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´╗┐Title: Birds and All Nature, Vol. III, No. 3, March 1898 - Illustrated by Color Photography
Author: Various
Language: English
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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. III, No. 3, March 1898 - Illustrated by Color Photography" ***

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  BIRDS.

  Illustrated by COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.



  VOL. III.         MARCH, 1898.          NO. 3.



  CONTENTS

                                                    Page

  SOME BIRD LOVERS.                                   81

  BIRD DAY.                                           82

  MARCH.                                              82

  THE BIRD'S ANSWER.                                  83

  WHERE MISSOURI BIRDS SPEND CHRISTMAS.               84

  THE BLACK DUCK.                                     87

  THE STORMY PETREL.                                  88

  WILSON'S PETREL.                                    91

  THE STORMY PETREL.                                  92

  THE BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER.                          95

  THE AMERICAN COOT.                                  96

  THE AMERICAN COOT.                                  99

  INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BIRDS.                     100

  THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER.                       101

  THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER.                       102

  THE SPARROW HAWK.                                  105

  THE AMERICAN SPARROW HAWK.                         106

  HINTS ON THE STUDY OF WINTER BIRDS.                109

  THE SILVER PHEASANT.                               110

  EIDER DUCK FARMS                                   113

  THE SCALED PARTRIDGE.                              114

  THE MOUND BIRD.                                    114

  THE NEW TENANTS.                                   117

  SUMMARY.                                           120



SOME BIRD LOVERS.


The happiness that is added to human lives by love for the lower
creatures is beyond telling. Ernest von Vogelweide, the great German
lyric poet of the middle ages, so loved the birds that he left a large
bequest to the monks of Wurtzburg on condition that they should feed
the birds every day on the tomb-stone over his grave.

Of St. Francis of Assisi's love and tenderness for birds and animals
many beautiful stories have been told. The former he particularly
loved, and 'tis related they were wont to fly to him, while he talked
to, and blessed them. From the hands of a cruel boy he once rescued a
pigeon, emblem of innocence and purity, made a nest for it, and watched
over it and its young.

Of George Stephenson, the inventor, a beautiful story is told. One day
in an upper room of his home he closed the window. Two or three days
afterwards, however, he observed a bird flying against, and violently
beating its wings as though trying to break the window. His sympathy
and curiosity were aroused. What could the little creature want? The
window was opened and the bird flew to one particular spot. Alas! one
look into the little nest and the bird with the worm still in its beak
which he had brought to the mother and his four little ones, fluttered
to the floor. Stephenson lifted the exhausted bird, and tried to revive
it. But all his efforts proved in vain. At that time the force of
George Stephenson's mind was changing the face of the earth; yet he
wept at the sight of the dead family and grieved because he had all
unconsciously been the cause of their death.



BIRD DAY.


The United States Department of Agriculture issued in July, 1896, a
circular suggesting that a "Bird Day" be added to the school calendar.
In this circular J. Sterling Morton, Secretary of Agriculture, says:

"The cause of bird protection is one that appeals to the best side
of our natures. Let us yield to the appeal. Let us have a Bird
Day--a day set apart from all the other days of the year to tell the
children about the birds. But we must not stop here. We should strive
continually to develop and intensify the sentiment of bird protection,
not alone for the sake of preserving the birds, but also for the sake
of replacing as far as possible the barbaric impulses inherent in child
nature by the nobler impulses and aspirations that should characterize
advanced civilization."

Prof. C. A. Babcock, superintendent of schools, Oil City, Pa., who has
acted upon the suggestion in his schools, says:

"The preservation of the birds is not merely a matter of sentiment,
or of education in that high and fine feeling, kindness to all living
things. It has an utilitarian side of vast extent, as broad as our
boundless fields and our orchards' sweep. The birds are necessary
to us. Only by their means can the insects which injure, and if not
checked, destroy vegetation, be kept within bounds....

"What is most needed is the knowledge of the birds themselves, their
modes of life, their curious ways, and their relation to the scheme
of things. To know a bird is to love him. Birds are beautiful and
interesting objects of study and make appeals to children that are
responded to with delight."



MARCH.


    The stormy March has come at last,
      With wind and cloud and changing skies,
    I hear the rushing of the blast,
      That through the snowy valley flies.

    Ah, passing few are they who speak,
      Wild stormy month! in praise of thee;
    Yet, though thy winds are loud and bleak,
      Thou art a welcome month to me.

    For thou, to northern lands, again
      The glad and glorious sun dost bring,
    And thou hast joined the gentle train
      And wear'st the gentle name of Spring.

    And, in thy reign of blast and storm,
      Smiles many a long, bright, sunny day,
    When the changed winds are soft and warm,
      And heaven puts on the blue of May.

    Then sing aloud the gushing rills,
      And the full springs, from frost set free,
    That, brightly leaping down the hills,
      Are just set out to meet the sea.

                                        --BRYANT.



THE BIRD'S ANSWER.


    "A little bird sat on the twig of a tree,
    A-swinging and singing as glad as could be,
    And shaking his tail and smoothing his dress,
    And having such fun as you never could guess;
    And when he had finished his gay little song,
    He flew down the street and went hopping along,
    This way and that way with both little feet,
    While his sharp little eyes looked for something to eat.

    A little boy said to him, 'Little bird, stop
    And tell me the reason you go with a hop;
    Why don't you walk as boys do, and men,
    One foot at a time, like a duck or a hen?'
    Then the little bird went with a hop, hop, hop,
    And laughed as if he never could stop:
    And he said, 'Little boy, there are some birds that talk,
    And some birds that hop, and some birds that walk,
    But most little birds that can sing you a song,
    Are so small that their legs are not very strong
    To scratch with, or wade with, or catch things, that's why
    They hop with both feet, little boy, good-bye.'"



WHERE MISSOURI BIRDS SPEND CHRISTMAS.


Of course we know where the English Sparrow spends his Christmas. And
the Snowbird came down in October and is with us yet. Likewise the
Bluejay is here in many of our yards, and is quite respectable--like
Eugene Field's boy, now that there are no eggs to eat nor young birds
to destroy. The Redhead Woodpecker is probably in the deeper woods,
though I have not yet seen him this winter. Sometimes he goes south and
digs grubs off the tall, dead, southern trees.

But we may be interested in where some of our departed friends are
Christmasing.

All our other Woodpeckers stay with us--except the Yellowhammer. He has
taken to feeding upon the ground a good deal of late and does not like
it frozen.

The Redbreasted Woodpecker and our two little Sapsuckers as we call
them, are always here in the winter--the most optimistic birds we have.

I heard the Nuthatch only a few days ago. I did not see him but I knew
by the way he talked through his nose that he was hanging head down
on some nearby tree. The only other little bird that climbs up tree
trunks--except the Woodpeckers--is the Browncreeper, a rather rare
bird with us. Some years ago one of the public school teachers sent me
one that a little boy had found so chilled that it was helpless; so I
suspect that he ought to spend Christmas further south--for his health.

