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Title: Birds and Nature, Vol. VIII, No. 1, June 1990 - In Natural Colors
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.

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  JUNE, 1900, TO DECEMBER, 1900


  203 Michigan Ave.




  VOL. VIII.           JUNE, 1900.            NO. 1.


  ALONE WITH NATURE.                                        1
  A PATTERN FLOWER.                                         2
  GOD'S HANDIWORK.                                          7
  NATURAL RIGHTS OF BIRDS.                                  8
  STRUCTURE AND HABITS OF BIRDS.                           12
  WILSON'S THRUSH.                                         13
  THE FISH'S PLACE IN NATURE.                              14
  SOME WATER INSECTS.                                      25
  INSECT MUSIC.                                            31
  CATTLE.                                                  32
  HOMING PIGEON.                                           36
  THE TWO-STORIED NEST.                                    41
  WHEAT HARVESTING.                                        42
  A CHARMING HOME.                                         48


    Alone with nature I love to roam,
      'Midst forest shades, o'er meadows green,
    Where the soft winds blow 'neath the azure dome,
      And only the Works of God are seen.

    Away, away, from the city's din,
      Long murmuring brooks, by placid ponds;
    Far from the sight of human sin,
      And moral weakness in Satan's bonds.

    Away, away 'neath the towering trees,
      Where the thrush pours forth his wildwood song.
    And the grey squirrel nimbly leaps with ease,
      From branch to branch of the maple strong.

    Where the hornets build their marvelous nest,
      And hang it high from human foe.
    Where the blackbird 'neath her soft warm breast
      Shelters her young when the storm winds blow.

    Where the tortoise gravely stalks along
      Like sage of old in sombre thought,
    And the great horned owl in utterance strong
      Bemoans the changes time has wrought.

    Along the hillsides facing south,
      Where the earliest wild-flowers may be found;
    Where the big bull-frog with cavernous mouth,
      Welcomes Spring from the marshy ground.

    Where the red-wing, swinging among the reeds,
      Saucily sings, "Yer can't cum 'ere."
    Where the cunning rail-bird yearly breeds,
      And raises her brood with little fear.

    On the banks of streams to lie,
      And watch the gambols of the fish,
    While the pond-turtles lazily bask near by,
      In indolent freedom from care or wish.

    Thus with Nature to commune,
      And to note her creatures gay;
    While mind and heart are in attune,
      With creation's work from day to day.
                                        F. ALEX. LUCAS.




Flowers are of very many patterns, and it must not be supposed that
there is any special pattern for them all. There are four parts which
belong to flowers in general, and they are repeated in various flowers
in numberless ways, or one or more of the parts may be omitted.

The flower of the common wild lily, chosen for our illustration, is
highly organized, with all the parts represented and well developed.
Each part is constructed for some definite work, which we may or may
not fully understand.

The flower of the illustration shows on the outside six leaf-like
bodies, colored a deep orange or reddish, and bearing dark spots. These
six bodies are in two sets of three--an outer and an inner set. When
there are two sets of these leaf-like bodies the outer set is called
the _calyx_, and the inner one the _corolla_. The three leaves of the
calyx are called _sepals_, and the three leaves of the corolla _petals_.

In this case the sepals and petals look alike, and then it is usual
to speak of the whole set of six as the _perianth_. In many flowers,
however, the sepals and petals do not look at all alike. In the common
wake-robin, or _Trillium_, a near relative of the lily, the three
sepals are like ordinary small green leaves, while the petals are much
larger and showy, giving the characteristic color to the flower.

In the lily it should be further noticed that the sepals and petals
are all separate, but in many flowers they are united in various ways
to form urns, tubes, funnels, trumpets, etc. The common morning glory
is an illustration of a flower in which the petals are united so as to
form a beautiful trumpet-shaped or funnel-form corolla.

The general purpose of the perianth, that is, the two outer parts of
the flower, is to protect the far more important inner parts in the
bud, and when the flower opens the perianth unfolds and exposes the
inner parts, which are then ready for their peculiar work.

The bright color usually shown by the corolla, and sometimes also by
the calyx, as in the lily, is probably associated with the visits of
insects, which come to the flower for nectar or other food. Since it
has been found, however, that some visiting insects are color blind, it
is doubtful whether the color is so universal an attraction as it was
once thought to be, but it is certainly associated with some sort of
important work.

A summary of these various duties is as follows: The green, leaf-like
calyx is certainly for bud protection; the brightly colored corolla
(and sometimes calyx) adds to the duty of protection that of attracting
necessary insects, or some other duty that we do not as yet understand.

Just within the corolla the third part or set appears, consisting of
six _stamens_. These six stamens are also in two sets of three each,
an outer and an inner one. Each stamen consists of a long stalk-like
part, called the _filament_, and at the summit of the filament is borne
the _anther_, which in the lily consists of two long, narrow pouches
lying side by side. When the anther is ripe these pouches are filled
with a yellow, powdery dust called the _pollen_. Each particle of
this dust-like pollen consists of a minute, but beautifully organized
globular body, known as the _pollen-grain_. The anther pouches are
therefore full of pollen-grains.

  [Illustration: RED OR WOOD LILY.
                 (Lilium Philadelphicum)]

In the lily it will be noticed that when the anthers are ripe and the
pollen is ready to be shed, a slit opens lengthwise in each of the two
pouches or sacs. This is the common method for opening the anther sacs,
but in some flowers it is curiously modified. For example, in the
heaths, such as the huckleberry, the sacs open by a hole at one end,
and sometimes the tips of the sacs are drawn out into long, hollow
tubes through which the pollen is discharged. In other cases, as in the
sassafras, the sacs open by little trap doors, which swing open as if
upon hinges.

Of the two parts of the stamen, the filament and anther, the latter
is the essential one, so that in some cases the filament may be
lacking entirely, only the anther appearing to represent the stamen.
Furthermore, the essential thing about the anther is the pollen, to
manufacture which is the sole purpose of the stamen.

The pollen is necessary to enable the flower to produce seeds, but it
must be transferred from the anther which produces it to the fourth
part of the flower, not yet described, in which the seeds are formed.
This transfer of pollen is known as _pollination_, and the transfer is
usually effected in one of two ways, by the wind or by insects. As a
rule, also, the pollen made by one flower must be transferred to some
other flower to do its work, and sometimes the other flower may be at a
considerable distance.

If the pollen is to be transferred by the wind it must be very light
and dry, and it must also be very abundant, for the wind is a chance
carrier and drops the pollen everywhere in a very wasteful fashion. In
such a case the pollen must come down like rain to be sure that some of
it strikes the right spot in the right flowers. Occasionally one hears
in the papers of "showers of sulphur," which always prove to be showers
of pollen carried by the wind from some forest (chiefly evergreen
forests) and dropped at random. In the case of pines the minute pollen
grains develop wings to assist in the wind transportation.

If the pollen is to be transferred by insects it does not need to
be so dry and powdery, or so abundant as in the other case, for the
insect passes directly from one flower to another, without any random
scattering of the pollen. Only winged insects are used for this
purpose, as those which must creep, or rather walk, would brush the
pollen from their bodies by rubbing against the various obstructions
in the way. The insects most commonly used are the numerous kinds of
bees, wasps, butterflies, and moths. These insects visit the flowers
for different purposes. The butterflies and moths are after the nectar,
while the bees and wasps feed upon the pollen. Visiting insects are
therefore often grouped as nectar feeders, and pollen feeders, but in
either case they are instrumental in transferring the pollen.

The fourth or innermost part of the lily flower is an organ called
the _pistil_. It stands in the center of the flower and is composed
of three distinct regions. At the base it is bulbous and hollow,
containing the bodies which are to become seeds. This bulbous region is
called the _ovary_, and the little bodies it contains, which, through
the action of the pollen, are to become seeds, are called _ovules_.
Rising from the top of the ovary is a slender, stalk-like part called
the _style_; and at the top of the style is a knob-like region called
the _stigma_.

The most essential region of the pistil is the ovary, for it contains
the ovules. Next in importance is the stigma, for it must receive the
pollen-grains. The style is of least importance, and therefore is
sometimes wanting, the stigma being directly upon the ovary. The duty
of the style, when it is present, seems to be to put the stigma into a
favorable position to receive the pollen. It must not be supposed that
the stigma always resembles a knob-like top to the style. It is really
only a surface prepared to receive pollen, so it may be upon the top of
the style, or may run like a line down one side of it, or may display
itself in some other way.

The pistil of the lily, however, is not a single structure. If
the ovary be cut across, it will be found to be made up of three
compartments, each one of which contains ovules. Each one of these
compartments represents a unit of structure which has entered into the
formation of the pistil. These units are called _carpels_, and the
pistil of the lily is made up of three carpels. In this case the three
are distinct only in the ovary, and have completely lost their identity
in the region of the style. In many relatives of the lily, however, the
three carpels are kept distinct in the style region, three styles or a
three-parted style appearing upon the ovary.

In some flowers the carpels are kept entirely distinct, each one
having its own ovary, style, and stigma. For example, in the buttercup
there is a little mound in the center of the flower made up of numerous
pistils, each consisting of a single carpel. It is evident, therefore,
that a pistil may consist of one carpel or several carpels, and that in
the latter case the carpels may be more or less completely united. The
sure indication of a carpel is that each carpel bears its own ovules.

In some flowers there is but a single carpel, as in peas and beans,
whose pods have developed from a pistil consisting of a single carpel,
as is indicated by the single lengthwise set of seeds.

In some plants the flowers do not have all the four parts described
above. In some cases the petals may be lacking, the one set of perianth
parts represented being regarded as the calyx, although it may look
like a corolla, as in the clematis or anemone. Such flowers are said to
be _apetalous_, which means "without petals." In other cases both the
calyx and corolla may be wanting, the flower consisting of only stamens
and carpels. Such flowers are spoken of as _naked_.

In other flowers the stamens may be lacking, and as the pistil is the
only essential part present such flowers are said to be _pistillate_.
It may be counted upon, however, that if there are pistillate flowers
there are also corresponding _staminate_ flowers in which the pistils
are lacking and the stamens present. In such cases both staminate and
pistillate flowers may occur on the same plant, or they may occur
on different plants, so that there may be not only staminate and
pistillate flowers, but also staminate and pistillate plants.

It also sometimes happens that staminate and pistillate flowers are
also naked, so that in such cases the flower is represented by stamens
alone, or even by a single stamen, or by carpels alone, or by a single
carpel. It would be hard to imagine a more simple flower than one
composed of a single stamen or a single carpel. Such flowers may be
found in the willows.

In this study of the lily it should be observed that the number three
runs through all the parts of the flower. The flower formula may be
expressed as follows: sepals 3, petals 3, stamens 3 plus 3, carpels 3.
This number is established in many families related to the lilies, and
is one of their characteristic features.

In other groups of flowering plants a different number is established,
the number five being the most common. For example, in the common
wild geranium the flower formula is as follows: sepals 5, petals 5,
stamens 5 plus 5, carpels 5. In still other flowers the number four is

In many common flowers it will be noticed that no definite number is
established, or that it is not completely established. For example, in
the common wild rose there are 5 sepals and 5 petals, but an indefinite
number of stamens and carpels; while in the water lily there is no
definite number established, the sepals being usually 4, and the other
parts indefinitely repeated.

In those flowers in which some number is definitely established, it
often happens that one set may be reduced in number, and this is
usually the carpel set. In the families of highest rank among flowering
plants, such as the figworts, mints, and composites (sunflowers,
asters, dandelions, etc.) the flower formula is sepals 5, petals 5,
stamens 5, and carpels 2.

Another fact shown by the lily flower is that the different sets
alternate with each other in position. The three petals do not stand
directly in front of the three sepals, but in front of the spaces
between the sepals. In the same way the three outer stamens alternate
with the petals; the inner stamens alternate with the outer ones; and
the three carpels alternate with the inner set of stamens. It is very
uncommon to find one set standing directly in front of the next outer
set, and this position opposite the other set always needs some special
explanation. As a rule, therefore, the flower sets _alternate_ with one
another, but in some cases a set may be _opposite_.

