and food is the excuse for it. Civilization has
made the practice of the humanities possible among men, but the lower
animals will doubtless remain, as they have ever been, wholly subject
to the instincts with which nature originally endowed them.

Huber relates an anecdote of some Hive-bees paying a visit to a nest of
Bumble-bees, placed in a box not far from their hive, in order to steal
or beg the honey. The Hive-bees, after pillaging, had taken almost
entire possession of the nest. Some Bumble-bees, which remained, went
out to collect provisions, and bringing home the surplus after they had
supplied their own immediate wants, the Hive-bees followed them and
did not quit them until they had obtained the fruit of their labors.
They licked them, presented to them their probosces, surrounded them,
and thus at last persuaded them to part with the contents of their
"honey-bags." The Bumble-bees did not seem to harm or sting them, hence
it would seem to have been persuasion rather than force that produced
this instance of self-denial. But it was systematic robbery, and was
persisted in until the Wasps were attracted by the same cause, when
the Bumble-bees entirely forsook the nest.

Birds, notwithstanding their attractiveness in plumage and sweetness
in song, are many of them great thieves. They are neither fair nor
generous towards each other. When nest-building they will steal the
feathers out of the nests of other birds, and frequently drive off
other birds from a feeding ground even when there is abundance. This
is especially true of the Robin, who will peck and run after and drive
away birds much larger than himself. In this respect the Robin and
Sparrow resemble each other. Both will drive away a Blackbird and carry
away the worm it has made great efforts to extract from the soil.

Readers of Frank Buckland's delightful books will remember his pet Rat,
which not infrequently terrified his visitors at breakfast. He had made
a house for the pet just by the side of the mantel-piece, and this was
approached by a kind of ladder, up which the Rat had to climb when he
had ventured down to the floor. Some kinds of fish the Rat particularly
liked, and was sure to come out if the savor was strong. One day Mr.
Buckland turned his back to give the Rat a chance of seizing the
coveted morsel, which he was not long in doing and in running up the
ladder with it; but he had fixed it by the middle of the back, and
the door of the entrance was too narrow to admit of its being drawn in
thus. But the Rat was equal to the emergency. In a moment he bethought
himself, laid the fish on the small platform before the door, and then
entering his house he put out his mouth, took the fish by the nose and
thus pulled it in and made a meal of it.

One of the most remarkable instances of carrying on a career of theft
came under our own observation, says a writer in _Cassell's Magazine_.
A friend in northeast Essex had a very fine Aberdeenshire Terrier, a
female, and a very affectionate relationship sprang up between this
Dog and a Tom cat. The Cat followed the Dog with the utmost fondness,
purring and running against it, and would come and call at the door
for the Dog to come out. Attention was first drawn to the pair by this
circumstance. One evening we were visiting our friend and heard the Cat
about the door calling, and some one said to our friend that the cat
was noisy. "He wants little Dell," said he--that being the Dog's name;
we looked incredulous. "Well, you shall see," said he, and opening
the door he let the Terrier out. At once the Cat bounded toward her,
fawned round her, and then, followed by the Dog, ran about the lawn.
But a change came. Some kittens were brought to the house, and the
Terrier got much attached to them and they to her. The Tom cat became
neglected, and soon appeared to feel it. By and by, to the surprise
of every one, the Tom somehow managed to get, and to establish in the
hedge of the garden, two kittens, fiery, spitting little things, and
carried on no end of depredation on their account. Chickens went; the
fur and remains of little Rabbits were often found round the nest, and
pieces of meat disappeared from kitchen and larder. This went on for
some time, when suddenly the Cat disappeared--had been shot in a wood
near by, by a game-keeper, when hunting to provide for these wild
kittens, which were allowed to live in the hedge, as they kept down the
Mice in the garden. This may be said to be a case of animal thieving
for a loftier purpose than generally obtains, mere demand for food and
other necessity.

That nature goes her own way is illustrated by these anecdotes of birds
and animals, and by many others even more strange and convincing.
The struggle for existence, like the brook, goes on forever, and the
survival, if not of the fittest, at least of the strongest, must
continue to be the rule of life, so long as the economical problems of
existence remain unsolved. Man and beast must be fed. "Manna," to some
extent, will always be provided by generous humanitarianism. There will
always be John Howards. Occasionally a disinterested, self-abnegating
soul like that of John Woolman will appear among us--doing good from
love; and, it may be, men like Jonathan Chapman--Johnny Appleseed, he
was called from his habit of planting apple seeds whereever he went,
as he distributed tracts among the frontier settlers in the early days
of western history. He would not harm even a Snake. His heart was
right, though his judgment was little better than that of many modern
sentimentalists who cannot apparently distinguish the innocuous from
the venemous.

It does seem that birds and animals are warranted in committing every
act of vandalism that they are accused of. They are unquestionably
entitled by every natural right to everything of which they take
possession. The farmer has no moral right to deny them a share in the
product of his fields and orchards; the gardener is their debtor (at
least of the birds), and the government, which benefits also from their
industry, should give them its protection.--C. C. M.



THE PETRIFIED FERN.


    In a valley, centuries ago,
      Grew a little fernleaf, green and slender,
      Veining delicate and fibres tender,
      Waving when the wind crept down so low;
      Rushes tall, and moss, and grass grew round it;
      Playful sunbeams darted in and found it,
      Drops of dew stole in by night and crowned it;
    But no foot of man e'er came that way,
    Earth was young and keeping holiday.

    Monster fishes swam the silent main--
      Mountains hurled their snowy avalanches,
      Giant forests shook their stately branches,
    Mammoth creatures stalked across the plain;
    Nature reveled in wild mysteries,
    But the little fern was not of these,
    Did not number with the hills and trees,
      Only grew and waved its sweet wild way--
      No one came to note it day by day.

    Earth one day put on a frolic mood,
      Moved the hills and changed the mighty motion
      Of the deep, strong currents of the ocean,
    Heaved the rocks, and shook the haughty wood,
      Crushed the little fern in soft moist clay,
      Covered it and hid it safe away.
      Oh, the long, long centuries since that day!
    Oh, the agony, Oh, life's bitter cost
    Since that useless little fern was lost!

    Useless? Dost? There came a thoughtful man
      Searching Nature's secrets far and deep;
      From a fissure in a rocky steep
    He withdrew a stone, o'er which there ran
      Fairy pencilings, a quaint design,
      Veining, leafage, fibres, clear and fine,
      And the fern's life lay in every line.
    So, methinks, God hides some souls away,
    Sweetly to surprise us some sweet day.

                                        --ANON.



WATER AND ANIMALS.


To show the importance of water to animal life, we give the opinions
of several travelers and scientific men who have studied the question
thoroughly.

The Camel, with his pouch for storing water, can go longer without
drink than other animals. He doesn't do it from choice, any more than
you in a desert would prefer to drink the water that you have carried
with you, if you might choose between that and fresh spring water.
Major A. G. Leonard, an English transport officer, claims that Camels
"should be watered every day, that they can not be trained to do
without water, and that, though they can retain one and a half gallons
of water in the cells of the stomach, four or five days' abstinence is
as much as they can stand, in heat and with dry food, without permanent
injury."

Another distinguished English traveler, a Mr. Bryden, has observed
that the beasts and birds of the deserts must have private stores of
water of which we know nothing. Mr. Bryden, however, has seen the
Sand-Grouse of South America on their flight to drink at a desert pool.
"The watering process is gone through with perfect order and without
overcrowding"--a hint to young people who are hungry and thirsty at
their meals. "From eight o'clock to close on ten this wonderful flight
continued; as birds drank and departed, others were constantly arriving
to take their places. I should judge that the average time spent by
each bird at and around the water was half an hour."

