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Title: Birds and Nature, Vol. VIII, No. 4, November 1900 - Illustrated by Color Photography
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Birds and Nature, Vol. VIII, No. 4, November 1900 - Illustrated by Color Photography" ***

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  BIRDS AND NATURE.

  ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.

  VOL. VIII.         NOVEMBER, 1900.          NO. 4.



  CONTENTS.


                                                          Page
  SONNET--NOVEMBER.                                        145
  SOME FACTS ABOUT THE WESTERN WILLET.                     146
  CRUEL TREATMENT OF BIRDS DEMANDED BY DAME FASHION.       150
  THE FALL MIGRATIONS.                                     151
  THE WAYS OF SOME BANTAMS.                                152
  THE BUFFLE-HEAD.                                         155
  AN HOUR WITH AN ANT.                                     156
  SONG.                                                    157
  THE AMERICAN EARED GREBE.                                158
  THE GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OF FISHES.                 161
  THE LOUISIANA TANAGER.                                   167
  CHATTER OF A CHAT.                                       168
  THE LUNA AND POLYPHEMUS MOTHS.                           170
  CASTLES IN THE AIR.                                      175
  THE PRONG-HORNED ANTELOPE.                               179
  PLANT PROTECTION.                                        182
  THE BIRTH OF A TREE.                                     187
  THE ALMOND.                                              188



SONNET--NOVEMBER.


    Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun,
      One mellow smile through the soft vapory air,
    Ere, o'er the frozen earth, the loud winds run,
    One smile on the brown hills and naked trees
      And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
    And the blue Gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
      Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
    Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
      Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,
    The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
      And man delight to linger in thy ray.
    Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
    The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.
                                        --William Cullen Bryant.

       *       *       *       *       *

      Oh, Autumn! Why so soon
    Depart the hues that make thy forests glad;
    Thy gentle wind and thy fair sunny noon,
      And leave thee wild and sad!

      Ah! 'twere a lot too blessed
    Forever in thy colored shades to stray;
    Amid the kisses of the soft southwest
      To rove and dream for aye.
                                        --William Cullen Bryant.

Copyright, 1900, by A. W. Mumford.



SOME FACTS ABOUT THE WESTERN WILLET.

(_Symphemia semipalmata inornata._)


The Western Willet is one of the largest of the Limicolae or Shore
Birds. The body is about the size of a common pigeon, the long neck,
legs and extent of wings making it appear much larger. The feet
are only about one-half webbed and only when great danger makes it
necessary will it go into the water beyond its depth. The bill is
straight and in summer the color of the bird is gray above, with many
small but rather distinct black marks. On the sides and breast these
marks are arrow-shaped. In the plumage of winter and of the young these
markings are absent.

I am inclined to believe that this species has a more extended range
than any other of the order. It has become quite abundant of late
years in the Calumet Region in Northern Indiana, near Chicago. Mr.
E. W. Nelson, in the Natural History Survey of Illinois, says, that
in the seventies this species was a rare summer resident on the wet
prairies of Northwestern Illinois, although I can find no authentic
record of the taking of the nest and eggs. Captain Charles Bendire
found it abundant and resident in Southeastern Oregon when he procured
several sets of its eggs. It is said to breed from the coast of Texas
to Manitoba. Straggling flocks of from five to fifty may be found along
the shores of our larger fresh water lakes, particularly Lake Michigan,
during the fall migration, which takes place from about the fifteenth
of August to the last of September.

This bird might well be called the clown of the Limicolae. I have often
been amused by the antics of a flock of Willets on the shore of Lake
Michigan. They would droop their necks and wings in an absurd fashion,
taking short runs and jumps as the waves rolled in upon them. I have
never seen a bird which at times could be so wary and hard to approach,
and again, if a number are shot from a flock, the remaining birds will
seem to lose their senses, and I have frequently walked within a few
feet of the survivors before they would take flight. This trait is
noticeable among a large number of shore birds and the terns, but more
especially so with the Willet.

On the plains bordering the Brazos river, near the Gulf coast of
Texas, during the months of April and May, I have found the Willet
proper (Symphemia semipalmata), a smaller and darker form, breeding
in abundance. The Willets usually select for a nesting site a thick
tussock of salt marsh grass on the borders of a small pond, where
they can command a good view of the vicinity. In the center of this
they hollow out a space of about six or eight inches in diameter, and
simply line it with the grass they have matted down. In this nest are
laid four pyriform eggs of a greenish white, or a light olive brown
ground color, marked with large, irregular blotches or brownish black
and faint purple; the eggs are immense for the size of the bird, being
about two inches in length by one and one-half in width.

The illustration faithfully portrays three birds taken at Miller's,
Indiana, on the beach of Lake Michigan. The color of the legs, which
are obscured by the shadow of the body, is a pale, slaty blue.

  [Illustration: THE WESTERN WILLET
                 (Symphemia semipalmata inornata.)
                 1/4 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.]

Though the Willets are restless and noisy birds, they are much less
so, and, indeed, quite unconscious of their surroundings when nesting.
Regarding their habits at this time, Dr. Coues has told us that if
they "become thoroughly alarmed by too open approach, particularly
if the setting bird be driven from her nest, there is a great
outcry, violent protest and tumult where there was quietude. Other
pairs, nesting near by, join their cries till the confusion becomes
general. But now, again, their actions are not those they would show
at other times; for, instead of flying off with the instinct of
self-preservation, to put distance between them and danger, they are
held by some fascination to the spot, and hover around, wheeling about,
flying in circles a little ways, to return again, with unremitting
clamor. They may be only too easily destroyed under such circumstances,
provided the ornithologist can lay aside his scruples and steel himself
against sympathy."

It is to be hoped that all the States, frequented by the Willets, will
enact proper legislation which will amply protect these interesting
waders.

                                        Frank M. Woodruff.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Autumn once more begins to teach;
    Sere leaves their annual sermon preach;
    And with the southward-slipping sun
    Another stage of life is done.
    The day is of a paler hue,
    The night is of a darker blue,
    Just as it was a year ago;
    For time runs fast, but grace is slow!

    Thou comest, autumn, to unlade
    Thy wealthy freight of summer shade,
    Still sorrowful as in past years,
    Yet mild and sunny in thy tears,
    Ripening and hardening all thy growth
    Of solid wood, yet nothing loth
    To waste upon the frolic breeze
    Thy leaves, like flights of golden bees.
                                        --Frederick William Faber.



CRUEL TREATMENT OF BIRDS DEMANDED BY DAME FASHION.


All of my readers probably know in a general way that Dame Fashion is
responsible for the destruction of the lives of many birds, but they
may not know to what extent this is true.

Why do we say that any cruel treatment of the birds is chargeable to
fashion? It can hardly be necessary to remind ourselves that there is
in almost every boy's nature a touch of the savage instincts which find
expression in the desire to kill something. Traces of this instinct
do not entirely disappear with the development into manhood, but
show themselves there in the love of hunting and fishing. Let these
remnants of savagery be appealed to by the promise of gain and they are
immediately fanned into flame in the natures of those persons who are
naturally more strongly drawn to this primitive occupation of men. In
short, place before the professional hunter an easy means of profiting
by his skill as a hunter, and in far too many instances he will smother
any humane instincts which he may have for the sake of the gain. It is
the demands of fashion for plumes and feathers for hat trimmings which
place before these hunters the temptation to kill. Have we not a right,
therefore, to place the blame at the door of Fashion?

But what are the practices which we call cruel? In the first place it
is cruelty to cause the destruction of life without good and sufficient
reason. Unnecessary sacrifice of life is cruelty. Certainly no one
will say that it is necessary to trim hats with feathers. Fashion
decrees that feathers must be worn, and presto! feathers are worn. In
the second place, it is cruel to kill birds who are feeding young ones
in the nest, leaving them to starvation. Yet this is just what has
happened and does happen every year. Plume hunters are no respecters
of times and seasons. With them there are no closed seasons. The birds
which they are after gather in large rookeries during the nesting
season and are therefore much easier to capture then than at other
times.

Most of the herons and similar plume-bearing birds are hunted and
killed for the plumes alone, or, at most, for a very small part of the
whole plumage. The part wanted is taken and the rest left to waste,
while the bird's body is never used for anything. If nothing worse, it
is an unpardonable waste. In Florida alone whole rookeries of herons
and ibises numbering hundreds and even thousands of individuals have
been wholly destroyed. Now the insatiable plume hunter, in his effort
to supply the demands of a no less insatiable fashion, is pursuing the
unfortunate birds into the fastnesses of Mexico and South America.
There is but one way to stop this work of extermination, and that
is to take away the demand. This remedy lies wholly in the hands of
women. Unless they are willing to take a firm stand against the use
of feathers for purposes of ornament the birds are doomed. This may
seem like a strong statement, but a little reflection will prove it
true. When the birds which are now hunted for plumes and feathers are
gone, there will be a modification of the demand to include birds
of different plumage, just as the aigrette is giving place to the
quill. After the quill and the long-pointed wing will come the shorter
wing, and after that the plumage of the small birds, and the cycle of
destruction will be complete.

Some one may ask why it is that the birds are so foolish as to allow
the hunter to kill hundreds in a single day from one rookery. Why don't
they leave the region when the shooting begins? The plume hunter has
learned cunning. He no longer uses a shot gun, but a small caliber
rifle or a wholly noiseless air gun. The rifle makes no more noise
than the snapping of a twig, and will therefore not frighten the
birds. By remaining concealed the hunter may kill every bird that is
within range. Since each bird is worth from twenty-five cents to five
dollars, according to the kind, a single day's work (or slaughter)
is profitable. The temptation is certainly great, and becomes almost
irresistible to him who loves hunting for its own sake.

The most cruel part of the whole business I have already stated, but it
will bear repeating. It is the killing of the breeding birds before the
young are able to care for themselves. There is abundant evidence that
the breeding time is the favorite time for hunting among plume hunters,
because then the old birds are more easy to kill, and because then the
plumage is the most perfect, for then the wedding garments are put on.

It should not be an impossible task to stop this whole cruel business.
But laws will not do it without a wholesome public sentiment behind
it. Women are notably foremost in all good works, and many of them
are doing nobly in this work, but it is painfully evident that many
are not. Let us make "a long pull and a strong pull and a pull all
together," and then we shall drag this growing evil back and down
forever.

                                        Lynds Jones.



THE FALL MIGRATIONS.


    A rush of wings through the darkening night,
    A sweep through the air in the distant height.

    Far off we hear them, cry answering cry:
    'Tis the voice of the birds as they southward fly.

    From sea to sea, as if marking the time,
    Comes the beat of wings from the long, dark line.

    O strong, steady wing, with your rhythmic beat,
    Flying from cold to the summertime heat;

    O, keen, glancing eye, that can see so far,
    Do you guide your flight by the northern star?