In the woods, the Tree-Sparrow, associating with the Snowbird,
occasionally sings us a Christmas Carol--the only bird here now from
which we may expect a song, unless some vernal day should loose the
syrinx of the Cardinal, or provoke the "_fee-bee_" of the Crested
Titmouse.

Christmas is on the vernal side of the winter solstice and any sunny
day thereabout is more like spring than autumn.

Sometimes in warm swampy places, the Fox-Sparrow spends the winter
about us, but I have never seen any here, though they are on the river
about Louisiana, Mo., now, I suspect, along with the Winter-Wren. They
both sing occasionally in winter.

On our high backbone position here at Mexico, between the rivers, we
are not favorably situated for bird study because the little feathered
folks prefer the deep tangles of the river bottoms, and they appreciate
the fact that it is naturally warmer there also. Even Robins and
Bluebirds sometimes stop in these over winter here in Missouri.

The Doves and Blackbirds are mostly in the southern states, but not
far; for, eating grain only now, they are after climate rather than
food. But such birds as our swallows and the Fly-catchers--say the
Peewees, Bee-Martins, and their kind--are much farther on where the
insects fly all the year round. Some of them are in Florida and some
are in South America and a few perhaps are banqueting in Old Mexico,
studying the silver question.--J. N. BASKETT, in _Mexico (Mo.)
Intelligencer_.



  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 BLACK DUCK.
                 Life size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.]

THE BLACK DUCK.


Dusky Duck, Black Mallard, Black English Duck, (Florida), are some of
the names by which this well-known member of the family is recognized
throughout eastern North America, west to Utah, and north to Labrador.
It is much less common in the interior than along the Atlantic coast.
It is called the characteristic and one of the commonest Ducks of New
England, where it breeds at large, and from thence northeastward, but
is most numerous during the migrations.

The nest of the Black Duck is placed on the ground, in grass or rushes
in the neighborhood of ponds, pools, and streams, in meadows and
sometimes in swamps. It is a large and neatly arranged structure of
weeds and grass, hollowed and lined with down and feathers from the
breast of the bird. In rare instances it has been known to build its
nest in the hollow of a tree, or a "stub" projecting from the water of
a swamp. Mr. Frazer found the nest of this Duck in Labrador usually
placed upon the out-reaching branches of stunted spruces, which are
seldom higher than four feet.

The eggs of this species are from six to twelve in number, usually
seven or eight, and vary in color from pale buff to pale greenish buff.
The nesting period is from the last of April to the early part of June.

The Black Duck is a very wary creature, exceedingly difficult of
approach. They are found in great numbers, except when congregated on
salt water, five to ten being an average flock started from pond and
feeding ground.

During very severe winters, says Hallock, when every sheet of water
is bound in with a thick covering of ice, the Black Ducks are driven
to warm spring holes where the water never freezes. The approach of
evening drives the Ducks from the bay or sound, where they have been
sitting during the day, and they seek these open inland spots for food
and shelter. Brush-houses are constructed of sedge, cedar boughs,
etc., at the mouths of fresh water rivers and creeks, in places where
the marsh land is low and intersected by branches of the main stream.
Here the Ducks come to feed at night and are taken by hunters who are
concealed in the bushes. These houses are left standing, however, and
the wary Ducks soon avoid entirely this locality, and feed elsewhere.
The brush-house building on feeding grounds cannot be too severely
condemned.

Hallock observes that of all the birds which during spring and fall
traverse our country probably none equal these Ducks in point of size,
numbers and economic value. The group is confined neither to the sea
coast, nor to the interior, but is spread out over the whole breadth
of the continent, in summer extending its migrations to the furthest
north, and in winter proceeding only so far south as it is forced to by
the freezing of the waters of its northern home.



THE STORMY PETREL.


"The Stormy Petrel, mamma, is a very interesting bird. I should like
very much to be in a ship and see him walking on the water, wouldn't
you?"

Mamma, who thought of the apostle St. Peter, shook her head.

"You must be mistaken, Bobbie," said she. "I never heard of a bird that
could walk on the water."

"Well, that's what my magazine says," replied Bobbie, "and I am sure
BIRDS ought to know. Listen!" and Bobbie, stopping to spell a word now
and then, and to ask the meaning of many, managed to inform his mother
what the _Stormy Petrel_ had to say about himself.

"Though I am the smallest of the web-footed birds I am a great
traveler," read Bobbie. "Everywhere over the entire surface of the
watery globe you will find members of my order; far north in the
Arctic seas and away down in the Southern oceans. We love the sea, and
the food which is thrown up by the waves. Anything oily or greasy we
particularly like. No matter how stormy the weather, nor how high the
billows roll, you will see us little fellows, with outstretched wings,
sweeping along in the hollow trough of the sea. From one side of a
ship to the other, now far ahead, then a great way behind, catching up
easily with the ship though making ten knots an hour."

"What is a knot, mamma?" querried Bobbie.

"A knot means a sailors' mile. An engineer says his locomotive runs at
the rate of so many miles an hour; a seaman says so many 'knots.' A
knot is something more than our English mile."

"The sailors call us 'Mother Carey's Chickens.' Because we walk and
run on the surface of the water they think us uncanny, foretelling bad
weather, or something else bad for the crew, when--let me whisper it
into your ear--it is our outstretched wings which uphold us, our wings
as well as our broad, flat feet.

There is something else I want to tell you though before I close. Think
of making a lamp out of a bird's body! That is what they do with a
_Stormy Petrel's_ body on a certain island in the Atlantic ocean. They
find our carcass so oily from the food we eat, that all they have to
do is to draw a wick through our body, light it, and lo they have a
lamp."



  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 WILSONS PETREL.
                 2/3 Life-size
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.]

WILSON'S PETREL.


Petrels are dispersed throughout all the seas and oceans of the world.
Wilson's Stormy Petrel is one of the best known and commonest. It is
to be met with nearly everywhere over the entire watery surface of the
globe--far north in the icy regions of the Arctic seas and south to
the sunny isles of southern oceans. It breeds in the months of March,
April, May, June, July and August, according to the locality, in the
northern latitudes of Europe, eastern and western North America. Dr.
J. H. Kidder found it on Kerguelen Island, southeast of Africa. He
had previously seen the birds at the sea coast off the Cape of Good
Hope, and, on December 14, saw them out by day feeding on the oily
matter floating away from the carcass of a sea-elephant. The birds,
he says, frequent the rocky parts of hillsides, and flitting about
like swallows, catch very minute insects. "Mother Carey's Chicken,"
as it is called by sailors, is widely believed to be the harbinger of
bad weather, and many superstitions have grown out of the habit which
they possess of apparently walking on the surface of the water as the
Apostle St. Peter is recorded to have done. It is the smallest of the
web-footed birds, yet few storms are violent enough to keep it from
wandering over the waves in search of the food that the disturbed water
casts to the surface.

The Stormy Petrel is so exceedingly oily in texture, that the
inhabitants of the Ferol islands draw a wick through its body and use
it as a lamp.

