Bound -z -? r- i I
Periodical O Q O I I
This Volume is for
REFERENCE USE ONLY
Sj 3-39 6m P
From the collection of the
San Francisco, California
A MONTHLY SERIAL
ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY
DESIGNED TO PROMOTE
KNOWLEDGE OF BIRD-LIFE
NATURE STUDY PUBLISHING COMPANY.
NATURE STUDY PUBLISHING Co.
With the January number of BIRDS, we enter upon a new year with the
satisfaction of having pleased our readers, as well as rendered an actual service
to the cause of education, ornithological literature, and art. Among the
hundreds of testimonials from competent judges, (many of them scientists),
which we have received, we will permit ourselves the use of one only, as
exemplifying the excellence which we have sought to attain and the rightful
claim which we may make for the future. The writer says : "I find BIRDS
an everlasting source of pleasure to the children, not less than to myself. I
have one of the few almost absolutely fresh copies of 'Audubon's Birds,' for
which I have refused $3,000, besides later works, and I will say that the
pictures of birds given in your magazine are infinitely more true to life, and
more pleasing, everyway, than any of those presented in either work. The
other day I compared some of your pictures with the birds mounted by myself,
notably a Wood-duck and a Wood-cock, and every marking co-incided. The
photographs might have been taken from my own specimens, so accurately
were they delineated, attesting the truth of your work."
Some of our subscribers, unaware of the prodigality with which nature has
scattered birds throughout the world, have asked whether the supply of
specimens may not soon be exhausted. Our answer is, that there are many
thousands of rare and attractive birds, all of them interesting for study, from
which, for years to come, we might select many of the lovliest forms and
richest plumage. Of North American birds alone there are more than twelve
The success of BIRDS is due to its superior color illustrations and the
unique treatment of the text. Popular and yet scientific, it is interesting to
old and young alike.
The classification and nomenclature followed are those adopted by the
American Ornithological Union in 1895.
NATURE STUDY PUBLISHING COMPANY.
Under the big nursery table
Are Sue, Don, Harold, and Mabel,
All playing, with joy and delight,
That pigeons they are, dressed in white.
Don't you hear their gentle " coo, coo " ?
Ah, now they fly out in full view !
And over the meadow they go
'Tis their own dear nursery, you know
Where, quick to the tops of the trees
They fly, with lightness and ease ;
There each birdie is glad to be
Perched high upon a big chair-tree.
But to their home in swiftest flight
They haste, ere day has changed to night
Then in they go, with cooing sweet,
And find their home a blest retreat.
And now they tell just where they've been,
And all the wondrous sights they've seen.
Then with their " coo, coo," soft and low,
Each pigeon goes to sleep, I trow.
EMMA G. SAULSBURY.
From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
V- Life -size.
Nature Study Pub. Co.. 1898, Chicago.
iLLUSTRflTED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.
THE CROWNED PIGEON.
B regret that a full mono-
graph of this remarkable
bird cannot be given in
this number. It is the
giant among Pigeons and has some
characteristics, on account of its great
size, not common to the family. Very
little has been written about it, and it
would be a real service to ornithology
if some one familiar with the subject
would communicate his knowledge to
the public. These birds pair for life,
and the loss or death of a mate is in
many cases mourned and grieved over,
the survivor frequently refusing to be
The Pigeon family is an exceedingly
interesting one, of great variety of form
and color, undergoing constant change
by inter-breeding. There are about
three hundred known species of
Pigeons and Doves, about one third of
which number are found in the New
World. In North America but twelve
species occur, a family small enough
to find room in BIRDS to sit for their
pictures. Some of these birds, says
Chapman, are arboreal, others are
strictly terrestrial. Some seek the
forests and others prefer the fields and
clearings. Some nest in colonies,
others in isolated pairs, but most species
are found in flocks of greater or less
size after the nesting season. When
drinking, they do not raise the head as
others do to swallow, but keep the bill
immersed until the draught is finished.
The young are born naked and are
fed by regurgitation.
Living specimens of this the largest
species of Pigeons may some day be
brought to the United States and made
to increase as the Ring-necked Eng-
lish Pheasant has already been domes-
ticated in their own country. It has
been suggested that their introduction
among us would be a comparatively
THE RED-EYED VIREO.
