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´╗┐Title: Birds and All Nature, Vol. IV, No. 5, November 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. 5, November 1898 - Illustrated by Color Photography" ***

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  VOL. IV. NOVEMBER, 1898. No. 5


  NATURE'S ORCHESTRA.                                161

  A LITTLE BIRD.                                     162

  THE TURKEY'S FAREWELL.                             162

  BIRDS.                                             163

  BIRDS IN STORMS.                                   163

  THE SLEEPING-PLACES OF BIRDS.                      164

  THE SHARP-TAILED GROUSE.                           167

  TAME BATS.                                         168

  RED AND BLACK BATS.                                171

  THE OTTER.                                         172

  THE AMERICAN OTTER.                                175

  THE SKYLARK.                                       176

  NATURE STUDY AND NATURE'S RIGHT.                   176

  AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER.                            179

  CAN ANIMALS COUNT?                                 180

  BUTTERFLIES LOVE TO DRINK.                         182

  THE ENVIOUS WREN.                                  185

  THE CANADIAN PORCUPINE.                            186

  THE DEATH OF THE FLOWERS.                          189

  THE CASPIAN TERN.                                  190


  THE FLOWERING ALMOND.                              193

  SUMMARY.                                           200


All nature is attuned to music. Man may seek the fields, the forests,
the mountains, and the meadows, to escape from distracting noises of
the city, but nowhere, not even in the depths of mountain forests, will
he find absolute silence. And well for him that it is so, for should no
noise, no vibration of the air greet his accustomed ear, so appalling
would be the dead silence that he would flee from it as from the grave.

Even the Bugs make music. They may not be much as vocalists but they
take part in nature's symphony with the brook, the Bird, and the deep
diapason of the forest monarch swaying and humming to the gusts of
the wayward wind. It is true that the great majority of our species
of insects are silent, and those which do make sounds, have not true
voices, breathing as they do through holes arranged along each side of
their body, and not through their mouths, they naturally possess no
such arrangement for making noises connected with breathing as we find
in the human larynx.

The "buzzing Fly" and "droning Bee" are classed among nature's
musicians, as well as the Cicadas, Grasshoppers, Crickets, Locusts,
Katydids, and Beetles. Only the males are the musicians in the insect
families--with the exception of the Mosquito, the lady being the
musical member of that family--and the different kinds of Grasshoppers
are provided with an elaborate musical apparatus by means of which they
call their mates.

Chief among the insect performers is the Cicada, often confused with
the Locust, though he does not belong to that family at all, who
possesses a pair of complicated kettle-drums, which he plays with his
muscles instead of sticks.

Directly behind the base of each hind leg is a circular plate of about
one-quarter of an inch in diameter. Beneath each of these is a cavity
across which is stretched a partition of three membranes. At the top is
a stiff, folded membrane, which acts as a drum-head. Upon this he plays
with his muscles, the vibrations being so rapid that to the ears of
some listeners the noise, or music he engenders, sounds more like that
of a mandolin than a drum. He is a black fellow with dull green scroll
work over his thick body, lives in trees, and is generally invisible
when he plays the drum.

The Grasshopper is the fiddler of the great orchestra, and the hotter
the day the more energetically does he fiddle. The fellow with the
short horns has a rough hind leg which he uses as a bow; this he draws
across the wing cover, giving off the notes which he so dearly loves.
Near the base of each fore wing is a peculiar arrangement of veins and
cells. This arrangement differs in the different species, but in each
it is such that by rubbing the fore wings together they are made to
vibrate, and thus, some naturalists aver, they make the sounds which we

The most easily observed of all insect musicians are the common
Crickets. By placing a sod of growing grass in a cage with several male
crickets, you can watch them play upon their fiddles. Upon the lower
side of their wings you will see ridges like those of a tiny file, and
on the inner margin toward the base from the end of the principal vein,
a hardened portion, which may be called the scraper. By using the
files and scrapers of their fore wings the little musicians add their
notes to the universal music of the world--ELLANORA KINSLEY MARBLE.


    A little Bird in a tree
    Made one--a man and maiden three.
    'Twas not by chance that they had met!
    "None see," they said; one can forget
                        A little Bird.

    A long hot road, a strip of grass,
    'Twould tempt the Fates to let it pass!
    Two people linger in the walk;
    There's only one to hear them talk,
                        A little Bird.

    Long shadows stretched across the sky,
    Two people parted with a sigh,
    But there was no one there to see!
    How do I know? and who told me?
                        A little Bird.
                                    --_E. R. C._


                I go, but I return.
    The fiery furnace has no horrors for me.
    Mine is a race of martyrs. I can trace
    Ancestors by the score who laid their heads
    Upon the axman's block. It is a little way
    We have. Why should I care to flaunt
    My feathered beauty on a bare November bough?
    I shall appear again in a far richer dressing.
    In years to come it will be said of me,
    As of my ancestors, that nothing in my life
    Shed so much glory as the leaving of it.
    Full many a little child that now
    Is prattling at its grandma's knee shall say
    In future years that of all days it holds
    In the most sacred memory the one
    When it officiated at
    The funeral of this Turk. And now
    Lest some one shall say I knew not how to die,
    Let the ax fall.


The Bird is little more than a drift of the air brought into form by
plumes; the air is in all its quills, it breathes through its whole
frame and flesh, and glows with air in its flying, like a blown flame;
it rests upon the air, subdues it, surpasses it, outraces it--_is_ the
air, conscious of itself, conquering itself, ruling itself.

Also, into the throat of the Bird is given the voice of the air. All
that in the wind itself is weak, wild, useless in sweetness, is knit
together in its song. As we may imagine the wild form of the cloud
closed into the perfect form of the Bird's wings, so the wild voice of
the cloud into its ordered and commanded voice; unwearied, rippling
through the clear heaven in its gladness, interpreting all intense
passion through the soft spring nights, bursting into acclaim and
rapture of choir at daybreak, or lisping and twittering among the
boughs and hedges through heat of day, like little winds that only make
the Cowslip bells shake, and ruffle the petals of the Wild Rose.

Also, upon the plumes of the Bird are put the colors of the air;
on these the gold of the cloud, that cannot be gathered by any
covetousness; the rubies of the clouds, the vermilion of the cloud-bar,
and the flame of the cloud-crest, and the snow of the cloud, and its
shadow, and the melted blue of the deep wells of the sky--all these,
seized by the creating spirit, and woven into films and threads of
plume; with wave on wave following and fading along breast and throat
and opened wings, infinite as the dividing of the foam and the sifting
of the sea-sand; even the white down of the cloud seeming to flutter up
between the stronger plumes, seen, but too soft for touch.--RUSKIN.


During windstorms birds may sometimes be seen flying overhead at a
great height. When this is observable, it is said it may be taken for
granted that the upper atmosphere is comparatively quiet, and the
disturbance is confined chiefly to the lower regions. Many seabirds
seek the upper air of comparative quietness during tropical hurricanes.
A writer in the Boston _Transcript_ says that when a heavy wind or gale
springs up, the Gulls, Terns and Petrels will fly back and forth over
the water's surface, rising and falling, and uttering their peculiar
cries of warning. If the storm extends too high up they will drift
gradually with the wind, or fly away on the edge of the hurricane.
Very often they get caught unexpectedly in the gales of wind, and they
find themselves in a dangerous position. Then they struggle with might
and main against the powers of the air currents. Knowing that danger
and death face them if they once come under the dominion of the wind,
they use all the strength and tactics they are capable of to combat the
elements. A young Herring Gull, a Petrel, or a Tern thus surprised will
beat up against the wind with powerful flight. It will rise high in
the air, facing the gale, and making a little progress forward as well
as upward. Then it will suddenly descend with rapid flight toward one
side of the storm-swept path, but falling off at the same time in the
direction of the blowing wind. Once more it will sweep around and face
the storm, ascending heavenwards and striking desperately out toward
the direction of the storm. By pursuing these tactics, the bird will
gradually work itself to one side of the storm centre.


