In Nesting Time
by Olive Thorne Miller
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The song of the rose-breasted grosbeak is celebrated, and I hoped my bird would become acquainted with us, and let out his voice; but I was disappointed in both respects, for he never became familiar in the least, and though not at all afraid he was very shy; and furthermore, upon my bringing into the room two small musical thrushes, the grosbeak—feeling, as I said, no need of utterance—readily relapsed into silence, and all the winter never sang a note. His conduct before the looking-glass indicated that he was not naturally so silent, and that he could be social with one who understood his language. Being unable to get another grosbeak, I tried to give him companionship by placing a small glass against one end of his cage. On seeing his reflection the bird was greatly agitated, began his low, whining cry, postured, bowed, turned, moved back and forth, and at last left the cage and looked for the stranger behind the glass. Not finding him he returned, had another interview with the misleading image, and ended as before in seeking him outside. At length he seemed to be convinced that there was something not quite natural about it, for, feeling hungry, he went, with many a backward glance at the glass, to the floor, took a hemp-seed and carried it out into the room to eat, a thing he never did at any other time.

I spoke of my bird's posturing; that was one of his pleasures, and almost his only exercise while he lived in the house. He was not graceful, his body was not flexible, and his tail was far from being the expressive member it is with many birds, it always stood straight out; he could raise it with a little jerk, and he had a beautiful way of opening it like a fan, but I never saw it droop or stir in any other way. In these movements his head and tail maintained the same relative position to the body, as though they were cut out of one piece of wood; but he bowed and leaned far over on one side, with his short legs wide spread; he passed down a perch, alternately crouching and rising, either sideways or straight; he jerked his whole body one side and then the other, in a manner ludicrously suggestive of a wriggle; he sidled along his perch, holding his wings slightly out and quivering, then slowly raised them both straight up, and instantly dropped them, or held them half open, fluttering and rustling his feathers.

He had also a curious way of moving over a long perch: he proceeded by sidewise hops, and at each hop he turned half round, that is, the first step he faced the window, the next the room, the third the window again, and so on to the end, coming down at every jump as though he weighed a pound or two. He was much addicted to sitting with breast-feathers puffed out covering his toes, or sometimes with wings held a little way from his body, showing the delicate rose-colored lining, as though conscious how pretty he looked; and among other eccentric habits he often thrust out his tongue, first one side and then the other, apparently to clean his bill.

Bathing and getting dry was conducted by this peculiar bird in a manner characteristic of himself. Slow to make the plunge, he was equally deliberate in coming out of the bath. When fairly in, he first thrust his head under, then sat up in the drollest way, head quite out of water and tail lying flat on the bottom, while he spattered vigorously with wings and tail. When he stepped out, the bath was over; he never returned for a second dip, but passed at once to a favorite corner of the window-bar, and stood there a most disconsolate-looking object, shivering with cold, with plumage completely disheveled, but making not the least effort to dry his feathers for several minutes. If the sun shone, he indulged himself in a sunning, erecting the feathers of his chin till he looked as if he wore a black muffler, opening his tail like a fan, spreading and crossing his wings over the back. This attitude made a complete change in his looks, showing white where black should be, and vice versa. This was the result of his peculiar coloring. Next the skin all feathers were the common slate-color, but outside of that each feather was black and white. On the back the black was at the tip, and the white between that and the slate-color; on the breast this order was reversed, and the white at the tip. Thus when wet the white and black were confused, and he resembled an object in patch-work. The rose-colored shield was formed by the slightest possible tips of that color on the white ends, and it was wonderful that they should arrange themselves in an unbroken figure, with a sharply defined outline, for each feather must have lain in its exact place to secure the result.

The different ways in which birds greet advancing night has long been a subject of interest to me, some restless and nervous, others calm, and a few wild and apparently frightened. In no one thing is there more individuality of action, and in my room that winter were exhibited every evening quite a variety of methods. A brown thrush or thrasher on the approach of darkness became exceedingly restless, flying about his cage, going over and under and around his perches, posturing in extraordinary ways, uttering at every moment a strange, harsh-breathing sound. Two smaller thrushes met the evening hour by fluttering, and a queer sort of dance elsewhere described. Two orchard orioles saluted the twilight by gymnastics on the roof of the cage. The bluebirds made careful and deliberate arrangements for a comfortable night, while the grosbeak differed from all in simply fluffing himself out, and settling himself, on the first hint of dark, in the chosen corner, whence he scarcely moved, and as soon as objects grew indistinct he laid his head quietly in its feather pillow and stirred no more. The brightest gaslight an hour later did not disturb him; if a noise wakened him, he simply looked up to see what was the matter, but did not move, and soon turned back to his rest, when slight jerks of his wings, and faint complaining sounds, told that he not only slept, but dreamed.