To show the wonderful instinct which animals possess for discovering
water an anecdote is told by a writer in the _Spectator_, and the
article is republished in the _Living Age_ of February 5. The question
of a supply of good water for the Hague was under discussion in Holland
at the time of building the North Sea Canal. Some one insisted that
the Hares, Rabbits, and Partridges knew of a supply in the sand hills,
because they never came to the wet "polders" to drink. At first the
idea excited laughter. Then one of the local engineers suggested that
the sand hills should be carefully explored, and now a long reservoir
in the very center of those hills fills with water naturally and
supplies the entire town.

All this goes to prove to our mind that if Seals do not apparently
drink, if Cormorants and Penguins, Giraffes, Snakes, and Reptiles seem
to care nothing for water, some of them do eat wet or moist food, while
the Giraffe, for one, enjoys the juices of the leaves of trees that
have their roots in the moisture. None of these animals are our common,
everyday pets. If they were, it would cost us nothing to put water
at their disposal, but that they never drink in their native haunts
"can not be proved until the deserts have been explored and the total
absence of water confirmed."--_Ex._



  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 CHICAGO COLORTYPE CO.,
                 CHIC. & NEW YORK. AMERICAN HERRING GULL.
                 1/6 Life-size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.]

THE HERRING GULL.


Just how many species of Gulls there are has not yet been determined,
but the habits and locations of about twenty-six species have been
described. The American Herring Gull is found throughout North America,
nesting from Maine northward, and westward throughout the interior on
the large inland waters, and occasionally on the Pacific; south in
the winter to Cuba and lower California. This Gull is a common bird
throughout its range, particularly coast-wise.

Col. Goss in his "Birds of Kansas," writes as follows of the Herring
Gull:

"In the month of June, 1880, I found the birds nesting in large
communities on the little island adjacent to Grand Manan; many were
nesting in spruce tree tops from twenty to forty feet from the ground.
It was an odd sight to see them on their nests or perched upon a limb,
chattering and scolding as approached.

"In the trees I had no difficulty in finding full sets of their eggs,
as the egg collectors rarely take the trouble to climb, but on the
rocks I was unable to find an egg within reach, the 'eggers' going
daily over the rocks. I was told by several that they yearly robbed the
birds, taking, however, but nine eggs from a nest, as they found that
whenever they took a greater number, the birds so robbed would forsake
their nests, or, as they expressed it, cease to lay, and that in order
to prevent an over-collection they invariably drop near the nest a
little stone or pebble for every egg taken."

The young Gulls grow rapidly. They do not leave their nesting grounds
until able to fly, though, half-grown birds are sometimes seen on the
water that by fright or accident have fallen. The nests are composed
of grass and moss. Some of them are large and elaborately made, while
others are merely shallow depressions with a slight lining. Three eggs
are usually laid, which vary from bluish-white to a deep yellowish
brown, spotted and blotched with brown of different shades. In many
cases where the Herring Gull has suffered persecution, it has been
known to depart from its usual habit of nesting on the open seashore.

It is a pleasure to watch a flock of Gulls riding buoyantly upon the
water. They do not dive, as many suppose, but only immerse the head
and neck. They are omnivorous and greedy eaters; "scavengers of the
beach, and in the harbors to be seen boldly alighting upon the masts
and flying about the vessels, picking up the refuse matter as soon as
it is cast overboard, and often following the steamers from thirty
to forty miles from the land, and sometimes much farther." They are
ever upon the alert, with a quick eye that notices every floating
object or disturbance of the water, and as they herald with screams
the appearance of the Herring or other small fishes that often swim in
schools at the surface of the water, they prove an unerring pilot to
the fishermen who hastily follow with their lines and nets, for they
know that beneath and following the valuable catch in sight are the
larger fishes that are so intent upon taking the little ones in out of
the wet as largely to forget their cunning, and thus make their capture
an easy one.

Very large flocks of Gulls, at times appearing many hundreds, are
seen on Lake Michigan. We recently saw in the vicinity of Milwaukee
a flock of what we considered to be many thousands of these birds,
flying swiftly, mounting up, and falling, as if to catch themselves,
in wide circles, the sun causing their wings and sides to glisten like
burnished silver.



USEFUL BIRDS OF PREY.


It is claimed that two hundred millions of dollars that should go to
the farmer, the gardner, and the fruit grower in the United States are
lost every year by the ravages of insects--that is to say, one-tenth of
our agricultural product is actually destroyed by them. The Department
of Agriculture has made a thorough investigation of this subject, and
its conclusions are about as stated. The ravages of the Gypsy Moth in
three counties in Massachusetts for several years annually cost the
state $100,000. "Now, as rain is the natural check to drought, so birds
are the natural check to insects, for what are pests to the farmer
are necessities of life to the bird. It is calculated that an average
insectivorous bird destroys 2,400 insects in a year; and when it is
remembered that there are over 100,000 kinds of insects in the United
States, the majority of which are injurious, and that in some cases
a single individual in a year may become the progenitor of several
billion descendants, it is seen how much good birds do ordinarily
by simple prevention." All of which has reference chiefly to the
indispensableness of preventing by every possible means the destruction
of the birds whose food largely consists of insects.

But many of our so-called birds of prey, which have been thought to
be the enemies of the agriculturist and have hence been ruthlessly
destroyed, are equally beneficial. Dr. Fisher, an authority on the
subject, in referring to the injustice which has been done to many of
the best friends of the farm and garden, says:

"The birds of prey, the majority of which labor night and day to
destroy the enemies of the husbandman, are persecuted unceasingly. This
has especially been the case with the Hawk family, only three of the
common inland species being harmful. These are the Goshawk, Cooper's
Hawk, and the Sharp-shinned Hawk, the first of which is rare in the
United States, except in winter. Cooper's Hawk, or the Chicken Hawk,
is the most destructive, especially to Doves. The other Hawks are of
great value, one of which, the Marsh Hawk, being regarded as perhaps
more useful than any other. It can be easily distinguished by its
white rump and its habit of beating low over the meadows. Meadow Mice,
Rabbits, and Squirrels are its favorite food. The Red-tailed Hawk, or
Hen Hawk, is another." It does not deserve the name, for according to
Dr. Fisher, while fully sixty-six per cent of its food consists of
injurious mammals, not more than seven per cent consists of poultry,
and that it is probable that a large proportion of the poultry and game
captured by it and the other Buzzard Hawks is made up of old, diseased,
or otherwise disabled fowls, so preventing their interbreeding with the
sound stock and hindering the spread of fatal epidemics. It eats Ground
Squirrels, Rabbits, Mice, and Rats.

The Red-shouldered Hawk, whose picture we present to our readers, is
as useful as it is beautiful, in fact ninety per cent of its food is
composed of injurious mammals and insects.

The Sparrow Hawk (See BIRDS, vol. 3, p. 107) is another useful member
of this family. In the warm months Grasshoppers, Crickets, and other
insects compose its food, and Mice during the rest of the year.

Swainson's Hawk is said to be the great Grasshopper destroyer of the
west, and it is estimated that in a month three hundred of these birds
save sixty tons of produce that the Grasshopper would destroy.



  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 RACCOON.
                 1/5 Life-size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898. Chicago.]