The history of a flower does not end with the opening of the blossom.
If the stigma has succeeded in receiving some pollen, and the pollen
has succeeded in doing its work, the ovules within the ovary become
gradually transformed into seeds, and the ovary becomes transformed
into the fruit, the outer sets of the flower usually disappearing. In
the lily these fruits take the form of dry pods, some of which may be
seen in the illustration. Such pods have various ways of opening to
discharge their ripened seeds.

In many cases the commonly recognized fruit includes more than the
ovary. For example, in the apple and pear the modified ovary is
represented by what is called the "core," and the pulpy part outside,
forming the edible part of the fruit, is the thickened calyx. In the
strawberry the real fruits are the small, nut-like "pits" which are
more or less imbedded in the surface, while the pulpy part is the
very much enlarged and fleshy tip of the stem which bore the numerous
carpels. In the pineapple the change involves a whole flower cluster,
and a pineapple is a cluster of flowers which has formed a pulpy mass,
flowers, leaves, stems, and all.

From what has been said it will be noticed that some fruits ripen dry,
as in the case of the lily pod, bean pod, etc., and that others ripen
fleshy, as in the case of apples, strawberries, etc. It must not be
supposed that flesh can only be formed by parts outside of the ovary,
for the peach is a modified ovary, whose wall has separated into two
layers, the outer of which forms the pulp, and the inner the "stone,"
the kernel within the stone being the real seed.

Whatever form or structure the fruit may take, everything is with
reference to the dispersal of the seeds, which must be carried to
places suitable for their germination. How seeds are carried about is a
long story, which must be deferred to some later time, but it belongs
to the general subject of flowers.

It will be seen from the above brief account that flowers occur in
almost infinite variety, so that we are able to tell the various groups
of flowering plants by the kind of flowers they produce. Amidst all of
this infinite variety, however, there are but two purposes shown, the
variety being merely the different ways in which different plants have
carried them out. These two purposes are the securing of pollination,
in order that seeds may be formed, and the proper distribution of the
seeds. All structures found in flowers should be made to answer these
two problems.



    How beauteous every shade
      On Spring's awakened trees!
    How perfect the colors laid
      By His most kind decrees!




What do we mean by a "natural right?" Are there rights of any other
sort in the world? Yes, a legal right may not always be a natural
right. On the contrary, a legal right is sometimes a natural wrong.
In many states it has, at one time or another, been legally right to
slaughter the hawks and owls, which are far more useful than harmful.
The birds had a clear title to the natural right of life, which the
laws denied until the lawmakers discovered their mistake. Long ago our
forefathers declared that all men possess the natural right to "Life
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Certainly no one will deny that
any creature has a right to life so long as in its life it contributes
more toward the welfare of the world than in its death. It also has
a right to liberty so long as it can do more good at liberty than as
a captive. Granting that the lower animals are capable of happiness,
no one would think of denying them the right of the pursuit of their
happiness except for some higher good. Without discussing these general
principles further let us see how they will apply to the birds as
natural rights.

Has the bird a right to live? According to our first principle he has
if he is more useful alive than dead. What, then, does he do that can
be called really useful? If he is a diver, a gull, a tern, or any one
of the really seafaring birds, he eats fish, water insects, offal and
whatever small animals resort to the water, doing little or no harm and
a great deal of good. Near large sea-coast cities the gulls dispose of
the garbage which is taken out a distance from shore and dumped into
the ocean, and so prevent its drifting back upon the beach. If he is a
duck, goose or swan, he feeds upon fish, the plants which grow in the
water and at its margins, upon the insects and worms which inhabit the
ooze at the bottom, and sometimes upon grains in the fields and about
the marshes. He does a great deal of good and rarely any harm. If he
is a heron, crane, rail, coot or gallinule, his food is frogs, snakes,
insects and worms, and so he is useful. If he is a snipe, sandpiper
or plover, he destroys large numbers of insects, worms and such small
animals as are to be found in wet places, and is always a very useful
help to the farmer. If he is a bird of the fowl kind or a pigeon, he
eats grain mostly, but also many insects. He may sometimes do a little
damage to the ripe grain, but he usually gathers that which has gone
to waste. If he is a vulture, hawk, eagle or owl, he destroys great
quantities of animals that are harmful to man, not often visiting the
poultry yard, and so does great good. If he is a kingfisher he eats
small fish mostly, and so is not harmful. Among all the remaining birds
there are but a few which do not feed almost entirely upon insects
or other creatures which menace vegetation. Even these seed eaters
feed the young upon insects and worms, and do good by destroying vast
quantities of injurious plants. Those which eat ripe fruit pay for what
they eat by scattering broadcast the seeds of the fruit. When there is
no ripe fruit they eat insects and worms. The crows and blackbirds and
bobolink are rather overly fond of green corn and ripe grains in the
fall of the year, but they pay for what they eat by destroying immense
quantities of insects and worms in the spring. When the whole life of
the bird is taken into account we cannot escape the fact that the bird
has a natural right to life on account of the good he does.

  [Illustration: WILSON'S THRUSH.
                 2/3 Life-size.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.]

How does the value of the bird's body used for food compare with the
good the bird would do if allowed to live? Reckoned in dollars
and cents the flesh on an average bird's body would be worth,
say twenty-five cents at the price of good beef. But let us say
seventy-five cents to do full justice to the greater excellence of
the bird's flesh as food. We must consider, however, that the most of
the birds which are not good for food, civilized food, are among our
largest birds. The size of the average edible bird would therefore be
greatly reduced, so our estimate is a very liberal one. But during the
average lifetime of the average bird it would destroy many times its
own weight of injurious animals. Careful investigations have shown that
these injurious animals would do many times more damage than the worth
of the bird's flesh. We have no need, then, to take into account the
real good we derive in the pleasure which the beautiful plumage, the
sweet voice and the graceful form bring to us. That is an added value
which nothing can compensate for.

How does the value of the bird's skin as an ornament of dress or of
the dwelling, or as a scientific specimen compare with its value as
a living creature? As an ornament it may be a thing of beauty, or a
hideous caricature. Even as a thing of beauty it could not be made more
so than the living bird. No one will be willing to declare that the
quill, or the wing, or the skin is _necessary_ to the bonnet. Many of
us honestly think that the bonnet would look far better without either.
As a scientific specimen the skin will serve some purposes, some
legitimate purposes, which the living bird will not. The living bird
cannot be fully understood without a careful study of its structure any
more than a living man can. Unfortunately, birds which die a natural
death cannot be found while their bodies are fit to study, if found
at all. But happily, the number of dead birds necessary for study is
limited. Even for scientific purposes there is no possible excuse for
indiscriminate slaughter. Collecting should be left to those and those
only who know what is needed and are content with enough. In these days
of large collections and advanced knowledge, it is the rare exception
when the dead bird will be more useful than the living one. These
exceptions do not affect the right of the bird to live. Boys who begin
to study birds have a passion for making a collection of the eggs.
Eggs are beautiful things, and they look well in a cabinet properly
arranged. But all of the eggs which most boys would be likely to find
are already well known, so that a study of the eggs in the nest and of
the young birds will teach him far more that we really need to know
about the birds. The greater good is not to make a collection of birds'

What shall we say about the bird's right to liberty? Clearly the bird
at liberty to perform the part which Nature intended for him can fully
accomplish that part only when at liberty to go his own way. But it
would be idle to declare that the caged bird is in nowise useful to the
world. There are some things which can be learned about birds only from
caged ones. If a bird be caged for the purpose of learning these things
the very few that will be needed for this purpose will be fulfilling
a high good, and if given their freedom again when the lessons have
been learned the harm, if there be any, will be fully repaid. But here,
again, the caged bird will be the rare exception and so does not affect
the right of the average bird to liberty.

We then have only to inquire whether the bird has a right to the
pursuit of happiness. No one who has studied the living bird with
anything like an appreciation of it will think of denying that birds
are creatures of intense life, capable of strong feeling and keen
enjoyment. They speak out their feelings in song and action. It is
really their human attributes which makes them appeal so strongly to
us. We know that they are capable of love and hate, of joy and sorrow,
of pleasure and pain. In them we recognize the heroic attribute of
martyrdom. In order, therefore, to determine what the attitude of the
bird would likely be were his right to the pursuit of happiness denied,
we have only to ask what our own attitude would be under the same
circumstances. If our happiness should be threatened in this place we
would certainly go where it would not be. The birds do the same. But we
have already seen that the birds have a right to life and liberty on
account of the services they render to the world. If we deny them the
right of happiness they will not be able to perform their service for
us. Under persecution they cannot do their best, even if they remain to
do anything for us. Persistent persecution will either drive them away
or destroy them altogether. Since we cannot do without their services
even for a single year, it is clear that we must agree that they do
have the natural right to the pursuit of happiness.

We are ready, then, to concede to the birds as natural rights what we
long ago declared were the natural rights of mankind,--"Life, Liberty
and the Pursuit of Happiness." We might properly discuss the question,
What do we owe to the birds? but that is a separate topic for a later


From a lecture by Frank M. Chapman, April, 1900.

How have the various types of bird life come into existence? To
understand this we must study the wings of the creature to learn its
evolution from the early reptile-like type of bird. The most primitive
use of the wing is as a hand, by which the bird may climb about. In
contrast the albatross has the finest developed wings of any species
which are fourteen feet across. The man-o'-war, however, is even a
better example, perhaps, for although having a body no larger than a
hen, it has wings which spread apart to a distance of seven or eight
feet, enabling it to soar in the air for several days without touching
the earth.

By intertwining the outer feathers of the wings some birds can remain
stationary in the air for hours at a time, not once moving a wing. The
razor-billed hawk is the nearest living representative of the extinct
great hawk, a bird which, having small wings, could not fly, and soon
became extinct. The penguin, with its flippers, can fly only on the
water, and has to waddle when on land. Certain grebes which find their
food in lakes have also lost their power of flight. This is true of
some pigeons, auks, parrots, grebes, ducks and other birds which have
not found it necessary to obtain their food by flying.

Wings are also used to express emotion. Many young birds, of which
the oriole furnishes an example, cause their wings to quaver in
supplication. Certain birds also make use of their wings as a musical
organ, as is evinced in the whistling sound produced by the woodcock.
Our nighthawk makes a booming sound with its wings by extending its
outer quills as it dives earthward. A weapon is also found by some
birds in their wings, the pigeon, hen and other of our common birds
using their wings to strike with.

The foot shares with the wing the duties of locomotion. Birds with
highly developed wings have poor feet. The swallow, an aerial bird, is
an example. The chimney-swift has a tiny foot, but enormously developed
wings, and if placed on a flat surface is unable even to support
itself. All aquatic and terrestrial birds have excellently developed
feet. The loon is so thoroughly aquatic that it cannot walk on land
without the support of its breast and wings. The sea snipe has a foot
especially fitted for swimming, and can be found a few hundred miles
off the Atlantic coast in flocks of hundreds of thousands, perfectly at
home in the water.

The foot is generally related to the length of the neck. The flamingo
wades out into the water, and is able to duck its head and secure its
food with the aid of its particularly constructed neck. In securing
prey the foot also plays an important part. The great horned owl and
the duck hawk have enormous grasping power in their claws. In our
grouse or partridge a horny, fringe-like growth appears on the toes
late in the fall, serving as a sort of snowshoe during the winter, by
which the bird is enabled to walk on the surface of the snow. This
growth is shed in the spring.