The bearer of the rosy shield was a persistent individual; having once taken a notion into his head, nothing would make him forget it or change his mind. Fully settled in his preference for a certain perch on the window, the coldest day in winter, with the wind blowing a gale through the crack between the sashes, would not make him desert it. Driving him away from the spot had not the slightest effect on him, he returned the moment he was left in peace. Thinking that another cage was more convenient for his use, nothing short of absolute shutting the door would keep him out of it. Nor did he forget about it either; if the door was accidentally left open, after being closed for weeks, he entered as quickly as though he had been in every day.

This bird never showed any playfulness of disposition; indeed, he had too much dignity to do so. He never flew around the room as though he liked to use his wings, although they were perfect, and there was nothing to prevent if he chose. Nor did he display curiosity about his surroundings. The only things he appeared to notice were the doings of the birds and people in the room, and the moving panorama without, which latter he always viewed with equanimity, although the sound of a hand-organ aroused him to a sort of mild fury.

As spring advanced, the beautiful grosbeak grew tuneful and often added his exquisite song to the rippling music of the small thrushes, and—with a little stretch of the imagination as to its duration—

"Trilled from out his carmine breast, His happy breast, the livelong day."


For me there is a mystery unrevealed; Sweet Nature, speak to me!




It is well that Nature has so carefully guarded the lives of her most beautiful birds, for it is a sad fact that, in the words of an eminent writer, "the winged order—the loftiest, the tenderest, the most sympathetic with man—is that which man nowadays pursues most cruelly." Had they been as accessible as sparrows, even although they equaled them in numbers, not one would by this time be alive on earth.

The family whose extraordinary dress and mystery of origin justify its name—Birds of Paradise—is securely hidden in distant islands not friendly to bird-hunting races. Inaccessible mountains and pathless forests repel the traveler; impassable ravines bar his advance; sickness and death lie in wait for the white man, while the native lurks with poisoned dart behind every bush.

The first of the race that came to us were heralded by myth and invested with marvels: they had no feet; they slept upon the wing; they fed upon dew, and hatched their eggs upon their backs. Such were the tales that accompanied the skins, magnificent beyond anything known to the world in the glory of plumage, and they were named Birds of Paradise. But science is supposed in these days to conquer all mysteries, and science armed itself with powder and shot, game bags, provision trains, and servants, and set out for the far-away inhospitable islands, the home of this, the most attractive of all. Science has solved many problems: the "Heart of Africa" has become a highway; the Polar sea and the source of the Nile are no longer unknown; but with her most persistent efforts during three hundred years she has not yet been able to give us the life history of this one feathered family. Many of her devotees have penetrated to its home and brought back fresh varieties; money, health, and life have been freely spent; but, save for a few strange and curious facts, we know little more of the manner of life of the Birds of Paradise than we did when we depended on the native legends. How some of them look we know; we have their skins wired into shape in our museums and gorgeously pictured in our books; but every traveler finds new kinds, and how many sorts there may be which have so far eluded the few and short visits of naturalists, no one is able to tell. Even of those we have, how scanty is our knowledge! What they eat we are told; how they bathe and dress their plumage; their loud calls and unmusical voices; the shyness of those whose conspicuous beauty sets a price upon their heads, and their "dancing parties," so graphically described by Wallace; but of their nesting we are in profound ignorance. Where the gravely dressed partners of the brilliant creatures set up the hearthstone none can tell, unless it be the mop-headed Papuan, and he will not.