THE RACCOON.


On account of the value of its skin, this interesting animal is much
sought after by those who take pride in their skill in securing it.
It is commonly known by its abbreviated name of Coon, and as it is of
frequent occurrence throughout the United States, every country boy is
more or less acquainted with its habits. As an article of food there is
much diversity of opinion respecting its merits. It is hunted by some
for the sport alone, which is doubtless to be lamented, and by others
who enjoy also the pleasure of a palatable stew. As a pet it is also
much prized.

The food of the Raccoon consists in the main of small animals and
insects. The succulent Oyster also is a favorite article of its diet.
It bites off the hinge of the Oyster and scrapes out the animal in
fragments with its paws. Like the Squirrel when eating a nut, the
Raccoon usually holds its food between its fore paws pressed together
and sits upon its hind quarters when it eats. Poultry is also enjoyed
by it, and it is said to be as destructive in the farm yard as the Fox,
as it only devours the heads of the fowl.

When taken young the Coon is easily tamed, but often becomes blind soon
after its capture. This is believed to be produced by the sensitiveness
of its eyes, which are intended only to be used by night. As it is
frequently awakened by day it suffers so much from the glare of light
that its eyes gradually lose their vision. If it must be confined
at all it should be in a darkened place. In zoological gardens we
have frequently seen several of these animals exposed to the glaring
sunlight, the result of ignorance or cruelty, or both.

Unlike the Fox, the Raccoon is at home in a tree, which is the usual
refuge when danger is near, and not being very swift of foot, it is
well that it possesses this climbing ability. According to Hallock,
the Coons' abode is generally in a hollow tree, oak or chestnut, and
when the "juvenile farmer's son comes across a _Coon tree_, he is
not long in making known his discovery to friends and neighbors, who
forthwith assemble at the spot to secure it." The "sport" is in no
sense agreeable from a humane point of view, and we trust it will cease
to be regarded as such by those who indulge in it. "The Raccoon makes a
heroic struggle and often puts many of his assailants _hors de combat_
for many a day, his jaws being strong and his claws sharp."

The young ones are generally from four to eight, pretty little
creatures at first and about as large as half-grown Rats. They are very
playful, soon become docile and tame, but at the first chance will
wander off to the woods and not return. The Coon is a night animal and
never travels by day; sometimes it is said, being caught at morning far
from its tree and being unable to return thither, it will spend the
hours of daylight snugly coiled up among the thickest foliage of some
lofty tree-top. It is adroit in its attempts to baffle Dogs, and will
often enter a brook and travel for some distance in the water, thus
puzzling and delaying its pursuers.

A good sized Raccoon will weigh from fifteen to twenty pounds.

The curiosity of the Raccoon is one of its most interesting
characteristics. It will search every place of possible concealment for
food, examine critically any object of interest, will rifle a pocket,
stand upright and watch every motion of man or animal, and indeed show
a marked desire for all sorts of knowledge. Raccoons are apparently
happy in captivity when properly cared for by their keepers.



WILD BIRDS IN LONDON.

Their Number and Variety is Increasing Instead of Diminishing.


Whether in consequence of the effective working of the Wild Birds'
Charter or of other unknown causes, there can be no doubt in the
minds of observant lovers of our feathered friends that of late years
there has been a great and gratifying increase in their numbers in
and around London, especially so, of course, in the vicinity of the
beautiful open spaces which do such beneficent work silently in this
province of houses. But even in long, unlovely streets, far removed
from the rich greenery of the parks, the shabby parallelograms, by
courtesy styled gardens, are becoming more and more frequently visited
by such pretty shy songsters as Linnets, Blackbirds, Thrushes, and
Finches, who, though all too often falling victims to the predatory
Cat, find abundant food in these cramped enclosures. Naturally some
suburbs are more favored than others in this respect, notably Dulwich,
which, though fast losing its beautiful character under the ruthless
grip of the builder, still retains some delightful nooks where one may
occasionally hear the Nightingale's lovely song in its season.

But the most noticable additions to the bird population of London have
been among the Starlings. Their quaint gabble and peculiar minor
whistle may now be heard in the most unexpected localities. Even
the towering mansions which have replaced so many of the slums of
Westminster find favor in their eyes, for among the thick clustering
chimneys which crown these great buildings their slovenly nests may be
found in large numbers. In some districts they are so numerous that the
irrepressible Sparrow, true London gamin that he is, finds himself in
considerable danger of being crowded out. This is perhaps most evident
on the sequestered lawns of some of the inns of the court, Gray's Inn
Square, for instance, where hundreds of Starlings at a time may now
be observed busily trotting about the greensward searching for food.
Several long streets come to mind where not a house is without its pair
or more of Starlings, who continue faithful to their chosen roofs, and
whose descendants settle near as they grow up, well content with their
surroundings. House Martins, too, in spite of repeated efforts on the
part of irritated landlords to drive them away by destroying their
nests on account of the disfigurement to the front of the dwelling,
persist in returning year after year and rebuilding their ingenious
little mud cells under the eaves of the most modern suburban villas or
terrace houses.

                                        --_Pall Mall Gazette._



  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 PYGMY ANTELOPE.
                 1/3 Life-size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898. Chicago.]

THE PIGMY ANTELOPE.


The Pigmy Antelopes present examples of singular members of the family,
in that they are of exceedingly diminutive size, the smallest being
no larger than a large Rat, dainty creatures indeed. The Pigmy is an
inhabitant of South Africa, and its habits are said to be quite similar
to those of its brother of the western portion of North America.

The Antelope is a very wary animal, but the sentiment of curiosity
is implanted so strongly in its nature that it often leads it to
reconnoitre too closely some object which it cannot clearly make out,
and its investigations are pursued until "the dire answer to all
inquiries is given by the sharp 'spang' of the rifle and the answering
'spat' as the ball strikes the beautiful creatures flank." The Pigmy
Antelope is not hunted, however, as is its larger congener, and may
be considered rather as a diminutive curiosity of Natures' delicate
workmanship than as the legitimate prey of man.



BIRDS OF ALASKA.


No sooner had the twilight settled over the island than new bird voices
called from the hills about us. The birds of the day were at rest, and
their place was filled with the night denizens of the island. They
came from the dark recesses of the forests, first single stragglers,
increased by midnight to a stream of eager birds, passing to and fro
from the sea. Many, attracted by the glow of the burning logs, altered
their course and circled about the fire a few times and then sped on.
From their notes we identified the principal night prowlers as the
Cassin's Auklet, Rhinoceros Auk, Murrelet, and varieties of Petrel.
All through the night our slumbers were frequently disturbed by birds
alighting on the sides of the tent, slipping down with great scratching
into the grass below, where our excited Dog took a hand in the matter,
daylight often finding our tent strewn with birds he had captured
during the night. When he found time to sleep I do not know. He was
after birds the entire twenty-four hours.

In climbing over the hills of the island we discovered the retreats of
these night birds, the soil everywhere through the deep wood being
fairly honeycombed with their nesting burrows. The larger tunnels
of the Rhinoceros Auks were, as a rule, on the slopes of the hill,
while the little burrows of the Cassin's Auklet were on top in the
flat places. We opened many of their queer abodes that ran back with
many turns to a distance of ten feet or more. One or both birds were
invariably found at the end, covering their single egg, for this
species, like many other sea birds, divide the duties of incubation,
both sexes doing an equal share, relieving each other at night.

