BIRDS AND NATURE.
|ILLUSTRATED BY COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY.
- SONNET—OCTOBER. 97
- October comes, a woodman old 97
- THE YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER. (Empidonax flaviventris.) 98
- THE REIGN OF THE WHIPPOORWILLS. 101
- RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. (Regulus calendula.) 102
- THE CORN SONG. 104
- THE OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER. (Contopus borealis.) 107
- THE COMING OF MISS OCTOBER MONTH. 108
- THE TREE SPARROW. (Spizella monticola.) 110
- THE SPARROWS’ BEDTIME. 113
- THE SPARROW FAMILY. 114
- MR. AND MRS. SPARROW’S BLUNDER. 115
- A WINDOW-PANE REVERIE. 116
- THE BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER. (Dendroica virens.) 119
- A LIBEL ON THE BIRDS. 120
- BERYL. 122
- SONG BIRDS OF THE SOUTHWEST. 127
- THE AFRICAN LION. (Felis leo.) 131
- TROUTING BAREFOOT. 133
- THE ALASKAN MOOSE. (Alces gigas.) 134
- There’s a wonderful weaver 137
- THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A DUCK. FOUNDED UPON FACT. 138
- A LOST FLOWER. 140
- THE POLAR BEAR. (Ursus maritimus.) 143
- O, beautiful world of gold! 144
The month of carnival of all the year,
When Nature lets the wild earth go its way,
And spend whole seasons on a single day.
The spring-time holds her white and purple dear;
October, lavish, flaunts them far and near;
The summer charily her reds doth lay
Like jewels on her costliest array;
October, scornful, burns them on a bier.
The winter hoards his pearls of frost in sign
Of kingdom: whiter pearls than winter knew,
Or Empress wore, in Egypt’s ancient line,
October, feasting ’neath her dome of blue,
Drinks at a single draught, slow filtered through
Sunshiny air, as in a tingling wine!
—Helen Hunt Jackson.
October comes, a woodman old,
Fenced with tough leather from the cold;
Round swings his sturdy axe, and lo!
A fir-branch falls at every blow.
THE YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER.
The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher with the kingbird, the phoebe and the wood pewee belongs to a family of birds peculiar to America—the family Tyrannidæ or the family of tyrants. No better name could be applied to these birds when we take into consideration the enormous number of insects, of all descriptions, that they capture and devour and their method of doing it. They resemble the hawks in some respects. They are at home only where there are trees, on the outer branches of which they can perch and await a passing insect, and when one appears they “launch forth into the air; there is a sharp, suggestive click of the broad bill and, completing their aerial circle, they return to their perch and are again en garde.”
In the tropics, the land of luxuriant vegetable growth, where the number and kinds of insects seem almost innumerable, the larger number of the three hundred and fifty known species are found. In the United States we are favored with the visits, during the warmer months, of but thirty-five species of these interesting and useful birds.
As we would naturally expect of birds of prey, whether hunters of insects or of higher animal life, these birds are not usually social, even with their own kind. They are also practically songless, a characteristic which seems perfectly fitted to the habits of the Flycatchers. Some of the species have sweet-voiced calls. This is the case with the wood pewee, of