The colors lavished on the plumage would alone make the Birds of Paradise the wonder of the world; exquisite tints not surpassed by the humming-birds themselves, and of almost infinite variety, from the richest velvety purple to the gorgeous metallic greens, blues, and yellows, changing with every motion, and glittering in the sun like gems. But the marvelous freaks in the arrangement of the plumage are more specially interesting. So extraordinary a variety of forms, so unique and fantastic in disposal, are without parallel in the animal world. Some species are adorned with long, drooping tufts of plumes light as air, as the Red Bird of Paradise, and others bear strange-shaped, movable shields; part of the family wear ruffs, and others display fans on shoulders or breast; a few sport extravagant length of tail, and one or two show bright-hued wattles; one species is bare-headed, and—other vagaries being exhausted—two have curls. The greater number have an unusual development of two or more feathers into long, wire-like objects, with a patch of web at the ends. In one species these wires are formed into two perfect circles beyond the end of the tail; in another they cross each other in a graceful double curve, and in a third stand straight and stiff from the end of the feathers. The Sexpennis, or Golden Bird of Paradise, has on the head six of these shafts, which it erects at pleasure, producing a singular appearance; and the Standard Wing has two on each wing, equally effective. Perhaps the most peculiar fact about the family is the power each bird possesses to change its form by means of these eccentric ornaments. All are erectile and movable in several ways, and a bird that is at one moment like our common crow in shape, may in the next show a dazzling array of waving plumes or vibrating fans, and be utterly unrecognizable for the same creature. It is evident to all bird students that feathers are as surely an "index of the mind" as are tails in cat and dog, and the manners and expression of this family would be a study of absorbing interest.

Not to mention the birds already familiar in books, there are a few interesting peculiarities of some of the late discoveries, and the possible varieties are by no means exhausted, so that each new traveler who penetrates into their chosen home will doubtless have opportunity to see his own name Latinized into dignity and bestowed upon some brilliant and hitherto unknown bird, having a new disposition of plumage, or a color more beautiful—if conceivable—than any before. One of the most attractive of the recent additions to the list was made by Signor D'Albertis, and named for him Drepanoris Albertisi. In a letter to a Sydney newspaper he tells the story of the discovery, which occurred while he was living in a Papuan mansion built upon the trunks of trees, and reached by means of a long ladder. From this unique residence he made excursions into the mountains, and, among other things, had the good fortune to see two curious episodes in the life of the Six-shafted Bird of Paradise. He found this bird—which is not new to science—to be a noisy and solitary fellow, roaming the thick woods alone, dining upon figs and other fruits, and indulging in the strange habit of "dusting" itself like a city sparrow. Happily he saw the whole operation. Selecting a suitable spot, the beautiful bird first cleared away the grass and leaves, and while the eager observer was wondering what all this preparation portended, suddenly flung itself to the ground, and rolled its rich plumage in the dust, fluttered the wings, elevated and depressed the six plumes on its head, and otherwise appeared to enjoy itself extremely. At another time the traveler witnessed a second uncommon scene in the deep interior of the forest. A bird of the same species alighted upon the ground, and after peering in every direction, either to make sure of being unobserved, or to discover an enemy or a friend, began a most singular performance, waving the six long plumes of the head, raising and lowering a small tuft of silvery white feathers over its beak, elevating a glittering crest on its neck, and spreading and drawing back the long feathers on its sides, every movement entirely changing its apparent shape. In a short time it began to jump from side to side and to assume an attitude of war, and all the time it never ceased uttering an uncommon note, as though calling for admiration or for a fight.

Not long after this curious exhibition followed the observer's great prize, the Drepanoris Albertisi, which is so rare that even to many of the natives it was a surprise. At the first glance this bird does not appear to deserve a place in the remarkable family. It is about the size of our common crow, brown on the back and lavender-gray below, with a curved bill more than three inches long. But closer study reveals several peculiarities: a bare space of bright blue around the eye, brilliant green on the throat, and a pair of feathery tufts standing up on the forehead like horns, with the crowning attraction of two pairs of fans, one behind the other on each side of the breast, capable of being folded smoothly against the body, or spread wide in two gorgeous semicircles altering the entire outlines of the creature. The first of the two admirable ornaments, when in repose, appears of the same violet-gray hue as the breast; but when raised the bases of the feathers are seen to be of a brilliant red, giving the effect of longitudinal stripes. The second pair is much longer, with deep margins of splendid purple instead of the stripes. When the possessor of all this splendor spreads its four fans, it also erects the long tail and opens it widely into a fifth fan, which produces an astonishing effect.