The bill is the most important organ of the four we are discussing. It
has the offices of the hand. There is an almost limitless variation in
its shape, admirably adapted in each instance to its food requirements.
The fish-eating duck grasps its prey with a saw bill. The pelican
catches its fish by diving from the air, often from distances of forty
feet, and catches its fish in a bill an inch and a half in width. As
it throws its head out in diving, it widens the rim of its bill and
catches the prey in its curious pouch. The flamingo catches, with
its food, mud and sand, which it expels through a curious straining
apparatus. The woodcock has the power of curving up the upper portion
of its bill, giving it the grasping power of a finger, which greatly
aids it in probing for worms. The woodpecker uses its bill as a
chisel. In southern Arizona the Californian woodpeckers have used
the poles of the Western Union Telegraph Company in which to store
acorns, and in some instances have bored large holes entirely through
the poles. In those woodpeckers which feed on bark we find the tongue
brush-like to swab up the sap. Where woodpeckers chisel the tongue
is horny. In prying off cones from trees the cross-bill finds its
apparently malformed tongue most helpful. In humming birds there is a
marked variation in the bill, enabling them to feed on different sorts
of flowers.

The hurabird of New Zealand has the most curious bill known. The male
has one sort which he uses in excavating, after which the female can
insert her bill and secure the food which the male has thus obtained.

After a study of the various forms of bird structure and habits has
been made, it still remains a problem whether their structure is the
result of natural selection, or natural selection is the result of
their structure.


(_Turdus fuscescens._)

This very interesting bird is found in all parts of eastern North
America. Breeds in the states bordering on the Great Lakes and as far
north as Manitoba. It winters in Central America. It is generally
partial to low, swampy woodlands. He is much more shy than his pretty
cousin, the wood thrush; he lives nearer the ground and is not so
likely to leave the cover of his haunts. In localities where he is
equally common with the wood thrush he is less frequently observed.

The nest of this thrush is made of strips of bark, rootlets and leaf
stems, wrapped with leaves and lined with fine rootlets. The nest is
always on or near the ground.

Mr. Chapman says of him: "He has a double personality, or he may repeat
the notes of some less vocally developed ancestor, for on occasions
he gives utterance to an entirely uncharacteristic series of _cacking_
notes, and even mounts high in the tree to sing a hesitating medley of
the same unmusical _cacks_, broken, whistled calls and attempted trills.

Fortunately, this performance is comparatively uncommon, and to the
most of us he is known only by his own strange, unearthly song. His
notes touch chords which no other bird's song reaches. The water thrush
is inspiring, the wood and hermit thrushes 'serenely exalt the spirit,'
but Wilson's thrush or the veery appeals to higher feelings. All the
wondrous mysteries of the wood find a voice in his song; he thrills us
with emotions we can not express."




Some animals have their hard parts on the outside. These may be a horny
coat or skin, such as the beetle has, or a double shell, like the
oyster's, or a single shell, like the house of a snail. Or they may be
a hard crust, like the lobster's coat of mail, or a brittle crust, like
the sea-urchin's, or with tough nodules on a leathery hide, as in the
star-fish, or any one of a hundred variations from these. But in all
such cases there is no backbone, no true skeleton and no real skull.

Then there are a host of animals that have their hard parts on the
inside. When this is the case the animal has a regular head, generally
with a skull inside to protect a brain from hard knocks.

Then behind the skull is a backbone made up of a number of separate
joints of bone. To the skeleton other bones are attached to help
the animal to move himself about on land or in the water. Sometimes
these bones grow out as legs, with toes and claws at the tip of them.
Sometimes they take the form of wings or they may spread out into flat
paddles or oars of one kind or another, and these we call fins. What
shape the parts take depends on what the animal does with them, for
every kind of beast is built with direct reference to his business in

The backboned animals are the highest of all the animal kingdom. That
is, in general; they can do more things, they have a greater variety
of relations to the things around them, and they are more definitely
fitted for a high position. Some of them are not very high nor very
intelligent, even as compared with their lower brethren, the insects.
The ant is a tiny creature, with no skull and no backbone, and cannot
do any very big thing. But she is a very wise beast by the side of
a carp or a herring. Still, on the whole, the backboned animals are
the highest and as you and I both belong to that class we could never
afford to confess to any doubts as to their superiority.

But we are the highest of the type--that is, we men--and the rest of
the tribe are all lower. And the lowest of all backboned animals we
call fishes. And we shall know a fish when we see one because the
hard parts or skeleton are on the inside, and he stays in the water,
breathing the air which is dissolved in it, and he has never any toes
or claws or feathers. He breathes with gills and he swims with fins. He
has no hair or feathers on his body and when he has any cover on his
skin at all it takes the shape of scales. A fish is a water backboned
animal. A backboned animal is called a vertebrate. A fish is therefore
a water-vertebrate.

There were fishes before there were any other kind of vertebrates. They
have been on the earth longer than birds or beasts or reptiles. They
came first, and we have good reason to believe that the fishes are the
ancestors of all the others.

But when the forefathers of the land animals found means of keeping
alive on the land, so many new opportunities opened out to them and
they found so much variety in their surroundings, that they throve and
spread amazingly. And there came to be many kinds of them, of many
forms, while the rest of the tribe kept in the water and stayed fishes.

  [Illustration: COMMON SUNFISH.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.]

And there was always a host of these, and nearly all of them had fishes
for their food. So they fought for food and fought for place. Those who
could swim fastest got away from the rest, and those who could move
quickest got the most to eat. Those with the longest teeth were
present at the most meals, and those with the biggest mouths dined
with them. And some escaped because they had hard, bony scales, too
tough to crack. Some were covered over with thorns, and some had spines
in their fins, which they set erect when their enemies would swallow
them. And some had poison in their spines and benumbed their enemies,
and some gave them electric shocks. Some hid in crevices of rock, or
bored holes in the mud, and lay there with their noses and their beady
eyes peeping out. Some crawled into dead shells. Some stretched their
slim, ribbon-like bodies out in the hanging sea-weed. Some fled into
caves, whither no one followed them, and where they lay hid for a whole
geological age, until, seeing nothing, they had all gone blind. And
some went down into the depths of the sea--two miles, three miles, five
miles--I have helped haul them up to the light--and these went blind
like the others, for the depths of the sea are black as ink and cold as
ice. And even there they are not safe, for other fishes go down there
to eat them. And some carry lanterns, large, shining spots on their
heads or bodies, sometimes like the head-light of an engine. And with
these flashing lanterns, these burglars of the deep hunt their prey.
And these are hunted by others fish-hungry, too, who lurk in the dark
and swallow them, lanterns, head-light and all!

And so, with all this eating and chasing and fighting and fleeing and
hiding and lurking, it comes about that wherever there is decent water
on land or sea there are fishes to match it. And every part of every
fish is made expressly for the life the fish has to lead. If any kind
failed to meet requirements, other fishes would devour and destroy it.
So only the fit can survive and these people the water after their kind.

All kinds of fishes are good to eat except a few which are too tough,
a few which are bitter, and a few that feed on poisonous things about
the coral reefs and so become poisonous themselves. Some are insipid,
some full of small bones and some are too lean or too small to tempt
anybody, unless it be another fish. But this is their business, not
ours, and they have flesh enough for the things they have to do.

The biggest fish is the great basking shark, which grows to be
thirty-five feet long, and lies on the surface of the sea, like a huge
saw-log, filling its great mouth with the little things that float
along beside it.

The smallest of all fishes lives in the everglades of Florida and the
streams that run out of them. You can find them in the little brook
that runs through Jacksonville. I have netted them there with a spread
umbrella, which will serve when you cannot get a better dip-net. They
are prettily barred with jet black on a greenish ground, and they
belong to that group of top minnows to which Agassiz gave the name of
_heterandria_. It is hard to say what is the highest fish--what is the
one which has undergone the greatest modification of structure. Perhaps
this place should be assigned to the sole, with its two eyes both on
one side of the head, peering through the same socket, while the socket
on the other side has no eye at all. Or perhaps we may place as highest
some specialized form as the angler or the sargassum fish, which has
the paired fins greatly developed almost like arms and legs, and which
has a dorsal spine modified into a fishing rod, which has a bait at the
end, hanging over the capacious mouth.

Agassiz put the sharks higher than all these bony fishes because, while
lower in most respects, the sharks have greater brain and greater
power of muscle. Others again might give the highest place to the lung
fishes, fishes of the tropical swamps, with lungs as well as gills, and
which can breathe air after a fashion when the water is all gone. These
are not high in themselves, but they are nearest the higher animals,
especially interesting to us because from such creatures in the past
all the frogs and salamanders, and through these all the beasts that
bite, the birds that fly and the reptiles that crawl are descended.
These are near the primitive fish stock, the ancestors of true fishes
on the one hand and of the land vertebrates on the other. As such, they
partake of the nature of both. More correctly, their descendants have
divided their characters. Their land-progeny lost the gills, scales
and fins of the lung fishes, while their water descendants have lost
their lungs, or rather the use of them, for the lung of the fish is
generally a closed sac, called the air bladder. Sometimes it is only
partly closed, and sometimes it is lost altogether.

But while we may dispute about the highest fish, there is no doubt
about the lowest one. This is the lancelet. It is of the size and shape
of a toothpick, translucent, scaleless, and almost finless, burying
itself in the sand on warm coasts, in almost every region.

The lancelet has no real bone in it, just a line of soft tissue
blocking out the space where the backbone ought to be. It has no
skull, nor brain, nor eyes, nor jaws, nor heart, nor anything in
particular--just transparent muscle, spinal cord, artery gills, stomach
and ovaries, with a fringe of feelers about the slit we call the mouth.
And even these organs are rather blocked out than developed, yet it
is easy to see that the creature is a vertebrate in intention and
therefore essentially a fish--a fish and a vertebrate reduced to their
lowest terms.

You can go fishing almost anywhere, but whether it is good to do it
or not depends on your reasons for doing it. There are about three
good reasons for going a-fishing, one indifferent one, and one that is
wholly bad.

One good reason is that you may learn to know fish. Isaac Walton tells
us that "it is good luck to any man to be on the good side of the man
that knows fish." This is true, but you cannot learn to know fish
unless you go forth to find them. There are about 15,000 kinds of fish
in the world; 4,000 of them in North America, north of Panama. Now no
man knows them all, not even on one continent, though some have written
books upon them.

But the man who knows a large part of them has not only learned fish,
but a host of other things as well. He calls to mind rosy-spotted trout
of the Maine woods, and still rosier of many brooks of Unalaska. He
has seen the blue parrot fishes of the Cuban reefs and the leaping
grayling of the Gallatin and the Au Sable. He has tried the inconnu
of the Mackenzie River and the tarpon of the Florida reefs. He knows
the sparkling darters of the French Broad and the Swannanoa, the
clear-skinned _pescados blancos_ of the Chapala Lake and the pop-eyes
and grenadiers of three miles drop of Bering Sea. Till you learn to
know fish you cannot imagine what the water depths still have for you
to know.

The second good reason why you should go a-fishing is that you may know
the places where fishes go. All the finest scenery is full of fish. The
Fire-Hole Canyon, the Roaring River, the Agna Bonita, the Rio Blanco,
de Orizaba, the creek of Captains Harbor, the Saranna, the Roanoke,
the Restigouche, the Nipigon, and the lakes of the St. John, all these
are good fishing water of their kind. So is the Rio Almendares, the
Twin Lakes, and the Eagle River, the Sawtooth Mountains, the Venados
Islands, the shores of Clipperton, the Pearl Islands, Dead Man's Reef,
No Man's Land, and the sand reaches of San Diego, Santa Barbara,
Pensacola, and Beaufort. If you know all these you know the rest of the
United States, with Canada and Mexico as well. All this is a goodly
country, which it is well for a good citizen to understand. If you
go a-fishing to know the fish, the rest will be granted to you. And
with all the rest you have filled your mind not only with pictures of
plunging trout, of leaping muscallonge and diving barracuda, but you
have enriched it with endless vistas of deep, green pools; of foamy
cascades, flower-carpeted meadows, of dark pines and sunny pines, white
birch and clinging vines and wallowing mangrove. You have "dominion
over palm and pine," the only dominion there is, for your dominion doth
not "speedily pass away." You know the crescent bay, with its white
breakers, the rush of the eager waters through the tide-worn estuary,
the clinging fucus on the rocks at low-tide, the bark of sea wolves,
and the roar of sea lions in the long lines of swaying kelp which reach
far out into the farthest sea. This is good for you to know, for it is
an antidote to selfishness and doubt and care. Then, too, it is good
to know the men that live in the open where the fishes are. To shake
their hands and share their hospitality will cure you of pessimism and
distrust of democracy, and banish all the chimeras and goblins which
vex those who live too long in cities. To hear the elk's whistle and
the ouzel's call, the whirr of the grouse's wings and the rush of the
water in the canyon, will get out of your brain the shriek of cable
cars, the rattle of the elevated railway, and all the unwholesome
jangle of men who meet to make money.