    The birds from the North are crossing the moon,
    And the southland knows they are coming soon.

    With gladness and freedom and music gone,
    Another migration is passing on.

    No long, dark lines o'er the face of the moon;
    No dip of wings in the southern lagoon.

    No sweet, low titter, no welcoming song;
    These are birds of silence that sweep along.

    Lifeless and stiff, with the death mark on it,
    This "Fall Migration" on hat and bonnet.

    And the crowd goes by, with so few to care
    For this march of death of the "fowls of the air."
                           --Mary Drummond, in the Chicago Times-Herald.



THE WAYS OF SOME BANTAMS.


Last summer, when I was out in the country, I made the acquaintance
of a kind-hearted little bantam rooster, who was as funny as he was
kind-hearted.

An old speckled hen, who looked as if she might be a good mother, but
wasn't, had brought up a family of chickens to that stage where their
legs had grown long and their down all turned to pin-feathers.

Very ugly they were; there was no doubt of it. Perhaps this queer
mother thought so. At any rate, she turned the poor things adrift and
pecked them cruelly whenever they came near her.

Little "Banty" saw this unkind behavior. He was small, but his heart
was big, and he set Madam Speckle an example which ought to have made
her hide her head in the darkest corner of the hen-house for shame.

He adopted those chickens!

Each one of them was about half the size of "Banty," and to see that
loving little father-bird standing on tiptoe with his wings spread,
trying in vain to cover all eight of his adopted children, was a
pathetic as well as a ludicrous sight.

They loved him and believed in him fully. They followed him all day
long, and seemed to see nothing amusing when he choked down a crow to
cluck over the food he found for them, and at night they quarreled over
the privilege of being nearest to him.

I think bantams perhaps are more interesting than other fowls. When I
was a little girl father brought three of them home. Dandy and his two
little wives were all pure white and very small.

We had other fowls, the aristocratic Spanish kind, each as large as two
or three of Dandy, and the Spanish rooster hinted very strongly that
Dandy's presence in that barnyard could be dispensed with. But Dandy
was a brave little fighter, and he soon settled it once for all with
Grandee as to what the rights of the former and his family were.

In a month or so one of the little hens was missing. After a long time
we found her, and in such a queer, cozy place! Upon the foundations
of the old red farmhouse where we lived, rested great squared beams.
An end of one of these beams had decayed, out of sight, under the
clapboards on the south side of the house, until there was a large,
soft-lined hollow. Here the little hen had stolen her nest, and when
we found her she was just ready to lead off twenty-one tiny white
fluff-balls of chickens, every egg having hatched.

Dandy's bravery saved his little life one day, and made him forever
famous in the annals of our pets. On this most eventful day of his
life, a shadow flitted over the barnyard, and a wail went up from us
children as a chicken-hawk swooped down upon our beloved Dandy and
carried him off before our indignant and tearful eyes.

Up they went! But in a moment or two we saw that the thief was having
trouble, as somehow Dandy had managed to turn in those wicked talons,
and the little fellow was using his sharp beak and spurs with all his
might.

The battle was brief, and then Dandy dropped at our feet. He was
bleeding and had lost the sight of one of his eyes, but otherwise
he was little hurt. All the rest of his days Dandy carried himself
proudly, as one who has been tried as a hero and not found wanting.

                                        May H. Prentice.



  [Illustration: BUFFLE-HEAD.
                 (Charitonetta albeola.)
                 Nearly 1/2 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.]

THE BUFFLE-HEAD.

(_Charitonetta albeola._)


This small and wonderfully beautiful duck is a native of North America,
wintering in the latitude of Cuba and Mexico and breeding from Maine to
Montana and northward. It is said that a favorite place for its nesting
is along the banks of the Yukon river, and other streams of the boreal
regions, yet it is reported that the young have been captured in the
Adirondack mountains. Though classed with the "sea ducks" (Fuligulinae)
it is one of the most common of our fresh-water forms, and, like many
other animals, as well as vegetable forms, of wide distribution, it is
the recipient of numerous popular names, nearly all of them being more
or less suggestive of its characteristics or habits. In the North it
is frequently called the Butter-ball, the Butter-box, the Butter duck,
the Spirit duck and the Dipper. In the South some of the same names are
heard, but perhaps more often the Marionette, the Scotch dipper, or
duck, the Scotch teal and the Wool-head. However, no more appropriate
name could be selected than that of Buffle-head, having reference to
the showy, ruffled or puffed plumage of the head. The technical name,
albeola, meaning whitish, was given this species by Linnaeus in 1758,
on account of the pure white on the side of the head.

The adult males vary but little. The plumage of the head is puffy and,
with that of the upper half of the neck, is a "rich silky, metallic
green, violet purple and greenish bronze, the last prevailing on the
lower part of the neck, the green on the anterior part of the head, the
purple on the cheeks and crown." A beautiful pure white patch extends
from the eyes, meeting on the top of the head. The lower portion of the
neck and nearly all the feathers of the under side of the body, as well
as the wing coverts, are also showy white. The lining of the wings is
dark, and the upper side of the body is black.

The head of the female is less puffy and of a brownish or dark gray
color. The white head patch is not so prominent or pure and the plumage
of the under side of the body is more or less tinged with gray. In both
sexes the iris is dark brown, the bill bluish or lead color, and the
legs and feet pinkish.

There are few birds that are more expert in diving or swimming, while
on land, owing to their larger feet and shorter legs, they are more
awkward and waddle more than many of the ordinary ducks. Their graceful
attitude while floating on the water, moving apparently without any
motion of the body and scarcely causing a ripple on even a placid
surface, has given them the name Spirit duck.

The Buffle-head, like nearly all the sea ducks, feeds on mollusks and
other animal-forms found in the water. As a result, their flesh is
usually coarse and quite too rank for use as a food. The canvas-back is
a notable exception, for during the winter months it feeds on the wild
celery (Vallisneria) of the Middle Atlantic coast, and thus its flesh
receives the flavor so appreciated by those who relish game food.



AN HOUR WITH AN ANT.


If you want to know how to accomplish a hard task, come with me and
watch a little ant for an hour.

She was a small, black ant, and, seeing a brown worm eight times as
large as herself, she was seized with the ambition to take it home in
triumph.

Now will you tell me how she knew that she could have no power over
the worm while he was on his ten feet, that stuck to the sidewalk like
glue? Before she attempted anything, she fastened her mandibles into
his side and turned him over on his back just as you see Bridget turn
the mattress. Then running to his head she again fastened her mandibles
and dragged him for a couple of inches. While pausing to get her
breath, the worm took the opportunity to get on his feet once more. The
ant did not seem to notice the change in position till she tried again
to drag the body. As soon as she felt it sticking, around she ran to
the side, over went the worm in a trice, and once more the two started
on their journey. Now they were close to a crack in the broad sidewalk,
and I, thinking to help the little worker, in whom by this time I was
quite interested, lifted the worm across the crack.

Did you ever try to help some one and find too late you had done
exactly the wrong thing? Then you know how I felt when that little ant
began rushing around as if she were crazy, and when she got hold of the
worm again, began to drag it back across the very crack I had lifted it
over. Can you guess why? She was taking a bee-line to her house, and I
had changed the direction. But how was she to get that big body across
a crack that could swallow them both? That was what I waited anxiously
to see. Soon the worm felt himself going down, down into a dark abyss,
and of course caught hold of the side to save himself, and when he once
felt he had a hold on life how he did hold on! The ant was not to be
daunted; balancing herself on the edge, and holding on by her feet, she
reached down her mandibles and dragged him by main force straight up
the perpendicular wall to the top; nor did she stop till he was carried
far enough from the edge not to get down again.

In this way three cracks were safely crossed, and it was plain to see
the worm was losing heart, although every time the ant paused for
breath he would get over on his feet and have to be tossed back again.

And now a new difficulty arose. The worm had been dragged about
eighteen inches over the boards. Fourteen inches more would bring them
to the ant's house, or, rather, hill. But the way was now off from the
sidewalk, and no sooner did the worm feel the stubble under him than
he gathered all his strength, turned over on his feet, and held on to
every spear of grass for dear life.

Indeed, it was his last chance, and I felt tempted to snatch him
from the certain death awaiting him, but curiosity to see how this
new obstacle would be overcome induced me to wait. The ant now felt
justified in calling for assistance, and soon a dozen ants had come to
help. Only five could work to advantage, so the rest, for ants never
like to do the "heavy looking on," left to find other employment.

The first thing to be done was to get the worm on his back, and this
proved no easy task. He could fasten his feet just as fast as the ants
could unfasten them. At last two ants went to one end and two to the
other. Each one of the four seized a foot in her strong mandibles and
held it out as far as possible, while the fifth one turned the captive.
It was the funniest sight! It was easy now to drag him two or three
inches, but breath had to be taken, and again the worm fastened. In
vain they tugged and pulled. He had evidently learned their tactics
and knew how to defend himself. Suddenly his body moved along an inch
and a half, as if by magic. Was it magic? Not at all. One little ant
had run up on an overhanging blade of grass, and, reaching down,
holding on by the wonderful feet spoken of before, and grabbed the poor
creature in the middle, raised it right up from the ground, and keeping
hold, ran along overhead till the end of the spear of grass was reached.

This was the last struggle of any importance. The worm gave up
discouraged; it was only now a question of time till they had dragged
him through the stubble up to the door of the house in the hill, and
I saw only a faint quiver as of dread as his body passed through the
mysterious opening. I could not help wondering if the ant who started
the capture received all the praise she deserved, or if the other four
took the glory to themselves.

At any rate, no one could take away her own satisfaction in overcoming
and winning in the struggle.

                                        Harriet Woodbridge.



SONG.


    Day is dying! Float, O song,
      Down the westward river,
    Requiem chanting to the Day--
      Day, the mighty Giver.

    Pierced by shafts of Time he bleeds,
      Melted rubies sending
    Through the river and the sky,
      Earth and heaven blending;

    All the long-drawn earthly banks
      Up to cloud-land lifting:
    Slow between them drifts the swan,
      'Twixt two heavens drifting.

    Wings half open, like a flow'r,
      Inly deeper flushing,
    Neck and breast as Virgin's pure--
      Virgin proudly blushing.

    Day is dying! Float, O swan,
      Down the ruby river;
    Follow, song, in requiem
      To the mighty Giver.
                                   --George Eliot, in the Spanish Gypsy.



THE AMERICAN EARED GREBE.

(_Colymbus nigricollis californicus._)


The American Eared Grebe belongs to the order of Diving Birds
(Podicipedes) and the family of Grebes (Podicipidae). The order also
includes the loons and auks, having in all about thirty-six species
that frequent North America. Closely related to the loons, the Grebes
differ from them in having the head incompletely feathered near the
nostrils, which are not lobed. The feet also are not completely webbed,
as are those of the loons.

