Here to return to
SOME TENNESSEE BIRD NOTES.
WHOEVER loves the music of English sparrows should live in Chattanooga; there is no place on the planet, it is to be hoped, where they are more numerous and pervasive. Mocking-birds are scarce. To the best of my recollection, I saw none in the city itself, and less than half a dozen in the surrounding country. A young gentleman whom I questioned upon the subject told me that they used to be common, and attributed their present increasing rarity to the persecution of boys, who find a profit in selling the young into captivity. Their place, in the city especially, is taken by catbirds; interesting, imitative, and in their own measure tuneful, but poor substitutes for mocking-birds. The fact, that is a rôle which it is impossible to think of any bird as really filling. The brown thrush, it is true, sings quite in the mocking-bird’s manner, and, to my ear, almost or quite as well; but he possesses no gift as a mimic, and furthermore, without being exactly a bird of the forest or the wilderness, is instinctively and irreclaimably a recluse. It would be hard, even among human beings, to find a nature less touched with urbanity. In the mocking-bird the elements are more happily mingled. Not gregarious, intolerant of rivalry, and, as far as creatures of his own kind are concerned, a stickler for elbowroom, — sharing with his brown relative in that respect — he is at the same time a born citizen and neighbor; as fond of gardens and dooryard trees as the thrasher is of scrublands and barberry bushes. “Man delights me,” he might say, “and woman also.” He likes to be listened to, it is pretty certain; and possibly he is dimly aware of the artistic value of appreciation, without which no artist ever did his best. Add to this endearing social quality the splendor and freedom of the mocker’s vocal performances, multifarious, sensational, incomparable, by turns entrancing and amusing, and it is easy to understand how he has come to hold a place by himself in Southern sentiment and literature. A city without mocking-birds is only half Southern, though black faces be never so thick upon the sidewalks and mules never so common in the streets. If the boys have driven the great mimic away from Chattanooga, it is time the fathers took the boys in hand. Civic pride alone ought to bring this about, to say nothing of the possible effect upon real estate values of the abundant and familiar presence of this world-renowned, town-loving, town-charming songster.
From my window, on the side of Cameron Hill, I heard daily the singing of an orchard oriole — another fine and neighborly bird — and a golden warbler, with sometimes the fidgety, fidgety of a Maryland yellow-throat. what could he be fussing about in so unlikely a quarter? An adjoining yard presented the unnatural spectacle — unnatural, but, I am sorry to say, not unprecedented — of a bird-house occupied in partnership by purple martins and English sparrows. They had finished their quarrels, if they had ever had any, — which can hardly be open to doubt, both native and foreigner being constitutionally belligerent, — and frequently sat side by side upon the ridge-pole, like the best of friends. The oftener I saw them there, the more indignant I became at the martins’ un-American behavior. Such a disgraceful surrender of the Monroe Doctrine was too much even for a man of peace. I have never called myself a Jingo, but for once it would have done me good to see the lion’s tail twisted.
With the exception of a few pairs of rough-wings on Missionary Ridge, the martins seemed to be the only swallows in the country at that time of the year; and though Progne subis, in spite of an occasional excess of good nature, is a most noble bird, it was impossible not to feel that by itself it constituted but a meagre representation of an entire family. Swallows are none too numerous in Massachusetts, in these days, and are pretty certainly growing fewer and fewer, what with the prevalence of the box-monopolizing European sparrow, and the passing of the big, old-fashioned, widely ventilated barn; for there is no member of the family, not even the sand martin, whose distribution does not depend in great degree upon human agency. Even yet, however, if a Massachusetts man will make a circuit of a few miles, he will usually meet with tree swallows, barn swallows, cliff swallows, sand martins, and purple martins. In other words, he need not go far to find all the species of eastern North America, with the single exception of the least attractive of the six; that is to say, the rough-wing. As compared with the people of eastern Tennessee, then, we are still pretty well favored. It is worth while to travel now and then, if only to find ourselves better off at home.
