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Title: Birds and All Nature Vol VII, No. 1, January 1900 - Illustrated by Color Photography
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Birds and All Nature Vol VII, No. 1, January 1900 - Illustrated by Color Photography" ***

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  Birds and all Nature







  JANUARY, 1900, TO MAY, 1900


  203 Michigan Ave.




  VOL. VII.         JANUARY, 1900.           NO. 1


  JANUARY.                                                1
  OLD YEAR AND YOUNG YEAR.                                1
  THE VIRGINIA RAIL.                                      2
  COTTON FABRICS.                                         5
  THE WISE LITTLE BIRD.                                   7
  THE GRASSHOPPER SPIDER.                                 8
  THE BLUE-WINGED TEAL.                                  11
  THE GRAY STUMP.                                        12
  REMEMBERED SONGS.                                      13
  THE YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD.                           14
  THE YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD.                           17
  WITH OPEN EYES.                                        17
  BIRD NOTES.                                            19
  SOUTHWARD BOUND.                                       20
  THE BLACK SQUIRREL.                                    23
  THE ROBIN'S MISTAKE.                                   24
  THE DOVE. NOAH'S MESSENGER.                            25
  THE WEASEL.                                            26
  BIRDS AND THE WEATHER.                                 29
  STRANGE ILLUMINATIONS.                                 30
  THE PINK HOUSE IN THE APPLE TREE.                      31
  THE QUINCE.                                            35
  THE YOUNG NATURALIST.                                  36
  LIQUID AIR.                                            37
  COMMON MINERALS AND VALUABLE ORES.                     38
  THE AMERICAN BISON.                                    42
  THE TURTLE DOVE.                                       44
  THE SORROWFUL TREE.                                    44
  MARKED WITH BLEEDING HEARTS.                           44
  THE LILY OF THE VALLEY.                                47
  MUSHROOMS ON BENCHES.                                  48


    Then came old January, wrapped well
    In many weeds to keep the cold away;
    Yet did he quake and quiver like to quell,
    And blow his nayles to warm them if he may;
    For they were numb'd with holding all the day
    An hatchet keene, with which he felled wood,
    And from the trees did lop the needlesse spray;
    Upon a huge great earth-pot steane he stood,
    From whose wide mouth there flowed forth the Romane flood.

    Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
    Arrives the snow; and, driving o'er the fields,
    Seems nowhere to alight; the whited air
    Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
    And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
    The sled and traveler stopp'd, the courier's feet
    Delay'd, all friends shut out, the house-mates sit
    Around the radiant fire-place, inclosed
    In a tumultuous privacy of storm.



    Said the year that was old:
    "I am cold, I am cold,
    And my breath hurries fast
    On the wild winter blast
    Of this thankless December;
    Ah, who will remember
    As I, shivering, go,
    The warmth and the glow
    That arose like a flame
    When I came, when I came?
    For I brought in my hands,
    From Utopian lands,
    Golden gifts, and the schemes
    That were fairer than dreams.
    Ah, never a king
    Of a twelvemonth, will bring
    Such a splendor of treasure
    Without stint or measure,
    As I brought on that day,
    Triumphant and gay.
    But, alas, and alas,
    Who will think as I pass,
    I was once gay and bold?"
    Said the year that was old.


    Said the year that was young--
    And his light laughter rung--
    "Come, bid me good cheer,
    For I bring with me here
    Such gifts as the earth
    Never saw till my birth;
    All the largess of life,
    Right royally rife
    With the plans and the schemes
    Of the world's highest dreams.
    Then--hope's chalice filled up
    To the brim of the cup,
    Let us drink to the past,
    The poor pitiful past,"
    Sang the year that was young,
    While his light laughter rung.
                                        --_Nora Perry._


(_Rallus virginianus._)

This miniature of _Rallus elegans_ or king rail, is found throughout
the whole of temperate North America as far as the British Provinces,
south to Guatemala and Cuba, and winters almost to the northern limit
of its range. A specimen was sent by Major Bendire to the National
Museum from Walla Walla, Wash., which was taken Jan. 16, 1879, when
the snow was more than a foot deep. Other names of the species are:
Lesser clapper rail, little red rail, and fresh-water mud hen. The male
and female are like small king rails, are streaked with dark-brown and
yellowish olive above, have reddish chestnut wing coverts, are plain
brown on top of head and back of neck, have a white eyebrow, white
throat, breast and sides bright rufous; the flanks, wing linings and
under tail coverts are broadly barred with dark brown and white; eyes

The name of this rail is not as appropriate to-day as it was when
Virginia included nearly all of the territory east of the Mississippi.
It is not a local bird, but nests from New York, Ohio, and Illinois
northward. Short of wing, with a feeble, fluttering flight when flushed
from the marsh, into which it quickly drops again, as if incapable of
going farther, it is said this small bird can nevertheless migrate
immense distances. One small straggler from a flock going southward,
according to Neltje Blanchan, fell exhausted on the deck of a vessel
off the Long Island coast nearly a hundred miles at sea.

The rail frequents marshes and boggy swamps. The nest is built
in a tuft of weeds or grasses close to the water, is compact and
slightly hollowed. The eggs are cream or buff, sparsely spotted with
reddish-brown and obscure lilac, from 1.20 to 1.28 inches long to .90
to .93 broad. The number in a set varies from six to twelve. The eggs
are hatched in June.

The Virginia rail is almost exclusively a fresh-water bird. It is not
averse to salt water, but even near the sea it is likely to find out
those spots in the bay where fresh-water springs bubble up rather than
the brackish. These springs particularly abound in Hempstead and Great
South Bay on the south coast of Long Island. Brewster says the voice of
the Virginia rail, when heard at a distance of only a few yards, has a
vibrating, almost unearthly quality, and seems to issue from the ground
directly beneath the feet. The female, when anxious about her eggs or
young, calls _ki ki-ki_ in low tones and _kiu_, much like a flicker.
The young of both sexes in autumn give, when startled, a short,
explosive _kep_ or _kik_, closely similar to that of the Carolina rail.

There is said to be more of individual variation in this species than
in any of the larger, scarcely two examples being closely alike. The
chin and throat may be distinctly white, or the cinnamon may extend
forward entirely to the bill. This species is found in almost any place
where it can find suitable food. Nelson says: "I have often flushed
it in thickets when looking for woodcock, as well as from the midst
of large marshes. It arrives the first of May and departs in October;
nests along the borders of prairie sloughs and marshes, depositing from
eight to fourteen eggs. The nest may often be discovered at a distance
by the appearance of the surrounding grass, the blades of which are in
many cases interwoven over the nest, apparently to shield the bird from
the fierce rays of the sun, which are felt with redoubled force on the
marshes. The nests are sometimes built on a solitary tussock of grass,
growing in the water, but not often. The usual position is in the soft,
dense grass growing close to the edge of the slough, and rarely in
grass over eight inches high. The nest is a thick, matted platform of
marsh grasses, with a medium-sized depression for the eggs."

Some of the rails have such poor wings that it has been believed by
some unthinking people that they turn to frogs in the fall instead
of migrating--a theory parallel with that which formerly held that
swallows hibernate in the mud of shallow ponds.

  [Illustration: VIRGINIA RAIL.
                 5/8 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. KAEMPFER.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]


W. E. WATT, A.M.

It is a remarkable thing in the history of the United States that,
when the iron shackles were about to fall from the bondman, he was
caught by a cotton fiber and held for nearly a century longer. We were
about to emancipate the slaves a century ago when Eli Whitney invented
the cotton gin, multiplied cotton production by two hundred, and made
slavery profitable throughout the South. The South Carolina legislature
gave Whitney $50,000 and cotton became king and controlled our commerce
and politics.

Eight bags of cotton went out of Charleston for Liverpool in 1784. Now
about six million bales go annually, and we keep three million bales
for our own use. So two-thirds of our cotton goes to England. The
cotton we ship sells for more than all our flour. Cotton is still king.

In our civil war we came very near being thrown into conflict with
England by an entanglement of the same fiber which caught the black
man. One of the greatest industries of England in 1861-5 was cotton
manufacture, and when we, by our blockade system, closed the southern
ports so cotton could not be carried out, we nearly shut down all the
works in that country where cotton was made up. That meant hard times
to many towns and suffering to many families. That is why so many
Englishmen said we ought to be satisfied to cut our country in two and
let the people of the Confederacy have their way.

Cotton is a world-wide product. It grows in all warm countries
everywhere, sometimes as a tree and sometimes as a shrub. It is usually
spoken of as a plant. There was cotton grown in Chicago last year. Not
in a hot house, but in a back yard with very little attention. A little
girl got some seed, planted it, and had some fine bolls in the fall. It
is a pretty plant, and was cultivated in China nearly a thousand years
ago as a garden plant.

Herodotus tells us that the clothing worn by the men in Xerxes'
army was made of cotton. Their cotton goods attracted wide attention
wherever they marched. Columbus found the natives of the West Indies
clothed in cotton. Cotton goods is not only wide spread, but very
ancient. Cloth was made from this plant in China twenty-one hundred
years ago. At the coronation of the emperor, 502 A.D., the robe of
state which he wore was made of cotton, and all China wondered at the
glory of his apparel.

More capital is used and more labor employed in the manufacture and
distribution of cotton than of any other manufactured product. There is
one industry in Chicago which out-ranks cotton. It is the live-stock
business. More money is spent for meat and live-stock products than for
cotton, taking the whole country together. But cotton ranks first as a

We spend more for meat than for cotton goods, and more for cotton goods
than for wheat and flour. The hog and cotton seed have a peculiar
commercial relation to each other. The oils produced from them are so
nearly alike that lard makers use cotton seed oil to cheapen their
output. A large part of what is sold as pure leaf lard comes from the
cotton plant.

A hundred years ago a good spinner used to make four miles of thread
in a day. This was cut into eight skeins. Now one man can do the work
of a thousand spinners because of machinery. One gin does to-day
what it took a thousand workers to do then. Five men are employed in
the running of one gin, so the gin alone makes one man equal to two
hundred. Because one workman cleans two hundred times as much cotton
since Whitney's time as before, cotton-raising has become a broad
industry. The reason more cotton was not raised in the olden times is
that it could not be used. Now we can use as much cotton as we can
possibly raise.

At first there was strong opposition to these improvements in
machinery because the workmen felt their occupation would be taken
away. But the cotton workers are to be congratulated, for there are
four times as many men working in the cotton industries as there were a
hundred years ago, and yarn thread is produced at less than one-tenth
the cost while the workmen are all better paid for their labor.

James Hargreaves invented the spinning jenny in 1767. He was an
illiterate man, and yet his machinery has not been materially improved
upon. The poor fellow was mobbed by the infuriated workmen who saw
that their labor was apparently to be taken from them by machinery. He
was nearly killed. He sold out his invention and died in poverty. He
received nothing from the government nor from the business world for
his great invention. But after his death his daughter received a bounty.

Two years after the jenny, in 1769, Richard Arkwright invented the
spinning frame. He was a barber by trade, but through the appreciation
of crazy old George III., he was struck upon the shoulder with a sword
and rose Sir Richard Arkwright. He amassed a great fortune from his
invention. His spinning frame and Hargreaves' spinning jenny each
needed the other to perfect its work. The jenny made yarn which was
not smooth and hard. So it was used only for woof, and could not be
stretched for warping. The result of the two inventions was a strong,
even thread which was better for all purposes than any which had been
made before.

Parliament imposed a fine of $2,500 for sending American cotton
cloth to England, and another for exporting machinery to America.
Massachusetts at once gave a bonus of $2,500, and afterwards $10,000 to
encourage the introduction of cotton machinery. Francis Cabot Lowell
was an American inventor. He brought the business of weaving cotton
cloth to this country. There had been some small attempts before his
time, but he introduced it extensively and profitably. He established
a cotton factory in Massachusetts in 1810, and was very successful.
In that year he was in England, dealing with makers of cotton goods.
The idea occurred to him that it would be more profitable to make the
goods on his side of the water where the cotton was raised. He acted
promptly. Lowell, Massachusetts, is named after him, and stands as a
monument to his good judgment and inventive genius.

