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Title: Birds and All Nature, Vol. V, No. 4, April 1899 - 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. V, No. 4, April 1899 - Illustrated by Color Photography" ***

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  BIRDS AND ALL NATURE.

  ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.

  VOL. V. APRIL, 1899. NO. 4



CONTENTS.


                                                   Page
  THE NUTMEG.                                       145
  AN ABANDONED HOME.                                150
  THE AMERICAN BARN OWL.                            155
  A SPRINGTIME.                                     156
  THE KANGAROO.                                     157
  INVITATION TO THE REDBREAST.                      158
  FEATHERS.                                         161
  VISION AND SCENT OF VULTURES.                     163
  THE HOARY BAT.                                    167
  THE COMING OF SPRING.                             168
  THE NASHVILLE WARBLER.                            169
  CHIEF SIMON POKAGON.                              173
  NATURE AT FIRST HAND.                             175
  THE QUAILS' QUADRILLE.                            176
  THE GRAPE.                                        179
  PROSE POEMS OF IVAN TURGENIEF.                    180
  THE BLUEBIRD.                                     181
  THE FIRST BLUEBIRD.                               181
  THE KIT FOX.                                      182
  AMONG ANIMALS.                                    185
  SPRING FASHIONS.                                  186
  BIRDS THAT DO NOT SING.                           188
  THE HYACINTH.                                     191
  A QUARREL BETWEEN JENNY WREN AND THE FLYCATCHERS. 192



THE NUTMEG.
(_Myristica fragrans Hauthryn._)

DR. ALBERT SCHNEIDER.
Northwestern University School of Pharmacy.

_Dum_: A gilt nutmeg.
_Biron_: A lemon.
_Long_: Stuck with cloves.

--_Shakespeare, "Love's Labor Lost," V. 2._


The nutmeg is the spice obtained from a medium-sized evergreen tree
reaching a height of from twenty-five to forty feet. This tree is
dioecious, that is the male flowers and the female flowers are borne
upon different plants. The male flower consists of a column of from
six to ten stamens enclosed by a pale yellow tubular perianth. The
female flowers occur singly, in twos or threes, in the axils of the
leaves; they also have a pale yellow perianth. The ovary has a single
seed which finally matures into the nutmeg and mace. The mature seed is
about one and one-fourth inches long and somewhat less in transverse
diameter, so that it is somewhat oval in outline. It is almost entirely
enveloped by a fringed scarlet covering known as arillus or arillode
(mace). The entire fruit, nut, mace, and all, is about the size of a
walnut and like that nut has a thick outer covering, the pericarp,
which is fibrous and attains a thickness of about half an inch. At
maturity the pericarp splits in halves from the top to the base or
point of attachment. The leaves of the nutmeg tree are simple, entire,
and comparatively large.

The English word nutmeg and the apparently wholly different German
_Muskatnuss_, are etymologically similar. The "meg" of nutmeg is
said to be derived from the old English "muge," which is from the
Latin "muscus," meaning musk, in reference to the odor. "Muskat"
of the German name is also derived from "muscus" and "nuss" means
nut, so we have in both instances "musk nut." The arillus was named
_Muscatenbluome_ (nutmeg flower) by the early Dutch because of its
bright red color.

It is generally believed that nutmeg and mace were not used in ancient
times. Martius maintains that the word _macis_ mentioned in a comedy
by Plautus (260-180 B. C.) refers to mace. Flückiger, however, is
inclined to believe that this word refers to the bark of some tree of
India, as the word is frequently used in that sense by noted writers,
as Scribonius, Largus, Dioscorides, Galenus, Plinius, and others. About
800 or 900 A. D., the Arabian physicians were familiar with nutmeg
and were instrumental in introducing it into western countries. The
Europeans first used nutmegs in church ceremonies as incense. Previous
to 1200 nutmegs were quite expensive, but soon became cheaper as
the plant was more and more extensively cultivated. About 1214 they
found their way into pharmacy and began to be used among cosmetics.
Hildegard described nutmegs in 1150, and Albertus Magnus (1193-1280)
described the tree and fruit. Not until about 1500 did European writers
learn the home of the nutmeg. Ludovico Barthema designates the island
Banda as its habitat.

The Portuguese monopolized the spice trade, including nutmegs, for a
time, but as stated in a previous paper, they were driven out by the
Dutch, who regulated the nutmeg trade as they did the clove trade.
That is, they destroyed all nutmeg trees not under the control of
the government and burned all nutmegs which could not be sold. The
government nutmeg plantations were in charge of army officials and
worked by slaves. In 1769 the French succeeded in transplanting the
nutmeg to the Isle de France. From 1796 to 1802 the spice islands
were under the control of the English, who transplanted the nutmeg to
Bencoolen, Penang, and, later, to Singapore. In 1860 the Singapore
plantations were destroyed by a disease of the tree. The nutmeg is now
cultivated in the Philippines, West Indies, South America, and other
tropical islands and countries. The botanic gardens have been largely
instrumental in extending nutmeg cultivation in the tropical English
possessions. Besides _Myristica fragrans_ there are several other
species which are found useful. _M. Otoba_ of the U. S. of Colombia
yields an edible article known as Santa Fé nutmeg. The seeds of the
tropical _M. sebifera_ (tallow nutmeg) yield a fixed oil or fat used in
making soap and candles. This oil is also known as American nutmeg oil.

The trees are produced from seeds. After sprouting the plants are
transferred to pots, in which they are kept until ready for the nutmeg
plantation. Transferring from the pots to the soil must be done
carefully, as any considerable injury to the terminal rootlets kills
the plants. A rich, loamy soil with considerable moisture is required
for the favorable and rapid growth of the plants. They thrive best
in river valleys, from sea-level to 300 and 400 feet or even to an
elevation of 2,000 feet. The trees are usually planted twenty-five or
thirty feet apart, in protected situations, so as to shelter them from
strong winds and excessive sunlight.

The trees do not yield a crop until about the ninth year and continue
productive for seventy or eighty years. Each tree yields on an average
about ten pounds of nutmegs and about one pound of mace annually. If
the trees are well cared for and the soil well fertilized, the yield is
much greater, even tenfold.

As already stated the nutmeg plant is dioecious. A seed may therefore
develop into a male or female plant; if a male plant it will of course
not produce nutmegs. The only way to learn whether it is one or the
other is to wait until the first flowers are formed during the fifth or
sixth year. The planter does, however, not sit by and wait; he simply
grafts the young shoots with branches of the female tree. Some male
trees, about one to twenty female trees, are allowed to mature in order
that pollination, by insects, may be possible, as without pollination
and subsequent fertilization the seed could not develop.

The tree bears fruit all the year round, so that nutmegs may be
collected at all times. It is, however, customary to collect two
principal crops, one during October, November, and December, and
another during April, May, and June. The nuts are picked by hand or
gathered by means of long hooks and the thick pericarp removed. The
red arillus is also carefully removed and flattened between blocks of
wood so as to reduce the danger of breaking as much as possible. Mace
and nuts are then dried separately. The nuts are placed upon hurdles
for several weeks until the kernels, nutmegs, rattle inside of the
thin, tasteless, and odorless hard shell. This shell is now carefully
broken and removed; the worm-eaten nutmegs are thrown away and the
sound ones are rolled in powdered lime and again dried for several
weeks. Generally the drying is done over a smoldering fire so that the
nuts are really smoke dried. For shipment they are packed in air-tight
boxes which have been smoked and dusted with lime on the inside. Liming
gives the nuts a peculiar mottled appearance and tends to destroy
parasites which may be present.

Mace loses its carmine color upon drying and becomes reddish-brown
and very brittle. It has an odor and taste similar to those of the
nut, but is more delicately aromatic. Wild or Bombay mace is obtained
from _Myristica fatua_ and is frequently used to adulterate the true
mace or Banda mace. The nuts of _M. fatua_ are longer than those of
_M. fragrans_ and are therefore designated as long nutmegs; the term
"male nutmegs" applied to them is incorrect. The long nutmeg is greatly
inferior to the true nutmeg, or round nutmeg as it is sometimes called.

Banda supplies by far the most nutmegs at the present time. Penang
nutmegs are of excellent quality and are always placed upon the
market unlimed, but they are frequently limed subsequently in foreign
ports and markets. Singapore nutmegs are usually unlimed. Nutmegs are
generally designated by the name of the country from which they are
obtained, as Dutch or Batavian, Sumatra, Penang, Singapore, Java, and
Banda nutmegs.

There are a number of so-called nutmegs which are derived from plants
not even remotely related to _Myristica_. Ackawai, Camara, or Camaru
nutmeg is the nut of a tree growing in Guiana highly valued as a cure
for colic and dysentery. American, Jamaica, Mexican, or Calabash nutmeg
is the spicy seed of _Monodora Myristica_. Brazilian nutmeg is the seed
of _Cryptocarya moschata_, which serves as a very inferior substitute
for nutmeg. California nutmeg is the fruit of a conifer (_Torreya_),
which resembles nutmeg so closely in appearance that it has been
supposed that _Myristica fragrans_ was a native of California. This
fruit has, however, a very camphoraceous odor. Clove or Madagascar
nutmeg is the fruit of _Ravensara aromatica_, a tree native in
Madagascar. Peruvian nutmeg is the seed of _Laurelia sempervirens_.

The nutmeg has a peculiar mottled appearance, ranging from grayish
brown to light gray or white in the limed article, the depressions and
grooves holding the lime while the ridges and elevations are free from
it. In Shakespeare's Henry V. the Duke of Orleans, in speaking of the
dauphin's dapple-gray horse, says: "He's of the color of nutmeg." The
taste of nutmeg is peculiarly aromatic, pungent, and somewhat bitter.

The principal use of nutmeg is that of a spice, although not so
commonly employed or so well liked as some other spices. It contains a
fat which forms the nutmeg butter; this is an unctuous solid substance
of an orange-brown or yellowish-brown color, with the odor and taste of
nutmeg. This fat is used as a stimulating application in rheumatism,
sprains, and paralysis. Nutmegs also contain some volatile oil, which
is said to be poisonous; at least some persons are very susceptible
to the effects of the volatile oil of nutmeg. In this connection it
might be stated that the frequent and long-continued use of spices
is injurious, producing dyspepsia, functional heart trouble, and
nervousness, and seems to have a special action upon the liver, causing
an excessive development of connective tissue and a reduction in the
functional activity of the liver cells: "Nutmeg liver" is a condition
resulting from passive venous congestion of that organ, and refers to
its mottled or nut-meggy appearance only.

Mace is comparatively rich in volatile oil. Nutmeg and mace are both
extensively employed as condiments. They are frequently given in the
form of a powder to stimulate and aid digestion. Nutmeg flavor consists
of nutmeg, oil of nutmeg, and alcohol. Mace-ale is ale sweetened and
spiced with mace.

It is stated that whole nutmegs have been adulterated with wooden
imitations. Connecticut is known as the Wooden Nutmeg State because it
is facetiously said that such nutmegs were manufactured there.

  [Illustration: FROM KOEHLER'S MEDICINAL-PFLANZEN.
                 NUTMEG.]

Description of plate:

     _A_, branch with staminate flowers; 1, stamens magnified; 2,
      longitudinal view of stamens; 3, transverse section of
     stamens; 4, pollen-grains; 5, pistillate flower; 6, pistil; 7,
     fruit; 8, half of pericarp removed; 9, nut with arillus (mace);
     10, nut without mace; 11, nut in longitudinal section; 12,
     embryo.



AN ABANDONED HOME.

ELANORA KINSLEY MARBLE.


"Well," said Jenny Sparrow one fine day in April, as she fluttered
from bough to bough in a maple tree near my study-window, "spring is
advancing and already the housewives are bustling about busy from
morning till night. Such fetching and carrying of grass and straw and
feathers! Mamma concluded to build a new house this spring but papa
said the old homestead would do, with new furnishings. Papa always
has his way; he's such a tyrant. I'm a fortunate creature that I have
no such cares, I'm sure. Mamma says I may as well sing and fly high
while youth and beauty last, for my troubles will begin soon enough.
Troubles! The idea of my having trouble! Old people must croak, I
suppose, and would really be disappointed if their children failed to
experience the trials they have.

"I often wonder if papa strutted and bowed and swelled himself out as
my suitors do, when he courted mamma. Now he does nothing but scold,
and I never make an unusually fine toilet but he shakes his head,
and lectures mamma on the sin of idleness and vanity. I'm not vain,
I'm sure. I only feel strong and happy, and when I'm challenged by a
neighbor's sons and their ugly sisters for a long flight or graceful
curve, I would be a silly creature indeed if I didn't display my
accomplishments to good advantage.