So there is a third reason for going a-fishing--not so good as the
first two, but still very noble. We may fish for rest or exercise,
which is but another form of rest. We may fish placidly in the placid
brooks as Walton did, for chub and dace, till our thoughts flow as
placidly as the Charles, or the Suwanee, or the Thames. Or we may fish
in the rush and roar of the Des Chutes or the Buttermilk, tramping high
through the pines to Agua Bonita, or far across the desert to Trapper's
Lake, or struggling through the wooded reaches to the Saranac. We may
come back at night tired enough to lie flat on the floor and "drip off
the edges" of it, but withal at peace with all the world--it matters
not whether we have fish or not.

There is one reason for fishing which is wholly indifferent--that is to
go a-fishing for the meat which is in the fish. This is pan-fishing or
pot-fishing. If you get your living by it, that is your business. It
is frequently an honest business. But it is not a matter of pride. If
you caught a hundred trout in the Au Sable and ate them all you were
fortunate. They helped out your store of provisions, and trout are very
fair eating when properly fried. But don't brag about it. It interests
the rest of us no more than if you boasted of catching ten frogs, or
eating a hundred chickens in a hundred consecutive days. The matter
of fish as food belongs to economics or some other dismal science. By
eating trout or bass you can never get "on the good side of the man who
knows fish."

There remains one reason for going fishing which is positively
horribly, disgustingly bad--that is, to see how many fish you can
catch, just for numbers' sake. This is called "hog fishing," and
whether your purpose be to brag over the size of your basket or to lie
about the catch, or both, it is bad--bad for the fish, bad for the
rivers, bad for your neighbors, bad for you. The good man will never
slay fish wantonly. We creatures of God on the earth together should
enjoy each other, and the beautiful world, which is ours alike.

Because man is the wisest of all, with greatest power of knowledge and
capacity for happiness, it is all the more incumbent on him to preserve
the world as fair as he found it, and to respect the rights so far as
may be of every other man and beast.

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Did the rivers make the valleys or did the valleys make the rivers?
This is not only an interesting but a very difficult question to answer
correctly. Ask your teachers about it. Be sure you do not make any
mistakes, because when you answer it correctly you have found out a
great deal about geology. And geology is a hard name for a subject that
contains many interesting and easy things, and the study of the river
will help you understand many of these things.

However, it may be about the valleys, we are very sure that the river
made many, many other things that we know about. Did you ever hear of
the orator in the New York Legislature, who wondered how it was that
the rivers most always flowed by the big cities? He certainly got his
"cart before the horse," for it is the big cities that always grow by
the big rivers. History has always grown along the banks of rivers,
because all civilization has grown along their banks. The boundaries
of nations change. The political maps of Europe that I studied when I
was a boy are now out of date, and you would find they are all wrong,
because the boundaries of kingdoms, states, and empires have changed so
often; but the life of the world continues to be found largely along
the banks of the rivers.

Why is this? And here is another question for you to talk with your
teachers about. If you get the answer, you will have the key that will
let you into much of the wonders and triumphs of art, architecture, and

Of course, the very earliest man would keep close to the river's edge,
because he would have no other sure way of getting water to drink, and
the fish in the water, the birds on the water, and the birds' eggs in
the nests along the edge of the river offered him a sure supply of
food. And then along the river the grass grows greenest, and this
afforded good grazing for his cows, and his horses, and, may be, his
camels. What kind of food does the camel like best, anyhow? Primitive
man must have learned to swim early, and it must have been fun for the
little boys of barbarism, as it is for the little boys of civilization,
to plunge into the cooling water on a hot day. Man must have found
out very early how to make a raft which would carry him down stream,
and soon after he learned how to make a canoe that he could paddle up
stream. So the river became his first road. On it he traveled when he
went hunting, and with its help he protected his property and that of
the tribe. The enemies were driven across the river, and kept on the
other side.

A good way to study what a river does for man is to find out all you
can about the life that gathered about some particular river, for that
will tell you more or less of what happened along the banks of all the
great rivers. The best of all rivers for such study is the Nile. It
is one of the long rivers of the world, so long that its sources have
only been recently discovered by those who make geographies. Read the
stories of Livingstone and Stanley, and the early explorers, who went
in search of the head waters of the Nile.

  [Illustration: A MOUNTAIN RIVER.
                 CHICAGO COLORTYPE CO.]

But there are two Niles. One runs through the continent of Africa, and
empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Another begins in the very earliest
dawn of history, and runs through the human story of thought, feeling,
and life. Along the banks of this Nile, in history, we see how human
life was developed; all human life beginning away back there, so far
back we cannot count it by years; when man made knives of flints and
hatchets of stone. And then, because the Nile gently overflowed its
banks two or more times a year, leaving after each freshet a soft layer
of fertile mud on either side, primitive man began to plant his seed
in this field plowed by a river, and to raise his millet, and peas,
and beans, and some kind of wheat and corn. He was able to feed his
cattle, and to raise chickens and geese along the banks of this river,
which was only a green ribbon, from six to ten miles wide, four or
five hundred miles long. On this green ribbon a great civilization, so
great and so wonderful that only very learned men can understand how
wonderful and how great it was, grew up.

Find out something about the pyramids. Look up pictures of the ruins
of the Temple of Karnak; and that great stone image, carved out of a
hill, higher than a five-story building, with a head so large that if
a man stood on the top of one ear he could hardly reach the top of the
head with his outstretched hand. The Greeks called this great stone
image, with the body of a lion and the head of a man, a sphinx; but
the Egyptians called it the "Hor-em-khoo," the "Horus-on-the-horizon;"
and Horus was the god-child they most loved, the child of Osiris, the
great sun-divinity, and of Isis, the beautiful mother of heaven. All
this civilization along the Nile would have been impossible had it
not been for the Nile. The great stones that went into the pyramids
were floated down the river. Soldiers and workingmen were transported
on the river. The fields were made fertile by the river, and the
leisure and the wealth that were made possible by the fertile fields
on the river's bank gave men time to think and to feel, to invent the
beautiful picture writings, to cut out the great tomb temples, and to
think the great thoughts of religion, God-thoughts, love-thoughts, and

Now, what happened along the banks of the Nile happened to a certain
degree along the banks of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Mesopotamia
means "the land between the rivers," the mid-river country. Away back
five or six thousand years ago there were people who built great
cities, erected high tower-temples of burned brick. They invented a
curious kind of arrow-headed alphabet (the cuneiform), which they
stamped into clay tablets, brick reading books. On the banks of these
rivers, in that far-off time, astronomers watched the stars, and found
out a good deal about the planets and eclipses. They measured time by
the year of three hundred and sixty-five days, and twelve months, which
means that they had watched the moon and measured the length of the

Then there are other rivers, The Ganges, that runs through the heart of
India, on the banks of which there grew up the great religions and the
curious customs of the Hindus and the Buddhists; and the Jordan, which,
you will remember, flows through our Bible. Around it clusters the
great stories of the prophets, of Jesus and his disciples. When we turn
to Europe, we will find much about the Germans, by finding out all we
can about the Rhine. If you can find out much about the Rhone and the
Seine, you will understand the story of France and the French people.
The Thames is older than London; and along the banks of the Danube
grew up nation after nation. Down that stream have floated war vessels
for different peoples for thousands and thousands of years. Would you
not like to see a collection of boats that would reach from the boats
made of the raw hides of animals by the earlier pagan people along the
Danube, up to the latest and best steamer that now plies up and down
that great river?

None the less interesting are the rivers of the Western continent, the
Hudson, the Mississippi, and the Missouri; the Ohio and the Amazon are
the pathways over which the first explorers traveled. Along their banks
did the first settlers make their homes, and on their bosom did the men
in the wild woods first send their traffics. Who was it that started
the first steamboat up the Hudson? You remember how Abraham Lincoln
when a boy helped build a flat-boat, and how he steered that flat-boat
all the way from Illinois to New Orleans, selling there the truck the
early settlers raised, exchanging it for molasses, and sugar, and the
calico that they needed in Illinois.

When we remember the great service that the rivers have rendered man,
the beautiful stories that cluster around them, the beautiful life that
has sported in their waters, floated upon their surface, and gathered
on their banks, is it not a pity that they are being so despoiled by
thoughtless and reckless men, who wantonly cut down the forests, waste
the trees that grow upon their banks? And then, in our cities, instead
of beautifying the banks and profiting by the scenery, foolish men turn
the back doors of their houses upon the rivers, build barns upon their
banks, make of them the dumping-places into which they throw their
rubbish, street sweepings, and old tin cans, everything that will soil
the water and spoil the scenery.

Do you not think that some day we will again come back to the old love
of the river, even if we do not need it so much as a highway now? for
railroads go faster. We will keep them clean and beautiful, for the
pleasure and the health they yield. You have heard of what a dirty
thing the Chicago river is, how unpleasant it is both to the sense
of sight and to the sense of smell. It is very much the same with
many of the other rivers that flow through our great cities, and even
smaller towns. Some day the children of our public schools, who are
now studying these things, will grow up, and they will find out how to
purify our streams. They will restore their beauty. They will love the
fish in the water so much that they will prefer seeing them alive to
eating them when dead. They will give back the rivers to the birds,
that will sing unmolested upon their banks, and raise their little ones
undisturbed in their nests, built low among the sedges, or swinging
loftily in the poplar boughs above.

So you see, my children, to know the river is to know much of the
geology of the world, much of the plant and animal life of the world,
very much of the history of man, and very much of the higher hopes and
aspirations, the poetry, the morality, and the religion of the human
soul. The rivers were here before man was. They invited man. They
nursed him. They fed him. They marked the places for his settlements.
They helped the organization of the state.

By the way, as a closing lesson, suppose you find out how many of the
states of our Union were named after rivers, and see how many of the
river names you can discover the meaning of; for the rivers were on the
earth before they were named. The names are of men, and some of them
are very suggestive. The rivers are of God. They belong to nature, and
they show forth the laws of nature, which are always the laws of God.

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In field and forest bright-colored and active insects attract our
attention. Aquatic insects, on the other hand, do not, as a rule,
possess such bright colors as their land relatives nor move about
with as great rapidity, yet it does not follow that they are less

As would be expected, some of the most interesting things about these
animals are connected with modifications of their form which have
resulted from their aquatic life. It is believed that the ancestors of
water insects have been land insects which invaded the water and have
thus become greatly modified in their new surroundings. Locomotion and
breathing, either one or both of these functions, are, as a rule, very
different in land and water insects.

The variety of aquatic insects, if we consider only the adults, is not
great when compared with the land insects. But when we compare fresh
and salt water forms it is surprising how few kinds there are which
live in the sea, in spite of its vast area and great food supply. So
few are the insects found in the sea, or other salt waters, that, to
most of us, to speak of aquatic insects only calls to mind fresh water
forms. We shall, therefore, refer almost wholly to fresh water forms.
Let us consider briefly a few examples of these.

