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Red-Eyed Vireo

BIRDS THAT EVERY CHILD SHOULD KNOW


BY
NELTJE BLANCHAN

Author of "Bird Neighbours," "Birds that Hunt and Are Hunted,"
"Nature's Garden," and "How to Attract the Birds."

SIXTY-THREE PAGES OF PHOTOGRAPHS FROM LIFE

NEW YORK GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS
Copyright, 1907, by Doubleday, Page & Company


PREFACE

IF ALL his lessons were as joyful as learning to know the birds in the fields and woods, there would be no ". . . whining Schoole-boy with his Satchell And shining morning face creeping like Snaile Unwillingly to schoole."

Long before his nine o'clock headache appears, lessons have begun. Nature herself is the teacher who rouses him from his bed with an outburst of song under the window and sets his sleepy brain to wondering whether it was a robin's clear, ringing call that startled him from his dreams, or the chipping sparrow's wiry tremulo, or the gushing little wren's tripping cadenza. Interest in the birds trains the ear quite unconsciously. A keen, intelligent listener is rare, even among grown-ups, but a child who 1s becoming acquainted with the birds about him hears every sound and puzzles out its meaning with a cleverness that amazes those with ears who hear not. He responds to the first alarm note from the nesting blue birds in the orchard and dashes out of the house to chase away a prowling cat. He knows from afar the distress caws of a company of crows and away he goes to be sure that their persecutor is a hawk. A faint tattoo in the woods sends him climbing up a tall straight tree with the confident expectation of finding a woodpecker's nest within the hole in its side.

While training his ears, Nature is also training every muscle in his body, sending him on long tramps across the fields in pursuit of a new bird to be identified, making him run and jump fences and wade brooks and climb trees with the zest that produces an appetite like a saw-mill's and deep sleep at the close of a happy day.

When President Roosevelt was a boy he was far from strong, and his anxious father and mother naturally encouraged every interest that he showed in out-of-door pleasures. Among these, perhaps the keenest that he had was in birds. He knew the haunts of every species within a wide radius of his home and made a large collection of eggs and skins that he presented to the Smithsonian Museum when he could no longer endure the evidences of his "youthful indiscretion," as he termed the collector's mania. But those bird hunts that had kept him happily employed in the open air all day long, helped to make him the strong, manly man he is, whose wonderful physical endurance is not the least factor of his greatness. No one abhors the killing of birds and the robbing of nests more than he; few men, not specialists, know so much about bird life.

Nature, the best teacher of us all, trains the child's eyes through study of the birds to quickness and precision, which are the first requisites for all intelligent observation in every field of knowledge. I know boys who can name a flock of ducks when they are mere specks twinkling in their rapid rush across the autumn sky; and girls who instantly recognise a goldfinch by its waving flight above the garden. The white band across the end of the kingbird's tail leads to his identification the minute some sharp young eyes perceive it. At a considerable distance, a little girl I know distinguished a white-eyed from a red-eyed vireo, not by the colour of the iris of either bird's eye, but by the yellowish white bars on the white-eyed vireo's wings which she had noticed at a glance. Another girl named the yellow-billed cuckoo, almost hidden among the shrubbery, by the white thumb-nail spots on the quills of his outspread tail where it protruded for a second from a mass of leaves. A little urchin from the New York City slums was the first to point out to his teacher, who had lived twenty years on a farm, the faint reddish streaks on the breast of a yellow warbler in Central Park. Many there are who have eyes and see not.

What does the study of birds do for the imagination, that high power possessed by humans alone, that lifts them upward step by step into new realms of discovery and joy? If the thought of a tiny hummingbird, a mere atom in the universe, migrating from New England to Central America will not stimulate a child's imagination, then all the tales of fairies and giants and beautiful princesses and wicked witches will not cause his sluggish fancy to roam. Poetry and music, too, would fail to stir it out of the deadly commonplace. Interest in bird life exercises the sympathies.

