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Upon The Tree-Tops
by Olive Thorne Miller
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Though I should live to be a thousand years old, and visit every country under heaven, I am sure I should never hear such a rapturous burst of song again,—

"Low and soft as the soothing fall Of the fountains of Eden; sweet as the call Of angels over the jasper wall That welcomes a soul to heaven."

After the foregoing study was written, Mr. Frederic A. Ober kindly placed at my disposal his unpublished notes upon another solitaire, the siffleur montagne, or mountain whistler. He had the bird in confinement for some time, while in the Antilles on a collecting tour for the United States National Museum; and the bird's character, as shown in captivity, so closely resembled the one I have tried to depict, that I give it as evidence that others have similarly interpreted the manners of the family.

[Sidenote: LOVE OF SOLITUDE.]

To begin with his love of solitude, one of the strongest characteristics of the Myadestes wherever found. It is that more than anything else which, in connection with his wonderful song, has wrapped the bird in mystery, and aroused the superstitions of the natives of the countries in which he lives. Mr. Ober says, and every one of the few observers who have succeeded in seeing the bird confirms the statement, that he is found only in the most solitary places, inaccessible mountains, wild, gloomy ravines, and dark, impenetrable gorges. Here the graceful bird delights to dwell, calling and singing from his post on a branch overhanging the perpendicular cliffs, hundreds of feet above the level earth. One of them, indeed, secures his beloved solitude by inhabiting the craters of extinct volcanoes.

In sprightliness of manner this bird of solitude reminds one of the catbird, whom he also greatly resembles in looks. He has the quick-darting movements of the flycatchers, and at the same time a strange, preoccupied air, that seems to make him oblivious of people, although they may be within a few feet of him.

Passing one of these peculiarly lonely places one day in his wanderings, Mr. Ober heard the note of the siffleur close at hand. He crept cautiously through the trees until he saw the bird, who had ceased singing, and was eating berries from a tall shrub, clinging to its hanging branches.

He soon finished his repast, flew to a dead branch, plumed his feathers, and after a few moments resumed his singing. He uttered a few trills of a rare musical quality that held his listener spellbound, then lightly flew to another branch overhanging the little ravine, at the bottom of which a babbling brook made music,—"not so liquid as siffleurs,"—says the historian. Here a few more strains fell from him, then he flitted to a swinging vine, repeated his bewitching note, and in a moment disappeared. The tones, says Mr. Ober, "are thrilling with solemn music and indescribably impressive." They have also a ventriloquial quality, and many tunes had he vainly searched for the singer, until a note of another sort betrayed his position, which was sometimes almost over the observer's head.

One morning a captive siffleur was dragged out of the trousers pocket of one of his "ragged brigade" and presented to the chronicler. These boys, whose help was indispensable to the collector, were a study in themselves. They were familiar with the habits, songs, and food of every bird in the woods, as well as expert in imitating the note of each one, and by this means drawing him to the fatal limed twigs. The interesting birds of the mountains, the siffleur, the trembleur, and others, they attracted by a peculiar hissing noise.

[Sidenote: THE BIRD INSULTED.]

The bird brought to Mr. Ober had been caught by bird-lime and was unhurt, but greatly mortified and insulted by his treatment. He seemed at first dazed, and utterly silent. But after a while he gave utterance to a cry of distress, which he repeated at intervals on that first morning, particularly when people came too near him. Before night he evidently realized the uselessness of protests, and became silent. He never for a moment displayed the wild terror and panic seen in most birds when first caught.

The next morning he ate berries and drank fresh water calmly and without fear; but for several days he did not utter a sound. One of the peculiarities of these birds is their fearlessness in the presence of man, or perhaps more correctly their intelligence, which prevents them, as it does our native thrushes, from being frightened unless there is something really alarming.

This is the natural and charming attitude of bird and beast toward man, until taught by deadly experience what they have to dread, as has been proved many times.

It is not, therefore, in the case of the solitaires, fear of man which drives them to their secluded dwelling-places. It is a certain reserve of character, a strong dislike to a crowd, a genuine love of solitude, and who shall say there is not also an appreciation of the attractions of scenery!