It is difficult to imagine a spot with fewer domestic features to adorn
the home than a piece of the bare ceiling of a tropical veranda; but
the attachment of animals to their chosen sleeping-places must rest
on some preference quite clear to their own consciousness, though not
evident to us. In some instances the ground of choice is intelligible.
Many of the small blue British Butterflies have grayish spotted backs
to their wings. At night they fly regularly to sheltered corners on the
chalk downs where they live, alight head downwards on the tops of the
grasses which there flourish, and closing and lowering their wings as
far as possible, look exactly like seed-heads on the grasses. If the
night is cold they creep down the stem and sleep in shelter among the
thick lower growth of grass. The habits of birds in regard to sleep
are very unlike, some being extremely solicitous to be in bed in good
time, while others are awake and about all night. But among the former
the sleeping-place is the true home, the _domus et penetralia_. It
has nothing necessarily in common with the nest, and birds, like some
other animals and many human beings, often prefer complete isolation at
this time. They want a bedroom to themselves. Sparrows, which appear
to go to roost in companies, and sometimes do so, after a vast amount
of talk and fuss, do not rest cuddled up against one another, like
Starlings or Chickens, but have private holes and corners to sleep in.
They are fond of sleeping in the sides of straw-ricks, but each Sparrow
has its own little hollow among the straws, just as each of a flock of
sleeping Larks makes its own "cubicle" on the ground. A London Sparrow
for two years occupied a sleeping-home almost as bare of furniture as
the ceiling which the East Indian Butterfly frequented. It came every
night in winter to sleep on a narrow ledge under the portico of a house
in Onslow Square. Above was the bare white-washed top of the portico,
there were no cosy corners, and at eighteen inches from the Sparrow
was the gas-lit portico lamp. There every evening it slept, and guests
leaving the house seldom failed to look up and see the little bird fast
asleep in its enormous white bedroom. Its regular return during two
winters is evidence that it regarded this as its home; but why did it
choose this particular portico in place of a hundred others in the same

       *       *       *       *       *

BIRD COURTSHIPS.--When he (the Flicker) wishes to charm his sweetheart
he mounts a very small twig near her, so that his foreparts shall not
be hidden as he sits upright in regular Woodpecker attitude, and he
lifts his wings, spreads his tail, and begins to nod right and left as
he exhibits his mustache to his charmer, and sets his jet locket first
on one side of the twig and then the other. He may even go so far as
to turn his head half around to show her the pretty spot on his "back
hair." In doing all this he performs the most ludicrous antics, and
has the silliest of expressions of face and voice, as if in losing his
heart, as some one phrases it, he has lost his head also. For days
after she has evidently said yes, he keeps it up to assure her of his
devotion, and, while sitting crosswise on a limb, a sudden movement of
hers, or even a noise made by one passing, will set him to nodding from
side to side. To all this she usually responds in kind.--_Baskett._

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


    In open woodlands far remote
    The Sharp-tails utter their cackling note,
    And on the wild prairie ground
    Their simple nest and eggs are found.

    Long years agone, in countless pairs
    They courted, danced, and "put on airs,"
    But hunters, greedy, cruel--strange!
    Have driven them beyond their range.
                                        C. C. M.

A well-known observer, who has spent many years in the West, says that
the Sharp-tailed Grouse, being a bird of the wild prairies and open
woodlands, has gradually retreated westward as the settlements have
advanced, and will soon be a rare bird, to be looked for only in the
sand-hills and unsettled portions of the country.

During the summer months this bird inhabits the open prairies, retiring
in winter to the ravines and wooded lands, and when the snow is deep
and the weather severe often hides and roosts beneath the snow. This
sometimes proves the destruction of the birds, the entrance to the
roosting-place being filled by falling snow and frozen over.

The Sharp-tails feed chiefly on Grasshoppers, seeds, buds, blossoms,
and berries.

"When walking about on the ground they stand high on their legs, with
their sharp-pointed tails slightly elevated, and when flushed, rise
with a whirring sound of the wings, uttering as they go a guttural
_kuk-kuk-kuk_, and swiftly wing themselves away in a direct course. The
birds have several cackling notes, and the males a peculiar crowing or
low call, that in tone sounds somewhat like the call of the Turkey. In
the early spring, as the love season approaches, they select a mound
or slight elevation on the open prairies for a courtship ground, where
they assemble at early dawn, the males dancing and running about in
a circle before the females in a most ludicrous manner, facing each
other with lowering head, raised feathers and defiant looks, crossing
and recrossing each other's paths in a strutting, pompous way, seldom
fighting, each acting as if confident of making the greatest display,
and thus winning the admiration of and capturing the hen of his choice.
These meetings and dances are kept up until the hens cease laying and
begin to sit."

These Grouse place the nest in a tuft of grass or under a low, stunted
bush. A hollow in the ground is worked out to fit the body and lined
with a few blades of grass arranged in a circular form. The hens attend
wholly to the hatching and rearing of the young and are attentive and
watchful mothers.

The flesh of the Sharp-tail is lighter in color and more highly
esteemed than that of the Prairie Hen, and the bird is therefore hunted
more industriously.


The Bat is a harmless little animal, but I doubt if many of us would
care to have a number of them flying around. The hotter the climate
the more Bats you will find. As evening draws nigh, even in Italy,
Greece, and Spain, out of their nooks and corners thousands of them
fly, fluttering over the fields, through the gardens and streets of the
town, through houses and rooms.

People get used to them there, and when awakened by the noise of their
wings will get up, chase them from the room with a stick, and though
aware they will return again when all is quiet, lie down again and go
to sleep.

You would scarcely think to look at these lively little animals that
they could be tamed and become strongly attached to their masters,
would you? But indeed they are very intelligent and many naturalists
have made pets of them, training them to take food from their hands or
search for it in a glass. They will follow the one they love all over
the house, and show themselves very amiable and sensible, too.

One cold spring morning a lady with a sympathetic heart--a true
Christian lady I should judge, since she loved all things "both great
and small"--saw a boy tossing in the air a little animal which she
took to be a Mouse. Even so insignificant a creature should not be
needlessly tortured, so she went at once to its rescue. Instead of a
Mouse she found it to be a Bat, half-dead from cold and fright. With
tender hands she placed it upon some cotton in the bottom of a basket
and set it near the fire. Many times she peeped into the basket and was
at length delighted to see the little creature hanging bat-fashion on
the side of the basket, its keen, bright eyes watching every movement.
One of its feet she found was crushed. With trembling hands she severed
the bit of skin by which it hung, and applied some healing salve to the
wound. The poor little creature suffered too much to taste food, but
after a few days accepted a Fly from her hands, then a bit of meat,
after which it folded its wings to signify it had enough.

