Birdie’s Morning Song – McGuffey’s 2nd Grade Reader

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) ©USFWS

McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers for grade levels 1-6. They were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, and are still used today in some private schools and in homeschooling.

LESSON XXXIV. (34)

dew’drops hop’ping la’zi est bends sung

pa’tience in stead’ dar’ling ought rest

slum’ber my self ‘ re ply’ miss lose

BIRDIE’S MORNING SONG.

1. Wake up, little darling, the birdies are out,
And here you are still in your nest!
The laziest birdie is hopping about;
You ought to be up with the rest.
Wake up, little darling, wake up!

Barn Swallow in Cades Cove by Dan

Barn Swallow in Cades Cove by Dan

2. Oh, see what you miss when you
slumber so long—
The dewdrops, the beautiful sky!
I can not sing half what you lose in my song;
And yet, not a word in reply.
Wake up, little darling, wake up!

Barn Swallow (juvenile)

Barn Swallow (juvenile)

3. I’ve sung myself quite out of patience with you,
While mother bends o’er your dear head;
Now birdie has done all that birdie can do:
Her kisses will wake you instead!
Wake up, little darling, wake up!
George Cooper.


“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalms 4:8 NKJV)

McGuffey’s Reader for 2nd Grade:

ABC’s of the Gospel

McGuffey’s Fifth Reader – VI – The Singing Lesson

Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus frantzii) by Ian

Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus frantzii) by Ian

The Project Gutenberg EBook of McGuffey’s Fifth Eclectic Reader by William Holmes McGuffey

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at http://www.gutenberg.net

Title: McGuffey’s Fifth Eclectic Reader Author: William Holmes McGuffey

VI. THE SINGING LESSON.

Jean Ingelow (b. 1830, d.1897) was born at Boston, Lincolnshire, England. Her fame as a poetess was at once established upon the publication of her “Poems” in 1863; since which time several other volumes have appeared. The most generally admired of her poems are “Songs of Seven” and “The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire,” She has also written several successful novels, of which, “Off the Skelligs” is the most popular. “Stories Told to a Child,” “The Cumberers,” “Poor Mat,” “Studies for Stories,” and “Mopsa, the Fairy” are also well known. Miss Ingelow resided in London, England, and spent much of her time in deeds of charity.

1. A nightingale made a mistake;
She sang a few notes out of tune:
Her heart was ready to break,
And she hid away from the moon.
She wrung her claws, poor thing,
But was far too proud to weep;
She tucked her head under her wing,
And pretended to be asleep.

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

2. A lark, arm in arm with a thrush,
Came sauntering up to the place;
The nightingale felt herself blush,
Though feathers hid her face;
She knew they had heard her song,
She felt them snicker and sneer;
She thought that life was too long,
And wished she could skip a year.

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Reinier Munguia

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Reinier Munguia

3. “O nightingale!” cooed a dove;
“O nightingale! what’s the use?
You bird of beauty and love,
Why behave like a goose?
Don’t sulk away from our sight,
Like a common, contemptible fowl;
You bird of joy and delight,
Why behave like an owl?

4. “Only think of all you have done;
Only think of all you can do;
A false note is really fun
From such a bird as you!
Lift up your proud little crest,
Open your musical beak;
Other birds have to do their best,
You need only to speak!”

Thrush Nightingale (Luscinia luscinia) ©©SergeyYeliseev

Thrush Nightingale (Luscinia luscinia) ©©SergeyYeliseev

6. The nightingale shyly took
Her head from under her wing,
And, giving the dove a look,
Straightway began to sing.
There was never a bird could pass;
The night was divinely calm;
And the people stood on the grass
To hear that wonderful psalm.

Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus mexicanus) by Michael Woodruff

Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus mexicanus) by Michael Woodruff

6. The nightingale did not care,
She only sang to the skies;
Her song ascended there,
And there she fixed her eyes.
The people that stood below
She knew but little about;
And this tale has a moral, I know,
If you’ll try and find it out.