"There, now, is the son of our nearest neighbor twittering on that
roof opposite and trying to attract my attention. He prides himself
on being a direct descendant of one of the sparrows first imported
into this country from England, so we call him Mr. Britisher. He has
the most affected way of turning his head on one side and glancing at
me. I can't help admiring his engaging manners, though, and there is
a certain boldness in his address which the rest of my admirers lack,
much to their disadvantage. He's going to fly over here presently, I
know by the way he is strutting about and fluttering his wings. Talk
about the vanity of my sex! Gracious! He is priding himself now on the
manner in which his toes turn out, and the beauty of his plumage, and
how much broader is that black ring about his throat than those on some
of his neighbors. Here he comes. I'll pretend to be looking another way.

"Ah, is that you, Mr. Britisher? How you startled me. Yes, 'tis a
lovely day. After the storms of winter, the warm sunshine is a blessing
to us little creatures who live under the eaves."

"True, Miss Jenny, true. But with companionship even the storms of
winter can be borne cheerfully. Don't you agree with me that a loving
home is a very desirable thing?"

"Oh, Mr. Britisher, how you talk! Have your parents been away from
home, that you are so lonesome?"

"You know they have not, Miss Jenny. You know full well that I was
not speaking of _that_ kind of companionship. Permit me to sit beside
you on that bough, for I have that to say which I desire shall not be
overheard. The leaves even seem to have ears at this season of the
year, and do a deal of whispering about the numerous courtships which
they hear and see going on."

"True, very true, Mr. Britisher," returned Miss Jenny, making room for
him beside her on the limb. "There is a great amount of gossip going
on just now in bird-land, I understand. Why, only the other day I
heard--but ah--there is Mrs. Cowbird skulking below us, and no meaner
bird flies, I think, than she. Fancy her laying her eggs in another
bird's nest, because she is too lazy to make one of her own! A tramp
bird must do a great deal of gossiping, so be careful what you say."

"She is not nearly such a mischief-maker as Mr. Blue Jay," replied
Mr. Britisher, "nor half so impertinent. I heard him chattering with
Mr. Blackbird the other day and he said all sparrows were alike to
him. Fancy it! A field sparrow, vesper sparrow, swamp sparrow,
white-throated sparrow, yellow-winged sparrow, fox sparrow, and dear
knows how many other common American sparrows, the same to him as a
blue-blooded English one. Why, my ancestors lived under the roof of
Windsor Castle, and flew over the head of Queen Victoria many, many a
time."

"You don't say?" returned Miss Jenny, very much impressed. "Why, you
are a member of the royal family, you may say. Our family, I have heard
mother tell, always made their home in the city--London proper, you
know, right under the eaves of the Bank of England. But come, that is
not what you flew over here to say, surely," demurely casting her eyes
upon the ground.

"How charmingly you coquette with me," said Mr. Britisher, moving
closer to her on the limb. "Have you not seen for weeks past that I
have had no thoughts for any girl-sparrow but you, Miss Jenny?"

"La, Mr. Britisher, I really have had so much attention from your sex
this spring that I----"

"But none of them have been so devoted as I," interrupted her
companion. "Think of the many delicious morsels I have laid at your
feet, and all I ask in return is----"

"What?" coyly asked Miss Jenny, pretending she was about to fly away.

"This little hand," stooping and pecking her dainty claws with his
bill. "Will you be my wife, Miss Jenny, the queen of my heart and home?"

"The queen of your heart and home," repeated Miss Jenny. "That sounds
very nice, indeed. But when one gets married, my mamma says, then one's
troubles begin."

"No, no, my dear one. Your husband will hold it his dearest privilege
to guard you from every care. Life will be one long dream of bliss for
us both. Say you will be mine."

"Well, I suppose I may as well say yes. Mamma says girls must be
settled in life some time, and I am sure I fancy you infinitely
more than any of the young sparrows hereabouts. So you can ask papa
and--there, there! You will twist my bill off, and Mr. Woodpecker over
there, I am sure is watching us. Really you put me in such a flutter
with your fervor. There, you naughty boy; you mustn't any more. My! I
am so nervous. I'll fly home now and quiet my nerves with a nap. I'm
off. By-by."

The courtship was brief, as is the custom with our feathered friends,
and so the wedding took place in a few days. The bride received
the blessing of her parents for a dot and the groom a shrug of the
shoulders and the comforting assurance from his father that he was a
"ninny" and not aware when he was well off.

All went merry as a marriage bell for a season, Mr. Britisher
twittering daily in soft low tones his prettiest love songs and his
spouse listening in proud complacency as she oiled her feathers and
curled them prettily with her bill.

"O," she said one day, when making a call upon a neighbor, "I'm quite
the happiest creature in the world. _Such_ a husband, and how he dotes
on me! I had no idea I was such a piece of perfection, really. I wish
all my friends were as well and happily mated. Those who have no such
prospects are to be pitied indeed. Ah! you needn't bridle that way,
Miss Brownie, for I had no particular individual in mind when I made
that remark, believe me. Well, I must cut my visit short, for hubby
will be looking for me, and he grows so impatient when I am out of
his sight a moment. By-by. Run in and see us, do, all of you. We are
stopping, you know, with papa and mamma for awhile."

"Did you ever see such a vain, silly thing?" said the mother of a large
brood of very homely sparrows. "If my girls had no more sense than she,
I'd strip every feather off 'em and keep 'em at home, I would!"

"She makes me sick," said a pert young thing in the group.
"_Perfection_ indeed! Why, when she laughs I'm always uneasy for fear
her face will disappear down her throat. Such a mouth!"

"Hubby," mimicked another, "I thought I should collapse when she said
that with her sickening simper."

"Well, well," smilingly said an old mother sparrow, "she'll sing
another song before long. I predict she'll be a shiftless sort of a
thing when it comes to housekeeping. Mr. Britisher will repent him of
his bargain ere many days, mark my words! Dearie," turning to her only
daughter, "sing that dear little note you learned of Mr. Lark for the
company. Thank heaven," stroking her darling's ugly feathers, "I have
my precious child still with me. She is not in a hurry to leave her
poor mamma, is she?"

Many sly winks and smiles were exchanged among the matron's friends at
this remark, for "dearie" had chirped that little note many summers and
winters, and many a snare had mother and daughter set to entrap the
sons of more than one lady sparrow there.

"My dear," said Mr. Britisher the very next morning, "we must begin to
build a nest and make a home like other people. I think we may as well
begin to-day."

"Build our nest?" responded Mrs. B. "Well, do as you think best, my
dear. I intend to make a few calls to-day, so you may as well employ
your time whilst I am away. I presume some of your folks will help you."

"I suppose nothing of the sort," replied Mr. B., curtly. "Do you think
you are to do nothing but make calls from morning till night? I chose
you for a helpmate, madam, and not a figurehead, let me tell you, and
the sooner you settle down to your duties the better it will be for us
both."

"Duties?" retorted Mrs. B., "the idea! Who was it that promised me that
if I would marry him I should not have a care in the world?"

"Oh, all lovers say such things," replied Mr. B., with a contemptuous
laugh. "They expect their lady-loves to have better sense than to
believe them."

"Better sense than to believe them!" repeated Mrs. B., angrily. "So you
admit your sex are all gay deceivers, do you? Oh, dear," tears coursing
down her pretty feathered cheeks, "that I should be brought to this!
Woe is me, woe is me!"

Mr. Britisher immediately flew to her side, and by caresses and fond
words endeavored to tranquillize his spouse, for what husband can look
upon the first tears of his bride and not upbraid himself for bringing
a cloud over the heaven of her smiles?

Mrs. B. flew and hopped about with her wonted gaiety the remainder
of the day, whilst Mr. B.'s preoccupation and downcast air was the
cause of much comment and many wise "I told you so's," among the old
lady-birds of the neighborhood.

The subject of nest-building was, of course, next day resumed; but Mrs.
B. proved as indifferent and indisposed to participate in the labor as
ever.

"Very well," said Mr. B., at last, resolutely disregarding her tears,
"you will do as other wives do or else return to your mother. When a
sparrow marries he expects his mate to do her share in making a home,
and rearing a family. There is something to do in this world, madame,
besides rollicking, singing, and visiting from post to pillar. Indeed,
it is a wild scramble we have to make for a living, and you can no
longer expect me to be furnishing you with tid-bits and insects out of
season, while you gossip and idle your time away. You will have to-day
to decide upon the matter," and off Mr. Britisher flew, with a heavy
frown upon his face.

"Oh! I wish I had never been born," wailed Mrs. B., as the gentle wind
stirred the leaves and swayed the branch upon which she was perched.
"Already I begin to experience the troubles which old folks talk about.
Oh, dear! Oh, dear! I'll fly over to mother and tell her how shamefully
Mr. B. is treating me. I won't stand it, there! Gracious! there is
that meddlesome Mr. Blue Jay sneaking around as usual. He has heard me
sobbing, I'm afraid, and all the neighbors will be gossiping before
night of our affairs. There! how cheerily I sang when I flew off! He
will think my sobs were a new song, perhaps. To think that I should be
making believe I'm happy already. Happy! I shall never be happy again.
My heart is broken. Mother will give Mr. Britisher a piece of her mind,
I hope, and let him know I was never brought up to work, much less to
be any man's slave."

(_To be concluded._)



  [Illustration: FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 AMERICAN BARN OWL.
                 1/2 Life-size.
                 COPYRIGHT 1899,
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]

THE AMERICAN BARN OWL.

(_Strix pratincola_).

LYNDS JONES.


Our barn owl belongs to the tropical and warm temperate genus _Strix_,
which is scattered widely over the greater part of the earth in the
tropical and subtropical parts of both hemispheres, and scatteringly
into the temperate zones. In Europe one species is common as far
north as the British Isles, while our own bird is found as far north
as southern New England in the East, Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin,
and southern Minnesota in the interior, and Oregon and Washington on
the Pacific coast. It is hardly common anywhere except in the extreme
southwestern part of the United States, where it is the most abundant
owl in California. It is rare or casual north of about the fortieth
parallel. But two specimens have been brought to the Oberlin College
Museum in twenty years, one of which was found dead in a barn a mile
east of Oberlin in December of 1898.

The barn owl is the most nocturnal of all our owls, although he can
see perfectly in the brightest day. Not until twilight does he issue
from his secure hiding-place to do battle with the farm and orchard
pests. Then he may be seen sailing noiselessly over orchard and
meadow in quest of any mischievous rodent that may be menacing the
farmer's prospects. He seems to single out intelligently the ones
that do the most injury, destroying large numbers of pouched gophers
and other annoying and destructive creatures, asking only in return
to be left in peace in his hiding-place. The farmer certainly has
no better friend than this owl, for he destroys poultry only when
driven to it by the direst necessity. In the East, his food consists
largely of rats and mice; in some parts of the South the cotton rat
is the chief diet; while in the West he feeds principally upon the
gopher (_Thomomys talpoides bulbivorus_) and the California ground
squirrel (_Spermophilus grammurus beecheyi_), according to Prof. B. W.
Evermann. It seems pretty certain that fish are sometimes captured and
eaten.

This owl undoubtedly breeds, though sparingly, in all suitable
localities wherever it is found, and probably migrates more or less
in the northern part of its range. In Europe it nests in old ruins,
towers, and abutments of bridges, but our American species finds few
such places, so he resorts to hollow trees, caves, crevices in rocks,
and banks, and even to burrows in the level ground, as we find to be
the case in parts of the West. The burrows are undoubtedly the deserted
burrows of some other animal. In the eastern parts of the country
the owls frequently nest in buildings. It is well known that a pair
occupied one of the towers of the Smithsonian building in the city of
Washington in 1890, raising a brood of seven young. It is stated that
the period of incubation is from three to three and a half weeks, and
that brooding begins with the deposit of the first egg; thus there may
be fresh eggs and young in the same nest. This accounts for the long
period of incubation.

The eggs are pure white, usually from four to seven in number, rarely
twelve. They are rather longer in proportion than those of the other
owls--in about the proportion of 1.30 × 1.70. But the average size is
variously given by the various authors.

It seems a little curious that there should be such a marked difference
between the hawks and owls as regards nest material. They belong to
the same order of birds, and yet the hawks build their own nests,
collecting the material and arranging it much after the fashion of
higher birds, while the owls make practically no nest, at the most
collecting a little material and scattering it about with little
regard for arrangement. But the difficulty disappears when we realize
that the owls have probably always nested in hollows which require
no nest material, while the hawks, if they ever nested in hollows,
have long ceased to do so, building their nests among the branches of
trees, where a relatively large amount of material is necessary. The
few species of hawks which now nest in hollows have gone back to that
method after a long period of open nesting and have retained the nest
material even here where it seems unnecessary.

The monkey-like appearance of this owl, emphasized by his tawny color
and screeching voice, gives him a decidedly uncanny appearance. His
plumage is unusually soft and fluffy, but is too thin to enable him
to withstand the rigors of a northern winter. Curiously enough, the
feathers on the back of his tarsus grow up instead of down, giving that
part of his plumage a rather ungroomed appearance. One edge of his
middle toe-nail is toothed like a comb.