Three years after he had established the manufacture of cotton goods in
this country, he invented the famous power loom. That was a great step
in advance. It has done more for the industry than anything since the
days of Hargreaves and Arkwright. By the use of power these looms set
the spindles running at a remarkable rate of speed. Twenty years ago
the world wondered at the velocity of our spindles, 5,000 revolutions
in one minute. But it has kept on wondering ever since, and the speed
of spindles has constantly increased as if there could be no limit.
15,000 revolutions are now common.

In Great Britain there are 45,000,000 spindles running at a wondrous
rate, and 17,000,000 are running in America. With cheaper labor and
more extended experience, they are doing more of it across the water
than we. For our consumption we make all the coarse grades, but all the
fine cottons are imported. They get large quantities of cotton now in
India. Egypt also is a great cotton country, producing the best cotton
grown with the one exception of our famous sea island cotton. Her crop
is worth $48,000,000 annually. England has hunted the world over for
cotton and good cotton ground, and while we were engaged in war she was
increasing her endeavors in this direction with much earnestness.

If you will notice the contents of a boll of cotton you will be
surprised to find that the fiber is not the main thing there. The seed
is far heavier than the fiber, and it really occupies more space when
the two are crowded into their closest possible limits. You can press
the cotton down upon the seed till the whole is but little larger than
the seed.

The fiber clings to the seed with great firmness, and you find it
difficult to tear them from each other. There is no wonder it was such
a slow process to separate them in the good old days. The Yankee, Eli
Whitney, went to Georgia to teach school, but by the time he arrived
there the school was taken by another, and he was out of employment.
That was a happy misfortune for him and for the country.

He was a nailer, a cane maker, and a worker in wood and metal. A Yankee
nailer cannot be idle in a strange land. The expression, "as busy as
a nailer," is a good one. Whitney looked about him to see what was
the popular demand in his line. He found the greatest difficulty the
southern people had to contend with was the separating of cotton from
its seed. He went at the business of inventing a machine to do the work
for them.

He placed a saw in a slit in a table so that cotton could be pushed
against its teeth as it revolved. The teeth caught into the fiber and
pulled it away from the seeds. As the seeds were too large to pass
through the slit in the table they flew away as the fiber let go its
hold upon them, and Whitney soon found he had solved the problem.

This is the first step in what may be called the manufacture of cotton
fabrics. In another article we shall examine all the various sorts of
textiles that are made from this interesting fiber, and speak of their
manufacture, treatment, sale, and use.

Under Whitney's gin the bulky seeds soon began to pile up
astonishingly, and it became customary to remove the gins as the piles
of this useless seed accumulated. It was left to rot upon the ground in
these heaps just as it fell from the gin. Another ingenious Yankee saw
there was a great deal of material going to waste in these piles, and
he experimented to see what could be done with the seed.

It was found to be very good for use on ground that had become poor by
exhaustive farming. An excellent fertilizer is made from it. The cake
is used for feed for cattle to great advantage. Dairymen regulate the
quality and color of the milk they get from their cows by varying the
amount of oil cake given in their food. The oil extracted from this
seed is used in the arts. It is not equal to linseed oil for painters'
use, but it is a great substance for use in mixing in with better oils
to make them go farther. In other words, it is largely used for the
purposes of adulterating other oils. Not only is it used in making
lard, but it is now sold on its own merits for cooking purposes.

Two days out of New York we sighted the black smoke of a great steamer.
At sea everybody is on the lookout for vessels and much interested in
the passengers that may be on the craft casually met. So we kept watch
of the horizon and were glad to see that a big one was coming our way.
She was headed so nearly towards us that we hoped to get a good view
of the many passengers that might be expected on so large a ship. When
she was near enough to show some of her side, she looked rusty and ill
kept. We wondered what the fare must be for a ride across the water
on such a cheap-looking monster. As she came nearer we saw there were
no passengers. "What is she?" "What does she carry?" The first mate
told us she was a tank steamer, running between the United States and
Belgium, carrying 4,200 tons of cotton-seed oil at a trip.


    A little cock sparrow sat on a limb
      And shivered and shook and whined;
    And his little mate went and sat by him
      And asked what was on his mind.

    "The snow comes down and the north wind blows,"
      The little cock sparrow said.
    "And the cold, cold world is so full of woes
      That I wish that I were dead."

    So his little mate chirped, "Come, fly with me,"
      And they left that frosty limb,
    And they fluttered about from tree to tree,
      And she gayly chattered to him.

    And the little cock sparrow forgot the snow
      And the chilling wind that blew,
    Nor thought again of his weight of woe;
      He had something else to do.



Out in the garden where the western sun flooded the nasturtiums along
the garden wall, a large yellow and black-bodied spider made his lair.
The driving rain of the night before had so torn and disarranged his
web that he had set about building himself a new one lower down.
Already he had spun and placed the spokes or bars of his gigantic web
and was now making the circles to complete his geometric diagram.

From his tail he exuded a white, sticky substance, which, when
stretched, instantly became dry. As he stepped from one spoke to
another he would spin out his web and, stretching the spoke towards
the preceding one, bring the fresh-spun web in contact with it and
then exude upon the jointure an atom of fresh web, which immediately
cemented the two parts, when the spoke settled back into place,
pulling the cross web straight and taut. The process of house-building
continued uninterruptedly, every movement of the spider producing some
result. No useless steps were taken, and as the work progressed the
uniformity of the work was simply amazing; every square, every cross
piece, was placed exactly in the same relative position as to distance,
etc. A micrometer seemingly would not have shown the deviation of
.000001 of an inch between any two of the squares.

When the web was three-fourths finished a lusty grasshopper went
blundering up against one of the yet uncovered spokes of the web and
escaped. The spider noticed this and visibly increased his efforts and
sped from spoke to spoke, trailing his never ending film of silky web
behind him. At last the trap was set and, hastening to the center, he
quickly covered the point with web after web, until he had a smooth,
solid floor with an opening that allowed the tenant to occupy either
side of the house at will. The spot was well selected, the hoppers in
the heat of the day finding the heavy shade of the broad nasturtium
leaves particularly grateful.

Our friend the spider had not long to wait for his breakfast, for
presto!--a great, brown-winged hopper flew right into the net. Before
he could, with his strong wings and powerful legs, tear the silken
gossamer asunder and free himself, like lightning our spider was upon
him. In the flash of an eye the grasshopper was actually enshrouded in
a sheet of white film of web, and with the utmost rapidity was rolled
over and over by the spider, which used its long legs with the utmost
dexterity. Wound in his graveyard suit of white silk, the grasshopper
became absolutely helpless. His broad wings and sinewy legs were now
useless. The spider retreated to the center of the web and watched the
throes of his prey. By much effort the hopper loosed one leg and was
bidding fair to kick the net to shreds when the spider made another
sally and, putting a fresh coating of sticky web around him, rolled him
over once or twice more and left him.

In a few moments, when all was over, the spider attacked his prey and
began his breakfast. Before his meal was well under way, a second
hopper flew into the parlor of the spider and, leaving his meal, the
agile creature soon had hopper number two securely and safely ensnared.
No experienced football tackle ever downed his opponent with any such
skill or celerity as the spider displayed as he rolled over and bundled
up into a helpless web-covered roll the foolish and careless hopper.

    "The spiders touch, how exquisitely fine!
    Feels at each thread, and lives along the line."

  [Illustration: BLUE WINGED TEAL.
                 1/2 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. NUSSBAUMER & SON.
                 A. W. MUMFORD. PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]


(_Anas discors._)

So many names have been applied to this duck that much confusion
exists in the minds of many as to which to distinguish it by. A few of
them are blue-winged; white-face, or white-faced teal; summer teal,
and _cerceta comun_ (Mexico.) It inhabits North America in general,
but chiefly the eastern provinces; north to Alaska, south in winter
throughout West Indies, Central America, and northern South America as
far as Ecuador. It is accidental in Europe.

The blue-winged teal is stated to be probably the most numerous of our
smaller ducks, and, though by far the larger number occur only during
the migrations, individuals may be found at all times of the year
under favorable circumstances of locality and weather. The bulk of the
species, says Ridgway, winters in the Gulf states and southward, while
the breeding-range is difficult to make out, owing to the fact that it
is not gregarious during the nesting-season, but occurs scatteringly in
isolated localities where it is most likely to escape observation.

The flight of this duck, according to "Water Birds of North America,"
is fully as swift as that of the passenger pigeon. "When advancing
against a stiff breeze it shows alternately its upper and lower
surface. During its flight it utters a soft, lisping note, which it
also emits when apprehensive of danger. It swims buoyantly, and when
in a flock so closely together that the individuals nearly touch
each other. In consequence of this habit hunters are able to make
a frightful havoc among these birds on their first appearance in
the fall, when they are easily approached. Audubon saw as many as
eighty-four killed by a single discharge of a double-barreled gun.

"It may readily be kept in confinement, soon becomes very docile, feeds
readily on coarse corn meal, and might easily be domesticated. Prof.
Kumlein, however, has made several unsuccessful attempts to raise this
duck by placing its eggs under a domestic hen. He informs me that this
species is the latest duck to arrive in the spring." It nests on the
ground among the reeds and coarse herbage, generally near the water,
but its nest has been met with at least half a mile from the nearest
water, though always on low land. The nest is merely an accumulation of
reeds and rushes lined in the middle with down and feathers. This duck
prefers the dryer marshes near streams. The nests are generally well
lined with down, and when the female leaves the nest she always covers
her eggs with down, and draws the grass, of which the outside of the
nest is composed, over the top. Prof. Kumlein does not think that she
ever lays more than twelve eggs. These are of a clear ivory white. They
range from 1.80 to 1.95 inches in length and 1.25 to 1.35 in breadth.

The male whistles and the female "quacks."

The food of the blue-wing is chiefly vegetable matter, and its flesh is
tender and excellent. It may be known by its small size, blue wings,
and narrow bill.

Mr. Fred Mather, for many years superintendent of the State Fish
Hatchery of Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, domesticated the
mallard and black duck, bred wood ducks, green and blue-winged teal,
pin-tails, and other wild fowl. He made a distinction between breeding
and domestication. He does not believe that blue-winged teal can be
domesticated as the mallard and black duck can, _i. e._, to be allowed
their liberty to go and come like domestic ducks.

The hind toe of this family of ducks is without a flap or lobe, and the
front of the foot is furnished with transverse scales, which are the
two features of these birds which have led scientists to separate them
into a distinct sub-family. They do not dive for their food, but nibble
at the aquatic plants they live among; or, with head immersed and
tail in air, "probe the bottom of shallow waters for small mollusks,
crustaceans, and roots of plants." The bill acts as a sieve.



"I beg your pardon, my dear," said Mr. Flicker, "but you are quite
mistaken. That is _not_ a tree stump."

"Excuse me," said Mrs. Flicker gently, "but I still believe it is."

Now if they had been the sparrows, or the robins, or the red-winged
blackbirds, they would have gone on chattering and contradicting until
they came to using claws and bills, and many feathers would have been
shed; but they were the quiet, well-bred Flickers, and so they stopped
just here, and once more critically regarded the object in question.

"Whoever heard of a stump, old and gray and moss-covered, appearing
in one night?" said Mr. Flicker, after a pause. "I have seen more of
the world than you have, my dear, and I do assure you it would take
centuries to make a stump like that." Let it be here recorded that in
this Mr. Flicker was perfectly correct.

"Well, then," reasoned Mrs. Flicker, "if it is not a stump, _what is

Mr. Flicker looked very wise. He turned his head first to one side
and then the other--flashing his beautiful scarlet crescent in the
sunlight. Then he sidled nearer to his wife and darting his head down
to her, whispered, "It is a _person_."

The timid Mrs. Flicker drew back into the nest in horror, and it was
some moments before she felt like putting her head out of the door
again. In the meantime she had quieted down to the thoughtful little
flicker she really was, and had gathered together her reasoning powers.
So out came the pretty fawn-colored head and again the argument began.

Though still quivering a little from the fright, Mrs. Flicker said,
in the firm tones of conviction, "No, Mr. Flicker, _that_ is not a
person. Persons move about with awkward motions. Persons make terrible
sounds with their bills. Persons have straight, ugly wings without
feathers--not made to fly with, but just to carry burdens instead
of carrying them in their bills. Persons wear colors that nature
disapproves. Persons point things at us that make a horrible sound and
sometimes kill. _Persons cannot keep still._ That is not a person."