Wilson gives the following account of its habits while following a ship
under sail:

"It is indeed an interesting sight to observe these little birds in a
gale, coursing over the waves, down the declivities, up the ascents
of the foaming surf that threatens to bend over their head; sweeping
along through the hollow troughs of the sea, as in a sheltered valley,
and again mounting with the rising billow, and just above its surface,
occasionally dropping their feet, which, striking the water, throws the
birds up again with additional force; sometimes leaping, with both legs
parallel, on the surface of the roughest wave for several yards at a
time. Meanwhile they continue coursing from side to side of the ship's
wake, making excursions far and wide, to the right and to the left, now
a great way ahead, and now shooting astern for several hundred yards,
returning again to the ship, as if she were all the time stationary,
though perhaps running at the rate of ten knots an hour! But the most
singular peculiarity of this bird is its faculty of standing and even
running on the surface of the water, which it performs with apparent
facility. When any greasy matter is thrown overboard these birds
instantly collect around it, and face to windward, with their long
wings expanded and their webbed feet patting the water, which the
lightness of their bodies and the action of the wind on their wings
enable them to do with ease. In calm weather they perform the same
maneuver by keeping their wings just so much in action as to prevent
their feet from sinking below the surface."

Rev. Mr. Eaton says that this species nests under large rocks not far
from the beach. Egg, one, white.



THE STORMY PETREL.


    A thousand miles from land are we,
    Tossing about on the stormy sea--
      From billow to bounding billow cast,
      Like fleecy snow on the stormy blast.
    The sails are scattered abroad like weeds,
    The strong masts shake like quivering reeds;
      The mighty cables and iron chains,
      The hull--which all earthly strength disdains--
    They strain and they crack, and hearts like stone
    Their natural, hard, proud strength disown.

    Up and down!--up and down!
    From the base of the wave to the billow's crown,
      And amidst the flashing and feathery foam
      The Stormy Petrel finds a home--
    A home, if such a place may be
    For her who lives on the wide, wide sea.
      On the craggy ice, in the frozen air,
      And only seeketh her rocky lair
    To warn her young and teach them to spring
    At once o'er the waves on their stormy wing!

    O'er the deep!--o'er the deep!
    Where the whale and the shark and the sword fish sleep--
      Out-flying the blast and the driving rain,
      The Petrel telleth her tale--in vain;
    For the mariner curseth the warning bird
    Which bringeth him news of the storm unheard!
      Ah! thus does the prophet of good or ill
      Meet hate from the creatures he serveth still;
    Yet he ne'er falters--so, Petrel, spring
    Once more o'er the waves on thy stormy wing!

                                        --BRYAN WALLER PROCTER.



  [Illustration: From col. A. W. Carter.
                 BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER.
                 Copyright by
                 2/3 Life-size.
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.]

THE BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER.


Almost everywhere in the United States this active little bird may be
found, inhabiting chiefly open, high woods. Often he may be seen along
streams, skipping and darting about among the topmost branches of the
trees, his long tail elevated and jerking in wren-like fashion, always
moving about and ever uttering his wheezy, squeaky notes. Ridgway
says that during the breeding season the male has a varied song of
considerable power, but lacking in sweetness, and uttered in an erratic
manner, portions of it suggesting a weak imitation of the Catbird's
medley.

It is as a nest builder that the Gnatcatcher is best known. Davie,
whose life study has been nests and eggs, says that as a work of beauty
and ingenious architectural design the nest of this bird has few equals
in this country. On the whole, it is a rather frail structure, usually
built in the small upright twigs or saddled on the horizontal limbs of
trees at heights ranging from ten to fifty feet, but generally at an
elevation of about fifteen or twenty feet. The typical nest has high,
compact walls, contracted at the brim, and gracefully turned; the
interior is deeply cupped, and the exterior is beautifully ornamented
with lichens. The opening is always at the top. Often the nest is
attached to a limb of the same diameter as itself, thus appearing as
a knot or other excrescence. If, as Baskett says, "there can be no
doubt that a bird may take delight in the skill of its work and the
beauty of its home, as well as in its plumage," the dainty residence of
the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher would indicate that the pretty little bird
experiences a great amount of pleasure indeed. She lines her nest with
soft, downy materials--cotton-like substances of withered blossoms and
the silky down of the milkweed--fine, wiry grasses, horsehair, and an
occasional feather from her own breast. In this she lays four or five
eggs of greenish or bluish white, speckled with chestnut.

Col. Goss describes this bird as as much at home in the shrubby bushes
on the hillsides or mesquite growths on the plains, as within the
tree-tops of the heavily timbered bottom lands; a nervous, restless
species that, in their quest of insect life, nimbly skip from branch to
branch, with partially spread wings and flirting tails, held more or
less erect, now and then darting like a flash into the air to catch the
passing flies; a tireless picture of bustling energy, that only ceases
with the day. The soft, warbling love song is varied, tender, and full
of melody, but so low, the hearer must stop to listen in order to fully
catch its silvery tones.



THE AMERICAN COOT.


I have a number of names: Mud Hen, Crow Duck, and Blue Peter. It's all
the same to me. What's in a name anyway? Wouldn't a rose smell just as
sweet if it were named Blue Peter, too?

Well I am an aquatic bird, and can quack with the best of them and
swim with them, too. I go along beautifully on the water. My feet are
very remarkable, the toes being fringed by a membrane which assists me
greatly in swimming as well as walking over the ooze. I call them my
mud-boards.

Such a lovely little thing as I was when I came out of my shell! that
is what people, who saw me at that time, say. My down was jet-black and
my head a bright orange-scarlet mixed with purple and blue. I wish I
looked half as handsome now, but you can't paddle around in the mud all
day and keep clean. That is I can't. My coat is a sooty-black now and I
won't be able to change it as long as I live.

Do you see that bare patch on my forehead! Well, that accounts for some
people's calling me a "Bald-headed Coot." Maybe you will be called that
some day, too.

I don't often come to dry land, but when I do I march along very
gracefully. I can fly, too, though my wings do appear too short for
my size. I just stretch my legs out behind my stumpy tail, spread my
wings, and away I go.

I swim easily too, with a peculiar bobbing motion of my head and neck.
You should just see a lot of us patter over the water, using our feet
as much as our wings, when alarmed. And such a cackling as we do keep
up! Why, you can hear us quite half a mile.

There is one thing about my face I should like to have changed and that
is my nose--my bill I mean. It is an ivory-white and no matter how much
I stick it in the mud it will stay white. It is a good mark, you see,
for a man with a gun, and I am dreadfully afraid I shall be shot some
day. I have seen a number of my mates popped over just on account of
their white bills.

I visit you in April and leave you in November when the streams freeze
over. I hope you will have pleasant weather next month, for I am making
preparation to visit you then.



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

THE AMERICAN COOT.