DEFINITIONS.—2. Saun’ter-ing, wandering idly, strolling. Snick’er, to laugh in a half-suppressed manner. 4. Crest, a tuft growing on an animal’s head. 5. Di-vine’ly, in a supreme degree. 6. Mor’al, the practical lesson which anything is fitted to teach.

NOTE.—The nightingale is a small bird, about six inches in length, with a coat of dark-brown feathers above and of grayish, white beneath. Its voice is astonishingly strong and sweet, and, when wild, it usually sings throughout the evening and night from April to the middle of summer. The bird is common in Europe, but is not found in America.

“The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;” (Song of Solomon 2:12 KJV)

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
(Ephesians 5:19 KJV)

Wordless Birds

McGuffey’s Third Reader – The Little Bird’s Song

Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii) by Kent Nickell

Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii) by Kent Nickell

THE LITTLE BIRD’S SONG.

1. A little bird, with feathers brown,
Sat singing on a tree;
The song was very soft and low,
But sweet as it could be.

2. The people who were passing by,
Looked up to see the bird
That made the sweetest melody
That ever they had heard.

3. But all the bright eyes looked in vain;
Birdie was very small,
And with his modest, dark-brown coat,
He made no show at all.

4. “Why, father,” little Gracie said
“Where can the birdie be?
If I could sing a song like that,
I’d sit where folks could see.”

Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus) by Kent Nickell

Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus) by Kent Nickell

5. “I hope my little girl will learn
A lesson from the bird,
And try to do what good she can,
Not to be seen or heard.

6. “This birdie is content to sit
Unnoticed on the way,
And sweetly sing his Maker’s praise
From dawn to close of day.

“To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” (Psalms 30:12 NKJV)

7. “So live, my child, all through your life,
That, be it short or long,
Though others may forget your looks,
They’ll not forget your song.”

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) by Raymond Barlow

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) by Raymond Barlow

“All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.” Selah” (Psalms 66:4 NKJV)


Title: McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader, Author: William Holmes McGuffey
Release Date: January 23, 2005 [EBook #14766]

 

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

 

McGuffey’s Third Reader – Humming Birds

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl) by Judd Patterson

Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl) by Judd Patterson

LESSON XXI. HUMMING BIRDS.
McGuffey's Third Eclectic Reader from Gutenberg.org

McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader from Gutenberg.org

1. The most beautiful humming birds are found in the West Indies and South America. The crest of the tiny head of one of these shines like a sparkling crown of colored light.

2. The shades of color that adorn its breast, are equally brilliant. As the bird flits from one object to another, it looks more like a bright flash of sunlight than it does like a living being.

Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) by Judd Patterson

Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) by Judd Patterson

3. But, you ask, why are they called humming birds? It is because they make a soft, humming noise by the rapid motion of their wings—a motion so rapid, that as they fly you can only see that they have wings.

4. One day when walking in the woods, I found the nest of one of the smallest humming birds. It was about half the size of a very small hen’s egg, and was attached to a twig no thicker than a steel knitting needle.

Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima) WikiC

Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima) WikiC

5. It seemed to have been made of cotton fibers, and was covered with the softest bits of leaf and bark. It had two eggs in it, quite white, and each about as large as a small sugarplum.

6. When you approach the spot where one of these birds has built its nest, it is necessary to be careful. The mother bird will dart at you and try to peck your eyes. Its sharp beak may hurt your eyes most severely, and even destroy the sight.

7. The poor little thing knows no other way of defending its young, and instinct teaches it that you might carry off its nest if you could find it.

“If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young;” (Deuteronomy 22:6 NKJV)

Title: McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader, Author: William Holmes McGuffey
Release Date: January 23, 2005 [EBook #14766]

The Owl – McGuffey’s Second Grade Reader

Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)(captive) by Raymond Barlow

Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)(captive) by Raymond Barlow

McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers for grade levels 1-6. They were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, and are still used today in some private schools and in homeschooling.

LESSON LII.

oak dusk fight squeak ruf’fled

bag Fred whoo a wake’ creep’ing

THE OWL.