Mr. Flicker was greatly impressed, and stood like a statue, gazing at
what his wife called a gray stump. She went back to ponder the matter
over her eggs.

The sprightly little warblers and goldfinches flashed in and out
through the bushes that grew thickly together on a small island
opposite Mr. Flicker's nest; the orioles called to one another in the
orchard back of him; the catbirds performed their ever-varying tricks
in the cherry tree near by; Mr. Water Wagtail came and splashed about
on the shore of the creek, and Mr. Kingfisher perched on a stump
in the water, watching for a dainty morsel, and still Mr. Flicker
sat regarding his new puzzle. He paid no attention to any of his
neighbors--but for that matter he seldom did, for the flickers are
aristocratic bird-folk, and mingle very little with their kind. But on
this day he was particularly oblivious, so greatly occupied was he with
the gray stump.

Once or twice he had detected a slight motion on the part of the stump;
a rustle, a change of position, a faint sign of life--just enough to
make his little bird-heart thump, but not enough to warrant flight in
so discreet a bird. But at last there began a quiet bending, bending of
the stump; it was very slow, but none the less certain, and Mr. Flicker
waited with throbbing heart, till he saw two large, round, glassy eyes
pointed full at him, then, with a quick note of warning for his little
wife, he rose in the air with a whirr, and the golden wings shimmered
away in the sunlight overhead.

Mrs. Flicker peeped cautiously forth, and, with her unerring bird
instinct, sought first of all the gray stump which, alas, was not quite
a stump after all, and was indeed the cause of the danger. She saw
the terrible instrument still pointed at her husband, and her heart
fluttered wildly; but there was no report, and she watched him till
she could only see the occasional flash of the gold-lined wings and
the white spot on his back; and then behold, the stump was once more a
stump, and Mrs. Flicker returned to her eggs.

When Mr. Flicker came back, he flew past his house without once
swerving, and disappeared in a pine tree on the edge of the orchard,
and a conclave of cedar waxwings in the next tree discussed his tactics
enthusiastically. The cedar waxwings were also interested in the gray
stump--but afraid of it? Oh no, not they! Care sits lightly on the
cedar waxwing's topknot, and he never takes his dangers seriously.

A series of deceiving and circuitous flights finally landed Mr. Flicker
at his own door, and he perched himself in his hiding-place of leaves
and watched the gray stump with an air of settled gloom.

However, a bird is a bird, even though it be a serious flicker, and
before many minutes he and his wife were chatting happily again. Mrs.
Flicker even asserted boldly that if _she_ had not her eggs to look
after, she would certainly investigate this thing; and then Mr. Flicker
began to preen his feathers as if in preparation for the undertaking,
but really to gain time and get up his courage, when, "Take care! Take
care!" came notes of warning from the catbirds; and the stump suddenly
lengthened itself like a telescope and walked away, with its two-eyed
instrument under its arm. Mr. and Mrs. Flicker watched it gather a
spray of late apple blossoms, saw it climb the fence and disappear down
the road.

"I beg your pardon," said polite little Mrs. Flicker to her husband.
"I was wrong; it is not a stump. But," she added coaxingly, "it really
is more like a stump than a person, now isn't it? And I should not be
afraid of it again."

       *       *       *       *       *

When Miss Melissa Moore, school teacher, returned to Manhattan after
her summer vacation, she confided to a fellow-teacher that she had
made seventy new acquaintances, and that she loved them all. Now Miss
Melissa Moore, in her wildest dreams, never thought of herself as
being beautiful, being a plain, honest person; she even knew that her
bird-hunting costume--the short gray skirt and gray flannel shirt-waist
and gray felt hat, whose brim hung disconsolately over her glasses,
with no color at all to brighten her--was _not_ becoming, but if she
had dreamed that Mrs. Flicker had called her an old gray moss-covered
stump, she would, being only human, have cut her once and forever, and
her list of new acquaintances would have numbered sixty-nine.


    I walked an autumn lane, and ne'er a tune
      Besieged mine ear from hedge or ground or tree;
      The summer minstrels all had fared from me
    Far southward, since the snows must flock so soon.
    And yet the air seemed vibrant with the croon
      Of unseen birds and words of May-tide glee;
      The very silence was a melody
    Sown thick with memoried cadences of June.
    Shall we not hold that when our little day
      Is done, and we are of men no more,
      We still live on in some such subtle way,
    To make some silence vocal by some shore
      Of Recollection, or to only play
    Soft songs on hearts that loved us long before?
                                        --_Richard Burton._


(_Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus._)

The geographical distribution of this member of the blackbird family
is western North America to the Pacific Ocean, east to Wisconsin,
Illinois, Kansas, and Texas. The bird is accidental in the Atlantic
states. It is found generally distributed on the prairies in all
favorable localities from Texas to Illinois. It is a common bird in
the West, collecting in colonies to breed in marshy places anywhere
in its general range, often in company with the red-winged blackbird.
The nests are usually placed in the midst of large marshes, attached
to the tall flags and grasses. Davie says they are generally large,
light, but thick-brimmed, made of interwoven grasses and sedges
impacted together. The eggs are from two to six in number, but the
usual number is four. Their ground color is dull grayish-white, in some
grayish-green, profusely covered with small blotches and specks of
drab, purplish-brown and umber. The average size is 1.12 × .75.

Mr. Nelson says that the yellow-headed blackbird is a very common
resident of Cook County, Ill., in large marshes. It arrives the first
of May and commences nesting the last of that month. Owing to the
restricted localities inhabited by it, it is but slightly known among
farmers; even those living near the marshes think it an uncommon
bird. The only difference in the habits of the male and female is the
slightly greater shyness of the former. Colonies nest in rushes in the
Calumet marshes, are bold and interesting, and adults are sometimes
seen on the ground along country roads some distance from water.

The food of these birds during the nesting season is worms and grubs,
which are fed each day to the young birds by the hundreds. In this way
they help protect the crops of the farmer. In the autumn, when the
young can fly as well as their parents, they collect in large flocks
and start on their southern journey. At this time young and old travel
together. Many of them are killed by hawks, which often follow a flock
for days, dashing into their midst whenever they see a chance to
capture one.

The blackbirds are alike in general characteristics. They all walk
and get most of their food on the ground. In spring, when large
flocks are roaming in all directions, one may easily be confused by
them. Miss Merriam says that with a little care they will easily be
distinguished. The crow blackbirds may be known by their large size
and long tails. The male cowbird may be told at a glance, she says, by
his chocolate-colored head, the red-wing by his epaulettes, and, we
may add, the yellow-headed by the brilliant yellow of his whole head
and neck, "as if he had plunged up to his shoulders in a keg of yellow
paint, while the rest of his attire is shining black." He utters a
loud, shrill whistle, quite unlike any sound produced by his kinsmen.

    How sweet the harmonies of afternoon,
      The blackbird sings along the sunny breeze
    His ancient song of leaves and summer boon;
      Rich breath of hayfields streams thro' the whispering trees,
    And birds of morning trim their bustling wings,
      And listen fondly, while the blackbird sings.
                                        --_Frederick Tennyson._

                 2/3 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. NUSSBAUMER & SON.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]


E. K. M.

The little readers of _Birds and All Nature_ will not have much respect
for me, I am afraid, after reading what Mr. Wood Thrush said of my
family in the last number of the magazine.

Probably you don't recollect it. Well, he said that my cousin, Mr.
Red-Wing Blackbird, was often found in the company of Mr. Cowbird, and
that Mr. Cowbird was a very disreputable creature, being no better than
an outcast and a tramp.

Humph! Just as though birds, like boys and girls, are to be judged by
the company they keep. Why, _I_ associate with Mr. Cowbird, too; he
is a distant relative of mine, and certainly nobody who looks at my
picture can call me disreputable. See what a glossy black coat I wear
and what a fine yellow collar and hat. We are only free in our manners,
that is all, helping ourselves liberally to the grain planted by our
dear friend, Mr. Farmer.

I am not lazy, either, like my relative, Mr. Cowbird, for I build a new
house every spring, locating it among the tall flags and grasses in a
nice damp piece of marshland.

Though I am a blackbird, I'm not found from the Atlantic to the
Pacific, as Mr. Red-Wing is and others of our tribe. For that reason
you can't call me common, you know. But, then, our manners and customs
are about the same. We do not hop like other birds, but walk very
much as you do, putting one foot before the other, a bit awkwardly,
perhaps, but I am sure with considerable dignity. Indeed, my mate says
but for cocking my head on one side when strutting on the ground one
might take me for a bishop--in feathers--I have such a solemn, serious
air, as though burdened with a sense of my own importance.

Like the generality of birds, I find a warm climate in winter conducive
to my health, so in November I leave the north and hie me to the south,
returning about the first of May, not so early as my cousin, Mr.
Red-Wing, and the other common members of the blackbird family. They,
like some visitors, welcome or unwelcome, usually come early and stay

It strikes me, for that reason, the blackbird family should be
considered of some importance, even if they do associate with Mr.
Cowbird, tramp that he is, for when the first flocks of blackbirds are
seen sailing overhead, like leaves blown by the wind against the sky,
you know that spring is near, no matter how cold or chill the weather
may be. Crowds and crowds of us are then seen circling and wheeling
above our last year's nesting-place, talking and laughing like little
children and making just as much noise.

_Con-cur-ee_ is the only song we know, but we utter that in different
tones, so that our mates consider it very pleasing, and so may you.



... And now we turn to nature. All these years we have lived beside
her, and we have never seen her; now we open our eyes and look at her.

The rocks have been to us a blur of brown; we bend over them, and
the disorganized masses dissolve into a many-colored, many-shaped,
carefully arranged form of existence. Here masses of rainbow-tinted
crystals, half-fused together; there bands of smooth gray methodically
overlying each other. This rock here is covered with a delicate silvery
tracery in some mineral, resembling leaves and branches; there on the
flat stone, on which we so often have sat to weep and pray, we look
down, and see it covered with the fossil footprints of great birds, and
the beautiful skeleton of a fish. We have often tried to picture in our
mind what the fossilized remains of creatures must be like, and all the
while we sat on them. We have been so blinded by thinking and feeling
that we have never seen the world.

The flat plain has been to us a reach of monotonous red. We look at
it, and every handful of sand starts into life. That wonderful people,
the ants, we learn to know; see them make war and peace, play and
work, and build their huge palaces. And that smaller people we make
acquaintance with, who live in the flowers. The citto flower had been
for us a mere blur of yellow; we find its heart composed of a hundred
perfect flowers, the homes of the tiny black people with red stripes,
who moved in and out in that little yellow city. Every bluebell has
its inhabitant. Every day the karroo (plain) shows up a new wonder
sleeping in its teeming bosom. On our way we pause and stand to see the
ground-spider make its trap, bury itself in the sand, and then wait
for the falling in of its enemy. Farther on walks a horned beetle, and
near him starts open the door of a spider, who peeps out carefully,
and quickly puts it down again. On a karroo-bush a green fly is laying
her silver eggs. We carry them home, and see the shells pierced, the
spotted grub come out, turn to a green fly, and flit away. We are
not satisfied with what nature shows us, and will see something for
ourselves. Under the white hen we put a dozen eggs, and break one
daily to see the white spot wax into the chicken. We are not excited
or enthusiastic about it; but a man is not to lay his throat open, he
must think of something. So we plant seeds in rows on our dam-wall,
and pull one up daily to see how it goes with them. Alladeen buried her
wonderful stone, and a golden palace sprang up at her feet. We do far
more. We put a brown seed in the earth, and a living thing starts out,
starts upward--why, no more than Alladeen can we say--starts upward,
and does not desist till it is higher than our heads, sparkling with
dew in the early morning, glittering with yellow blossoms, shaking
brown seeds with little embryo souls on to the ground. We look at it
solemnly, from the time it consists of two leaves peeping above the
ground and a soft white root, till we have to raise our faces to look
at it; but we find no reason for that upward starting.