Science, in its classification and naming of birds, has rendered it
quite easy for any one to recognize unmistakably anywhere any specimen
we have pictured in our magazine. In some sections this interesting
Duck is known as the Mud-hen, in others the Crow Duck, in still others
as the Ivory-billed Mud-hen, but with the picture in hand or in mind,
one need never call the bird by any other than its correct name, the
American Coot. The European Coot resembles it, but its average size is
slightly larger, its habits, however, being in all respects like those
of its American relative. Davie says that this is the water fowl that
the young sportsman persists in shooting as a game bird, but at a riper
age he does not "hanker" after its flesh.

The habitat of the Coot is very extensive, covering the whole of North
America, middle America, and the West Indies; north to Greenland and
Alaska, south to Veragua and Trinidad.

The Coot is a summer resident in large marshes, and is not often rare
in any marshy situation. It arrives the last of April and remains
until the last of November. It nests at the same time as the Florida
Gallinule (see BIRDS, Vol. I, p. 121,) but shows a greater preference
for reed patches, in which its nests are usually located, often in from
two to four feet of water. The nests are generally larger than those of
Gallinules, and rarely composed of other material than the dry stalks
of reeds and grasses. They are placed on the ground, just out of the
water or on floating vegetation. Some times immense numbers of Coots
breed together. The eggs are clay or creamy-white, uniformly and finely
dotted all over with specks of dark brown and black. From six to twelve
eggs have been found in a nest. As winter approaches and the marshes
and shallow pools become covered with ice, these birds congregate in
immense flocks on the rivers and small lakes, and remain until cold
weather closes the streams.

Mr. Nelson says the Coot has a curious habit when approached by a
boat in a stream, rising often before the boat is within gunshot, and
flying directly by the boatman, generally so near that it may be easily
brought down. The abundance of Ducks and other game birds has caused
the members of this family to be but little molested, until within a
few years, when amateur sportsmen, finding Ducks difficult to obtain,
and "Mud-hens," as Coots and Gallinules are called, conveniently tame,
have turned their batteries upon them and diminished their numbers
about many marshes. In the more retired marshes, however, they still
breed abundantly. These birds differ from the Gallinules in being
social, going in flocks, and in preferring the open water. They sport
and rest on musk-rat houses and bare places of land and dress their
feathers there. During the breeding season they keep near their reedy
cover, into which they quickly swim and hide, in case of danger. They
swim and walk with a nodding motion of the head. They are not expert
divers, but go to the bottom when closely pressed and unable to fly.
The flesh of the Coot is dark and not good eating, and its feathers
are not soft and downy; it is, therefore, not sought after by the pot
hunter, nor considered a game bird by the sportsman, for which reasons,
as well as the fact that the feathers cannot be used by the ladies for
personal adornment, the birds are not shy and are easily approached.



INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BIRDS.


Senses of sight, smell, and hearing are remarkably acute in birds.
This is especially true of sight. Some have three eye lids, the upper
and lower and a membrane which can be drawn over the entire eye-ball,
called the nictitating membrane, enabling them to look directly at the
sun. Eagles, Hawks, and Owls are thus provided. The eyes of the Eagles
and Hawks are provided also with a ring of bony plates, by means of
which the eye adjusts itself like a telescope, taking in both near and
far objects.

Birds, except nocturnal species, have no external ear, but hear well.

The young of nest building birds when born are blind, naked, and unable
to walk. In the Hen, the Partridge, and the Ducks, the young are able
to walk, swim, or pick up food, as soon as they break the shell. When
moulting, at the close of the breeding season, Quails usually shed in
pairs. The male generally assumes a duller hued coat than the female.

With most birds of prey the female is the larger.

Bird's songs are composed of love-notes and pleasure-notes. We speak
of the scream of birds, their chirp, expressions of joy or fear, as in
the human voice. Their songs can be set to music. See S. P. Cheney's
"Wood Notes Wild," in which the songs of many of our common birds are
thus reproduced. The odd and peculiar actions of birds, their dances,
struts, and posturings are all expressions of their emotions.

The nesting habits of birds are varied. Gulls drop eggs on bare ground
or rocks; the Baltimore Oriole and Tailor bird construct hanging nests
of elaborate workmanship; the Woodpecker hews out a deep nest in a
rotten limb; the Kingfisher digs one out of a sandy bank, while the
Cuckoo takes possession of the nest of some other bird. Most birds
select nesting places away from other species, but Swallows, English
Sparrows, Grackles, and Crows live in communities.

There are between seven and eight thousand species of living birds. A
few species have become extinct, specimens of which it is the intention
of BIRDS to present in future numbers.

There are three centers of distribution in the United States: (1) the
Atlantic states and Mississippi valley; (2) the Rocky Mountain plateau;
(3) the Pacific coast.

Most of the birds breeding in the northern portions of the United
States migrate south during the winter months. Those remaining are
known as residents.



THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER.


In size, though hardly in beauty, this is indeed the prince of
Woodpeckers, the largest of our North American species. Its
length ranges from nineteen to twenty-one inches. There is one
other Woodpecker, called the Imperial, which is larger, measuring
twenty-three or twenty-four inches in length. This bird is found in
Western Mexico, north along the Sierra Madre, and probably, according
to Davie, has not yet been observed within the limits of the United
States.

The Ivory-billed is now rare, and is apparently restricted to the
extreme southern states, especially those bordering the Gulf of Mexico.
It is of a wild and wary disposition, making its home in the dark,
swampy woodlands. The dense cypress swamps of Florida are one of its
favorite haunts.

The nest of the Ivory-bill is excavated in a tree, about forty feet
from the ground, the cavity often being nearly two feet in depth. Three
or more eggs are laid.

This bird does not remain long in one place, and during the day
ranges over an extended territory. Its call is a high, rather nasal,
_yap-yap-yap_, sounding in the distance like the note of a penny
trumpet.

To use the language of Chapman, whose "Handbook" is a mine of
ornithological knowledge, Woodpeckers are rather solitary birds, but
are sometimes found associated in scattered companies during their
migrations. Above all other birds, they are especially adapted to
creep or climb. The peculiar structure of the foot, with its two
toes directed forward and two backward, except in one genus, the
Three-toed (which will appear in the April number of BIRDS), assists
them in clinging to an upright surface, while the pointed, stiffened
tail feathers serve as a prop when the bird is resting. The stout,
chisel-like bill is used to cut away wood and expose the hiding places
of grubs, etc., when the long, distensible tongue, with its horny,
spear-like tip is thrust in, the food impaled and drawn out.

All Woodpeckers are of value to the farmer. It has been shown that
two-thirds to three-fourths of their food, consists of insects,
chiefly noxious. Wood-boring beetles, both adults and larvae, are
conspicuous, and with them are associated many caterpillers, mostly
species that burrow into trees. Next in importance are the ants that
live in decaying wood, all of which are sought by Woodpeckers and eaten
in great quantities. Many ants are particularly harmful to timber,
for if they find a small spot of decay in the vacant burrow of some
wood-borers, they enlarge the hole, and as their colony is always on
the increase, continue to eat away the wood until the whole trunk is
honeycombed. Moreover, these insects are not accessible to other birds,
and could pursue their career of destruction unmolested were it not
that the Woodpeckers, with beaks and tongues especially fitted for such
work, dig out and devour them. It is thus evident that the Woodpeckers
are great conservators of forests. To them, more than to any other
agency, we owe the preservation of timber from hordes of destructive
insects.