Another of D'Albertis's contributions to the mysterious family is among its most magnificent members, the Paradisea Raggiana. A fine specimen of this genus, mounted in the position described by Wallace as the "dancing" attitude of P. Apoda, the floating plumes elevated in a "golden glory" above the head, is the gem of the collection in the American Museum of New York. It resembles the Great Bird of Paradise, having long, airy plumes springing from under each wing. In general color golden brown, with yellow head and green throat. To this bird, as to others, beauty is a dangerous possession; and, as if feeling aware of the fact, it lives in the tops of tall trees, in the deepest forest, among the most inaccessible ravines. But wary though it be, one characteristic lures it to destruction—curiosity. A European hunter in his unfamiliar dress is an irresistible attraction; nearer and nearer it comes, hopping from branch to branch, pausing at every step to observe and study the intruder, with neck stretched and wings flapping, every moment uttering a peculiar cry, no doubt equivalent to "Come and look!" for it brings others upon the scene, till the pretty sight is rudely ended by a shot and a death-wound. The cry of distress brings the friends nearer, only to fall victims in their turn to the same murderous gun. Our traveler once surprised a female of this species, and a droll proceeding followed. After flying several times around his head to see what sort of a creature he might be, she alighted on a vine, and turning heels over head, remained hanging head down, sharply scrutinizing his appearance from this point of view till he—shot her.

A bare-headed bird would not seem to present any attraction to the lover of beauty, though it might be of scientific interest; but Nature, not having exhausted her resources upon the Birds of Paradise already mentioned, has even accomplished the feat of making a bald-headed beauty. The bare skin on the whole crown is of a brilliant blue color most oddly crossed by narrow rows of minute feathers, which irresistibly remind one of the sutures of the human skull. That color shall not be lacking, it bears, besides the blue of the head, black, straw color, bright red, and green; and is further adorned with two very long central tail feathers, which reach far beyond the rest of the tail, and return, making a complete circle; a rare and lovely ornament. A good specimen is among the later arrivals at the American Museum.

The Manucodia are the curly Birds of Paradise, and our knowledge of one of the latest and most novel of them is owing not to the indefatigable naturalists who have braved the dangers and discomfort of their wild island home, neither to the English Wallace, the Dutch Von Rosenburg, the Italian Beccari, nor to D'Albertis, nor Bruiju, nor De Myer, whose names will be forever associated with the splendid family, but to a British officer of scientific tastes.

M. Comrii is the largest, and has more curls than any other yet discovered, for they not only decorate the top of the head, but extend down the neck, and form ridges over the eyes. Even the tail partakes of the general curve, which makes it boat-shaped, and—most fantastic of all—the two middle feathers are nearly an inch shorter than their next neighbors, and turned over at the ends so as to display the different color of their inner surface, and form what ladies call "revers."

"Such eccentricities are really not to be accounted for, as we cannot conceive they can be for any useful purpose" (!), gravely says science in the person of an English authority. This severely disapproved of plumage is blue with green lights on back and head, and black edged on every feather, with purple on the breast.

Another species of the curly family, the Blue-green Paradise Bird (M. Chalybea), has been known to us for a hundred years, but its habits are as much a mystery as its curls. It is exquisite in color, of the richest purple, glossy as satin, with neck of deep green, and all crinkled and curled over head and neck.

The Long-tailed Bird of Paradise is the proud possessor of twenty-two names, from which it were hard to make a selection. It is one of the largest, being twenty-two inches in length, most of which, however, is tail, and is splendid in soft velvet-like black with hints of green and blue and purple. On each side it carries a fan of curved feathers, and the plumes of the flanks are of the lightest and most delicate texture. Words cannot describe the grace and elegance of this bird, and the perfect specimen in the museum above mentioned is worthy of a pilgrimage to see.

A "changeable" Bird of Paradise is the one remaining eccentricity conceivable to complete the variety in coloring, and this is found in the Epimachus Ellioti, a bird so rare that at the time Gould published his first work the specimen in his collection was unique, and naturalists in their excursions in the Papuan Islands have vainly tried to discover its home and learn its habits. The whole incomparable plumage is of rich changeable hues; in ordinary light, when perfectly motionless, the bird appears of a soft black, but on moving about the color varies from violet to maroon, from this to deep amethyst, and then to green, purple, and blue. A most extraordinary effect is produced when it faces the spectator with fan-plumes expanded, reaching so far above its head that they look like a pair of arms thrown up.