The child reflects something of the joy of the oriole whose ecstasy of song from the elm on the lawn tells the whereabouts of a dangling "cup of felt" with its deeply hidden treasures. He takes to heart the tragedy of a robin's mud-plastered nest in the apple tree that was washed apart by a storm, and experiences something akin to remorse when he takes a mother bird from the jaws of his pet cat. He listens for the return of the of the bluebirds to the starch-box home he made for them on top of the grape arbour and is strangely excited and happy that bleak day in March when they re-appear. It is nature sympathy, the growth of the heart, not nature study, the training of the brain, that does most for us.

NELTJE BLANCHAN
Mill Neck, 1906

CONTENTS 
               Robin, Bluebird, Wood Thrush, Wilson's Thrush.  
               Chickadee, Nuthatches, Titmouse, Kinglets.
               Mockingbird, Catbird, Brown Thrasher, Wrens.
               Yellow Warbler, Ovenbird,  Black , and White Creeping Warbler,
               Ovenbird, Maryland Yellow-throat,
               Yellow-breasted Chat.
              The Vireos.
              Butcherbirds, Cedar Waxwing, Tanagers.
              Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Tree Swallow, Bank Swallow.
             Purple Finch, English Sparrow, Goldfinch, Vesper Sparrow,
             White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow,
             Tree Sparrow, Chippy, Field Sparrow, Junco, Song Sparrow, Swamp
             Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Towhee, Cardinal,
             Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Snowflake.
             Bobolink, Cowbird, Red-wing, Meadowlark, Orioles, Blackbirds.
            Crow, Blue Jay and Canada Jay.
             Kingbird, Crested Flycatcher, Phoebe, Pewee, Least Flycatcher.
             Nighthawk, Whip-poor-will, Chimney Swift, Hummingbird.
             Our Five Common Woodpeckers.
             Buzzards, Hawks, and Owls.
             Bob-white and Ruffed Grouse.
            Snipe, Sandpiper, Plover, Rails and Coots, Bitterns and Herons.
            Gulls, Ducks, and Geese.