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker, living his almost solitary life in the
vast and nearly impenetrable cypress swamps, at a height of forty and
fifty feet from the ground, is rarely seen by man. The specimens we
present in BIRDS are so nearly life-like that our readers need only
imagine themselves in the dense forest of cypress to realize a very
natural scene.



THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER.


_Yap! Yap! Yap!_

As I am called the prince of Woodpeckers, I can, I suppose, shout just
as loud as I like. Of course my cousin, the Red-bellied Woodpecker,
will turn up his bill and say they only call me the prince because I am
the largest of all the North American Woodpeckers. Well, I think that
is reason enough, don't you? Some creatures who are not birds, have
been called princes and kings for less than that--so I have heard.

_Mr. Red-belly_ had a great deal to say about, and for himself, in
BIRDS last month; he sent his picture, too. Pooh! he can't compare with
me. I am said to be the most magnificent Woodpecker of the whole lot.
My species is select, too, no matter if he does say the whole family
of _Woodpeckers_ are common. We are considered rare birds. You don't
find us in all localities, no indeed! You will have to travel to the
far, far south to catch a glimpse of one of us magnificent fellows.
Should you ever go way down on the Suwanee river, and walk "real easy"
through the cypress forests you might get a peep at one of us. But we
are wild and shy, and like to travel long distances through the day;
no stay-at-home bodies among us.

I'm not one of the three-toed Woodpeckers, either, that Mr. Red-belly
was so anxious to tell you about. It's very strange how eager some
people are to talk about other people's imperfections. I have four
toes, two in front and two behind, so it isn't "sour grapes" that
leads me to speak as I do. I'll admit my feet are peculiar, my toes
assisting me in clinging to an upright surface, and my pointed stiff
tail-feathers serving to prop me up when resting.

I think I am very fortunate, too, in having such a stout, chisel-like
bill, and such a horny, spear-like tongue. With the first I cut away
wood and explore the hiding place of grubs; with the latter I impale
them and draw the food out. Dear, dear! How fearfully and wonderfully
we are made, to be sure--birds as well as men.

Sing! No, wish I could. But then I have a love-song which my mate
thinks is fine; 'tis a long, rolling call, which I beat with my bill.

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



THE SPARROW HAWK.


_Killy-killy-killy-killy!_

That's my song and I don't sing it very low either. It is for that
reason some people call me the Killy Hawk.

The boys who spend much time in the fields are very well acquainted
with me. Many a time, I dare say, they have seen me patiently sitting,
for an hour or more, on a lofty branch waiting for "something to turn
up."

Something does generally turn up, and that is a mouse. "Ah," says she,
peeking out from her nest, "there is nobody around, so I will go out
for a walk," and out she comes, not noticing me way up in the tree, of
course.

Then I dive from my perch and fly directly over her. A mouse can't keep
still, somehow, and from point to point she runs, zigzagging this way
and that way, giving me lots of trouble, for I have to zigzag, too.
After awhile she stands still for a minute, and so do I, up in the
air, my fan-like tail spread out very wide, my head lowered and--well,
pretty soon it is all over with Mrs. Mouse. But mice are nuisances
anyway, don't you think? Just because people have seen me do that
little trick they call me the Mouse Hawk. I catch Sparrows, and other
small birds, so they call me the Sparrow Hawk, too.

I don't care what they call me, to tell you the truth, just so they let
me alone. It's not pleasant to have a stone thrown at you, or a gun
pointed your way----if it is loaded, and they generally are loaded, I
notice, with something that hurts.

My nest? Oh, I don't care for that sort of work, so I never build one.
Any natural hole in a high tree, the deserted hole of a Woodpecker,
or a Magpie's nest, is good enough for me. Just a few leaves in the
bottom, and on them my mate lays five eggs, sometimes six, sometimes
seven.



THE AMERICAN SPARROW HAWK.


Every boy who has been in the fields is familiar with this beautiful
little Hawk, which is numerous everywhere in North America. As Davie
felicitously says: "Here it may be seen hovering almost motionless in
mid air, then suddenly swooping down to the ground, arises again with
perhaps a field-mouse in its talons." From this habit it receives the
name of Mouse Hawk, although it also preys upon Sparrows and other
small birds. It is found almost everywhere, though most abundant along
streams where grow the high sycamores, whose natural cavities furnish
suitable nesting places, but meadows and fields are its retreats
when in search of food. It builds no nest, but deposits its eggs in
the natural cavities of high trees, often in the deserted holes of
Woodpeckers, or in crevices in rocks or nooks about buildings. In the
West it frequently appropriates a deserted Magpie's nest. Eggs of
this Hawk were taken from a crevice in a stone quarry in the Scioto
river, where the birds nested for years. The Sparrow Hawk often takes
possession of boxes intended for Pigeons, and it always proves to be a
peaceable neighbor. The nests generally contain no lining, but in some
cases a slight bed of leaves or grasses on a few chips are used. The
eggs are four to six, buffy white, speckled, spotted, and blotched
with light and dark brown.

This Hawk is not as active or destructive as others of the Falcon
tribe. Its flight is usually short and irregular, darting here and
there, often hovering in a suspended manner for several moments at a
time. During the summer months, it occasionally kills small birds,
but feeds chiefly upon mice, lizards, grasshoppers, crickets, and the
like, as they are so much easier to capture than full grown birds,
and to which they rarely turn their attention, until the cold weather
drives the other forms of life, upon which they so largely feed, into
their winter beds. The bird that suffers most outside of the Horned
Larks and Longspurs, is the Tree Sparrow, as it prefers the hedges and
small thickets upon the prairies, instead of the wooded lands, for its
sheltered home; its food in all such cases being upon the open lands,
and whenever there is snow upon the ground it drifts against the hedges
and forces the little birds to seek the bare spots, quite a distance
away, for the seeds on or fallen from the weeds. Here it is that the
Hawk, says Goss, successfully performs its work, by darting from a
perch and striking the Sparrow, either upon the ground or before it can
reach its hiding place.

    The woods are full of voices everywhere;
    An hundred chipmunks' sharp, quick tones are there;
      The cricket's chirp, the partridge drum,
      The harsh-voiced crows which go and come,
            In Nature's song agree.
          The breeze that wanders through the firs,
          The rustle of each leaf that stirs,
            Are whisperings to me.
    So, when swift impulse leads in ways unknown,
        I follow on without a thought of fear;
    God reigns, and I can never be alone,
            With Nature near.

                                        --TOM CARDER, JR.

  [Illustration: From col. F. M. Woodruff.
                 AMERICAN SPARROW HAWK.
                 2/3 Life-size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.]