The Puffins nested in burrows also, but lower down--often just above
the surf. One must be very careful, indeed, how he thrusts his hand
into their dark dens, for should the old bird chance to be at home, its
vise-like bill can inflict a very painful wound. The rookeries of the
Murres and Cormorants were on the sides of steep cliffs overhanging the
sea. Looking down from above, hundreds of eggs could be seen, gathered
along the narrow shelves and chinks in the rocks, but accessible only
by means of a rope from the top.--_Outing._



THE RED-SHOULDERED HAWK.


You have heard of me before. I am the Hawk whose cry Mr. Blue Jay
imitated, as you will remember, in the story "The New Tenants,"
published in Birds.

_Kee-oe_, _kee-oe_, _kee-oe_, that is my cry, very loud and plaintive;
they say I am a very noisy bird; perhaps that is the reason why Mr.
Blue Jay imitates me more than he does other Hawks.

I am called Chicken Hawk, and Hen Hawk, also, though I don't deserve
either of those names. There are members of our family, and oh, what
a lot of us there are--as numerous as the Woodpeckers--who do drop
down into the barnyards and right before the farmer's eyes carry off
a Chicken. Red Squirrels, to my notion, are more appetizing than
Chickens; so are Mice, Frogs, Centipedes, Snakes, and Worms. A bird
once in a while I like for variety, and between you and me, if I am
hungry, I pick up a chicken now and then, that has strayed outside the
barnyard. But only _occasionally_, remember, so that I don't deserve
the name of Chicken Hawk at all, do I?

Wooded swamps, groves inhabited by Squirrels, and patches of low timber
are the places in which we make our homes. Sometimes we use an old
crow's nest instead of building one; we retouch it a little and put in
a soft lining of feathers which my mate plucks from her breast. When
we build a new nest, it is made of husks, moss, and strips of bark,
lined as the building progresses with my mate's feathers. Young lady
Red-shouldered Hawks lay three and sometimes four eggs, but the old
lady birds lay only two.

Somehow Mr. Blue Jay never sees a Hawk without giving the alarm, and on
he rushes to attack us, backed up by other Jays who never fail to go
to his assistance. They often assemble in great numbers and actually
succeed in driving us out of the neighborhood. Not that we are afraid
of them, oh no! We know them to be great cowards, as well as the crows,
who harass us also, and only have to turn on our foes to put them to
rout. Sometimes we do turn, and seizing a Blue Jay, sail off with him
to the nearest covert; or in mid air strike a Crow who persistently
follows us. But as a general thing we simply ignore our little
assailants, and just fly off to avoid them.

  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 RED-SHOULDERED HAWK.
                 1/3 Life-size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.]

The Hawk family is an interesting one and many of them are beautiful.
The Red-shouldered Hawk is one of the finest specimens of these birds,
as well as one of the most useful. Of late years the farmer has come to
know it as his friend rather than his enemy, as formerly. It inhabits
the woodlands where it feeds chiefly upon Squirrels, Rabbits, Mice,
Moles, and Lizards. It occasionally drops down on an unlucky Duck or
Bob White, though it is not quick enough to catch the smaller birds.
It is said to be destructive to domestic fowls raised in or near the
timber, but does not appear to search for food far away from its
natural haunts. As it is a very noisy bird, the birds which it might
destroy are warned of its approach, and thus protect themselves.

During the early nesting season its loud, harsh _kee-oe_ is heard from
the perch and while in the air, often keeping up the cry for a long
time without intermission. Col. Goss says that he collected at Neosho
Falls, Kansas, for several successive years a set of the eggs of this
species from a nest in the forks of a medium sized oak. In about nine
days after each robbery the birds would commence laying again, and
he allowed them to hatch and rear their young. One winter during his
absence the tree was cut down, but this did not discourage the birds,
or cause them to forsake the place, for on approach of spring he found
them building a nest not over ten rods from the old one, but this time
in a large sycamore beyond reach. This seemed to him to indicate that
they become greatly attached to the grounds selected for a home, which
they vigilantly guard, not permitting a bird of prey to come within
their limits.

This species is one of the commonest in the United States, being
especially abundant in the winter, from which it receives the name of
Winter Falcon. The name of Chicken Hawk is often applied to it, though
it does not deserve the name, its diet being of a more humble kind.

The eggs are usually deposited in April or May in numbers of three or
four--sometimes only two. The ground color is bluish, yellowish-white
or brownish, spotted, blotched and dotted irregularly with many shades
of reddish brown. Some of them are strikingly beautiful. According to
Davie, to describe all the shades of reds and browns which comprise the
variation would be an almost endless task, and a large series like this
must be seen in order to appreciate how much the eggs of this species
vary.

The flight of the Red-shouldered Hawk is slow, but steady and strong
with a regular beat of the wings. They take delight in sailing in the
air, where they float lightly and with scarcely a notable motion of
the wings, often circling to a great height. During the insect season,
while thus sailing, they often fill their craws with grass-hoppers,
that, during the after part of the day, also enjoy an air sail.



THE DOVES OF VENICE.


Venice, the pride of Italy of old, aside from its other numerous
curiosities and antiquities, has one which is a novelty indeed. Its
Doves on the San Marco Place are a source of wonder and amusement to
every lover of animal life. Their most striking peculiarity is that
they fear no mortal man, be he stranger or not. They come in countless
numbers, and, when not perched on the far-famed bell tower, are found
on the flags of San Marco Square. They are often misnamed Pigeons, but
as a matter of fact they are Doves of the highest order. They differ,
however, from our wild Doves in that they are fully three times as
large, and twice as large as our best domestic Pigeon. Their plumage
is of a soft mouse color relieved by pure white, and occasionally
one of pure white is found, but these are rare. Hold out to them a
handful of crumbs and without fear they will come, perch on your hand
or shoulder and eat with thankful coos. To strangers this is indeed
a pleasing sight, and demonstrates the lack of fear of animals when
they are treated humanely, for none would dare to injure the doves of
San Marco. He would probably forfeit his life were he to injure one
intentionally. And what beggars these Doves of San Marco are! They will
crowd around, and push and coo with their soft soothing voices, until
you can withstand them no longer, and invest a few centimes in bread
for their benefit. Their bread, by the way, is sold by an Italian, who
must certainly be in collusion with the Doves, for whenever a stranger
makes his appearance, both Doves and bread vender are at hand to beg.

The most remarkable fact in connection with these Doves is that they
will collect in no other place in large numbers than San Marco Square,
and in particular at the vestibule of San Marco Church. True, they are
found perched on buildings throughout the entire city, and occasionally
we will find a few in various streets picking refuse, but they never
appear in great numbers outside of San Marco Square. The ancient bell
tower, which is situated on the west side of the place, is a favorite
roosting place for them, and on this perch they patiently wait for a
foreigner, and proceed to bleed him after approved Italian fashion.

There are several legends connected with the Doves of Venice, each of
which attempts to explain the peculiar veneration of the Venetian and
the extreme liberty allowed these harbingers of peace. The one which
struck me as being the most appropriate is as follows:

Centuries ago Venice was a free city, having her own government, navy,
and army, and in a manner was considered quite a power on land and sea.
The city was ruled by a Senate consisting of ten men, who were called
Doges, who had absolute power, which they used very often in a despotic
and cruel manner, especially where political prisoners were concerned.
On account of the riches the city contained, and also its values as
a port, Venice was coveted by Italy and neighboring nations, and, as
a consequence, was often called upon to defend itself with rather
indifferent success. In fact, Venice was conquered so often, first by
one and then another, that Venetians were seldom certain of how they
stood. They knew not whether they were slave or victor. It was during
one of these sieges that the incident of the Doves occurred. The city
had been besieged for a long time by Italians, and matters were coming
to such a pass that a surrender was absolutely necessary on account of
lack of food. In fact, the Doges had issued a decree that on the morrow
the city should surrender unconditionally.