1. “Where did you get that owl, Harry?”

2. “Fred and I found him in the old, hollow oak.”

3. “How did you know he was there?”

4. “I’ll tell you. Fred and I were playing ‘hide and seek’ round the old barn, one night just at dusk.

5. “I was just creeping round the corner, when I heard a loud squeak, and a big bird flew up with something in his claws.

6. “I called Fred, and we watched him as he flew to the woods. Fred thought the bird was an owl, and that he had a nest in the old oak.

Barn Owls (Family Tytonidae) with catch ©Pixelbirds

7. “The next day we went to look for him, and, sure enough, he was there.”

8. “But how did you catch him? I should think he could fight like a good fellow with that sharp bill.”

9. “He can when he is wide awake; but owls can’t see very well in the daytime, and he was taking a nap.

Northern Barred Owl (Strix varia) LPZ by Dan 2014

Northern Barred Owl (Strix varia) LPZ by Dan 2014

10. “He opened his great eyes, and ruffled up his feathers, and said, “Whoo! Whoo!’ ‘Never mind who,’ Fred said, and slipped him into a bag.”

Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo) by Nikhil Devasar

Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo) by Nikhil Devasar

May kinds of owls are mentioned in the Bible. Most of them are listed as birds to not eat.

“… the short-eared owl, ;… the little owl, the fisher owl, and the screech owl; the white owl,… (Leviticus 11:16-18 NKJV)

McGuffey’s Reader for 2nd Grade:

ABC’s of the Gospel

 

McGuffey’s 6th Grade Reader – The Solitary Reaper

Asian Emerald Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx maculatus) by NikhilDevasar

Asian Emerald Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx maculatus) by NikhilDevasar

McGuffey’s 6th Grade Reader – The Solitary Reaper

William Wordsworth, 1770-1850, the founder of the “Lake School” of poets, was born at Cockermouth, Cumberland, England. From his boyhood he was a great lover and student of nature, and it is to his beautiful descriptions of landscape, largely, that he owes his fame. He was a graduate of Cambridge University, and while there commenced the study of Chaucer, Spenser, Milton, and Shakespeare, as models for his own writings. Two legacies having been bequeathed him, Wordsworth determined to make poetry the aim of his life, and in 1795 located at Racedown with his sister Dorothy, where he commenced the tragedy of “The Borderers.” A visit from Coleridge at this period made the two poets friends for life. In 1802 Wordsworth married Miss Mary Hutchinson, and in 1813 he settled at Rydal Mount, on Lake Windermere, where he passed the remainder of his life.

Wordsworth’s poetry is remarkable for its extreme simplicity of language. At first his efforts were almost universally ridiculed, and in 1819 his entire income from literary work had not amounted to 140 Pounds. In 1830 his merit began to be recognized; in 1839 Oxford University conferred upon him the degree of D. C. L.; and in 1843 he was made poet laureate.

“The Excursion” is by far the most beautiful and the most important of
Wordsworth’s productions. “Salisbury Plain,” “The White Doe of Rylstone,”
“Yarrow Revisited,” and many of his sonnets and minor poems are also much
admired.
###

The Solitary Reaper

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
Oh listen! for the vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

Thrush Nightingale (Luscinia luscinia) ©©SergeyYeliseev

Thrush Nightingale (Luscinia luscinia) ©©SergeyYeliseev

No nightingale did ever chant
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travelers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne’er was heard
In springtime from the cuckoo bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Jacobin Cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus) by Nikhil Devasar

Jacobin Cuckoo (Clamator jacobinus) by Nikhil Devasar

Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus mexicanus) by Michael Woodruff

Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush (Catharus mexicanus) by Michael Woodruff

Whate’er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o’er the sickle bending;—
I listened motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 5:19-20 KJV)

Please leave a comment about whether these are helpful and enjoyable to you, your children, or your grandchildren. Maybe, even your students.

