A MONTHLY SERIAL
ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY
DESIGNED TO PROMOTE
KNOWLEDGE OF BIRD-LIFE
Nature Study Publishing Company
Nature Study Publishing Co.
This is the second volume of a series intended to present, in accurate colored portraiture, and in popular and juvenile biographical text, a very considerable portion of the common birds of North America, and many of the more interesting and attractive specimens of other countries, in many respects superior to all other publications which have attempted the representation of birds, and at infinitely less expense. The appreciative reception by the public of Vol. I deserves our grateful acknowledgement. Appearing in monthly parts, it has been read and admired by thousands of people, who, through the life-like pictures presented, have made the acquaintance of many birds, and have since become enthusiastic observers of them. It has been introduced into the public schools, and is now in use as a text book by hundreds of teachers, who have expressed enthusiastic approval of the work and of its general extension. The faithfulness to nature of the pictures, in color and pose, have been commended by such ornithologists and authors as Dr. Elliott Coues, Mr. John Burroughs, Mr. J. W. Allen, editor of The Auk, Mr. Frank M. Chapman, Mr. J. W. Baskett, and others.
The general text of Birds—the biographies—has been conscientiously prepared from the best authorities by a careful observer of the feather-growing denizens of the field, the forest, and the shore, while the juvenile autobiographies have received the approval of the highest ornithological authority.
The publishers take pleasure in the announcement that the general excellence of Birds will be maintained in subsequent volumes. The subjects selected for the third and fourth volumes—many of them—will be of the rare beauty in which the great Audubon, the limner par excellence of birds, would have found “the joy of imitation.”
Nature Study Publishing Company.
Illustrated by COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.
E made several early morning excursions into the woods and fields during the month of June, and were abundantly rewarded in many ways—by beholding the gracious awakening of Nature in her various forms, kissed into renewed activity by the radiance of morn; by the sweet smelling air filled with the perfume of a multitude of opening flowers which had drunk again the dew of heaven; by the sight of flitting clouds across the bluest of skies, patching the green earth with moving shadows, and sweetest of all, by the twittering, calling, musical sounds of love and joy which came to the ear from the throats of the feathered throng. How pleasant to lie prone on one’s back on the cool grass, and gaze upward through the shady green canopy of boughs, watching the pretty manoeuvers, the joyous greetings, the lively anxieties, the graceful movements, and even the sorrowful happenings of the bird-life above us.
Listen to the variety of their tones, as manifest as the difference of form and color. What more interesting than to observe their habits, and discover their cosy nests with their beautiful eggs in the green foliage? Strange that so many persons think only of making a collection of them, robbing the nests with heartless indifference to the suffering of the parents, to say nothing of the invasion which they make of the undoubted rights the birds have from nature to protection and perpetuation.
Strictly speaking, there are few birds to which the word “singing” can properly be applied, the majority of them not having more than two or three notes, and they with little suggestion of music in them. Chanticleer crows, his spouse cackles or clucks, as may be suitable to the occasion. To what ear are these noises musical? They are rather language, and, in fact, the varying notes of every species of bird have a significance which can alone be interpreted by its peculiar habits. If careful note be made of the immediate conduct of the male or female bird, as the case may be, after each call or sound, the meaning of it becomes plain.
A hen whose chicks are scattered in search of food, upon seeing a hawk, utters a note of warning which we have all heard, and the young scamper to her for protection beneath her wings. When she has laid an egg, Cut-cut-cut-cut-ot-cut! announces it from the nest in the barn. When the chicks are hatched, her cluck, cluck, cluck, calls them from the nest in the wide world, and her chick, chick, chick, uttered quickly, selects for them the dainty which she has found, or teaches them what is proper for their diet. A good listener will detect enough intonations in her voice to constitute a considerable vocabulary, which, if imitated
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THE AMERICAN OSPREY.
Here is the picture of a remarkable bird. We know him better by the name Fish Hawk. He looks much like the Eagle in July “Birds.” The Osprey has no use for Mr. Eagle though.
You know the Bald Eagle or Sea Eagle is very fond of fish. Well, he is not a very good fisherman and from his lofty perch he watches for the Fish Hawk or Osprey. Do you ask why? Well, when he sees a Fish Hawk with his prey, he is sure to chase him and take it from him. It is for this reason that Ospreys dislike the Bald Eagle.
Their food is fish, which as a rule they catch alive.
It must be interesting to watch the Osprey at his fishing. He wings his way slowly over the water, keeping a watch for fish as they appear near the surface.
When he sees one that suits him, he hovers a moment, and then, closing his wings, falls upon the fish.
Sometimes he strikes it with such force that he disappears in the water for a moment. Soon we see him rise from the water with the prey in his claws.
He then flies to some tall tree and if he has not been discovered by his enemy, the Eagle, can have a good meal for his hard work.
Look at his claws; then think of them striking a fish as they must when he plunges from on high.
A gentleman tells of an Osprey that fastened his claws in a fish that was too large for him.
The fish drew him under and nothing more was seen of Mr. Osprey. The same gentleman tells of a fish weighing six pounds that