All was gloom and sorrow, and the populace stood around in groups
on the San Marco discussing the situation and bewailing their fate,
when lo! in the eastern sky there appeared a dense cloud rushing upon
the city with the speed of the wind. At first consternation reigned
supreme, and men asked each other: "What new calamity is this?" As the
cloud swiftly approached it was seen to be a vast number of Doves,
which, after hovering over the San Marco Place for a moment, gracefully
settled down upon the flagstones and approached the men without fear.
Then there arose a queer cry, "The Doves! The Doves of San Marco!" It
appears that some years before this a sage had predicted stormy times
for Venice, with much suffering and strife, but, when all seemed lost,
there would appear a multitude of Doves, who would bring Venice peace
and happiness. And so it came to pass that the next day, instead of
attacking, the besiegers left, and Venice was free again. The prophet
also stated that, so long as the Doves remained at Venice prosperity
would reign supreme, but that there would come a day when the Doves
would leave just as they had come, and Venice would pass into
oblivion. That is why Venetians take such good care of their Doves.

You will not find this legend in any history, but I give it just as it
was told me by a guide, who seemed well versed in hair-raising legends.
Possibly they were manufactured to order by this energetic gentleman,
but they sounded well nevertheless. Even to this day the old men of
Venice fear that some morning they will awake and find their Doves gone.

There in the shadow of the famous bell-tower, with the stately San
Marco church on one side and the palace of the cruel and murderous
Doges on the other, we daily find our pretty Doves coaxing for bread.
Often you will find them peering down into the dark passage-way in the
palace, which leads to the dungeons underneath the Grand Canal. What
a boon a sight of these messengers of peace would have been to the
doomed inmates of these murder-reeking caves. But happily they are now
deserted, and are used only as a source of revenue, which is paid by
the inquisitive tourist.

Venice still remains as of old. She never changes, and the Doves of San
Marco will still remain. May we hope, with the sages of Venice, that
they may remain forever.--_Lebert, in Cincinnati Commercial Gazette._



BUTTERFLIES.


It may appear strange, if not altogether inappropriate to the season,
that "the fair fragile things which are the resurrection of the ugly,
creeping caterpillars" should be almost as numerous in October as in
the balmy month of July. Yet it is true, and early October, in some
parts of the country, is said to be perhaps the best time of the year
for the investigating student and observer of Butterflies. While not
quite so numerous, perhaps, many of the species are in more perfect
condition, and the variety is still intact. Many of them come and
remain until frost, and the largest Butterfly we have, the Archippus,
does not appear until the middle of July, but after that is constantly
with us, floating and circling on the wing, until October. How these
delicate creatures can endure even the chill of autumn days is one of
the mysteries.

Very curious and interesting are the Skippers, says _Current
Literature_. They are very small insects, but their bodies are robust,
and they fly with great rapidity, not moving in graceful, wavy lines
as the true Butterflies do, but skipping about with sudden, jerky
motions. Their flight is very short, and almost always near the
ground. They can never be mistaken, as their peculiar motion renders
their identification easy. They are seen at their best in August and
September. All June and July Butterflies are August and September
Butterflies, not so numerous in some instances, perhaps, but still
plentiful, and vying with the rich hues of the changing autumnal
foliage.

The "little wood brownies," or Quakers, are exceedingly interesting.
Their colors are not brilliant, but plain, and they seek the quiet and
retirement of the woods, where they flit about in graceful circles over
the shady beds of ferns and woodland grasses.

Many varieties of the Vanessa are often seen flying about in May, but
they are far more numerous and perfect in July, August, and September.
A beautiful Azure-blue Butterfly, when it is fluttering over flowers
in the sunshine, looks like a tiny speck of bright blue satin. Several
other small Butterflies which appear at the same time are readily
distinguished by the peculiar manner in which their hind wings are
tailed. Their color is a dull brown of various shades, marked in some
of the varieties with specks of white or blue.

"Their presence in the gardens and meadows," says a recent writer,
"and in the fields and along the river-banks, adds another element
of gladness which we are quick to recognize, and even the plodding
wayfarer who has not the honor of a single intimate acquaintance among
them might, perhaps, be the first to miss their circlings about his
path. As roses belong to June, and chrysanthemums to November, so
Butterflies seem to be a joyous part of July. It is their gala-day,
and they are everywhere, darting and circling and sailing, dropping to
investigate flowers and overripe fruit, and rising on buoyant wings
high into the upper air, bright, joyous, airy, ephemeral. But July can
only claim the larger part of their allegiance, for they are wanderers
into all the other months, and even occasionally brave the winter with
torn and faded wings."

  [Illustration: BUTTERFLIES.--Life-size.
                 Melitæa chalcedon.
                 Thecla crysalus.
                 Anthocharis sara.

                 Papilio thoas.
                 Papilio philenor.
                 Argynis idalia.

                 Limenitis arthemis var. lamina.
                 Cystineura dorcas.
                 Thecla halesus.]



THE FOX.


"A sly dog."

Somehow people always say that when they see a Fox. I'd rather they
would call me that than stupid, however. Do I look stupid in my picture?

"Look pleasant," said the man when taking my photograph for Birds,
and I flatter myself I did--and intelligent, too. Look at my brainy
head, my delicate ears--broad below to catch every sound, and tapering
so sharply to a point that they can shape themselves to every wave
of sound. Note the crafty calculation and foresight of my low, flat
brow, the resolute purpose of my pointed nose; my eye deep set--like
a robber's--my thin cynical lips, and mouth open from ear to ear. You
couldn't find a better looking Fox if you searched the world over.

I can leap, crawl, run, and swim, and walk so noiselessly that even the
dead leaves won't rustle under my feet. It takes a deal of cunning for
a Fox to get along in this world, I can tell you. I'd go hungry if I
didn't plan and observe the habits of other creatures. For instance:
I love Fish. When I want one for my supper off I trot to the nearest
stream, and standing very quiet, watch till I spy a nice, plump trout
in the clear water. A leap, a snap, and it is all over with Mr. Trout.

Another time I feel as though I'd like a crawfish. I see one snoozing
by his hole near the water's edge. I drop my fine, bushy tail into the
water and tickle him on the ear. That makes him furious--nobody likes
to be wakened from a nap that way--and out he darts at the tail; snap
go my jaws, and Mr. Crawfish is crushed in them, shell and all.

Between you and me, I consider that a very clever trick, too. Don't you?

Summer is my favorite season of the year. How I love the green fields,
the ripening grain, the delicious fruits, for then the Rabbits prick up
their long ears, and thinking themselves out of danger, run along the
hillside; then the quails skulk in the wheat stubble, and the birds hop
and fly about the whole day long. I am very fond of Rabbits, Quails,
and other Birds. They make a very satisfactory meal. For dessert I have
only to sneak into an orchard and eat my fill of apples, pears, and
grapes. You perceive I have very good reason for liking the summer.
It's the merriest time of the year for me, and my cubs. They grow fat
and saucy, too.



THE GRAY FOX.