These are coming from the Gutenberg books online:

Wordless Birds

 

The McGuffey’s Reader Posts

Bald Eagle (close up) LP Zoo by Lee

Bald Eagle (close up) LP Zoo by Lee

If you have stopped by recently, you have noticed the different articles from the McGuffey’s Readers. So far, there have been posts from the Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade and the Sixth Grade Readers.

McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers for grade levels 1-6. They were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, and are still used today in some private schools and in homeschooling.

My question is would you like more of these posted? School will be starting soon and your young readers may find these useful for reading practice. Then again, they may be so busy they do not have time to read extra stories.

These all have good tales to tell, and I have been busy finding the BIRD stories, of course. I have found many more articles that can be made from the McGuffey’s Readers. They are full of stories that have good morals to them. Here they are updated with current neat bird pictures and Scripture verses.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Five ©Indiatoday

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Five ©Indiatoday

Please leave a comment about whether these are helpful and enjoyable to you, your children, or your grandchildren. Maybe, even your students.

These are coming from the Gutenberg books online:

Yes, I have plans to do First Grade and Fifth Grade stories, if the answers are positive.

“Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose].” (Proverbs 27:17 AMP)

Wordless Birds

The Sandpiper – Fourth Grade McGuffey’s Reader

Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla) ©WikiC

Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla) ©WikiC

McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers for grade levels 1-6. They were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, and are still used today in some private schools and in homeschooling.

Here is a story of The Eagle from the Fourth Grade Reader. (From Gutenberg) Pictures are current photos.

Fourth Grade McGuffey Reader

XLIX. THE SANDPIPER. 
By CELIA THAXTER.

1. Across the lonely beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I,
And fast I gather, bit by bit,
The scattered driftwood, bleached and dry.
The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
As up and down the beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I.

Rock Sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis) by Ian

2. Above our heads the sullen clouds
Scud, black and swift, across the sky;
Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
Stand out the white lighthouses high.
Almost as far as eye can reach
I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
As fast we flit across the beach,
One little sandpiper and I.

Least Sandpiper at Fort DeSoto by Lee

Least Sandpiper at Fort DeSoto by Lee

3. I watch him as he skims along,
Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;
He starts not at my fitful song,
Nor flash of fluttering drapery.
He has no thought of any wrong,
He scans me with a fearless eye;
Stanch friends are we, well-tried and strong,
The little sandpiper and I.

Rock Sandpiper (Calidris ptilocnemis) ©USFWS

4. Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night,
When the loosed storm breaks furiously?
My driftwood fire will burn so bright!
To what warm shelter canst thou fly?
I do not fear for thee, though wroth
The tempest rushes through the sky;
For are we not God’s children both,
Thou, little sandpiper, and I?

DEFINITIONS.—l. Sand’pi-per, a bird of the snipe family, found along the seacoast. Drift’wood. wood tossed on shore by the waves. Bleached, whitened. Tide, the regular rise and fall of the ocean which occurs twice in a little over twenty-four hours. 2. Scud, fly hastily. Shrouds, Winding sheets, dresses of the dead. Close’reefed, with sails contracted as much as possible. 3. Fit’ful, irregularly variable. Draper-y, garments. Scans, looks at care-fully. Stanch, firm. 4. Wroth, angry.

“I would hasten my escape From the windy storm and tempest.” (Psalms 55:8 NKJV)

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:14 NKJV)

Title: McGuffey’s Fourth Eclectic Reader, Author: William Holmes McGuffey
Release Date: February 2, 2005 [EBook #14880], Language: English

Wordless Birds

 

McGuffey’s Third Reader – BIRD FRIENDS

Sparrow on Branch ©©Bing

Sparrows on Branch ©©Bing

LESSON XVI. BIRD FRIENDS.

1. I once knew a man who was rich in his love for birds, and in their love for him. He lived in the midst of a grove full of all kinds of trees. He had no wife or children in his home.

2. He was an old man with gray beard, blue and kind eyes, and a voice that the 49 birds loved; and this was the way he made them his friends.