Owing to the inadequately developed wings, the Grebes are poorly
provided with means for protracted flight. Locomotion on land is
equally difficult, due to their short legs and the fact that they are
inserted far back on the body, necessitating a partially erect position
in walking. However, they are expert swimmers and divers and will, when
alarmed, sink quietly back into the water, swimming long distances
with only the bill above the surface of the water. The popular name
"Hell-diver," by which these birds are frequently known, has reference
to the rapidity with which they dive.

The apparent lack of a tail and the ruffs, frequently composed of
variously colored feathers, give the grebes a peculiarly characteristic
appearance. The plumage of the breeding season differs greatly from
that of the adult in winter and that of the young.

The grebes are abundant throughout the world, seemingly preferring
lakes and rivers as a foraging ground rather than the seacoast.

The American Eared Grebe has an extensive range, including that part
of North America west of the Mississippi Valley and from the Great
Slave Lake south to Guatemala. It breeds in nearly all parts of this
territory.

A few years since Professor Henshaw published in the American
Naturalist some very interesting facts concerning the nesting habits
of this bird, and they especially well illustrate some of its
characteristics. He says, "In a series of alkali lakes, about thirty
miles northward of Fort Garland, Southern Colorado, I found this
species common and breeding. A colony of perhaps a dozen pairs had
established themselves in a small pond four or five acres in extent. In
the middle of this, in a bed of reeds, were found upwards of a dozen
nests. These in each case merely consisted of a slightly hollowed pile
of decaying weeds and rushes, four or five inches in diameter, and
scarcely raised above the surface of the water upon which they floated.
In a number of instances they were but a few feet distant from the
nests of the coot (Fulica Americana) which abounded. Every Grebe's nest
discovered contained three eggs, which in most instances were fresh,
but in some nests were considerably advanced. These vary but little in
shape, are considerably elongated, one end being slightly more pointed
than the other. The color is a faint yellowish or bluish white, usually
much stained from contact with the nest. The texture is generally quite
smooth, in some instances roughened by a chalky deposit. The eggs were
wholly concealed from view by a pile of weeds and other vegetable
material laid across. That they were thus carefully covered merely for
concealment I cannot think, since, in the isolated position in which
the nests are usually found, the bird has no enemy against which such
precaution would avail. On first approaching the locality, the Grebes
all congregated at the further end of the pond, and shortly betook
themselves through an opening to the neighboring slough; nor, so far
as I could ascertain, did they again approach the nests during my stay
of three days. Is it not, then, possible that they are more or less
dependent for the hatching of their eggs upon artificial heat induced
by the decaying vegetable substances of which the nests are wholly
composed?"

The food of the Grebe consists of fish to a great extent, which are
dexterously caught while swimming under water. They also feed upon
the insects floating upon the surface, and will, when other food is
lacking, feed upon mollusks.

  [Illustration: AMERICAN EARED GREBE.
                 (Colymbus nigricollis californicus.)
                 1/2 Life-size.
                 FROM COL CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.]



THE GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION OF FISHES.


There are known at the present about twenty thousand species of fishes,
which are distributed throughout the creeks, rivers, lakes, seas and
oceans of the world. A few species of the open sea are cosmopolitan;
the others are more or less restricted in their range. Northern Asia,
Europe and North America have in common a few species of fresh water
fishes. There are many others of close relationship, which indicates a
somewhat common origin of the fish faunas. The same is largely true of
the salt water shore fishes, which live well to the north. The fresh
water fishes of South America, Africa and Australia are all different
from each other, none being even closely related as are those we find
in the countries of the northern hemisphere.

The fishes of our Atlantic coast are different from those of the
Pacific, very few species being common to both coasts. The fishes of
the Ohio river are entirely different from those of the Columbia, not a
single species being common to both streams. The fishes of the Missouri
river are very different from the Ohio, many of the larger species, as
catfishes, buffalo fishes, black basses, and some of the sun fishes are
common to both rivers. The difference between the fishes of these two
rivers is chiefly in the smaller kinds, which do not migrate to any
great extent, and is greater as you go toward their sources, or confine
yourself to their smaller tributaries.

There are many reasons why the fishes of one region are not the same as
those we find in another. Some of these reasons we may learn by making
a careful study of the fishes of each region, and their environment.
In addition we must learn all we can about the past history of the
country, finding which streams were formed first, and how they became
inhabited from the old ancient fish faunas of our earlier geological
periods. If you visit streams in the Alleghanies, the Ozarks and the
Black Hills you will find them much alike. All have clear, cool water,
flowing over sand or gravel. The black bass, speckled trout, channel
cat, and the eastern pickerel will live quite as well in streams of
each locality. If you spend a day at each place collecting fishes all
your catch will not be the same species. In the Alleghany region you
will obtain about forty species, and a like number in the Ozarks. Of
these quite one-fourth, or one-fifth, will be the same species, and
the others closely related. A large portion will consist of sunfishes
and very small, perch-like fishes, which are called darters. These are
spiny-rayed fishes; that is, nearly all of the fins are made partly of
strong, sharp spines, such as you find on the back of sunfishes, black
bass and the like. In the streams of the Black Hills you will not find
more than fifteen species, and not more than one or two, if any, will
be the same as in either of the other two catches. There are none of
the spiny-rayed fishes in the Black Hills, and no trout, though the
streams seem in every way well suited for them. The fishes of the Black
Hills consist of two catfishes, four suckers, eight minnows, and one
member of the cod family. Why are there no spiny-rayed fishes? If you
examine a map you will find that the Black Hills is an isolated region,
about seventy-five by one hundred miles in extent. It is covered with
heavy pine forests and drained by a dozen or more good-sized creeks,
which find, through the north and south forks of the Cheyenne, an
outlet into the Missouri river. Surrounding the Black Hills is a broad
plain one hundred or two hundred miles in width. It has no forests, and
only a scant vegetation. Its streams are alkali and contain much solid
matter in suspension. None of these streams flow over rocky or gravelly
beds. Like all the streams of the great plains they are overloaded
with sediment. All the streams can do with this sediment is to deposit
it in places during falling or low water, and in time of freshets,
pick it up, shift it about and redeposit it farther down the stream.
Such streams are like the Platte, narrow and deep in a few places,
but mostly wide and shallow, with a bottom of quicksand. The streams
of the plains have in them but few species of fishes; especially is
this true of the upper Missouri, and these are such species as we find
in the Black Hills. It is thus evident that the fishes of this region
migrated there, and only such fishes as were able or willing to live
in the muddy, alkaline streams of the great plains could have ever
reached the Black Hills. The minnows and suckers are ever preyed upon
by sunfishes, bass and the like, and to escape them evidently sought
retreat in the alkaline water, which was too much disliked by their
enemies for them to follow. Once there and accustomed to such water
they would migrate farther up stream until they reached the clear, cool
streams of the Black Hills. If we compare the fishes of two rivers
whose mouths are near each other, as the Ohio and the Missouri, those
fishes found near the mouths will be the same species and the two river
faunas will differ most as you go toward their sources. On the other
hand, if you select two rivers whose sources are near each other, as
the James and tributaries of the Ohio, then the fish faunas will differ
most as you go towards their mouths. The same is true of the Missouri
and the Columbia. In such cases it often happens that during high water
some fishes are able to pass from the head waters of one river basin to
the other, just as we see the trout from the Columbia at the present
time colonizing the upper Yellowstone through the Two Ocean Pass. Near
the head waters of many mountain streams there is usually a pass, which
contains a strip of meadow land where the small streams from mountains
unite, forming the sources of two great rivers flowing in opposite
directions. This is the case both at the Two Ocean Pass, the source
of the Missouri and the Columbia, and at the point where the Canadian
Pacific Railroad crosses the divide, forming the source of the Frazier
and Saskatchewan rivers.

Many mountain streams whose sources are at present in no way connected
may have been so at no very remote period. All of our streams which
have their sources within the glaciated area were no doubt connected
as the ice receded. The drainage of Lake Champlain and the lakes in
central New York was southward at the close of the glacial epoch. It
is said that in times of high water one may pass in a skiff from the
head waters of the Mississippi to the Red River of the North. With such
facts before us we can easily understand why the fishes of two rivers
whose sources are near each other should be most nearly alike nearest
the divide. If the two rivers were formed about the same time, as no
doubt were the James and the Ohio, they would naturally have several
species in common. In other words, the two fish faunas will resemble
each other throughout their whole extent. In the case of the Missouri
and the Columbia, the former is much the older stream, and while their
sources have fishes common to both streams, in the lower parts of the
rivers the fish faunas are entirely different. The upper Missouri river
and its tributaries are for the most part inhabited by Rocky Mountain
fishes, practically the same fauna as we find in the Columbia, but few
species characteristic of the Mississippi valley have been able to even
cross the great plains and none have ever passed the Rocky Mountain
divide.

In the study of the geographical distribution of our fresh water
fishes, we are able to make a few generalizations as follows: Two
rivers in the same latitude, and belonging to the same great drainage
basin, and draining similar areas, will have similar fish faunas.
Thus we find a great similarity in the fishes of the Washita and the
Tennessee rivers, a much greater similarity than we do in the fishes
of the Washita and the Cedar rivers. If the stream is a large one,
the fishes near its source will be much unlike those near its mouth.
The fishes of Minnesota differ greatly from those of Louisiana,
though the drainage of these two States is in the Mississippi river
basin. Limestone streams have in them more species of fishes than do
sandstone. All things being equal, the larger of two or more streams
will contain the most species of fishes. There are few, if any, rivers
as rich in species as the Mississippi river and its tributaries. It
drains one slope of each of our two great mountain systems, besides
an immense area of wood-land and prairie, and numerous swamps and
marshes. Its upper course and many of its upper tributaries lie in
the region once covered by glaciers, though now traversed by great
moraines. Its fishes are as diversified as the area it drains. In its
mountain streams we find such fishes as the trout, darters, minnows
and suckers. In the upland streams are darters, shiners, suckers,
sunfishes and small-mouthed black bass. In the channels of the larger
tributaries are found the large suckers, buffalo fishes, gar pike,
channel catfish, drum, pike and pickerel. The lowland streams contain
the dogfish, pirate perch, some sunfishes, the large-mouthed black
bass, some suckers, catfishes and other species. Minnows, darters,
suckers and sunfishes are found in lowland, upland and mountain
streams, though not the same species in each. These fishes belong to
families which are made up of many species, some being strictly upland,
others strictly lowland, each having a limited range. In the same way
we have fresh water fishes and salt water fishes; some fishes, as the
trout and salmon and eel, live in both salt and fresh water. Many
other fishes, as the killifishes, thrive best in brackish water. Each
species of fishes is best fitted for a particular region into which it
has been forced to live, either to escape its enemies or to be able to
get a living easiest. In its migrations it has moved along lines of
least resistance, and has colonized those streams where Mother Nature
has been able to do the most for it. The darters are small, perch-like
fishes, which seldom exceed a length of six inches, the average being
about three. All are active and swift swimmers and well suited for
a life among the rocks and swift water of our smaller streams. All
countries have small, swift, rocky streams, but few have darters. In
their stead we find loaches, gobies, characins, sculpins, and the like.
These fishes have "become dwarfed and concentrated, taking the place in
their respective habitats which the darters occupy in the waters of the
Mississippi valley. By the same process of 'analogous variation' the
cichlids of South America parallel the sunfishes of the United States,
although in structure and in origin the two groups are diverse."