It might be easy to suggest plausible reasons for the general absence of swallows from a country like that about Chattanooga; but the extraordinary scarcity of hawks, while many persons — not ornithologists — would account it less of a calamity, as more of a puzzle. From Walden’s Ridge I saw a single sparrow hawk and a single red-tail; in addition to which I remember three birds whose identity I could not determine. Five hawks in the course of three weeks spent entirely out of doors, in the neighborhood of mountains covered with old forest! Taken by itself, this unexpected showing might have been ascribed to some queer combination of accidents, or to a failure of observation. In fact, I was inclined so to explain it till I noticed that Mr. Brewster had chronicled a similar state of things in what is substantially the same piece of country. Writing of western North Carolina, he says:1 “The general scarcity — one may almost say absence — of hawks in this region during the breeding season is simply unaccountable. Small birds and mammals, lizards, snakes, and other animals upon which the various species subsist are everywhere numerous, the country is wild and heavily forested, and, in short, all the necessary conditions of environment seem to be fulfilled.” Certainly, so far as my ingenuity goes, the mystery is “unaccountable;” but of course, like every other mystery, it would open quickly enough if we could find the key.
Turkey vultures were moderately numerous, — much less abundant than in Florida — and twice I saw a single black vulture, recognizable, almost as far as it could be seen (but I do not mean at a first glance, nor without due precaution against foreshortened effects), by its docked tail.
Both are invaluable in their place, — useful, graceful, admirable, and disgusting. The vultures, the martins, and the swifts were the only common aerial birds. The swifts, happily, were everywhere, — jovial souls in a sooty dress, — and had already begun nest building. I saw them continually pulling up against the twigs of a partially dead tree near my window. In them nature has developed the bird idea to its extreme, — a pair of wings, with just body enough for ballast; like a racing-yacht, built for nothing but to carry sail and avoid resistance. Their flight is a good visual music, as Emerson might have said; but I love also their quick, eager notes, like the sounds of children at play. And while it has nothing to do with Tennessee, I am prompted to mention here a bird of this species that I once saw in northern New Hampshire on the 1st of October, — an extraordinarily late date, if my experience counts for anything. With a friend I had made an ascent of Mount Lafayette (one of the days of a man’s life), and as we came near the Profile Rouse, on our return to the valley, there passed overhead a single chimney swift.
What he could be doing there at that season was more than either of us could divine. It was impossible to feel any great concern about him, however. The afternoon was nearly done, but at the rate he was traveling it seemed as if he might be in Mexico before sunrise. And easily enough he may have been, if Mr. Gätke is right in his contention that birds of very moderate powers of wing are capable of flying all night at the rate of four miles a minute!
The comparative scarcity of crows about Chattanooga, and the amazing dearth of jays in the oak forest of Walden’s Ridge, have been touched upon elsewhere. As for the jays, their absence must have been more apparent than real, I am bound to believe. It was their silent time, probably. Still another thing that I found surprising was the small number of woodpeckers. For the first four days I saw not a single representative of the family. It would be next to impossible to be so much out of doors in Massachusetts at any season of the year with a like result. During my three weeks in Tennessee I saw eight flickers, seven hairy woodpeckers, two red-heads, and two or three cockaded-woodpeckers, besides which I heard one dummy and one “Log-cock.” The last-named bird, which is big enough for even the careless to notice, seemed to be well known to the inhabitants of Walden’s Ridge, where I heard it. By what they told me, it should be fairly common, but I saw nothing of its “peck-holes.” The first of my two red-headed woodpeckers was near the base of Missionary Ridge, wasting his time in exploring pole after pole along the railway. Did he mistake them for so many dead trees still standing on their own roots? Dry and seemingly undecayed, they appeared to me to offer small encouragement to a grub-seeker; but probably the fellow knew his own business best. On questions of economic entomology, I fear I should prove but a lame adviser for the most benighted woodpecker that ever drummed. And yet, being a man, I could not help feeling that this particular redhead was behaving uncommonly like a fool. Was there ever a man who did not take it as a matter of course that he should be wiser than the “lower animals”?