3. While he was at work with a rake on his nice walks in the grove, the birds came close to him to pick up the worms in the fresh earth he dug up. At first, they kept a rod or two from him, but they soon found he was a kind man, and would not hurt them, but liked to have them near him.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) by Nikhil Devasar

4. They knew this by his kind eyes and voice, which tell what is in the heart. So, day by day their faith in his love grew in them.

5. They came close to the rake. They would hop on top of it to be first at the worm. They would turn up their eyes into his when he spoke to them, as if they said, “He is a kind man; he loves us; we need not fear him.”

6. All the birds of the grove were soon his fast friends. They were on the watch for him, and would fly down from the green tree tops to greet him with their chirp.

American Yellow Warbler (Dendroica aestiva) singing by J Fenton

American Yellow Warbler (Dendroica aestiva) singing by J Fenton

7. When he had no work on the walks to do with his rake or his hoe, he took crusts of bread with him, and dropped the crumbs on the ground. Down they would dart on his head and feet to catch them as they fell from his hand.

8 He showed me how they loved him. He put a crust of bread in his mouth, with one end of it out of his lips. Down they came like bees at a flower, and flew off with it crumb by crumb.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Five ©Indiatoday

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) Five ©Indiatoday

9. When they thought he slept too long in the morning, they would fly in and sit on the bedpost, and call him up with their chirp.

10. They went with him to church, and while he said his prayers and sang his hymns in it, they sat in the trees, and sang their praises to the same good God who cares for them as he does for us.

Indigo Bunting ©WilliamWisePhoto.com

11. Thus the love and trust of birds were a joy to him all his life long; and such love and trust no boy or girl can fail to win with the same kind heart, voice, and eye that he had.

Adapted from Elihu Burritt.

ellow Warbler singing by J Fenton

Yellow Warbler singing by J Fenton

With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD; And in the midst of many I will praise Him.
(Psalms 109:30 NASB)

Title: McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader, Author: William Holmes McGuffey
Release Date: January 23, 2005 [EBook #14766]

Fish Hawk – McGuffey’s Second Grade Reader

Eastern Osprey catching fish by Ian

GRANDFATHER’S STORY.

1. “Come and sit by my knee, Jane, and grandfather will tell you a strange story.

2. “One bright Summer day, I was in a garden in a city, with a friend. “We rested underneath a fig tree. The broad leaves were green and fresh.

3. “We looked up at the ripe, purple figs. And what do you think came down through the branches of the fig tree over our heads?”

4. “Oh, a bird, grandfather, a bird!” said little Jane, clapping her hands.

5. “No, not a bird. It was a fish; a trout, my little girl.”

6. “Not a fish, grandfather! A trout come through the branches of a tree in the city’! I am sure you must be in fun.”

7. “No, Jane, I tell you the truth. My friend and I were very much surprised to see a fish falling from a fig tree.

Eastern Osprey catching fish by Ian

8. “But we ran from under the tree, and saw a fishhawk flying, and an eagle after him.

9. “The hawk had caught the fish, and was carrying it home to his nest, when the eagle saw it and wanted it.

Osprey and Eagle Fighting ©WikiC

10. “They fought for it. The fish was dropped, and they both lost it. So much for fighting!”

Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) dropping this fish ©Flickr Andy Morffew

Western Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) dropping this fish ©Flickr Andy Morffew

***

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1 NKJV)

Both of these birds are mentioned in the Bible:


Title: McGuffey’s Second Grade Reader – Gutenberg – Author: William Holmes McGuffey

Release Date: June 29, 2005 [EBook #14668] – Language: English

Wordless Birds

McGuffey’s 6th Grade Reader – The Morning Oratorio

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) by Quy Tran

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) by Quy Tran

“He sends forth springs in the valleys; They flow between the mountains; They give drink to every beast of the field; The wild donkeys quench their thirst. Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; They lift up their voices among the branches.” (Psalms 104:10-12 NASB)

McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers for grade levels 1-6. They were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, and are still used today in some private schools and in homeschooling.