After Mr. Ober's bird had become used to his captivity, the collecting boys brought in another prisoner, a trembleur, so named because of his curious and restless manners, the jerks and quivers, the spasmodic movements of head and wings and tail, and the bows and postures with which he does everything.

The unfortunate trembleur indulged in no amusing antics on this occasion, however. He was overwhelmed by the extent of the disaster that had befallen him,—captivity in the hands of his worst foe. He crouched in one corner of his box, looking with wonder at his surroundings.

Now appeared a new trait in the character of siffleur. His deep love of solitude was even aggressive; he would not tolerate the intrusion of another bird upon his domain. He greeted his fellow-sufferer first with hisses and then with threats and feints of war. Trembleur did not respond, but he presented his formidable bill in readiness to repel attack.

[Sidenote: ANNOYED BY HUMMINGBIRDS.]

One of his own family, another siffleur, being added to the imprisoned party, the first-comer was most unfriendly, flying at him, and trying to keep him from food and water.

Another indication of the bird's love of quiet was his annoyance at the hummingbirds, whose ways Mr. Ober was studying, and who flitted about the room all the time. From the first he regarded them with disfavor. Their frivolous manners and their constant humming were not pleasing to him; but when they became so impertinent as to alight on his back, this trifling with his dignity was past endurance; he hissed, and snapped his beak at the elusive little creatures, and finally worked himself into such a rage that he was found completely exhausted, and almost in a dying condition. These continued excitements, indeed, so wore upon his sensitive nature that he did not long survive his extreme passion.

This was the more to be regretted because of the readiness with which he accepted his fate. He became tame in a week after capture, and readily took food from the fingers. From the first he never made the least effort to escape, but seemed perfectly contented, so long as he was alone. It was the presence of intruders—as he regarded them—that he resented so fatally.

One of this most interesting family, Townsend's fly-catching thrush (Myadestes Townsendii) is resident in the mountains of Colorado, and it is pleasing to see how the most scientific and the least emotional of chroniclers fall into rapture over his song. "Never have I heard a more delightful chorus of bird music," says one. "The song can be compared to nothing uttered by any other bird I have heard," says another. "A most exquisite song in which the notes of purple finch, wood thrush, and winter wren are blended into a silvery cascade of melody that ripples and dances down the mountain-side as clear and sparkling as the mountain brook," says a third.

Charles Dudley Warner, who found the clarin a favorite cage bird in Mexico, says of his song (in "Mexican Notes"): "Its long, liquid, full-throated note is more sweet and thrilling than any other bird note I have ever heard; it is hardly a song, but a flood of melody, elevating, inspiring as the skylark, but with a touch of the tender melancholy of the nightingale in the night."



XIII.

INCOMPATIBILITY IN THE ORIOLE FAMILY.

One whole year I entertained in my bird-room an individual of strongly marked character, an orchard oriole. Wishing to study his habits, I put a pair of this species into a big cage, hoping they would live happily, as did other couples in the room at the same time. The pretty little yellow and olive dame was amiable enough,—she could live in peace with any bird in the room; but her comrade rebelled against the decrees of man. He was an autocrat; he intended to have his house to himself, and, more, he purposed to appropriate any other residence he chose to select, whoever might claim it. Hostilities began the moment the door was shut upon them; he drove her away from the food-cup, he fought her over the bathing-dish, he answered her sweet call with a harsh "chack" or an insulting "huff," he twitched her feathers if she came near him, and gave her a peck if she seemed to be having too easy a time. Withal, such was his villainous temper that he desired a victim to abuse, and never let her out of his sight for two minutes, lest she should enjoy something he could deprive her of. She was of a happy temperament; she contented herself with what was given her. If she could not have pear, she cheerfully ate bread and milk; while if my lord could not have pear, he would starve. She had large dark eyes, and soft, delicate colors, with legs and feet the tint of light blue kid; but her liege lord was in the immature plumage of the second year, with black mask covering his small eyes.

[Sidenote: IN THE LOOKING-GLASS.]