The only Foxes that are hunted (the others only being taken by means of
traps or poison) are the Red and Gray species. The Gray Fox is a more
southern species than the Red and is rarely found north of the state
of Maine. Indeed it is said to be not common anywhere in New England.
In the southern states, however, it wholly replaces the Red Fox, and,
according to Hallock, one of the best authorities on game animals in
this country, causes quite as much annoyance to the farmer as does
that proverbial and predatory animal, the terror of the hen-roost and
the smaller rodents. The Gray Fox is somewhat smaller than the Red and
differs from him in being wholly dark gray "mixed hoary and black." He
also differs from his northern cousin in being able to climb trees.
Although not much of a runner, when hard pressed by the dog he will
often ascend the trunk of a leaning tree, or will even climb an erect
one, grasping the trunk in his arms as would a Bear. Nevertheless the
Fox is not at home among the branches, and looks and no doubt feels
very much out of place while in this predicament. The ability to climb,
however, often saves him from the hounds, who are thus thrown off the
scent and Reynard is left to trot home at his leisure.

Foxes live in holes of their own making, generally in the loamy soil
of a side hill, says an old Fox hunter, and the she-Fox bears four or
five cubs at a litter. When a fox-hole is discovered by the Farmers
they assemble and proceed to dig out the inmates who have lately, very
likely, been making havoc among the hen-roosts. An amusing incident,
he relates, which came under his observation a few years ago will
bear relating. A farmer discovered the lair of an old dog Fox by
means of his hound, who trailed the animal to his hole. This Fox had
been making large and nightly inroads into the poultry ranks of the
neighborhood, and had acquired great and unenviable notoriety on that
account. The farmer and two companions, armed with spades and hoes,
and accompanied by the faithful hound, started to dig out the Fox. The
hole was situated on the sandy slope of a hill, and after a laborious
and continued digging of four hours, Reynard was unearthed and he and
Rep, the dog, were soon engaged in deadly strife. The excitement had
waxed hot, and dog, men, and Fox were all struggling in a promiscuous
melee. Soon a burly farmer watching his chance strikes wildly with his
hoe-handle for Reynard's head, which is scarcely distinguishable in the
maze of legs and bodies. The blow descends, but alas! a sudden movement
of the hairy mass brings the fierce stroke upon the faithful dog, who
with a wild howl relaxes his grasp and rolls with bruised and bleeding
head, faint and powerless on the hillside. Reynard takes advantage of
the turn affairs have assumed, and before the gun, which had been laid
aside on the grass some hours before, can be reached he disappears over
the crest of the hill.

Hallock says that an old she-Fox with young, to supply them with food,
will soon deplete the hen-roost and destroy both old and great numbers
of very young chickens. They generally travel by night, follow regular
runs, and are exceedingly shy of any invention for their capture, and
the use of traps is almost futile. If caught in a trap, they will gnaw
off the captured foot and escape, in which respect they fully support
their ancient reputation for cunning.

  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 AMERICAN GRAY FOX.
                 1/6 Life-size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.]



MISCELLANY.


RURAL BIRD LIFE IN INDIA.--"Nothing gives more delight," writes Mr.
Caine, "in traveling through rural India than the bird-life that
abounds everywhere; absolutely unmolested, they are as tame as a
poultry yard, making the country one vast aviary. Yellow-beaked Minas,
Ring-doves, Jays, Hoopoes, and Parrots take dust baths with the merry
Palm-squirrel in the roadway, hardly troubling themselves to hop out
of the way of the heavy bull-carts; every wayside pond and lake is
alive with Ducks, Wild Geese, Flamingoes, Pelicans, and waders of every
size and sort, from dainty red-legged beauties the size of Pigeons up
to the great unwieldy Cranes and Adjutants five feet high. We pass a
dead Sheep with two loathsome vultures picking over the carcass, and
presently a brood of fluffy young Partridges with father and mother in
charge look at us fearlessly within ten feet of our whirling carriage.
Every village has its flock of sacred Peacocks pacing gravely through
the surrounding gardens and fields, and Woodpeckers and Kingfishers
flash about like jewels in the blazing sunlight."

----

WARNING COLORS.--Very complete experiments in support of the theory
of warning colors, first suggested by Bates and also by Wallace, have
been made in India by Mr. Finn, says _The Independent_. He concludes
that there is a general appetite for Butterflies among insectivorous
birds, though they are rarely seen when wild to attack them; also that
many, probably most birds, dislike, if not intensely, at any rate
in comparison with other Butterflies, those of the Danais genus and
three other kinds, including a species of Papilio, which is the most
distasteful. The mimics of these Butterflies are relatively palatable.
He found that each bird has to separately acquire its experience with
bad-tasting Butterflies, but well remembers what it learns. He also
experimented with Lizards, and noticed that, unlike the birds, they ate
the nauseous as well as other Butterflies.

----

INCREASE IN ZOOLOGICAL PRESERVES IN THE UNITED STATES--The
establishment of the National Zoological Park, Washington, has led
to the formation of many other zoological preserves in the United
States. In the western part of New Hampshire is an area of 26,000
acres, established by the late Austin Corbin, and containing 74 Bison,
200 Moose, 1,500 Elk, 1,700 Deer of different species, and 150 Wild
Boar, all of which are rapidly multiplying. In the Adirondacks, a
preserve of 9,000 acres has been stocked with Elk, Virginia Deer,
Muledeer, Rabbits, and Pheasants. The same animals are preserved by W.
C. Whitney on an estate of 1,000 acres in the Berkshire Hills, near
Lenox, Mass., where also he keeps Bison and Antelope. Other preserves
are Nehasane Park, in the Adirondacks, 8,000 acres; Tranquillity Park,
near Allamuchy, N. J., 4,000 acres; the Alling preserve, near Tacoma,
Washington, 5,000 acres; North Lodge, near St. Paul, Minn., 400 acres;
and Furlough Lodge, in the Catskills, N. Y., 600 acres.

----

ROBINS ABUNDANT--Not for many years have these birds been so numerous
as during 1898. Once, under some wide-spreading willow trees, where the
ground was bare and soft, we counted about forty Red-breasts feeding
together, and on several occasions during the summer we saw so many in
flocks, that we could only guess at the number. When unmolested, few
birds become so tame and none are more interesting.



THE GRAY SQUIRREL.


East of the Missouri River the Gray Squirrel is found almost
everywhere, and is perhaps the most common variety. Wherever there is
timber it is almost sure to be met with, and in many localities is very
abundant, especially where it has had an opportunity to breed without
unusual disturbance. Its usual color is pale gray above and white or
yellowish white beneath, but individuals of the species grade from this
color through all the stages to jet black. Gray and black Squirrels
are often found associating together. They are said to be in every
respect alike, in the anatomy of their bodies, habits, and in every
detail excepting the color, and by many sportsmen they are regarded as
distinct species, and that the black form is merely due to melanism,
an anomaly not uncommon among animals. Whether this be the correct
explanation may well be left to further scientific observation.

Like all the family, the Gray Squirrels feed in the early morning
just after sunrise and remain during the middle of the day in their
hole or nest. It is in the early morning or the late afternoon, when
they again appear in search of the evening meal, that the wise hunter
lies in wait for them. Then they may be heard and seen playing and
chattering together till twilight. Sitting upright and motionless
on a log the intruder will rarely be discovered by them, but at the
slightest movement they scamper away, hardly to return. This fact is
taken advantage of by the sportsmen, and, says an observer, be he
at all familiar with the runways of the Squirrels at any particular
locality he may sit by the path and bag a goodly number. Gray and Black
Squirrels generally breed twice during the spring and summer, and have
several young at a litter. The young mature in August and September.

