Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
Vol 1. March, 1897 No. 3
THE RETURN OF THE BIRDS.
“Everywhere the blue sky belongs to them and is their appointed rest, and their native country, and their own natural home which they enter unannounced as lords that are certainly expected, and yet there is a silent joy at their arrival.”
HE return of the birds to their real home in the North, where they build their nests and rear their young, is regarded by all genuine lovers of earth’s messengers of gladness and gayety as one of the most interesting and poetical of annual occurrences. The naturalist, who notes the very day of each arrival, in order that he may verify former observation or add to his material gathered for a new work, does not necessarily anticipate with greater pleasure this event than do many whose lives are brightened by the coming of the friends of their youth, who alone of early companions do not change. First of all—and ever the same delightful warbler—the Bluebird, who, in 1895, did not appear at all in many localities, though here in considerable numbers last year, betrays himself. “Did he come down out of the heaven on that bright March morning when he told us so softly and plaintively that, if we pleased, spring had come?” Sometimes he is here a little earlier, and must keep his courage up until the cold snap is over and the snow is gone. Not long after the Bluebird, comes the Robin, sometimes in March, but in most of the northern states April is the month of his arrival. With his first utterance the spell of winter is broken, and the remembrance of it afar off. Then appears the Woodpecker in great variety, the Flicker usually arriving first. He is always somebody’s old favorite, “announcing his arrival by a long, loud call, repeated from the dry branch of some tree, or a stake in the fence—a thoroughly melodious April sound.”
Few perhaps reflect upon the difficulties encountered by the birds themselves in their returning migrations. A voyager sometimes meets with many of our common birds far out at sea. Such wanderers, it is said, when suddenly overtaken by a fog, completely lose their sense of direction and become hopelessly lost. Humming birds, those delicately organized, glittering gems, are among the most common of the land species seen at sea.
The present season has been quite favorable to the protection of birds. A very competent observer says that not all of the birds migrated this winter. He recently visited a farm less than an hour’s ride from Chicago, where he found the old place, as he relates it, “chucked full of Robins, Blackbirds, and Woodpeckers,” and others unknown to him. From this he inferred they would have been in Florida had indications predicted a severe winter. The trees of the south parks of Chicago, and those in suburban places, have had, darting through their branches during the months of December and January, nearly as many members of the Woodpecker tribe as were found there during the mating season in May last.
Alas, that the Robin will visit us in diminished numbers in the approaching spring. He has not been so common for a year or two as he was formerly, for the reason that the Robins died by thousands of starvation, owing to the freezing of their food supply in Tennessee during the protracted cold weather in the winter of 1895. It is indeed sad that this good Samaritan among birds should be defenseless against the severity of Nature, the common mother of us all. Nevertheless the return of the birds, in myriads or in single pairs, will be welcomed more and more, year by year, as intelligent love and appreciation of them shall possess the popular mind.
Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)
This time of the year the birds head back north, at least in North America. Unfortunately they leave us here in Florida where some of them have been on their winter vacation. Birdwatching excitement slows down for us, but picks up for those of you who have been without your avian friends during the winter. Trust me, they are on the way. We have been out watching birds several times this last week or so and the winter birds have left or are packing their bags and folding up their lounge chairs. We are getting a few of the migrants that are passing through on their way north. They land to rest and feed, then off they go again. Keep your eyes alert, northern friends, the birds are coming.
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for March 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)
Next Article – The Black Tern
Previous Article – The Crow and the Common Crow
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