The most interesting though not the most beautiful of the family is the Gardener bird, discovered a few years ago by the Italian naturalist Beccari. Here is a Bird of Paradise eccentric not in dress but in habits. His plumage is modest brown in several shades, so inconspicuous that the partner of his joys can wear the same tints, which she does. The bird is the size of a turtle-dove. Let the doctor himself tell the story of the discovery while walking through the beautiful forest, so thick that scarcely a ray of sunshine penetrated the branches. He says:

"I suddenly stood before the most remarkable specimen of the industry of an animal. It was a hut or bower close to a small meadow enameled with flowers. The whole was on a diminutive scale, and I immediately recognized the famous nests described by the hunters of Bruiju. After well observing the whole I gave strict orders to my hunters not to destroy the little building. That, however, was an unnecessary caution, since the Papuans take great care never to disturb these nests or bowers, even if they are in their way. The birds had evidently enjoyed the greatest quiet until we happened, unfortunately for them, to come near them. I had now full employment in the preparation of my treasure.... I took colors and brushes, and went to the spot, and made the sketch which I now publish. When I was there neither host nor hostess was at home.... I could not ascertain whether this bower was occupied by one pair or more, whether the male alone is the builder, or whether the wife assists. I believe, however, that the nest lasts several seasons."

The pleasing description of the house and lawn, with its many decorations, has been widely copied. "Being mostly near the entrance," says the grave scientist in conclusion, surprised into sentiment, "it would appear that the husband offers there the daily gift to the wife, removing the objects to the back of the hut as they fade or wither." It is clever not only in building a house and lawn, but in imitating the songs and cries of other birds, and doing it so well, according to our author, that it brought "his hunters to despair."

So few Birds of Paradise have entered the scientific world alive, and so little is known of their manners, that the meagre accounts we have possess unusual interest. So long ago as early in the century Mr. Bennett, in his visit to Macao, wrote a statement of the ways of a Great Bird of Paradise (P. Apoda) which had been at that time in confinement nine years. His description of the toilet of the most exquisite of birds is delightful.

"It washes itself regularly twice daily, and after having performed its ablutions, throws its delicate feathers up nearly over the head.... The beautiful subalar plumage is then thrown out and cleaned from any spot that may sully its purity by being passed gently through the bill, the short chocolate-colored wings are extended to the utmost, and he keeps them in a steady flapping motion, at the same time raising up the delicate long feathers over the back, which are spread in a chaste and elegant manner, floating like films in the ambient air. In this position the bird would remain for a short time, seemingly proud of its heavenly beauty. I never yet beheld a soil on its feathers. After expanding the wings it would bring them together so as to conceal the head, then bending gracefully it would inspect the state of its plumage underneath.... It then picks and cleans its plumage in every part within reach, and throwing out the elegant and delicate tuft of feathers underneath, they are cleaned in succession, if required, by throwing them abroad, elevating and passing them in succession through the bill. Then turning its back to the spectators, the actions above mentioned are repeated, ... and throwing its feathers up with much grace, appears as proud as a lady dressed in her full ball dress"(!). After further account of its taking grasshoppers from visitors, he concludes: "Should any of the insects fall to the floor of his cage he will not descend to them, appearing to be fearful that in so doing he should soil his delicate plumage."

Almost equally charming is Mr. Bennett's observation of one that Wallace carried alive to London, which lived two years there and became exceedingly tame. It is this species whose dancing parties Wallace thus describes:—

"On one of these trees a dozen or twenty full-plumaged male birds assemble, raise their wings vertically over the back, stretch out their necks, and raise and expand their exquisite long plumes till they form two magnificent golden fans, which are kept in continual vibration. Between whiles they fly across from branch to branch in great excitement, so that the whole tree is filled with waving plumes in every variety of attitude and motion. In the position above mentioned the whole bird is overshadowed by his plumage, the crouching body, yellow head, and emerald green throat form but the foundation and setting to the golden glory which waves above. Seen in this attitude the Bird of Paradise really deserves its name, and must be ranked as one of the most beautiful and most wonderful of living things."

In truth, it is so transcendently beautiful that hunters have been astonished into forgetfulness of their guns, and no triumph was ever greater, for to recognize an attractive creature and lift the gun to take its life seems to be a single operation of many who carry the murderous weapon.