Dr. Jordan tells us that the trout of the Pacific coast came to America
from Asia, and gradually spread eastward and southward until now it is
found in all the streams of the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, the
Cascades and the Coast range. It is but a short distance from Kamchatka
to Alaska, and this distance is traveled by trout to this day; once
over, a fish able to spend much of its time in salt water could easily
colonize all our coast streams. Whether or not all of our Pacific trout
are descendants of one species, the cut-throat trout, is more or less
uncertain, though it is quite certain that all have descended from not
more than two or three species. In many places they have been able to
pass from the head waters of one river to that of another, just as they
now pass from the head waters of the Columbia to the Missouri by the
way of Two Ocean Pass. The ancient lakes, Lahontan and Bonneville, no
doubt assisted them in their migrations. Since these have disappeared
each colony has had to remain more or less isolated. In time they
have become somewhat changed, to better adapt themselves to their new
environment. These changes have developed certain peculiar characters,
by means of which we can distinguish one kind of trout from another,
just as the farmer distinguishes his Berkshire from his Poland China.
Spread, as the trout are, over such a large area, in such an immense
variety of streams and lakes, and with a vertical range of over one
thousand feet, we would certainly expect as large a number of species
and varieties of trout to be developed as we find at present in the
streams of our west coast.

Fishes are found in the deepest parts of the ocean. Some of these
are peculiar to the deep waters, none of the shore fishes resembling
them. On the other hand, many deep sea fishes belong to families well
represented in the shallow water. The flounders are found in water at
all depths, and the same is true of the bat fishes, rock fishes and
other shore fishes. It is easy to understand how these fishes have
found their way to the deep water. It was either to escape their
enemies or to extend their range for some reason; as Mr. Garman puts
it, "They have slid down," as it were to the bottom of the ocean.

In general, animals migrating will always move along lines of least
resistance. Some deep-sea fishes have a considerable vertical range. It
is thought that some move into shallower water to deposit their eggs or
place their young in warmer water, and where the peculiar kind of food
they need early in life is the most abundant. To study deep sea fishes
is difficult, and so little has been done that we not only know them
imperfectly but also know very little concerning their life histories.

In February, March and April of 1891 the United States Fish Commission
steamer Albatross explored a portion of the region between the
coasts of Mexico and Central America and the Galapagos Archipelago.
Besides obtaining a large number of shore fishes, about nine hundred
specimens of fishes were secured, ranging from a depth of one hundred
to twenty-two hundred and twenty-three fathoms. This collection was
carefully studied by Professor Garman, of Harvard. He found the
collection to contain one hundred and eighty species, eighty-five
per cent. of which were new to science. The bottoms of the oceans
are far from level, and each deep basin has its own peculiar fauna.
The shallower parts of the sea prevent migration of the deep water
forms and no doubt living as they do in eternal darkness and in a
temperature near the freezing point, there is little to induce them
to much activity. The fact that they are easily captured in nets of
comparatively small size would indicate that they move about slowly.

Dr. Jenkins, who has lately studied the fishes of the Sandwich Islands,
informs me that less than five per cent. are found on our American
coast, while a large per cent. is found all the way to the Red sea.
In other words, the fishes of the Sandwich Islands are East Indian
rather than American. This is no doubt caused from the fact that the
deep water between the islands of the American coast forms a barrier
which has always prevented the two fish faunas from mingling with each
other. Between Africa and the Sandwich Islands this has not been the
case. A recent study of the fishes of the Galapagos Archipelago shows
its fauna to be American, though in what respect its fishes differ from
those of our west coast they resemble all the more the fishes of the
Sandwich Islands. Two fish faunas will usually differ from each other
if separated by an impassable barrier; especially is this true if the
barrier be older than the two faunas.

Any barrier which prevents or hinders fishes in their movements from
one body of water to another will separate two more or less well-marked
fish faunas. These barriers may be mountains, or shallow water, as in
the case of deep sea fishes; deep water, as in case of shore fishes;
muddy or alkaline water, or water of different temperature. Temperature
no doubt has far more influence in governing the movement of fishes
than is generally believed. It plays an important part in guiding
salmon up stream to their spawning beds. It explains why they reach the
head waters of some streams and spawn earlier than in similar streams
not far distant, but of different temperature. If you would know to
what extent fishes of one region differ from those of another, study
well the barriers between the two regions, learn to what extent and
how long they have existed, consider the age geologically of the two
regions, and how fishes may have migrated to one or the other, and in
a general way you will have the key to the situation, which a careful
study of the fishes is quite sure to verify.

                                        Seth E. Meek.



  [Illustration: LOUISIANA TANAGER.
                 (Piranga ludoviciana.)
                 Life-size.
                 FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.]

THE LOUISIANA TANAGER.

(_Piranga ludoviciana._)


The family of Tanagers is remarkable for the number of species, the
gaudy coloring of many and the interesting fact that they are confined
to the Americas and the adjacent islands. Dr. Ridgway says, "that
the five families of Neotropical birds, which are represented by the
greatest number of species, are absolutely peculiar to America, these
families being the Tanagers, Tyrant Flycatchers, Wood-hewers, Ant
Thrushes and Humming-birds. None of these families have even true
representatives in any part of the Old World."

The family of Tanagers includes approximately three hundred and eighty
species, of which not more than ten per cent. have a range extending
as far north as Southern Mexico, and only four, or at the most five,
species are known to the United States. Of these only two, the Scarlet
Tanager and the Summer Red-bird, are generally known as far north as
Canada.

The Tanagers make their home in the trees, and, being of a retiring
disposition, are more numerous within the bounds of the forest. During
the breeding season they retire still further into the interior. No
wonder that they are more numerous in tropical regions, where the
luxuriant foliage of the forests furnishes them with a safe retreat,
and where there is an abundance of food suited to their taste. This
tendency to avoid the society of man has made the study of their
habits much more difficult, and but little has been recorded except
that which pertains to the more northern forms.

The food is chiefly insects, especially in the larval form, and
berries. To some extent they also feed upon the buds of flowers.
Mr. Chapman tells us that "the tropical species are of a roving
disposition, and wander through the forests in search of certain trees
bearing ripe fruit, near which they may always be found in numbers."
Their nests are shallow and the eggs, usually three to five in number,
are greenish-blue in color, speckled with brown and purple.

The Louisiana Tanager is a Western species, ranging from British
Columbia on the north to Guatemala on the south, and from the Missouri
river to the Pacific coast. Our illustration well represents the
male. The female, like its sister tanagers, is plainly colored, but
still beautiful. It is olive green, with the underside yellowish.
The feathers of the wings and tail are brown, edged with olive. It
resembles the female Scarlet Tanager. The young are at first like the
female. Then appears the black of the back, mixed with some olive and a
slight tinge of red on the head.

It would seem that its name is a misnomer, as it is not found in the
State of Louisiana.



CHATTER OF A CHAT.


I'm the "Chat." You've heard me if you haven't seen me. But there
isn't a better lookin' bird in our wood, either. My olive-green coat
is a beauty. My yellow satin vest would dazzle your eyes. And my white
china spectacles are heirlooms in our family. My wife dresses just
as handsome as I do. I'm a prey to high spirits. Some folk call me
a "wag." Don't know what that is, but I don't see the use in bein'
doleful. Why, when I get back from Mexico, I feel obliged to holler. So
I just holler. The way old Mother Earth rigs up in the Spring makes me
full of life. I get down and cool my legs in the deep grass. It brings
my appetite back a-whizzin'. My! If I don't eat a thousand bugs a day.
"Juicy" don't describe 'em. Then I climb a tree-top and holler. If I
eat a thousand bugs seems like I have to give two thousand hollers.
I holler straight through a moonlight night. You see, I hate to let
old Whippoorwill think he's the only bird alive. Mornin' after folks
stop talkin' 'bout how bad they slept and say, "What's that?" somebody
says, "That's the Chat." Then they always laugh. And I laugh, too--a
very Falstaffian laugh, as if I'se shakin' great fat sides out of their
accordion plaits. Then I give a beautiful whistle. And they say, "Now,
what's that?" The fellow I know says, "That's the Chat." Then I give a
surprised whistle, just as if you stepped on a tack or took a drink of
red-hot coffee. And they say, "And what's that?" And the wise man says,
"That's the Chat again." Well, says the other fellow, "I'll never know
that bird." But the bad sleeper says, "Well, you would if he kept you
awake all last night as he did me. He never knows when to stop." But
even that fellow will never know when I've said my last word!

These rag folks are awful stupids, anyhow. I call 'em "blunderers."
Do more harm than good wherever they're at. My wife knits our house
among thorns just to plague 'em. They hate to get their rags torn.
Then they'd better keep scarce of our door. If it ain't in blackberry
jungles it's in catbrier tangles. I could yarn from sun-up to sundown
'bout how rag folks come blunderin' round interferin'. Barrin' o cat's,
they've got the most meddlesome forefeet I ever saw. But it ain't
often they find us. Cause why? We keep still. Our next-door neighbor's
Dame Indigo. Can't a body go by she don't pop up scoldin' like a house
afire. Then they blunder round till they find her nest-eggs, too! Lots
of other feather-heads just like her! There's Topknot Cardnal makes
such a fuss anybody'd know he's got something to hide. Sure enough,
he's had such lots of kin behind the bars it makes him scary. But I'd
show more pluck, anyhow.

Once this summer a blunderer smarter'n common came along by us. We had
a nice place, too, in a dreadful blackberry tangle. A small sassafras
threw a nice shadow over it when the sun got hot. Well, I shut up
quick, I tell you. Was just tellin' Mrs. Chat a few things while she
kep' an eye on our four eggs like. We kep' still as mice. But didn't
that blunderin' rags march right up to our door and push and scratch
till she saw what we had? Had a little rag blunderer with her. An' she
held her up to look in, too. Every single feather we had stood on end!
It was good riddance when they went along. Couldn't believe my specs
when I saw they had left our eggs alone. Seven suns after, big rags
came back. We're in a peck o' trouble. Our four bairns just out the
shell. We both had to scratch round with all our toes to feed and keep
'em breathin'. Been rainin' for a solid week. Dame Chat said she just
knew they'd get a chill and die. But the blunderin' party didn't stay
long.