We may distinguish two general groups, according to their special
habitat. Belonging to the first group are those insects which frequent,
primarily, the surface of the water. These forms which breathe air
directly, and not air dissolved in water, as is the case with many
other water insects, must be kept dry and be able to maintain their
position on the surface of the water. Surface insects, such as the
Water-Skaters, found on quiet ponds and streams, and their marine
relatives, _Holobates_, accomplish this by means of fine hairs which
cover the feet where they touch the water. The same physical principal
is involved here, as when a needle or wire is floated upon water,--that
of surface tension.

The fine hairs on the body of a water insect act in the same way as
those on the feet, and thus keep the insect dry when below the surface.
These insects are thus able to breathe as land insects, on account of
their being on the surface, and consequently their respiratory systems
are not as greatly modified as in many of the insects living beneath
the surface. It must be borne in mind that an insect breathes by means
of the air which enters the body by small openings and is led by means
of tubes, which become very finely divided, like veins, to all parts of
the body. By means of contractions and expansions of the body of the
insect, the air within these tubes is caused to circulate, and thus
impure air is driven out and a fresh supply is pumped in.

Two of the commonest of these surface dwellers, so well known to the
small boy who frequents ponds and streams, are the Whirligig-beetles or
Lucky-bugs, and the long-legged Water-striders or Water-skaters.

The Whirligig-beetles are easy to recognize on account of their
characteristic circular gyrations when disturbed, and by their habit of
associating in large numbers in quiet places. When one of these, groups
is disturbed they exhibit such activity that they well deserve their
name, "Crazy-bugs." The eyes of these beetles are very peculiar in
that each eye is divided into an upper and lower part. Thus the insect
has practically an upper and lower pair, one adapted for sight at the
surface, and the other for vision under water.

The Whirligigs do not seem to be very particular about their food, as
they will accept both live and dead insects which fall into the water,
and even under some circumstances will feed upon plants. When a beetle
plunges beneath the surface, as he often does when frightened, he
carries down a small bubble of air between the ends of his horny wings
and the tip of his body. On account of his body being lighter than
water it takes some effort to dive, but none to rise to the surface.
The two hind pairs of legs which are used so much in swimming are very
much flattened and plate like, making excellent paddles, as is shown by
their exceedingly rapid movements.

The Water-skaters, or Striders, prefer quiet waters, as do the
Whirligigs, but do not have the decided social disposition, shown in
the latter to such a marked degree. These Skaters, on account of their
long legs and short bodies, are the "Daddy long-legs" of the water.
These characteristics and their habitat make them easy to recognize.
They are nervous, active insects in their movements, jumping and
skimming about on the surface with but little show of grace and ease
as compared with the ordinary graceful curves of the whirligigs. Their
food habits are very similar to those of other surface insects, that
is, dead and dying insects found floating on the water. But their
method of taking food is quite different from that of the Whirligigs,
because of the great difference in the structure of their mouth parts.
The Whirligig, being a beetle, has the typical biting mouth parts,
while the Strider has a slender beak or proboscis, by means of which
it sucks the juices from its prey, as do other bugs. The fore legs
are used to seize the prey and bring it within reach of the beak. The
middle and hind pair are used for rowing over the surface, the latter
pair, primarily, for steerage, the fine hairs on the legs making it
possible, as mentioned before, to make use of the surface tension.
Large dimples are formed on the surface of the water where the feet
touch it. One would hardly expect it possible for an insect standing on
the surface of water to get its feet dirty, yet the great care which
they give to cleaning their feet clearly shows that dirt is of common
occurrence, even there. The white or gray color on the lower side of
the body is due to the reflection of light from minute hairs which
cover the surface, and keep the insect dry even when submerged.

The marine relatives of our Striders have some curious habits. Some
of them live out at sea, hundreds of miles from land, where they are
thought to feed upon the dead bodies of small animals. When the surface
of the sea is calm they glide in colonies quickly over the surface,
showing great skill in diving, but if the sea begins to become agitated
they immediately disappear from the surface.

Perhaps the most remarkable habit which a surface insect has is that
possessed by some of the allies of the Skaters, which not only swim in
the water, but actually run on the _under_ side of the surface film. It
would be very interesting to know how such a habit was acquired.

Another interesting group of insects are those which breathe air, as
the surface film insects, yet seek their food below the surface. These
insects are compelled, on account of their air-breathing habits, to
repeatedly visit the surface or communicate in some way with a fresh
supply of air.

  [Illustration: INSECTS.
                 FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.

                 Archimerus calcarator
                 Oncopeltus fasciatus
                 Ranatra fusca
                 Galgulus oculatus

                 Nezara hilaris
                 Leptoglossus phyllopus
                 Benacus griseus
                 Zelus bilobus

                 Metapodeus femoratus
                 Conorhinus sanguisugus
                 Cicada septemdecim
                 Platycotis sagittata.]

We have two families of the large-sized water beetles, common in our
ponds and streams. The Predaceous water-beetles and the Water-scavenger
beetles. These are easily recognized, because in the former, the
antennæ are thread-like and not enlarged at the tip. While the members
of the Water-scavenger family have the antennæ enlarged or club-shaped
at the tip. The Predaceous water-beetles are often quite common under
electric lights, where they have been attracted by the intense light.
Their large size and clumsy movements, when out of water, attract
attention. But when seen in water their skill as swimmers is in
striking contrast to their awkward movements made on land. The hind
legs are flattened and very powerful, the surface being increased by
a fringe of strong hairs on the inner side. In swimming the stroke
is made by both legs at once. Perhaps the most interesting facts about
these beetles are those associated with their method of breathing.

The horny wing cases covering the abdomen are very thick and fit
close against the abdomen, except at the extreme posterior end of the
body. The space between the wing cases and the upper surface of the
abdomen forms a large air space. The spiracles, or openings into the
respiratory system, are situated at the margins of the upper side of
the abdomen. When the beetle comes to the surface for a fresh supply
of air it exposes the tip of the body and then by a depression of
the tip of the abdomen allows a fresh supply of air to enter into
the cavity below the wing covers; this cavity is then closed and the
beetle is ready for another trip under the water. When resting in the
water they float with their head downward and the end of the abdomen
slightly projecting from the water; thus a fresh supply of air is easy
to secure. In their food habits these beetles are predaceous, and in
addition to other insects, will even kill small fish.

The Water-scavenger beetles are not such perfect swimmers as the
Predaceous ones. When the latter makes a stroke in swimming it strikes
with both hind legs, while the Scavengers strike alternatingly with
the hind legs. Their method of securing and carrying air, as with
other water-beetles, is remarkable. In addition to the air reservoir
under the wings, they have on the under side of the body large hairy
areas which communicate with the one under the wings. All the air
spaces are thus in direct communication. The respiratory openings in
the Predaceous water-beetles open on the upper side of the abdomen,
but in these beetles they are on the lower side and surrounded by
short hairs which preserve the air film on the lower surface. When the
fresh air supply has been exhausted the beetle comes to the surface,
tips the body slightly, so as to bring the region on one side of the
body just behind the head, to the surface. The long antenna which is
folded backward and reaches to the rear part of the head, occupies
an air space in its apical half, and in addition is covered by fine
hairs, thus being doubly protected from being wetted. At the moment the
beetle reaches the surface, by a stroke of the antenna (on the side
which is nearest the surface, the body being tilted), the film from
the air space in which the antenna rests is carried upward and outward
to the surface of the water, thus forming an opening to the exterior.
By movements of the wings, aided by bellows-like contractions and
expansions of the body, a fresh supply of air is pumped into the air

In speaking of peculiar water insects one must not forget to mention
the larva of _Donacia_. The adult female of this interesting
leaf-eating beetle often cuts circular holes in the large leaves of
water-lilies, and then deposits her eggs at the margin of these holes
on the under side. When the larvæ hatch they make their way to the
roots, upon which they feed. The really remarkable thing about this
larva is how it gets its air supply, as it does not have gills, nor
is it known to visit the surface for a fresh supply of air, and yet
it has a normal air-breathing system. On the dorsal surface, near the
tail end of the body, are two slender, curved, spine-like processes.
The air tubes of the body arise from the base of these spines, and
spiracular-like openings are found at their base.

Two different views have been advocated to explain how it is possible
for the larva to secure air. There seems to be no difference of opinion
with regard to the source of the air supply, from the air cells in the
root of the plant upon which the larva feeds. One view is that these
air spaces in the plant are punctured by the spines and thus the air
is taken directly into the air tubes. The other view is that the larva
bites a hole into the air space and then, by the aid of the spines,
holds the openings at the base of the spine against the air space and
thus the air is taken up.

The Back-swimmers are curious little fellows which swim upside down in
the water, and by means of their sucking mouth parts, prey upon other
small animals. The lightness of their bodies and the large amount of
air which they carry with them make it necessary when they wish to
remain below the surface to hold fast to some object. Thus it takes
constant effort in order to remain below the surface. For this reason
it is quite natural that they should very often be found floating at
the surface where no effort is needed to maintain their position and
where an abundant supply of air is accessible.

Another method of securing fresh air, but differing from that of any of
the insects previously mentioned, is by means of elongated breathing
tubes, thus allowing the insect to remain submerged and yet secure
a fresh supply of air from the surface. This method is used by some
predaceous water bugs, as shown in the plate, _Ranatra fusca_. As with
all of our Predaceous water bugs, which have the elongated respiratory
tube at the end of the body, the Water-scorpion has its fore legs
adapted for capturing and holding its prey, which consists generally
of small fish and insects. The apical part of the fore leg folds back
on the basal part which is grooved on its inner face, as a knife blade
folds into its handle. As the slender legs of this bug would indicate,
it is not an active swimmer, but crawls about slowly.

Doubtless the best known, to most people, of this type of breather,
are the Giant water bugs, which accumulate in such large numbers
under and in the globes of electric lights. The paired nature of the
breathing tube is well shown in the plate. These bugs are powerful
swimmers, as is shown by their flattened hind legs. Even young fish
are not overlooked by these voracious bugs. A South American kind is
much larger than our species, reaching from four to four and one-half
inches in length, or about twice the size of our species. The shortness
of the air tube suggests that this organ is not used in just the same
manner as in the Water-scorpions, and the areas of fine hairs on the
under side of the body suggest that these insects may be somewhat of a
compromise between those insects which carry air below with them and
those which remain submerged, except for the tube which communicates
with the air.

Most of the insects previously mentioned are ones which throughout life
live in water, but a very large number are aquatic only during their
larval or immature stages. The Mosquito is a good illustration, of
this type. In some of its habits the Mosquito is well known, but this
is primarily due to the biting habit of the female. The researches of
recent years clearly show that the annoyance from the bite itself,
is, in the case of some kinds of Mosquitoes, only a small part of the
mischief that they can do. The life history of the Mosquito has been
summarized somewhat as follows by Dr. L. O. Howard: The eggs are laid
at night, in a boat-shaped mass containing from two hundred to four
hundred eggs. These may hatch in 16 hours, the larval stage lasting
about a week, and the pupal stage about 24 hours. Thus the entire cycle
may be completed in 10 days, under favorable circumstances, but may
be greatly delayed by a low temperature. The rapidity with which the
complete cycle may be passed through makes it possible for a very large
number of broods to occur during a single season.

The Wigglers or Wiggle-tails, often so numerous in rain-barrels, are
the larvæ of mosquitoes. Every one has noticed that these larvæ when
not disturbed rest at the surface, but when frightened drop slowly
downward in the water, since they are heavier than this medium, yet
they rest at the surface, by means of a rosette of thin plates at
the tail end of the body. These act as the hairs on the legs of the
Water-strider, and make use of the tension of the surface film which
holds the larva up, as the surface tension held up the Water-strider.
On the next to the last segment of the Wiggler there is a large
breathing tube which reaches to the surface when the larva is floating.
The food of the larva is said to be decaying vegetable matter. The
short pupal period is also passed floating, but it now has two
breathing tubes near the points of attachment of the wings. When ready
to transform it crawls out onto the pupal skin and dries its wings
preparatory to flight.