The Twelve-wired, one of the better known varieties of the Birds of Paradise, is usually figured, and probably always mounted, with its exquisite plumes closely folded against its sides, but the French naturalist and traveler Le Vaillant, in his large work published early in the century, gives a representation of it under the name of Le Nebuleux, with feathers expanded to the uttermost, a truly magnificent display. All his figures, though sometimes incorrect, owing to the scanty knowledge of the time, have a great deal of life. Each bird is presented both in repose, with plumage all folded smoothly back, and in excitement, with every fan and ruff and erectile ornament fully spread.

This peerless family takes kindly to captivity, as has been amply proved by their enduring the voyage and living two years in the unfavorable climate of England, as well as by spending at least nine years in an aviary in China, and there is no reason why we in America should not have opportunity to admire them and study their habits from life. Would that some of our young explorers could be induced to turn from the ice-fields of the Poles, and the death-swamps of the Tropics, to seek these inimitable birds in the mountains and woods of the Papuan Islands—not to shoot for our museum shelves, but to study their manners and customs, and above all to introduce them into American aviaries, that a new and absorbing chapter might be added to our Natural Histories, and the Bird of Paradise cease to be the Bird of Mystery.


African Parrot and Mocking-Bird, 90.

Baltimore Oriole. pursue a blackbird, 4. baby ways, 9. attacked by robin, 10. an unnatural baby, 11. one at a time, 11. the father as drudge, 12. visited by the Cardinal, 215.

Bird of Paradise, 253. where found, 253. mythical stories of, 253. dancing parties, 255. colors, 255. arrangement of plumage, 255. Red Bird of, 255. Golden, 256. Standard-wing, 256. change of form, 256. feathers an index of the mind, 256. interesting new discoveries, 257. Signor d'Albertis, 257. Six-shafted, 257. dusting itself, 258. curious scene, 258. a rare bird, 259. description of, 259. another new one, 259. specimen in N. Y. Museum, 260. description of P. Raggiana, 260. danger of beauty, 260. a bare-headed bird, 261. Manucodia, 261. M. Comrii, 262. M. Chalybea, 262. Long-tailed, 263. changeable, 263. Epimachus Ellioti, 263. the Gardener bird, 264. description of nest, 264. a clever builder, 265. manners of P. Apoda, 266. toilet, 266. dancing parties, 267. twelve-wired, 268. Le Vaillant's work, 268.

Birds. home affairs of, 3. dangers in nest, 5. hard work of, 15. training the young, 15. study of, 16. cruel pursuit of, 239. at twilight, 247.

Bluebird, 97. attitude and manners, 97. attitude and manners, female, 98. defending her spouse, 98. standing guard, 98. defending the young, 99. after the mocking-bird, 99. unsafe nest, 99. tragedy in the family, 100. consoling his mate, 100. an affectionate pair, 101. motherly affection, 102. arrangements for sleep, 102. queer little talk with me, 103. talk together, 104-106. staring at nothing, 104. his mate disapproves, 106. difference in intelligence, 107. demanding meal-worms, 107. expressing themselves, 107. learning by experience, 108. fond of worms, 108. trick on a scarlet tanager, 108. bathing, 109. bewitching dance, 109. sunning himself, 109. feathering out, 110. growing belligerent, 110. courtship, 110. he presents a worm, 110. refusing to share, 111. feeding through wires, 112. change in the song, 112. set free, 112. attacked by sparrows, 112. baby ways, 13. bringing food to young, 47.

Blue Jay, 175. driving corks, 175. hammering, 175. destructiveness, 176. holes in the matting, 176. ornamenting books, 177. pounding upward, 177. hiding things, 177. his regular business, 178. clearing up the room, 178. setting off matches, 179. odd hiding-places, 179. in my hair, 180. intelligent interest, 180. likes and dislikes, 180-191. showing fight, 181. war upon the baby, 181. expression of affection, 181. curiosity, 182. jumping, 183. queer way of alighting, 183. bird of opinions, 183. scolding the rain, 184. strange noises, 184. song, 184. stamping his feet, 184. in anger, 184. peaceful among the birds, 185. timid, 185. afraid of falling, 185. a jay-baby cry, 185. fond of music, 186. attended to business, 187. talking to me, 187. his demon of work, 187. in his vindication, 187. knew what he wanted, 191. human society, 191. tokens of affection, 192. love, 193. ice-cream and cake, 193. hiding his candy, 193. next in favor, 193. difference in treatment, 193. curious dance, 194. missed his frolics, 194. calling his playmate, 194. treatment of a young lady, 195. treatment of a youth, 195. treatment of the head of the household, 195. treatment of a maid, 195. afraid of a trap, 195. a wise bird, 196. cutting a wire, 196. loosening a rubber band, 196. a troublesome pet, 196. on my desk, 196. a cure for hammering, 196. learning to get under the cover, 197. prying into packages, 197. the waste basket, 198. after the photographs, 198. on the door, 198. flying out, 198. the open window, 199. learning to outwit him, 199. the other birds no society, 199. surprising his neighbors, 199. the room in a panic, 200. excitement over a grasshopper, 200. the oriole takes a hand, 200. afraid of a tree, 200. hiding the needles, 202. bathing, 202. beauty of plumage, 202.