U A bird with red eyes! look,
mamma," said Bobby. "How
"And how beautiful," replied
his mamma. "Not plainly
dressed, like his cousin, the
Warbling Vireo, whose picture
you saw in the October number
"The Yellow-Throated, in the
June number," said Bobbie, who
has a remarkable memory, "was
a lovely bird, too, mamma. Can
Mr. Red-Eye sing?"
" No, you can't call his note a
song; it is more like a chatter,
which he keeps up from morning
" Like some children," said
Bobbie, with a sage nod of the
head, "who talk all day long."
"Yes," smiled his mamma,
"without saying very much,
either. But this little bird
works while he chatters.
"I reckon he stops at noon
time," said Bobbie, "as other
" No, even then the silence of
the woods is broken by the Red-
Eyed Vireo's voice. He is such
a busy little fellow, he can't find
time for a nap."
"Hm! " remarked Bobbie; "the
other birds must find him a
tiresome fellow, I think."
"Has he any other names,
"Yes, he is called the Red-
Eyed Greenlet or Red-Eyed
Fly-catcher. One gentleman
calls him ' The Preacher.' To
him the bird seems to say, ' You
see it; you know it; do you hear me?
do you believe it T '
" I'm going to look out for that
red-eyed preacher next sum-
mer," said Bobby, with a laugh.
"One lady who makes a study
of birds thinks he says, ''I know
it ! would you think it9 musnt touch
it; you'll rue it!' He makes a
pause, as you see, after each
"Tell me something about
their nests?" said Bobbie,
"They are made of bark
fibers, cobwebs, bits of paper,
and scraps of hornets' nests, in
the form of a little pocket. This
is suspended from the fork of
two or more twigs high up in
the tree, making a sort of cradle
for the little ones."
" Rock-a-by, baby, on the tree top,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock."
hummed Bobby. "How jolly!"
1 Yes," said mamma; and they
take care that it is under some
green leaves, which act as an
umbrella to keep the sun out of
the mother's eyes while she sits
on the four pretty white eggs."
"And out of the little ones'
red eyes, too," laughed Bobbie.
From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences.
9 , in Life-size.
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicago.
THE RED EYED VIRECX
IWjED-EYED VIREO, Red-eyed
I ^S Greenlet, and Red-eyed Fly-
\ catcher are the names var-
. Jj? V^^, iously applied to this
pretty representative of
his family, of which there are about
fifty species. The Red-eye is an inhab-
itant of Central America and Mexico,
its northern limit being the lower Rio
Grande valley in Texas.
The exquisite little creature is tinted
even more delicately than the Wax-
wing, but with much the same glossy
look and elegant air. The ruby -tinted
eye, and the conspicuous white line
above it, with its border, are good
characteristics by which to distinguish
it from its relatives.
The Red-eyed Vireo is found alike
in the shade trees of lawns, in orchards
or woodlands, and is especially fond of
sycamore groves along streams. The
male is a tireless songster, and even at
noon-tide of a sultry summer-day, when
all other warblers are silent, his monot-
onous song will be heard. He-ha-wha,
or he, ha, whip, in rising inflection, and
he, ha, whee, in falling cadence. He
has also a chip, a chatter like a minia-
ture of the Oriole's scold, heard only
in the season of courtship, and a
peculiarly characteristic querulous note
which, like others, can not be described
" The Preacher," a name which
Wilson Flagg has given this Vireo,
exactly reflects the character of the
bird and its song. " His style of
preaching is not declamation," says
the writer. "Though constantly talk-
ing, he takes the part of a deliberate
orator who explains his subject in a
few words and then makes a pause for
his hearers to reflect upon it., We
might suppose him to be repeating
moderately, with a pause between each
sentence, ' You see it You know it
Do you hear me? Do you believe it ? '
All these strains are delivered with a
rising inflection at the close, and with
a pause, as if waiting for an answer."
From morning till night this cheery
bird sings as he works, from May to
September. " His tender and pathetic
utterances," says Brewer, " are in strik-
ing contrast to the apparent indifference
or unconsciousness of the little vocalist
who, while thus delighting the ear of
the listener, seems to be all the while
bent on procuring its daily food, which
it pursues with unabated ardor."
