Pretty Is That Pretty Sings
By CAROL C. GRAIN
ACK home" is a woods which in spring and
summer serves as a vast hotel for a thousand
or more birds that apparently return to the
Tie spot year after year as old chums are wont to do.
They haunt the wild rose shrubbery, the biackbem
tangles, the thorny haw trees, the ash, the beech and
all the rest. Rabbits bound out of tufts of grass and
Miuirrels bark from many branches, but the sound that
most please the Stroller in this happy grove is the r
chestration of it dying inhabitants.
Dozens of brown thrashers reside in this special
patch of favored woodland and dispense life-giving
strains of lUprcmc melody. Long, rusty fellows they
are. almost twelve inches from the tip of the tail to the
point of the bill. They hover close to the ground and
rustic along beneath the bushes in an alarming manner
When disturbed, they scold rapidly with a sharp but
monotonous "sit" and flirt the tail so vigorously that
the action cannot be termed less than thrashing; this
habit and the hue of his plumage have earned for him
the somewhat plebeian name of brown thrasher.
However, this feathered fellow has two outstanding
characteristics that endear him to bird lovers. He
wears a sporty vest ol creamy white, thickly strewn
with arrowheads of brown. This part of his costume
in striking: unfortunately his beauty end
there. The other characteristic, the dom
inant one. i his superb song which need
only to be heard to be appreciated. He ar
ranges his notes in pairs, triplets, and fours
and makes many charming repetitions
"Lest you should think he never
The first fine careless rapture."
The most wonderful chorus that 1 ever
heard was given one pring day by these
duky residents of the grove "back home."
Between four and five o'clock of an after
noon the sun. which had remained hidden
during the preceding hours, emerged in all its
enthralling splendor like a rainbow long re
trained but at last released. From tret
stubs, boughs and low bushes the brown
thrahers joyfully greeted the luminary and
made the air vibrant with their gladness.
The whole woods was transformed, lifted
up. and freshened by that flood of liquid note
and the exquisite melody of that grand chorus.
"The thrasher's song entrances every listener." says
Xeltje Blanchan, the naturalist. "He seems rather
proud of it. for although at other times he may keep
himself well concealed among the shrubbery, when
about to sing he chooses a conspicuous perch as if t
attract attention to his truly brilliant performance."
Every morning and evening the bird bursts forth
with his marvelous melody, but I am inclined to dis
agree with sit si Blanchan on the score of his forward
ness, M experience has taught me that the thrasher
likes to get into some thick little tree or bit ol shrub
bery before beginning his repertory; thus he can see
any intruder while he himself remains m the confusing
mass of foliage. Sometimes 1 wonder if the bird knowi
that, aside from his streaked vest, he has few fine
feathers and that his song is much more winning than
Ins rusty raiment. However that may be. the person
that has the good fortune to hear him in the evening
or early morning can truthfully testify:
" Twai a song that rippled
And revelled and ran
Kver back to the note
From whence it began ;
Rising and falling
It never did stay.
Like a fountain that feeds
On itself all the day."
Not infrequently, indeed, the song of the .thrasher
is mistaken for that of its famous cousin, the mocking
bird. Though more retiring than either the mocker or
lanky old bird is here seen feeding the baby, which hat a capacious throat nlmott
larfe enough to wallow the head of its father or mother.
the catbird, the brown haunter of the underbrush scem
to me superior in the richness of his notes. The
mocker, as the name implies, is an imitator ; the catbird,
i f the same pattern, makes a good start but becomes
disgusted with himself and fizzles; the thrasher starts
well, continues ably, and ends well.
In this woods "back home" are new nests of the
brown birds beside their old ones. Thev varv in dis-
Mr. (or Mr.) Brown Thrasher hat spied
the camera. In the meantime the baby
waits for the morsel.
tance from the ground, some reaching as high as a
grown man and others no higher than a toddling babv
Where the wild roses flourish appears to be a favorite
location for the crude conglomeration ,,f twigs which
Upon examination discloses a lining of dried grass
feathers, r hair.
The female of this species is a brave little lady. As
she will not readily leave her nest the stroller can ap
pl tch within three or four feet of her, but tin moment
he attempts to pass a hand through the mac of thorny
shrubbery she flutters aside with an attention-attracting
.show of helplessness. Until she is actually flushed she
depends upon her brown dress and tawny nesl tor c n
cealment. Man, however, is a sharp-eyed creature.
What does the thrasher eat' The farm
er- of bygone days dubbed htm "tin planting
bird" because they believed the canny fel
low hung around while they planted corn and
made merry as he contemplated the coming
featt The tillers of the crops interpreted his
long as follows:
"Hurry up. hurry up! Plough it. p
it! Harrow it. harrow it! Hoe it. hoc it!