Humming-birds cut but a small figure in my daily notes till I went to Walden’s Ridge. There, in the forest, they were noticeably abundant, — for humming-birds, that is to say. It seemed to be the time of pairing with them; more than once the two sexes were seen together, — an unusual occurrence, unless my observation has been unfortunate, after the nest is built, or even while it is building. One female piqued my curiosity by returning again and again to the bole of an oak, hovering before it as before a flower, and more than once clinging to its rough upright surface. At first I took it for granted that she was picking off bite of lichen with which to embellish the outer wall of her nest; but after each browsing she alighted here or there on a leafless twig. If she had been gathering nest material, she would have flown away with it, I thought.
At another time, in a tangle of shrubbery, I witnessed a most lively encounter between two humming-birds; a case of fighting or love-making, — two things confusingly alike to an outsider, — in the midst of which one of the contestants suddenly displayed so dazzling a gorget that for an instant I mistook it for a scarlet flower. I did not “wipe my eye,” not being a poet, nor even a “rash gazer,” but I admired anew the wonderful flashing jewel, now coal-black, now flaming red, with which, perhaps, the male ruby-throat blinds his long-suffering mate to all his shameful treatment of her in her season of watchfulness and motherly anxiety. Does she never remind him, I wonder, that there are some things whose price is far above rubies? I had never seen the humming-bird so much a forest-dweller as here, and gladly roof eased that I had never seen him when he looked so romantically at home and in place. The tulip-trees, in particular, might have been made no purpose for him,
As the Chattanooga neighborhood was poorly supplied with hawks, woodpeckers, and swallows, so was it likewise with sparrows, though in a less marked degree. The common species — the only resident species that I met with, but my explorations were nothing like complete — were chippers, field sparrows, and Bachman sparrows; the first interesting for their familiarity, the other two for their musical gifts. In a comparison between eastern Tennessee — as I saw it — and eastern Massachusetts, the Bachman sparrow must be set against the song sparrow, the vesper sparrow, and the swamp sparrow. It is a brilliant and charming songster, one of the very finest; but it would be too costly a bargain to buy its presence with loss of the song sparrow’s abounding versatility and high spirits, and the vesper sparrow’s unfailing sweetness, serenity, and charm.
So much for the sparrows, commonly so called. If we come to the family as a whole, the goodly family of sparrows and finches, we miss in Tennessee the rose-breasted grosbeak and the purple finch, two of our best esteemed Massachusetts birds, both for music and for beauty; to offset which we have the cardinal grosbeak, whoso whistle is exquisite, but who can hardly be ranked as a singer above either the rose-breast or the linnet, to say nothing of the two combined. At the season of my visit, — in the latter half of the vernal migration, — the preponderance of woodland birds, especially of the birds known as wood warblers, was very striking. Of ninety-three species observed, twenty-eight belonged to the warbler family. In this list it was curious to remark the absence of the Nashville and the Tennessee. The circumstance is significant of the comparative worthlessness — except from a historical point of view — of locality names as they are applied to American birds in general. Here were Maryland yellow-throats, Cape May warblers, Canada warblers, Kentucky warblers, prairie warblers, palm warblers, Acadian flycatchers, but not the two birds (the only two, as well as I remember) that bear Tennessee names.2 The absence of the Nashville was a matter of wonderment to me. Dr. Rives, I have since noticed, records it as only a rare migrant in Virginia. Yet by some route it reaches eastern New England in decidedly handsome numbers. Its congener, the blue golden-wing, surprised me in an opposite direction, — by its commonness, both in the lower country near the river and on Walden’s Ridge. This, too, is a rare bird in Virginia; so much so that Dr. Rives has never met with it there. In certain places about Chattanooga it was as common as it is locally in the towns about Boston, where, to satisfy a skeptical friend, I once counted eleven males in song in the course of a morning’s walk. That the Chattanooga birds were on their breeding grounds I had at the time no question, although I happened upon no proof of the fact.