Well, sir, we hadn't got rid of that blunderer yet. The nex' time she
brought another, bigger one, along. Both crowded up and looked in
our door. You never saw such beauties as our bairns that day. Just
gettin' so plump and featherin' right along. But it meant a sight o'
work for us. They just sat and took in every mouthful we could rake
and scrape. They kep' us busy. Well, when these blunderin' rags shook
the house the bairns all up and spread their jaws wide open. Rags
thought it was awful cute, but I'm thankful they didn't offer to feed
'em anything. Did bad enough, anyhow. Big one said, "Why don't you
take their picture?" First rags said she couldn't. Second rags said
she'd try, anyhow. With that, first rags began to snap off our best
defenses--without so much as by your leave. They scratched her good,
anyhow; for she said so. Well, she put some kind of square black gun
right up to our door. Dame Chat went into hysterics and those little
Chats just boiled over like a teakettle and went out the nest in four
different directions! The two blunderers went off in a hurry, both
talkin' at once and one suckin' her paw. Thankful to say ain't ever
seen 'em since. But Dame Chat's a nervous wreck from the fright they
gave her; and I'm worked to skin and bone takin' care of the little
Chats. I just wish all the town's fenced in so's blunderers couldn't
get loose to meddle round in their bunglin', elephant, rhinoceros way!

                                        Elizabeth Nunemacher.

       *       *       *       *       *

    He comes--he comes--the Frost Spirit comes! You may trace his
            footsteps now
    On the naked woods and the blasted fields, and the brown hill's
            withered brow.

    He has smitten the leaves of the gray old trees where their
            pleasant green came forth,
    And the winds, which follow wherever he goes, have shaken them down
            to earth.
                                        --John Greenleaf Whittier.



THE LUNA AND POLYPHEMUS MOTHS.


The two silk-worm moths which we figure this month both possess a point
of excellence far in advance of any other of our native silk-worm
moths; Luna on account of its graceful form and delicate colors, and
Polyphemus for the silk of its cocoons.

It seems that most persons who speak of the Luna moth (Tropaea luna)
feel called upon to give a more or less poetic description of it. This,
I hope, has been rendered unnecessary by the colored plate, so that it
will suffice simply to mention that the beautiful shade of green is of
very rare occurrence among our larger moths, and that no other has the
long, graceful "tails" on the hind wings, a characteristic which adds
greatly to the beauty of this insect.

This moth does not seem to be very abundant anywhere, but when once
seen will long be remembered on account of its great beauty. The green
and yellow colors are evidently very closely related, because either
one may, to a greater or less degree, replace the other, so that some
of the moths have quite a strong, yellowish tinge. One of our common
swallow-tail butterflies (Iphiclides ajax) possesses a very similar
green color in its wings, but does not seem to show this tendency to
replace the green by yellow. On the wings are four eyespots which
are also found in Polyphemus. These are remarkable in that they are
transparent in the center. This clear area in Luna is quite small,
while in Polyphemus it is about as large as the entire eye spot of
Luna. The legs are brown and colored like the front edge of the fore
wings. The hairs on the body and at the base of the wing are very
long and are white or yellow. The wing expanse ranges from three and
three-fourths to five and one-half inches.

During April or May the mother moth lays her dark-brown or
chocolate-colored eggs upon hickory, walnut, beech, oak, and a few
others of our forest trees. The limited number of food plants is
doubtless one reason for the rarity of the moths, as compared with such
a common and almost omnivorous larva as Cecropia. A single moth may lay
about one hundred eggs, which are smaller than those of Polyphemus.
These hatch in about ten or fifteen days, the larva making its escape
by eating a circular hole in the shell. Occasionally a young larva may
be seen crawling about for a short time, carrying upon its head or tail
the empty shell.

The adult larva is about three inches long, of a delicate pale green, a
color very difficult to preserve in the dead larva. Those on the plate
have lost this delicate green and have become yellow, but show the form
perfectly. This larva is very much like that of Polyphemus, but may be
distinguished from it by possessing a longitudinal pale yellow lateral
line, which is not found in Polyphemus. Since the cocoon is quite thin
and contains but little silk, it is considered of but little value.
This cocoon is spun among two or three weaves, and is about two inches
long. Some authors claim that the cocoon falls to the ground with
the autumnal falling of the leaves; others that it transforms on the
ground among the fallen leaves. The cocoon is quite similar to that of
Polyphemus, but not so firmly attached when fixed to a stem. The moths
emerge in April and May, there being only a single brood in the
north, while there are two in the south.

  [Illustration: LUNA MOTH.
                      (Tropaea luna.)
       Adult Male.        Pupa.             Adult Female.
       Larva.                               Cocoon.

                      POLYPHEMUS MOTH.
                     (Telea polyphemus.)
                          Pupa.
       Adult Male.   Eggs on Maple Leaf.   Adult Female.
                     About 1/2 Life-size.
       Larva.                               Cocoon.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.]

The color of the cocoon seems to be influenced in some way by the kind
of food eaten by the larva. Cocoons made by larva which have been fed
on hickory leaves have a darker color. In the true silk worm moth this
same influence has been noticed; larvae fed upon the vine producing
red cocoons, on lettuce emerald green cocoons, while those fed upon
white nettle produce yellow, green or violet cocoons. It is necessary
in order to procure these results, that the larvae be fed upon the
mulberry till about twenty days before the formation of the cocoon.

Polyphemus. The life history of this native silk worm (Telea
polyphemus) is by far the best known, because many years ago it was
very carefully studied with the hope that it would prove an important
silk insect. This hope unfortunately has not been realized.

The moths, as shown by the plate, are really beautiful; the large eye
spots on the hind wings contributing much towards this effect. The
transparent, window-like centers in the eye spot are also of quite rare
occurrence among our moths. These transparent areas do not possess the
very minute scales found on the other parts of the wing. Almost all
of the wonderful variety of colors found in the wings of butterflies
and moths are due either to coloring matter in these scales, or to
the breaking up of the white light by minute lines on these scales,
such as are seen in the play of colors on a soap-bubble. These
fine lines on the scales are only on the upper side, and are about
one-sixteen-thousandth of an inch apart.

The eggs of Polyphemus are very much flattened, about the size of those
of Cecropia, and are deposited on leaves and twigs singly or in small
groups. These hatch in about ten days and usually in the morning. The
young larva often devours the shell which a few moments before afforded
it shelter. This larva feeds upon oak, hickory, apple, maple, elm and a
variety of other trees, and thus has a larger range of food plants than
the Luna larva. The rate of growth is prodigious, as has been shown by
Mr. Trovelot. When the larva hatches it weighs about one-twentieth of
a grain; in ten days it weighs one-half of a grain, or ten times its
original weight; in twenty days it weighs three grains, or sixty times
its original weight; when a month old it weighs thirty-one grains, or
six hundred and twenty times its original weight, and has consumed
about ninety grains of food; after fifty days it weighs two hundred
and seven grains, or over four thousand times the original weight.
At fifty-six days the larva has eaten eighty-six thousand times its
original weight in food! It is therefore not surprising that these
larvae can often be easily detected upon trees by the large number of
leaves which they have devoured.

To provide for this great change in size, the larva moults five times,
but the time between these moults is not always the same; there is
usually about ten days between the first four moults and about twenty
between the fourth and fifth. The larva stops eating a day before the
moult, spins a few threads upon the leaf to which it attaches its hind
legs, and waits for the transformation, which usually takes place in
the afternoon. The larva, when mature and ready to spin its cocoon, is
about three inches long. It is sometimes influenced in its color by the
food plant; the normal larva being of a golden green, although it has
been known to show more yellow coloring when found on red maple.

A short time before beginning its cocoon the larva ceases to eat and
selects a place for its cocoon. These cocoons are usually found upon
the ground among the leaves, but are frequently attached to twigs.
After about a half day's work the larva spreads over the inside of the
cocoon a gummy, resinous substance, which binds together the threads.
After four or five days more of almost continuous work, another coating
is smeared over the inside, which renders the cocoon practically
air-tight. The silk fibres become considerably finer as the cocoon
nears completion and the supply of silk begins to run low. For this
reason the inner layers of the cocoon are only about half as strong as
the outer ones. The larva, as the supply of silk diminishes in the
silk glands, becomes perceptibly reduced in size. It has been estimated
that the larva, in attaching the continuous thread of its cocoon, makes
two hundred and fifty-four thousand back and forward movements. The
cocoons are very strong and dense, of a dirty white color and generally
coated with a white powder, the female being the larger.

There is but a single brood in the north, while in the south there are
two.

In order to see if the pupa needed air, Mr. Trovelot sealed up some
cocoons over winter in shellac, but the moths emerged in due time
after being in an air-tight space for nine months. He also delayed the
emergence of the moth till twenty-one months after entering the cocoon
by placing it upon ice.

The silk in the spinning glands before it is spun is a clear,
transparent fluid. These glands seem to be of excessive size when
compared with that of the larva, since, when fully expanded, they reach
the great length of twenty-five inches, or about eight times the length
of the full-grown larva. These glands are paired, one being found on
each side of the body, are considerably folded and taper at each end.
The ducts leading from the anterior end of the glands unite to form a
single duct which opens below the mouth. The thread is double, being
really composed of two different fibres, one from each gland, as may
be shown by separating them. The silk in these glands is prepared and
sold as silk "gut" to anglers. On account of its transparency when in
water, it becomes invisible and thus aids in deluding the wary fish,
who does not see any connection between the line and the baited hook.
The "gut" is prepared as follows: Larvae which are ready to spin their
cocoons are cut open and placed in strong vinegar for eighteen hours;
the glands are then taken out, stretched and dried in the shade.

Six or eight days after beginning the cocoon, the larval skin is
moulted and the real chrysalic or pupal stage begins. This stage
normally lasts till the following spring or summer. A few days before
the time of emergence a pair of glands which open into the mouth become
very active and secrete an acidulated fluid which escapes and wets
the fore end of the cocoon, causing the resinous material binding
together the fibres to become soft. Even cocoons sealed up in shellac
and starch have been dissolved by this fluid, and thus the moths have
been able to escape. When the cocoon has become sufficiently soft, the
moth pushes its way between the fibres, but in doing so often breaks
some of the threads, thus making the silk of such cocoons useless for
commercial purposes. The moth at the time of emergence, with its folded
and crumpled wings, is quite a forlorn-looking object. These wilted
wings soon begin to fill up with fluids from the body, which is very
large at this time. In some cases, the fluid is driven into the wings
with so much force that they swell up, and if such a wing is punctured,
thus allowing some of the fluid to escape, the mature wing will be of
a smaller size than one from which no fluid has been lost. It must be
remembered that it is possible to inflate a butterfly or moth's wing,
because the wings of insects are not composed of a single layer, but
are sacs of two layers which are closely applied. It is thus possible
to split the wing into upper and lower halves, but this can only be
done at the time of emergence, when these two layers are not so firmly
cemented together as they are in a few hours after emergence.

