Agassiz Association. Wilson Ornithological Chapter.

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of the latest systematic work on ornithology of Dr. Reichenow, by the
Rev. W. F. Henninger; The effect on the birds in the opening of the
park and the building of the reservoirs in the vicinity of Youngstomi,
Ohio, by Geo. L. Fordyce; A six weeks' stay in the Big Cypress Swamp
of Florida, by F. M. Phelps; Notes on the nesting of the Herring Gull,

44 The Wilson Bulletin — No. 86

the Common Tern and the Ked-breasted Merganser, by Dr. R. M. Strong
(illustrated) ; The Ottawa River in Canada as a migration route and bird
boundary, by C. W. G. Eifrig.

Before adjournment a short business meeting was held in which the
revised constitution was read by Dr. Strong for the committee. Resolved,
to adopt this and recommend it to the club for ratification.


This, as well as the afternoon meeting, was open to the public. Two

illustrated lectures were given, the first by Prof. Lynds Jones on the

winter habits of birds; the second, by Mr. G. A. Abbott, on the birds of

the Calumet Region near Chicago.

C. W. G. EiFRii, Secretary.

Note : The new secretary 's address is as follows : Mr. O. M. Schantz,
5215 W. 24th St., Cicero, 111.; the treasurer's: Mr. P. B. Coffin, 3232
Groveland Ave., Chicago, 111.

Field Notes

Unusual Central Ohio Occurrences.

Professor J. S. Hine, of the Ohio State University, sends a note to
the effect that a Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax naevius) in the
female plumage of the year, was taken near Columbus on December
]8, 1913.

Mr. Thos. M. Earl, of Columbus, reports the receipt of a Golden Eagle
(Aquila chrysaetos) sent to him for mounting from Coshocton county, in
November, 1913.

Queer Practice of Wood Thrushes.

If more evidence is needed to substantiate the statement that a wood
thrush frequently attaches a large piece of paper or cloth to its nest
and lets it hang in conspicuous display, as if to mark the location of the
nest, I will say that a piece of white tissue paper, several inches wide
find perhaps half a yard long, hung from the nest of a wood thrush at
Chautauqua last summer.

The nest was about eight feet high, in a thicket, and not to exceed a
rod from the public street.

Birds are so well treated at Chautauqua that they are not very wild,
and this bird seemed undisturbed by those who frequently stopped with
inquisitive eyes as they passed by on the street.

Field Notes 45

There were several of these birds on the grounds, and their singing was
so much in evidence that boys took it up and could often be heard whis-
tling an imitation. L. B. Cushman.

North East, Pa., Dec. 30, 1913.

Sandpiper Notes.

The fall migration of 1913 proved to be rather unusual in regard to
the sandpiper movements. Many species lingered later than usual in this
locality and several new species were noted. Immense mixed flocks of
shore birds fed on the mud flats around the bayous from Aug. 20 to
Sept. 12. In these flocks the usual Pectoral, Semipalmated, Least, and
Solitary Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs were abundant. In addition
Baird's Sandpijjers (Pisoiia hairdi) were present in considerable num-
bers from Aug. 22-27, and several specimens were taken. One Greater
Yellowlegs (Totanvs melanolcucus) was noted Oct. 6. From the 12tli of
September the numbers decreased rapidly, although a few individuals
remained much later. The last records for the more common species are
as follows: Pectoral Sandpiper (Pisobia maculata), Nov. 12; White-
rumped Sandpiper {Pisohia fuscicollis), Nov. 7; Least Sandpiper (Pisobia
minutilla), Oct. 12; Semipalmated Sandpiper (Ereunetes pusillus), Oct.
12; Yellow-legs (Totanus flavipes), Nov. 1; Solitary Sandpiper (Helo-
dromus soUtarius solifarius), Oct. 5; and Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis
macularia), Oct. 8.

On the 6th of October, after the bulk of the shore birds had departed,
a flock of four Eed-backed Sandpipers {Pelidna alpina saJchalina) were
noted feeding on the deserted mud flats and one was taken. The birds
were tame and unsuspicious and allowed a close approach. On the 10th
the ponds were visited again and a flock of about sixty found in the same
place. Four were taken at this time. All authorities to which I have
access state that this species is uncommon in the interior in the fall and
it was a surprise to me to find them so numerous at this time. This is
the first time that I have noted this form in the fall. A few lingered until
the 25th of October, when the last one was seen.