A fowl drowns itself in our dam. We take it out, and open it on
the bank, and kneel, looking at it. Above are the organs divided
by delicate tissues; below are the intestines artistically curved
in a spiral form, and each tier covered by a delicate network of
blood-vessels standing out red against the faint blue background. Each
branch of the blood-vessels is comprised of a trunk, bifurcating into
the most delicate hair-like threads, symmetrically arranged.... Of that
same exact shape and outline is our thorn-tree seen against the sky in
mid-winter; of that shape also is delicate metallic tracery between our
rocks; in that exact path does our water flow when without a furrow we
lead it from the dam; so shaped are the antlers of the horned beetle.
How are these things related that such deep union should exist between
them all? Is it chance? Or, are they not all the fine branches of one
trunk, whose sap flows through us all?

... And so it comes to pass, in time, that the earth ceases for us to
be a weltering chaos. We walk in the great hall of life, looking up
and around reverentially. Nothing is despicable--all is meaning--full;
nothing is small--all is part of a whole, whose beginning and end we
know not. The life that throbs in us is a pulsation from it; too mighty
for our comprehension, not too small.--_Story of an African Farm._



During the late autumn days, when the summer chorus has dispersed, and
only a few winter soloists remain to cheer us, one is more than ever
impressed by the wonderful carrying power of bird notes. Many of these
notes are not at all loud; and yet we hear them very distinctly at a
comparatively long distance from their source.

The ear that is trained to listen will distinguish a bird's note above
a great variety of loud and distracting noises. This is due, not to the
loudness of the note, but to the quality of its tone.

We all know by experience, though few of us, alas, profit by it that
when we wish to make ourselves heard, it is not always necessary to
raise our voices, but only to use a different quality of tone.

Thus, some singers, when you hear them in a small room, seem to
completely fill it with sound, while if they sing in a large hall, they
can scarcely be heard at all beyond a certain distance. Their voices
lack carrying power, and their notes apparently escape almost directly
after leaving their mouths.

It is this carrying quality, which can be cultivated to a large extent
in the human voice, that we find in bird notes. They produce their
notes in a perfectly natural way. They do not, like us, have to be
trained and taught to sing naturally.

I believe that nearly every human voice has some sweet or agreeable
quality in it. If the owner would but use that part, instead of
inflicting the harsh or strident or shrill part upon the unfortunate
listener, what a musical world we should live in! No discordant voices!
Think of it!

To go back to the birds. Here is an example of the penetrating quality
of tone they possess. One morning I was busily engaged in the back part
of the house, when my ear caught the sound of a bird's note, and I
determined to follow it up.

It led me to the front part of the house, out of the front door, down
the walk, across the street, and into a neighbor's yard where I found
my "caller," a white-breasted nut-hatch, carefully searching the bark
of a tall soft maple. His note did not sound particularly loud when I
stood there near him. Yet I had heard it with perfect distinctness in
the rear of the house.

What a penetrating quality there is in the high, faint "skreeking" of
the brown creeper, and in the metallic "pip" of the hairy woodpecker.

The birds could teach us many a lesson on "voice production," if we
would but listen to them.

The person who has never learned to listen, misses much of the beauty
of life. For him "that hath ears to hear," when he goes abroad, the air
is full of subtle music. Not merely the music of the birds, but other
voices of nature as well; the wind in the trees, the rustle of leaves.

The unthinking person walks along the street, seeing nothing, hearing
nothing. What does he miss? Many things. He misses yon tall tree, which
suggests such strength, such enduring majesty. He misses the beautiful
leaf that lies in his path, a marvel of exquisitely blended coloring.
He misses the delicate tracery of slender twigs and branches, with
their background of blue sky or gray cloud. He misses the voices of
his feathered friends who would gladly cheer him on his way. If he
thinks of nature at all, he is apt to think her beauties have departed
with the summer. Not so. If you love nature, she will never withhold
some part of her beauty from you, no matter how cold or windy or rainy
the day may be. If you see no beauty it is not because it is entirely
lacking, but because you are blind to it.

The love of nature is a great gift, a gift that is within the reach of
all of us. Let us, then, cultivate this gift, and we shall find beauty
and harmony and peace, such as we never dreamed of before. Our lives
will become better and nobler for the contact with nature, and we shall
be brought into a closer understanding of nature's God.




It was October 8, and many birds had gone on their long journey to
tropical lands. The fog hung thick like a white blanket between the
trees, and obscured all distant objects, such as mountain ranges or
winding rivers, from view. My home was in Lynchburg, on the James
River, and consequently in the line of the "birds' highway," and I
was standing beside the window on the lookout for migrants, when, to
my surprise, there alighted in the tree beside me a female scarlet
tanager in olive-green and dusky yellow, with her soft, innocent eyes
looking with gentle confidence around her. In a few minutes the trees
around her were ringing with _chip cheer! chip cheer!_ from a large
flock of tanagers that had evidently lost their way in the fog, and
descended near the ground to make observations. During the morning
three different _waves_ of migrating tanagers passed, flying slowly and
so low that it was easy to see and recognize them.

The next day it was again thickly foggy. As I glanced out at the window
I saw another tanager, sitting motionless on a bough. From ten to three
wave after wave, in even greater numbers than the day before, passed.
Frequently there were from three to nine tanagers perched in full view,
occasionally calling _chip cheer!_ but usually quietly resting or
eating insects, of which the trees were full. I heard one _crunching_
a hard-shelled bit in his strong beak. The scarlet of summer was not
to be seen in the fall plumage of green and yellow, but the books
are misleading when they speak of the male as "dull," or "like the
female." It is true he is green above and yellow underneath, but where
her wings are darker or "fuscous," his wings and tail are a glossy,
velvety black, and instead of her dull yellow, his breast is a shining
and vivid lemon-yellow, so that he is almost as beautiful as in his
black and scarlet. In such large flocks I saw every phase of varying
yellow or green in the immature males and females, one of the latter
seeming a soft olive all over, slightly greener above and slightly more
yellow below. Even in the spring, when our woods ring with the joyous
calls and songs of both varieties, I have never seen half the number of
tanagers together.

I was interested in noticing how many of our migrating birds gathered
in unusually large flocks. The oven birds and the mocking-birds were
seen in large numbers before they left, for many, if not most of
the latter, do go farther South in cold weather. I heard one of the
mocking-birds singing the most exquisite song, but softened almost to
a whisper, as if singing in a dream a farewell to the trees he knew
so well. He sang in this way for quite a long while, the rest of the
flock flying excitedly to and fro. I also saw a large flock of chebecs
instead of the one or two scattered migrants I was accustomed to see in
the fall. The gay-colored sapsuckers came to us in large flocks--they
spend the winter with us--filling the trees around us.

For the first time, too, I had an experience of the caprices of
migrating warblers. The blackpolls and pine-warblers, so numerous last
year, had evidently chosen another route to the tropics, nor were the
magnolia and the chestnut-sided to be seen. But the Cape May warblers,
usually rare, were very numerous, and remained long--from September 20
to October 18. This might probably be explained by the abundant supply
of food, for the unusual warmth of the season had not only awakened the
fruit trees and lilacs, the kalmia and other wild flowers, to a second
period of blooming, but had filled the air with immense swarms of tiny
insects. Everywhere glittered and danced myriads of winged creatures,
and the trees offered a plentiful table for our insect-loving

  [Illustration: BLACK SQUIRREL.
                 5/13 Life-size.
                 FROM COL F. NUSBBAUMER & SON.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]


(_Sciurus niger._)

    Mrs Black Squirrel sat in the top of a tree;
    "I believe in the habit of saving," said she;
    "If it were not for that, in the cold winter weather
    I should starve, and my young ones, I know, altogether;
    But I'm teaching my children to run and lay up
    Every acorn as soon as it drops from the cup,
    And to get out the corn from the shocks in the field--
    There's a nice hollow tree where I keep it concealed.
    We have laid up some wheat and some barley and rye,
    And some very nice pumpkin seeds I have put by;
    Best of all, we have gathered, in all that we could
    Of beechnuts and butternuts grown in the wood;
    For cold days and hard times winter surely will bring,
    And a habit of saving's an excellent thing.

    "But my children--you know how young squirrels like play--
    'We have plenty, great plenty, already,' they'll say.
    'We are tired of bringing in food for our store;
    Let us all have a frolic and gather no more!'
    But I tell them it's pleasant when winter is rough,
    If we feel both to use and to give we've enough;
    And they'll find ere the butternuts bloom in the spring
    That a habit of saving's an excellent thing."

The squirrels are found in all parts of the globe except Australia,
where, however, there is a far worse pest of the agriculturist, the
abundant rabbit. All the varieties, according to the authorities,
correspond so closely in form, structure, habits and character that it
is sufficient to describe the common squirrel and its habits, in order
to gain sufficient knowledge of the whole tribe. The body of the true
squirrel is elongated, tail long, and its fur evenly parted lengthwise
along the upper surface. The eyes are large and prominent, the ears may
be either small or large, scantily covered with hair or are furnished
with tufts. The fore-legs are shorter than the rear. The fore-paws have
four toes and one thumb, the hind-paws have five toes.

The time to see the squirrels is in the early morning when they come to
the ground to feed, and in the woods large numbers may be seen frisking
about on the branches or chasing up and down the trunks. If alarmed the
squirrel springs up a tree with extraordinary activity and hides behind
a branch. This trick often enables it to escape its enemy the hawk,
and by constantly slipping behind the large branches frequently tires
it out. The daring and activity of the little animal is remarkable.
When pursued it leaps from branch to branch, or from tree to tree,
altering its direction while in the air by means of its tail, which
acts as a rudder.

It is easily domesticated and is very amusing in its habits when
suffered to go at large in a room or kept in a spacious cage, but when
confined in a little box, especially in one of the cruel wheel cages,
its energies and playfulness are quite lost. The ancient Greeks were
fully aware of its attractive qualities, and we are indebted to them
for its scientific name. That name signifies "he who is under the
shadow of his tail," and everyone who knows the meaning of the Greek
word _sciurus_ "must involuntarily think of the lively little creature
as it sits on the loftiest branches of the trees."

The favorite haunts of the squirrel are dry, shady forests. When
fruits and nuts are ripe it visits the village gardens. Where there
are many pine cones it makes its permanent home, building one or more,
usually in old nests of crows which it improves. If it does not intend
to remain long it uses the nests of magpies, crows, or birds of prey,
but the nest which it intends to serve as a permanent sleeping-place,
a shelter against bad weather, or a nursery, is newly built. It is
said that every squirrel has at least four nests; but nothing has
been definitely proven on this score. Brehm says they also build in
hollow trees; that the open-air nests usually lie in a fork close to
the main trunk of the tree; the bottom is built like one of the larger
bird nests while above there is a flat, conical roof after the manner
of magpies' nests, close enough to be impenetrable to the rain. The
main entrance is placed sideways, usually facing the east; a slightly
smaller loop-hole for escape from its many enemies is found close to
the trunk.

According to the season it eats fruit or seeds, buds, twigs, shells,
berries, grain and mushrooms. The seeds, buds and young shoots of fir
and pine trees probably form its principal food.

As soon as the animal is provided with food in abundance it lays by
stores for later and less plenteous times, carrying to its storerooms
nuts, grains and kernels, sometimes from a great distance. In the
forests of southeastern Siberia the squirrels also store away
mushrooms, and that in a very peculiar manner.

"They are so unselfish," says Radde, "that they do not think of hiding
their supply of mushrooms, but pin them on the pine needles or in larch
woods on the small twigs. There they leave the mushrooms to dry, and
in times of scarcity of food these stores are of good service to some
roaming individual of their kind."



    The scene was the bank of a crystal brook
    Where a saucy young robin had paused to look,
    As the morning sun had gilded the waves
    Which sparkled and sang thro' the autumn days.
    He glanced at the leaves, that had copied his breast,
    The leaves that in springtime had shielded his nest;
    Then turning his head with a bird like grace,
    He searched in the stream for his mirrored face.
    Not his mottled coat of rusty brown
    He saw in the brook-bed sloping down,
    But a touch of gray with an amber dab--
    The reflected form of a brooklet crab.
    He gazed in surprise at the specter-like thing,
    Then chirping aloud and raising each wing,
    In terror he turned from the ghost-haunted place
    And met on the bank the real crab face to face.
    Young Robins, like "others," are inclined to be "gay,"
    And our hero's misfortune occurred in this way:
    He considered a moment; his foe seemed quite weak,
    And he ventured a peck with his slim, shiny beak.
    A flutter, a scream--up the bank Robin came;
    He found two could play at the same little game,
    And the waves as they fled, with a smile and a gleam,
    Carried crab and brown feathers adown with the stream.