Here is a story of The Oratorio from the Sixth Grade Reader. (From Gutenberg) Pictures are current photos.

hairbird

Noun (plural hairbirds) – birdSpizella passerina, the chipping sparrow. [from Your Dictionary]

XI. THE MORNING ORATORIO. (90)

Wilson Flagg, 1806-1884, was born in Beverly, Mass. He pursued his academical course in Andover, at Phillips Academy, and entered Harvard College, but did not graduate. His chief Works are: “Studies in the Field and Forest,” “The Woods and Byways of New England,” and “The Birds and Seasons of New England.”

Nature, for the delight of waking eyes, has arrayed the morning heavens in the loveliest hues of beauty. Fearing to dazzle by an excess of delight, she first announces day by a faint and glimmering twilight, then sheds a purple tint over the brows of the rising morn, and infuses a transparent ruddiness throughout the atmosphere. As daylight widens, successive groups of mottled and rosy-bosomed clouds assemble on the gilded sphere, and, crowned with wreaths of fickle rainbows, spread a mirrored flush over hill, grove, and lake, and every village spire is burnished with their splendor.

At length, through crimsoned vapors, we behold the sun’s broad disk, rising with a countenance so serene that every eye may view him ere he arrays himself in his meridian brightness. Not many people who live in towns are aware of the pleasure attending a ramble near the woods and orchards at daybreak in the early part of summer. The drowsiness we feel on rising from our beds is gradually dispelled by the clear and healthful breezes of early day, and we soon experience an unusual amount of vigor and elasticity.

During the night, the stillness of all things is the circumstance that most powerfully attracts our notice, rendering us peculiarly sensitive to every accidental sound that meets the ear. In the morning, at this time of year, on the contrary, we are overpowered by the vocal and multitudinous chorus of the feathered tribe. If you would hear the commencement of this grand anthem of nature, you must rise at the very first appearance of dawn, before the twilight has formed a complete semicircle above the eastern porch of heaven.

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) by Daves BirdingPix

The first note that proceeds from the little warbling host, is the shrill chirp of the hairbird,—occasionally vocal at an hours on a warm summer night. This strain, which is a continued trilling sound, is repeated with diminishing intervals, until it becomes almost incessant. But ere the hairbird has uttered many notes, a single robin begins to warble from a neighboring orchard, soon followed by others, increasing in numbers until, by the time the eastern sky is flushed with crimson, every male, robin in the country round is singing with fervor.

It would be difficult to note the exact order in which the different birds successively begin their parts in this performance; but the bluebird, whose song is only a short, mellow warble, is heard nearly at the same time with the robin, and the song sparrow joins them soon after with his brief but finely modulated strain. The different species follow rapidly, one after another, in the chorus, until the whole welkin rings with their matin hymn of gladness.

I have often wondered that the almost simultaneous utterance of so many different notes should produce no discords, and that they should result in such complete harmony. In this multitudinous confusion of voices, no two notes are confounded, and none has sufficient duration to grate harshly with a dissimilar sound. Though each performer sings only a few strains and then makes a pause, the whole multitude succeed one another with such rapidity that we hear an uninterrupted flow of music until the broad light of day invites them to other employments.

When there is just light enough to distinguish the birds, we may observe, here and there, a single swallow perched on the roof of a barn or shed, repeating two twittering notes incessantly, with a quick turn and a hop at every note he utters. It would seem to be the design of the bird to attract the attention of his mate, and this motion seems to be made to assist her in discovering his position. As soon as the light has tempted him to fly abroad, this twittering strain is uttered more like a continued song, as he flits rapidly through the air.

Purple Martin (Progne subis) ©WikiC

But at this later moment the purple martins have commenced their more melodious chattering, so loud as to attract for a while the most of our attention. There is not a sound in nature so cheering and animating as the song of the purple martin, and none so well calculated to drive away melancholy. Though not one of the earliest voices to be heard, the chorus is perceptibly more loud and effective when this bird has united with the choir.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) eating by Jim Fenton

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) eating by Jim Fenton

When the flush of the morning has brightened into vermilion, and the place from which the sun is soon to emerge has attained a dazzling brilliancy, the robins are already less tuneful. They are now becoming busy in collecting food for their morning repast, and one by one they leave the trees, and may be seen hopping upon the tilled ground, in quest of the worms and insects that, have crept out during the night from their subterranean retreats.