Ira N. Gabrielson, Marshalltown, Iowa.

"The Guide to Nature."

Many magazines, hundreds of schools and thousands of teachers and
parents have tried to instruct children in a knowledge of nature. Yet the
really natural child takes to nature for enjoyment like a duck to water.

Why urge the duck, why compel it to go into the water? When we de-
stroy spontaneity and liberty, we prevent enjoyment and all consequent
benefit. "We love the things that love us."

It is, however, not nature nor even natural science as a matter of in-
struction, as the adult understands it, that the child wants, but the fun
of seeing things. Where is the boy or girl that is not pleased by the

46 The Wilson Bulletin — No. 86

sight of an elephant or a grasshopper? But when the mammal or that
insect must be studied as so much nature or natural science, then is
diminished the satisfaction of the watching, and when the watching is
made a matter of study, of literature or of science, it becomes still less
pleasing unless the observer is naturally studious. Compulsion always
removes the zest and blunts the edge. We do best the things that we
best like to do. This point of view has been strongly emphasized in
Edward F. Bigelow's experience during his fourteen years' editorship
of the department of ' ' Nature and Science " of " St. Nicholas, ' ' his
correspondence with boys and girls having probably been larger than
that of any other editor. He has severed his connection with the ' ' St.
Nicholas" magazine and will establish in ''The Guide to Nature" a
department entitled ' ' The Fun of Seeing Things. ' '

Dr. Bigelow is an amateur naturalist. He revels in nature because he
likes nature. He believes that young folks make the best companions
when they are free from restrictions imjjosed by parents or teachers. He
enjoys their unrestrained spontaneity. He enjoys their letters when the
letters have not been revised and made so correct that they are deprived
of all originality and heart. He wants young people as they are, not as
some one thinks they should be, as he wants nature as she is, unchanged
by man 's meddling. The tangled thicket is more beautiful and instruct-
ive than the formally trimmed hedge. The wild grass is far more
beautiful than the closely shaven lawn; a laughing brook in a secluded
ravine is far more picturesque than a ditch with concrete banks.

He will conduct the new department, ' ' The Fun of Seeing Things, ' ' as
he would lead a party of young folks on a ramble. There will be more
spontaneity than restraint, more originality than formally trimmed

Boys and girls that wish to share in this real fun may address Dr.
Bigelow at Arcadia, Sound Beach, Conn.

"The Guide to Nature" pays for contributions only in the satisfaction
tliat comes to every contributor in having his best work well published
for the benefit of other workers. There can be no better remuneration.
Therefore your best work in this great "labor of love" is solicited.

You are invited to share in the liberal pay received by the editor and
the members of the family who assist him, and that is the joy of work-
ing faithfully in a cause than which there is none better on earth. This
is the pay that the editor has. Your observations described in a plain and
simple way, will help the magazine and encourage its readers.

Every cent of income from ' ' The Guide to Nature ' ' and from The Agas-
siz Association is placed on the "Eeceived" side of the cash book. On
the "Paid" side are only actual expenses — paper, printing, engraving,
mailing, etc.

Publications Reviewed 47

Publications Reviewed

Current Items of Interest, prepared by Henry Oldys, under the direc-
tion of the Audubon Society of the District of Columbia, January 20,
19] 4, is one of the quarterly series which contains many items of interest
particularly relating to the protection of birds against plumage traffic.
We are pleased to note from it that the enactment of the Tariff Plumage
Measure is bearing fruit in Europe. The present outlook for any co-
operation from France and Italy, and probably Spain, is dark. But con-
tinual agitation may finally result in the world-wide suppression of
traffic in plumages for purposes of personal adornment. L. J.

There has come into our hands a ' ' Bird Study Note Book, ' ' prepared
by Clara Cozard Keezel, and for sale by her at Garnett, Kansas, at 27c
the single copy, discount for quantities. It is designed for Intermediate
and Grammar grades. It is 6Vi by 8^/4 inches, and ruled to meet the
needs which are suggested in the preface and on the last page. As a
skeleton for observation and for making records it should prove of value.
It seems to the writer to be better to the Intermediate than to the Gram-
mar grades. Pupils of the Grammar grades are likely to want to keep
records more elaborately than this little book makes possible. For them
some loose sheet system would likely prove effective. L. J.