HINTS ON THE STUDY OF WINTER BIRDS.


In attractiveness to children, says James E. McDade, for the Committee
of Sixty of Chicago, no department of natural history surpasses
Ornithology. Birds are to be found everywhere. In the city parks and
suburban groves careful observation will reveal objects of study,
even in the depths of winter. The following suggestions are based on
practical work which has been done in the G. W. Curtis school during
the past two years.

No satisfactory work can be done until the children have been aroused
to sufficient interest to observe birds for themselves. Pictures and
descriptions, however valuable as auxiliaries, can never take the place
of personal observation. The best method of arousing this interest is
to go out with the children and study the birds. Opera glasses or field
glasses will greatly facilitate observation.

As a guide in description pupils may have in mind the following points:
shape and size of bird; prevailing color; marks on head, wings, throat,
or tail; shape of bill; length of tail; where found (whether on the
ground, in trees, or climbing tree trunks). These and other details
should be emphasized.

In all this work strict accuracy must be insisted on. In the beginning,
pupils are apt to give inaccurate, and, in some instances, highly
imaginary descriptions of birds. A good plan is to encourage them to
bring in written descriptions of birds they have seen.

Such field work may well furnish excellent subject matter for water
color work, as well as a basis for written compositions. Good
collections of our native birds may be found in the Field Columbian
Museum and in the museum of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, and the
curators of these institutions will be found ready to give teachers any
aid in their power.

Mr. McDade mentions the following as the most common winter birds
of this vicinity, not including swimmers and waders: the English
Sparrow, the Snow Bird, the Bluejay, the Thistle-bird, the Black-capped
Chickadee, the White-bellied Nuthatch, the Northern Shrike or
Butcherbird, the Horned Lark, and the Crow.

In many parts of the country there are good collections of birds which
are accessible, and which may, by a little inquiry, be found by those
interested. We do not hesitate to say, however, that the specimens of
birds shown monthly in this magazine have stimulated the successful
study of Ornithology to a degree never imagined as possible. The
pictures are so true to nature in color and attitude that they are
instantly fixed in the mind. We know several instances where children
of eight and ten years have become by its use so familiar with many
birds that they can draw and paint them from memory with considerable
fidelity. BIRDS is indeed the best means of acquiring speedy as well as
accurate knowledge of Ornithology desired by those who do not expect
to pursue the study in all its scientific ramifications. We refer with
confidence to the recognized authorities on the subject.

                                        C. C. MARBLE.



THE SILVER PHEASANT.


    The Peasant Cocke the woods doth most frequent,
    Where Spaniells spring and pearche him by the sent.

                                        --OLD RHYME.

In beautiful contrast with the Golden Pheasant (see BIRDS, Vol. 1, p.
13) we present this month the magnificent Silver or Penciled Pheasant,
also a native of China, which has long been introduced into Europe, but
has been considered to be fitted only for the aviary. The Pheasant was
long thought to have been brought from the banks of the river Phasis,
now the Rioni, in Colchis, and introduced into Europe by the Argonauts.
Newton says that, as a matter of fact, nothing is known on this point;
and, judging from the recognition of the remains of several species
referred to, both in Greece and in France, it seems not impossible that
the ordinary Pheasant may have been indigenous to England.

It was thought only a few years ago that the successful propagation
of Pheasants was problematical, but now the Mongolian, the English
Ring-necked, and the Chinese Golden Pheasant, each has found a home in
some of the states, where it is increasing in numbers. Why may not a
similar experiment be made with the Silver Pheasant?

On Fox Island, in Puget Sound, there is an oriental Pheasant preserve.
Mr. Frank Alling, the proprietor, is securing the co-operation of other
land owners, and it promises to be a great success. The varieties
of Pheasants which he is raising include all we have mentioned in
this article, as well as the Copper, the Green, the Bronze, and the
Asiatic Ring-necks, with a curiosity in the shape of a mule produced
by crossing and recrossing the Copper and Asiatic Ring-necks. The
mule hens are very beautiful, but their eggs will not hatch. Oriental
Quails liberated on the island have increased quite rapidly. Among the
many importations are small Bantams from Woo Sung, China, for hatching
Pheasant eggs and rearing the young birds; Mandarin Ducks, from Japan,
(see BIRDS, Vol. I, p. 9); Wild Peacocks and Bleeding Heart Pigeons,
from Calcutta, India, and Manila, respectively.

In England within recent years the practice of bringing up Pheasants
by hand has been extensively followed, and the numbers so reared,
says Newton, vastly exceed those that are bred at large. The eggs are
collected from birds that are either running wild or kept in a mew, and
are placed under domestic hens; but, though these prove most attentive
foster-mothers, much additional care on the part of the keepers is
needed to insure the arrival at maturity of the chicks; for, being
necessarily crowded in a comparatively small space, they are subject
to several diseases which often carry off a large proportion, to say
nothing of the risk they run of not being provided with proper food or
of meeting an early death from some predatory animal. As they advance
in age the young Pheasants readily take to a wild life, and indeed can
only be kept from wandering in every direction by being plentifully
supplied with food, which has to be scattered for them in the places in
which it is desired that they should stay.

  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 SILVER PHEASANT.
                 1/4 Life-size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.]



EIDER DUCK FARMS

The Fluffy Feathers Gathered in Iceland.


All accounts I have read about Eider Ducks say that nests are robbed of
their down twice, the duck supplying it each time from her own body;
the third time the drake gives his white down, and this is allowed to
remain, declares a writer in _Good Words_. But I was told by farmers
in Iceland that now they never take the down until the little ones are
hatched. It has been found that the birds thrive better and increase
faster when they are allowed to live as nature meant them to. So now
the poor mothers are no longer obliged to strip themselves of all their
down to refurnish their despoiled nests. Sometimes, if the quantity is
very great, a little may be taken, but enough must be left to cover the
eggs when the duck leaves her nest for food.

A writer from Iceland, in speaking of a visit to one of the Isafjord
farms, wrote: "On the coast was a wall built of large stones, just
above high water level, about three feet high and of considerable
thickness at the bottom. On both sides of it alternate stones had been
left out so as to form a series of square compartments for the ducks to
make their nests in. Almost every compartment was occupied, and as we
walked along the shore a line of ducks flew out, one after another.
The house was a marvel; the earthen walls that surround it and the
window embrasures were occupied with ducks. On the ground the house was
fringed with ducks. On the turf slopes of the roof we could see ducks,
and ducks sat on the scraper."

About 10,000 pounds of eiderdown are gathered annually in Iceland,
7,000 being exported to foreign countries. Formerly the peasants used
to receive over 21 shillings a pound, but the price has now fallen to
half that amount. The peasants seldom receive money, and are obliged
to barter their down for merchandise furnished by the Danish merchants
at the little settlements at the fjords. A pound and a half of down is
enough to fill an ordinary bed-puff. These very comfortable articles
are found in the guest room of every Iceland farm, however poor and
small it may be. After a long, hard day in the saddle the traveler
longs for warmth and shelter. These little guest rooms have never
had a fire in them, and built, as they are, on the ground, there is
a dreadful chill on them. Once tucked away in bed, and tired bones
lose their pains and stiffness, however, and well covered with the
down-puff, a delightful sense of comfort follows.