In the same way, from the manner in which the oven-birds were scattered over Walden’s Ridge in the middle of May, I assumed, rather hastily, that they were at home for the summer. Months afterward, however, happening to notice their southern breeding limits as given by the best of authorities, — “breeding from . . . Virginia northward,” — I saw that I might easily have been in error. I wrote, therefore, to a Chattanooga gentleman, who pays attention to birds while disclaiming acquaintance with ornithology, and he replied that if the oven-bird summered in that country he did not know it. The case seemed to be going against me, but I bethought myself of Mr. Brewster’s “Ornithological Reconnaissance in Western North Carolina,” and there I read,3 “The open oak woodlands, so prevalent in this region, are in every way adapted to the requirements of the oven-bird, and throughout them it is one of the commonest and most characteristic summer birds.” “Open oak woodlands” is exactly descriptive of the Walden’s Ridge forest; and eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina being practically one, I resume my assured belief (personal and of no authority) that the birds I saw and heard were, as I first thought, natives of the mountain. Birds which are at home have, as a rule, an air of being at home; a certain manner hard to define, but felt, nevertheless, as a pretty strong kind of evidence — not proof — by a practiced observer.
Several of the more northern species of the warbler family manifested an almost exclusive preference for patches of evergreens. I have elsewhere detailed my experience in a grove of stunted pines on Lookout Mountain. A similar growth is found on Cameron Hill, — in the city of Chattanooga, — one side of which is occupied by dwellings, while the other drops to the river so precipitously as to be almost inaccessible, and is even yet, I was told, an abode of foxes. On the day after my arrival I strolled to the top of the hill toward evening, and in the pines found a few black-polls and yellow-rumps. I was in a listless mood, having already taken a fair day’s exercise under an intolerable sun, but I waked up with a start when my glass fell on a bird which at a second glance showed the red cheeks of a Cape May warbler. For a moment I was almost in poor Susan’s case, —
“I looked, and my heart was in heaven.”
Then, all too soon, as happened to poor Susan also, the vision faded. But I had seen it. Yes, here it was in Tennessee, the rarity for which, spring after spring, I bad been so many years on the watch. I had come South to find it, after all, — a bird that breeds from the northern border of New England to Hudson’s Bay!
It is of the nature of such excitements that, at the time, the subject of them has no thought of analyzing or justifying his emotions. He is better employed. Afterward, in some vacant mood, with no longer anything actively to enjoy, he may play with the past, and from an evil habit, or flattering himself with a show of intellectuality, may turn his former delight into a study; tickling his present conceit of himself by smiling at the man he used to be. How very wise he has grown, to be score! All such refinements, nevertheless, if he did but knew it, are only a poorer kind of child’s play; less spontaneous, infinitely less satisfying, and equally irrational. Ecstasy is not to be assayed by any test that the reason is competent to apply; nor does it need either defense or apology. It is its own end, and so, like beauty, its own excuse for being. That is one of the crowning felicities of this present order of things, — the world, as we call it. What dog would hint if there were no excitement in overhauling the game? And how would elderly people live through long evenings if there were no exhilaration in the odd trick?