"Descriptions of Ten New African Birds of the Genera Pogonocichla,
Cossypha, Bradypterus, Sylvietta, Melaniparus, and Zosterops. ' ' By Edgar
A. Mearns, Associate in Zoology, U. S. National Museum. Smithsonian
Miscellaneous Collections, Volume 61, Number 20. (Publication 2251.)
November 29, 1913. "Four of the forms herein described are from the
collection made by the Childs Frick African Expedition, 1911-1912;
three are from the collection made by the Paul J. Eainey Expedition
1911-1912; one is from the Smithsonian African Exj^edition, 1909-1910
collection, made under the direction of Col. Theodore Eoosevelt; and two
were collected by Dr. W. L. Abbott in 1888." The new forms here de-
scribed are all sub-species. L. J.

' ' Nature Study Review, ' ' the official organ of the American Nature
Study Society. The January number, 1914, contains a report, under the
caption ' ' Some Students ' Work, ' ' of two sets of observations by Nor-
mal Students, in which several birds are made the major objects of
study. Both of these reports show the need of some editing. Nature
study ought to have as one of its requirements accuracy, as far as it is
possible to secure it. Here we find the names of the birds, some of
them, inexcusably inaccurately printed, because it would be easy to have
them right. In most cases the "Identification Characters" do not
identify at all. If these are two fair samples of Normal School Nature

48 The Wilson Bulletin — No. 86

study work there is clearly room for improvement. It is stated that
' ' They are suggestive at least of the sort of work that is actually being
done in preparing teachers to do nature work. ' ' Too bad ! L. J.

' ' Descriptions of Eight New African Bulbuls. ' ' By Edgar A. Mearns,
Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Volume 61, Number 2.5, February
16, 1914. (Publication 2260.) ' ' Four of the forms of African birds
here described are from the collection made by the Childs Fri^k African
Expedition, 1911-1912; three are from the Smithsonian African Expedi-
tion, 1909-1910 collection, made under the direction of Col. Theodore
Roosevelt; and one from the Paul J. Rainey Expedition, 1911-1912."
There are seven sub-species and one species — Andropadus fricki, Endoto
Bulbul. L. J.

' ' Five Important Wild Duck Foods. " By W. L. McAtee, Assistant Bi-
ologist. Bulletin No. 58, U. S. Department of Agriculture. February 7,
1914. These foods are the Delta Duck Potato (Sagittaria platyphylla),
which is distributed over the lower Mississippi valley; wapato (Sagittaria
latifolia and arifolia), distributed over the most of the United States
and lower Canada; chufa (Cyperus esculentus), distributed over the
United States except the north-west plains and the mountain regions of
the west, as well as south into South America; wild millet (Echinochloa
crus-galli), in widely separated regions of the United States; banana
water lily (Nymphaea mexicana), at Lake Surprise, Texas, and all along
the gulf coast, but capable of propagation over the whole United
States. L. J.

The Ornithological Magazines.

The ' ' Auk, ' ' January, 1914. Volume XXXI, No. 1. The two articles of
particular interest in this full number are the first paper by Dr. R. M.
Strong, of the University of Chicago, "On the habits and behavior
of the Herring Gull, Larus argentatus," with plates III-X; and "Notes
on the Ornithology of Clay and Palo Alto counties, Iowa," by A. D.
Tinker, with plates XI-XII. In addition to other articles of less
pretension and the usual large complement of Field Notes and reviews
of literature, this number contains an account of the thirty-first stated
meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union, which was held in No-
vember, 1913, in New York City, at the American Museum of Natural
History. L. J.

"Bird-Lore." January-February, 1914, Volume XVI, No. 1. The col-
ored frontispiece of the Redpolls and Purple Finches, and the Audubon
colored plate of the Wood Thrush are prominent features. The Christmas
Census covers twenty-four pages of brevier type, and even then we are
told that a considerable number of the lists submitted were excluded for
one reason or another. Tlie widespread interest in the study of birds

Publications Reviewed 49

could not be better illustrated than by this mid-winter census taking. It
covers the whole country except along the Mexican l)order and for a
short distance northward, where just now one might be excused from
ranging alone over the plains! The varied articles and notes which
appear regularly in " Bird-Lore ' ' make it a valuable magazine. L. J.