The Bat at length became as tame as a Mouse and would hang itself to
any convenient portion of its mistress' dress; would eat whatever of
animal food she gave it, and lick milk off her fingers. At night it
would settle upon her hair, but never went near other members of the
family; would fly about the room, and go out of the window in search of
insects, returning in a couple of hours, and if the window was closed
hang to the window-sill, or to the sash, until admitted. Thus it lived
for two years, a happy, contented Bat, till one night it flew out and
never returned--a prey probably to some White Owls who for years had
made their home in an old belfry near by.

  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 BROWN AND RED BAT.
                 3/4 Life-size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.]


    Over the houses, in the windows, fluttering everywhere,
    Like Butterflies gigantic, the Bats dive through the air;
    Up and down, hither, thither, round your head and away,
    Look where they wander, coming ever with vanishing day.
                                                            C. C. M.

Bats are so much alike, especially those common to this country,
of which there are numerous species known to naturalists, that the
description of one will serve for all, with the exception of the

The sub-order of smooth-nosed Bats is represented in this country
by several species peculiar to America. The most common in all the
Atlantic coast states is the Red Bat, or New York Bat, which is a busy
hunter of flying insects, which it follows so persistently that it
frequently flies into rooms in pursuit of its favorite prey. It flies
rather slowly, but it changes the direction of its flight very rapidly,
and its movements in the air are very graceful. Besides this species
is the Black Bat, and several others have been observed and described,
but so far the descriptions, according to Brehm, have been principally
technical, and little or nothing is known of their habits, except that
no North American species seems to be harmful, but the contrary, as
they are all insect-eaters.

The principal food of these Bats consists of Butterflies, Beetles,
Mosquitoes, and the like.

All Bats sleep by day and fly about by night. Most of them make their
appearance at dusk, and retire to their hiding-places long before dawn.
Some species appear between three and five o'clock in the afternoon
and flicker merrily about in the bright sunshine. Each species has its
own hunting-grounds in forests, orchards, avenues, and streets, and
over stagnant or slowly flowing water-surfaces. It is said to be rare
that they fly over open fields, for the reason that there is no game
for them. In the South they haunt the rice fields, where insects are
numerous. Their hunting-ground is limited, although some large species
will cover a mile in their flight, and the Bats of the tropics fly over
much greater distances.

Bats are in general very much averse to the ground, and never
voluntarily place themselves on a level surface. Their method of
walking is very curious. First the forelegs or wings are thrust
forward, hooking the claw at its extremity over any convenient
projection, or burying it in the ground. By means of this hold the
animals draw themselves forward, then raising their bodies partly
off the earth advance the hind-leg, making at the same time a tumble
forward. The process is then repeated on the opposite side, and
thus they proceed in a strange and unearthly fashion, tumbling and
staggering along as if their brains were reeling.

It has long been known that Bats are able to thread their way among
boughs of trees and other impediments with an ease that seems almost
beyond the power of sight. Even utter darkness does not apparently
impede their progress, for when shut up in a darkened room, in which
strings had been stretched in various directions, they still pursued
their course through the air, avoiding every obstacle with precision.
This faculty has been found not to result from any unusual keenness of
sight, but from the exquisite nervous system of their wings.


Nature, children, as you observe, gave my family a handsome coat. Now
no bird can have fine feathers, nor beast a fine fur but men and women
desire them for adornment, or possibly to keep themselves warm. So the
hunters, finding it a paying business, shoot and trap us till places
which once knew the Otter know us no more.

Such gentle animals as we are, too. No little girl or boy would care to
have a more frolicsome playmate than a young cub Otter. He will romp
with you, and play with Dog or Cat and sit up on his hindquarters, and
whistle and do even many quaint tricks to make you laugh.

To make him happy you must have a little pond in the yard or a large
tank, though he will run about the yard or house most of the time with
the Dog. Feed him at first on bread and milk, then on fish, though you
can train him to do without the latter and eat the "leavings" from the

Such fun as we Otters that live in the Northern part of the United
States and Canada do have in winter. No school-boy enjoys coasting down
hill more than we do. Though we live in the water, you may say, and are
known as the fastest-swimming quadrupeds, yet, in spite of our short
legs, we can run over land tolerably well, too. So we trudge along till
we come to a high hill, well covered with snow; up we scramble to the
top, lie down flat on our smooth jackets, bend our fore feet backward
and, giving ourselves a shove with our hind legs, down we slide
head-foremost. Such fun as it is! Not till we get hungry or too tired
to jog up the hill any more do we give it up for that day.

In summer we enjoy the same sport, too. How? Oh, all we want is
a clay-bank with a good muddy surface, and down we go to turn a
somersault into the water of the creek below. "Shooting the chutes" you
little people would call it, I suppose, though we call it our "slide."

Our homes are always on the banks of a stream. We begin to burrow three
or four feet below the surface of the water, forming a tunnel which
leads to a chamber in the bank high and dry. That is called our den and
we line it with grass and live very comfortably.

Being a hunted animal our senses are very acute. When on land we are
always on the alert and, at the approach of danger, down we go into the
water and hide in our dens. After sunset we go out to fish. We beat
the surface of the water with our tails and frighten the scaly fellows
so that they seek refuge under stones or in holes in the bank. Then we
catch our Fish. For a change we eat Crabs, Frogs, and sometimes small

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


    In holes on river banks the Otter makes his home;
    From solitude--wild nature haunts--he never cares to roam;
    But swimming-in the waters and sliding down the hills,
    He plays the games of boys and girls, and fishes in the rills.
    Alas! the hunter sets his traps, to take him unawares,
    With springs of wire and teeth of steel unhappily he fares;
    His fur is fine, and soft, and warm, and ladies vain adore it,
    With ne'er a thought of pity for the little beast that bore it!
                                                                C. C. M.

In all parts of temperate North America this, the most interesting of
the Otter family, makes its home on the banks of nearly all streams
except those from which it has been driven by man. It is much larger
than the European Otter, has a longer tail, and has a nasal pad between
the nostrils which is larger than that of any other species. Though
closely allied to the common species, it has distinctive differences
which entitle it to be classed as a separate species. Its habits
resemble those of its cousins, but it has one peculiarity that is
noticed by naturalists who have studied this animal, which is the habit
of sliding or coasting down hill, in which it displays a remarkable
skill. In Canada, and other sections where the snow is plentiful,
Otters indulge freely in this sport, and, says Godman, "they select in
winter the highest ridge of snow they can find, scramble to the top of
it, lie on their bellies with the forefeet bent backwards and then,
giving themselves an impulse with their hindlegs, glide head-foremost
down the declivity, sometimes for the distance of twenty yards. This
sport they continue, apparently with the keenest enjoyment, until
fatigue or hunger induces them to desist."

The young are born in April in the northern, and earlier in the
southern part of the Otter's range, and a litter is composed of from
one to three young ones.

Authorities agree that the number of the Otters is rapidly decreasing
in America, because of the systematic way in which they are pursued by
trappers for the value of their fur. The skin of the American Otter
is in high reputation and general use with furriers, but those from
Canada are said to be more valuable than those from the more southern

The Otter, when taken young, is easily tamed. Audubon had several young
Otters which he says "became as gentle as Puppies in two or three days.
They preferred milk and boiled corn meal, refusing fish or meat till
they were several months old." They became so tame that they would romp
with their owner, and were very good-natured animals.