Hardly were the two orioles let out into the room when they began to investigate the wonders about them: one flew to the fringe of a window-shade, and hung head down while trying with sharp beak to pry open the cords; the other devoted itself to unraveling the mysteries of books and boxes, very soon learning to open both with the same prying instrument. The slats of the blinds were appropriated as ladders to run up and down, and every few moments one disappeared in some hole, never hesitating to creep through the smallest opening. Madam went up out of sight among the springs of a stuffed chair, while her mate set himself the task of pulling out the stitches of embroidery on a toilet cushion, with perfect success. Having exhausted this amusement, he looked about for new worlds to conquer, and soon found sundry holes in the wall-paper, where I suppose nails had been driven, though they were so hidden by the confused pattern that I could not see them. Before the walls he hovered slowly, and the discovery of an opening was the signal for work. One claw inserted under the broken edge of the paper was perch enough, and the first intimation of the mischief was the falling of bits of plaster and fluttering fragments of paper. Of thus amusing himself he could never be cured, and many unsightly places remained to tell the tale. While the head of the family disfigured the wall, his little spouse found occupation in working at a paper covering the cage of a gentle bird who specially disliked intrusive neighbors. First she pulled out the pin that held it in place, took it under a toe, and tried to wrench the head off; failing in this, she passed it through her beak back and forth as she did a worm, evidently to reduce it to a softer condition. Finding the pin intractable, she dropped it, and turned her attention to the paper; tearing off bits, peeping under it, and constantly worrying the peace-loving owner, until a roof of enameled cloth, securely fastened by sewing, was provided for him.

The only one in the room whom the unlovely bird found it impossible to annoy was the oriole he saw in the looking-glass, and he never gave up trying to reduce even him to a proper state of meekness. Whenever he caught sight of his reflection he was furious: he strode across the lower support, bowing and posturing; then flew up against the glass, touching it with breast and claws, and beating his wings against it. Failing, of course, to seize the enemy, he peered eagerly behind the mirror, then returned with fresh rage to the charge in front. After a while I placed the glass at such an angle that he could not see himself from below. Instantly he alighted on a basket that hung conveniently near, ran to the end where he could stretch around and see his face, then to the other end from which he could look behind, uttering at the same time a loud cry. This also he kept up till I removed the basket. A day or two later, the discovery of a hand-glass standing on a table gave opportunity for a repetition of the performance. He attitudinized, drooped his wings, beat against it, hopped quite over it, touched the glass many times with his beak, and at last circled round and round, going into a rage whenever he reached the front, and springing suddenly around, as if to seize the elusive enemy behind. It was a strange exhibition of passion, very droll if it had not been painful to see. After that the glasses were covered.



[Sidenote: GYMNASTICS ON THE ROOF.]

Repose of manner was unknown to the orchard oriole; he could never wait a moment for anything. If he wanted to bathe, he plumped into the dish, whether it were empty or not; thus he often surprised a more dignified bird by bouncing in beside him and splashing as though no one else were in sight. In fact, the bath was a constant subject of dispute; he was very fond of it, and the sound of dashing water was always irresistibly tempting to him. If he were shut into his cage with no other amusement, he indulged in gymnastics on the roof, running about, head down, on the wires, as readily as a fly on the ceiling, and often hanging by one claw, swinging back and forth, as if to enjoy the upside-down view of the world. If he stood still two minutes on a perch he was usually asleep; and both of these birds indulged in daytime naps, in which they buried their heads in their feathers, exactly as they did at night.

The lord and master of this household was extremely fastidious in his fare. Mockingbird food he despised, bread and milk he left to his cage mate, apples were too hard to please him; nothing appealed to his taste except the tenderest of Bartlett pears, and of these he condescended to eat one a day. After a while, in his trampish fashion of prowling about in other birds' houses, he discovered that mockingbird food was not so bad; and although he scorned it at home, he soon spent half his time in going from cage to cage, pulling over the food-supply, and selecting dainty bits for his own delectation. Naturally, he had many encounters with insulted proprietors, and some narrow escapes from a pecking; but he accepted these little episodes in the spirit of the tramp, regularly poached upon his neighbors, and nothing would keep him out of others' cages, or convince him that his own dish was as well supplied as any. The truth is, he seemed to be devoured by a fear that some one was better provisioned than he; and this feeling went so far that in the cage of a seed-eater he ate seeds, though since he did not take off the shells he was obliged to throw them up in a ball somewhat later. Like many other birds, the orioles were fond of huckleberries, which they ate daintily, driving their sharp beaks into a berry, and holding it under one toe while they neatly extracted the pulp, thrusting far out their long white tongues in the operation.