During the nesting season only a single pair can be found in a place,
but at other times the species is more or less gregarious in the
regions in which it is numerous. Often a dozen individuals may be
found in a company. The extreme seclusiveness of the birds during the
day makes it very difficult to find them, and they are undoubtedly
more numerous than generally reported, and are likely to be present
in many places where their presence is not now suspected. They seek
the darkest and most secluded corner possible and remain quiet all
day. Their noiseless flight might easily be mistaken for that of the
whippoorwill. Let us hope that the good qualities of this owl will be
fully recognized before his hiding-place is discovered.



A SPRINGTIME.


    One knows the spring is coming;
      There are birds; the fields are green;
    There is balm in the sunlight and moonlight,
      A dew in the twilights between.

    But ever there is a silence,
      A rapture great and dumb,
    That day when the doubt is ended,
      And at last the spring is come.

    Behold the wonder, O silence!
      Strange as if wrought in a night,--
    The waited and lingering glory,
      The world-old fresh delight!

    O blossoms that hang like winter,
      Drifted upon the trees,
    O birds that sing in the blossoms,
      O blossom-haunting bees,--

    O green leaves on the branches,
      O shadowy dark below,
    O cool of the aisles of orchards,
      Woods that the wild flowers know,--

    O air of gold and perfume,
      Wind, breathing sweet, and sun,
    O sky of perfect azure--
      Day, Heaven and Earth in one!

    Let me draw near thy secret,
      And in thy deep heart see
    How fared, in doubt and dreaming,
      The spring that is come in me.

    For my soul is held in silence,
      A rapture, great and dumb,--
    For the mystery that lingered,
      The glory that is come!

                                        --_W. D. Howells._



  [Illustration: FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 KANGAROO.
                 1/8 Life-size.
                 COPYRIGHT 1899,
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]

THE KANGAROO.

C. C. M.


The Kangaroos are regarded as among the most remarkable of mammals.
Everything about them is extraordinary; their movements and their
attitudes when at rest, the way they seek their food, their
reproduction, their development, and their mental qualities. Twenty
and thirty years ago, it is said, the visitor to Australia could see
more Kangaroos to the square mile than there are jack rabbits to-day,
and it was literally impossible to avoid the countless flocks that
swarmed over the whole island. Walsh says that, with a good rifle, he
could take a position on a rock and shoot all day long, until tired of
the monotony of the slaughter, or until some "old man" kangaroo became
desperate at his killing and decided to turn the table upon him. In
those days men were paid liberally by the sheepowners to kill off the
kangaroos, and it is stated that one hunter would kill several hundred
a day, and one man is known to have cleared $4,500, free of living
expenses, in a single year. The visitor to Australia to-day discovers
a decided change in many ways, but not more so than in the comparative
scarcity of this animal. He may reside on the island for a month or
two and not see one kangaroo. There are still large numbers of them,
but they must be hunted up and their favorite feeding-places located
by guides. The sheepherders caused the creatures to be destroyed in
such numbers before they became of any commercial value that they are
now rarely found outside of the "bush." About three hundred miles
back from the coast thousands can still be found. The country abounds
in straggling bushes, with very few tall trees or woods to obstruct
travel; but the bushes, while in the open country, are tall enough to
make good hiding-places for the marsupials. They feed on the grass,
roots, and leaves, and when startled by a hunter, leap over the bushes
as easily as a rabbit jumps over the tufts of grass.

The hind legs of the kangaroo are powerful weapons. One long claw,
hard as bone or steel, and sharp as a knife at the point, gives the
kangaroo an implement, says a writer in the _Scientific American_,
that can kill a man or beast with one blow. The front paws are not so
strong, but an old fellow has strength enough in them to seize a dog
and hold him under the water until dead. On land they will seize an
enemy and hold him until the hind claws can cut him nearly in two. They
are also good boxers, and when the natives attempt to kill them with
clubs they dodge the implements with all the skill of a professional
pugilist, and unless the man is an expert he may get the worst of the
encounter. Quite a number of hunters have been severely injured, and
some killed, by attempting to corner a wounded kangaroo when enraged
by a bullet wound. The fleetest horse cannot keep pace with any of
the larger kangaroos, but with a little tact the hunters are enabled
to capture them whenever they are sighted. When the creatures are
once started on a run, they will not swerve from their course, but
continue straight onward, leaping over bushes, rocks, and all ordinary
obstacles. The hunters generally station themselves in the line that
the animals are most likely to pursue, and then wait until the dogs or
the rest of the party start them up.

The ordinary gait of the kangaroo, which it assumes principally when
grazing, is a heavy, awkward hobble. It supports its fore feet on the
ground and then pushes the hinder legs on between them. While doing so
it must also support itself on its tail, as else it could not lift its
long hinder legs high enough to render such movements possible. But
it remains in this position no longer than is absolutely necessary.
Whenever it has plucked some favorite plant, it assumes the erect
position to consume it. In their sleep the smaller species adopt a
position similar to that of a hare in its form. Closely crouched to
the ground, they squat down on all fours, the tail being extended
at length behind the body. This position enables them to take flight
instantly.

The kangaroo leaps only on its hinder legs, but its bounds surpass
those of any other animal in length. It presses its fore limbs tightly
against the chest, stretches the tail straight out backwards, thrusts
the long and slender hind legs against the ground with all the force of
the powerful thigh muscles, and darts like an arrow through the air in
a low curve. The leaps follow in immediate succession, and each is at
least nine feet, but the larger species cover, not infrequently, from
twenty to thirty-three feet at a bound, the height of each leap being
from six to ten feet. Few hounds can keep pace with a kangaroo.

The kangaroo rarely gives birth to more than one young at a time. When
the young one is born the mother takes it up with her mouth, opens the
pouch with both fore feet, and attaches the little creature to the
breast. Twelve hours after birth it has a length of only a little over
one and one-fifth inches. Its eyes are closed, its ears and nostrils
are only indicated, the limbs yet unformed. There is not the slightest
resemblance between it and the mother. For nearly eight months it is
nourished exclusively in the pouch. A considerable time after it first
peeps out of the pouch the young one occasionally leaves its refuge and
roams about near its mother, but for a long time it flees back to the
pouch whenever it apprehends any danger. It approaches its mother with
long bounds and dives headlong into the half-open pouch of the quietly
sitting female.

Numerous methods are employed to exterminate the animals; they are
shot with fire-arms or coursed to death by hounds, and that for very
wantonness, for the slain bodies are left to rot in the woods. "That is
the reason," says an anonymous writer, "why the kangaroos are already
exterminated in the environs of all larger cities and settlements; and
if this savage chase is permitted to continue, it will not be long ere
they will be numbered among the rarer animals in the interior also."

The kangaroo readily resigns itself to confinement, and is easily
maintained on hay, green fodder, turnips, grain, bread, and similar
articles of food. It does not require a specially warm shelter in
winter and breeds readily if given proper care. At present it is more
rarely seen in confinement in Europe and America than when it was
more numerous and easier to capture in its native country. With good
treatment it survives a long time; specimens have lived in Europe from
ten to twenty-five years.

The kangaroos are very dull in intellect, even sheep being far
superior to them in this respect. Anything out of the accustomed order
confuses them, for they are not capable of a rapid comprehension of
new surroundings. Every impression they receive becomes clear to them
only gradually. Brehm says a captive kangaroo becomes used to man in
general, but expresses doubt whether it discriminates between its
keeper and other people.



INVITATION TO THE REDBREAST.


    Sweet bird, whom the winter constrains--
      And seldom another it can--
    To seek a retreat--while he reigns
      In the well-shelter'd dwellings of man,
    Who never can seem to intrude,
      Though in all places equally free,
    Come, oft as the season is rude,
      Thou art sure to be welcome to me.

    At sight of the first feeble ray,
      That pierces the clouds of the east,
    To inveigle thee every day
      My windows shall show thee a feast.
    For, taught by experience, I know
      Thee mindful of benefit long;
    And that, thankful for all I bestow,
      Thou wilt pay me with many a song.

    Then, soon as the swell of the buds
      Bespeaks the renewal of spring,
    Fly hence, if thou wilt, to the woods,
      Or where it shall please thee to sing:
    And shouldst thou, compell'd by a frost,
      Come again to my window or door,
    Doubt not an affectionate host,
      Only pay, as thou pay'dst me before.

    Thus music must needs be confest
      To flow from a fountain above;
    Else how should it work in the breast
      Unchangeable friendship and love?
    And who on the globe can be found,
      Save your generation and ours,
    That can be delighted by sound,
      Or boasts any musical powers?

                                        --_Cowper._



FEATHERS.

W. E. WATT.


    A splendid young blackbird built in a tree;
    A spruce little fellow as ever could be;
    His bill was so yellow, his feathers so black,
    So long was his tail, and so glossy his back,
    That good Mrs. B., who sat hatching her eggs,
    And only just left them to stretch her poor legs,
    And pick for a minute the worm she preferred,
    Thought there never was seen such a beautiful bird.

                                        --_D. M. Mulock._

    Oh! Nature's noblest gift--my gray-goose quill!
    Slave of my thoughts, obedient to my will,
    Torn from thy parent bird to form a pen,
    The mighty instrument of little men!

                                        --_Byron._

Feathers have played an important part in the history of mankind. Henry
of Navarre won the battle of Ivry after electrifying his men with the
following words: "Fellow soldiers, you are Frenchmen; behold the enemy!
If you lose sight of your ensigns, rally round my plume; you will
always find it on the high road to honor!"

No doubt the templars carried the hearts of many with them in the
crusades more effectually because their waving plumes gave them a
picturesqueness which inspired brave men with courage and pious ones
with holy zeal.

Savages delight in adorning themselves with feathers, and civilized
women have found their charms enhanced by the placing of feathers
against fair skins until the close of the nineteenth century finds a
social struggle raging through fear that the demands of fashion may yet
destroy from the face of the earth its sweetest songsters and its most
beautifully plumed creatures.

Fans of feathers are admired the world over. In warm countries huge
fans or screens made of beautiful feathers are often carried to
shade royalty. In great processions the Pope is followed by bearers
of magnificent fans of ostrich plumes. In the Sandwich Islands for
a long time the enthroning of a new king was made gorgeous by his
wearing a garment of many thousands of feathers; but recently, as if in
preparation for a union with the United States, this state garment was
buried with the king and the ceremony became simpler.

The noblest use to which feathers have been adapted has been in
the production of writing instruments. The antiquity of the pen,
regarded as a feather, is shown in the proof recently set forth by
the philologists. _Penna_ is the Latin for feather; farther back an
instrument for flying is called _patna_; the Sanskrit which became
_penna_ in the Latin tongue became _phathra_ in the mouths of the
Teutonic peoples. So the English language, which is formed from both
Latin and Teutonic elements, possesses two words, _pen_, and _feather_,
which were one in their origin, have been widely separated during
the ages, and now are united, but in such a way that only under the
microscope of comparative grammar are we able to discover that they
have the same blood in their veins.

Although the people living in warm countries wrote with the reed, the
Chinese with a brush, and we have learned to fashion steel so it will
do the work to better advantage, yet the feather has been a mighty
agency in the civilization of the world.

Every teacher used to consider it one of the essentials of his
equipment to possess a good penknife and know how to use it in making
or mending pens for his pupils. Quills were first carefully cleansed
from all oily or fatty matter and then dried. A gentle heat was applied
to secure the brittleness which made it possible to split the pen point
without spoiling the quill.

In Russia and in Holland quills were dipped in boiling alum-water or
diluted nitric acid and then dried and clarified in a bath of hot sand.
Goose quills were most used, turkey quills were prized by many, and
swan quills were considered the best of all. Pens well made from swan
quills often sold as high as four guineas a thousand, while goose quill
pens were to be had at twenty shillings. For fine writing, crow-quills
were considered best, and pen-and-ink drawings were generally produced
with the black-plumed article.

In 1832, to supplement the domestic products in the manufacture of
pens, 33,668,000 quills were imported into England. The trade has not
been entirely killed by the advent of the steel pen, for there are yet
among us representatives of the people of the olden time who delight in
the pretty little squeak of the quill pen as it assists them in their
literary labors.

Man early learned to rob the birds of their coverings, not only for
adornment, but also for warmth. Feather beds were once reckoned as
evidences of wealth. Modern science has pointed out the unhealthful
condition of a bed made soft and gaseous with feathers. Few beds are
now found of this sort among the better-informed people of America, but
the traveler in the northern countries of Europe not only has to sleep
on feathers but also under them. The down coverlet is as essential to a
Danish bed as is clean linen.

The newest palace of the German emperor is furnished in accordance with
the Teutonic idea, and the visitor to the palace at Strasburg, when his
majesty is not there, is shown his royal bed room with its single bed
and double featherings.

Downy feathers grow most abundantly on birds inhabiting cold regions.
Many young birds have an abundance of downy feathers when first
hatched. In some cases it is well formed before the egg is broken,
firmly enclosed in a tight roll of membrane to keep it dry. On exposure
to the air the membrane bursts and the down wraps the nestling in a
comfortable coat.

The stronger feather sometimes grows out of the same place as the downy
one in such a way that it pushes out the down to the outside of the
plumage and the bird appears to have his underwear outside his overcoat.