Rivers whose banks are thickly grown with forests are the favorite home
of the Otter. There, says Brehm, it lives in subterraneous burrows,
constructed in accordance with its tastes and mode of life. "The place
of exit is always located below the surface of the water, usually at
a depth of about eighteen inches; a tunnel about two yards long leads
thence, slanting upwards into a spacious chamber, which is lined with
grass and always kept dry. Another narrow tunnel runs from the central
chamber to the surface and aids in ventilation. Under all circumstances
the Otter has several retreats or homes." When the water rises, it has
recourse to trees or hollow trunks.

The Otter is the fastest swimming quadruped known. In the water it
exhibits an astonishing agility, swimming in a nearly horizontal
position with the greatest ease, diving and darting along beneath the
surface with a speed equal, if not superior, to that of many fishes.

The Otter, said an eminent naturalist, is remarkable in every way; in
its aquatic life, as well as in its movements; in its hunt for food
and in its mental endowments. It belongs without question to the most
attractive class of animals.


John Burroughs relates that a number of years ago a friend in England
sent him a score of Skylarks in a cage. He gave them their liberty in
a field near where he lived. They drifted away, and he never heard or
saw them again. But one Sunday a Scotchman from a neighboring city
called on him and declared, with visible excitement, that on his way
along the road he had heard a Skylark. He was not dreaming; he knew it
was a Skylark, though he had not heard one since he had left the banks
of the Doon, a quarter of a century or more before. The song had given
him infinitely more pleasure than it would have given to the naturalist
himself. Many years ago some Skylarks were liberated on Long Island,
and they became established there, and may now occasionally be heard
in certain localities. One summer day a lover of birds journeyed out
from the city in order to observe them. A Lark was soaring and singing
in the sky above him. An old Irishman came along and suddenly stopped
as if transfixed to the spot. A look of mingled delight and incredulity
came into his face. Was he indeed hearing the bird of his youth? He
took off his hat, turning his face skyward, and with moving lips and
streaming eyes stood a long time regarding the bird. "Ah," thought
the student of nature, "if I could only hear the bird as he hears
that song--with his ears!" To the man of science it was only a bird
song to be critically compared to a score of others; but to the other
it brought back his youth and all those long-gone days on his native


There is another study which should go hand in hand with
nature-work--nature's rights, people's rights. Too many little feet are
learning to trespass; too many little hands are learning to steal, for
that is what it really is. Children are young and thoughtless and love
flowers. But does loving and wishing for things which are not ours make
it right to take them? If the teacher can develop the love of nature,
can she not develop the sense of honor also? Cannot the moral growth
and the mental growth of the child develop together?

To love nature is not to ruthlessly rob her of her treasures. Therefore
in collecting for the school-room teach the children to use thought
and care in breaking the tender branches. They should remember that
each flower on the fruit-tree will in time become fruit. Mother Nature
has taken time and loving care to bring forth the leaves and flowers.
The different parts of the flowers may be studied without sacrificing
many blossoms.

And the birds, why rob them of nests or eggs? Many ways can be found
for studying nests, eggs, and birds, without causing suffering. Nature
and science study, taught by the thoughtless teacher, can do much
harm.--_A. G. Bullock in School Journal._

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


Golden yellow rump is one of the names often applied to this most
beautiful member of the Plover family, which is thus made conspicuous
and easily recognizable. It is found everywhere in the United States,
from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains, but is rare on the Pacific
coast south of Alaska. They are seldom found far inland, their natural
home being on the seacoast, occasionally frequenting marshy or wet
grounds, though as a rule they prefer the sandy beach and adjacent
flats and uplands. During migration their flight, especially in the
spring, is hurried, direct and in the night, only stopping to rest and
feed during the day, returning, it is said, in a more leisurely manner
and largely along the seashore. When on the ground these birds run
about on unbended legs, the bodies in a horizontal position and heads
drawn down. While sleeping or resting they usually sit or stand on one
leg. Captain Houdlette of the Oceanic Steamship Company caught a Plover
that came aboard his ship while on its way from Alaska to Hawaii. These
birds are not web-footed, and the captain seems to have solved the
problem as to whether they ever rest on the water during their long
flights. He says they do. "It was during the run from San Francisco
to Honolulu that I saw several Plovers in the water resting. When
the steamer came too near they would rise with a few flaps of their
wings, but, being very tired, they would soon settle back into the
water again. In its efforts to get away one of them came on board and
it lived for some time. I always thought the birds made a continuous
flight of over 2,000 miles, but I am now satisfied that they rest on
the waves when tired."

The flight of a flock of Golden Plovers is described by Goss as swift
and strong, sweeping over the prairies in a compact, wavy form,
at times skimming close to the ground, then high in the air; an
everchanging, circling course, whistling as they go; and on alighting
raising their wings until the tips nearly touch, then slowly folding
them back, a habit which is quite common with them as they move about
the ground.

Plovers eat Grasshoppers, Beetles, and many forms of insect life; small
berries are also a part of their diet.

Mr. Nelson, in his "Report Upon Natural History Collections in Alaska,"
gives a full and interesting account of their nesting-habits. He says
the courtship of this handsome bird is carried on very quietly, and
there is no demonstration of anger or quarreling among the rivals.
When two are satisfactorily mated they quietly go about their nesting,
after which each pair limits its range to the immediate vicinity of its
treasures. The eggs are deposited the latter part of May in a small
depression among the moss and dried grass of a small knoll, and at
times a slight structure is made of dried grass. Four eggs are laid, of
a pale yellowish ground color, with very dark, well-defined umber brown
spots scattered profusely over the shell.

    Golden Plovers on the ground,
      See them rise, and fly, and sing;
    Where before was not a sound
      Now the very echoes ring.


My little readers have heard their elders when speaking of the Horse,
Dog, Cat, and other dumb creatures call them the "lower" animals.
Well, so they are, but when you have grown to be men and women you may
possibly prefer the faithful affection and good comradeship of one of
these lower animals to the disagreeable society of a cold, mean, and
selfish "higher" one. Indeed, to learn how near akin are man and beast,
mentally, not physically, men and women of large and tender natures
have given up the greater part of their lives. Many stories have been
written concerning the faithful love of animals for their masters,
big and little, of their marvelous instinct and almost human cunning,
but when I tell you that animals can be taught to count--and birds
are animals, too, you know--why, then, if you are bright children you
will wonder, as your elders do, where instinct ends and reason begins.
However, these animals, of which I am going to write, may have been
more than usually intelligent and capable of learning where others
would not.

A few years ago a confectioner bought a Parrot, and, though the bird
talked very plainly and volubly, the man was not satisfied. He desired
his bird to display more cleverness than the ordinary Parrot, so he
conceived the idea of teaching her to count. Polly didn't take to
figures at all; but, though she listened with a great deal of patience
to what her teacher had to say she uttered never a word. When at length
he turned away discouraged, Polly croaked, "Shut up," and turned a
double somersault on her perch, evidently very glad indeed that school
was over.

Day after day Polly had her lesson, but count aloud she would not.
Still the confectioner didn't give up the idea, and one day, to the
bird's amazement her teacher, at lesson time, stood before the cage
with a pan of water and a whisk broom in his hand. Dipping the broom
in the water and flirting the drops over her head the teacher said,
"One." Giving her time to think the matter over, a few more drops were
sprinkled upon her head, the teacher exclaiming, "Two," and so on in
this way till he had reached ten. This method of instruction went on
for some time; but, though Polly came near being drowned in several of
the lessons, she stubbornly refused to repeat the figures after her
teacher. Arithmetic was not her forte, and the confectioner at length
gave up in despair, very much I fancy to Miss Polly's relief.

