Old Clothes and Old Houses – Chapter 8

Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) by Raymond Barlow

Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) by Raymond Barlow

Old Clothes and Old Houses

The Wood Peewee and Some Nesting Places.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

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CHAPTER 8. Old Clothes and Old Houses.

Listen to the story read.

“I can’t stop to talk to you any longer now, Peter Rabbit,” said Jenny Wren, “but if you will come over here bright and early to-morrow morning, while I am out to get my breakfast, I will tell you about Cresty the Flycatcher and why he wants the cast-off clothes of some of the Snake family. Perhaps I should say WHAT he wants of them instead of WHY he wants them, for why any one should want anything to do with Snakes is more then I can understand.”

With this Jenny Wren disappeared inside her house, and there was nothing for Peter to do but once more start for the dear Old Briar-patch. On his way he couldn’t resist the temptation to run over to the Green Forest, which was just beyond the Old Orchard. He just HAD to find out if there was anything new over there. Hardly had he reached it when he heard a plaintive voice crying, “Pee-wee! Pee-wee! Pee-wee!” Peter chuckled happily. “I declare, there’s Pee-wee,” he cried. “He usually is one of the last of the Flycatcher family to arrive. I didn’t expect to find him yet. I wonder what has brought him up so early.”

It didn’t take Peter long to find Pewee. He just followed the sound of that voice and presently saw Pewee fly out and make the same kind of a little circle as the other members of the family make when they are hunting flies. It ended just where it had started, on a dead twig of a tree in a shady, rather lonely part of the Green Forest. Almost at once he began to call his name in a rather sad, plaintive tone, “Pee-wee! Pee-wee! Pee-wee!” But he wasn’t sad, as Peter well knew. It was his way of expressing how happy he felt. He was a little bigger than his cousin, Chebec, but looked very much like him. There was a little notch in the end of his tail. The upper half of his bill was black, but the lower half was light. Peter could see on each wing two whitish bars, and he noticed that Pewee’s wings were longer than his tail, which wasn’t the case with Chebec. But no one could ever mistake Pewee for any of his relatives, for the simple reason that he keeps repeating his own name over and over.

Wood Pewee of Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

“Aren’t you here early?” asked Peter.

Pewee nodded. “Yes,” said he. “It has been unusually warm this spring, so I hurried a little and came up with my cousins, Scrapper and Cresty. That is something I don’t often do.”

“If you please,” Peter inquired politely, “why do folks call you Wood Pewee?”

Pewee chuckled happily. “It must be,” said he, “because I am so very fond of the Green Forest. It is so quiet and restful that I love it. Mrs. Pewee and I are very retiring. We do not like too many near neighbors.”

“You won’t mind if I come to see you once in a while, will you?” asked Peter as he prepared to start on again for the dear Old Briar-patch.

“Come as often as you like,” replied Pewee. “The oftener the better.”

Back in the Old Briar-patch Peter thought over all he had learned about the Flycatcher family, and as he recalled how they were forever catching all sorts of flying insects it suddenly struck him that they must be very useful little people in helping Old Mother Nature take care of her trees and other growing things which insects so dearly love to destroy.

But most of all Peter thought about that odd request of Cresty’s, and a dozen times that day he found himself peeping under old logs in the hope of finding a cast-off coat of Mr. Black Snake. It was such a funny thing for Cresty to ask for that Peter’s curiosity would allow him no peace, and the next morning he was up in the Old Orchard before jolly Mr. Sun had kicked his bedclothes off.

Jenny Wren was as good as her word. While she flitted and hopped about this way and that way in that fussy way of hers, getting her breakfast, she talked. Jenny couldn’t keep her tongue still if she wanted to.

“Did you find any old clothes of the Snake family?” she demanded. Then as Peter shook his head her tongue ran on without waiting for him to reply. “Cresty and his wife always insist upon having a piece of Snake skin in their nest,” said she. “Why they want it, goodness knows! But they do want it and never can seem to settle down to housekeeping unless they have it. Perhaps they think it will scare robbers away. As for me, I should have a cold chill every time I got into my nest if I had to sit on anything like that. I have to admit that Cresty and his wife are a handsome couple, and they certainly have good sense in choosing a house, more sense than any other member of their family to my way of thinking. But Snake skins! Ugh!”