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

But as the robins grow silent, the bobolinks begin their vocal revelries; and to a fanciful mind it might seem that the robins had gradually resigned their part in the performance to the bobolinks, not one of which is heard until some of the former have concluded their songs. The little hairbird still continues his almost incessant chirping, the first to begin and the last to quit the performance. Though the voice of this bird is not very sweetly modulated, it blends harmoniously with the notes of other birds, and greatly increases the charming effect of the combination.

Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) by Raymond Barlow

Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) by Raymond Barlow

It would be tedious to name all the birds that take part in this chorus; but we must not omit the pewee, with his melancholy ditty, occasionally heard like a short minor strain in an oratorio; nor the oriole, who is really one of the chief performers, and who, as his bright plumage flashes upon the sight, warbles forth a few notes so clear and mellow as to be beard above every other sound. Adding a pleasing variety to all this harmony, the lisping notes of the meadowlark, uttered in a shrill tone, and with a peculiar pensive modulation, are plainly audible, with short rests between each repetition.

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)©USFWS

Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)©USFWS

There is a little brown sparrow, resembling the hairbird, save a general tint of russet in his plumage, that may be heard distinctly among the warbling host. He is rarely seen in cultivated grounds, but frequents the wild pastures, and is the bird that warbles so sweetly at midsummer, when the whortleberries are ripe, and the fields are beautifully spangled with red lilies.

There is no confusion in the notes of his song, which consists of one syllable rapidly repeated, but increasing in rapidity and rising to a higher key towards the conclusion. He sometimes prolongs his strain, when his notes are observed to rise and fall in succession. These plaintive and expressive notes are very loud and constantly uttered, during the hour that precedes the rising of the sun. A dozen warblers of this species, singing in concert, and distributed in different parts of the field, form, perhaps, the most delightful part of the woodland oratorio to which we have listened.

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) by Quy Tran

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) by Quy Tran

At sunrise hardly a robin can be beard in the whole neighborhood, and the character of the performance has completely changed during the last half hour. The first part was more melodious and tranquilizing, the last is more brilliant and animating. The grass finches, the vireos, the wrens, and the linnets have joined their voices to the chorus, and the bobolinks are loudest in their song. But the notes of the birds in general are not so incessant as before sunrise. One by one they discontinue their lays, until at high noon the bobolink and the warbling flycatcher are almost the only vocalists to be heard in the fields.


Title: McGuffey’s Sixth Grade Eclectic Reader, Author: William Holmes McGuffey
Release Date: September 26, 2005 [EBook #16751], Language: English

Wordless Birds

What A Bird Taught – McGuffey’s Second Grade Reader

MacGillivray's Warbler

[Illustration: Bird perched on tree branch.] MacGillivray’s Warbler

LESSON XI.

twit-twee bough (bow) twit-twit top’most lock

spray mate close’ly ros’y an’swer (an’ser)

WHAT A BIRD TAUGHT.

1. Why do you come to my apple tree,
Little bird so gray?
Twit-twit, twit-twit, twit-twit-twee!
That was all he would say.

2. Why do you lock your rosy feet
So closely round the spray?
Twit-twit, twit-twit, twit-tweet!
That was all he would say.

3. Why on the topmost bough do you get,
Little bird so gray?
Twit-twit-twee! twit-twit-twit!
That was all he would say.

4. Where is your mate? come, answer me,
Little bird so gray.
Twit-twit-twit! twit-twit-twee!
That was all he would say.
Alice Cary.

***


Title: McGuffey’s Second Grade Reader – Gutenberg – Author: William Holmes McGuffey

Release Date: June 29, 2005 [EBook #14668] – Language: English

“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” (Matthew 18:5 KJV)

Wordless Birds