A month or more went by, when one day, as the bird in her cage was
hanging out of doors, it suddenly began to rain. "One," the delighted
confectioner heard Polly say, as the big drops fell upon her head,
then "two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten," in rapid
succession. But to the Parrot's vexation the rain did not cease as
it was wont to do when taking her lesson, and every additional drop
increased her anger. Finally she could stand it no longer, and in her
shrillest tones shouted: "Stop it, stop it! That's all I know, hang it,
that's all I know!"

The confectioner says no amount of money can buy that bird.

The Crow, an eminent doctor in Russia says, can be taught, if you
have the patience, to count up to ten, while a certain tribe of men in
Polynesia, "higher" animals, you know, cannot be taught to count beyond
five or six.

This same doctor had an intelligent Dog which was accustomed, like
other Dogs, to bury his surplus bones in the garden. In order to test
the mental powers of this animal the doctor one day gave him no less
than twenty-six bones, every one of which he saw the Dog duly bury
in separate places. The next day no food was given him at meal time,
but he was commanded by his master to dig up the bones. This the
intelligent fellow proceeded to do, but after uncovering ten came to
a full stop. After whining and running about in great perplexity he
finally succeeded in unearthing nine more. Still he seemed conscious
that he had not found the full number and kept up the search till he
had fetched to his master the other seven.

I think that was too much to ask of any Dog, don't you? Many a little
boy or girl who goes to school couldn't count that number of bones,
though you can, of course.

Well, the doctor then turned his attention to the Cat. When pussy was
good and hungry a tempting morsel of meat was held under her nose, then
withdrawn five times in succession; the sixth time she was permitted
to secure it. This was repeated every day, till she got accustomed to
waiting for the presentation of the meat five times; but upon the sixth
Pussy never failed to spring forward and seize the meat. The doctor
attempted the experiment with a higher number, but the Cat stuck to her
first lesson and after counting one, two, three, four, five, six, would
invariably make the spring. Had he begun with ten Pussy might have
shown herself capable of counting that number as well as the Crow and
the Parrot.

A farmer tells of a Horse which in plowing had acquired the habit of
counting the furrows, stopping for a rest regularly at the twentieth
row. The farmer at the end of the day used to estimate the amount of
work done, not by counting the furrows but by remembering how many
times the Horse had stopped to rest. The poor animal had never been
taught his figures, and his mind did not say "one, two, three," and so
on, but all the same he had his way of counting, and never failed to
know when he had reached twenty.

Still another Horse was able to count the mile-posts and had been
trained by its master to stop for feed when they had covered eighteen
miles of a certain road. He always stopped after passing the eighteenth
post. To test him they put up three false mile-posts between the real
ones, and, sure enough, deceived by the trick, he stopped at the
eighteenth post for his oats, unaware that he had not covered eighteen

The doctor also observed another Horse which was accustomed to
receiving his oats precisely at noon. Whenever the clock struck an hour
the Horse pricked up his ears as if counting the strokes. If he heard
twelve, off he would trot to be fed, but if a less number he would plod
on resignedly at his work. The experiment was made of striking twelve
strokes at the wrong time, whereupon the Horse started for his oats
though he had been fed only an hour before.

All of which goes to prove that the capacity of an animal's mind is
limited, and, so you may say, is that of the average man.

                                        MRS. E. K. MARBLE.


Butterflies have never had a character for wisdom or foresight. Indeed,
they have been made a type of frivolity and now something worse is laid
to their charge. In a paper published by the South London Entomological
Society Mr. J. W. Tutt declares that some species are painfully
addicted to drinking. This beverage, it may be pleaded, is only water,
but it is possible to be over-absorptive of non-alcoholics. Excess in
tea is not unknown--perhaps the great Dr. Johnson occasionally offended
in that respect--and even the pump may be too often visited. But the
accuser states that some Butterflies drink more than can be required
by their tissues under any possible conditions. It would not have been
surprising if, like some other insects, Butterflies had been almost
total abstainers, at any rate, from water, and had contented themselves
with an occasional sip of nectar from a flower.


The excess in drinking seems to be almost a masculine characteristic,
for the topers, he states, are the males. They imbibe while the females
are busy laying eggs. This unequal division of pleasure and labor
is not wholly unknown even among the highest of the vertebrates; we
have heard of cases where the male was toping at the "public" while
the female was nursing the children and doing the drudgery of the
household. Mr. Tutt has called attention to a painful exhibition of
depravity which can often be observed in an English country lane,
where shallow puddles are common, but never so well as on one of
the rough paths that wind over the upper pastures in the Alps.
Butterflies are more abundant there than in England, and they may be
seen in dozens absorbing the moisture from damp patches. Most species
are not above taking a sip now and again, but the majority may be
classed as "moderate drinkers." The greater sinners are the smaller
ones, especially the blues, and the little Butterfly which, from its
appearance, is called the "small copper." There they sit, glued as
it were to the mud--so besotted, such victims to intemperance, that
they will not rise till the last moment to get out of the way of horse
or man. Some thirty years ago Prof. Bonney in his "Alpine Regions,"
described this peculiarity, saying that "they were apparently so
stupefied that they could scarcely be induced to take wing--in fact,
they were drunk."


If we remember rightly, the female occasionally is overcome by the
temptation to which her mate so readily falls a victim. But we are by
no means sure that Butterflies are drinkers of water only. Certainly
they are not particular about its purity; they will swallow it in
a condition which would make a sanitarian shudder; nay, we fear
that a not inconsiderable admixture of ammoniacal salts increases
the attraction of the beverage. It is admitted that both Moths and
Butterflies visit sugar, overripe fruit, and the like, but it is
pleaded that they do this for food. Perhaps; but we fear this is
not the whole truth. The apologist has forgotten that practice of
entomologists called "sugaring," which is daubing trunks of trees
and other suitable places with a mixture of which, no doubt, sugar
is the main ingredient, but of which the attraction is enhanced by a
little rum. Every collector knows what a deadly lure this is, and what
treasures the dark-lantern reveals as he goes his rounds. True, this
snare is fatal only to the Moth, because at night the Butterfly is
asleep. If he once adopted nocturnal habits we know where he would be
found, for he is not insensible by day to the charms of this mixture.

  [Illustration: From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
                 MOTHS.--15/16 Life-size.

                 Phylampelus Achemon.
                 Sphinx chersis.

                 Smerinthus exaecatus.
                 Triptagon Modesta.
                 Choerocampa tersa.

                 Phylampelus pandorus.
                 Coratomia amynton.]


       On the ground lived a Hen,
       In a tree lived a Wren,
    Who picked up her food here and there;
       While Biddy had wheat
       And all nice things to eat
    Said the Wren, "I declare, 'tisn't fair!

       "It is really too bad!"
       She exclaimed--she was mad--
    "To go out when it's raining this way!
       And to earn what you eat,
       Doesn't make your food sweet,
    In spite of what some folks may say.

       "Now, there is that Hen,"
       Said this cross little Wren,
    "She's fed till she's fat as a drum;
       While I strive and sweat
       For each bug that I get,
    And nobody gives me a crumb.