[Sidenote: HIS DEAREST DELIGHT.]

Meal-worms—the choice morsels of the bird-room—came near driving the oriole wild. It was natural for him to take one under his toe, and pull off small bits till all was eaten, but his greed made this way very distasteful. How could he be satisfied with a slow manner, while thrushes and bluebirds took one at a gulp, and were ready for more? He could not; he put himself in training, and in a few days could bolt a worm as quickly as anybody. Now it became the object of his life to secure them all for himself. He was so quick in movement that he had no difficulty in swooping down upon every one that was put out, before more leisurely birds had stirred a feather. When he was absolutely incapable of swallowing another, he continued to seize them, kill them by a bite, and drop them on the floor. Nobody cared for dead worms, and thus the selfish fellow managed, as long as he was allowed, to deprive every bird in the room of his share. The remedy was simple: his door was closed till the other birds had eaten, and he pranced back and forth before it, actually squealing with rage, while they disposed of the dainties in their own natural way.

The dearest delight of this bird, however, was one which no other in the room shared,—catching flies. Observing that he tried to get one on the outside of the window-frame, I thought I would indulge him; so the next morning, before the cages were opened, I raised the windows. As I anticipated, two or three flies came in. The oriole saw them in an instant, and was frantic to get out. When his door was unclosed he at once gave chase, and never rested till every fly was caught and eaten. He hunted them up and down the windows with great eagerness, but never followed them back into the room, though of course, as they could not keep away from the light themselves, they all fell victims sooner or later. After that several flies were allowed to come in every morning, and no sportsman, of whatever size, was ever keener after his prey, whether fish, fox, or tiger from the jungle.

The little dame liked flies too, and if one came near her did not hesitate to appropriate it, although it brought her mate upon her "like a wolf on the fold." The two had once a funny time with a very large fly which fell into the hands—or beak—of madam. The victim did not submit with meekness; in fact, he protested in a loud voice. This at once attracted the attention of the master, who flung himself furiously at his usually amiable spouse, to snatch it from her. She did not give it up, but flew away, he following closely, and the fly buzzing madly all the while. Round and round the room they went for some time, till he was tired and gave up, when she alighted and tried to dispose of her prize, which was, after all, rather embarrassing to her. The insect was large, and she seemed afraid to put it under one toe, as usual, lest she should be attacked and have to fly suddenly, and so lose it. When she did make the attempt at last, her movements or his strength caused a slip somewhere, and away he went, buzzing louder than ever in triumph. This sound again roused the hunter's instinct, and both orioles flew wildly after that noisy creature, which took one turn around the room, then alighted on the top of the lower sash of a window, and passed quickly down the hole made for the window-cord. The orioles in chase of this slippery fellow, seeing him outside, came bang against the glass, and then dropped to a perch, looking rather foolish.

[Sidenote: THE FLY ESCAPED.]

Very soon after these birds were at home in the room, the female began to sing a low and sweet song of considerable variety. The male confined his utterances to scolding and "huffing," and he tried to silence her with a peck, or by making ostentatious preparations for a nap, in which curious way many birds show contempt. But she did not often sing at home. She preferred a perch the other side of the room, where she sat down, her breast feathers covering her toes, threw her head up, and turned it from side to side (perhaps looking for the enemy always ready to pounce upon her), as she poured out the pleasing melody. Not a note of song came out of his throat till weeks afterwards, when her presence no longer disturbed him, and spring came to stir even his hard heart.

