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j tt?i7/ Birds of Northwestern Winters
j , ^ Long Lis* o/ Cheery Feathered Visitors Who Do Not Fear the Cold.
- By MARY. C. JUDD, Author of "Classic Myths."
ii'THERE! That was a snowbird, a junco, as my bird-book
I calls it. -See! See the white feathers at the sides of -
its tail. Do you see the white and"Tgray breast? There it
goes with the rest of the flock, and I'm glad we're going
to have snow."
And thus I learned long ago from a schoolmate how to
recognize the juncps. Do you know them? Much wordy sym-,
pathy is sometimes expressed concerning these hardy little
winter friends of ours. But are you able to discover the^
difference between our common -snowbirds and the English
sparrow'? If not*, I would advise you by all means to learn .
this first lesson in winter ornithology and to-start out with
some school girl or boy-who knows a little of bird history, -
and make the acquaintance of this tiny bit of flesh and blood.
If meat and oil are necessities for sustaining life in this
northwest during our winters, pray how do these morsels of
bird life exist? It is almost enouglv to make one become a
vegetarian to see what resisting power to cold, whether in
the form of a temperature below zero or an icy blizzard, is
begotten in these snowbirds whose only food is the seed of
stray weeds swaying in the wintry wind.
They ask for no toboggan caps or suits, no fur-lined moc
casins. Swift of wing, almost silent of tongue they come
with the winter and. except in our northern border states,
they leave us in the spring. They build their nests and rear
their young in northern Minnesota and other regions of our
northwest. When spring days come they are with .us, but
not of us, for they do not depend upon mankind for either
food or home, and yet they enter our towns and cities and
seem to love the habitations of men. Black snowbirds, the
Canadians call them because they are so much darker than
the snow buntings, the beautiful birds that also come with
the snowflakes indeed, in some localities snowflake is their
common name. The junc'orls about the size of an English
sparrow, while the snow bunting is somewhat larger, and
nearly white with a bit of yellow like a flash of sunlight
under his gray and white .wings. -
Some one wrote once a pathetic story of a stray goldfinch
that stayed over winter and was cared for by the other birds.
You know the curving dip of the goldfinch's flight, do you?
Come with me out on the farm. Watch that flock of. grayish
yellow sparrow-like seed eaters. Clap your hands and watcfh
them as they fly. Do you see that flight like immense em
broidery scallops? There is the sure sign of the goldfinch
and flocks of them in sober dress stay in regions not too
cold each winter. In the spring the male will done his yellow.
suit with black wings and dip and sing in the air and tell his
mate of his love for her and the blossoms in the fields. But,
now when frost-flowers are out, lie is doing no courting, jus't
attending to his boarding bill. - .
- "Junco, snow bunting, goldfinch, what others do you'
know? Is the bluejay a winter bird?" ., '/-'? '-: ' -
- Bluejay? Why,, to be sure he is here in the winter. But
never make the mistake of the ignorant and call him blue
bird. You might better call him a blue crow, for that is
what he really is if you iook up his family tree. Crows and
magpies are his near relatives, and his marauding instincts
and pertinacious curiosity are not acquired traits, they are:
his by right of inheritance *'
Now it may.be that you"are the owner of a pet bluejay
which-has been Carefully reared in a cage, taught to whistle
and to sing and which shows himself in every way a lovable
member of your household. He steals no eggs, and why not?
There are none for him to steal. He slaughters and swallows
no tiny nestlings. Why not?* Because the wires of his
home cage make him a model home keeper. Put him into
your aviary where your canaries or other finches are rearing
their young, or better yet, loose him and watch the wrens,
song sparrows and bluebirds -attack him if it be springtime
and they are standing guard over their little ones. But the
bluejay in the winter time is a delight to the eye and a
welcome visitor to the farm or city home. Take a walk
through the parks if you live in town and take an ear of
popcorn with you if you can get no better kind. Watch the
blue beauties as they saucily perk their jaunty caps this
way and that as you toss the yellow grains toward their bush
or. tree. Sir Bluejay has few faults when the snow has driven
his betters south and Jack Frost fills the empty nests with
snowy balls instead of eggs. i
There's a chickadee! Hear him say his name. Bless his
little mite of a heart, and his.mighty courage. If ever you
lose hope, think of this tiny bit of living energy, braving
blizzards, nibbling icicles and continually singing his cheery
little song of chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee! No wonder he has
sung himself into children's poems and songs. He is like
a-happy, healthy .child. He is always trustful, always ready
for the.next thing whether a seed, a beetle, larvae, insects,
eggs, or a chat with his neighbor. So add this black cap
titmouse or chickadee to your list of winter birds in the
Woodpeckers? You say you have heard one to-day? Of
course you may have, but did you notice his coloring? ,
Woodpeckers-are tree-surgeons duly appointed to their
task of correcting internal troubles of tree-life by the same
. Ruler who has made your and my appointment as to life
work. Whether the*bird-surgeon wears, on his head the fa
mous red badge of courage or not, he is still looking after the
-health of the tree which he carefully and attentively investi
gates. He has a fine ear, no, not. for music I know, but for
hat deepseated and deeply hidden torment of the forest, the
tree borer. -His bill is the probe and his most wonderful
tongue the lancet which never fails to find the bprer, unless
some foolish hunter stops the surgical operation with a
leaden bullet Many a woodpecker has received this sort of
pay for his hard work,' but thanks to a wise agricultural
department at Washington, bulletins on these birds and
others helpful to the farmer have been so widely distributed
that now men are beginning to understand that this bird is
as necessary to tree life as the family doctor is to home life.