       "I can't see for my life
       Why the old farmer's wife.
    Treats her so much better than me.
       Suppose on the ground
       I hop carelessly round
    For awhile, and just see what I'll see."

       Said this cute little Wren,
       "I'll make friends with the Hen,
    And perhaps she will ask me to stay;
       And then upon bread
       Every day I'll be fed,
    And life will be nothing but play."

       So down flew the Wren,
       "Stop to tea," said the Hen;
    And soon Biddy's supper was sent;
       But scarce stopping to taste,
       The poor bird left in haste,
    And this was the reason she went:

       When the farmer's kind dame
       To the poultry yard came,
    She said--and the Wren shook with fright--
       "Biddy's so fat she'll do
       For a pie or a stew,
    And I guess I shall kill her to-night."
                                        --_Phoebe Cary._


    It climbs the trees and strips them clean
        Of leaf, and fruit, and bark;
    Then, creeping where no life is seen,
        O'er branches grim and stark,
    Begins anew, the bark beneath,
    The endless grind of claws and teeth,
        Till trees, denuded, naked rise
        Like spectres painted on the skies.
            Fretful it may be, as its quills are sharp,
            But with its teeth it stills the sylvan harp.
                                                    C. C. M.

Formerly plentiful in the northern United States, but now quite rare in
this country, although not so scarce in Canada, is the Urson, otherwise
called the Canadian Porcupine. It is the tree or climbing species
and is distinguished from other members of the family by its slender
body and tail of greater or less length. The Urson attains a length
of thirty-two inches, seven and one-half of which are included in the
tail. A thick set fur, which attains a length of four and one-half
inches on the nape of the neck and changes into sharp spines on the
under parts of the body and the tip of the tail, clothes the animal.

The Canadian Porcupine is a native of the forests of North America,
ranging as far south as Virginia and Kentucky and as far west as the
Rocky Mountains. "The Urson," says Cartwright, "is an accomplished
climber and probably never descends a tree in winter, before it has
entirely denuded the upper branches of bark. It is most partial to the
tenderest roots or seedling trees. A single Urson may ruin hundreds of
them during one winter." Audubon states that he passed through woods,
in which all the trees had been stripped by this animal, producing an
appearance similar to that induced when a forest has been devastated by
fire. Elms, Poplars, and Firs furnish its favorite food, and therefore
usually suffer more than other trees from its destructiveness.

The nest of this Porcupine is generally found in holes in trees or
rocky hollows, and in it the young, usually two, more rarely three or
four in number, are born in April or May. The young are easily tamed.
Audubon says that one which he possessed never exhibited anger, except
when some one tried to remove it from a tree which it was in the habit
of mounting. It had gradually become very tame and seldom made any use
of its nails, so that he would open its cage and afford it a free walk
in the garden. When he called it, tempting it with a sweet potato or
an apple, it turned its head toward him, gave him a gentle, friendly
look and then slowly hobbled up to him, took the fruit out of his
hand, sat down on its hind legs and raised the food to its mouth with
its fore-paws. Frequently when it would find the door of the family
room open it would enter, approach and rub itself against a member
of the family looking up pleadingly as if asking for some dainty.
Audubon tried in vain to arouse it to an exhibition of anger. When a
Dog came in view matters were different. Then it instantly assumed the
defensive. With its nose lowered, all its quills erect, and its tail
moving back and forth, it was ready for the fray. The Dog sprang upon
the Porcupine with open mouth. That animal seemed to swell up in an
instant to nearly double its size, sharply watched the Dog and at the
right moment dealt it such a well-aimed blow with its tail that the
Mastiff lost courage and set up a loud howl of pain. His mouth, tongue,
and nose were full of Porcupine quills. He could not close his jaws,
but hurried open-mouthed off the premises. Although the spines were
immediately extracted, the Dog's head was terribly swollen for several
weeks afterward, and it was months before he entirely recovered.

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


    The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year,
    Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sear.
    Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the autumn leaves lie dead;
    They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the Rabbit's tread.
    The Robin and the Wren are flown, and from the shrubs the Jay,
    And from the wood-top calls the Crow through all the gloomy day.

    Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that lately sprang
          and stood
    In brighter light, and softer airs, a beauteous sisterhood?
    Alas! they all are in their graves, the gentle race of flowers
    Are lying in their lowly beds, with the fair and good of ours.
    The rain is falling where they lie, but the cold November rain
    Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.

    The Wind-flower and the Violet, they perished long ago,
    And the Brier-rose and the Orchis died among the summer glow;
    But on the hill the Golden-rod, and the Aster in the wood,
    And the yellow Sun-flower by the brook in autumn beauty stood,
    Till fell the frost from the clear, cold heaven, as falls the plague
          on men,
    And the brightness of their smile was gone, from upland, glade,
          and glen.

    And now, when comes the calm, mild day, as still such days
          will come,
    To call the Squirrel and the Bee from out their wintry home;
    When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the trees are
    And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill,
    The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late he bore
    And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.


    The Terns are on the wing,
        See them play!
    They dart into the sky,
    They poise, and scream, and fly
        O'er the bay;
    Round the ship that sails the sea,
    Round the lighthouse o'er the lea--
        The Terns are on the wing!
                                     C. C. M.

The great Caspian Tern is the largest of the family, its wings, when
extended, measuring from fifty to fifty-five inches in length. It is a
bird of very irregular distribution, breeding in Labrador, along the
Arctic coast, on islands in Lake Michigan, on the coasts of Virginia,
Texas, and California, and is numerous in Australia. Forbes found it
to be more or less common about Washoe Lake and the Humboldt Marshes,
Nevada, and the Great Salt Lake, Utah, where it was no doubt breeding.
He says that unlike most other Terns, particularly unlike the almost
equally large Royal Tern, the Caspian appears to breed in isolated
pairs instead of large colonies, its nest being found far removed from
that of any other bird, and consisting merely of a shallow depression
scooped in the sand, in which its two eggs are laid, with little if any
lining, though a few grass or sedge blades or other vegetable substance
are sometimes added. It is very bold in defense of its eggs or young,
darting impetuously at the intruder, uttering meanwhile hoarse barking
or snarling cries.

This elegant and graceful bird is also known as the Imperial Tern.
At a distance it is often mistaken for the Royal Tern, but may be
distinguished from the latter by its more robust form and less deeply
forked tail. Eggs and young have been taken on Cobb's Island, Virginia,
in July. Dr. Merrill observed it breeding on Padre Island, near Fort
Brown, Texas, in May. Large numbers of this species are said to breed
on Pelican Island in the Gulf of Mexico. The eggs vary from white to
greenish-buff, spotted and blotched with brown and lilac of different

The Terns furnish abundant interest while flying. They seem always to
be on the wing, and always hungry. Like the Gulls, they seize their
food by darting upon it, tossing it into the air and catching it again,
without alighting. They pick up from the surface of the water floating
objects. They swim on the surface, rarely diving deep. They dart
also upon fish from above, and "one plows the water in flight with a
knifelike beak in hopes of running through a shoal of fishes."

  [Illustration: From col. F. M. Woodruff.
                 CASPIAN TERN.
                 1/3 Life-size.
                 Copyright by
                 Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.]



The Sweet, the Bitter, and the Flowering Almond are all of a kin and
in this kinship many include also the Peach and the Nectarine. The
Flowering Almond or the dwarf Almond is a shrub which early in the
spring, in March or April, sends forth its fair rosy blossoms before
its leaves are sprouted. The shrub seldom exceeds three feet in height.
The leaves are like those of the willow, only darker and of a more
shining green. It is really a native of Calmuck Tartary but now is used
extensively in gardens because it blooms so early and can easily be
cultivated in any dry soil.