Matters culminated, in this ill-assorted union, with a tragedy. He began a bully and a scold; and so far from being mollified by her gentleness, his bad temper increased by indulgence, until he absolutely prevented her from eating, bathing, or entering the cage when he was about. At this point providence—in the shape of the mistress—interfered, bought a new cage as big as the old one, and, in the summary way in which we of the human family dispose of the lives and happiness of those we call the lower animals, declared a divorce. This was agreeable to the female, at least. She entered her solitary cage with joy, and ate to her satisfaction, but not so well pleased was the tyrant; he wanted an object on which to vent his ill-humor, and it grieved his selfish soul to see her happy, out of his reach, with table spread as bountifully as his own. He usurped the new cage; she retired contentedly to the old. Still he was not suited, for the old one was nearer the window; so he tried to occupy both, and drive her away altogether. So outrageous did he become that finally he had to be shut into one cage before she could enter the other. It was curious, on these occasions, to see the care with which she examined the door of his cage, to be sure that he really could not get out, and the satisfied air with which she finally went home; even then she ate at the point of the bayonet, as it were, he raging from side to side of his cage, as near to her as he could get, and scolding furiously. This could not go on forever, and the most watchful care was not able always to protect her without making prisoner of one. It was the middle of winter, and she could not be set free; but if I had suspected how far his tyranny would go, I should have removed one of them to another room. To my deep sorrow, I found her dead one morning, and her body so thin I was sure she had been worried to death.

[Sidenote: A BAD TEMPER.]

Naturally, I did not love the brutal bird who had teased another out of her life, but I certainly looked for an improvement in his temper now that he had no one to vex his sight. I looked in vain. He was more savage, more of a tramp and poacher, more of a scold, than ever. He even went so far as to huff at the sparrows outside the window. He never entered into the feelings of his neighbors in any way; when every other bird in the room was excited, alarmed, or disturbed, he alone remained perfectly unconcerned, exactly as if he did not see them.

During the latter part of that winter I was interested to see a curious provision of nature for an emergency. The oriole had a serious affection of one hind-toe, which swelled, turned white, and was evidently so painful to use that he alighted on the other foot, holding this one up. After a few days I noticed him using his foot again; there was a hind toe all well, and the disabled one above the new one, quite out of harm's way. It looked as if it were going to fall off, and I did not know but the universal Mother had provided a new toe; but on close examination I found that one of the three front toes had turned back to take the place of the useless member. Thus relieved, it became well, the front toe returned to its proper place, and the bird was all right again.

Now spring came on, and the oriole began to sing, strange, half-choking sounds at first, interspersed with his harshest notes, as if he were forced to sing by the season, but was resolved that no one should enjoy it as music, and so spoiled it by these interpolations. I found afterwards, however, on studying his wild relatives, that this is their customary way of singing. Now, too, queer little spots began to appear in his plumage, dots of bright reddish chestnut, first on one side of the breast, then about the tail coverts, till after a month he looked like patchwork of the "crazy" sort. All this time his song was gaining in strength and volume, till by the first of May he could outsing any bird in the room.

[Sidenote: UTTERLY UNLOVELY.]

To outdo in some way was his delight, and he regularly discomfited the singers and silenced the gentle ripple of thrush music in the house by his loud carol. Later, the weather became settled, the well and perfect birds were given their liberty, and he had the bird-room to himself, the only utterly unlovely bird I ever knew.

The relations of a pair of Baltimore orioles at the same time were not much more harmonious; but the little dame being more spirited than her neighbor, things arranged themselves differently.

I introduced the pair by the rather summary process of putting both into one large cage. She had suffered at the hands of mankind, and her plumage was in a terribly draggled state; and clothes have as much to do with self-respect in the feathered world as in our own. Her condition of general wreck was so complete as to leave her without a tail,—the last stage of respectability. She was depressed in spirits, and at first did not gainsay the dictation of the bird already in possession. He drove her away from the food-dishes, denied her a place on his perch, and in fact set up for lord and master, and she submitted for a time.