As noxious and destructive insects
constitute the Vireo's chief food he
may properly be classed among the
beneficent birds. Seeking for these
is his constant occupation, as he hops
along a branch, now peering into some
crevice of the bark or nook among the
foliage, ever uttering his pretty song
during the interval between swallowing
the last worm and finding the next.
The nest of the Red-eye is built in a
horizontal branch of a tree, usually in
a small sapling that responds to all the
caprices of the wind, thus acting as a
cradle for the little ones within. The
nest is cup-like in shape, and always
dependent from small twigs, around
which its upper edges are firmly bound,
with a canopy of leaves overhead. It
is woven of a variety of materials, fine
strips of bark, fibres of vegetables, and
webs of spiders and caterpillars. It is
said that two nests of the same species
are rarely found alike. Some are buislt
of paper fibres, and bits of hornets'
nests, and another may be a perfect col-
lection of scraps of all sorts.
The eggs are three or four, white
with a few black or umber specks
about the larger end.
It was in the nest of the Red-eyed
Vireo that Hamilton Gibson found
twisted a bit of newspaper, whose
single legible sentence read : " * * *
have in view the will of God."*
THE EARLY OWL.
An Owl once lived in a hollow tree,
And lie was as wise as wise could be.
The branch of learning he didn't know
Could scarce on the tree of knowledge grow,
He knew the tree from branch to root,
And an owl like that can afford to hoot.
And he hooted until, alas ! one day,
He chanced to hear, in a casual way,
An insignificant little bird
Make use of a term he had never heard.
He was flying to bed in the dawning light
When he heard her singing with all her might,
" Hurray! hurray ! for the early worm ! "
" Dear me," said the owl, " what a singular term !
I would look it up if it weren't so late,
I must rise at dusk to investigate.
Early to bed and early to rise
Makes an owl healthy, and stealthy, and wise ! "
So he slept like an honest owl all day,
And rose in the early twilight gray,
And went to work in the dusky light
To look for the early worm at night.
He searched the country for miles around,
But the early worm was not to be found ;
So he went to bed in the dawning light
And looked for the "worm " again next night.
And again and again, and again and again,
He sought and he sought, but all in vain,
Till he must have looked for a year and a day
For the early worm in the twilight gray.
At last in despair he gave up the search,
And was heard to remark as he sat on his perch
By the side of his nest in the hollow tree :
"The thing is as plain as night to me
Nothing can shake my conviction firm.
There's no such thing as the early worm."
From col. Chi. AcaJ. Sciences. .
Nature Study Pub. Co., 18U8,"Chicag
THE FOX-COLORED SPARROW.
N "Wood Notes Wild," S. P.
Cheney says this song-loving
Sparrow has a sweet voice and
a pleasing song, which he has
set to music. No Sparrow, he
says, sings with a better quality of
tone. A distinguished musician him-
self, no one was better qualified to
give a final opinion upon the subject.
Others have spoken in praise of it,
Burroughs characterizing it as "a
strong, richly modulated whistle, the
finest Sparrow note I have ever heard."
Baird says, "in the spring the male
becomes quite musical, and is one of
our sweetest and most remarkable
singers. His voice is loud, clear,
and melodious ; his notes full, rich,
and varied ; and his song is unequalled
by any of this family that I have ever
heard." Mr. Torrey finds a " Thrush-
like " quality in the song of the Fox
Sparrow. In his "Birds in the Bush "
Mr. Torrey describes an interesting
contest as follows :
"One afternoon I stood still while a
Fox Sparrow and a Song Sparrow
sang alternately on either side of me,
both exceptionally good vocalists, and
each doing his best. The songs were
of about equal length, and as far as
theme was concerned were not a little
alike ; but the Fox Sparrow's tone was
both louder and more mellow than the
others, while his notes were longer,
more sustained, and his voice was
'carried' from one pitch to another.
On the whole, I had no hesitation
about giving him the palm ; but I am
bound to say that his rival was a
The Fox-colored Sparrow is also
one of the largest and finest of his
tribe, breeding from the Gulf of St.
Lawrence and Labrador north into
Alaska ; in winter it is met with south
over the whole of the eastern United
States to the Gulf coast. Audubon
found it nesting in Labrador from the
middle of June to the 5th of July. Its
nest has been found in trees and on
the ground in the Arctic regions, on
the Yukon river in July. According
to many observers, the nests are, for
the most part, placed on the ground,
usually concealed by the drooping
branches of evergreens. They are
made of grass and moss, lined with
fine grass and feathers. Some nests
are three or four inches in depth,
strong, compact, and handsome. The
eggs are three or five, oval in form, of
a clayey greenish ground color, dotted
with dull reddish brown and chocolate.