The best eider-down is so light that three-quarters of an ounce of it
will fill a large hat. It is so elastic that two or three pounds may be
compressed into a ball that may be held in the hand.

Some feathers have a second shaft growing out of the end of the quill
so as to form a double feather, and in rare instances there are two of
these growths from one quill, making a triple feather.

Birds are warmer blooded than other animals. What is a dangerous fever
temperature in the blood of man, is natural and ordinary in a bird.
As birds fly rapidly, they could not live if they were perspiring
creatures because they would lose heat so fast. Feathers protect them
from the sudden changes of temperature and loss of heat and strength.

Feathers are important to the bird to fly with; but even for this
purpose they are not absolutely necessary. There are forms of animals
that fly, as the bat does, with their skin to beat the air. There were
once on the earth many more skin-flying animals than there are to-day.

Feathers are modifications of the scarf-skin. Wherever the skin is
exposed to sun, wind, or water it is modified in some way to contribute
to the well-being of the animal. The many forms of feathers make a most
fascinating study.

A peculiar thing about them is that they are not vascular. Vascular
means full of vessels. Almost everything that grows is vascular. It has
tubes to carry in new material and little sacs or large ones to store
substance for new growths. But dermal appendages, the forms that grow
out of the scarf-skin and are modifications of it, are not vascular.
Take a feather two feet long, and examine it to see how the feather
material was carried from the beginning of the quill to the tip. You
find no veins and no circulation. Yet feathers grow and their growth is
quite mysterious and not understood by the wisest people.

The material of a feather consists of cells that push each other out
to their destination. They change their forms as they travel along,
and their colors and degrees of hardness change with their going. They
are composed of about the same stuff that makes horns and hoofs. Your
finger nail is like a feather in its growth and composition. It is
mostly albumen with some lime in it. Albumen is the substance which
makes the white of eggs.

When the Mexican motmot trims his two tail feathers with his beak,
he merely makes diamond cut diamond. The material of the cutting
instrument is the same as that of the thing cut, only somewhat harder.

When you consider how a feather grows by pushing out its cells you
must wonder at the intelligence which guides the cells to change their
nature so as to form the quill, the shaft, the after-shaft, the barb,
the barbules, and the little hooks which hold them together. More than
this is the cause for admiration seen in the regular change of pigment
contained in the cells, so the feather shall have its beautiful colors
and accurate markings.

Along with the materials of the feather is carried a little oil which
turns the water from the duck's back and gives the feather its gloss.
It is thought by some that the fading of feathers in museums where
mounted specimens are exposed to the action of light is largely due
to the loss of this delicate oil. No enterprising Yankee has come
forward yet with a patent for restoring this oil and giving back to
the thousands of musty and dusty skins in our museums their original
brilliancy.

Every one wonders at the way feathers keep their shape instead of
getting hopelessly ruffled. The little hooks which hold the barbules
together are exceedingly strong and flexible. They will yield and bend,
but never break. Even when torn apart from their hold they can grasp
again so as to restore the injured feather to its former shape.



VISION AND SCENT OF VULTURES.

REV. R. T. NICHOL.


_To the Editor of Birds and All Nature_:

SIR: Are you not mistaken in the assertion in your October number that
vultures, carrion-crows, etc., have such keen scent that they can
detect carcasses and offal at a very great distance?

I was under the impression that Wilson[1] had decided this forever,
and proved conclusively that their apparently miraculous power of
discovering their proper food, was due to keenness of vision, and not
of the sense of smell.

The following extracts may be new to some and interesting to all of
your readers: Under the head "_Vultur aura_, Turkey Vulture," etc., I
find:

"Observations on the supposed power which vultures such as the turkey
vulture, are said to possess of scenting carrion at a great distance.

"It has always appeared to us unaccountable that birds of prey, as
vultures, could scent carcasses at such immense distances, as they
are said to do. We were led to call in question the accuracy of this
opinion, on recollecting the observations of some travelers, who have
remarked birds of prey directing their course towards dead animals
floating in the rivers in India, where the wind blows steadily from
one point of the compass for months in succession. It was not easy to
conceive that the effluvium from a putrid carcass in the water, could
proceed in direct opposition to the current of air, and affect the
olfactory nerves of birds at so many miles distant. We were disposed to
believe that these birds were directed towards the carrion rather by
the sense of seeing than by that of smelling. This opinion is confirmed
by the following observations of our friend Audubon, communicated to us
by him some time ago for our _Philosophical Journal_."

Here follows at length Audubon's communication, from which I extract
the following passages:

"My _First Experiment_ was as follows: I procured a skin of our common
deer, entire to the hoofs, and stuffed it carefully with dried grass
until filled rather above the natural size,--suffered the whole to
become perfectly dry and as hard as leather--took it to the middle of a
large open field, and laid it down upon its back with the legs up and
apart, as if the animal were dead and putrid. I then retired about a
few hundred yards, and in the lapse of some minutes a vulture coursing
around the field, tolerably high, espied the skin, sailed directly
towards it, and alighted within a few yards of it. I ran immediately,
covered by a large tree, until within about forty yards, and from that
place could spy the bird with ease. He approached the skin, looked at
it without apparent suspicion, raised his tail and voided itself freely
(as you well know all birds of prey in a wild state generally do before
feeding), then approaching the eyes, that were here solid globes of
hard, dried, and painted clay, attacked first one and then the other,
with, however, no farther advantage than that of disarranging them.
This part was abandoned; the bird walked to the other extremity of the
pretended animal, and there, with much exertion, tore the stitches
apart, until much fodder and hay were pulled out; but no flesh could
the bird find or smell; he was intent on finding some where none
existed, and, after reiterated efforts, all useless, he took flight,
coursed round the field, when, suddenly turning and falling, I saw him
kill a small garter snake and swallow it in an instant. The vulture
rose again, sailed about, and passed several times quite low over the
stuffed deer-skin, as if loth to abandon so good-looking a prey.

"Judge of my feelings when I plainly saw that the vulture, which could
not discover through its extraordinary sense of smell that no flesh,
either fresh or putrid, existed about that skin, could at a glance see
a snake scarcely as large as a man's finger, alive, and destitute of
odor, hundreds of yards distant. I concluded that, at all events, his
ocular powers were much better than his sense of smell.

"_Second Experiment._--I had a large dead hog hauled some distance from
the house and put into a ravine, about twenty feet deeper than the
surface of the earth around it, narrow and winding much, filled with
briars and high cane. In this I made the negroes conceal the hog, by
binding cane over it, until I thought it would puzzle either buzzards,
carrion-crows, or any other birds to see it, and left it for two days.
This was early in the month of July, when, in this latitude, a body
becomes putrid and extremely fetid in a short time. I saw from time to
time many vultures, in search of food, sail over the field and ravine
in all directions, but none discovered the carcass, although during
this time several dogs had visited it and fed plentifully on it. I
tried to go near it, but the smell was so insufferable when within
thirty yards of it that I abandoned it, and the remnants were entirely
destroyed at last through natural decay.

"I then took a young pig, put a knife through its neck, and made it
bleed on the earth and grass about the same, and, having covered it
closely with leaves, also watched the result. The vultures saw the
fresh blood, alighted about it, followed it down into the ravine,
discovered by the blood of the pig, and devoured it, when yet quite
fresh, within my sight."

He pursues the subject at some length, recounting other experiments;
but these, were they not even given on the authority of
Audubon--_clarum et venerabile nomen_--seem to me to be conclusive.

                                        _22 Irving place, New York_


FOOTNOTE:

[1] When I said "Wilson" above I find I was slightly mistaken. I
remembered reading it long ago in the first edition I possessed of this
writer's works--the little four-volume set edited by Prof. Jameson
for "Constable's Miscellany," Edinburgh, 1831, and taking down the
book now, which I have not opened for years, I find the passages in
question (Vol. iv, pp. 245 _et seq._) form part of an appendix drawn
from Richardson and Swainson's "Northern Zoology," and that the real
authority is Audubon.



  [Illustration: FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 HOARY BAT.
                 1/2 Life-size.
                 COPYRIGHT 1899,
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]

THE HOARY BAT.

C. C. M.


A very singular animal is the bat, and seems to belong to several
classes and orders. The specimen we present here (_Atalapha cinerea_)
is very rare in this part of the country, and was taken in Lincoln
Park, Chicago. It flies through the air like a bird and, possessing
mammæ like the quadrupeds, suckles its young. The double jaw is
provided with three kinds of teeth. With the canines and incisors
it tears its prey like carnivorous animals, and with the molars or
grinders it cracks nuts like rodents, which it resembles in the narrow,
oval form of its head. An imperfect quadruped when on the ground, it
drags itself along, embarrassed by the mantle of its wings, which fold
up around its legs like an umbrella when closed. When it undertakes to
fly it does so in an awkward manner. It first crawls painfully along,
and with great difficulty extends its long fingers, spreading out the
membrane which covers and binds them together. The ungainly creature
then quickly flaps its broad wings, tough as leather, but thin and
transparent; a bird without plumage, it now flies abroad in pursuit of
insects--nocturnal like itself--or in search of ripe fruit, to which
some species are particularly destructive.

None of the bats like to raise themselves into the air from a perfectly
level surface, and, therefore, use all their endeavors to climb to
some elevated spot, from whence they may launch themselves into the
air. They climb with great ease and rapidity, being able to hitch
their sharp and curved claws into the least roughness that may present
itself, and can thus ascend a perpendicular wall with perfect ease and
security. In so doing they crawl backward, raising their bodies against
the tree or wall which they desire to scale, and drawing themselves
up by the alternate use of the hinder feet. When they have attained
a moderate height, they are able to fling themselves easily into the
air and to take immediate flight. They have the power of rising at
once from the ground, but always prefer to let themselves fall from
some elevated spot. One reason why bats take their repose suspended
by their hind feet is said to be that they are then in the most
favorable position for taking to the air. There may be, and probably
are, other reasons for the curious reversed attitude. Even among the
birds examples are found of a similar mode of repose. Members of the
genus _Colius_, an African group of birds, sleep suspended like the
bats, clinging with their feet and hanging with their heads downward.
But these birds cannot assume this attitude for the purpose of taking
flight, as their wings are used as readily as those of most other
feathered creatures, and, therefore, there must be other reasons to
account for the strange attitude.

The more closely we approach the torrid zone, it is said, the greater
is the number of bats and the richer their variety. The South is the
native country of the majority of wing-handed animals. Even in Italy,
Greece, and Spain, the number of bats is surprising. There, according
to Brehm, who studied them industriously, as evening draws nigh they
come out of their nooks and corners not by hundreds but by thousands.
Out of every house, every old stone wall, every rocky hollow they
flutter, as if a great army were preparing for a parade, and the entire
horizon is literally filled with them. The swarms of bats one sees in a
hot country are astonishing. They darken the sky. Everywhere there is a
living and moving mass flying through the trees or gardens and groves.
Through the streets of the town, through houses and rooms flits the
moving train. Hundreds are constantly appearing and disappearing and
one is always surrounded by a hovering swarm.

A feature of the wings of bats, is a highly elastic skin. The outer
layer is constantly kept pliable by anointing with an oily liquid,
secreted by glands in the animal's face. The structure of the hair
is also remarkable, as each thread presents under the microscope a
screw-like appearance.



THE COMING OF SPRING.

E. E. BENTON.


No one perhaps ever lived who excelled Henry D. Thoreau as a general
observer of nature. He patiently and with minute care examined both
animate and inanimate creation, and wrote down an accurate account
of his observations, noting particularly the effects produced by the
changes in the seasons. He worked diligently to discover the first sign
of spring, with results not wholly satisfactory. In one place he asks:
"What is the earliest sign of spring? The motions of worms and insects?
The flow of sap in trees and the swelling of buds? Do not the insects
awake with the flow of the sap? Bluebirds, etc., probably do not come
till the insects come out. Or are there earlier signs in the water, the
tortoises, frogs, etc.?"

He found that whenever there was a warm spell during the winter some
forms of vegetation, particularly the grasses and water plants, would
begin to grow, and some would even bloom in favorable locations, as the
skunk cabbage. He did not fully settle the question as to what would
begin to grow first in the spring, whether it was the catkins of the
swamp willow or the stems and leaves of the equisetum in the pool, or
something else.

A list of the most striking phenomena observed by Thoreau in early
spring is given below, and is extracted from his journals, written when
he lived near Boston, during the years 1840 to 1860. In each case the
earliest date mentioned by Thoreau is given, there being a difference
of about a month between the earliest and latest spring. Many of these
phenomena and the order in which they occur are common to a large
extent of country, including the eastern and northern central states.
Thus, the skunk cabbage is the first flower in all this region. A few
notes are added, showing variations.

February 21--Sap of the red maple flowing. This was in 1857. It does
not usually flow until the second week in March.

February 23--Yellow-spotted tortoise seen.