It was amusing to see these birds trying, on the first evening, to settle the question of sleeping-quarters. As usual, the mind of the male was made up, and he planted himself in the darkest corner of the upper perch away from the window, shook himself out, and considered the matter decided. The meek little new-comer did not aspire to his corner, but she ardently desired a place on that farther perch, and after he became quiet she resolved to try for it. Too modest to approach it in the natural way, from the lower perches, she scrambled up the wires of the cage, and shyly came on from the back. The autocrat was not asleep, and the instant her foot touched it he bounced across the cage to the other upper perch. He evidently expected that she would be put to shame in her surreptitious attempt to share his perch, and would at once retire to her proper sphere; but he was mistaken. So far from being embarrassed by his displeasure, she calmly accepted the relinquished position, and prepared for sleep. This was far from satisfactory to his majesty, and he jumped back as suddenly as he had gone; whereupon madam dropped to the floor. But, with true oriole persistence, in a moment she tried it again, going as before up the wires. Again the annoyed oriole deserted his post, and, disappointed in the effect, returned; once more, also, rather disconcerted, she descended to the floor. Not to stay, however. She was as set in her way as he was, and to sleep in that corner was her determination. This curious seesaw performance was reenacted far into the twilight with amusing regularity, but how they finally settled it I could not stay to see.

[Sidenote: SHE REBELLED.]

The unfortunate condition of the female kept her in subjection a few days, and then she rose superior to clothes, and quietly rebelled. The possession of the bath was the first disputed point. There she took her stand, bowed and postured on the edge, while he splashed unconcernedly in the tub; and the next time she went so far as to remain in the water and keep on bathing, while he assumed the offensive on the edge. After trying in vain to awe or terrify her, he actually plumped in beside her, and they spattered and fluttered side by side, as if they were inseparable friends. The oriole, however, had learned a lesson. He recognized a kindred spirit, and henceforth they lived peaceably together, in a sort of armed neutrality. No quarreling disgraced their house; each went on in his own way, and the other did not interfere.

One had no right to expect sociability between a pair living in mere tolerance of each other, and yet I was disappointed that they did not talk together. I wanted to hear them, but I listened in vain for weeks. In sight or out of sight, it made no difference; they were the same taciturn couple, each occupied in its own way, and never exchanging a note. But at last I caught them. At night, during the winter, each cage was closely wrapped in a thick, warm cover, and before this was taken off in the morning I began to hear low murmurs from the orioles. One spoke in a complaining tone, as if it said, "Why do you treat me thus?" and the other uttered a regular oriole "chur-r-r." In time the sounds grew louder, and I noticed in the querulous tone great variety of pitch, inflection, and duration of note, accompanied often by a hopping back and forth, as if the listener were inattentive. Wishing to see as well as hear this little domestic drama, I took care the next night to arrange the covering in such a way that I could peep in without disturbing it. Then I saw the lordly Baltimore on the middle perch, leaning over and looking at his mate on the floor. He addressed her in a tone so low that it was scarcely audible at the distance of one foot, and she replied in the fretful voice I have spoken of. Then he began hopping from perch to perch, occasionally pausing to take his part in the conversation, which was kept up till they saw me.

[Sidenote: A NEW SONG.]

Not all the time of the beautiful orioles was passed in contentions; once having placed themselves on what they considered their proper footing in the family, they had leisure for other things. No more entertaining birds ever lived in the room; full of intelligent curiosity as they were, and industriously studying out the idiosyncrasies of human surroundings in ways peculiarly their own, they pried into and under everything,—opened the match-safe and threw out the contents, tore the paper off the wall in great patches, pecked the backs of books, and probed every hole and crack with their sharp beaks. They ate very daintily, and were exceedingly fond of dried currants. For this little treat the male soon learned to tease, alighting on the desk, looking wistfully at the little china box whence he knew they came, wiping his bill, and, in language plain enough to a bird-student, asking for some. He even went so far, when I did not at once take the hint, as to address me in low, coaxing talk of very sweet and varied tones. Still I was deaf, and he came within two feet of me, uttering the half-singing talk, and later burst into song as his supreme effort at pleasing or propitiating the dispenser of dainties. I need not say that he had his fill after that.