Our common mosquitoes belong to three genera, _Culex_, _Anopheles_ and
_Corethra_. The annoyance caused by the irritation resulting from the
bite is not understood, as no poison gland has been found. The females
only of our mosquitoes are known to suck blood. From researches made
during the past few years it is now definitely known that the bite of
certain kinds of mosquitoes is really dangerous. This is not on account
of the actual puncture made by the insect, but due to the presence of
the germs of malaria, which are introduced into the wound from the
infected insect. The only mosquitoes which are definitely known to
transmit this malarial parasite to man belong to the genus _Anopheles_.
The malarial parasite thus has two hosts, mosquitoes belonging to the
genus _Anopheles_ and man. This parasite infests the stomach walls
of the mosquito, where it rapidly multiplies and becomes mature; then
escaping from this locality, accumulates in the salivary glands. From
this reservoir they are easily transferred to their human host at the
time of sucking blood.

These aquatic insects which we have discussed so briefly are only a
few samples from a very large number whose history and habits are full
of interest to those who find the study of animal life a fascinating


The peculiar sounds made by different insects, though usually known as
insect music, are probably far from musical in the opinions of those
who listen to it with dread. Many superstitious people have firm belief
in dire warnings concerning certain calamities which "insect music"

For instance we are told that the "deathwatch" is a popular name
applied to certain beetles which bore into the walls and floors of
old houses. They make a ticking sound by standing on their hind legs
and knocking their heads against the wood quickly and forcibly. Many
superstitions have been entertained respecting the noise produced by
these insects, which is sometimes imagined to be a warning of death.

There are many insects, however, which produce sound decidedly musical;
and many such instances have been enumerated. Everybody is familiar
with the music of the katydid. Here it is the male that has the voice.
At the base of each wing cover is a thin membraneous plate. He elevates
the wing covers, and rubs the two plates together. If you could rub
your shoulder blades together you could imitate the operation very

Certain grasshoppers make a sound when flying that is like a watchman's
rattle--clacketty-clack, very rapidly repeated. There are also some
moths and butterflies which have voices.

The "death's-head" moth makes a noise when frightened that strikingly
resembles the crying of a young baby. How it is produced is not known,
though volumes have been written on the subject.

The "mourning cloak" butterfly--a dark species with a light border in
its wings--makes a cry of alarm by rubbing its wings together.

The katydids, crickets, grasshoppers and other musical insects are all
exaggerated in the tropics, assuming giant form. Thus their cries are
proportionately louder.

There is an East Indian cicada which makes a remarkably loud noise. It
is called by the natives "dundub," which means drum. From this name
comes that of the genus which is known as _Dundubia_. This is one of
the few scientific terms from Sanskrit.

Entomologists have succeeded in recording the cries of many insects by
the ordinary system of musical notation. But this method does not show
the actual pitch, which is usually several octaves above the staff. It
merely serves to express the musical intervals.

It is known with reasonable certainty that many insects have voices
so highly pitched that they cannot be heard with the human ear. One
evidence of this fact is that some people can distinguish cries of
insects which are not audible to others. But even if there are a few
notes lost to many of us, there is enough insect music to prove vastly
entertaining to those who take interest in the insect world, and the
peculiar methods of its inhabitants in communicating with each other.



Cattle is a term applied to the whole of that large variety of domestic
animals known as the Bovine family. Naturalists have divided them into
two primary groups--the hump-backed cattle (_Bos Indicus_) and the
straight-backed cattle (_Bos Taurus_).

Some naturalists claim that these two groups are really only different
varieties of the same species, while others claim that the marked
differences in structure, habits and voice are such as would indicate a
specific distinction.

The hump-backed variety is chiefly found in India and Africa, while the
straight-backed cattle are common in all parts of the globe. Cattle
seem to have been domesticated as far back as written and traditional
history will take us.

The remains of the cow and the ox have been found as a part of the
many evidences of the oldest civilizations, their bones having been
discovered in the same caves with stone axes and stone knives. That
the cow contributed immensely to the earlier civilizations cannot be
doubted. Besides contributing to the daily bill of fare she became the
common beast of burden, drawing the rudest of plows, sleds and carts,
and in fact she does the same to-day to some extent in many parts of
the world.

The common straight-backed cattle, as we know them in our country,
remain an important factor even in this stage of civilization; while
they are not generally used as beasts of burden, they furnish millions
of gallons of milk and numberless pounds of butter, and finally
sacrificing their entire bodies to the use of man. The principal part
of the body goes to the meat block to become steaks, roasts and soup
bones; the refuse flesh going to the manufacture of soaps largely; the
hide furnishes most of our leather, the bones become fertilizer, the
hoofs and horns make our glue, and lastly, the hair makes it possible
for us to live in plastered houses.

In olden times a man's wealth seems to have been measured by the
number of cattle he owned, and during the same period cattle were
used as money, or a medium of exchange. Later when metal coinage came
into use in Greece the image of an ox was stamped on the new money in
commemoration of the old system. The same idea has left its impression
on the languages of Europe as seen in the Latin word _pecunia_ and the
English word "pecuniary," both words being derived from _pecus_ cattle.

America is the great cattle-producing country of the world. In the
early settlement of this country the immense tracts of uncultivated
grass lands were well adapted to cattle-raising, and many were the
large herds to be seen west of the Ohio river on the great prairies of
the country once known as the Northwest Territory. But as men came with
their plows the herds were gradually driven farther and farther west.
Cattle are very interesting animals when we once get acquainted with

The writer, when a boy, had some experience herding cattle on an
Illinois prairie. In this particular herd of which I wish to speak
there were about seven hundred head and it required two of us and also
two good shepherd dogs to keep them in control during the early part
of the herding season or until we got them "broken in," as the old
herders used to say. These cattle had been wintered on various farms
surrounding the herd grounds, so when they were brought together in
the spring there were about fifteen different clans to contend with,
each clan having its recognized leader. Now, these leaders are always
a source of trouble to the herder, and especially is this true for the
first few weeks after bringing them together.

  [Illustration: BRITTANY.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO]

The whole herd would be grazing and moving slowly along, seemingly
perfectly satisfied, when suddenly one of those leaders would raise
his head very high in the air and act as if he saw something very
interesting a mile away and would immediately start off in a rapid
walk, bellowing two or three times to notify his followers that he was
out for a stroll. Then the whole of his clan would follow him at once.
They would not go far until the leader would set the pace in a rapid

But we always had the remedy at hand for these fellows and immediately
one of us would mount a horse and taking a dog make a straight run for
the leader and begin to give him the "business end" of a long, heavy
whip, the horse being trained to this sort of performance would keep
close to this leader, allowing us to pour on the whip until he was so
completely run down and fagged out generally that he would never aspire
to that office again; in fact, he would lose all interest in _cattle
politics_, not even making a good follower thereafter. But other
leaders would spring up and have to be discouraged in the same manner.

While these clan leaders gave us more or less trouble during the whole
of the season and made it necessary to exercise vigilance, it did not
have in it that source of danger and excitement that we experienced
in a general stampede. We had two of these during this season, one
of which turned out rather seriously and furnished enough excitement
to have satisfied the most reckless boy in our vicinity. It was some
time the last of the month of May. We had "rounded up" our cattle
in the evening as usual, putting them in the "pound" for the night.
Our cabin was near the "pound" and situated on higher ground, so we
could overlook the entire herd. This "pound" had an area of about ten
acres, being enclosed by a very strong wooden fence. It was some time
after midnight when we were awakened by the approach of a terrific
thunderstorm. We knew the danger of a stampede during these storms and
immediately got up, dressed ourselves in our rubber clothes, went to
the stable a few yards away and saddled our horses. We were then ready
for any emergency. When the lightning flashed we could see the cattle
walking in a circle round and round the "pound." Soon the rain began
to pour down in torrents and the storm was on in earnest. It had not
been raining long when with a blinding flash the lightning struck a
tree just outside the "pound." The shock was so great that it knocked
down a number of the cattle, which we saw regaining their feet during
the next flash of lightning. With one mighty surge the cattle mashed
down the entire fence on one side of the "pound" and the stampede was
on. We had our horses out in a "jiffy" and calling the dogs we started
in hot pursuit. All we dared to do was "to follow." There were quite a
number of trees in the path they took for about eighty rods from the
pound. The almost continuous lightning enabled us to follow the cattle.
They were running at full speed and it sounded like distant thunder and
fairly shook the earth. They ran about a mile when they came to a small
lake, which caused them to separate into two distinct herds. I followed
one herd and my companion the other. After running about four miles and
through a large farm they finally stopped in some heavy timber. I had
not long to wait until daylight, and the storm being over I "rounded
up" all I could find and started them back toward the herd grounds,
arriving at the cabin about 11 A. M., my companion arriving about the
same time. After a hurried meal we went out to look for injured cattle
and to make a count. We found two dead ones near the pound, which had
evidently lost their lives by running against trees. It was several
days before we were able to locate all the stragglers.



    Sleep little pigeon and fold your wings,
      Little blue pigeon with velvet eyes.
    Sleep to the singing of mother-bird swinging,
      Swinging the nest where her little one lies.

    In through the window a moonbeam comes,
      Little gold moonbeam with misty wings,
    All silently creeping it asks is he sleeping,
      Sleeping and dreaming while mother sings?
    But sleep little pigeon and fold your wings,
      Little blue pigeon with mournful eyes.
    Am I not singing? See I am swinging,
      Swinging the nest where my darling lies.
                                        --Eugene Field.

One day a carrier pigeon tapped at the window of Mrs. Nansen's home at
Christiania. Instantly the window was opened, and the wife of the great
Arctic explorer in another moment covered the little messenger with
kisses and caresses. The carrier pigeon had been away from the cottage
thirty long months, but had not forgotten the way home. It brought a
note from Nansen, stating that all was going well with his expedition
in the polar regions. Nansen had fastened a message to the bird and
turned it loose. The frail courier darted out into the Arctic air, flew
like an arrow over perhaps a thousand miles of frozen waste, and then
over another thousand miles of ocean and plain and forest, to enter the
window of its waiting mistress and deliver the message which she had
been awaiting so anxiously. We boast of human sagacity and endurance,
but this loving carrier pigeon, after an absence of thirty months,
accomplished a feat so wonderful that we can only give ourselves up to
wonder and admiration.

Utilization of the homing instinct of the domesticated varieties of
the Blue Rock pigeon, the _columba livia_, by employing the birds as
messengers for physicians living at some distance from their patients,
is comparatively new and is the latest evidence of the value of these
birds. A few doctors have made the experiment, and it only remains to
prove the facility with which the pigeons can be employed in order to
determine whether they are likely to come into general use for this

The importance of establishing pigeon service for busy, overworked
country doctors is strongly urged in favor of the plan, and it is
agreed that there is no other such efficient or speedy means of
carrying messages.

The carrier dove, which is the emblem of peace, though used in these
times for carrying war messages, obeys the one governing impulse of its
small heart when, released at a distance from its mate and its nest, it
turns with marvelous fidelity to its home cote. With no compass except
that home-seeking instinct, no reliance except in the exquisitely
adjusted beat of its wings, it soars upward until its keen eyesight and
quick perceptions give certainty of direction; then, at a splendid pace
of 1,400 yards in a minute, it speeds on its journey home.


Once a male bird has regularly mated he will fly back to his duties
as a husband and father as fast as he can. These duties are serious
and practical, for the male bird bears his full share in sitting upon
the eggs and in feeding the nestlings when hatched, for which purpose
both cock and hen possess special faculties and functions. The homing
tendency acts best when it is entirely concentrated. For example,
it has been found that a mated pair will not fly home together with
anything like proper certainty. They stop and dally by the way; they
behave like holiday people who have "got somebody to mind the babies."