February 24--The bluebird, "angel of the spring," arrives; also the
song-sparrow. The _phebe_ or spring note of the chickadee, a winter
bird, heard.

"The bluebird and song-sparrow sing immediately on their arrival, and
hence deserve to enjoy some preëminence. They give expression to the
joy which the season inspires, but the robin and blackbird only peep
and _tchuck_ at first, commonly, and the lark is silent and flitting.
The bluebird at once fills the air with his sweet warbling, and the
song-sparrow, from the top of a rail, pours forth his most joyous
strain."

March 1--The catkins of the willow and aspen appear to have started to
grow.

March 2--The caltha, or cowslip, found growing in water.

The skunk cabbage in bloom in warm, moist grounds.

March 5--The red maple and elm buds expanded.

The spring note of the nut-hatch heard: _To-what, what, what, what,
what_, rapidly repeated, instead of the usual _quah quah_ of this
winter bird.

March 6--The gyrinus (water-bug) seen in the brook.

First blackbird seen.

Green sprouts of the sassafras, hazel, blueberry, and swamp-pink found.

March 7--Fuzzy gnats in the air.

First robins.

Spring note of the shrike heard, probably silent during the winter.

March 8--Willow buds expanded. Sap flowing in the white pine.

Flock of grackles seen.

Radical leaves of the golden-rods and asters in water, growing
decidedly.

March 9--Ducks seen.

March 10--Poplar and willow catkins started; also equisetum
(horse-tail), saxifrage, and probably other water plants. The
butter-cup found growing.

Shimmering in the air noticed, caused by evaporation; water in the
brooks, "clear, placid, and silvery," both phenomena of spring.

March 12--Poplar catkins in bloom.

First meadow-lark seen.

March 14--Wild geese seen.

Fox-colored sparrows seen.

March 15--Grass growing in water.

Wood, or croaking frog heard; "the earliest voice of the liquid pools."

March 16--The first phebe bird heard. Gulls and sheldrakes seen.

March 17--Grass green on south bank-sides.

The first flicker and red-wing seen; also a striped squirrel; also some
kind of fly.

March 18--The skunk cabbage, in moist grounds, abundantly in bloom,
attracting the first honey-bees, who, directed by a wonderful instinct,
leave their homes and wing their way, perhaps for miles, to find this
first flower. This seems all the more remarkable when it is considered
that the honey-bee is an introduced, not a native insect.

March 19--The first shiners seen in the brook.

March 20--Pussy-willow catkins in full bloom.

"The tree-sparrow is perhaps the sweetest and most melodious warbler at
present."

"The fishes are going up the brooks as they open."

March 21--The garden chickweed in bloom.

The ground-squirrel's first chirrup heard, a sure sign, according to
some old worthies, of decided spring weather.

The hyla, or tree-frog, begins to peep.

"The woods are comparatively silent. Not yet the woodland birds, except
(perhaps the woodpecker, so far as it migrates) only the orchard and
river birds have arrived."

March 23--The white maple in bloom and the aspen nearly so; the alders
are generally in full bloom. "The crimson-starred flowers of the hazel
begin to peep out."

March 24--Shore-larks seen.

March 28--Buff-edged butterflies seen.

March 31--The small red butterfly seen.

April 5--Swallows appear, pewee heard, and snipe seen.

April 6--Cowslips nearly in bloom.

April 7--Gold-finches seen; also the purple finch.

April 8--Pine warbler seen.

The epigæa (trailing arbutus) nearly in bloom. "The earliest peculiarly
woodland,[2] herbaceous flowers are epigæa, anemone, thalictrum (or
meadow rue), and, by the first of May, the violet."

April 9--Cowslips[3] (not a woodland flower) in bloom, "the first
conspicuous herbaceous flower, for that of the skunk cabbage is
concealed in its spathe."

FOOTNOTES:

[2] NOTE.--Further to the west and extending at least to Wisconsin,
the following list of early woodland flowers may take the place of the
above, blooming in the order given: Erigenia (or harbinger of spring),
hepatica, bloodroot, and dog-tooth violet, or perhaps the dicentra
(Dutchman's breeches) may come before the last.

The skunk cabbage, which is not a woodland flower, and therefore not
included in the above list, is the first flower probably in all New
England and the northern states.

[3] NOTE.--In the West several conspicuous flowers, particularly the
pretty hepatica, precede the cowslip.



THE NASHVILLE WARBLER.

(_Helminthophila rubricapilla._)

LYNDS JONES.


The Nashville warbler is common during the migrations in many parts of
the country, but seems to be scarce or entirely wanting locally. Thus,
in Lorain county, Ohio, as well as in Poweshiek county, Iowa, it is
always one of the commonest warblers during the first and second weeks
of May, and again during the second and third weeks of September, while
it is not reported from Wayne county, Ohio, by Mr. Harry C. Oberholser
in his "List of the Birds of Wayne county, Ohio." There are other
instances of its rarity or absence from restricted localities. Its
range extends from the Atlantic ocean west to eastern Nebraska, and
north into Labrador and the fur countries, occasionally wandering even
to Greenland. It winters in the tropics south of the United States.

In the northward migration it reaches Texas about the third week
in April and Manitoba near the end of the first week in May, thus
passing completely across the country in about three weeks. A careful
computation proves that the average rate at which this warbler traveled
across the country, in the spring of 1885, was nearly forty miles a
day. A single year, however, might show a considerable departure from
the normal rate of migration. This instance is given to show any who
may not be familiar with the phenomena of bird migration that small
birds, at least, do not perform their whole migration in a single
flight, but rest a good deal by the way.

The migrating Nashville warblers, in my experience, prefer the
outskirts of the larger woods, but may be found anywhere in the
smaller woods, preferring the middle branches, rarely ascending to the
tree-tops, not seldom gleaning near the ground in the underbrush, or
even among the leaves on the ground. They are by no means confined to
the woods, but glean as boldly and sing as cheerfully among the fruit
and shade trees in town, but they are more numerous in the woods.

The song has been compared to that of the chestnut-sided warbler and
the chipping sparrow combined. To my ear the Nashville warbler's song
is enough unlike the song of any other bird to be easily recognized
after a single hearing. Rev. J. H. Langille's rendering: "_Ke tsee,
ke tsee, ke tsee, chip ee, chip ee, chip ee, chip_," is a close
approximation, but seems somewhat lacking in the true expression of
the first part of the song. My note book renders it thus: "_K tsip, k
tsip, k tsip, k tsip, chip ee, chip ee, chip ee, chip_." The first part
of the song is thus halting, with a considerable pause between the
phrases, while the last part is uttered more rapidly and with little
effort. This song, issuing from the trees in every direction, is always
closely associated in the writer's mind with the early morning hours,
the dripping trees and the sweet incense of the flower-decked woods and
bursting buds.

While feeding, these warblers often gather into groups of a dozen or
twenty individuals, and may be associated with other species, thus
forming a considerable company. The warbler student is familiar with
the waves of warblers and other small birds which range through the
woods, now appearing in a bewildering flutter of a hundred wings, now
disappearing in their eager quest for a lunch of insects.

The breeding-range of this warbler extends as far south as Connecticut
in the East, and Michigan and Minnesota, if not northern Iowa in the
West, and north to the limit of its range. In common with the other
members of this genus, the Nashville warbler nests on the ground,
usually in a spot well protected by dried grasses and other litter of
the previous year's growth, often in a tangle of shrubs, ferns and
bushes. The nest is sometimes sunk flush with the surface, and is
composed of grasses, mosses, pine needles, strips of bark and leaves,
lined with finer material of the same sort and with hair-like rootlets,
the composition varying with the locality. The eggs are pure white or
creamy-white, marked with spots and dots of reddish-brown and the usual
lilac shell-markings, which are grouped more or less around the larger
end. They are four or five in number, and average about .61 × .48 of an
inch.

The spring males may readily be recognized in the bush by their small
size, by the bright yellow underparts, by their ashy heads and back,
and by their habit of feeding in the middle branches of the trees down
to the underbrush. The concealed rufous spot on the crown, from which
the bird takes its scientific specific name, can rarely be seen in the
live bird, no doubt chiefly because the bird is perpetually above you.

  [Illustration: FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 NASHVILLE WARBLER.
                 Life-size.
                 COPYRIGHT 1899,
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]



CHIEF SIMON POKAGON.

C. C. MARBLE.

    Gather him to his grave again,
        And solemnly and softly lay
    Beneath the verdure of the plain,
        The warrior's scattered bones away.

                                        --_Bryant._


The subject of this brief sketch died, January --, 1899, at an
advanced age. He was a full-blood Indian, and a hereditary chief of
the Pottowattomies. As author of "The Red Man's Greeting," a booklet
made of white birch bark and entitled by the late Prof. Swing, "The Red
Man's Book of Lamentations," he has been called the "Red-skin poet,
bard, and Longfellow of his race." He himself said that his object in
having the book printed on the bark of the white birch tree was out of
loyalty to his people, and "gratitude to the Great Spirit, who in his
wisdom provided for our use for untold generations this remarkable tree
with manifold bark used by us instead of paper, being of greater value
to us as it could not be injured by sun or water." Out of the bark of
this wonderful tree were made hats, caps, and dishes for domestic use,
"while our maidens tied with it the knot that sealed their marriage
vow." Wigwams were made of it, as well as large canoes that out-rode
the violent storms on lake and sea. It was also used for light and fuel
at the Indian war councils and spirit dances. Originally the shores of
the northern lakes and streams were fringed with it and evergreen, and
the "white charmingly contrasted with the green mirrored from the water
was indeed beautiful, but like the red man, this tree is vanishing from
our forests." He quotes the sad truth:

    "Alas for us! Our day is o'er,
    Our fires are out from shore to shore;
    No more for us the wild deer bounds--
    The plow is on our hunting grounds.
    The pale-man's sail skims o'er the floods;
    Our pleasant springs are dry;
    Our children look, by power oppressed,
    Beyond the mountains of the west--
    Our children go--to die."

The dedication of the little book is characteristic of the grateful
appreciation of a man of lofty spirit, who was acquainted with the
history and traditions of his race. It is: "To the memory of William
Penn, Roger Williams, the late lamented Helen Hunt Jackson, and many
others now in heaven, who conceived that noble spirit of justice which
recognizes the brotherhood of the red man, and to all others now living
defenders of our race, I most gratefully dedicate this tribute of the
forest."

Chief Pokagon's father sold the site of Chicago and the surrounding
country to the United States in 1833 for three cents an acre. Chief
Simon was the first red man to visit Mr. Lincoln after his inauguration
as president. In a letter written home at the time, he said: "I have
met Lincoln, the great chief; he is very tall, has a sad face, but he
is a good man; I saw it in his eyes and felt it in his hand-grasp. He
will help us get payment for Chicago land." Soon after this visit to
Washington a payment of $39,000 was made by the government.

In 1874 he visited President Grant, of whom he said: "I expected he
would put on military importance, but he treated me kindly, gave me a
cigar, and we smoked the pipe of peace together."

In 1893 the chief secured judgment against the United States for over
$100,000, which still remained due on the sale of Chicago land by his
father. This judgment was paid and the money divided pro rata among
members of the tribe, who soon dissipated it, however, and became as
great a charge upon the chief as ever.

Pokagon was honored on Chicago Day at the World's Fair by first ringing
the new Bell of Liberty and speaking in behalf of his race to the
greatest multitude, it is believed, ever assembled in one inclosure.
After his speech, "Glory Hallelujah" was sung before the bell for
the first time on the fair grounds. The little book, "The Red Man's
Greeting," above referred to, was prepared for this occasion and read
for the first time. It was well received, and many papers referred
to it in terms of extravagance. It was undoubtedly full of eloquence
characteristic of the aborigines.

Chief Pokagon's contributions to bird literature have been numerous and
original. That he was a lover of nature is manifest through all his
writings. And he was a humane man, like Johnny Appleseed, after quoting:

    "An inadvertent step may crush the snail
    That crawls at evening in the public path;
    But he that hath humanity, forewarn'd,
    Will tread aside, and let the reptile live."

"In early life," he says, "I was deeply mortified as I witnessed the
grand old forests of Michigan, under whose shades my forefathers lived
and died, falling before the cyclone of civilization as before the
prairie fire. In those days I traveled thousands of miles along our
winding trails, through the wild solitude of the unbroken forest,
listening to the song of the woodland birds, as they poured forth their
melodies from the thick foliage above and about me. Very seldom now
do I catch one familiar note from those early warblers of the woods.
They have all passed away, but with feelings of the deepest gratitude
I now listen to the songs of other birds which have come with the
advance of civilization. They are with us all about our homes and,
like the wild-wood birds which our fathers used to hold their breath
to hear, they sing in concert, without pride, without envy, without
jealousy--alike in forest and field; alike before the wigwam and the
castle; alike for savage and for sage; alike for beggar and for prince;
alike for chief and for king."