"The Condor." January-February, 1914, Volume VI, Number 1.
Some truly astonishing results are portrayed by William Leon Dawson in
the opening article on "Direct approach as a method in bird photog-
raphy." Among the other articles in this number may be mentioned as
particularly worthy of mention that by Henry J. Bust on ' ' Some notes
on the nesting of the Sharp-shinned Hawk," with eight excellent half-
tone plates. Also Joseph Grinnell 's ' ' Second list of the birds of the
Berkeley Campus," where 97 species have been recorded, on the 530
acres. Bird classes would hardly need to make long trips to difficult
fields with such a bird haven right at hand. L. J.



No. 87.
VOL. XXVI JUNE, 1914. No. 2



An Account of the Feeding Habits of the Bitterns and
Swamp Blackbirds.

By Ira N. Gabrielson.

On the Nebraska side of the Missouri River, just across
from Sioux City, Iowa, lies Crystal Lake, one of the typical
ox-bow lakes formed by that stream. Between the north end
of the lake and the river much of the territory is low and
swampy and, in times of flood, covered with water. Just
west of the town of South Sioux City there remains a large
swamp almost entirely filled with wild rice, cat-tails and
bulrushes. Open water is found in only one or two places.
Along the eastern edge of the swamp is a sparse growth of
willows and a little further back an occasional patch of wolf-
berry and other bushes. On the south is a tract of timber,
mostly of such trees as box elder, willow, and cottonwood,
covering several acres. Scattered here and there throughout
the tract are patches of tangled vines and shrubs of various
species. In this region are found certain swamp loving birds
in abundance.

In late June and early July of 1913, Mr, Howard Graham

52 The Wilson Bulletin — No. 87

and the writer spent ten days studying the birds of the
swani]). We Avere nnal)le to put in the entire time at the
work l)ut spent the greater part of each day there. A boat
was secured, and an umbrella blind was erected on it. The
l)oat i)roved to be leaky and we spent some time each day in
bailing. Of course this interfered with the work to some
extent. Tlie worst trouble was with the wind, which blew so
violently during each afternoon that we were unable to see
anything from the blind. The heat at times became almost
unbearable on account of the excess moisture in the air.

We started investigations on June 26 when we explored
the eastern and southern sides of the swamp, but did not
cover the northern or western parts on account of lack of
time. On all sides of us we could hear cries of young birds
and old. Black terns circled over our heads screaming and
sailing directly at our faces only to turn aside just before
reaching us. We found nests of several species and a number
of those of the Yellow-headed Blackbird, the one we particu-
larly wished to study. On the twenty-eighth we returned to
the swamp, placed the blind on the boat and anchored it
securely between the nests of a Bittern and a Yellow-headed
Blackliird. From this time one of us was at the swamp most
of the time until July 7 when we finally left.

We wished to study as many of the common nesting species
as possible and succeeded in getting more or less data on the
Bittern, Least Bittern, and Yellow-headed and Red-winged
Blackbirds. The cramped position necessary in the blind
compelled frequent relief, and during the periods of freedom
from the ]Jind we searched the swamp or timber for nests.
During the time of the study we noted the following species
of birds in the SM'amp or in the timber and buslies around the
edge. The list could have been somewhat extended by a more
careful searcli of the timber, as in past years a number of
species have been noted breeding which were not noted
during the study. Almost all of the species noted in the
present report have been found nesting there at some time or
other although not necessarily in the time of the work. Their
presence is however good indication that they were nesting

Bird STrnv ix a Nebraska Swa:\ip 53

again. Lack of time prevented a thorougli seai'eh for nests.
The following list of species was noted :

1. PoflUijmbus ijodiceps. T'ieil-liilleil Grelte. AVmndaiit resilient. Xests
with eggs and young of all sizes were found during our stay. Often
while we were in the blind a family of ycfuug grelies, ai'i-onipanied by
one of the parents, swam almost up to the lioat. They st^cnied to be
feeding on aquatic insects and vegetable matter.

2. Hydrochelidon nigra sHriitame)isis. Black Tern. Present in con-
siderable numbers. We found no nests, but thought from tlieir actions
they were breeding in the north end of the swami).

3. Querquedula discors. Blue-winged Teal. One or two pairs nesting.
We did not find any nests but saw one pair with young while we were
in the blind. We could not count the number of the brood, as some
of them were concealed by the weeds.

4. Botaurus Icntiginosiis. Bittern. One nest found and stmlied.

.5. Ixobrychus exilis. Least Bittern. One pair nested and were
watched for one day.

6. Butorides virescens viresceiis. Green Heron. One noted almost
daily feeding on the small frogs, Avhich abounded in great numliers. Did
not find anj- nest, but have note

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