“What good does it do?” a prudent friend and adviser used to say to me, smiling at the fervor of my first ornithological enthusiasm. He thought he was asking me a poser; but I answered gayly, “It makes me happy;” and taking things as they run, happiness is a pretty substantial “good.” So was it now with the sight of this long-desired warbler. It taught me nothing; it put nothing into my pocket; but it made me happy, — happy enough to sing and shout, though I am ashamed to say I did neither. And even a sober son of the Puritans may be glad to find himself, in some unexpected hour, almost as ineffably delighted as he used to be with a new plaything in the time when he had not yet tasted of the tree of knowledge, and knew not that the relish for playthings could ever be outgrown. I cannot affirm that I went quite as wild over my first Cape May warbler as I did over my first sled (how well the rapture of that frosty midwinter morning is remembered, — a hard crust on the snow, and the sun not yet risen!), but I canoe as near to that state of heavenly felicity — to reënter which we must become as little children — as a person of my years is ever likely to do, perhaps.
It is one precious advantage of natural history studies that they afford endless opportunities for a man to enjoy himself in this sweetly childish spirit, while at the same time his occupation is dignified by a certain scientific atmosphere and relationship. He is a collector of insects, let us say. Whether he goes to the Adirondacks for the summer, or to Florida for the winter, he is surrounded with nets and cyanide bottles. He travels with them as another travels with packs of cards. Every day’s catch is part of the game; and once in a while, as happened to me on Cameron Hill, he gets a “great hand,” and in imagination, at least, sweeps the board. Commonplace people smile at him, no doubt; but that is only amusing, and he smiles in turn. He can tell many good stories under that head. He delights to be called a “crank.” It is all because of people’s ignorance. They have no idea that he is Mr. So-and-So, the entomologist; that he is in correspondence with learned men the country over; that he once discovered a new cockroach, and has had a grasshopper named after him; that he has written a book, or is going to write one. Happy man! a contributor to the world’s knowledge, but a pleasure-seeker; a little of a savant, and very much of a child; a favorite of Heaven, whose work is play. No wonder it is commonly said that natural historians are a cheerful set.
For the supplying of rarities and surprises there are no birds like the warblers. Their pursuit is the very spice of American ornithology. The multitude of species (Mr. Chapman’s “Handbook of the Birds of Eastern North America” enumerates forty-five species and sub-species) is of itself an incalculable blessing in this respect. No single observer is likely ever to come to the end of them. They do not warble, it must be owned, and few of them have much distinction as singers, the best that I know being the black-throated green and the Kentucky; but they are elegant and varied in their plumage, with no lack of bright tints, while their extreme activity and their largely arboreal habits render their specific determination and their individual study a work most agreeably difficult and tantalizing. The ornithologist who has seen all the warblers of his own territory, say of New England, and knows them all by their notes, and has found all their nests, — well, he is himself a pretty rare specimen.
As for my experience with the family in Tennessee, I was glad, of course, to scrape acquaintance — or to renew it, as the case might be — with the more southern species, the Kentucky, the hooded, the cerulean, the blue-wing, and the yellow-throat: that was partly why I was here; but perhaps I enjoyed quite as keenly the sight of our own New England birds moving homeward; tarrying here and there for a day, but not to be tempted by all the allurements of this fine country; still pushing on, northward, and still northward, as if for them there were no place in the world but the woods where they were born. Of the southern species just named, the Kentucky was the most abundant, with the hooded not far behind. The prairie warbler seemed about as common here as in its favored Massachusetts haunts; but unless my ear was at fault its song went somewhat less trippingly: it sounded labored, — too much like the scarlet tanager’s in the way of effort and jerkiness. Unlike the golden warbler, the prairie was found not only in the lower country, but, in less numbers — on Walden’s Ridge. The two warblers that I listed every day, no matter where I went, were the chat and the black-and-white creeper.