Scatter it. scatter it! Seed it. mo! i: ! Cora
it overl Rake it, rake it! Push it in. push it
in! Weed it. weed it! Pull 'em Up, pull m
up ! ( )h. leave it alone !"
The thrasher was guilty but not a- crim
inal, for during the planting period only
about three per cent of his food consists of
corn. Though occasionally indulging in fruit,
he evinces a decided preference for animal
food such as grasshoppers and caterpillars.
From the United State s Government he ha
earned a citation that he "much more than
Compensates for that portion of his diet
derived from the cult Mted crops."
This homely fellow. Mr. Brown Thl r, i like
human beings that have not been blessed with beauty
of face and figure ; if thev can't be beautiful, the must
be charming somehow. When he lings, the tx
his melody obliterates all else; gone are the gawkiness
of his form and the rusty red of his lhabby suil when
he gives a concert a concert that is as free as the air
Birds Serve the Earth
The earth could get along without Man.
but not without Birds. Man is not essential
to the earth ; birds are.
Birds are the flying squadrons of Nature,
doing police duty, now north, now south.
They follow the seasons, not for comfort,
but on duty. As summer comes, danger
comes from pests, and so the birds come. As
summer goes, danger recedes, and the birds
go back to their southern duty.
Wherever there is an abnormal outbreak
of insect life, the birds mobilize there to
check it. Flying over a country they can tell
by the foliage of the trees if they are need I
there; withered forests tell them that the
enemy has appeared in force.
Birds are the great planters of the earth:
seeded vast spaces of wilderness, and
crownfd the crests of rocky hills with trees
They are the guardians of our orchards and
grain fields. Carnivorous birds, like Eagles,
Vultures, Crows, Hawks and Herons, keep
the earth clean of decaying flesh that would
Otherwise pollute soil and water.
Whenever you look at a bird you see a
M nderful creation. It is a greater
traveler and a stronger creature compara
tively than you will ever be. To kill it is to
affront Nature. The bird has beauty, matte,
fleetness, wonderful domestic skill and devo
tion, and these hae always appealed to re
fined natures. To lower natures the eco
nomic appeal must also be made. Don't kill
birds. If the birds were entirely to disap
pear tomorrow, human life would not endure
UNLESS something is done as, sav, the prompt
passage of a Federal law the American, or bald
eagle, emblem of American liberty and ideals, will be
terminated. The Territorial legislature of Alaska.
April 30, 1(17. passed a bounty law providing for
the payment of hfty cents for each eagle destroyed
By April in. 1919, this law had resulted in the killing
oi 5,600 eagles. Not Content With confining their op ra
Mons to Alaskan territory, the bounty seekers extended
hem into the British provinces adjoining Alaska. B)
this tune, it is stated OH good authoritv. certainly one
half, perhaps more than three -quarters of the 'entire
species has alread) been sacrificed shall this destruc
lOfl i go on? F r patriotic reasons, if for no other this
vandalism should he checked, and at once. The species
has never been what one would call plentiful, and SS
timates of its number have been greatly exaggerated
Any naturalist will tell you that the hostility to this
inoffensive bird is based rather on misinformation and
ignorant prejudice than on any real harm done by it.
One hears tales of its ferocity and destructiveness to
An Appeal in Behalf of
the American Eagle
By AUDREY BENNETT
game or domestic animals, which are. for the n
part, pure fiction, for the rest, usually gross e -Hons.
Futhermore. it is the demonstrated policy
the United States Department of Agriculture to look
unfavorably upon bounty laws for the extermination I
birds of prey. A great deal is spent every year ill '
control of rodents which do a great deal of
and whose increase is favored by the destruction 01
It is a migratory bird, and the right to destroj
cannot be claimed by any state or territory. Like mosl
1 1 OUT migratory birds it should be protected by the
Federal Government, especially as the ettecl 01 N
laws for its preservation is void in the majority 01
nr states by the action of a single territoi .
The inditYerei.ee of the public to the fate of tfts
magnificent bird oi American tradition is undoubted!
due tO the lack of information concerning its threaten
extinction. This situation calls for publicity, and nir
lover-, students, our patriotic and scientific SOCietlC
should band together, and make a strong ippeJ w' 1
the aid of the publie press, for the protection and p
ervation of this noble bird the famous American. Oi
bald eagle. . ..
The eagle's appearance gives us so strong a tee mg
Oi its tell sumciciicy that we have never thottgM oi
as needing protection. Its piercing eye, its stout J"
its expression which is verv impressive in it; P.l,a
resoluteness mki ns think of it as a bird tnai i
or Bald Easlc
ol Nt H ittory .
. . i.,, I rail
to insure its own self-preservation, nut no Vrjther
permanently escape the deliberate attack of man. -we
must admit that the eagle is not a fit cmhlr inst
our nation, or we must move to protect it a
calumny and destruction.
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