We have been told that an incident of migration of Squirrels of a very
remarkable kind occurred a good many years ago, caused by lack of mast
and other food, in New York State. When the creatures arrived at the
Niagara river, their apparent destination being Canada, they seemed
to hesitate before attempting to cross the swift running stream. The
current is very rapid, exceeding seven miles an hour. They finally
ventured in the water, however, and with tails spread for sails,
succeeded in making the opposite shore, but more than a mile below the
point of entrance. They are better swimmers than one would fancy them
to be, as they have much strength and endurance. We remember when a
boy seeing some mischievous urchins repeatedly throw a tame Squirrel
into deep water for the cruel pleasure of watching it swim ashore. The
"sport" was soon stopped, however, by a passerby, who administered a
rebuke that could hardly be forgotten.

Squirrels are frequently domesticated and become as tame as any
household tabby. Unfortunately Dogs and Cats seem to show a relentless
enmity toward them, as they do toward all rodents. The Squirrel is
willing to be friendly, and no doubt would gladly affiliate with
them, but the instinct of the canine and the feline impels them to
exterminate it. We once gave shelter and food to a strange Cat and
was rewarded by seeing it fiercely attack and kill a beautiful white
Rabbit which until then had had the run of the yard and never before
been molested. Until we shall be able to teach the beasts of the field
something of our sentimental humanitarianism we can scarcely expect to
see examples of cruelty wholly disappear.

  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 GRAY SQUIRREL.
                 5/9 Life-size.]



AH ME!


    I killed a Robin--the little thing,
    With scarlet breast on a glossy wing,
      That comes in the apple tree to sing.

      I flung a stone as he twittered there,
      I only meant to give him a scare,
      But off it went--and hit him square.

      A little flutter--a little cry--
      Then on the ground I saw him lie.
      I didn't think he was going to die.

      But as I watched him I soon could see
      He never would sing for you or me
      Any more in the apple tree.

      Never more in the morning light,
      Never more in the sunshine bright,
      Trilling his song in gay delight.

      And I'm thinking, every summer day,
      How never, never, I can repay
      The little life that I took away.

                               --SYDNEY DAYRE, in The Youth's Companion.



THE PECTORAL SANDPIPER.


More than a score of Sandpipers are described in the various works
on ornithology. The one presented here, however, is perhaps the most
curious specimen, distributed throughout North, Central, and South
America, breeding in the Arctic regions. It is also of frequent
occurrence in Europe. Low, wet lands, muddy flats, and the edges
of shallow pools of water are its favorite resorts. The birds move
in flocks, but, while feeding, scatter as they move about, picking
and probing here and there for their food, which consists of worms,
insects, small shell fish, tender rootlets, and birds; "but at the
report of a gun," says Col. Goss, "or any sudden fright, spring into
the air, utter a low whistling note, quickly bunch together, flying
swift and strong, usually in a zigzag manner, and when not much hunted
often circle and drop back within shot; for they are not naturally
a timid or suspicious bird, and when quietly and slowly approached,
sometimes try to hide by squatting close to the ground."

Of the Pectoral Sandpiper's nesting habits, little has been known until
recently. From Mr. Nelson's interesting description, in his report upon
"Natural History Collections in Alaska," we quote as follows: "The
night of May 24, 1889, I lay wrapped in my blanket, and from the raised
flap of the tent looked out over as dreary a cloud-covered landscape as
can be imagined. As my eyelids began to droop and the scene to become
indistinct, suddenly a low, hollow, booming note struck my ear and
sent my thoughts back to a spring morning in northern Illinois, and
to the loud vibrating tones of the Prairie Chickens. [See BIRDS AND
ALL NATURE, Vol. IV, p. 18.] Again the sound arose, nearer and more
distinct, and with an effort I brought myself back to the reality of my
position, and, resting upon one elbow, listened. A few seconds passed,
and again arose the note; a moment later I stood outside the tent. The
open flat extended away on all sides, with apparently not a living
creature near. Once again the note was repeated close by, and a glance
revealed its author. Standing in the thin grass ten or fifteen yards
from me, with its throat inflated until it was as large as the rest of
the bird, was a male Pectoral Sandpiper. The succeeding days afforded
opportunity to observe the bird as it uttered its singular notes, under
a variety of situations, and at various hours of the day, or during the
light Arctic night. The note is deep, hollow, and resonant, but at the
same time liquid and musical, and may be represented by a repetition of
the syllables _too-u_, _too-u_, _too-u_, _too-u_, _too-u_." The bird
may frequently be seen running along the ground close to the female,
its enormous sac inflated.

Mr. Murdock says the birds breed in abundance at Point Barrow, Alaska,
and that the nest is always built in the grass, with a preference for
high and dry localities. The nest was like that of the other waders, a
depression in the ground, lined with a little dry grass. The eggs are
four, of pale purplish-gray and light neutral tint. It is sometimes
called Grass Snipe.

  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 PECTORAL SANDPIPER.
                 1/2 Life-size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.]



EYES.

By W. E. WATT.

                            Why was the sight
    To such a tender ball as th' eye confined,
    So obvious and so easy to be quenched,
    And not, as feeling, through all parts diffused;
    That she might look at will through every pore?--MILTON.

     "But bein' only eyes, you see, my wision's limited."--SAM WELLER.


The reason we know anything at all is that various forms of vibration
are capable of affecting our organs of sense. These agitate the brain,
the mind perceives, and from perception arise the higher forms of
thought. Perhaps the most important of the senses is sight. It ranges
in power from the mere ability to perceive the difference between light
and darkness up to a marvelous means of knowing the nature of objects
of various forms and sizes, at both near and remote range.

One the simplest forms of eyes is found in the Sea-anemone. It has a
colored mass of pigment cells and refractive bodies that break up the
light which falls upon them, and it is able to know day and night.
An examination of this simple organ leads one to think the scientist
not far wrong who claimed that the eye is a development from what was
once merely a particular sore spot that was sensitive to the action
of light. The protophyte, _Euglena varidis_, has what seems to be the
least complicated of all sense organs in the transparent spot in the
front of its body.

We know that rays of light have power to alter the color of certain
substances. The retina of the eye is changed in color by exposure to
continued rays of light. Frogs in whose eyes the color of the retina
has apparently been all changed by sunshine are still able to take a
fly accurately and to recognize certain colors.

Whether the changes produced by light upon the retina are all chemical
or all physical or partly both remains open to discussion.

An interesting experiment was performed by Professor Tyndall proving
that heat rays do not affect the eye optically. He was operating along
the line of testing the power of the eye to transmit to the sensorium
the presence of certain forms of radiant energy. It is well known that
certain waves are unnoticed by the eye but are registered distinctly
by the photographic plate, and he first showed beyond doubt that heat
waves as such have no effect upon the retina. By separating the light
and heat rays from an electric lantern and focusing the latter, he
brought their combined energy to play where his own eye could be placed
directly in contact with them, first protecting the exterior of his
eye from the heat rays. There was no sensation whatever as a result,
but when, directly afterward, he placed a sheet of platinum at the
convergence of the dark rays it quickly became red hot with the energy
which his eye was unable to recognize.