In order to have trustworthy messengers for war or peace the pigeons
must not be bachelors nor loafers nor be flown with associates; they
must be the respectable mated birds with establishments, so that in
employing them for war messengers one actually presses domestic virtue,
as well as love and parental instinct, into the service of the military.

But even the peaceful pigeon can be sometimes pugnacious on his own
account, and a jealous fantail, or tumbler, or Antwerp, or Jacobin
often will conduct himself like a game cock, though painters and poets
from time immemorial have agreed to regard this bird as the natural
emblem of gentleness and peace. It is the accepted token of the Holy
Spirit, "which descended in the form of a dove." All literatures are
full of this thought.


The Arabs have a story that when an angel of Allah offered to King
Solomon the water of immortality in a ruby cup it was a dove that
dissuaded him from drinking it, and thereby from living mournfully to
survive those whom he loved in an earth grown desolate and lonely. And
it was because of the maternal courage of a dove which had followed
its captive nestlings all the way to the prophet's house that Mohammed
instituted that merciful decree which still prevails all over the East,
and which forbids true believers to touch or even to taste of the flesh
of any creature which has not been "hallalled"; that is to say, over
which, while alive, the prayer of pardonable bloodshed has not been

The birds, gentle and stainless, which Sappho sang of, harnessed to the
golden chariot of the "Splendor-throned Queen, immortal Aphrodite,"
in some cases have been converted into messengers of death and ruin.
Some hold that this is better than to see them immolated for prizes
by unsportsmanlike gunners at Monte Carlo and such places, for the
birds remain unaware of their new duties, and carry messages from a
beleaguered fortress, or the call for aid from a sinking warship, or
the state of a suffering patient, alike carelessly and ignorantly,
as if the missives tied to their feet were perfumed messages sent by


In the early '90s Dr. S. Weir Mitchell of Philadelphia used pigeons
in the case of a patient ill of nerve fatigue, several miles from his
home, thus accomplishing two purposes--a daily report and the salutary
effect of leading the worn mind of the patient into a new channel.

Dr. Philip Arnold, in a recent medical journal, tells of receiving
messages from his patients in the country every day, in addition to
his daily visits to them. His plan usually is to leave a pigeon the
day he makes a visit, and direct that the pigeon be liberated the
next day with such a message as he requires. With a little care in
the instruction of the nurse, he is informed of the condition of the
patient before he starts to make his next visit. In a country practice
this is important, since it enables the physician to judge what will be
needed for his patient in the next twenty-four hours, and the country
physician usually is his own druggist.

Then, again, country doctors cannot often make more than one call on
a patient in twenty-four hours, and by an aerial messenger service
they can get practically the same information as the doctors in the
city or hospital practice by leaving two pigeons and getting morning
and evening reports. The country doctor often is called from one
patient to other persons sick in the neighborhood. This will make him
late in getting back, and it is a great convenience if he can send
this information home, practically with the same speed as the city
practitioner through the medium of the telephone service.


Dr. Arnold suggests that physicians wishing to take this matter up in
earnest first of all should purchase only the best of Belgian homing
pigeons, one or two pairs well mated. No reliance can be placed on
young birds newly purchased for message carriers. Young birds, to be of
service, must have been hatched in the home loft. The old birds secured
for breeding must not be given their liberty until they have hatched
one or two broods. The youngsters at a certain age can be trained.

A young pigeon begins his racing life when he is ten weeks old, with
graduated journeys, varying from two to fifty and seventy miles in
length. At the age of six months he is usually fed on a diet of beans
and maple peas for a few months of hard racing work, the season
commencing in April. The length of the races varies from 50 or 100 to
as much as 600 miles. There is not competition between rival fanciers
and great excitement about the results.

Winter is the pigeon's time of retirement. He is not compelled to
race, for racing is only profitable when wind is fair and the air is
absolutely clear. Whatever the wonderful power that guides the pigeon
home over hundreds of miles of unknown country, it is certain that
sight plays an important part, for the least sign of haziness in the
air will put the pigeon in the position of a derelict ship.

A bird of good quality costs from $5 to $20 when one month old, and a
practiced racer one year old generally brings from $25 to $100.

When using these birds for messenger service the message is written
upon the thinnest rice paper, rolled up and deposited in an aluminum
holder, which is fastened to the bird's leg. This holder is in the
shape of a capsule, with a small band which is easily attached
to the leg of the bird. Professor Marion of the Naval Academy at
Annapolis invented the holder, which is water tight when the lid is
on, and weighs but eight grains. One of the most remarkable incidents
illustrating the wonderful memory of a homing pigeon was that of a bird
made a prisoner during the Franco-Prussian war. This pigeon after being
in captivity for ten years immediately returned to its home after being
liberated from confinement in a foreign country.

The hardships which these birds will unflinchingly face in returning
home can hardly be appreciated by those who are not familiar with them.
Birds so badly shot or torn by hawks as to be rendered almost helpless,
notwithstanding their injuries will struggle onward until at last
their home is reached. From extreme distances, such as points beyond
500 miles, the birds are at a great disadvantage, inasmuch as they are
thereby forced to forage for themselves, something they are not trained
to do. As a result they are unreliable and slow when called upon for
such work. There are birds which have homed 614 miles air line the day
after, and there are a few pigeons in this country that have covered
more than 1,000 miles, air line, the extreme distance covered being
1,212 miles.

It seems really impossible to extinguish the homing instinct in a good
pigeon. A story is told of a French carrier pigeon which was captured
by the German soldiers during the siege of Paris in 1870. The bird was
being carried in a balloon from Paris to some point in the country,
whence it was expected to return to Paris with a message. It was taken
to the German headquarters and presented to the commander, Prince
Frederick Charles, who sent it to his mother in Germany. Here it was
placed in a splendid roomy aviary and carefully fed and nourished; but,
although it was kept here, living in the lap of royal luxury for four
years, the French pigeon did not forget its fatherland.

At the end of that time the aviary was left open one day. The pigeon
flew out, mounted high in the air, flew about for a moment, as if to
find the points of the compass and started in a straight line for
Paris. Ten days afterward it beat its wings against the entrance to
its old loft in the Boulevard de Clichy. There it was recognized and
its case being brought to public attention it was honored as a patriot
returned from foreign captivity. It remained at the Paris Jardin
d'Acclimatation until it died in 1878.

In Belgium, where pigeon racing is as great sport as horse racing is
in England and America, the birds have made a speed of seventy miles
an hour for short distances. From thirty to forty miles an hour, is,
however, the average speed of the average bird. Though not by nature
strong of wing or equipped for long flight, the birds have been known
to cover great distances. Probably the longest journey of which there
is any record was made some ten years ago. A family of birds had been
taken from Belgium to New York, where they were to be bred and trained.
They were released from the cote before they had been thoroughly
domesticated, and straightway disappeared. Two weeks later three of the
pigeons, bedraggled, weary and nearly dead, arrived at their native
cote in Belgium. How they had made the long ocean voyage nobody ever
knew, but they had evidently accomplished it in some manner, and,
out of respect for their wonderful achievement, they were allowed to
remain in the home to regain which they had suffered so much.

  [Illustration: HOMING PIGEON.
                 FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.]

The _San Francisco Examiner_ records that "Sadie Jones, C. 21,392,"
is the champion long-distance homing pigeon of America, and the
world, so far as is known. She flew from Lake Charles, Louisiana, to
Philadelphia, a distance of 1,202 12-100 miles in 16 days and 3 hours.
Sadie Jones is the property of M. S. Sullivan, of West Philadelphia,
and was five years of age at the time of making the record. She was
named after the daughter of the National Race Secretary, Charles H.
Jones, and was personally countermarked and shipped by that young lady,
together with five others. She was the only one to return. So far as
known no other pigeon has ever flown this distance.

When the writer was many years younger, to please the rising
generation he made a dove cote and procured a few tame pigeons. In
the course of time the birds had increased by not only rearing young,
but by inducing strange birds to accept the quarters offered. The
pigeons were regularly fed, the meal hour being announced by a peculiar
whistle. The dinner call was soon known to all the birds in the place,
and the yard would immediately fill with birds from every direction
when the whistle was blown. On one occasion a lame bird in the flock,
which had evidently been caught in a snare and escaped with a slip
noose on one leg that had cut into the flesh, making the poor bird very
lame, came with the rest.

After considerable pains the bird was caught, the string cut, and the
bird placed on the ground. It stood a moment as if amazed, and then
flew up to its liberator's knee and fed out of his hand.



Looking from my study window, one day, last June, I noticed a little
yellow and brown bird, who was hopping from bush to bush. She was
busily chattering to another bird, who sat on a neighboring tree,
evidently much enjoying a worm he was eating. I knew the pair,
directly, as my friends of the season before,--the Yellow Warblers.

Mrs. Warbler was looking for a good place to build her nest. After some
consideration, she decided on a bush in front of my window. Off she
flew to a field of dandelions, and soon returned with several pieces of
dandelion fluff. It took quite a while to complete the house, for Mrs.
W. was very neat and precise in her work, but after it was finished,
Mr. Warbler came over to look at it (he had left the building to his
wife!), and as he seemed perfectly satisfied with it, Mrs. Warbler was

Not many days after this, some pretty little blue eggs lay snugly in
the nest, and Mrs. Warbler was a mother! Alas! On the day the young
Warblers left their shells, their mother came home from a call on
Mrs. Robin, to find her children crying most bitterly. An ugly Cowbird
had dropped its great, brown, spotted egg right in their beautiful
parlor! (It seems to be a custom with these birds, to leave their eggs
in the nests of their unfortunate neighbors, rather than hatch them

Poor, little Mrs. Warbler! She tried with all her strength to push the
egg out of her home, but without success. So, what do you suppose she
did? Why, she just built another nest on top of the old one! It was
a great deal of trouble, and the young Warblers tried her patience
sorely, by persisting in pulling at the threads and straws, as she wove
the frame-work of her new dwelling. "Labor is its own reward," however,
for there was not a happier couple in all bird land than Mr. and Mrs.
Yellow Warbler, when they brought their admiring friends and relations,
to see the young Warblers, in the two-storied nest.





We have been told, "Ye cannot live by bread alone," which is no doubt
true, but aside from the use of animal flesh as food, bread in some
form has played the greatest part in sustaining mankind.

There have been found, on every continent and every island of the
globe, rude stone implements that tell, by form only, of their possible
use. We read the story of pre-historic relics largely by comparison
with modern things, and hence judge that the crescent-shaped flint
implements, serrated upon their inner edge, to be seen in the British
Museum and elsewhere, may have been used by the savages as reaping

The natural habitat of wheat must necessarily remain a matter of
dispute, for history cannot tell us of the time when the wild grain
began to be cultivated by the savages, whose traditions are silent, nor
when it was introduced into the various countries.

The first harvest scenes depicted are found upon the stones of ancient
Egypt, representing slaves with reaping hooks, at their tasks, scenes
cut there before the time of Moses--long before the exodus. In the
ruins of Egypt bronze reaping hooks have been found, differing little
from those now used for trimming lawn hooks. In the sediment of Lake
Neuchatel, in Switzerland, where have been discovered the remains of an
ancient and forgotten people, whom we name merely "the Lake Dwellers,"
wheat and other grains have been found, and also reaping hooks of
bronze; and from the bogs of the Scandinavian countries, where, in
conformity with religious rites, were thrown prized articles, upon the
death of their owners, sickles have been taken.

From the time of bronze in Egypt, to the centuries following the dark
ages, the reaping hook was probably the only implement used in the

When comes the beginning of the end of barbarism in a nation, then
industrial progress germinates, and in proportion as barbarism has
decreased, the efforts for improvements in methods adapted to reduce
human labor have been successful. The cloud that cast its shadow
over Europe during the so-called dark ages, practically suppressed
all efforts, and it is only since then that the energies directed to
mechanical progress have had a fair field.