The enemies of Polyphemus are numerous. Birds prey upon the larvae, in
addition to numerous parasitic insects which are very similar to those
which destroy Cecropia. The cocoon itself is not a complete protection
because rats and squirrels plunder them. We thus see that the life of
even an insect is full of dangers, and that it is really a wonder that
so many are able to become mature and reproduce.

The silk-worm moths are excellent illustrations of what is called
complete metamorphosis in insects. An insect like the grasshopper, when
it hatches from the egg, is very much like the adult insect in its
general form and appearance; the most evident difference being the lack
of wings. An insect which shows such slight changes in its growth to
maturity is said to have an incomplete metamorphosis. It is incomplete
in the sense that the change is not of a very radical nature. But
in the case of the silk worm moths, and moths and butterflies in
general, the larva which hatches from the eggs has not even the most
superficial resemblance to the adult insect, the fully-developed moth.
This necessitates a complete change or metamorphosis in the form and
structure of the insect before it can become mature. This great change
is accomplished during the quiet pupal stage in the cocoon. Because
the pupa is apparently passive when viewed from the exterior, one must
not conclude that it is so internally; far from it; the digestive
organs of the larva must be completely made over from those of a
chewing leaf eater to those of a moth which can only take liquid food.

                                        Charles Christopher Adams.



CASTLES IN THE AIR.


In a little bend of the San Joaquin River, where the current,
attempting to straighten its course, has left a bank a few feet wide,
there is a small grove of tall cottonwood trees, perhaps a dozen in
number, whose branches lean far over the stream and whose tops reach
almost to the level of the bluff or rather the floor of the valley 250
feet above, for this swift river has, in the course of ages, cut thus
deep a channel for itself.

The place is not easy of access, for the shore narrows above and below
the bend to a few inches where one with difficulty keeps from crumbling
away the sand with his feet and falling into the water, and the cliff
is so nearly perpendicular that in many places it is inaccessible to a
climber, being of soft sand whose different stratas are clearly defined
where they have been sliced off by the cutting stream.

The valley above is a vast grainfield out almost to the edge of the
bluff, and along the edge and face of the bluff, wherever root can
cling or tendril hold, grow beautiful wild flowers in the early spring
days--their last refuge between the cultivation and the deep sea, or
rather, river.

In the tops of the cottonwoods live a number of baronial families in
castles huge, gray and ugly, overlooking the sweep of the stream. They
are the Great Blue Herons whose Latin title, (Ardea herodias), gives
one some idea of their ancient lineage. They claim to be older than the
storks of Egypt, and indeed, they look older as they stand humpbacked
and sleepy on one leg by the side of their nests, the long fringe of
light-speckled neck feathers underneath looking like a long gray beard
sweeping over their recurved neck and breast. There is a wise look
about them, too, for the black markings of the head sweep back over the
eye and prolong into the appearance of a quill extending behind their
ears.

Though they are almost four feet long and spread their wings to six
feet and over, the herons' large blue-grey bodies are often almost
indistinguishable from the bark of the cottonwood branches and the
blue of the sky against which they are silhouetted so oddly. One's
eyes open with astonishment when these sticks or excrescences of the
tree-tops slowly unfold an enormous sweep of sail and, extending their
long stilts behind them, flap off across the stream with a creaking
sound like the pulleys of a vessel when the halliards are running
through them. Standing or flapping they are not handsome birds and
one who comes suddenly upon a large heron for the first time as he
stands in the shallow water of the brookside, will be convulsed with
laughter, for if there is an utterly clumsy and awkward form or motion
in bird-life it belongs to this heron.

Their homes are big baskets of nests made of twigs as large as a man's
finger, closely intermeshed. From year to year they use the same nest
or build over it until it has two or three stories or more and is
bigger than a bushel basket. There are probably two dozen nests in the
dozen cottonwood trees, some of the larger trees having three or four
or even six away up in their tops where the branches seem scarcely
strong enough to bear such heavy burdens. From the top of the bluff one
can look down into the nests and in early March see the big blue eggs,
almost as large as hens' eggs, reposing like amethysts in their rough
brown setting. Some authors state that not over three eggs are laid,
but I have seen four about as often as three and, on one occasion,
five in a nest.

From their high-placed towers the herons watch the small fry in the
river below and make forays among the young trout, pike and catfish and
the frogs. They listen to the complaining voices in the twilight and in
the morning give them cause for still further complainings. They keep
in terror the big wood rats whose homes in the clumps of elder berries
below surpass in size those of the herons. And the gophers and field
mice of the grain fields never know at what moment an ungainly shadow
shall fall upon them and end their harvestings. There was a conceited
young frog who sang loud and shrill at sunset on the edge of the river
and who had an ambition to be, not an ox like the one in the fable, but
a Patti. And she had her wish after a fashion, for that connoisseur,
the heron who dwelt on the farthest branch over the water, attracted by
her vocal abilities, sought her out, and the little herons thought her
the nicest _paté de foie gras_ they had ever eaten.

There they dwell, this ancient race of high-born philosophers, stalking
the shallows of sunny baylets, or dreaming in the breeze of the
tree-tops of traditions old as the sequoias. What an authority would
you and I be if we could read the unwritten history of their race!

                                        Charles Elmer Jenny.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Boughs are daily rifled
      By the gusty thieves,
    And the Book of Nature
      Getteth short of leaves.
                                        --Hood, "The Seasons."



  [Illustration: PRONG-HORNED ANTELOPE.
                 (Antilocapra americana.)
                 Greatly reduced.
                 FROM COL. CHI. ACAD. SCIENCES.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.]

THE PRONG-HORNED ANTELOPE.

(_Antilocapra americana._)


The antelope family comprises many of the most beautiful and graceful
species among horned animals. When we behold the curiously twisted
horns of the sasin, the long, sharp horns of the pasan, the large,
spiral horns of the koodoo and the shorter horns of the eland, not to
mention the graceful bodies and limbs of these animals, we are led to
wonder at the extravagance of nature in furnishing such a variety of
appendages to these creatures.

By far the larger number of species of this family live in Africa and
Asia, where they have reached the highest development of structure.
They are not, like some families of mammals, confined to any one
particular locality, but are found on the plains and high up on the
mountains; in a country sparsely covered with vegetation and in the
thick forests; in marshes and bogs. In fact, they seem to inhabit all
varieties of country. While the family is thus diversified in habitat,
the different species are by no means so widely distributed, for while
some species, like the sasin, live only on the open plains, others,
like the chamois, live high up on the mountains, frequently above the
snow-line.

The subject of our sketch, the Prong-horned antelope (Antilocapra
americana), is not as large nor so strikingly horned as the other
animals which have been mentioned. In fact, so different is its
structure, having hollow, pronged horns which do not increase by
continuous growth, as do those of the true antelopes, but are shed like
those of the deer family, and having a somewhat different structure of
feet and different texture of hair, that a family has been made for it
known as Antilocapridae.

The Prong-horn ranges throughout the western part of North America from
the Missouri river to the Pacific ocean, and from the Saskatchewan
river south to the Rio Grande. It is not confined to the plains, but
has been found in the wild valleys of the Rocky mountains to a height
of over eight thousand feet above sea level.

The daily life of this interesting animal is thus described by
Canfield, who made an exhaustive study of them and who also kept
them in captivity: "From the first of September to the first of
March one always sees them in larger groups composed of bucks, does
and yearlings. Shortly afterward the does individually retire from
these herds and give birth to their young. After a short interval
they again unite with other suckling does and their little calves,
possibly with a view to common defense against the wolf and coyotes.
The adult bucks roam about singly or two together, leaving the mothers
with their latest progeny to their fate, the young Prong-horns in the
meantime gathering in groups of their own apart from the older animals.
Apparently tired of the world and bored by society the old bucks
wander about for one or two months, frequenting localities in which
they are not ordinarily seen. Two or three months subsequently the
adolescent bucks again join the old does and their calves, and finally
the old bucks also put in an appearance, so that one can observe herds,
numbering hundreds, or sometimes even thousands, after the first of
September. A herd never leaves its native locality or roams over more
than a few miles of range. In dry summer weather they seek water and go
to drink regularly once a day or twice in three days; but if the grass
is fresh and green, as is the case during the greater part of the year,
the Prong-horns do not drink at all."

The food of the antelope consists to a great extent of the short,
succulent herbage of the prairie, of moss, and also, to a limited
extent, of the young and tender branches of trees. Like many other
ruminants, this animal is passionately fond of salt and they will
remain about saline deposits for many hours, satisfying themselves by
licking the salty ground.

The antelope is the swiftest runner of any animal in North America,
though perhaps less agile and speedy than some of its relatives in the
old world. It has been said by competent observers that so swiftly do
they run that it is absolutely impossible to distinguish their limbs.

The senses of the antelope are unusually developed. Their sight is
exceedingly keen and their hearing very acute. Their sense of smell
is so well developed that no danger can possibly approach from the
windward side. When a herd is feeding, sentinels are placed on the
outskirts to scent any impending danger, and to give due warning to the
herd. Their curiosity is one of their most peculiar qualities and seems
to overshadow every other sense.

For a number of years this graceful animal has been considered royal
game for the sportsman and a good round-up of antelopes is considered a
great achievement among hunters. Mr. G. O. Shields, in his interesting
book, "Hunting in the Great West," very vividly describes a hunt for
antelopes, and we cannot better illustrate the peculiarities of the
animal than by giving his pen sketch:

"We had heard from some ranchmen along the way that the buffalo herd
was at this time grazing about fifteen to twenty miles up the Big
Porcupine, and knowing that antelopes are nearly always found hanging
on the outskirts of every large herd of bison, we were on the look-out
for them, for it would not seem at all strange to find them near the
stage trail on which we were traveling. We scanned the country closely
with the field glass and were finally rewarded by seeing a number
of small white spots on the dead grass away up the Porcupine, that
seemed to be moving. We rode toward them at a lively trot for perhaps a
mile, and then stopped to reconnoitre again. From this point we could
plainly distinguish them, though they looked to be about the size of
jack rabbits. We again put the rowels to our donkeys and rode rapidly
up to within about a mile of them, when we picketed our animals in a
low swale, took out our antelope flag--a piece of scarlet calico about
half a yard square--attached it to the end of my wiping stick, and were
ready to interview the antelopes.