THE SCALED PARTRIDGE.


Throughout Northwestern Mexico and the border of the United States,
from Western Texas to New Mexico and Southern Arizona, this handsome
Partridge, called the Blue Quail, is found in abundance, especially on
the dry mesas of the San Pedro slope of the Santa Catalina Mountains,
up to an altitude of three thousand five hundred feet. In Arizona they
are found in flocks of from six to ten, sometimes more, in the most
barren places, miles away from water.

The Blue Quail, like all the other western and southwestern species,
prefers to trust to safety to its powers of running, rather than those
of flight. The great trouble is to start them from the ground.

A slight depression under a bush serves for the nest of this bird,
which is generally lined with a few coarse grasses. Complete sets of
eggs have been found as early as April 25. The eggs are extremely
thick-shelled, of a buffy-white or cream color. The number laid ranges
from eight to sixteen.

The habits of this Quail do not differ greatly from those of Bob White,
though they have not been fully studied, and the species is of less
extensive distribution.



THE MOUND BIRD.


There are some peculiar birds in the world, and one of the strangest is
the Australian Megapod, or Mound bird, that allows nature to perform
the labor of hatching its eggs. In some parts of the island continent
are found many mounds of considerable size and height, which the first
explorers took for burial mounds. These were made by the "Megapodius
Tumulus," which uses them for hatching its eggs. They have sometimes
considerable dimensions. A nest that is 14 feet high and 55 feet in
circumference may be regarded as large. Each Megapod builds its own
nest with materials which it gathers from all sides, and these are
exactly what the gardener uses in the month of March to make his
forcing beds--namely, leaves and decomposing vegetable matter, which
by their fermentation give off an appreciable amount of heat. In the
forcing beds this heat hastens the sprouting of the seeds; in the
nest it suffices for the development and hatching of the young birds,
and the mother can go where she likes and occupy herself as she wishes
without being troubled by the duties of sitting. In the small islands
of Ninafou, in the Pacific, another bird has a somewhat similar habit,
in so far as it also abandons its eggs, but in place of obtaining
the necessary heat from fermentation it gets it from the warm sand.
The Leipoa or native Pheasant of Australia acts like the Megapod
and watches the temperature of its mound very closely, covering and
uncovering the eggs several times a day to cool them or heat them, as
becomes necessary. After hatching, the young bird remains in the mound
several hours; it leaves on the second day, but returns for the night,
and not until the third day is it able to leave for good the paternal
abode.--_American Field._

  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 SCALED PARTRIDGE.
                 4/10 Life-size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.
                 CHICAGO COLORTYPE CO., CHIC. & NEW YORK]



THE NEW TENANTS.

BY ELANORA KINSLEY MARBLE.


Mr. Wren had no need to inquire the cause of his mate's distress, for
at this moment a loud and vehement _Jay-jay-jay_, resounded from an
adjacent tree.

"Ha!" said he, "it is that villian Mr. Blue Jay at last. I have been
expecting a call from him for some time. I heard yesterday that he was
caught sucking the eggs of Mrs. Red-eyed Vireo, and that Mrs. Dove was
mourning more than usual because out of four beautiful eggs she had
only one left. But never you mind, my dear, never you mind! He daren't
go near our nest you see, for Bridget is out there with her broom, and
if he should dare attack us, why----"

"Well!" chirped Mrs. Wren, who at once saw the force of his reasoning,
"what would you do, Mr. Wren, should he attack us? I'd like to know
because? I am quite sure what dear papa would have done under the
circumstances."

"So am I," responded Mr. Wren with a chuckle, "so am I."

"So are you--what?" retorted Mrs. Wren, angrily tapping the perch on
which she sat with her foot.

"Sure what your dear papa would have done, my dear, under the
circumstances. Ha, ha, ha!" and Mr. Wren flirted his tail over his head
and hopped about in anything but a dignified or warrior-like manner.

Mrs. Wren surveyed him with contempt and surprise.

"Of all the ex-as-per-at-ing creatures," she said, "you are the worst.
First you whispered and bid me be silent, and now just look at you
hopping about and jibbering like an idiot! I wish Mr. Blue Jay _would_
come over here and----"

"Come over here?" Mr. Wren almost turned a somersault in his glee.
"Come over here, my dear! Not much! Don't you see that Kingbird over
there with his eye on Mr. Jay! There's going to be a fight, a real
knock-down, feather-pulling fight, and I--_I won't be in it!_" and Mr.
Wren whistled and chattered and flirted his tail in a greatly relieved
and truly funny manner.

"If I wasn't so anxious about the eggs," said Mrs. Wren, "I'd stay here
and see the fight, too. They are well matched, both such fine, handsome
birds--especially Mr. Jay. Ah, how it does all remind me of dear papa."

Mr. Wren could have laughed aloud when he thought of her plain,
crooked-legged little father, but he only sniffed and said something
about Mr. Jay being a saucy, impudent dude.

"But really, now, he is handsome," repeated Mrs. Wren, "only see how
his head feathers stand up! My, how angry they both are. What can be
the matter, I wonder?"

"If you will stop talking for a minute," returned Mr. Wren, "perhaps we
can hear. Mr. Blue Jay is a great coward when it comes to fighting one
of his size. More than likely he will sneak away, or fly off screaming
loudly at the first signs of attack."

"If you will stop your chatter," sharply retorted Mrs. Wren, "we may
hear what they are saying. Listen, can't you?"

"You old thief and pickpocket," shrieked Mr. Kingbird, his head
feathers standing up like an Indian chief's, "whose nest around here
are you lying in wait to rob?"

"What business is it of yours?" retorted Mr. Jay with a sneer. "You
old tyrant! A nice fellow, indeed, to be calling people names. The pot
calling the kettle black. Humph!"

Mr. Kingbird, aware of the many young birds he had eaten in his time
concluded he had best confine himself exclusively to the question of
eggs.

"It's only a sneak," he replied, "that will creep up when the mother
bird is off her nest and suck the eggs. Nobody but a coward would do
it. The Mourning Dove's cries the other day were truly heartrending.
I made up my mind then that the very first time you crossed my path I
would thrash you."

"That's right, give it to him, give it to him!" cried the birds in
chorus, a large number of which, attracted by the quarrel, had formed
themselves into a ring about the tree tops. "He's not only a thief but
a bully, always ready to whip a bird under his size."

Mr. Blue Jay winced for a second, for it is not pleasant to find one's
self hated, by all his fellow kind.

"I'll swear," said he, lifting up one foot solemnly, "that I have not
been near the Mourning Dove's nest this season."

"Nor the Red-eyed Vireo's?"