Among the beautiful incidents of scripture none has become more
familiar to old and young alike than that which relates how Noah "sent
forth a dove from him to see if the waters were abated from off the
face of the ground." We can imagine the timid messenger sent forth by
Noah's hand from the open window of the ark. Over the vast surface of
the waters it flew, in obedience to natural instincts, seeking a place
of rest, but, as the narrative relates, "the dove found no rest for
the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the
waters were on the face of the whole earth." With what an unerring
flight the dove had returned to the only safe refuge, and how gently
did Noah "put forth his hand" and "draw her in unto him," after the
weary quest was over and the tired wings had only brought back a
message of defeated hopes. After seven days had gone by Noah sent
forth the dove again with longing expectancy that the flood might be
receding. With swift flight the dove disappeared from view, and, high
in air, sought amid the waste of waters, with its marvelous powers of
sight, for any sign which told of safety and rest. At length it reached
a refuge, the spot it sought, where the valleys once more began to
show themselves above the depths. And in the evening, as Noah watched
and waited at the open window of the ark, he saw afar off the glint
of snowy wings against the golden sky, and "lo, the dove returned,
bearing in her mouth an olive leaf plucked off, so Noah knew that the
waters were abated from off the earth." The olive branch was a token
that even the trees in the valleys were uncovered, and has been the
type in all after ages of peace and rest. The Hebrew word "yonah" is
the general name for the many varieties of doves and pigeons found in
Bible lands. It is frequently used by the prophetic writers as a symbol
of comparison. Both Isaiah and Ezekiel speak of doves that "fly as a
cloud." In many of the wild valleys of Palestine the cliffs are full of
caves, and there the wild pigeons build their nests and fly in flocks
that truly are "like the clouds" in number. Again the same prophets
speak of the "doves of the valleys, all of them mourning." This is
peculiarly applicable to the turtle dove. Its low, sad plaint may be
heard all day long at certain seasons in the olive groves and in the
solitary and shady valleys amongst the mountains. These birds can never
be tamed. Confined in a cage, they languish and die, but no sooner are
they set at liberty than they "flee as a bird" to their mountains.
David refers to their habits in this respect when his heart was sad
within him: "O that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away
and be at rest." Nahum alludes to a striking habit of the dove when
he says: "And the maids of Hazzab shall lead her as with the voice of
doves, tabering upon their breasts."

Hazzab was the queen of Nineveh, who was to be led by her maidens into
captivity, mourning as doves do, and "tabering," or striking on their
breasts, a common practice in that country.

David, in beautiful imagery, comforts those who mourn, saying: "Though
ye have lain among the pots, ye shall be as the wings of a dove covered
with silver and her feathers with yellow gold." A dove of Damascus is
referred to whose feathers have the metallic luster of silver and the
gleam of gold. They are small and kept in cages. Their note is very sad
and the cooing kept up by night as well as by day.

To the millions who devoutly sing of the "Heavenly Dove" no other
symbol either in or out of the Bible suggests so much precious
instruction and spiritual comfort as this innocent bird--pure, gentle,
meek, loving, faithful, the appropriate emblem of that "Holy Spirit"
that descended from the open heavens upon our Lord at his baptism.


(_Putorius vulgaris._)

This is the smallest beast of prey, but so agile and courageous that
it is regarded as a model of carnivorous animals. It dwells in fields,
gardens, burrows, clefts of rock, under stones or wood piles, and
roams around by day as well as by night. Its slender and attenuated
shape enables it to enter and explore the habitations of the smallest
animals, and, as it is a destroyer of rats, mice, and other noxious
animals, it is useful and deserves protection. It is, however, hunted
by many who do not appreciate its value.

The weasel attains a length of eight inches, including the tail. The
body appears to be longer than it really is because the neck and head
are of about the same circumference as the body. It is of the same
thickness from head to tail.

This animal is found throughout Europe, Canada, and the northern
portions of the United States. Plains, mountains, forests, populous
districts, as well as the wilderness, are its home. It adapts itself to
circumstances, and can find a suitable dwelling-place in any locality.
It is found in barns, cellars, garrets, and similar retreats.

An observer says one who noiselessly approaches the hiding-place of
a weasel may easily secure the pleasure of watching it. He may then
hear a slight rustle of leaves and see a small, brown creature gliding
along. As soon as it catches sight of a human being it stands on its
hind legs to obtain a better view. "The idea of flight seldom enters
this dwarf-like creature's head, but it looks at the world with a
pair of bold eyes and assumes an attitude of defiance." Men have been
attacked by it. A naturalist once saw a large bird swoop down on a
field, pick up a small animal and fly upward with it. Suddenly the bird
staggered in its flight, and then dropped to the ground dead. A weasel
tripped merrily away. It had severed its enemy's neck with its teeth
and thus escaped.

The weasel preys upon mice, house rats and water rats, moles, hares,
rabbits, chickens, birds, lizards, snakes, frogs, fish, and crabs.

A litter of weasels numbers eight. The mother is very fond of the
little blind creatures and nourishes them until long after they can see.

Buffon said this little animal was not capable of domestication, but as
a matter of fact, when accustomed to people from childhood, it becomes
very tame and attractive.

A lady tells the following anecdote of her pet weasel:

"If I pour some milk into my hand my tame weasel will drink a good
deal, but if I do not pay it this compliment it will scarcely take a
drop. When satisfied it generally goes to sleep. My chamber is the
place of its residence and I have found a method of dispelling its
strong odor by perfumes. By day it sleeps in a quilt, into which it
gets by an unsewn place which it has discovered on the edge; during the
night it is kept in a wired box or cage, which it always enters with
reluctance and leaves with pleasure. If it be set at liberty before
my time of rising, after a thousand playful little tricks, it gets
into my bed and goes to sleep beside me. If I am up first it spends a
full half-hour in caressing me, playing with my fingers like a little
dog, jumping on my head and my neck with a lightness and elegance
which I have never found in other animals. If I present my hands at
the distance of three feet it jumps into them without ever missing. It
exhibits great address and cunning to compass its ends, and seems to
disobey certain prohibitions merely through caprice. In the midst of
twenty people it distinguishes my voice, seeks me out and springs over
all the others to come at me."

The weasel probably lives from eight to twelve years. It is easily
caught in a trap, with bait of an egg, a small bird, or a mouse. No
other animal is so fitly endowed for hunting mice.

  [Illustration: WEASEL.
                 2/5 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. F. NUSSBAUMER & SON.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]

In the attempt to check the rabbit pest in New Zealand, recourse has
been had to the importation of natural enemies, such as ferrets,
stoats, and weasels. In the Wairarapa district some 600 ferrets, 300
stoats and weasels, and 300 cats had been turned out previous to
1887. Between January, 1887, and June, 1888, contracts were made by
the government for nearly 22,000 ferrets, and several thousand had
previously been liberated on crown and private lands. Large numbers of
stoats and weasels have also been liberated during the last fifteen

This host of predatory animals speedily brought about a decrease in
the number of rabbits, but their work was not confined to rabbits, and
soon game birds and other species were found to be diminishing. The
stoat and the weasel are much more bloodthirsty than the ferret, and
the widespread destruction is attributed to them rather than to the
latter animal. Now that some of the native birds are threatened with
extermination, it has been suggested to set aside an island along the
New Zealand coast, where the more interesting indigenous species can be
kept safe from their enemies and saved from complete extinction.


Birds are dependent on the elements as well as is man, and in the
want of materials and the requirements in nest-building the birds are
comparable to the lords of creation.

It is not a rare thing for a pair of robins to be badly handicapped in
nesting-time by a lack of rain, for in May, and even in the showery
month of April, there is occasionally a dry run of weather lasting for
more than a week.

I have seen a pair of robins start a nest, and the dry weather would
come on and stop operations, and the disconsolate pair would wait for
the rain so that they could make mortar for their nest. Robins must
have mud to use in the construction of their little home, and all the
dry materials will avail them nothing unless there is a good stock of
mortar on hand to cement the grass, rags, and other materials together.

On one occasion we supplied a pair of redbreasts with plenty of
mortar by letting the hydrant run on the ground. The delighted robins
immediately accepted the situation and gathered materials for the
partially finished home, which was quickly completed and the four
beautiful eggs deposited. We broke the law by letting the water run,
but then we can excuse ourselves in behalf of the faithful birds by
saying that "necessity knows no law."

The eave-swallows also require mortar for the construction of their
nests, and they select quarters not very far removed from lakes, ponds,
or streams. There is a neighborhood where the swallows used to build
in great numbers, and the barns were well patronized by these little
insect-feeders, rows of the gourd-shaped nests being seen beneath the

At last the pond in the section was drained, and all the swallows
deserted that neighborhood. There are very few birds which are not more
or less affected by civilization, and a study of this subject is most

Years ago the chimney swifts were in the habit of building their stick
nests in the hollows of big trees, and even at the present day we may
find nests in these old-time situations. As time passed the swifts
found that the chimneys of men's houses offered better situations
for nests, and so the reasoning birds adopted our city and village
chimneys to the abandonment of the primitive habit of nesting in hollow
trees.--_Humane Alliance._



P. W. H.

"Lightning bugs" and other insects that carry lights are familiar in
many parts of the country, but who ever heard of birds that carry
lights? A strange story is told of the heron's powder patch which
makes a two-candle light, which discloses a new idea in bird lore. A
belated sportsman returning from a day's sport found himself late in
the evening on the edge of a flat or marsh which bordered the path. The
moon had not risen, and the darkness was so intense that he was obliged
to move slowly and carefully. As he walked along, gun on shoulder, he
thought he saw a number of lights, some moving, others stationary. As
they were in the river bed, he knew that they could not be lanterns,
and for some time he was puzzled; but, being of an inquisitive mind, he
walked down to the water to investigate.

As the stream was a slow-running, shallow one, he had no difficulty in
wading in, and soon convinced himself that the lights were not carried
by men, and were either ignes fatui or from some cause unknown. To
settle the apparent mystery he crept as close as he could, took careful
aim and fired. At the discharge the lights disappeared, but, keeping
his eye on the spot where they had been, he walked quickly to it and
found, to his amazement, a night heron, upon whose breast gleamed the
mysterious light.

"The sportsman told me of this incident," says a friend who knew him
well, "and, while I had often heard of the light on the heron's breast,
I never before could find anyone who had personally witnessed the
phenomenon, consequently I propounded numerous questions. The observer
saw the light distinctly; first at a distance of at least fifty yards,
or one hundred and fifty feet. There were three lights upon each
bird--one upon each side between the hips and tail, and one upon the

"He saw the lights of at least four individuals, and was so interested
that he observed them all carefully and, as to their intensity, stated
to me that each light was the equivalent of two candles, so that when
he aimed he could see the gun-sight against it.

"As to whether the bird had control of the light, he believed he did,
as he saw the lights open and shut several times as he crawled toward
the birds and he stopped when the light disappeared and crept on when
it came again. The light did not endure long after the bird was shot,
fading away almost immediately. In color the light was white and
reminded the sportsman of phosphorescent wood.

"Stories of luminous birds have been related by sportsmen occasionally,
but, so far as I know, exact facts and data have never before been
obtained on this most interesting and somewhat sensational subject. A
friend in Florida told we that he had distinctly seen a light moving
about in a flock of cranes at night and became satisfied that the light
was the breast of the bird. Another friend informed me that on entering
a heron rookery at night he had distinctly observed lights moving about
among the birds."

That herons have a peculiar possible light-producing apparatus is
well known. These are called powder-down patches, and can be found by
turning up the long feathers on the heron's breast, where will be found
a patch of yellow, greasy material that sometimes drops off or fills
the feathers in the form of a yellow powder. This powder is produced by
the evident decomposition of the small feathers, producing just such a
substance as one might expect would become phosphorescent, as there is
little doubt that it does.

The cranes and herons are not the only birds having these oily lamps,
if so we may term them. A Madagascar bird, called kirumbo, has a
large patch on each side of the rump. The bitterns have two pairs
of patches; the true herons three, while the curious boat-bills have
eight, which, if at times all luminous, would give the bird a most
conspicuous, not to say spectral appearance at night.