The Almond tree figures in history, mythology and poetry. In the Bible
we find four references to it: Exodus 25:33, 34; 37:19, 20; Num. 17:8;
Ecc. 12:5. In this connection it is interesting to note that Aaron's
famous rod was the shoot of an Almond tree. Theophrastus mentions the
Almond as flourishing in Greece. Cato also tells us that it was grown,
but as a luxury, in Italy. The rest of its history is obscure and all
we know about its cultivation in England is that it was introduced
during the reign of Henry VIII. Virgil in the Georgics welcomes the
Almond when covered with blossoms as the sign of a fruitful season.

In ancient times everything that was considered of any importance to
the Greeks had some connection with the siege of Troy. The Almond tree
here fared especially well, for two stories have come down to us in
mythology relating its connection with that wonderful event. Demophon
returning from Troy suffered the fate of many another Greek worthy.
He was ship-wrecked on the shores of Thrace. He was befriended by the
king and received as a guest. While at the court he met the beautiful
daughter of his host. Immediately he fell in love with the charming
princess, gained her love in return, and made arrangements for the
marriage. But Demophon was obliged to return home to settle up his
affairs before he could take upon himself these new ties. So the youth
sailed away, but never to return. The princess, faithful Phyllis,
watched and waited, hoping in vain for the return of her promised lord.
Her constancy was noted even by the gods who, when she was gradually
pining away, turned her into an Almond tree. Since then this tree has
been a sign of constancy and hope.

    "The hope in dreams of a happier hour,
      That alights on Misery's brow,
    Springs out of the silvery Almond flower,
      That blooms on a leafless bough."

Another version of the same story relieves Demophon of such gross
inconstancy. It is reported by some that the marriage took place and
not until after the couple were happily wedded was the hero called to
Athens by the death of his father. Day by day the young wife watched
for his return on the shore, but he was detained until the winter
passed away and with it his faithful bride. In the spring he returned
to find only an Almond tree awaiting his coming. He realized what had
happened and in his despair clasped the tree in his arms when it burst
forth into blossoms although it was bare of leaves.

  [Illustration: From Nature, by Chicago Colortype Co.
                 FLOWERING ALMOND.


Since Nature Study Publishing Company, in January, 1897, put before
the teaching world the first accurately beautiful representations,
not only of the forms of nature but of the tints and colors also, the
brightest minds have been active in noting the effectiveness of the
color photograph in school. Thousands of teachers have vied with each
other in applying them in nature study with most gratifying results.

An important discovery has been made almost at the same time by many of
them. The lively interest aroused by the bird presented, the agreeable
sensations the child experiences in relating incidents and hearing
from his mates and teacher about its habits, and the reminiscences
of delightful outdoor experiences, all tend to warm the child to

This point of warmth is the supreme opportunity of the teacher.
Instruction given under such a glow is intensely educative. A few
minutes of such work is worth hours of effort where the child is but
indifferently aroused.

Many of the best first primary teachers do not begin to teach reading
during the first few weeks of the child in school. They aim, first, to
establish a bond of sympathy between themselves and their pupils, to
extend their range of ideas, and to expand their powers of expression.
Expression is induced and encouraged along all lines, by words, music,
drawing, color work, and physical motions.

The common things of life are discussed, experiences related, and
the imagination brought strongly into play. Songs and recitations
are given with the actions of birds, animals, persons, or machines,
imitated joyously by groups of children. Games calculated to train the
senses and the memory are indulged in. The whole nature of the child is
called into play, and perfect freedom of expression is sought.

Experience shows that intelligent training along these lines is
profitable. The time of learning reading and spelling is somewhat
deferred, and number work is delayed, but the children who are
skilfully trained in this way outstrip the others rapidly when they
bring their trained powers to bear upon the things that are popularly
supposed to be the business of a school. Superintendent Speer has shown
that pupils whose technical instruction has been deferred for several
months in this way are found at the end of the second year far superior
to others of equal promise, who have been put at reading, spelling, and
number work directly.

To conduct a conversation lesson requires some tact. Not tact in asking
questions, nor in "talking down" to the level of the children. Direct
questions are of doubtful value in the first grade. In fact, the value
of the lesson may sometimes be judged by the absence of such questions
put by the teacher. The question mark and the pump handle resemble each
other, and often force up perfunctory contributions, and sometimes they
merely produce a dry sound. Children do not care to be pumped.

Here are a few questions that give the children little pleasure and
less opportunity for expression: Isn't this a very pretty bird? Do you
see what a bright eye it has? How many of you have seen a bird like
this? How would you like to own him, and have him at your house? Don't
you think, dear children, God is very good to us to let us have such
beautiful birds in the world?

Any one of these questions by itself is not harmful, but an exercise
made up of such material merely gives the class a chance to say, "Yes,
ma'am," and raise their hands. All talk by the teacher and no activity
by the class. With a bright smile and a winning voice, the teacher may
conduct what appears to be a pleasant exercise with such material, but
there is little real value in it under the best circumstances and it
should be avoided systematically. It is unskilful, and a waste of time
and opportunity.

Attempts to lower one's conversation to the level of little children
are often equally unsatisfactory. Too much use of "Mamma bird," "baby
birdies," "clothes," "sweet," "lovely," "tootsy-wootsy," and "Oh, my!"
is disappointing.

Ordinary conversation opened with a class in much the same style and
language as used by one adult in talking with another is found to be
the most profitable. Introductory remarks are generally bad, though
some otherwise excellent teachers do run on interminably with them. To
begin directly with a common-sense statement of real interest is best.

Here are a few profitable opening statements for different exercises:
One day I found a dead mouse hanging upon a thorn in a field. Mr. Smith
told me he heard a Flicker say, "Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!" Willie
says his bird is fond of fruit, and I notice that most birds that eat
fruit have beautiful, bright feathers. This bird likes the cows, and I
once saw him light on a cow's horn.

Such statements open the minds of young people where many times
direct questions close them. Questions and regular contributions to
the conversation flow readily from members of the class when the right
opening has been made. Do not let the class feel that your purpose
is to get language from them. Mere talk does not educate. Animated
expression alone is valuable.

Have plenty of material to use if the class seem slow to respond, and
have patience when they have more to offer than the time will admit.
Bear in mind that a conversation lesson on some nature subject is not
a nature lesson, but is given to induce correct thinking, which shall
come out in good language. It may incidentally be such a nature lesson
as to satisfy the requirements of your course of study in that line,
but if you give it as a conversation lesson, let conversation be the

Where a few in the class tend to monopolize the time you may frequently
bring a diffident one into the exercise by casually looking at him as
if you felt his right to be heard. It is better not to ask him to talk,
but to make it easy for him to come into the conversation by referring
to something he has previously done or said, or by going near him while
others talk. A hand on his shoulder while you are conversing with
others, will sometimes open him to expression. Sometimes you need to
refer to what Willie's father said, or what you saw at his house, or to
something that Willie owns and is pleased with. Many expedients should
be tried and some time consumed in endeavoring to get such a pupil into
the conversation instead of saying point blank, "Now, Willie, what do
you think?"