They vary in coloration.
In the early spring the Fox Sparrow
is often seen associated with small
parties of Juncos, in damp thickets
and roadside shrubbery ; later, accord-
ing to Mr. Bicknell, it takes more to
woodsides, foraging on leaf-strewn
slopes where there is little or no
undergrowth. In the autumn it is
found in hedgerows, thickets and
weedy grainfields, rarely however,
staying far from some thickety cover.
It is a great scratcher among dead
leaves, and "can make the wood
rubbish fly in a way which, in propor-
tion to its size, a barnyard fowl could
The Sparrows are worthy of close
study, many of them possessing habits
of great beauty and interest.
I'm a game bird, not a song
bird with beautiful feathers,
flitting all day from tree to tree,
but just a plain-looking little
body, dressed in sober colors,
like a Quaker.
It wouldn't do for me to wear
a red hat, and a green coat, and
a yellow vest. Oh, no! that
would be very foolish of me,
indeed. What a mark I would
be for every man and boy who
can fire a gun or throw a stone,
as I run along the ground in
clearings and cultivated fields.
That's the reason I wear so plain
a coat. At the first glance you
would take me for a bunch of
dried grass or a bit of earth, but
at the first movement, off I go,
running for dear life to some
thickly wooded cover, where I
hide till danger is passed.
Cute! Yes, I think so. You
would have to be sharp, too, if
you were a game-bird. Through
the summer we don't have much
trouble, but just as soon as cold
weather sets in, and our broods
have grown to an eatable size,
"pop" go the guns, and 4t whirr"
go our wings as we fly through
the air. It is only at such times
we take wing, sometimes seek-
ing refuge in a tree from our
enemies. I'm sorry we are such
nice birds to eat for really
we like to stay around farm-
houses and barn-yards, eating
with the chickens and othei
fowl. We are easily tamed, and
the farmers often thank us for
the injurious insects we eat, and
the seeds of weeds.
How do we know they thank
us ? Why, we must know that,
when they scatter seed for us
on the snow. Kind deeds speak
louder than words, for in the
winter we suffer a great deal.
Sometimes when it is very cold
weburrow down under the snow,
in snow-houses, as it were, to
keep warm. That is risky,
though; for when it rains and
then freezes over, we are in a
trap. A great many Quail die
in this way during a hard
Is Quail another name for
Bob White? Yes, but people
like Bob White better. Did
you ever hear me whistle? If
not, come out in the country in
the spring, and hear me call to
my mate. I sit on a fence rail,
and, to let her know where I
am, I whistle, Sob White! Bob
White! and if she pretends to
be bashful, and doesn't answer
me at once, I whistle again, Bob,
Bob White! POOR Bob White!
She takes pity on me then, and
conies at my call.
From col. F M Woodruff.
Copy rich ted txy
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1898, Chicntfo.
OB WHITE is a plump,
in the New England and
Middle States as the
Quail and in the Southern
States as the Partridge. It is said,
however, that these names belong to
other and quite different birds, and at
the suggestion of Prof. Baird, Bob
White, which is its call note, has
become its accepted and present name.
In the language of Mr. N. S. Goss
these birds appear to thrive best in
the presence of man, and were' they
protected during our cold winters,
would soon become quite tame. They
often nest near our dwellings. "In the
spring of 1867," says Mr. Goss, "I was
shown on Owl Creek, Woodson
County, Kansas, a nest containing
nineteen eggs. It was placed in the
dooryard, and not over twenty-five
yards from the house ; several dogs
were running about the yard, and the
house cat was purring near the door-
way. Fearing the eggs would be
destroyed, I suggested the building of
a high, tight fence round the nest.
'Oh,' said the farmer, 'that is not
necessary ; our cats and dogs will not
harm them, for they know them well,
as they have for a long time run about
with the chickens, and feed with them
from food thrown from the doorstep.'