 
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Red-eyed Vireo
It is Only When he is a Baby that you Could Guess our Robin is Really a Thrush.
          (A.   R. Dugmore)  
Young Bluebirds Taking their First Walk.
          (A.   R. Dugmore)  
Baby Wood Thrushes-Notice the Family Resemblance Between them and the
      Baby Robins and Bluebirds.
          (A. R. Dugmore)  
A Wood Thrush Startled by the Click of the Camera.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
The Chickadee at her Front Door.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Young Nuthatches Learning their First Lesson in Balancing on a Horizontal Bar.
           (W. E. Carlin) 
The Noisy Contents of a Soap Box: a Family of House Wrens.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
The Marsh Wren's Round Cradle Swung Among the Rushes.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Like "Brer Rabbit" the Catbird is Usually "Bred en Bawn in a Brier Patch."
          (A.   R. Dugmore) 
Another Tragedy of the Nests: What Villain Ate the Catbird's Eggs?
          (Verne Morton)   
"Mamma!" Young Mockingbird Calling for Breakfast.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
All is Well with this Yellow Warbler's Nest.
          (G. C. Embody) 
Dinner for One: A Black-and-white Warbler Feeding her Baby.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
The Oven-bird who Calls "Teacher, Teacher, TEACHER, TEACHER, TEACHER!"
          (William P. Hopkins) 
Oven-bird in her Cleverly Hidden Nest. Some of the Leaves and Sticks Have
     Been Pulled Away From the Front to Secure her Picture.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Young Oven-birds on Day of Leaving Nest.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
A Red-eyed Vireo Baby in his Cradle.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Out of It.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Home of the Loggerhead Shrike with Plenty of Convenient Hooks for this
     Butcher Bird to Hang Meat On.
          (R. H. Beebe) 
The Cedar Waxwing.
          (W. P. Hopkins) 
The Gorgeous Scarlet Tanager, who Sang in this Tree, Was Killed by a
     Sling Shot. The Nest Was Deserted by his Terrified Mate.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Young Barn Swallows Cradled Under the Rafters.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Baby Barn Swallows Learning to Walk a Plank.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
The Most Cheerful of Bird Neighbours: Song Sparrows.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
A Baby Chippy and its Two Big Rose breasted Grosbeak Cousins  
A Chipping Sparrow Family: One Baby Satisfied, the Next Nearly So,
     the Third Still Hungry.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Cardinal.
          (C. W. Beebe) 
That Dusky Rascal the Cowbird.
          (C. W. Beebe) 
The Gorgeous Baltimore Oriole.
           (A. R. Dugmore)  
How do you Suppose these Young Baltimore Orioles Ever
     Packed themselves into this Nest?
          (A. R. Dugmore)  
Young Orchard Orioles.
          (A. R. Dugmore)  
"There Were Three Crows Sat on a Tree."
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Blue Jay on her Nest.
          (R. H. Beebe) 
Five Little Teasers Get No Dinner from Mamma Blue Jay.
          (Craig S. Thomas) 
Not Afraid of the Camera: Baby Blue Jays Out for their First Airing.
          (Craig S. Thomas) 
The Dashing Great Crested Flycatcher.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Baby Kingbirds in an Apple Tree.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Four Crested Flycatchers, who Need to Have their Hair Brushed.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Time for these Young Phoebes to Leave the Nest.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Young Phoebes on a Bridge Trestle.
          (A. R. Dugmore) 
Least Flycatchers in a Rose Bush. 
Nighthawk Resting in the Sunlight.
          (John Boyd) 
A Chimney Swift at Rest.
          (C. W. Beebe) 
Hummingbird Pumping Food into her Babies' Crops.
          (Julian Burroughs) 
Twin Ruby-throats.
          (Julian Burroughs) 
Our Little Friend Downy.
          (A. R. Dugmore)  
The Red-headed Woodpecker.
         (C. W. Beebe) 
The Sapsucker.
          (G. C. Embody)  
Baby Flickers Just Out of their Hole.
          (A. R. Dugmore)  
The Flicker.
          (C. W. Beebe) 
Two Baby Cuckoos on the Rickety Bundle of Sticks that by Courtesy we
     Call a Nest.
          (Verne Morton) 
Waiting for Mamma and Fish.
          (A. W. Anthony) 
Young Belted Kingfisher on his Favourite Snag.
          (A. W. Anthony)  
Kingfisher on the Look-out for a Dinner.
          (A. W. Anthony) 
Turkey Buzzard: One of Nature's Best Housecleaners.
          (C. W. Beebe) 
The Beautiful Little Sparrow Hawk.
          (C. W. Beebe) 
Father and Mother Barn Owls.
          (Silas A. Lottridge) 
The Heavenly Twins: Young Barn Owls.
          (Silas A. Lottridge) 
A Little Screech Owl in the Sunlight Where Only a Photographer Could Find him.
           (C. W. Beebe) 
Mrs. White on her Nest while Bob Whistles to her from the Wild Strawberry Patch.
           (A.   R. Dugmore) 
A Little Girl's Rare Pet.
          (C. F. Hodge) 
The Drummer Drumming.
          (C. F. Hodge) 
A Flock of Friendly Sandpipers and Turnstones in Wading. (Herbert K. Job) 
One Little Sandpiper.
          (R. H. Beebe) 
The Coot.
     (C. W. Beebe) 
The Little Green Heron, the Smallest and Most Abundant Member of his Tribe.
          (W. P. Hopkins) 
Half-grown Little Green Herons on Dress Parade.
          (John M. Schreck) 
Black-crowned Night Heron Rising from a Morass.
          (Alfred J. Might) 
Canada Geese.
          (Geo. D. Bartlett) 
The Feather-lined Nest of a Wild Duck. 
Sea Gulls in the Wake of a Garbage Scow Cleansing New York
     Harbour of Floating Refuse.

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