When all is said, the Kentucky, with its beauty and its song, is the star of the family, as far as eastern Tennessee is concerned. I can hear it now, while Falling Water goes babbling past in the shade of laurel and rhododendron. As for the chat, it was omnipresent: in the valley, along the river, on Missionary Ridge, on Lookout Mountain, on Walden’s Ridge, in the national cemetery, at Chickamauga — everywhere, in short, except within the city itself. In this regard it exceeded the white-eyed vireo, and even the indigo-bird, I think. Blackpolls were seen daily up to May 18, after which they were missing altogether. The last Cape May and the last yellow-rump were noted on the 8th, the last redstart and the last palm warbler on the 11th, the last chestnut-side, magnolia, and Canadian warbler on the 12th. On the 12th, also, I saw my only Wilson’s black-cap. In my last outing, on the 18th, on Walden’s Ridge, I came upon two Blackburnians in widely separate places. At the time, I assumed them to be migrants, in spite of the date. One of them was near the hotel, on ground over which I had passed almost daily. Why they should be so behindhand was more than I could tell; but only the day before I had seen a thrush which was either a gray-cheek or an olive-back, and of course a bird of passage. “The flight of warblers did not pass entirely until May 19,” says Mr. Jeffries, writing of what he saw in western North Carolina.4
The length of time occupied by some species in accomplishing their semi-annual migration is well known to be very considerable, and is best observed — in spring, at least — at some southern point. It is admirably illustrated in Mr. Chapman’s “List of Birds seen at Gainesville, Florida”5 Tree swallows, he tells us, were abundant up to May 6, a date at which Massachusetts tree swallows have been at home for nearly or quite a month. Song sparrows were noted March 81, two or three weeks after the grand irruption of song sparrows into Massachusetts usually occurs. Bobolinks, which reach Massachusetts by the 10th of May, or earlier, were still very abundant — both sexes — May 25! Such dates are not what we should have expected, I suppose, especially in the case of a bird like the bobolink, which has no very high northern range; but they seem not to be exceptional, and are surprising only because we have not yet mastered the general subject. Nothing exists by itself, and therefore nothing can be understood by itself. One thing the most ignorant of us may see, — that the long period covered by the migratory journeys is a matter for ornithological thankfulness. In Massachusetts, for example, spring migrants begin to appear in late February or early March, and some of the most interesting members of the procession — notably the mourning warbler and the yellow-bellied flycatcher — are to be looked for after the first of June. The autumnal movement is equally protracted; so that for at least half the year — leaving winter with its arctic possibilities out of consideration — we may be on the lookout for strangers.
One of the dearest pleasures of a southern trip in winter or early spring is the very thing at which I have just now hinted, the sight of one’s home birds he strange surroundings. You leave New England in early February, for instance, and in two or three days are loitering in the sunny pinelands about St. Augustine, with the trees full of robins, bluebirds, and pine warblers, and the savanna patches full of meadow larks. Myrtle warblers are everywhere. Phœbes salute you as you walk the city streets, and flocks of chippers and vesper sparrows enliven the fields along the country roads. In a piece of hummock just outside the town you find yourself all at once surrounded by a winter colony of summer birds. Here are solitary vireos, Maryland yellow. throats, black-and-white creepers, prairie warblers, red-poll warblers, hermit thrushes, red-eyed chewinks, thrashers, catbirds, cedar. birds, and many more. White-eyed vireos are practicing in the smilax thickets, — though they have small need of practice, — and white-bellied swallows go flashing and twittering overhead. The world is good, you say, and life is a festival.
My vacation in Tennessee afforded less of contrast and surprise, for a twofold reason: it was near the end of April, instead of early in February, so that migrants had been arriving in Massachusetts for six or seven weeks before my departure; and Tennessee has nothing of the foreign, half-tropical look which Florida presents to Yankee eyes; but even so, it was no small pleasure to step suddenly into a world full of summer music. Such multitudes of birds as were singing on Missionary Ridge on that first bright forenoon! The number of species was not great, when it came to counting them, — morning and afternoon together yielded but forty-two; but the whole country seemed alive with wings. And of the forty-two species, thirty-two were such as summer in Massachusetts or pass through it to their homes beyond. Here were already (April 27) the olive-backed thrush, and northern warblers like the black-poll, the bay-breast, and the Cape May, none of which would be due in Massachusetts for at least a fortnight. Here, too, were yellow-rumps and white-throated sparrows, though the advance guard of both species had reached New England before I left home. The white-throats lingered on Walden’s Ridge on the 13th of May, a fact which surprised me more at the time than it does in the review.