Some years ago a party of explorers entered a large cave on the island
of Trinidad that had hitherto been considered inaccessible. To their
astonishment they found it filled with birds which darted about in
the dark in such numbers that they struck the explorers and rendered
their passage not only disagreeable, but dangerous. The birds proved
to be night hawks, known as oil birds, and in great demand for the
oil they contain, and it is barely possible that these birds are also
light-givers. The powder-down patches of the oil bird are upon each
side of the rump.

As to the use of such lights to a bird there has been much conjecture;
but it is thought that it may be a lure to attract fishes. It is
well known that fishes and various marine animals are attracted
by light, and a heron standing motionless in the water, the light
from its breast, if equal to two candles, would be plainly seen for
a considerable distance by various kinds of fishes, which would
undoubtedly approach within reach of the eagle eye and sharp bill of
the heron and so fall victims to their curiosity. If this is a true
solving of the mystery it is one of the most remarkable provisions of

There is hardly a group of animals that does not include some
light-givers of great beauty; but it is not generally known that some
of the higher animals also produce light at times. Renninger, the
naturalist, whose studies and observations of Paraguay are well known,
tells a most remarkable story of his experience with the monkey known
as _Nyctipithithecus trivigatus_. He was in complete darkness when he
observed the phenomenon, which was a phosphorescent light gleaming from
the eyes of the animal; not the light which appears in the eye of the
cat, but shafts of phosphorescent light which were not only distinctly
visible, but illumined objects a distance of six inches from the
animal's eyes.

The subject is an interesting one and research among the various
phenomena disclosed by naturalists may discover many other animals
capable of strange illuminations.



Not the least interesting of my summer neighbors is a Quaker family
named Chebec, the least fly-catchers.

They are little people, else they would not be least fly-catchers,
plainly dressed, with olive shoulder-capes lined with yellow, wings
finely barred with black and white and heads dark and mousy. The large
eyes, circled with white, are as full of expression as a thrush's.

What is lacking in song is made up in an energy decidedly muscular, the
originality of the note _chebec_, uttered with a jerk of the head or
a launch into the air after some passing insect, never being confused
with other bird voices.

It is not Chebec himself that commands my special admiration, but
"Petite," his winsome little lady, with her rare gentleness and
confidence. Our intimacy began when she was living on a long maple
branch that nearly touched my chamber window, and she was dancing
attendance upon four pure-white eggs when I became conscious of her
neighborly intentions. She soon settled down into the most demure
little matron, a regular stay-at-home, really grudging the time
necessary for taking her meals. Later, when I "peeked in" at the
nestlings, Petite only hugged them closer, nor did she leave until my
hand was laid on her shoulder. We were soon fast friends. The most
tempting morsels the neighborhood afforded were brought to her door,
and, though she was unwearied in the family service, my efforts were
gratefully received, even anticipated. The following spring her choice
of residence was a bough that hung over the door, coming to the end of
the branch whenever I appeared in an effort to express her approval.
For, you see, I had given her a quantity of strings and lace and cotton
for her nest, and she was truly grateful!

Excess of splendor is always perilous. The work of art was no sooner
completed than Robin Redbreast grew envious, rushed over and pulled out
the finest strings, leaving the nest in so shaky a condition that the
wind soon finished it.

Petite's feelings were deeply injured--she could not be induced to
rebuild near her malicious neighbor.

To help her forget her troubles I gave her some yellow ravelings, much
handsomer than those Robin had stolen.

Thoroughly consoled, she worked as fast as she possibly could until the
last ray of light had faded. Knowing that Robin's impudence had delayed
her spring's work, I did my best to supply her needs.

Altogether her patience was extreme. Occasionally she hinted gently
that her time was precious or that I was keeping her waiting, as she
hovered about my face or rested briefly upon my shoe, keeping a sharp
lookout meanwhile upon the cloth I was raveling.

How she scampered off when it was ready, snatching it from my hand
before it reached the ground!

The next day saw the new house completed--no ordinary affair, but
a magnificent dwelling, yellow from foundation to rafter, with a
long, fantastic fringe of the same floating from its rim and waving
gracefully in every breeze.

Petite now became my attentive companion in my garden work, talking in
subdued tones from the nearest branch as if she felt the seriousness of
the occasion, circling in the air and alighting on the same bough in
pretended alarm when I tried to touch her soft, delicate feathers.

May 3d of this present year she called softly from the orchard that she
had arrived. For a few days she had little to say, wearied with the
long journey and being broken of her rest, as must have been the case.
She was not quite herself, either--really put on airs and kept at a
distance; but when she began to think of housekeeping she was the same
trusting darling that won my heart and gave me willing hands in her

We talked matters over on the piazza while she fluttered about my head,
touched my hat with dainty feet, or poised before me to say in her own
pretty way that it was quite time to be thinking of sitting. "What do
you propose to do for me _this_ year? How much help can I rely upon
from you?" she asked as plainly as if she spoke English.

"Ah, Petite," I answered, "you must not demand _too_ much. It is quite
time the sweet peas were planted!" But words were useless; she coaxed,
enticed, pleaded, until mine was a full and unconditioned surrender.
"You deserve it, Petite, for your perseverance! You shall have the
finest house that was ever seen in this section," I said, and with that
promise we parted.

I found a quantity of jeweler's cotton, pink as a rosebud, soft and
fluffy and light enough to satisfy the most fastidious bird architect.
Small pieces were placed upon lawn and tree trunks, where Petite soon
spied them; her first impulse was one of approval.

Not meaning to be rash in her judgment, her head was cocked cunningly
on one side as she poised, eyeing them closely, until I feared that,
dissatisfied, she would accuse me of breaking my promise.

When she seized one, cautiously, in her beak and sailed away with it
trailing after her in the air my fears were over. As no harm attended
its transfer to the orchard, where it was adjusted to her taste, her
admiring mate left his fly-catching to help in the work, the cotton
disappearing so rapidly there were signs of a corner in the market.

The nest, strengthened with a few strings, grew rapidly toward
completion. To all appearance its unique beauty was a matter of
congratulation, the builders regarding it from all sides with intense

  [Illustration: QUINCE.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER.]

     DESCRIPTION OF PLATE.--_A_, flowering twig; _B_, fruit;
     1, stipules; 2, flower in section; 3, stamen; 4, pollen; 5, style;
     6, stigma; 7 and 8, fruit in sections; 9 and 10, seeds of one cell
     of the ovary; 11, seeds; 12, seed in sections.


(_Cydonia vulgaris, Pers., or Pyrus Cydonia, L._)

  Northwestern University School of Pharmacy.

    Of ripened quinces such the mellow hue.
                   --_Congreve Translation, of Ovid's Art of Love._

The quince is the pear-like fruit of a bush or small tree resembling
the pear tree. The branches are spreading and of a grayish green or
brownish green color. The leaves are simple, entire, ovate, with
short petioles and distinct stipules. The lower surface of leaves and
stipules as well as the young twigs and the sepals are densely covered
with hair-cells producing a woolly appearance. The flowers develop in
May and June and are usually solitary upon terminal branches. Calyx
green with five foliaceous, serrate, reflexed lobes. Corolla of five
separate ovate, rather large, pink petals. Stamens yellow, numerous
(20); five styles and a five-celled ovary. The matured fruit is a pome.
That is, the greater bulk consists of the thickened calyx enclosing
the ovary. The form, size and color of the ripe fruit are shown in the
illustration. Each cell of the ovary bears from six to fifteen seeds
which resemble apple seeds very closely as to form and color.

The name _Cydonia_ is derived from the name of the Greek city Cydon,
now Canea, of Crete. The Cydonian apple of the Greeks was emblematic
of fortune, love and fertility, and was dedicated to the goddess
Aphrodite (Venus). It is a question whether Crete was the original home
of the quince. Some authorities maintain that it found its way into
Greece from upper Asia, Persia, or India. Wherever its first home may
have been this plant was known in Greece 700 years B. C. From Greece
the tree was introduced into Italy and Spain, from which countries it
finally spread over central Europe. Charlemagne, Karl der Grosse--812,
was largely instrumental in spreading the quince in Germany.

The ancient Greeks made extensive medicinal use of the fruit. On
account of its astringency it has been used in dysentery, hemorrhage,
and other conditions requiring an astringent substance. At present it
is little used, the seeds excepted.

The pulp is fibrous and tough; it is not edible in the raw state on
account of its acrid, astringent taste. As a whole it is a discouraging
and disagreeable fruit in spite of its beautiful yellow color and
pleasantly aromatic odor. Mixed with apples it makes excellent pies
and tarts. A marmalade is made from the pulp, also a delicious jelly.
It is stated that the word marmalade is derived from _marmelo_, the
Portuguese name for quince.

The seeds are extensively used on account of the mucilage of the outer
surface (epidermal cells). A decoction commonly known as mucilage
of quince seed is much used as a demulcent in certain diseases--in
erysipelas, inflammatory conditions of the eyes and in other affections
where mucilaginous applications are found useful. The Mohammedans of
India value the seeds very highly as a restorative and demulcent tonic.
European physicians have used them with much success in dysentery. The
mucilage is also one of the substances used by hair-dressers under the
name of _bandoline_.

Chemically the mucilage is simply a modification of cellulose. Pereira
considered it a special chemical substance which he designated
_cydonin_. The seed, about 20 per cent. of which is mucilage, will
make a sticky emulsion with forty times its weight of water. As to
its physical properties it closely resembles gum arabic and agar.
There are, however, simple tests by means of which it is possible to
distinguish them. The seeds rubbed or crushed emit an odor resembling
almonds, due to the presence of hydrocyanic acid.

Most of the quince seed of the market comes from southern Russia,
southern France and the Cape of Good Hope. It is cultivated in various
temperate and subtropical countries.

The quince must not be confounded with the Indian "bael" fruit which is
known in India as the Bengal quince. The Chinese quince is a species
of pear. The Japanese quince is also a species of pear resembling the
Chinese quince. It is a great garden favorite on account of its large
scarlet or crimson flowers. The fruit, which is not edible in the
raw state, resembles a small apple and is sometimes used for making
a jelly. The Portugal quince differs from the ordinary variety by its
more delicate coloring. It is, however, less productive than the common



Cecil Rhodes says: "So long as women are vain and men foolish there
will be no diminution in the demand for diamonds." He ought to know,
for he is called the "Diamond King."

Thirty years ago John O'Reilly found some children at a farm house in
South Africa playing in the evening with some beautiful stones that had
peculiar forms and brilliancy. He took the finest to town with him and
found it was worth $500.

People swarmed into the country where little children had rough
diamonds for playthings, and over $400,000,000 worth of these crystals
has been taken from Africa.

While the diamond excitement was still raging the people were inflamed
at finding there was gold about them in great quantities. The diamond
hunters in many instances became gold diggers, because there was even
more money to be made in gold digging than in hunting for diamonds.

Last year nearly $75,000,000 worth of gold was produced in that
country. That is more than we produced in the great gold fields of the
United States all taken together. We crushed from the rocks and dug
out of the dirt about $65,000,000 in gold. The famous gold fields of
Australia yielded about the same amount as our own country.

So much wealth in Africa has embittered the people. The Dutch farmers,
called boers, occupy the heart of the best country. They are not
progressive, the English say. Perhaps they mean that the boers do not
move away fast enough to suit the English. They have made trek after
trek to get out of the way of the English. Trek means journey. But when
they realized how much wealth there was about them in the country which
they had thought was so poor, they decided not to make any more treks
to let the British in.

These Dutch farmers withstood the English at Majuba Hill, Jan. 28,
1881, and killed off nearly all the British forces sent against them.
In this fight they lost but fourteen men in killed and wounded, while
wiping out their enemies. They celebrate this day as we do the Fourth
of July. It is their day of independence, and they do not wish to give
up the advantage it gave them. Sixty years ago less than five hundred
boers under Andries Pretorius defeated twelve thousand Zulus, killing
three thousand of them.

As the Dutch have such a good reason for trusting to their weapons
there is little wonder that the gold and the diamonds of the country
brought them into a war with England.


Many substances have three forms--solid, liquid, and gaseous. It takes
cold to change a gas to a liquid, and more cold to reduce the liquid to
a solid. Steam, water, and ice are good examples.

Air is a substance that requires so much cold to reduce it even to a
liquid state that we know nothing of it as a solid. Our Smithsonian
Institution gave Professor Dewar of the Royal Institute of London a
gold medal for his discovery in regard to reducing it to a liquid.