"I crawled to the top of a ridge within plain view of the game, and
planted my flag. The breeze spread it out, kept it fluttering, and
it soon attracted their attention. They were then near the bank of
the river, grazing quietly, but this bit of colored rag excited their
curiosity to a degree that rendered them restive, anxious, uneasy, and
they seemed at once to be seized with an insatiable desire to find out
what it was. An antelope has as much curiosity as a woman, and when
they see any object that they don't quite understand, they will travel
miles and run themselves into all kinds of danger to find out what it
is. They have been known to follow an emigrant or freight wagon with
a white cover several miles, and an Indian brings them within reach
of his arrow by standing in plain view wrapped in his red blanket.
Some hunters "flag" them by lying down on their back, holding one foot
as high as possible, and swinging it to and fro. A piece of bright
tin or a mirror answers the same purpose on a clear day. Almost any
conspicuous or strange-looking object will attract them, but the most
convenient, as well as the most reliable at all times, is the little
red flag, such as we employed in this instance.

"Huffman went to the top of another ridge, to my right and some
distance in advance, and Jack crawled into a hollow on the left, and
well in advance, we three forming a half circle, into which it was our
intention if possible to decoy the game. When they first discovered
our flag they moved rapidly toward it, sometimes breaking into a trot,
but when they had covered half the distance between us and their
starting point, they began to grow suspicious and stopped. They circled
around, turned back, walked a few steps, and then paused and looked
back at the, to them, mysterious apparition. But they could not resist
its magic influence. Again they turned and came toward it, stopped,
and gazed curiously at it. The old buck who led the herd stamped
impatiently, as if annoyed at being unable to solve the mystery. Then
they walked cautiously toward us again, down an incline into a valley,
which took them out of our sight, and out of sight of the flag. This
of course rendered them still more impatient, and when they again came
in sight on the next ridge, they were running. But as soon as their
leader caught sight of the flag, he stopped, as did the others in
their turn when they reached the top of the ridge. There were seven in
the herd, two bucks, three does and two fawns. They were now not more
than a hundred yards from me, and still less from the other two of our
party. Their position was everything we could wish, and though we might
possibly have brought them a few yards nearer, there was a possibility
of their scenting us, even across the wind, which, of course, we had
arranged to have in our favor, and I decided that rather than run the
risk of this and the consequent stampede, I would shoot while I had a
good chance. It had been arranged that I was to open the ball, so I
drew my peep and globe sights down very finely, taking the white breast
of the old buck for my bull's-eye, and pulled. Huffman's Kennedy and
Jack's carbine paid their compliments to the pretty visitors at almost
the same instant, and for about two or three minutes thereafter we
fanned them about as vigorously as ever a herd got fanned under similar
circumstances. The air was full of leaden missiles; the dry dust raised
under and around the fleeing herd as it does when a team trots over a
dusty road. Clouds of smoke hung over us, and the distant hills echoed
the music of our artillery until the last white rump disappeared in the
cottonwoods on the river bank.

"When the smoke of battle cleared away, and we looked over the field,
we found that we had not burned our powder in vain. Five of the little
fellows, the two bucks and three does, had fallen victims to their
curiosity. The two fawns had, strangely enough, escaped, probably only
because they, so much smaller than their parents, were less exposed."

The antelope have a curious way of protecting their young, when on the
open prairie. This is accomplished by placing a ring of sharp-pointed
cacti about a spot which has been beaten smooth by their hoofs. Inside
this ample protection the animal cares for its young and secures
ingress and egress for itself by jumping over the ring of cacti. This
serves to protect them from the majority of their foes, which inhabit
the open country.

The antelope does not thrive well in captivity, the older ones soon
killing themselves in their attempts to escape. The young taken soon
after their birth generally die early, unless very special care is
bestowed upon them, and even if they survive the juvenile state, they
are very likely to die when three or four months old, from pyaemic
sores or inflammation of the limbs.



PLANT PROTECTION.


In the last number of this journal it was shown how plants seek to
avoid the visits of unsuitable insects to their flowers. This is one
means of protection, but there are many others which are even more
striking and vital. It is supposed by many that plants are helpless
beings, which must submit to all sorts of unfavorable conditions which
come upon them. This is far from true, for while plants as a rule are
fixed and unable to escape from danger by flight, still they have very
many ways of helping themselves.

Prominent among the dangers which come to active green plants are
those which arise from too intense light, which may destroy the
delicate working substances. Since the leaves are the great working
organs in the manufacture of food, they are especially equipped for
protection. Those leaves which must work in exposed places have many
details of structure which are evidently for guarding them against
the ill effects of too intense light. The most striking adaptations,
however, are those which have to do with protective positions. Under
ordinary circumstances leaves are placed so that their flat faces are
exposed to the most intense light. In some cases this is so great a
danger that the leaves are set edgewise, the edges being directed
upwards and downwards. When a plant assumes this habit, the leaves are
said to be in a profile position, and the plants are sometimes called
"compass plants." The latter name has come from the fact that such
leaves usually point north or south, and once it was assumed that this
position was in response to some mysterious magnetic influence. It is
found, however, that it is merely an effort on the part of the plant
to protect its leaves from the intense light of midday, and at the
same time to expose them to the morning and evening rays of much less
intensity. If a leaf is to be placed with its edge upwards and its flat
faces east and west, it follows of necessity that it will point either
north or south.

Some leaves, however, have the power of shifting their position
according to their needs, directing their flat surfaces toward the
light, or more or less inclining them according to the danger.
Perhaps the most completely adapted leaves of this kind are those
of the "sensitive plants," whose leaves respond to various external
influences by changing their positions. The sensitive plants abound
in dry and hot regions, and one of the best known is represented in
our illustration. It will be noticed that the leaves of this Mimosa
are divided into very numerous small leaflets, which stretch in pairs
along the leaf branches. When the time of intense light and dryness
approaches some of the pairs of leaflets fold together, slightly
reducing the surface exposure. As the unfavorable condition continues,
more leaflets fold together, then still others, until finally all the
leaflets may be folded together, and the leaves themselves may bend
against the stem. It is like a sailing vessel gradually taking in sail
as a storm approaches, until finally nothing is exposed, and the vessel
weathers the storm by presenting only bare poles. These are but a few
illustrations of the very numerous devices for escaping too intense
light and the dangers which accompany it.

  [Illustration: SENSITIVE PLANT.
                 Awake.      (Mimosa pudica.)     Asleep.
                 PLANTS PRESENTED BY LINCOLN PARK COMMISSIONERS.
                 COPYRIGHT 1900, BY
                 A. W. MUMFORD, CHICAGO.]

One common danger in temperate regions comes from the lowering of the
temperature each night, which sometimes may chill the living substances
to the danger point. This is particularly dangerous to seedlings, whose
tender structures have not yet developed the ordinary protective
coats. In the spring the seed leaves of numerous seedlings may be seen
at the approach of night to rise upward and come together, just as the
palms of the hand may be placed together over one's head. This reduces
the surface of exposure and the danger of chill at least one-half.
Darwin experimented upon these seedlings, and discovered that by
preventing some of the seed leaves from moving, the seedlings were
seriously injured. The leaves of very many plants assume a peculiar
night position which tends to meet the danger of loss of heat. Often
the three leaflets of the common clover, if growing in an exposed
place, may be observed to fold together into a sort of tent-like
arrangement.

Many plants are also observed to protect themselves against rain, as
it is necessary for leaves to avoid becoming wet. If the water is
allowed to soak in, the work of the leaves is at once interfered with.
Hence it will be noticed that most leaves are able to shed water,
partly by their position, partly by their structure. In many plants
the leaves are so arranged that the water runs off toward the stem; in
other plants the rain is shed outwards as from the eaves of a house.
Some of the structures which prevent the rain from soaking in are a
smooth epidermis, layers of cuticle, hairy coverings, etc. Interesting
experiments may be performed with different leaves to test their power
of shedding water. If a gentle spray be allowed to play upon different
plants it will be observed that the water glances off at once from the
surfaces of some leaves, runs off more slightly from others, and may be
more or less retained by others.

Perhaps the most general preparation for protection in our region is
that which is made for the coming of the winter's cold. In many cases
plants do not attempt to protect their delicate structures from the
severity of winter, but disappear entirely, leaving only well-protected
seeds to carry them over into the next growing season. This results in
the so-called "annual habit," which has been learned by many plants
in order to escape a season of danger. Other plants do not disappear
so completely, but everything above the surface of the ground dies,
while the plant continues in the form of underground bulbs, tubers,
or various thickened structures. This habit of seeking a subterranean
retreat at the approach of some dangerous season is a very good one,
and is found in many of our early spring plants. This subterranean
habit has a great advantage over the annual habit, since a seed is very
slow in bringing the plant back again, while a bulb can produce its
plant very rapidly.

Still other plants preserve more of their structures than either the
annuals or the ground-loving plants. For example, most of our trees
have cultivated what is known as the deciduous habit, that is, they
merely drop their leaves, which are the endangered structures, at the
approach of the unfavorable season, and renew them again when the
favorable conditions return. It should be remarked that these leaves
do not fall because they are broken off, but that in a certain sense
it is a process of growing off, which is carefully prepared for. One
of the most prominent features associated with the deciduous habit is
the autumnal coloration. The vivid colors which appear in the leaves of
many trees just before the time of falling have attracted a great deal
of attention, but although it is so prominent, the causes for it are
very obscure. It will be noticed that this autumnal coloration consists
in the development of various shades of two typical colors, yellow and
red. It is known that the yellow is due to the breaking down of the
green substances, so that it simply indicates a post mortem change, as
may be noticed in connection with the blanching of celery in which the
leaves and upper part of the stem may be green, the green may shade
gradually into yellow, and finally into the pure white of complete
blanching. The red coloring matter, however, is very different. Certain
experiments upon plant colors have indicated that the presence of the
red slightly increases the temperature by absorbing more heat. It is
suggested that the red color may be a slight protection to the living
substance which is ceasing to work, and which is in danger of exposure
to cold. If this be true, it may be that the same explanation will
cover the case of the red flush so conspicuous in buds and young leaves
in early spring. It must not be supposed that the need of protection
has developed the coloring, but since it is developed it may be of some
such service to the plant. Even the conditions which determine autumnal
coloration have not been made out certainly.

It is instructive to notice how differently the so-called evergreens,
as pines, spruces, etc., have answered the problem of protection
against the cold of winter. The evergreens, instead of dropping their
leaves, have undertaken to protect them, giving them a small surface
and very heavy walls. In this way protection has been secured at the
expense of working power during the season of work. Reduced surface and
thick walls are both obstacles to leaf work. On the other hand, the
deciduous trees have developed the working power of their leaves to the
greatest extent, giving them large surface exposure and comparatively
delicate walls. It is out of the question to protect such an amount
of surface during the winter, and hence the deciduous habit. The
evergreens are saved the annual renewal of leaves, but lose in working
power; the deciduous trees must renew their leaves annually, but gain
greatly in working power.