I am confident that if man were as
friendly to the birds as they are to
man, they would soon become
thoroughly domesticated. Trapped
and hunted as they are with dog and
gun it is not strange that as a whole
they remain timid and mistrustful, and
were they not naturally birds of
civilization would rapidly dissappear
with the settlement of the country.
As it is, they seem to realize that man
is only at times their enemy, and that
his cultivated fields afford them a safe
refuge from many other enemies, and
insure a more certain and bountiful
supply of food than found elsewhere."
Quails destroy injurious insects and
seeds of weeds, upon which they
largely feed. When startled they rise
with a loud whirring sound, their
flight being very swift, low, and direct,
a rather laborious effort. They move
about in small coveys or family
groups, pairing during the nesting
season, and share alike in the duties
of protecting and rearing the young.
The nest is placed on the ground,
in a depression, usually in the grass
upon the prairies, sometimes in a
thicket,under a low bush. It is usually
arched over with grass, with entrance
on the side.
From fifteen to twenty pure white
eggs are usually laid.
S. P. Cheney pleasantly says :
" Familiar as I have been with almost
all parts of Vermont for more than
thirty years, I have seen only one
Quail in the state, and he was evidently
a 'tramp.' I heard him just at night,
the first day of July, 1884. Did not
get sight of him till the next morning,
when he came out into the sun, stood
on the top rail of a fence, warmed
himself, and whistled his spirited,
forceful tune, his solid little body
swelling and throbbing at every note,
especially when he rose to the tonic.
I was prepared for him, and made an
exact copy of what he gave : Bob, Bob,
White! Bob White! Bob, Bob, White!
After the performance he stood, evi-
dently listening for a reply ; none
came, and without another note he
disappeared, to be seen no more."
BIRDS IN THE SCHOOLS.
HE movement to protect the
birds of America and prevent
them from being transformed
into millinery in such prodig-
ious numbers, is having a marked
revival in many parts of the country,
especially in the state of New York.
In New York City there was recently
held a large public meeting, under the
auspicies of the Audubon Society and
the American Museum of Natural His-
tory, to protest against the wholesale
and indiscriminate destruction of
native birds for personal adornment
State Superintendent of Schools Skin-
ner, of that state has established a
"bird day" in the public schools in
connection with Arbor Day, in which
the pupils will be taught the great
value of birds to mankind. Mr. Skinner
also has in preparation a manual upon
the subject, 100,000 copies of which he
will have distributed among the New
York state schools.
Public ignorance regarding the
value of birds in the economy of nature
and especially to human life is so great
as to be almost incomprehensible. A
number of estimates recently made by
Morris K.Jesup, President of the Ameri-
can Museum of Natural History, show
how important it is that a stronger
safe-guard, in the shape of public senti-
ment, should be thrown about our
feathered benefactors. In a late inter-
view upon this subject, Mr. Jesup said :
"Among the birds most worn this
winter are the Herons, which are killed
for their aigrettes ; the Terns, or Sea
Swallows and Gulls ; in short mostly
marsh and maritime birds." It is
known that the killing of a great
number of these shore birds has been
followed by an increase in human mor-
tality among the inhabitants of the
coast, the destroyed birds having form-
erly assisted in keeping the beaches
and bayous free from decaying animal
matter. New Orleans had a plague of
bugs about the middle of September,
just when the yellow fever began, and,
strange as it may seem, the bugs
proved far more troublesome than the
disease, and certainly the annoyance
was more immediate. The people
called it a mystery, but the scientists
said it was merely the result of man's
improvidence in destroying the birds.
The destruction has been going on in
Louisiana, particularly on the Gulf
coast, for years, and has been carried
on by professional hunters, who kill
the birds solely for millinery purposes.
Nature revenged herself on New
Orleans, as she will on every place
where birds are destroyed for fashion-
Would it not be a good thing to
increase the intelligence of the present
and rising generation respecting the
value of birds by introducing into the
schools of every state in the Union the
idea which has been adopted by State
Superintendent Skinner? And we
respectfully suggest that the use of this
magazine by teachers, through the
wise co-operation of school boards,
everywhere, as a text book, would
quickly supply the knowledge of bird
life and utility so sadly needed by the
community. We present some of the
innocent creatures each month in
accurate outline and color, and the
dullest pupil cannot fail to be impressed
by their beauty and the necessity for
their protection. "Our schools, public
and private, can hardly be criticised as