Brazilian Cardinal, 232.

Cardinal Grosbeak, or Virginia C., 207. colors, 207. her first admirer, 208. his first call, 208. a mind of her own, 209. his mistake, 209. reproaching her, 209. violent wooing, 210. the obnoxious door, 210. the window, 210. exploring the room, 211. calling on the robin, 211-214. war declared upon her, 211. the window problem, 212. lord-and-master, 212. curious performance, 212. hostilities, 213. jealousy, 214. the looking-glass, 214. calling on the tanager, 214. the bath, 214. calling on the orioles, 215. beginning to sing, 215. a queer game, 215. war again, 216. death of the persecutor, 216. Virginia relieved, 216. expression of crest, 216. a week's peace, 217. arrival of a stranger, 217. Virginia not pleased, 217. the second suitor goes, 218. left alone, 218. set free, 219. the successful wooer, 219. difficulty, studies under, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30.

Golden-winged Woodpecker, or Flicker, 115. in search of a nest, 115. heavy flight, 116. out of a bird store, 117. excessively wild, 117. getting acquainted, 117. peeping out, 118. expressing emotion, 118. in despair, 118. holes in the wall, 118. learning to eat, 118. peculiar attitudes, 119. sleeping, 119. restlessness, 119. taking naps, 120. a heavy sleeper, 120. dreaming, 120. hanging himself, 121. expression of sentiments, 121. the door opened, 121. running about the floor, 121. intelligence, 121. exploring the room, 121. investigating the nails, 122. visiting his neighbors, 122. up the ladder, 122. teasing the goldfinch, 123. down the ladder, 123. stepping down backward, 123. going home, 124. asking to be let out, 124. suddenly familiar, 124. child-like disposition, 124. a silent bird, 124. a strange song, 125. an extraordinary display, 125. the baby of the family, 126. position of rest, 127. flicker talk, 127.

Goldfinch, 72, 152, 157.

Mocking-Bird. baby ways, 13. study of, 23. way of singing, 25-44. fables about, 30-31. nest, 35. domestic relations, 36. home in a pine grove, 37. wooing, 38. dance, 39. love or war? 41. house hunting, 41. building in a storm, 42. on the winding stairs, 43. belligerent, 44. a call on his spouse, 45. frolic on the grass, 45. nest in the cedar, 45. the youngsters out, 46. feeding the babies, 46. the baby cry, 47. parental anxiety, 48, 50, 55. madam remonstrates, 48. telling the news, 49. out of the nest, 50. looks and manners of the infant, 50, 51, 53. a lively youngster, 52. an ignominious flop, 53. baby number two, 53. refuses to move on, 53. thieves—black and white, 54. behavior of a young singer, 54. had his own way, 55. number three neglected, 55. the cry-baby, 56. peculiar hops, 56. a curious performance, 57. the nest, 57. movements, 58, 59. lifting the wings, 60. disposition, 60. quarrel, 61. attack on a crow, 61. song, 62, 63. as imitator, 63.