Following the reaping hook, not many centuries ago, came the scythe for
mowing hay. It was but an enlarged reaping hook, so planned as to call
into action the entire physical system, however, instead of the mere
right arm, and with it a man was able to lay in swath many times more
grass than had been accomplished by any previous implement. In America
at the beginning of this century, the scythe had been modified so as
to adapt it to the cutting of grain, and with it the straw was laid in
a neat swath by the man who swung it, ready to be raked and bound by
another. This, however, was nothing more than an implement.

We read that machines were attempted before the beginning of the
present century and are told by Pliny and others of a box-like cart
pushed by an ox between rearwardly extending thills, and having a comb
at front, adapted to pull the heads from the standing grain. A man
walking beside with a hoe-like instrument scraped the heads into the
box. It is no marvel that this implement, made by the Gauls as early as
A. D. 1, did not come into general use.

We also read that a machine was attempted in Hungary during the latter
part of the eighteenth century, and that prizes were offered in England
for a reaping machine. It is safe for us to consider, however, the
efforts of Mr. Gladstone, of England, who, in 1806, produced a machine
adapted to cut grain and deliver it in a swath beside the machine. With
what success, we are mainly left to judge by the construction of the
machine itself, which embodied many of the valuable elements of the
reaping machine that held sway during the second third of the present
century, only to be forced into the background by better harvesting

[Illustration: GLADSTONE REAPER.]

In order to give Mr. Gladstone the credit due him, it is proper to say
that his reaper, like nine-tenths of the modern harvesting machines,
was adapted to be drawn, and not pushed, as the implement of the
Gauls was. Its cutting apparatus was extended well to the right, so
that the horse drawing it might walk beside the grain to be cut. It
was supported upon wheels, one at the outer extremity of the cutting
apparatus, and the other substantially in the position now placed in
harvesting machines, and his cutting devices were operated by it. His
machine was not only adapted to cut the grain, but deliver it at one
side in order to make a clear path of travel in cutting the next round.

His machine did not come into use, but was patented and thus made
public. Whether practical in detail or not matters little, for he left
to the world as a legacy the foundation principles of the reaping
machine. Those who followed enriched the art only by additions and

A second patent was granted to him covering improvements. His machine
might leave the grain in almost a continuous swath or in gavels, which
depended only upon the number of raking devices applied to his rotary
cutting apparatus.

In the patent granted to Salmon, who followed him in 1808, is found
a grain receiving platform, differing in no respect from that of the
early practical reaper, a cutting apparatus placed at its forward edge,
a divider to separate the grain being cut from that left standing, and
an orbitally moving rake adapted to remove the grain in gavels to the

[Illustration: SALMON REAPER.]

While it is of actual achievements that we shall mainly write, it is
well to say that the actual achievement of the reaping machine was
accomplished largely from knowledge given us by those early inventors,
and it is proper that we point out precisely what they have taught us,
for more than thirty machines have been patented in England and America
before the machine of Bell, the Scotch preacher, of 1828, was placed
upon the market in England.

[Illustration: OGLE REAPER.]

Kerr, Smith and others added their mite of knowledge, and in 1822 Henry
Ogle, an English schoolmaster, invented a reaping machine that was
made by a Mr. Brown, and which cut one acre per hour. The trial was so
successful that the laborers in the field, fearing the competition of
the innovation, mobbed the inventor and maker and broke up the machine.
The patent shows its construction.

The cutting apparatus of modern harvesting machines is a modified
form of shears; in the early machines, shears, pure and simple, were
arranged in series before the receiving platform. As cutting devices
they operated well, but were objectionable on account of the fact that
they did not clear themselves of shreds of straw and grass.

Bell's machine may be considered the first practical reaper, because
in it was found the essential combination of mechanical elements, not
only of the reaping machine, but largely of the modern self-binding
harvester. His machines were so successful that, as late as 1864,
they were busy in the harvest fields of England, and laid a swath
more perfect than any implement used before them; they were followed
by a troop of girls, the like of which is still seen in the fields of
those sections of England and Scotland where the modern self-binding
harvester has not yet found its way.

[Illustration: BELL REAPER.]

The erstwhile Scotch student, when working behind closed doors on
the little farm worked by his father, though inspired by high hopes,
little dreamed that he was in any measure laying the foundation for
greater results, and few, at the present day, know that one of the most
essential elements of the modern self-binding harvester was reduced to
practice by that youth who as the Rev. Patrick Bell administered to the
spiritual wants of the members of a little flock in Scotland for many

Two machines, at least, were brought to America, but not until American
reapers had been perfected to such an extent as to meet all of the

Bell's machine was pushed before the horses, as modern headers are. Its
reel was supported by forwardly reaching arms as now; it had dividers
and all essential elements, the only faulty one being the cutting

The story of his efforts, as told by himself, is interesting. The
facts pertaining to the construction of his machine may be found in
cyclopedias and in court proceedings. Although America is considered
the cradle of this art, we must bow to Bell and others and claim only
that which we have accomplished, founded upon the information and
machines they left.

In the fishing village of Nantucket, on the island of that name, of
Quaker parents, a boy first saw light who later became famous because
of his inventive talent. In that little village the whaling industry,
upon which success in life depended, was extensively carried on. Like
other boys the lad, Obed Hussey, took to the sea, but tiring, turned
his attention to a machine for reaping grain. He made a model of the
machine, and in 1832-1833 constructed a machine which he operated in
the harvest fields near Cincinnati, Ohio. He "builded better than he
knew," for his cutting apparatus sings his praise in the harvest fields
of every continent, and will probably do so until man ceases to exist.
It has been modified in various ways, but no material improvement has
been made since it left his hands.

[Illustration: HUSSEY REAPER.]

His machine was a combined reaper and mower. He placed his gearing
carriage upon two wheels,--not a mowing machine of the present
day is constructed otherwise. He jointed his cutting apparatus to
the supporting frame in order that the machine might conform to
irregularities of the surface of the ground. Again it may be said not
a mowing machine of to-day is constructed otherwise. In order to adapt
his machine to cutting grain, a detachable grain receiving platform was
applied, and a stand for a raker as well. As "manual delivery reapers"
thousands of such machines are made in America and sent to Europe,
where the self-binding harvester has not yet won its way.

These four things were new:

His cutting device;

His raker's stand;

The cutting apparatus jointed to the gearing carriage; and the

Detachable grain receiving platform. Limiting our inquiry to hand
raking reapers it is proper to say that this was the culmination.

No reaper has ever been made since that time that did not have these
elements arranged as he had combined them. In the face of historical
facts, court decisions and patent office records, printer's ink will
be wasted in vain in any attempts to win the laurels from the modest

                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.]

The necessities that called for these machines were the result of the
high hopes of the pioneers of the West, who, finding natural garden
spots of dimensions greater than the scope of the eye, plowed and sowed
more than they could reap,--more than labor could there be found to
reap. Naturally, then, the first practical machines of America were
invented where the great Western fields, which, in their ripeness,
inspired inventors.

On a day, during the harvest of 1833, a group of farmers and idlers
were interested in the tests of a reaper about to be made. Mr.
Hussey's machine was started, but some disarrangement caused delay. An
incredulous young man, strong of arm, picked up the implement of one of
the cradlers, and swung it with a broad sweep into the grain, declaring
that that was a kind of a reaper to have. Mr. Hussey, though possessed
of a quiet manner characteristic of the Quaker, felt stung and asked
the bystanders to help him uphill with his machine. He then guided the
machine down it on the run, and every straw was laid upon the receiving
platform with the exactness in which it grew. The machine repaired
demonstrated its ability to such an extent that others were ordered for
the following harvest, and manufactured in a little shop on the farm of
Judge Algernon Foster, near Cincinnati, Ohio.

For the harvest of 1834 two machines were made and sold, and from that
time on have continued to be used up to the present day, where, as said
in the so-called manual delivery reapers extensively used in Europe,
they are found, substantially as constructed by him, having added
thereto only the finishing touches applied by modern mechanics.

As a mowing machine slight improvements have been made; the only
competitor for several years was one produced by Enoch Ambler, patented
in 1834.

A single supporting and driving wheel was used in Ambler's, and a
reciprocating cutting apparatus also, but the specific construction was
not like that of Mr. Hussey. It came into considerable use, and may
be considered the prototype of the single wheel reaping and mowing
machines that found their way upon the market subsequent to 1840.

With the practical features proposed by a third of a hundred inventors
carefully embodied in machines at the close of the first third of the
century, came the practical reaping and mowing machine. Nearly one-half
of the labor of the harvest field was dispensed with; the ring of the
cradle blade, when whetting after the cutting of every round, soon
ceased to be heard. The sound of the cutting device of the reaper and
mower was not so musical, but may be likened to the chuckle of one in
his ecstasy who has succeeded in his accomplishment. The burning sun
scorched but half as many laborers as before. The labor of weary ones
over the hot stove in the crude habitations on the farms was lessened.
The harvest time became less dreaded; the scarcity of help became
less felt, and the hours of labor were shortened. Homes became more
cheerful, for the farmers' wives and daughters, before called from
household duties into the burning sun, had now moments that could be
devoted to planting the rose and vines.

Reflecting upon those early days, experiences such as can soon only
be called by the artist, are brought to mind. In our imagination we
see the troop of harvest hands, arisen from an early breakfast, taken
after an hour's labor at chores, moving to the fields often before the
sun has kissed the dew from the lilies that beckon them on the way,
young women as well as young men; though with a hard day's labor before
them, they are chatting as merrily as when gathering at school in the
winter, when the labors on the farm are not so great. In those days
few children who could walk knew leisure. The babe was often taken
to the field and a still toddling youngster left in charge while the
mother bound after the cradlers. It seems as if the expression "hungry
as a hired man" must have originated on these western prairies, for
in these early days five meals a day was the rule. About mid-forenoon
two boys were spared from the field long enough to go for luncheon,
soon to return with a well-filled basket and water jugs. The cloth was
spread upon the stubble and a hasty but hearty meal spread. Perhaps
a solitary tree shaded them. So far the harvest scene resembled the
picnics we enjoy to-day. In the heat of the day an hour was taken for
rest. At mid-afternoon another lunch was served.

Then at sunset came the supper, only after which, from early morn, the
kitchen stove was permitted to lose its blush; and the milking time,
far into the starlight, while the night hawk boomed, and the rest for
the day came after bob white and the whip-poor-will had ceased their

What a change this century has wrought! One man now accomplishes as
much as sixteen did in the early days. The self-binding harvester of
to-day, through the reaping machine, was of a growth so slow that the
efforts of a third of a century were required before the reaper was
driven to the hillsides--but of this later.



    Wodie and I in the strawberry bed,
    Searching for strawberries juicy and red;
    Breathing the airs of a morning in spring,
    Listening the notes that the meadow larks sing;
    Heart beats and pulse beats keeping in tune
    With all that is lovely in beautiful June.
    Sharp little twitters near by us we heard;
    Where was the haunt of the dear little bird?
    Soon the wee nest and its nestlings we found,
    Safe in a catnip bush, close to the ground;
    Home of the sparrow, whose chirruping brood
    Kept their four yellow mouths open for food;
    By their fond mother unceasingly fed
    With morsels of strawberry, fragrant and red.
    "O, Mamma," said Wodie, "did ever you see
    So tiny a nest in so tiny a tree?
    And isn't it perfectly lovely to stay
    In the spicy catnip leaves all day?
    And whenever you wish for something to eat,
    To dine on a slice of strawberry sweet?
    To hear the father-bird singing, a tune
    In the old peach tree all the afternoon,
    And to be shut out from the dew at night
    By the touch of mother-wings, soft and light?
    I think when these dear little birdies stray
    From their home in the catnip bush away,
    Wherever their dear little forms may go,
    In the summer's sun or the winter's snow,
    They will say, as the old folks always do,
    That their baby days were the best they knew."

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

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