Writing of the wild goose, he says: "I begged my father to try and
catch me a pair of these birds alive, that I might raise a flock of
them. He finally promised me he would try, and made me pledge myself
to kindly care for them. He made me a stockade park to put them in,
enclosing one-half acre of land. One corner ran into the lake, so as
to furnish plenty of water for the prospective captives. He then made
a brush box, three feet square, trimming it with rice straw from the
lake and left it at the water's edge for future use. He then waded
into the lake where geese were in the habit of feeding, finding the
water nowhere above his chin. On the following morning a flock was
seen feeding in the lake. We went quietly to the shore; father placed
the box over his head and waded carefully into the water. Soon I could
see only the box; it appeared to be floating and drifted by the wind
toward the geese. At length it moved in among the great birds. I held
my breath, fearing they would fly away. Soon I saw one disappear, then
another, both sinking like lead into the water. Not a sound could I
hear. The rice box began to slowly drift back. On nearing the shore
father emerged from it with a live goose under each arm. They seemed
the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen." The young chief in three
years raised a fine flock of geese, which, he says, he treated as
prisoners of war, and was as kind to as a mother to her children. He
taught them to eat corn from his hand and each one to recognize a name
given to it. After the first year he gave them their liberty, except in
fall and spring, when they were determined to migrate. If he let them
out with wings clipped, so they could not fly, they would start on the
journey afoot for the south or northland according to the time of year.

It is believed that the old chief left behind him many interesting
manuscripts. One of thirty thousand words is known to the present
writer. It is autobiographical and historical of the Pottowattomie
tribe of Indians, and will doubtless be printed, sooner or later, if
not on white birch bark, then on good white paper.



NATURE AT FIRST HAND.

    When beauty, blushing, from her bed
      Arose to bathe in morning dew,
    The sun, just lifting up his head,
      The vision saw and back withdrew
    Behind a cloud, with edges red:
      "Till beauty," then he coyly said,
    "Shall veil her peerless form divine
      I may not let my glory shine."

                                        C. C. M.


As to the pleasures derived from pursuing the science of ornithology in
nature's interminable range, there are delights the field ornithologist
experiences quite unknown to his stay-at-home namesake. For instance,
what a thrill of pride courses through him as he clings to the topmost
branches of the tallest pine tree, making himself acquainted with
the rude cradle of the sparrow-hawk; or when examining the beautiful
and richly marked eggs of the windhover, laid bare and nestless in
the magpie's old abode, some sixty feet or more in the branches of a
towering oak. When, if ever, do our closet naturalists inspect these
lovely objects in their elevated cradle? Again, how elated the field
naturalist will feel when, after hours of patient watching, he gets a
sight of a troop of timid jays, or the woodpecker, busy in his search
for food on some noble tree! How elated when, scaling the cliff's
rugged side in search of sea birds' eggs, or tramping over the wild
and barren moor, he flushes the snipe or ring ousel from its heathery
bed, or startles the curlew from its meal in the fathomless marsh!
We might enlarge upon this subject _ad infinitum_, but to a field
naturalist these pleasures are well known, and to the closet personage
uncared for. Suffice it to say, that he who takes nature for his
tutor will experience delights indescribable from every animate and
inanimate object of the universe; from the tiny blade of grass to the
largest forest tree--the tiniest living atom, seemingly without form
or purpose, to its gigantic relation of much higher development. The
pages of nature's mighty book are unrolled to the view of every man who
cares to haunt her sanctuaries. The doctrine it teaches is universal,
pregnant with truth, endless in extent, eternal in duration, and full
of the widest variety: Upon the earth it is illustrated by endless
forms beautiful and grand, and in the trackless ether above, the stars
and suns and moons gild its immortal pages.--_Rural Bird-Life in
England._

The aspects of nature change ceaselessly, by day and by night, through
the seasons of the year, with every difference in latitude and
longitude; and endless are the profusion and variety of the results
which illustrate the operation of her laws. But, let the productions
of different climes and countries be never so unlike, she works by the
same methods; the spirit of her teachings never changes; nature herself
is always the same, and the same wholesome, satisfying lessons are to
be learned in the contemplation of any of her works. We may change our
skies, but not our minds, in crossing the sea to gain a glimpse of
that bird-life which finds its exact counterpart in our own woods and
fields, at the very threshold of our own homes.--_Coues._

The boy was right, in a certain sense, when he said that he knew
nature when she passed. Alone, he had hunted much in the woods day and
night. He knew the tall trees that were the coons' castles, and the
high hills of the 'possum's rambles. He had a quick eye for the smooth
holes where the squirrels hid or the leafy hammocks where they dozed
the heated hours away. The tangles where the bob-whites would stand and
sun themselves stood out to him at a glance, and when the ruffed grouse
drummed he knew his perch and the screens to dodge behind as he crept
up on him.--_Baskett._



THE QUAILS' QUADRILLE.

BY MRS. A. S. HARDY.


One who loves the birds and is so much in sympathy with them as to make
it appear sometimes that they have taken her into their "order," had a
charming glimpse, a few years ago, of a covey of quails in one of their
frolics. She described it as follows:

"I never hear the call of 'Ah, Bob White!' or catch a glimpse of those
shy little vocalists, that I do not think of how I once surprised
them in the prettiest dance I ever saw. I had heard of the games and
the frolics of birds and have often watched them with delight, but I
never saw any bird-play that interested me as this, that seemed like a
quadrille of a little company of quails.

"They were holding their pretty carnival at the side of a country road
along which I was slowly strolling, and I came in sight of them so
quietly as to be for a time unobserved, although they had two little
sentinels posted--one at each end of the company.

"Between these bright-eyed little watchers, always on the alert, a
dozen or more birds were tip-toeing in a square. Every motion was
with all the grace and harmony which are nature's own. At some little
bird-signal which I didn't see, two birds advanced from diagonal
corners of the square, each bird tripping along with short, airy and
graceful steps, something like what we imagine characterized the
old-time 'minuet.' Each bird, as the partners came near each other,
bobbed its head in a graceful little bow, and both tripped back as they
came to their places in the square. Immediately the birds from the
two other corners advanced with the same airy grace, the same short,
quick, and tripping steps, saluting and retreating as the others had
done.

"A wagon driven along the road disturbed the band of dancers, who
scudded away under leaves, through the fence, into the deep grass
of the field beyond. When the team had passed out of sight and
the ball-room was again their own, back came the pretty revelers
stealthily, their brown heads uplifted as their bright eyes scanned the
landscape. Seeing no intruder, they again took their places the same as
before and began again the same quadrille--advancing, meeting, bowing,
and retreating.

"It was the prettiest and most graceful little 'society affair' you
can imagine! There was no music--no song that I could hear--yet every
little bird in every turn and step while the dance was on, moved as to
a measured harmony.

"Did the birds keep 'time--time, in a sort of runic rhyme' to melody
in their hearts, or to a symphony, I could not hear, but which goes
up unceasingly like a hymn of praise from nature's great orchestra? I
longed to know.

"In my delight and desire to learn more of the bewitching bird-play, I
half forgot I was a clumsy woman, and an unconscious movement betrayed
my presence. The little sentinel nearest me quickly lifted his brown
head, and spying me gave his signal--how, I could not guess, for not
a sound was uttered; but all the dancers stretched their little necks
an instant and sped away. In a moment the ground was cleared and the
dancers came not back."



  [Illustration: PRESENTED BY LOUIS G. KUNZE.
                 ENGLISH GRAPES.
                 2/3 Life-size.
                 COPYRIGHT 1899,
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]

THE GRAPE.

C. C. M.


The name grape is from the French _grappe_, a bunch of grapes; from
the same root as _gripe_ or _grab_, to grasp. It is one of the most
valuable fruits, not only because of its use in the manufacture of
wine, and is the source also from which brandy, vinegar, and tartaric
acid are obtained, but because, both in a fresh and dried state, it
forms not a mere article of luxury, but a great part of the food of the
inhabitants of some countries.

The cultivation of the vine was introduced into England by the Romans,
and of late years its cultivation has much increased in gardens, on
the walls of suburban villas and of cottages, but chiefly for the sake
of the fresh fruit, although wine is also made in small quantities for
domestic use.

The first attempt at the culture of the vine in the United States for
wine-making was in Florida in 1564; and another was made by the British
colonist in 1620. In Delaware wine was made from native grapes as early
as 1648. In 1683 William Penn engaged in the cultivation of the vine
near Philadelphia, but with only partial success. In 1825 the Catawba
vine, a native of North Carolina, came into prominence; and it was
afterward cultivated extensively near Cincinnati by Nicholas Longworth,
who has been called the father of this culture in the United States. In
1858 the entire production of Catawba wine in Ohio amounted to 400,000
gallons. In the states east of the Rocky mountains the greatest
extent of territory in vineyards occurs in Ohio, New York, Missouri,
Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas, but at present they exist
in nearly every state in the Union. Of all of the states, however,
California is the most important for vine-growing. The vineyards were
first cultivated there during the middle of the last century, the first
grape planted being the Los Angeles, which was the only one grown till
1820.

The cultivation of the vine varies much in different countries. In the
vineries of Britain the vines are carefully trained in various ways
so as most completely to cover the walls and trellises and to turn
the whole available space to the utmost account. The luxuriant growth
of the plant renders the frequent application of the pruning-knife
necessary during the summer. The bunches of grapes are generally
thinned out with great care, in order that finer fruit may be produced.
By such means, and the aid of artificial heat, grapes are produced
equal to those of the most favored climates, and the vine attains to a
large size and a great age. The famous vine at Hampton Court has a stem
more than a foot in circumference, one branch measuring one hundred and
fourteen feet in length, and has produced in one season two thousand
two hundred bunches of grapes, weighing on an average one pound each,
or in all about a ton.

       *       *       *       *       *

About 250 years ago Dr. Power attributed the fly's locomotive power
to "a furry kind of substance like little sponges with which she hath
lined the soles of her feet, which substance is also repleated with a
whitish viscous liquor, which she can at pleasure squeeze out, and so
sodder and be-glue herself to the place she walks on, which otherwise
her gravity would hinder, especially when she walks in those inverted
positions." Scientific men refused to believe this explanation, and
taught that the bottom of a fly's foot resembled the leather sucker
used by boys to lift stones, and that this formation enabled it to move
back downwards. However it has been proved that Dr. Power was right in
every point but the sticky nature of the liquid that exudes from the
fly's foot. This substance is not sticky, and the attachment which it
causes is brought about by capillary attraction.



PROSE POEMS OF IVAN TURGENIEF.


I dreamed that I stepped into a vast, subterranean, highly arched hall.
A brilliant light illuminated it. In the middle of this hall was seated
the majestic figure of a woman, clothed in a green robe that fell in
many folds around her. Her head rested upon her hand; she seemed to be
sunk in deep meditation. Instantly I comprehended that this woman must
be nature herself, and a sudden feeling of respectful terror stole into
my awed soul. I approached the woman, and, saluting her with reverence,
said:

"O mother of us all, on what dost thou meditate? Thinkest thou,
perchance, on the future fate of humanity, or of the path along
which mankind must journey in order to attain the highest possible
perfection--the highest happiness?"

The woman slowly turned her dark, threatening eyes upon me. Her lips
moved and, in a tremendous, metallic voice she replied:

"I was pondering how to bestow greater strength upon the muscles of the
flea's legs, so that it may more rapidly escape from its enemies. The
balance between attack and flight is deranged; it must be readjusted."

"What!" I answered, "is that thy only meditation? Are not we, mankind,
thy best-loved and most precious children?"

The woman slightly bent her brows and replied: "All living creatures
are my children; I cherish all equally, and annihilate all without
distinction."

"But Virtue, Reason, Justice!" I faltered.

"Those are human words," replied the brazen voice. "I know neither good
nor evil. Reason to me is no law. And what is justice? I gave thee
life; I take it from thee and give it unto others; worms and men are
all the same to me.... And thou must maintain thyself meanwhile, and
leave me in peace."

I would have replied, but the earth quaked and trembled, and I awoke.

I was returning from hunting, and walking along an avenue of the
garden, my dog running in front of me.

Suddenly he took shorter steps, and began to steal along as though
tracking game.

I looked along the avenue, and saw a young sparrow, with yellow about
its beak and down on its head. It had fallen out of the nest (the wind
was violently shaking the birch trees in the avenue) and sat unable to
move, helplessly flapping its half-grown wings.

My dog was slowly approaching it, when, suddenly darting from a tree
close by, an old dark-throated sparrow fell like a stone right before
his nose, and all ruffled up, terrified, with despairing and pitiful
chirps, it flung itself twice towards the open jaws of shining teeth.
It sprang to save; it cast itself before its nestling, but all its tiny
body was shaking with terror; its note was harsh and strange. Swooning
with fear, it offered itself up!

What a huge monster must the dog have seemed to it! And yet it could
not stay on its high branch out of danger.... A force stronger than its
will flung it down.

My Tresor stood still, drew back.... Clearly he, too, recognized this
force.

I hastened to call off the disconcerted dog, and went away full of
reverence.

Yes; do not laugh. I felt reverence for that tiny heroic bird for its
impulse of love.