Mocking-Bird in the house. mocking, 67. intelligence, 67. taking notes, 68. choice of colors, 68. enjoyment of liberty, 69. reason, 69. warmed by a lamp, 69. quiet observation, 70. submitting to imposition, 70. out of the cage, 70. studying surroundings, 71. the pin-cushion, 71. looking-glass, 71. settling his position, 72. the English goldfinch, 72. driven away from the bath, 73. the feathers flew, 74. scene between goldfinch and, 74. insulted by a thrush, 75. dispute over the bath, 75. worrying the Mexican, 77. with the wood thrush, 78. quarrel over the apple, 78. a war dance, 79. settling the thrush, 80. end of the apple contest, 81. decides to remove, 81. teasing the thrush, 83. graceful attack, 83. a change of tactics, 84. a determined enemy, 85. gracefulness, 85. bewitching ways, 86. expression of feathers, 86. the looking-glass, 87. manner of dressing, 89. lifting the wings, 89. steel pen, 89. attack on the parrot, 90. never startled, 91. caught under a shawl, 91. mad frolics, 92. fury of play, 92. reducing the finch to silence, 93. mischief, not malice, 93.

Mexican thrush, 77, 83.

Nonpareil, 28.

Nuthatch baby ways, 12. visited by orioles, 138.

Orchard Orioles, 131. characteristics, 131, 132. persistent singers, 131. making themselves conspicuous, 132. annoying ways, 132. shouting the news, 133. trouble in the family, 133. plumage, 133, 134. two suitors to one maid, 134. he will have his way, 134. she flew for her life, 134. voice of female, 135. beauty of female, 135. restless manners, 135. a war dance, 136. an anti-climax, 137. a meek damsel, 137. inquisitive, 138. visiting the mocking-bird's nest, 138. visiting nuthatches, 138. interested in me, 139. the crisis, 139. nesting time begun, 139. matters settled, 140. the honeymoon, 140. submitting to the inevitable, 140. nest building, 140. precipitate wooing, 141. grumbling husbands, 141. a feathered thief, 142. the end was not yet, 142. with a grasshopper, 201.

Pewee, baby ways, 15. learning to hover, 16.

Plover, 24.

Purple Crow Blackbird. in trouble, 4. launching the infants, 5. blackbird babies, 7.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, 239. dress; characters, 239. manner of eating, 240. about the room, 240. a creature of habit, 240. intelligence, 241. had his own opinion, 241. change of place, 242. contented and happy, 242. a silent bird, 243. queer noises, 243. disturbed by an owl, 243. song, 244-249. the looking-glass, 244. posturing, 245. curious movements, 246. bathing, 246. color, 247. night, 248. never playful, 249.

Robin baby ways, 14, 47.

Robin called in by Cardinal, 211-214.

Scarlet Tanager and English Goldfinch, 224. dress and manners, 224. parties to the friendship, 224. dislike to confinement, 224. coming out, 225. the window glass, 226. the finch flies at him, 226. giving up the world, 227. dislike to be looked at, 227. first sign of friendship, 228. the smallest bird, 228. progress of the friendship, 228. the tanager's boundary, 229. becoming protector, 229. beginning to talk, 229. perching outside, 230. around the room, 231. in a strange cage, 231. on the floor, 231. driving the Brazilian, 232. the robin interferes, 232. the finch goes for him, 233. a new roof, 233. the mischievous robin, 234. approach of spring, 234. offensive operations, 235. anxious to go, 235. belligerent, 235. set free, 236. the deserted lover, 236. called on by cardinal, 214.

Snowy Heron, 23.

Tern, 24.

Thrasher, or Brown Thrush, 147. restlessness, 147. use of feet, 148. erratic movements, 149. way of approach, 149. sensational manners, 150. bathing, 150. waltzing around the bath, 150. excitement of the bath, 151. mischievousness, 152. teasing the finch, 152. tearing paper, 152. with a newspaper, 153. the magazines, 153. hammering, 153. jumping, 153. intelligence, 154. talking back, 154. expression of wings, 154. littleness of body, 155. the song, 155. in the twilight, 156, 247. strange movements, 156. watching others, 157. in the spring, 157.

Thrushes. gray-cheeked, 161. song of, 162. Wilson's, 162. wonderful song, 162. whisper songs, 162. difference in character, 163. bewitching dance, 163. use of feet, 164. excitement, 165. a different dance, 165. bathing, 165, 166. the bird in the glass, 166. alighting places, 167. enjoying a swing, 167. a snug retreat, 167. tearing papers, 168. lonely disposition, 169. belligerent, 169. set free, 169. surprise of freedom, 170. a call from a neighbor, 170. farewell to the Gray-cheeked, 171.

Thrush baby ways, 8, 78, 80, 85.

Yellow-throated baby ways, 8.


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