One bird was seen on this first day, and not afterward. I had been into the woods north of the city, and was returning, when from the bridge over the Tennessee I caught sight of a small flock of black birds, which at first, even with the aid of my glass, I could not make out, the bridge being so high above the river and its banks. While I was watching them, however, they began to sing. They were bobolinks. Probably the species is not common in eastern Tennessee, as the name is wanting in Dr. Fox’s “List of Birds found in Roane County, Tennessee, during April, 1884, and March and April, 1885.”6
I have ventured upon some slight ornithological comparison between southeastern Tennessee and eastern Massachusetts, and, writing as a patriot (or a partisan), have seen to it that the scale inclined northward. To this end I have made as much as possible of the absence of robins, song sparrows, and vesper sparrows, and of the comparative dearth of swallows; but of course the loyal Tennessean is in no want of a ready answer. Robins, song sparrows, vesper sparrows, and swallows are not absent, except as breeding birds. He has them all in their season,7 and probably hears them sing. On the whole, then, he may fairly retort, he has considerably the advantage of us Yankees: he sees our birds on their passage, and drinks his fill of their music before we have caught the first spring notes; while we, on the other hand, see nothing of his distinctively southern birds unless we come South for the purpose. Well, they are worth the journey. Bachman’s finch alone — yes, the one dingy, shabbily clad little genius by the Chickamauga well — might almost have repaid me for my thousand miles on the rail.
It was a strange mingling of sensations that possessed me in Chattanooga. The city itself was like other cities of its age and size, with some appearance of a community that had been in haste to grow, — a trifle impatient, shall we say (impatience being one of the virtues of youth), to pull down its barns and build greater; just now a little checked in its ambition, as things looked; yet still enterprising, still fairly well satisfied with itself, with no lack of energy and bustle. As it happened, there was a stir in local politics at the time of my visit (possibly there always is), and at the street corners all patriotic citizens were exhorted to do their duty. “Vote for Tom — for sheriff,” said one placard. “Vote for Bob — ,” said another, in capitals equally importunate. In Tennessee, as everywhere else, the politician knows his trade. Familiarity, readiness with the hand, freedom with one’s own name (Tom, not Thomas, if you please), and a happy knack at remembering the names of other people, — these are some of the preëlection tests of statesmanship.
All in all, then, between politics and business, the city was “very much alive,” as the saying goes; but somehow it was not so often the people about me that occupied my thoughts as those who had been here thirty years before. Precious is the power of a first impression. Because I was newly he the country I was constantly under the feeling of its past. Hither and thither I went in the region round about, listening at every turn, spying into every bush at the stirring of a leaf or the chirp of a bird; yet I had always with me the men of ‘63, and felt always that I was on holy ground._________________________
1 The Auk, vol. ii. p. 101.
2 Both these warblers — the Nashville and the Tennessee — were named by Wilson from the places where the original specimens were shot. Concerning the Tennessee warbler he sets down the opinion that “it is most probably a native of a more southerly climate.” It would be a pity for men to cease guessing, though the shrewdest is certain to be sometimes wrong.
3 The Auk, vol. iii. p. 175.
4 The Auk, vol. vi. p. 120.
5 Ibid., Vol. v. p. 267.
6 The Auk, Vol. ill. p. 315. of sixty-two species seen by me during the last four days of April, eleven are not given by Dr. Fox, namely, Wilson’s thrush, black-poll warbler, bay-breasted warbler, Cape May warbler, black-throated blue warbler, palm warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, blue golden-winged warbler, bobolink, Acadian flycatcher, yellow-billed cuckoo.
7 See Dr. Fox’s list.