No artificial cold is intense enough to affect air except when it is
confined under great pressure. When a gas is compressed and made cold
it tends to liquefy. But it takes enormous pressure and intense cold to
make liquid air.

It is a grayish substance that may be carried about like water. It has
a tendency to steam up, and when its vapor comes into contact with
flesh a cooling sensation is produced. But living flesh cannot long
remain in contact with the liquid itself. It produces a wound much like
a burn.

By careful use of liquid air in surgery, the flesh may be so put to
sleep that the surgeon's knife is not felt by the patient as he watches
the cutting. A cancer has been cut out by liquid air in a sort of
burning process that needed no knife. Cremation has been accomplished
by its use.

Cremation is burning. Burning is the union of oxygen with the substance
consumed. Liquid air left exposed to common air evaporates and sends
out its nitrogen so that almost pure liquid oxygen is left in the
vessel. This placed in contact with the body to be consumed soon sends
all except its mineral parts flying away in the atmosphere in a vapor
thinner than smoke.

It is the coldest substance known. It takes an intense cold to produce
it, and it has to remain cold much as ice is cold, only very much more
so, as long as it is liquid air. For this reason it is carried about
in vessels constructed so as to exclude the heat. Mercury dropped into
it becomes a solid block, and meat quickly freezes so hard that it is
brittle as glass and may be broken into a thousand pieces.

The liquid oxygen left after exposure of liquid air may be placed in a
hollow in a cake of ice. Dip into it a watch spring and touch a lighted
match to it and you will see the steel spring burn as if it were full
of pitch.

Eight hundred gallons of common air are compressed into one gallon of
the liquid. The liquid is unattractive and very common-looking. You
would not suspect its great powers by merely looking at it in a dish.
But when it expands into common air it has tremendous energy. A few
drops confined in a closed iron pipe will explode and blow the metal to

When first produced it was so expensive a product that its value
was above that of rubies. Now it is cheap and becoming more so. We
expect it to become an ordinary article of commerce. One company is
capitalized at $10,000,000 to push its use in place of steam and

Probably some of the companies advertising shares to sell are putting
its powers far too high. One company's agents are representing that a
very little of it in a cup will keep an icebox cold all day, and that a
pound of it will reduce the heat in a large house on a warm summer day
so that it may be kept cool at very small expense.

These extravagant claims are probably made for the purpose of deceiving
people so they will buy shares. The facts seem to show that a pint of
liquid air will not cool an ice box much more than will a pound of ice.
The effect of a gallon of it in a large house would scarcely be felt in
July, except for a short time in one or two rooms.




Principal Au Sable Academy, N. Y.

Comparatively few persons associate the gem opal, with its brilliant
internal colored reflections, with that material forming so large
a part of the soil, sand. Yet the two are almost identical in
composition. The mineral constituent of sand and of opal is quartz,
though the latter often contains in addition some water.

Quartz is composed of the two elements occurring the most abundantly
in the earth's crust, silicon and oxygen, both non-metals. As already
indicated, the most common representative of the mineral substance is
the sand of the soil. The sand grains are generally so eroded by the
atmosphere and surface waters as to show little of the true quartz
structure. A typical specimen of quartz, commonly known as "rock
crystal," clear, transparent and approximately perfect in form, is
not difficult to obtain for study. If not occurring in the particular
locality it may be obtained from a dealer in minerals at slight
expense. As studied by means of the rock crystal, quartz is remarkable
for its transparency, its regular crystal form, and its great degree of
hardness. Its transparency is such that printing may be read through
the crystal. Its crystalline form affords an unfailing means to the
mineralogist of recognizing the substance as quartz. If our specimen
be large and perfect, we note that it is bounded by planes in such
manner that we have a hexagonal prism terminated at either end by a
hexagonal pyramid. With convenient apparatus for measurement, we learn
the all-important fact to the mineralogist, that the angle between any
prism face and an adjacent pyramid face is 141° 47´. The mineralogist
obtains his accurate measurements by means of an instrument known as
the goniometer. We may obtain cruder results by bending a readily
flexible wire over the two faces, perpendicular to the edge of their
intersection, until it is tight against either face. Then placing
one arm of the bent wire along the base of a protractor, the point
of flexure at the center of the base, the number of degrees between
the two arms may be read, thus giving roughly the angle between the
prism and pyramid faces of the quartz crystal. The great hardness of
quartz is apparent in that it cannot be scratched with the point of a
knife and that it will cut glass. Often clear parts of quartz crystals
occur studding the surface of a rock structure, in the form known as
a crystal aggregate. One property of quartz rock (any sandstone or
quartzite) we must not fail to notice is the irregular fracture. This
is recognized in the statement that quartz has no cleavage.

The study of the rock crystal should not lead us into the false
conclusion that quartz is commonly transparent. Instead it occurs in
various shades and colors from smoky white through yellow, red, purple,
and brown to black. The cause of the abundance of sand on the soil
surface is also liable to misinterpretation. While sand is naturally of
great abundance, yet its commonness at the surface of the soil is due
largely to its great resistant powers to the agencies of weathering.

Quartz has an economic value directly in glass sand and of course as
a soil constituent. In the latter capacity, it is taken up by many
plants, and is the silica that studs the saw edges of the blades of
sedges and grasses. The precious stones, agate, amethyst, and jasper
are varieties of quartz.

  [Illustration: QUARTZ AND SILICATES.
                 3/4 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER, CHICAGO.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.
                 1--Asbestus. 2--Feldspar. 3--Quartz Crystal. 4--Small
                 Garnets in rock. 5--Garnet. 6--Opal. 7--Smoky Quartz.]

The silicon that is so important a constituent of quartz, composes with
aluminum a large part of various minerals comprised under the name
feldspar. This substance is slightly less hard than quartz and has many
variations in color; but, unlike quartz, shows regular cleavage faces.
Feldspar is always crystalline, but good crystals are not common. It
is very difficultly soluble, yet readily yields to the influence of
weathering. A feldspathic rock hence readily crumbles. During the
process of disintegration, the feldspar may change from a clear,
hard, glassy mineral to a dull, opaque substance. This product of
disintegration is our common white clay. With quartz, then, feldspar is
of great importance in the forming of soil.

Allied to the feldspar group of minerals as regards cleavage, and yet
of far different special characteristics is the class of substances
known as mica. How many of us ever think of the so-called isinglass
of our stove doors as a mineral substance? Yet transparent mica,
muscovite, is the source of that household convenience. A study of the
specimens of mica in our stove door will provide abundant ideas of
the nature of mica. We have often noticed how, under the influence of
excessive heat, the isinglass splits into thin sheets, thus showing the
cleavage of the mineral. These plates of mica are of especial value in
giving cleavage to rocks which would otherwise fracture irregularly.
The cleavage of slates and of the common shale rocks is due to the
presence of mica particles which have, at some period in the history
of the earth's crust, through the action of heat and pressure, been
arranged along definite planes. Isinglass represents the transparent
variety of mica. Other varieties are brown and even black, owing to
the presence of traces of potassium, magnesium, iron, etc., in varying
degree. Some micas do not easily decay, and so we frequently see
glittering particles among the fine grains of soil and the sands of

The minerals already mentioned, quartz, feldspar, and mica, are the
components of a large part of our granites. In the case of the red
Scotch granite, another silicate, hornblende, replaces the mica.
Various silicates of economic value are asbestos, a variety of
hornblende, and augite, which are silicates of magnesium and iron
or calcium; and talc, which is a silicate of magnesium containing
water. A great number of gems are found among the silicates, including
tourmaline, garnet, topaz, beryl, and chrysolite.


An abstract of J. S. Palmer's essay on "The Danger of Introducing
Noxious Animals and Birds" appears in _Our Animal Friends_. There are
several societies in this country for the express purpose of purchasing
and importing European birds. One society in Cincinnati has contributed
$9,000 to this object, and other cities have raised considerable sums.
Our contemporary thinks it would be well that all such experiments
should be made under the sanction of government experts of the
Department or Agriculture. In addition to voluntary importations,
it often happens that animals are unintentionally brought into the
country, as trading-vessels have carried the European house mouse
all over the globe, and the introduction of rabbits into Australia
is perhaps the most striking example of the dangers of unconsidered
importations. They were introduced for purposes of sport, and were
liberated near Melbourne in 1864. Within twelve years they had spread
over the country and become a veritable plague, and millions of
dollars have been spent for bounties, poisons, and other methods of
destruction. Thousands of miles of rabbit-proof fences have been built,
and in 1887 no less than 19,182,539 rabbits were destroyed in New South
Wales alone, and the rabbits seem to be on the increase. The little
Indian mongoose was imported into Jamaica to cope with a plague of
rats and proved most effective, but after it had destroyed the rats it
turned its attention to the domestic animals and poultry, so that the
islanders would now be glad if they could get rid of the pests. Such
are a few examples of the danger of disturbing nature's balance.


A remarkable article recently appeared in the _Scientific American_,
written by Prof. Chas. F. Holder, entitled, "A Crime of a Century," in
which is described the extermination, the wiping out of the American

"In 1870, and later," said an army officer, "the plains were alive with
bison, and in crossing at places I had difficulty in avoiding them,
so vast were the herds. If anyone had told me then that in twenty or
thirty years they would have become almost entirely extinct I should
have regarded the statement as that of an insane person."

We are able to corroborate this statement. In August, 1869, while
crossing the Kansas plains in a stagecoach we had the privilege,
as we regard it now, of seeing one of the largest herds of buffalo
then remaining. When first seen, at a distance of from three to five
miles, we could distinctly hear the roaring of the animals, who had
been stampeded, perhaps by hunters, who were at that time wantonly
destroying the grand creatures for their robes. That so many of these
animals could have been killed in mere wantonness, says Prof. Holder,
seems incredible when their vast numbers are realized. We first hear of
the bison from Cortez and his followers in 1521. Montezuma had one in a
zoölogical garden, the specimen, in all probability, having been caught
in Coahuila. In 1530 Cabeza saw them in Texas, and in 1542 Coronado
found a herd in what is now the Indian Territory, one of his officers
describing them as horrible beasts that demoralized the horses. In 1612
Sir Samuel Argall observed herds of bison near the national capital,
and, it is said, two hundred and eighty-seven years ago herds of bison
grazed on the site of the capitol building at Washington. In 1678
Father Hennepin observed them in what is now northern Illinois, and in
October, 1729, Col. W. Bird saw herds in North Carolina and Virginia.
It is known, in fact, that the bison formerly ranged in millions from
the Atlantic seaboard to the Gulf of Mexico, from Texas to the Great
Slave Lake, and as far west as central Nevada. "As to their numbers,
they were like the sands of the seashore, and the accounts given by
those who hunted them twenty or thirty years ago to-day seem like
vagaries of a disordered imagination." Colonel Dodge, in his memoirs,
states that on one occasion he rode twenty-five miles in Arkansas,
always being in a herd of buffaloes, or many small herds, with but
a small separating strip between them. The animals paid but little
attention to him, merely moving slowly out of the way or advancing,
bringing the whole herd of thousands down on him with the roar of an
avalanche. This he met by standing fast and firing when they came
within short range, the shot causing them to divide. This he did as a
protection, otherwise they would have run him down and crushed man,
horses, and wagon. This herd was later found to be fifty miles wide and
to occupy five days in passing a given point on its way north. It was
estimated that the herd comprised half a million buffaloes. A train
on the Kansas Pacific road in that state in 1868 passed between the
towns of Ellsworth and Sheridan--one hundred and twenty miles--through
a continuous herd of buffaloes. They were packed so that the earth
was black, and more than once the train was stopped, the surging mass
becoming a menace to human safety. This is the same herd first seen
by us in August, 1869, and again in 1871 and 1872. An army officer
relates that he was at that time on duty in the pay department, which
made it necessary for him to travel on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
railroad. One day the train entered a large herd, which scattered and
seemed to go wild at the shrieking of the whistle and the ringing of
the bell. As the train went on the thicker they became, until the very
earth appeared to be a rolling mass of humps as far as the eye could
see. Suddenly some of the animals nearest turned and charged; others
fell in behind, and down upon the train they came like an avalanche.
The engineer stopped the engine, let off steam and whistled to stop
them, while the passengers fired from the platforms and windows with
rifles and revolvers, but it was like trying to stay a tidal wave. On
they came, the earth trembling, and plunged head down into the train.
Some were wedged in between the cars, others beneath; and so great was
the crush that they toppled three cars over and actually scrambled over
them, one buffalo becoming bogged by having his legs caught in the