Many woodpeckers in a neighborhood mean "that there is
much food for them there, for like every other surgeon he
works to secure his living.
Some one asks, "What are the beautiful yellowish-olive
birds that come sometimes in the Coldest weather? Are they
. truly birds of Minnesota and the northwest?" -.^- o
If you learn in any way of the arrival of these"'evening
grosbeaks do not fail to watch them as they feed on the
seeds of pines and other trees, or on the ground beneath the
trees. Extreme cold drives them down from the regions
farther north wheYe heavy snows may .also cover the trees
upon the seeds of which they feed. They are comparatively
tame as if unused to houses and to mankind and unless
frightened by gunsthey wilL let you come very near them.
They are somewhat like small green parrots, with white .jand
-THE JOURNAL JUNIOR, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY '#-*igoji**-
black markings, and their large beaks proclaim them seed
eaters. It is worth freezing one's ears a wee bit to see,these-
northland beauties abroad in the intense cold of our lowest
"Have we other birds who are with us in our cold
northern winters?" is perhaps another query of the young
Watch the next woodpecker and see if a little brown
creeper does not take his hard-earned dinner from him just
as the larger bird has made the hole big enough for the *
brown creeper to thrust in his own curved beak ahead of the
straight bill of the worker. The brown creepers are with us '
all the winter and the name fits them so well you will know
them as soon as you spy the little brown fellow creeping up
and in a spiral track, around the tree trunk.
Great black crows flap and drift over the fields of snow,
'looking for frozen lambs and other meat, besides the corn
about the cattle.sheds. They.are a part of our winter coun
try landscape. - . ..-''.- _. ..
Horned larks come and go like other' emigrants and
you must hear their later spring song. The horned larks have
curious feather ornaments on their heads, not owl fears, but
vJnore like little horns. ^
Lapland longspurs visit us in the winter, then depart to
come again. Birds "bide a wee" and then flit when -*hey
please and whether it is food or fine weather they are seek
ing we do not know. Hawks of several kinds, and owls of as
many sorts, red polls, pine siskins, and the dainty nut
hatches are sure to be. ready for your opera glass or the
naked eye of the one who really wants to make their ac
quaintance and to watch their bewitching ways.
But .the beauty of King Winter's court is the Bohemian
wax wing. He carries his red seal on his wing tips and
shows by his manner his courtly breeding. For elegance of
contour, for delicacy of coloring, for daintiness in habit
and dress, the wax wings of both sexes are the peers of any
in the realm of the snow king even to the furthest north. You
may think you know them as cedar birds or cherry birds, but
those, are the Carolina wax wings.
Quails, prairie chickens, to call both of these birds by
their popular names, are here in the cold days and so are
many other kinds of the feathered tribes/ ' '
Who asks now, "Have all the birds gone to the south-
.Go out to the nearest tree and find an answer to this
blind man's question, for if you are not too near the homes
of men, it. hardly matters how cold the day if the wind is not
blowing a, gale, but what you -jvill see that feathered fly called
nuthatch searching the bark for insect eggs and larvae, and
often chickadees, kinglets and brown creepers will help to
make the usual circle of bird friends who' dine from the
same round table of a tree.
Gentle, Mouse-Colored Animals Browsing in the Alps Form
: : -
COWS WITH NAMES AND BELLS.
, " . -. a Charming Pastoral, Scene. . ,
The cows in the Alps are generally very large and fine,
of a.dark mouse color, growing white at the muzzle. Each
one has a name, and a bell around her neck, and as the
herder-must be with them all day, they are so accustomed
to being with humankind that they really seem to have hu
man intelligence. Several mornings, when staying in- the
homes of the mountaineers, I have got up at daybreak to see
them milk and care for their herds, and as I saw how gently
they handled them, and the tristful way the cows would lay
their heads against the ^keepers, as if trying in their dumb
way to express their affection, it added to my regard for the
sturdy fellows, who looked as if they might be as rough
as bears. : -
One cow, who leads the herd, has a much larger bell
than the-others, and as she starts off the rest follow along
the narrow path up the mountain side, the different bells
tinkling like chimes in the early morning air and forming
a very romantic pastoral scene.Chicago Journal. --
Bobby-Mama, am I a lad?
BobbyAnd is my new papa my stepfather?
Mama~i.es. BobbyThen am I his stepladder?
, \ -
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