To obtain the most striking instances of protection, however, one must
examine plants which belong to permanently dry regions, such as may be
found in the United States along the Mexican border, or in the regions
of tropical deserts. In the first place, it will be noticed that the
plants in general produce smaller leaves than in other regions. That
this holds a direct relation to the dry conditions is evident from
the fact that the same plant often produces smaller leaves in dry
conditions than in moist. One of the most striking features of an arid
country is the absence of large leaves. These reduced leaves are of
various forms, such as the needle leaves of pines, or the thread-like
leaves of certain sedges and grasses, or the narrow leaves with
inrolled margins such as is common in many heath plants. The extreme of
leaf reduction has been reached by the Cactus plants, whose leaves, so
far as foliage is concerned, have disappeared entirely, and the leaf
work is done by the surface of the globular, cylindrical, or flattened
stems. A covering of hairs is an effective sun screen, and it is very
common to find plants of dry regions characteristically hairy. In
such regions it is to be observed also that dwarf growths prevail, so
that the plant, as a whole, does not present such an exposure to the
drouth as in regions of greater moisture. One of the most prominent
measures of protection in dry regions is the organization of what are
known as water reservoirs. Nearly all plants of such regions have
leaves which are known as fleshy, that is, they are thick and juicy,
being reservoirs of stored up moisture which is doled out cautiously
according to the needs of the plant, without any wastefulness.

The whole subject of plant protection is an immense one, and the
illustrations given above are merely intended to suggest that there is
such a subject, and to lead to some observation of the various schemes
of protection which are to be seen plainly on every hand.

                                        John Merle Coulter.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Nature is but a name for an effect
    Whose cause is God.
                                        --Cowper, "The Task."



THE BIRTH OF A TREE.


    Once I lay 'neath quilt of green,
      All unthought of, all unseen;
    Little thinking of the world
      Out of which I had been hurled.

    By and by, when quilt grew hot,
      Mother Nature touched my cot,
    Whispered softly in my ear,
      "Higher, higher, higher, dear."

    Painted lovely scenes for me,
      Saying, "Child, climb up and see."
    I was lazy, so I said,
      "Please, ma'am, let me stay in bed."

    Something whispered, "Child, I fear
      Life will be but meager here."
    Golden sunbeams bade me start,
      And a purpose filled my heart.

    I would leave my bed of ease,
      I would join the forest trees;
    Shelter travelers passing by,
      Hide squirrels in the branches high.

    Purpose, mighty power, led,
      Ever, ever on ahead,
    Till I grew up here so high,
      Near the sunlight and the sky.

    Mother Nature, mother dear,
      I am glad you called me here.
    Thus the mighty forest oak
      From his wooded homeland spoke.

    And I thought a lesson this--
      We, to reach the highest bliss,
    Must arise from beds of ease,
      Growing like the forest trees.
                                        Lucia Belle Cook.



THE ALMOND.

(_Amygdalus communis L._)

And it came to pass that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle
of witness; and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was
budded, and brought forth buds, and blossomed blossoms, and yielded
_almonds_.--Numbers 17:8.


The almond is the fruit of a small tree (Amygdalus communis) belonging
to the Rose family (Rosaceae). The plant is believed to be a native of
northern Africa, Persia and Turkestan. It occurs wild in Sicily and
Greece and is cultivated throughout temperate Europe, including England.

The leaves of the almond tree are simple, broadly lanceolate, margins
serrate, bright green and stalked. The flowers are nearly sessile,
mostly solitary, petals bright pink; otherwise similar to the flowers
of the rose family as seen in the apple blossom, cherry blossom and
the wild rose. The fruit is a drupe or stone fruit, resembling the
peach in its general structural characters. It is, however, much
smaller, measuring about one and one-half inch in length. As in the
peach the outer portion of the fruit coat (sarcocarp) is fleshy, the
inner portion (endocarp or putamen) is hard and encloses the kernel or
seed to which the term almond is usually applied. The plant is very
ornamental, producing its beautiful flowers in March before the leaves
are developed.

Two natural varieties of almonds are quite universally recognized, the
sweet (A. communis var dulcis) and the bitter (A. communis var amara).
They resemble each other so closely in general appearance that it is
practically impossible to distinguish between them. The principal
difference lies in the chemistry of the kernels or seeds themselves.
In the bitter variety amygdalin is found, which is practically wanting
in the sweet variety. Some botanists describe quite a number of
varieties. Karsten, for instance, describes five varieties of A.
communis, namely, dulcis, amara, fragilis, macrocarpa and persicoides.
Boissier in his Flora Orientalis describes as many as seventeen
distinct species.

The almond tree is one of the oldest of the cultivated plants. It
was a great garden favorite in and about Palestine. It is frequently
mentioned in the books of Moses. In Exodus 25:34, we find that the
"candlestick shall have four bowls made like unto almonds." As
explained in the 8th verse of chapter 17 of Numbers the blossoming
rod of Aaron was from an almond tree. Even to this day Jews carry
rods bearing almond blossoms to the synagogues on great festival
days. The Romans designated the almonds (the kernels or seeds with
the hard endocarp or shell) Nuces graecae (Greek nuts), from which it
is concluded that the almond tree was brought to Italy from Greece.
Almond oil was known to the ancient Greek and Roman writers. Plinius
and Dioscorides make reference to the gum which exudes from the bark.
Karl der Grosse (Charlemagne) recommended the cultivation of almonds
in Germany. In view of the fact that some authorities state that the
sweet variety is a product of cultivation, it is interesting to note
that the two varieties have been known equally long. The bitter variety
was described by Scribonius Largus and Plinius. Alexander Trallianus
described the medicinal virtues of the oil of bitter almonds.
Palladinus gave directions how to convert the bitter variety into the
sweet variety by methods of cultivation. Later experiments have,
however, proven this to be a false conclusion.

  [Illustration: ALMOND.
                 FROM KOEHLER'S MEDICINAL-PFLANZEN.
                 CHICAGO:
                 A. W. MUMFORD, PUBLISHER.]

Description of Plate:--A, B, branch with flowers and fruit; 1, 1a,
flowers from different trees; 2, 2a, petals; 3, stamens; 4, pollen; 5,
stamen; 6, 7, ovary; 8, 9, seed with shell; 10, seed without shell; 11,
12, sections of seed.

The fruit and seeds of several other plants are known as almonds. The
seeds of the African shrub Brabejum stellatifolium are known as African
almonds. Country almonds is a name given to the fruit of the East
Indian tree Terminalia Catappa. The fruit of Canarium commune is known
as Java almonds.

At the present time the sweet almond is extensively cultivated in
northern Africa, southern Europe and in the warmer parts of the
United States, particularly in California. Climatic conditions and
cultivation have a great influence upon the quality of the almonds and
we have as a result quite a number of commercial varieties, just as
we have commercial varieties of coffee, tea, oranges, etc. The more
important commercial varieties are the Jordan, Valencia, Barbary and
California almonds. These vary somewhat in size, form and thickness
of the kernel and the hardness and thickness of the shell (endocarp).
The Jordan almonds are imported from Malaga (Spain) and are said to be
the finest. They differ from the others in the greater length of the
kernel (seed), for which reason they are also known as long almonds.
These are official in the English Pharmacopoeia because they are not
readily confused with other sweet varieties and the bitter almond. The
Valencia almonds come from the Balearic islands (Majorca); they are
characterized by a comparatively soft shell and are less highly prized
than the Jordan or the California almonds. The Barbary almonds from
northern Africa are quite small and unsightly and for those reasons
have comparatively little commercial value. In the United States the
principal commercial variety is the California almond. The kernel is
shorter and flatter than that of the Jordan almond, but almost equal to
it in quality. It is extensively cultivated, about one hundred trees
being planted to the acre. The trees attain a height of fifteen to
twenty feet and begin to yield when three years old. In California it
is customary to bleach the almonds by exposing them to the vapor of
burning sulphur, which also destroys insect parasites which attack
almonds very readily.

Other less important sweet commercial varieties are the Provence
almonds of southern France, the Florence and Ambrosia almonds of
Sicily, the Pitti almonds of Portugal and the small Puglia almonds of
Italy.

The bitter almond seeds are as a rule somewhat shorter, broader and
thinner than those of the larger, sweet varieties. Those found upon the
market are largely from northern Africa, Sicily and southern France.

The principal constituents of sweet almonds are a fixed oil, sugar,
some albuminoid substances, and perhaps a small quantity of amygdalin
or a substance akin to it. The purified fixed oil from both varieties
of almonds is a bland, thin, pale yellow liquid, having a faint taste
and odor of the almond. When exposed to the air it becomes rancid
quite readily. Medicinally it finds use as an emollient in external
applications. Taken internally in small doses it is nutritious; in
large doses laxative. Mixed with mucilage or yolk of eggs and sugar it
is found useful in allaying troublesome coughs due to irritation of the
throat. It also finds a table use similar to that of olive oil.

Bitter almonds contain a very poisonous volatile oil in addition to
the fixed oil just described. In small quantities this oil finds a use
for flavoring by the cook and confectioner, and by the perfumer for
scenting toilet soaps and for other purposes. This oil is obtained by
distillation after the fixed oil has been expressed. It is the product
of the decomposition of amygdalin under the influence of emulsin and
water. The poisonous properties of this oil are due to the hydrocyanic
acid which is present. This acid may be removed and the oil is then
known as purified oil of bitter almonds. Even the purified oil is not
safe, as it decomposes quite readily unless all of the water is removed
by the use of fused chloride of lime.

The symptoms of poisoning from the oil of bitter almonds, or from
a quantity of the bitter almonds, are the same as from a dose of
hydrocyanic acid. Medicinally the oil is used like hydrocyanic acid
in various disorders of nervous origin, as whooping cough, spasmodic
troubles, etc.

Sweet almonds are variously employed. Roasted and salted almonds are
very much liked by everybody. Almonds for the table must first be
"blanched," that is, the outer, reddish brown, thin seed coat must be
removed, as it contains irritant properties. They are used in making
cake and other pastry. Cake or bread made from almond meal has been
recommended as a substitute for ordinary bread in the treatment of
diabetes, as it is free from starch, a food substance which proves
harmful in this disease. Almond cake is a term applied to the crushed
seeds from which the oil has been expressed. Finely-powdered this
is used for washing hands and face. Almond paste is a cosmetic made
from powdered bitter almonds, white of egg, rose water and rectified
spirits. It is used to soften the skin and prevent chapping of hands.
An emulsion of sweet almonds is also used as a substitute for milk in
feeding infants.

                                        Albert Schneider.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Nature, the Vicar of the Almightie Lord.
                                    --Chaucer, "The Assembly of Foules."


    All Nature is but art, unknown to thee;
    All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
    All discord, harmony not understood;
    All partial evil, universal good;
    And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
    One truth is clear, whatever is, is right.
                                        --Pope, "Essay on Man."


  Nature is a frugal mother, and never gives without measure.
                                        --Emerson, "Essays."


                  But who can paint
    Like Nature! Can imagination boast
    Amid its gay creations hues like hers?
                                        --Thompson, "Seasons."



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





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