"Nor the Red-eyed Vireo's," affirmed Mr. Blue Jay, slightly closing one
eye, and coughing behind his foot.

"Oh, oh, oh!" chorused a dozen voices, "we saw him around there this
very morning."

"And I," said a Bluebird, "saw him destroy the eggs in Mrs. Mourning
Dove's nest, myself."

"So," sternly said Mr. Kingbird, "the rascal adds perjury to his
other crimes. It is the duty of every honest citizen of the woods and
orchards to rid the world of such a villain. Defend yourself, Mr. Jay,
or----"

At this moment a loud and vehement "_Zeay, ze-a-y_," broke in upon Mr.
Kingbird's speech.

"Ah! Mr. Catbird," said he, his crest suddenly falling, "I think,
I--will attend to this case another time," and much to the
disappointment of the assembled crowd Mr. Kingbird took wing and flew
away.

No sooner was he gone than Mr. Blue Jay nearly doubled himself up with
laughter.

"I thought that would make his feathers fall," he said, resuming his
braggart manner. "I have noticed how quickly he gets out of the way of
Mr. Catbird, though he will fight a Hawk, or a Crow, or even an Eagle.
He! he! he! I imitated Mr. Catbird very well, didn't I?" and the rogue,
to show his powers of mimicry, cried _Zeay, ze-a-y_, again, then _Caw,
caw_, like a Crow, meowed like a cat, barked like a dog, crowed like
a Rooster, and finished with a loud, harsh _Kee-oo, kee-oo_, which put
all the birds to flight.

"The Red-shouldered Hawk," they one and all cried with frightened
glances into the air, and Mrs. Wren, forgetting for the moment that
it was only Mr. Jay imitating Mr. Hawk, flew over to her nest in the
greatest consternation.

"Well, well," she said afterward with a laugh, "it was 'much ado about
nothing' after all. But what a clever fellow that Mr. Jay is to be
sure! Really I cannot help but admire him, rogue though he is," and
with a pretty flutter of her wings Mrs. Wren gathered the six speckled
treasures under her breast and sat down to brood.

"I don't see how you could have covered more than six eggs, my dear,"
said Mr. Wren tenderly. "You are such a little body, you know. Mrs.
John last year, though, had ten in one brood, did she not?"

"Yes," sniffed Mrs. Wren, "and her neighbors have never heard the last
of it. Such a gossip and braggart as she is. Why, she tells every lady
bird that calls on her that her Mr. Wren had three furnished houses
when he proposed to her; one in a knothole of an apple tree, one on top
of a _very_ high pole, and the other--well, really I forget; under the
roof of a meeting house, I believe."

"Hm!" said Mr. Wren, turning up his bill, "that's the reason she
accepted him, I suppose. To my notion he is a most unattractive
fellow, ugly as he is proud."

"Oh, handsome is as handsome does," returned Mrs. Wren, "as our
landlady says. But you can't deny that he makes my cousin a good
husband. It is very foolish for them to boast so, for they can only
occupy one house at a time, and surely they have to earn their food by
searching for insects and worms, precisely as we do. Then, too, riches
take wings sometimes, and fly away, and as I told one of my neighbors
the other day, I am just as happy in this old tin pot as I would be on
top of the highest pole."

"How glad I am to hear you say that," returned Mr. Wren, tears
glistening in his little black eyes, "for there can be no true
happiness without contentment--as our landlord says. Dear little mate!
Fourteen days you must sit on the nest. How tired you will be!"

"Oh, I don't mind that," replied Mrs. Wren, "if only our birdlings
hatch out pretty and good. Once in a while I will fly off for a little
exercise, you know, and, like Mr. John, you will take my place on the
nest and keep the eggs warm."

"Oh!" exclaimed Mr. Wren, ruefully; "I hadn't calculated on doing that.
But we will see. I'm off, now, to get something to eat, and will fetch
you as delicious a spider or nice fat canker worm as I can find. Ta,
ta, love!" and off Mr. Wren flew to the orchard, singing as he went.



SUMMARY.


Page 86.

=BLACK DUCK.=--_Anas obscura._ Other name: "Dusky Duck."

RANGE--North America; breeds from Illinois and New Jersey to Hudson Bay
and Labrador; winters southward to the Greater Antilles.

NEST--On the ground, in grass or rushes in the neighborhood of ponds,
pools, and streams.

EGGS--Eight to twelve, pale greenish or bluish white, or creamy buff.

----

Page 90.

=WILSON'S PETREL.=--_Oceanites oceanicus._

RANGE--Atlantic Ocean; breeds in southern seas (Kerguelen Island) and
migrates northward, spending the summer off our coasts.

NEST--In the crevices of rocks.

EGG--One, white.

----

Page 94.

=BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER.=--_Polioptila caerulea._

RANGE--Eastern United States; breeds from the Gulf States to northern
Illinois, southern Ontario and New Jersey, and wanders rarely to
Minnesota and Maine; winters from Florida southward.

NEST--Of fine strips of bark and fine grasses firmly interwoven and
covered with lichens, on branch or in crotch of tree, ten to sixty feet
up.

EGGS--Four or five, bluish white, thickly spotted and speckled with
brown.

----

Page 98.

=AMERICAN COOT.=--_Fulica Americana._ Other names: "Mud-hen," "Crow
Duck," "Blue Peter."

RANGE--North America as far north as Alaska and New Brunswick and
Greenland; breeds throughout its range.

NEST--Of reeds and grasses, among reeds in fresh water marshes.

EGGS--Eight to fifteen, pale, buffy white, speckled with chocolate on
black.

----

Page 102.

=IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER.=--_Campephilus principalis._

RANGE--Formerly South Atlantic and Gulf States, from North Carolina to
Texas; north in the Mississippi valley to Missouri, southern Illinois,
and southern Indiana. Now restricted to the Gulf States and the lower
Mississippi Valley, where only locally distributed. (A.O.U.)

NEST--In the higher part of a tree.

EGGS--Three have been found.

----

Page 107.

=AMERICAN SPARROW HAWK.=--_Falco sparverius._ Other name: "Killy Hawk."

RANGE--From Florida to Hudson Bay, and winters from New Jersey
southward.

NEST--In a hole in a tree, frequently in a Woodpecker's deserted nest.

EGGS--Three to seven, creamy white to rufous, generally finely and
evenly marked with shades of the ground color.

----

Page 111.

=SILVER PHEASANT.=--_Phasianus nycthemerus._ Other name: "Penciled."

RANGE--Throughout China.

----

Page 115.

=SCALED PARTRIDGE.=--_Callipepla squamata._ Other name: "Blue Quail."

RANGE--Northwestern Mexico and border of the United States, from
western Texas to New Mexico and southern Arizona.

NEST--A slight depression under a bush, lined with a few coarse grasses.

EGGS--Eight to sixteen, of a buffy-white or cream color, irregularly
dotted with specks of light brown.



  +----------------------------------------------------------------- +
  | 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.            |
  |                                                                  |
  | 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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