Love, I thought, is stronger than death or the fear of death. Only by
it, by love, life holds together and advances.



THE BLUEBIRD.

        Soft warbling note
        From azure throat,
    Float on the gentle air of spring;
        To my quick ear
        It doth appear
    The sweetest of the birds that sing.

                                        --_C. C. M._


A bit of heaven itself.--_Spofford._

The bluebird carries the sky on his back.--_Thoreau._

Winged lute that we call a bluebird.--_Rexford._

The bluebird is the color-bearer of the spring brigade.--_Wright._

    A wise bluebird
    Puts in his little heavenly word.

                                        --_Lanier._

    The bluebird, shifting his light load of song
    From post to post along the cheerless fence.

                                        --_Lowell._

It is his gentle, high-bred manner and not his azure coat which makes
the bluebird.--_Torrey._

How can we fail to regard its azure except as a fragment from the blue
of the summer noonday arch?--_Silloway._

The bluebird always bears the national colors--red, white, and
blue--and in its habits is a model of civilized bird-life.--_Dr.
Cooper._

At the first flash of vernal sun among the bare boughs of his old home
he hies northward to greet it with his song, and seems, unlike the
oriole, to help nature make the spring.--_Baskett._

As he sits on a branch lifting his wings there is an elusive charm
about his sad, quivering _tru-al-ly_, _tru-al-ly_. Ignoring our
presence, he seems preoccupied with unfathomable thoughts of field and
sky.--_Merriam._

And yonder bluebird, with the earth tinge on his breast and the sky
tinge on his back, did he come down out of heaven on that bright March
morning when he told us so softly and plaintively that if we pleased,
spring had come?--_Burroughs._

He is "true blue," which is as rare a color among birds as it is among
flowers. He is the banner-bearer of bird-land also, and loyally floats
the tricolor from our trees and telegraph wires; for, besides being
blue, is he not also red and white?--_Coues._



THE FIRST BLUEBIRD.

    Jest rain and snow! and rain again!
      And dribble! drip! and blow!
    Then snow! and thaw! and slush! and then
      Some more rain and snow!

    This morning I was 'most afeared
      To wake up--when, I jing!
    I seen the sun shine out and heerd
      The first bluebird of spring!

    Mother she'd raised the winder some;
    And in acrost the orchard come,
      Soft as an angel's wing,
    A breezy, treesy, beesy hum,
      Too sweet fer anything!

    The winter's shroud was rent apart--
      The sun burst forth in glee--
    And when _that bluebird_ sung, my heart
      Hopped out o' bed with me!

                                        --_Riley._



  [Illustration: FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 SWIFT FOX.
                 1/4 Life-size.
                 COPYRIGHT 1899,
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]

THE KIT FOX.

C. C. M.


One of the smallest of the foxes is the kit fox (_Vulpes velox_),
sometimes called the swift fox and also the burrowing fox, getting
the latter name for the ability and rapidity with which it digs the
holes in the ground in which it lives. It is an inhabitant of the
northwestern states and of the western Canadian provinces, covering the
region from southeastern Nebraska northwest to British Columbia. Its
length is about twenty inches, exclusive of the tail, which is about
twelve inches long. The overhair is fine, the back is a pure gray, the
sides yellow, and the under parts white. The ears are small and covered
with hair and the soles are also hairy. The kit fox is much smaller in
size than either the gray or red fox, but has proportionately longer
limbs than either of them.

Reynard, of all animals, in spite of the fact that he is accepted as
the emblem of cunning, slyness, deceit, and mischief, is praised by
proverb and tradition, and the greatest of German poets, Goethe, made
him the subject of an epic. Pechuel-Loesche says:

"The fox of tradition and poetry and the fox in real life are really
two very different animals. Whoever observes him with an unprejudiced
mind fails to discover any extraordinary degree of that much-praised
presence of mind, cleverness, cunning, and practical sense, or even an
unusually keen development of the senses. In my opinion he is by no
means superior in his endowments to other beasts of prey, especially
the wolf. The most that can be truly said in his praise is to admit
that, when he is pursued, he knows how to adapt himself to the
surrounding circumstances, but scarcely more so than other sagacious
animals. Like many other animals, including the harmless species, some
old foxes may have their wits unusually sharpened by experience, but
every huntsman who has had much to do with foxes will admit that there
are a great many which are not ingenious, and some which may even be
called stupid, and this refers not only to young, inexperienced foxes,
but also to many old ones. The fox is a rascal and knows his trade,
because he has to make a living somehow. He is impudent, but only when
driven by hunger or when he has to provide for his little family; and
in bad plights he shows neither presence of mind nor deliberation, but
loses his head completely. He is caught in clumsy traps, and this even
repeatedly. In the open country he allows a sled to approach him within
gunshot; he permits himself to be surrounded in a hunt in spite of the
noise and shots, instead of wisely taking to his heels; in short, this
animal, which is more relentlessly pursued than any other inhabitant of
the woods, still has not learned to see through all the tricks of men
and shape his actions accordingly."

All of which may be literally true, nevertheless Reynard is the hero of
a hundred stories and pictures and he will continue to be regarded as a
remarkably clever and interesting animal.

The coat of the fox corresponds closely to his surroundings. Those
species living on plains and deserts show the similarity of their color
with that of the ground; the southern fox differs considerably from the
northern and the fox of the mountains from that of the plains.

The fox usually selects his home in deep hollows, between rocks covered
with branches, or between roots of trees. Whenever he can avoid doing
so he does not dig a burrow himself, but establishes himself in some
old, deserted badger's hole, or shares it with the badger in spite
of the latter's objections. If it is possible, the fox excavates
his burrows in mountain walls, so that the conduits lead upwards,
without running close to the surface. In his prowlings he regards his
security as paramount to every other consideration, according to
fox hunters. He is suspicious, and only the pangs of hunger can goad
him into reckless actions. Then he becomes bold. Once a fox, which
was being hunted by hounds and had twice heard the shot whizzing by,
seized a sick hare in his flight and carried it with him a considerable
distance. Another was surrounded in a field; he came out, attacked a
wounded hare, killed it before the eyes of the huntsmen, rapidly buried
it in the snow, and then fled directly through the line formed by the
sportsmen.

Litters of young foxes are born about the end of April or the beginning
of May. Their number varies between three and twelve.

Lenz had a tame female fox which he received just as she was beginning
to eat solid food, but had already become so vicious and so much
addicted to biting that she always growled when eating her favorite
food and bit right and left into straw and wood, even when nobody was
disturbing her. Kind treatment soon made her so tame that she would
allow him to take a freshly-killed rabbit out of her bloody mouth and
insert his fingers instead. Even when grown up she liked to play with
him, was demonstrative in her joy when he visited her, wagged her
tail, whined, and jumped around. She was just as much pleased to see a
stranger, and she distinguished strangers at a distance of fifty paces,
when they were turning the corner of the house, and with loud cries
would invite them to come up to her, an honor which she never accorded
either to him or his brother, who usually fed her, probably because she
knew they would do so anyway.

Reynard has been known to attack and kill young calves and lambs, and
if the seashore is near will revel in oysters and shellfish. A group
of rabbits are feeding in a clover-patch. He'll crawl along, nibbling
the juicy flowers until near enough to make a grab. He'll stalk a bird,
with his hind legs dragging behind him, until near enough to spring.
How farmers dread his inroads in the poultry yard! Fasten the yard up
tight and he will burrow a winding passage into the ground beneath
and suddenly appear among the drowsy chickens and stupid geese, whose
shrill and alarmed cries arouse the farmer from his bed to sally forth,
finding all safe. Then the fox will sneak back and pack away with the
plumpest pullet or the fattest goose.



AMONG ANIMALS.


The deer really weeps, its eyes being provided with lachrymal glands.

Ants have brains larger in proportion to the size of their bodies than
any other living creature.

There are three varieties of the dog that never bark--the Australian
dog, the Egyptian shepherd dog and the "lion-headed" dog of Tibet.

The insect known as the water boatman has a regular pair of oars, his
legs being used as such. He swims on his back, as in this position
there is less resistance to his progress.

Seventeen parcels of ants' eggs from Russia, weighing 550 pounds, were
sold in Berlin recently for 20 cents a pound.

The peacock is now kept entirely, it would seem, for ornament--for
the ornament of garden terraces (among old-fashioned and trim-kept
yew hedges he is specially in place)--in his living state, and for
various æsthetic uses to which his brilliant plumage and hundred-eyed
tailfeathers are put when he is dead or moulting. But we seldom eat him
now, though he used to figure with the boar's head, the swan and the
baron of beef on those boards which were beloved by our forefathers,
more valiant trenchermen than ourselves. Yet young peahen is uncommonly
good eating, even now, at the end of the nineteenth century, and in the
craze that some people have for new birds--Argus pheasants, Reeve's
pheasants, golden pheasants and what not--to stock their coverts, it is
a wonder that some one has not tried a sprinkling of peacocks.



SPRING FASHIONS.

ELLA GILBERT IVES.


Even in birddom some of the styles come from Paris, where the _rouge
gorge_ smartens up his red waistcoat as regularly as the spring comes
round. Our staid American robin tries to follow suit, though he never
can equal his old-world models. Even the English redbreast excels him
in beauty and song. I must tell the truth, as an honest reporter,
though I am not a bit English, and would not exchange our _Merula
migratoria_ for a nightingale; for beauty is but feather-deep, and when
our robin shines up his yellow bill--a spring fashion of his own--the
song that comes from it is dearer than the pot of gold at the end of
the rainbow. That little relative of his whom our forefathers called
the "blue robin," has the same rufous color in his waistcoat, though
it stops so short it always seems as if the stuff must have given out.
No Parisian or London dandy set the style for his lovely coat. If ever
a fashion came down from heaven, that did; and it came to the fresh,
new world and stopped here. No blue-coats perch on the rails in old
England; perhaps because there is never clear sky enough to spare for a
bird's back. We have so much on this continent, that half a dozen birds
dress in the celestial hue; some of them, like the jay, all the year
round.

But indigo bunting, whose summer coat and vest seem interwoven of blue
sky and a thunder cloud, and then dipped in a sea-wave of foamy green,
is not so lavish of his beauty. His plain wife and children, who dress
almost like common sparrows, have only shreds and patches of blue in
their attire, and indigo _pater_ puts on the same dull shade for his
winter overcoat. But in spring, what a spruce old beau he is!--and
how he does like to show off in the tasseled oaks! So beautiful is
his changeable silk that one half suspects him of borrowing from the
peacock's wardrobe. A grain of that lordly fowl's disposition may have
mixed with the dye; for if there is a pointed spruce tree near, indigo
is sure to perch on the tip-top and sing until you look at him. Still,
he loves beauty for beauty's sake, and is not really vain like the
tanager.

That gorgeous bird actually sings, "_Here pretty, pretty here!_" with
variations, as if all loveliness focused in his feathers. He arrives
just when the tender young foliage of May will half veil his vivid
scarlet coat; and as it is less dependent on light than the indigo's,
he does not affect tree-tops, but perches under a spray of golden
oak leaves or the delicate green of an elm, and shines like a live
coal in a bed of leaves. If he were a British trooper he could not be
more resplendent in scarlet and black. Tanager is uniformed first for
conquest, then for guard duty. He wears his bright trappings during
courting and nesting time, and the rest of the year doffs his scarlet
and wears olive-green like that of his modest mate. He still carries
black wings and tail, however, to mark his sex.

So does gay little goldfinch, bird of winsome ways and a happy heart.
He, too, dresses up for courting; and how do you think he does it? All
winter long he has worn an olive-brown coat, as subdued as any finch's
needs to be; but when the willows begin to hint at the fashionable
spring color, and the spice bush breathes its name, and the dandelions
print the news on the grass and the forsythia emblazons it on every
lawn, and the sunset sky is a great bulletin board to announce it--then
this dainty bird peels off his dull winter overcoat, each tiny feather
dropping a tip, and lo! underneath a garb that a Chinese Chang might
covet. To match his wings and tail, he puts on a black cap, and then
you never saw a more perfect "glass of fashion and mold of form"--at
least that is Mme. Goldfinch's opinion.

"_No dis-pu-ting a-bout tastes!_" chirps chipping sparrow. He prefers
a dress of sober tints and thinks nothing so durable as gray and
black and brown. Though not a slave to fashion, he does freshen up a
bit in the spring and puts on a new cap of chestnut, not to be too
old fogyish. But he believes in wearing courting clothes all the year
round. Young chippies put on striped bibs until they are out of the
nursery, but the old folks like a plain shirt front.

No such notion has the barn-swallow. He believes in family equality,
even in the matter of clothes; and having been born in a pretty and
becoming suit, wears it all the time. When the cinquefoil fingers the
grass, you may look for his swallow-tailed coat in the air; and if
the April sun strikes its steel-blue broadcloth, and discloses the
bright chestnut muffler and the pale-tinted vest, you will rejoice that
old fashions prevail in swallow-land. These swift-flying birds have
something higher to think about than changing their clothes.