On the 24th of April spring emotions began to work in the oriole family. The first symptom was a song, so low it was scarcely heard, though the agitation of the singer, with head thrown up and tail quivering, was plainly enough seen. As it grew in volume from day to day, it proved to be totally different from the beautiful oriole strain of four or six notes, so familiar during the nesting season. It was a long-continued melody, of considerable variety, with an occasional interpolation of the common scolding "chur-r-r." After about a month of this lovely chant, the usual June carol was added, and from this time he sang the two. Both birds also treated us to the several calls we are accustomed to hear in the orchard in that perfect month.

Shortly following the beginning of the second and more familiar song, a change appeared in the relations of the pair. The male assumed the aggressive, and became rather violent in his attentions. He drove his mate around the room, and when he cornered her they indulged in what must be called a "clawing match," upon which he flew away with a loud song, as though he had won a victory. When this performance had gone on a few days, she began to show a disinclination to go home, took possession of another cage whose owner was amiable, and finally turned upon her rough wooer, as I suppose he must be named; though if I had not seen a similar style of courtship among the orchard orioles I should hesitate to give it that name. One morning she rose in her might to put an end to all this persecution, and I saw her on the war-path, pursuing him with open beak; but after fleeing a moment, he turned and flung himself upon her so savagely that both flew violently against the window, which they had not touched for months, being perfectly aware of the obstacle there. However, he changed his manners, and I heard much low, sweet talk in the cage, such as he had used to coax me for currants. She listened, but said nothing. I neglected to say that meanwhile she had replaced her scraggy feathers and grown a fine tail.

[Sidenote: FREE AT LAST.]

Another time I saw the two orioles on top of a cage, six or eight inches apart. First she stretched up and faced him, uttering a peculiar cry, a single note of rich but mournful tone, and then she bowed again and again, constantly repeating the call. He posed, turned this way and that, evidently aching to fly at her. At last she flew, and he followed to another cage, where the performance was repeated. Then came a mad chase around the room, which she ended by slipping behind a large cage.

For some days these scenes were frequent, and I began to feel myself a jailer; so one morning they were carried to the country, where sparrows would not mob them, and set at liberty to pursue their wooing, if such it were, in freedom.



INDEX.

Arkansas goldfinch, 185.

Black-throated green warbler, 26, 28, 29.

Bluebird, 173.

Blue jay, 216.

Bobolink, 30.

Brazilian cardinal, 214.

Catbird, 153, 158.

Cats, 197.

Chebec, 6, 621.

Chewink, 159, 180-184.

Chipmunk, 13.

Chipping sparrow, 86.

Clarin, 205-220, 226.

Cowbird, 22.

Crow, 6, 156, 166.

Cuckoo, 62, 64, 65.

Eave swallow, 32, 175.

English sparrow, 200.

Fox barking, 16.

Golden-winged woodpecker, 18, 49, 164.

Hermit thrush, 6, 8, 9, 10, 21, 22, 202.

House wren, 30, 49, 189.

Junco, 201.

Least flycatcher, 61, 62.

Maryland yellow-throat, 142-147.

Meadow lark, 31, 34.

Meadow lark, western, 191.

Mountain whistler, 220-226.

Night hawk, 200.

Olive-aided flycatcher, 7, 11, 14-18.

Oriole, Baltimore, 50, 150-153, 229-245.

Oriole, orchard, 227-239.

Oven-bird, 7.

Ph[oe]be, 33, 34, 174.

Red-eyed vireo, 6, 155.

Red-headed woodpecker, 35.

Red-shafted woodpecker, 189.

Red-winged blackbird, 166-173.

Robin, 29, 30.

Rose-breasted grosbeak, 18, 19.

Ruby-throated hummingbird, 103-140, 225.

Sandpiper, 6, 164.

Shrike, 29, 35-60, 66-71.

Solitaire, 205-220, 226.

Song sparrow, 30.

Summer yellow-bird, 179.

Thrasher, 147-149, 201.

Towhee bunting, 159, 180-184.

Townsend's fly-catching thrush, 226.

Tree swallows, 175.

Trembleur, 224.

Veery, 7, 27, 157.

Vesper sparrow, 174.

* * * * *

Transcriber's note:

The original book had unique headings on every other page, for this etext they have been placed as sidenotes, to take them out of the middle of paragraphs.

THE END

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