The matter of spoken language is words largely. The thinking of
children is always done in words, as far as school matters go. The
thoughts of the average child are correct enough from his standpoint,
and when the teacher represses him on his first attempt to carry
his part in the exercise, he is hurt to such an extent that he may
never recover from it, and he may always believe himself peculiarly
unfortunate in that he is incapable of speaking as others do.

The truth is that all children are eloquent. They talk easily, very
easily, in comparison with adults who have been frightened out of their
natural tongues, and are forever trying to say what they think in terms
that they do not think it in.

All children are sensitive concerning their speech. Some of the
keenest hurts children experience are inflicted by those who notice
patronizingly or critically the language they use. Mothers are in
a hurry to have them learn English at once, and so correct them
instantly when such mistakes as "runned," "mouses," and "me wants"
occur. The child allowed to think in his own terms overcomes his verbal
difficulties in a short time if associated at home with those who
speak correctly, and he is perfectly excusable for using what we call
incorrect forms until he has acquired the so-called correct ones.

There are times when the child's mind is open to acquisition of
formal expertness in language. He will find these times for himself
and exercise himself in forms without being driven to it at the very
times when his mind is most active with other things which he tries
to express to us in his moments of overflowing enthusiasm. In these
moments he should not be bothered and confused by formal quibbling. In
his most active states intellectually he ought not to be repressed.
This applies to the child who hears good English at home. It also
applies, with slight modifications, to the child who hears imperfect
language at home. The child who will eventually prove capable of
correct speech will learn to speak the best language he hears without
direct instruction if encouraged in it and given the respect a growing
child is entitled to receive.

Children learn to speak while at play. They are active and much
interested when they are acquiring a natural vocabulary. Much of the
vocabulary is wrong from the standpoint of the grammar and dictionary,
and they have to unlearn it. They have to unlearn it at school and
from the lips of pains-taking parents. One reason it is so hard for
them to learn the correct forms is this unintelligent way of teaching.
Another is that the incorrect conversation is heard under circumstances
favorable to retention and reproduction; that is, when the child is
much interested and happy; while the correct forms are given him when
he is but half aroused, or when he is somewhat intense over another
matter, and many times the intended instruction goes in at one ear and
out at the other. When the skill of the teacher and the things of the
school room become so powerfully attractive to the pupil that once
hearing a new word will fix it, once seeing a word will make him master
of it in all its forms, then the language lesson will not need to be
given; for language, which is as natural to man as breathing, will flow
in correct forms trippingly from the tongue, being so fixed in the
pupil's mind from the first that he will have nothing to unlearn.

Conversation lessons are intended to take care of some of the crudest
errors in speech before the child has committed the indiscretion of
putting them in writing. It can be done with so much less severity in
conversation than in a written lesson. Notice silently the peculiarly
bad expressions and forms of statements of the whole class, then plan
your talking lesson in which those who are not guilty of those errors
are allowed to lead. Then let the child whom you consider most likely
to profit by hearing correct expression from his mates give you the
necessary statement. If he use correct forms, let another try.

For instance, suppose you have a number of pupils who are inclined to
say "The robin isn't so purty as the bluejay." The reason for this is
that the parents of nearly all these pupils will make the same error.
If early in their experience with you you are shocked by their speech
and let them know it, you either lose their respect or make them feel
that they and their parents are inferior beings with no right to speak.

It will take a few minutes to speak of something else that is pretty,
and let several of your pupils who speak the word correctly give
some statements concerning pretty things. Then call upon one of
the offenders, without his suspecting himself to be such, and the
probability is that he will say "pretty," as you wish. But suppose he
fail, you must not think he does so because of dullness, for he may say
"purty" for the sole reason that his mates are listening and he fears
they may think he is trying to "put on style." If you pass the matter
in silence that day you will find him bolder or more acute the next
day, and he will speak the word correctly. In this way he will seem
to himself to be teaching himself. Self-culture will begin in him and
the credit will be yours. Another teacher would suppress that sort of
language and compel the boy to say the word right instanter. But her
pupils speak one language in school and a different one in places where
they are more comfortable.

Aim to set the child to correcting his own speech by his own apparent
choice. A single error is easily repressed, but the habit of looking
after one's own speech is not easily acquired. It is easy to make a
child feel his inferiority to you, but it is a great thing to inspire
him to do the good and wise and elegant things which you are capable of
doing in his presence.

The process of unlearning words has always been a failure with the
majority of pupils, and most of the English speaking race are ashamed
of their inability to speak. Men most eloquent and successful in
business conversation, who were by nature fitted to thrill the world
with tongue and pen, have been confused and repressed by this process
till they believe themselves vastly inferior to others because they
cannot translate their thoughts out of the terms of the street or
counting room into the language of the grammar school, and so they
never try to fill the large places that would have been open to them if
they could but have learned to think in terms which may be spoken right
out without fear of opprobrium.

Now since so much of our teaching psychology and common sense have
shown to be radically wrong, let us build up our language work on the
high plane of interest in real things, expressing thought directly
without translation into fitter terms. Let the thinking be done in
terms suitable for life. And use the color photograph to insure that
enthusiasm necessary to good thinking; be guarded as to how you deal
with thoughts that come hot from growing minds, repress never, advise
kindly, and know that by following the natural method in language you
are not ruining the speech powers of your best pupils, as has been done


Page 166.

=SHARP-TAILED GROUSE=--_Pediocoetes phasianellus campestris._ Other
names: Sprig-Tail, Pin-Tail, White Belly.

RANGE--Plains and prairies east of the Rocky Mountains; east to
Wisconsin, north to Manitoba, south to New Mexico.

NEST--In a tuft of grass or under a low bush.

EGGS--Six to thirteen.


Page 170.

=RED BAT=--_Atalapha noveboracensis._ Other name: "New York Bat."

RANGE--Throughout all the Atlantic coast states.


Page 170.

BLACK BAT--_Scotophilus carolinensis._ Other name: "Carolina Bat."

RANGE--Common throughout North America.


Page 174.

=AMERICAN OTTER=--_Lutra canadensis._

RANGE--All parts of temperate North America, encroaching closely on the
Arctic region.


Page 178.

=GOLDEN PLOVER=--_Charadrius dominicus._ Other names: Frost Bird, Bull

RANGE--Nearly the whole of North America, breeding in the Arctic
regions; south in winter to Patagonia.

NEST--In a small depression among the moss and dried grass of a small

EGGS--Four, of a pale yellowish ground color, with dark umber-brown
spots scattered over the shell.


Page 187.

=CANADIAN PORCUPINE=--_Erethizon dorsatus._

RANGE--A native of the forests of North America, from the sixty-seventh
parallel of north latitude south to Virginia and Kentucky, the eastern
and western boundaries being Labrador and the Rocky Mountains.


Page 191.

=CASPIAN TERN=--_Sterna tschograva._

RANGE--Nearly cosmopolitan; in North America, breeding southward to
Virginia, Lake Michigan, Texas, Nevada, and California.

NEST--A mere hollow scooped in the dry sand.

EGGS--Two or three, varying from white to greenish-buff, spotted with
brown and lilac of different shades.


Page 193.

FLOWERING ALMOND--_Amygdalus communis._ Native of Calmuck, Tartary.

  +----------------------------------------------------------------- +
  | 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.            |
  |                                                                  |
  | The Flowering Almond illustration has been moved from page 195   |
  | to page 193.                                                     |
  |                                                                  |
  | 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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