It seems otherwise with some birds of the meadow. That gay dandy,
the bobolink, for instance, lays himself out to make a sensation in
the breast of his fair one. When he started on his southern trip
last autumn, he wore a traveling-suit of buff and brown, not unlike
Mistress Bobolink's and the little Links'. No doubt he knew the danger
lurking in the reeds of Pennsylvania and the rice-fields of Carolina,
and hoped to escape observation while fattening there. In the spring,
if fortunate enough to have escaped the gunner, he flies back to his
northern home, "dressed to kill," in human phrase, happily not, in bird
language. Robert o'Lincoln is a funny fellow disguised as a bishop.
Richard Steele, the rollicking horse-guardsman, posing as a Christian
hero, is a human parallel. With a black vest buttoned to the throat, a
black cap and choker, bobolink's front is as solemn as the end-man's at
a minstrel show. But what a coat! Buff, white and black in eccentric
combination; and at the nape of the neck, a yellow posy, that deepens
with the buttercups and fades almost as soon. Bobby is original, but
he conforms to taste, and introduces no discordant color-tone into his
field of buttercups and clover. In his ecstatic flight he seems to
have caught a field flower on his back; and if a golden-hearted daisy
were to speak, surely it would be in such a joyous tongue.

A red, red rose never blooms in a clover meadow, and the grosbeak
does not go there for his chief spring adornment. Red roses do bloom
all the year, though none so lovely as the rose of June; and so the
grosbeak wears his distinctive flower at his throat the round year, but
it is loveliest in early summer. I do not know a prettier fashion--do
you?--for human kind or bird, than a flower over the heart. I fancy
that a voice is sweeter when a breast is thus adorned. If ever the rich
passion of a red, red rose finds expression, it is in the caressing,
exultant love-song of the rose-breasted grosbeak. The one who inspires
it looks like an overgrown sparrow; but grosbeak knows the difference,
if you do not. If that wise parent should ever be in doubt as to his
own son, who always favors the mother at the start, he has but to lift
up the youngster's wings, and the rose-red lining will show at once
that he is no common sparrow.

That pretty fashion of a contrast in linings is not confined to the
grosbeak. The flicker, too, has his wings delicately lined with--a
scrap of sunset sky. I do not know whether he found his material there
or lower down in a marsh of marigolds; but when he flies over your
head into the elm tree and plies his trade, you will see that he is
fitly named, golden-winged woodpecker. He makes no fuss over his spring
clothes. A fresh red tie, which, oddly enough, he wears on the back of
his neck, a retinting of his bright lining, a new gloss on his spotted
vest and striped coat, and his toilet is made. Madame Flicker is so
like her spouse that you would be puzzled to tell them apart, but for
his black mustache.

The flicker fashion of dressing alike may come from advanced notions
of equality; whatever its source, the purple finch is of another mind.
He sacrifices much, almost his own identity, to love of variety; and
yet he is never purple. His name simply perpetuates a blunder for which
no excuse can be offered. Pokeberry is his prevailing hue, but so
variously is it intermingled with brown at different times and seasons
and ages, that scarcely two finches look alike. The mother-bird wears
the protective colors of the sparrow, while young males seem to be
of doubtful mind which parent to copy; and so a purple finch family
presents diversity of attire puzzling to a novice.

But why, pray, should a bird family wear a uniform, as if a charity
school or a foundling hospital? The gay little warblers are not
institutional to that degree. An example of their originality is
redstart--another misnamed bird. He wears the colors of Princeton
College, or rather, the college wears his; and a lordly male privilege
it is, in both cases. His mate contents herself with pale yellow and
gray, while the young male waits three years before putting on his
father's coat. The first year he wears his mother's dress; the second,
a motley betwixt and between; the third, he is a tree "_candelita_,"
or little torch, lighting up his winter home in a Cuban forest, and
bringing Spanish fashions to New England with the May blossoms.

      When dame nature in the spring
      For her annual opening
    Has her doors and windows washed by April showers;
      When the sun has turned the key,
      And the loosened buds are free
    To come out and pile the shelving rocks with flowers;

      When the maple wreathes her head
      With a posy-garland red,
    And the grass-blade sticks a feather in his cap;
      When the tassels trim the birch,
      And the oak-tree in the lurch
    Hurries up to get some fringes for his wrap;

      When the willow's yellow sheen
      And the meadow's emerald green
    Are the fashionable colors of the day;
      When the bank its pledges old
      Pays in dandelion gold,
    And horse-chestnut folds its baby hands to pray--

      Then from Cuba and the isles
      Where a tropic sun beguiles,
    And from lands beyond the Caribbean sea,
      Every dainty warbler flocks
      With a tiny music-box
    And a trunk of pretty feathers duty-free.

      And in colors manifold,
      Orange, scarlet, blue, and gold,
    Green and yellow, black, and brown and grays galore,
      They will thread the forest aisles
      With the very latest styles,
    And a tune apiece to open up the score.

      But they do not care to part
      With their decorative art,
    Which must always have the background of a tree;
      And will surely bring a curse
      To a grasping mind or purse,
    Since God loves the birds as well as you and me.



BIRDS THAT DO NOT SING.


Singing is applied to birds in the same sense that it is to human
beings--the utterance of musical notes. Every person makes vocal sounds
of some kind, but many persons never attempt to sing. So it is with
birds. The eagle screams, the owl hoots, the wild goose honks, the crow
caws, but none of these discordant sounds can be called singing.

With the poet, the singing of birds means merry, light-hearted
joyousness, and most of us are poetic enough to view it in the same
way. Birds sing most in the spring and the early summer, those happiest
seasons of the year, while employed in nest-building and in rearing
their young. Many of our musical singers are silent all the rest of the
year; at least they utter only low chirpings.

Outside of what are properly classed as song birds there are many
species that never pretend to sing; in fact, these far outnumber the
musicians. They include the water birds of every kind, both swimmers
and waders; all the birds of prey, eagles, hawks, owls, and vultures;
and all the gallinaceous tribes, comprising pheasants, partridges,
turkeys, and chickens. The gobble of the turkey cock, the defiant crow
of the "bob-white," are none of them true singing; yet it is quite
probable that all of these sounds are uttered with precisely similar
motives to those that inspire the sweet warbling of the song-sparrow,
the clear whistle of the robin, or the thrilling music of the
wood-thrush.--_Philadelphia Times._



  [Illustration: CHICAGO COLORTYPE CO., CHIC. & NEW YORK.
                 HYACINTH.
                 Life-size
                 COPYRIGHT 1899,
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]

THE HYACINTH.

    I sometimes think that never blows so red
    The rose as where some buried Cæsar bled;
    That every hyacinth the garden wears
    Dropt in her lap from some once lovely head.

                                        --_Omar Khayyam._


Hyacinth, also called Jacinth, is said to be "supreme amongst the
flowers of spring." It was in cultivation before 1597, and is therefore
not a new favorite. Gerard, at the above date, records the existence
of six varieties. Rea, in 1676, mentions several single and double
varieties as being then in English gardens, and Justice, in 1754,
describes upwards of fifty single-flowered varieties, and nearly one
hundred double-flowered ones, as a selection of the best from the
catalogues of two then celebrated Dutch growers. One of the Dutch
sorts, called _La Reine de Femmes_, is said to have produced from
thirty-four to thirty-eight flowers in a spike, and on its first
appearance to have sold for fifty guilders a bulb. Others sold for
even larger sums. Justice relates that he himself raised several very
valuable double-flowered kinds from seeds, which many of the sorts he
describes are noted for producing freely.

It is said that the original of the cultivated hyacinth (_Hyacinthus
orientalis_) is by comparison an insignificant plant, bearing on a
spike only a few small, narrow-lobed, wash, blue flowers. So great has
been the improvement effected by the florists that the modern hyacinth
would hardly be recognized as the descendant of the type above referred
to, the spikes being long and dense, composed of a large number of
flowers; the spikes not infrequently measure six or seven inches in
length and from seven to nine inches in circumference, with the flowers
closely set on from bottom to top. Of late years much improvement has
been effected in the size of the individual flowers and the breadth
of their recurving lobes, as well as in securing increased brilliancy
and depth of color. The names of hyacinths are now almost legion, and
of all colors, carmine red, dark blue, lilac-pink, bluish white,
indigo-blue, silvery-pink, rose, yellow, snow-white, azure-blue. The
bulbs of the hyacinths are said to be as near perfection as can be;
and if set early in well-prepared soil, free from all hard substances,
given plenty of room, and mulched with leaves and trash, which should
be removed in the spring, they will be even more beautiful than any
description can indicate. When potted for winter bloom in the house,
good soil, drainage, and space must be given to them and they must
be kept moist and cool, as well as in the dark while forming roots
preparatory to blooming. After they are ready to bloom they do best in
rooms having a southern exposure, as they will need only the warmth of
the sunlight to perfect them. The hyacinth does not tolerate gas and
artificial heat.

There is a pretty legend connected with the hyacinth. Hyacinthus was
a mythological figure associated with the hyacinthia, a festival
celebrated by the Spartans in honor of Apollo of Amyclæ, whose
primitive image, standing on a throne, is described by Pausanias. The
legend is to the effect that Hyacinthus, a beautiful youth beloved by
the god, was accidentally killed by him with a discus. From his blood
sprang a dark-colored flower called after him hyacinth, on whose petals
is the word "alas." The myth is one of the many popular representations
of the beautiful spring vegetation slain by the hot sun of summer. The
sister of Hyacinthus is Polyboca, the much-nourishing fertility of the
rich Amyclæan valley; while his brother is Cynortas, the rising of the
dog (the hot) star. But with the death of the spring is united the idea
of its certain resuscitation in a new year. The festival took place
on the three hottest days of summer, and its rites were a mixture of
mourning and rejoicing.

                                        C. C. M.



A QUARREL BETWEEN JENNY WREN AND THE FLYCATCHERS.

C. L. GRUBER,

State Normal School, Kutztown, Pa.


For a number of years a crested flycatcher has built his nest in a
hole in an apple tree in my yard, about twenty feet from a house
constructed for the habitation of the wrens. Jenny usually showed no
animosity toward her neighbor; but one spring, while nest-building was
in progress, she suddenly seemed to have decided that the flycatcher's
abode was in too close proximity to her own domicile and deliberately
invaded the flycatcher's domains and dumped the materials of his nest
on the walk beneath the tree. When the flycatcher returned the air was
filled with his protests, while the wren saucily and defiantly answered
him from the roof of her own dwelling. The flycatcher immediately
proceeded to build anew, but before he had fairly commenced, the
pugnacious wren made another raid and despoiled his nest again. This
happened a third time; then the flycatcher and his mate took turns
in watching and building. While one went out in search of building
material the other remained on guard just inside the door. The
situation now became exceedingly interesting, and at times ludicrous.
Jenny Wren is a born fighter, and can whip most birds twice her size,
but she seemed to consider the flycatcher more than a match for her.
The first few times after the flycatcher made it his business to stay
on guard, the wren would fly boldly to the opening, but would flee
just as precipitately on the appearance of the enemy from the inside.
After each retreat there was a great deal of threatening, scolding,
and parleying, and Jenny several times seemed fairly beside herself
with rage, while the flycatcher coolly whistled his challenge on the
other side of the line of neutrality. The wren now adopted different
strategy. She flew to the tree from a point where the flycatcher could
not see her, then hurried along the limb in which the flycatcher lay
concealed and circled around the hole, all the time endeavoring to take
a peep on the inside without herself being observed, in the vain hope
that her enemy might not be at home. Suddenly there would be a flutter
of wings and a brown streak through the air, followed by another as the
flycatcher, shot like a bullet from the opening in the tree; but the
active marauder was safely hidden amid the grapevines, and the baffled
flycatcher returned to his picket line, hurling back epithets and
telling Jenny that he would surely catch her next time. In this manner
the strife continued for several days. Then a truce seemed to have been
arranged. Certainly the flycatcher was still on guard, but the wrens
went about their work and did not molest the flycatchers except at long
intervals. I thought the flycatchers had conquered; but one morning
when I came out, there on the walk were three broken, brown-penciled
eggs, nest, snakeskin, and all. The flycatcher had put too much trust
in the wren's unconcernedness, and came back to find himself once more
without a nest. But Jenny seemed to have desired only one more stroke
of revenge, and the flycatchers finally succeeded in raising their
family in front of the home of Jenny Wren.



  +----------------------------------------------------------------- +
  | 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.            |
  |                                                                  |
  | Mid-paragraph illustrations have been moved between paragraphs   |
  | and some illustrations have been moved closer to the text that   |
  | references them.                                                 |
  |                                                                  |
  | Italicized words are surrounded by underline characters,         |
  | _like this_.                                                     |
  |                                                                  |
  | The Contents table was added by the transcriber.                 |
  |                                                                  |
  | The chapter on "An Abandonned Home" is continued in              |
  | Vol. V., No. 5, page 198.                                        |
  +------------------------------------------------------------------+





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