The question of interest to-day is how was it possible to destroy so
many animals in so short a time and what methods were employed? Many
were destroyed by stampeding over precipices. In 1867 two thousand
buffaloes became entangled in the quicksands of the Platte river. At
another time a herd was lost by breaking through the ice of Lac Qui
Parle in Minnesota. The cold winters of the north killed many. But man
was their greatest foe. He soon found that the buffaloes had a value.
The Indians slaughtered them for their skins, bone and for food. The
white man, however, killed for sport, for the hides and heads, and to
provide the gangs of railroad men with meat. The animal at this time
had a value estimated at $5, which was sufficient to attract an army
of destroyers. One firm in New York between 1876 and 1884 paid for
hides alone nearly $1,000,000. The government never interfered. The
real extermination of the buffalo, in the opinion of Prof. Holder,
was caused by the demands of trade, aided and abetted by sportsmen,
Indians, and others; but the blame really lies with the government
that in all these years permitted a few ignorant congressmen to block
legislation in favor of the protection of the bison, so that all the
efforts of humanitarians were defeated and the bills when passed pigeon

The still hunter was the most insidious enemy of the buffalo, a single
man, by sneaking upon a herd, having been known to kill one thousand
in a single season. Capt. Jack Bridges, of Kansas, killed 1,142
buffaloes in six weeks. In the different states there were regular
killing outfits that cost, in rifles, horses, carts, etc., from $2,000
to $5,000. Such methods developed some famous characters. Buffalo
Bill (Col. W. F. Cody) was one. He contracted with the Kansas Pacific
railroad to furnish them with all the buffalo the men could eat as the
road was built; and, according to Mr. Cody's statement, they ate 4,280
buffaloes in eighteen months, for which he received $500 per month,
"the price he paid for his title."

There were living at the last government census, made in 1891, 256
pure-blooded buffaloes in captivity, the last of the race.

A buffalo robe is now a scarce article and a well-preserved specimen
brings a high price. Massive heads of old bull buffaloes are preserved
in many museums and are valued at from $150 to $250.

Mark Twain once said that the most wonderful scene he had ever looked
upon was an enormous herd of buffaloes in Colorado.

Mr. John D. Dunham, formerly United States land commissioner in
Wyoming, and later connected with the Yellowstone Park commission,
recently stated that there were between 120 and 140 buffaloes left in
the United States last autumn, and the mortality among the surviving
beasts was greater last winter than ever before during their captivity.
Despite the severe penalty for killing the big animals in the National
Park, a dozen or more buffaloes have been slain there every year. Last
year a form of influenza destroyed some of them, and there are probably
no more than fifty of the veterans of the plains left. Baker, in his
"Wild Beasts and Their Ways," says: "The bison is a grand-looking
creature, and in my opinion it is the most striking of all wild



    In and out the leafy shade
    Of the peaceful glen and glade,
    Where the brook goes rippling by,
    Through the cowslip meadow nigh;
    When the soft and odorous breeze
    Whispers gently 'mongst the trees,
    Lovingly, I hear them woo--
    "_Coo-goo-roo-o-o, Coo-goo-roo-o-o._"

    Bows and bridles proudly he,
    Coyly shy and modest she;
    Hither, yon, in ceaseless quest,
    'Till they build a cozy nest;
    Full of watchful care is he,
    When there comes maternity;
    Never lover's song so true--
    "_Coo-goo-roo-o-o, Coo-goo-roo-o-o._"

    Now so proud he tabers low,
    To his loving mate below;
    Never lover so in love,
    As this billing, cooing dove.
    Back and forth he quickly flies
    With his generous supplies,
    Then he nods, "There, that will do--
    _Coo-goo-roo-o-o, Coo-goo-roo-o-o._"

    Beautiful, the little brood
    Blesses faithful motherhood,
    And the lessons they impart,
    Doves and nestlings, reach my heart.
    What the wisdom from the dove?
    That the best of life is "love."
    So I listen while they coo--
    "_Coo-goo-roo-o-o, Coo-goo-roo-o-o._"


There is a tree in Paris to which the name "The Sorrowful Tree" is
given. Perhaps because it blooms only in the evening.

When the first star appears in the heavens, the first bud of the
Sorrowful Tree opens, and as the shades of night advance and the stars
thickly stud the sky, the buds continue gradually opening until the
whole tree looks like one immense white flower. On the approach of
dawn, when the brilliancy of the stars gradually fades away in the
light of day, the Sorrowful Tree closes its flowers, and ere the sun is
fully risen not a single blossom is visible. A sheet of flower dust, as
white as snow, covers the ground around the foot of the tree, which
seems blighted and withered during the day, while, however, it is
actively preparing for the next nocturnal festival. The fragrance of
the blossom is like that of the evening primrose.

If the tree is cut down close to the roots a new plant shoots up and
attains maturity in an incredibly short time.

In the vicinity of this singular tree there usually grows another,
which is almost an exact counterpart of the Sorrowful Tree, but less
beautiful, and, strange to say, it blooms only in the daytime.


In one of the cages at Lincoln Park are two pigeons or doves most
peculiarly marked. They belong to the variety known as the "Bleeding

Their backs and wings are of a bluish slate color, while their breasts
are white, save for a spot of vivid crimson in the center. This spot
is precisely like the stain which would be produced by a wound. It is
about an inch in length, and the color fades out at the edges softly
in little streaks.

One can scarcely believe the little creatures are not victims of some
cruel thrust, and the park employes say that lovesick people are wont
to lean for hours on the railing opposite the cage, and, fixing their
sad eyes on the birds, will moan in sympathy while they shed bitter

  [Illustration: LILY OF THE VALLEY.
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 NATURE STUDY PUB. CO., CHICAGO.]



Secretary, Chicago Academy of Sciences.

    Fair flower, that, lapt in lowly glade,
    Dost hide beneath the greenwood shade,
      Than whom the vernal gale
    None fairer wakes, on bank or spray
    Our England's lily, of the May,
      Our lily of the vale!

    Of thy twin-leaves the embowered screen,
    Which wraps thee in thy shroud of green;
      Thy Eden-breathing smell;
    Thy arch'd and purple-vested stem,
    Whence pendant many a pearly gem,
      Displays a milk-white bell.
                                        --_Bishop Mant._

The lily of the valley is one of the most delicate and beautiful of
the lily family (_Liliaceæ_). With the exception of the orchid family
probably no group of plants furnishes a larger variety of popular forms
noted alike for their beauty and delicacy.

It has been truly said of the lily family that "the flowers of most
are beautiful, of many brilliant, and of some truly splendid." This
family contains about one hundred and fifty genera and over thirteen
hundred species. They are world-wide in their distribution, excepting
the Arctic zone, though they are more common in the temperate and
subtropical regions.

Among the species sought by the lover of cultivated flowers none is
more noteworthy than the tulip, a native of Persia. It is claimed that
there are more than seven hundred forms of the tulip known to the
florist--all variations of a single species.

The type of the family is the lily. The lily is the Persian
personification of night, _lil_ or _lilleh_ being essentially the words
used to designate evening. It is the Indo-Iranian analogue of the rose,
which in countries speaking the romance languages, as well as in China,
stands for a symbol of secrecy and was planted over graves as an emblem
of immortality.

To this family also belong the day-lily, the tuberose, the hyacinth,
the yucca, and the star-of-Bethlehem. Here also is classed the useful
though much-abused onion, the flowers of which, though small, form
a most graceful group at the top of the stem, especially in the wild

Asparagus is usually placed in this family and many species, such as
squills and the varieties of aloes, are highly valued in medicine. In
fact it may be said that the family "abounds in a bitter, stimulant
principle and also in mucilage." It is of interest that some of the
species of this family were prized by the Greeks and Romans for their
medicinal value. The name for aloes in both languages refers to the
bitter principle, and no name could be more appropriate, as the extract
is intensely bitter.

The lily of the valley (_Convallaria majalis, L._) is a native of the
mountainous regions of Virginia and southward through Georgia. It is
identical with the cultivated form which was brought from Europe.

The generic name _Convallaria_ from two Latin words meaning "with" and
"valley," having reference to its habit of growing on mountain sides.
This sweet-scented plant has an underground stem which sends up a
stalk that bears, chiefly on one side, numerous nodding white flowers.
The oblong leaves, usually two in number, rise from the base of the
flower-stalk, which is sheathed by their stems.

The pure white of the flowers as well as their symmetrical form has
led writers to speak of them as the symbol of purity, and no flower,
perhaps, is in greater demand for the decoration of the church and



To the amateur grower mushrooms are ordinarily an uncertain
quantity. This crop is as fickle and finicky as the proverbial old
maid--although, for my part, I would far rather tackle the mushrooms.

The amateur mushroom grower, in the usual order of things, generally
has "troubles of his own," troubles in which even the old expert shares
at times, and often for a reason that is inexplicable, or for a cause
that is not even apparent.

Some time ago I became interested in a rather novel scheme in 'room
production: It is that of growing the 'rooms on top of the benches as
one would his regular crops of lettuce, raddishes, etc., instead of
under the benches and in cellars in especially prepared beds for that
purpose. With this new method the 'rooms are grown at the same time as
and among the usual crops. In view of the experience I feel justified
in saying that a profitable crop of 'rooms may be grown with more
certainty by this method than by the one ordinarily practiced. I am not
aware of a single instance where a grower of ordinary intelligence has
ever failed to secure a satisfactory crop in this way.

The soil used is much the same as the ordinary compost as generally
put up by the average hothouse operator. In combination with the usual
mixture of rotted sod and horse manure the addition of cow dung, at the
ratio of about one to ten, may be advantageously made.

Should the cow dung be used it is best to have that which is at least
one year old and in a fine, pulverized condition, being careful to have
the cow dung well incorporated with the compost.

After the soil is placed in the benches the bed may be immediately
spawned; no waiting for temperature to go up or down. This work is done
just as in spawning an old-fashioned bed, except that the spawn should
be buried somewhat deeper, to guard against the surface drying of the
soil during a hard day's sun on the glass.

Since the operation of a hothouse is a hard business proposition to the
general grower, involving the question of the greatest production on
the space at hand, it is advisable to get a crop growing on the benches
as quickly as possible after the bed is spawned.

If some crop that will rapidly cover the surface of the bed is not
planted immediately after spawning it is advisable to furnish some sort
of a mulch to protect the soil from the direct rays of the sun. It is
all the better to provide such a mulch even with the planted crop,
filling in the unprotected spaces. Partially decayed leaves, fine salt
hay, or any light, fluffy material will serve the purpose. Providing
this mulch does not become soggy or heavy there is no necessity for
removing it during the bearing season of the mushroom.

Should the regular bench crop, lettuce, for instance, be depended upon
to furnish shade, some more or less accurate calculation should be made
on having such crop on the beds so that it will protect the mushrooms
when they first make their appearance.

There is one other condition upon which success is contingent, and that
is in the proper watering of the soil or secondary crops. Water should
be applied lightly and frequently with a spray nozzle, the object being
to maintain sufficient moisture in the soil to supply the needs of the
surface crop without soaking or flooding the soil to such a degree that
it becomes unduly heavy or soggy.

In cultivating the surface crop the operator should not stir the soil
to a greater depth than two inches, that the spawn may not be disturbed.

When the crops are cleared from the benches in the spring it is well
to allow a dense mat of weeds to grow up to protect the mushrooms from
the sun, which, otherwise, would "burn" or brown them.--_American

  +----------------------------------------------------------------- +
  | Transcriber's Note:                                              |
  |                                                                  |
  | Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.     |
  |                                                                  |
  | Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant |
  | form was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.    |
  |                                                                  |
  | Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.            |
  |                                                                  |
  | The Quartz and Silicates illustration was moved from page 39 to  |
  | page 38.                                                         |
  |                                                                  |
  | Italicized words are surrounded by underline characters,         |
  | _like this_.                                                     |
  |                                                                  |
  | The Contents table were added by the transcriber.                |

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