The eye is a camera obscura with a very imperfect lens and a receiving
plate irregularly sensitized; but it has marvelous powers of quick
adjustment. The habits of the animal determine the character of the
eye. Birds of rapid flight and those which scan the earth minutely
from lofty courses are able to adjust their vision quickly to long and
short range. The eye of the Owl is subject to his will as he swings
noiselessly down upon the Mouse in the grass. The nearer the object the
more the eye is protruded and the deeper its form from front to rear.

The human eye adjusts its power well for small objects within a few
inches and readily reaches out for those several miles away. A curious
feature is that we are able to adjust the eye for something at long
range in less time than for something close at hand. If we are reading
and someone calls our attention to an object on the distant hillside,
the eye adjusts itself to the distance in less than a second, but when
we return our vision to the printed page several seconds are consumed
in the re-adjustment.

The Condor of the Andes has great powers of sight. He wheels in
beautiful curves high in the air scrutinizing the ground most carefully
and all the time apparently keeping track of all the other Condors
within a range of several miles. No sooner does one of his kind descend
to the earth than those near him shoot for the same spot hoping the
find may be large enough for a dinner party. Others soaring at greater
distances note their departure and follow in great numbers so that when
the carcass discovered by one Condor proves to be a large one, hundreds
of these huge birds congregate to enjoy the feast. The Condor's
eyes have been well compared to opera glasses, their extension and
contraction are so great.

The Eagle soars towards the sun with fixed gaze and apparent fullness
of enjoyment. This would ruin his sight were it not for the fact
that he and all other birds are provided with an extra inner eyelid
called the nictitating membrane which may be drawn at will over the
eye to protect it from too strong a light. Cuvier made the discovery
that the eye of the Eagle, which had up to his time been supposed of
peculiarly great strength to enable it to feast upon the sun's rays, is
closed during its great flights just as the eye of the barnyard fowl
is occasionally rested by the use of this delicate semi-transparent
membrane. Several of the mammals, among them being the horse, are
equipped with such an inner eyelid.

One of my most striking experiences on the ocean was had when I pulled
in my first Flounder and found both of his eyes on the same side of
his head. All Flat-fish are similarly equipped. On the side which
glides over the bottom of the sea, the Halibut, Turbot, Plaice, and
Sole are almost white, the upper side being dark enough to be scarcely
distinguishable from the ground. On the upper side are the two eyes,
while the lower side is blind.

When first born the fish swims upright with a slight tendency to favor
one side; its eyes are on opposite sides of the head, as in most
vertebrates and the head itself is regular. With age and experience in
exploring the bottom on one side, the under eye refuses to remain away
from the light and gradually turns upward, bringing with it the bones
of the skull to such an extent that the adult Flat-fish becomes the
apparently deformed creature that appears in our markets as a regular
product of the deep.

The eyeless inhabitant of the streams in Mammoth Cave presents a
curious instance of the total loss of a sense which remains unused.
These little fishes are not only without sight but are also almost
destitute of color and markings, the general appearance being much like
that of a fish with the skin taken off for the frying pan.

The eyes of fishes generally are so nearly round that they may be used
with good effect as simple microscopes and have considerable magnifying
power. Being continually washed with the element in which they move,
they have no need for winking and the lachrymal duct which supplies
tears to the eyes of most of the animal kingdom is entirely wanting.
Whales have no tear glands in their eyes, and the whole order of
Cetacea are tearless.

Among domestic animals there is considerable variety of structure in
the eye. The pupil is usually round, but in the small Cats it is long
vertically, and in the Sheep, in fact, in all the cud chewers and many
other grass eaters, the pupil is long horizontally.

Insects present a wonderful array of eyes. These are not movable, but
the evident purpose is that there shall be an eye in readiness in
whatever direction the insect may have business. The common Ant has
fifty six-cornered jewels set advantageously in his little head and
so arranged as to take in everything that pertains to the pleasure of
the industrious little creature. As the Ant does not move about with
great rapidity he is less in need of many eyes than the House-fly which
calls into play four thousand brilliant facets, while the Butterfly
is supplied with about seventeen thousand. The most remarkable of all
is the blundering Beetle which bangs his head against the wall with
twenty-five thousand eyes wide open.



THE HUNTED SQUIRREL.


    Then as a nimble Squirrel from the wood
      Ranging the hedges for his filbert food
      Sits pertly on a bough, his brown nuts cracking
      And from the shell the sweet white kernel taking;
    Till with their crooks and bags a sort of boys
    To share with him come with so great a noise
    That he is forced to leave a nut nigh broke,
    And for his life leap to a neighbor oak,
    Thence to a beech, thence to a row of ashes;
    Whilst through the quagmires and red water plashes
    The boys run dabbing through thick and thin.
    One tears his hose, another breaks his shin;
    This, torn and tattered, hath with much ado
    Got by the briars; and that hath lost his shoe;
    This drops his band; that headlong falls for haste;
    Another cries behind for being last;
    With sticks and stones and many a sounding holloa
    The little fool with no small sport they follow,
    Whilst he from tree to tree, from spray to spray
    Gets to the woods and hides him in his dray.

                                        --WILLIAM BROWNE,
                                                _Old English Poet_.



SUMMARY.


Page 86.

=AMERICAN HERRING GULL.=--_Larus argentatus smithsonianus._

RANGE--North America generally. Breeds on the Atlantic coast from Maine
northward.

NEST--On the ground, on merely a shallow depression with a slight
lining; occasionally in trees, sixty or seventy-five feet from the
ground.

EGGS--Three, varying from bluish white to deep yellowish brown,
irregularly spotted and blotched with brown of different shades.

----

Page 90.

=AMERICAN RACCOON.=--_Procyon lotor._ Other name: Coon.

RANGE--North America.

----

Page 94.

=PIGMY ANTELOPE.=--_Antilope pigmæa._

RANGE--South Africa.

----

Page 98.

=RED-SHOULDERED HAWK.=--_Buteo lineatus._

RANGE--Eastern North America, north to Nova Scotia, west to the edge of
the Great Plains.

NEST--In the branches of lofty oaks, pines, and sycamores. In
mountainous regions the nest is often placed on the narrow ledges of
cliffs.

EGGS--Three or four; bluish, yellowish white, or brownish, spotted,
blotched, and dotted irregularly with many shades of reddish brown.

----

Page 107.

=AMERICAN GRAY FOX.=--_Vulpes virginianus._

RANGE--Throughout the United States.

----

Page 111.

=AMERICAN GRAY SQUIRREL.=--_Sciurus carolinensis._

RANGE--United States generally.

----

Page 115.

=PECTORAL SANDPIPER.=--_Tringa maculata._

RANGE--North, Central, and South America, breeding in the Arctic
regions. Of frequent occurrence in Europe.

NESTS--In tufts of grass.

EGGS--Four, of a drab ground color, with a greenish shade in some
cases, and are spotted and blotched with umber brown, varying in
distribution on different specimens, as is usual among waders' eggs.



  +----------------------------------------------------------------- +
  | Transcriber's Note:                                              |
  |                                                                  |
  | Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.     |
  |                                                                  |
  | Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant |
  | form was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.    |
  |                                                                  |
  | Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.            |
  |                                                                  |
  | Duplicated section headings have been omitted.                   |
  |                                                                  |
  | Italicized words are surrounded by underline characters,         |
  | _like this_. Words in bold characters are surrounded by equal    |
  | signs, =like this=.                                              |
  |                                                                  |
  | The Contents table was added by the transcriber.                 |
  +------------------------------------------------------------------+





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