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) by Raymond Barlow

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) by Raymond Barlow

“By the way, where does Cresty build?” asked Peter.

In a hole in a tree, like the rest of us sensible people,” retorted Jenny Wren promptly.

Peter looked quite as surprised as he felt. “Does Cresty make the hole?” he asked.

“Goodness gracious, no!” exclaimed Jenny Wren. “Where are your eyes, Peter? Did you ever see a Flycatcher with a bill that looked as if it could cut wood?” She didn’t wait for a reply, but rattled on. “It is a good thing for a lot of us that the Woodpecker family are so fond of new houses. Look! There is Downy the Woodpecker hard at work on a new house this very minute. That’s good. I like to see that. It means that next year there will be one more house for some one here in the Old Orchard. For myself I prefer old houses. I’ve noticed there are a number of my neighbors who feel the same way about it. There is something settled about an old house. It doesn’t attract attention the way a new one does. So long as it has got reasonably good walls, and the rain and the wind can’t get in, the older it is the better it suits me. But the Woodpeckers seem to like new houses best, which, as I said before, is a very good thing for the rest of us.”

Who is there besides you and Cresty and Bully the English Sparrow who uses these old Woodpecker houses?” asked Peter.

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) by J Fenton

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) by J Fenton

“Winsome Bluebird, stupid!” snapped Jenny Wren.

Peter grinned and looked foolish. “Of course,” said he. “I forgot all about Winsome.”

“And Skimmer the Tree Swallow,” added Jenny.

“That’s so; I ought to have remembered him,” exclaimed Peter. “I’ve noticed that he is very fond of the same house year after year. Is there anybody else?”

Again Jenny Wren nodded. “Yank-Yank the Nuthatch uses an old house, I’m told, but he usually goes up North for his nesting,” said she. “Tommy Tit the Chickadee sometimes uses an old house. Then again he and Mrs. Chickadee get fussy and make a house for themselves. Yellow Wing the flicker, who really is a Woodpecker, often uses an old house, but quite often makes a new one. Then there are Killy the Sparrow Hawk and Spooky the Screech Owl.”

Peter looked surprised. “I didn’t suppose THEY nested in holes in trees!” he exclaimed.

“They certainly do, more’s the pity!” snapped Jenny. “It would be a good thing for the rest of us if they didn’t nest at all. But they do, and an old house of Yellow Wing the Flicker suits either of them. Killy always uses one that is high up, and comes back to it year after year. Spooky isn’t particular so long as the house is big enough to be comfortable. He lives in it more or less the year around. Now I must get back to those eggs of mine. I’ve talked quite enough for one morning.”

“Oh, Jenny,” cried Peter, as a sudden thought struck him.

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ray

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ray

Jenny paused and jerked her tail impatiently. “Well, what is it now?” she demanded.

“Have you got two homes?” asked Peter.

“Goodness gracious, no!” exclaimed Jenny. “What do you suppose I want of two homes? One is all I can take care of.”

“Then why,” demanded Peter triumphantly, “does Mr. Wren work all day carrying sticks and straws into a hole in another tree? It seems to me that he has carried enough in there to build two or three nests.”

Jenny Wren’s eyes twinkled, and she laughed softly. “Mr. Wren just has to be busy about something, bless his heart,” said she. “He hasn’t a lazy feather on him. He’s building that nest to take up his time and keep out of mischief. Besides, if he fills that hollow up nobody else will take it, and you know we might want to move some time. Good-by, Peter.” With a final jerk of her tail Jenny Wren flew to the little round doorway of her house and popped inside.


Lee’s Addition:

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; (Job 12:7 NKJV)

 

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  • What is Peter Rabbit still trying to find?
  • Has he found out why it is need for yet?
  • Who is our newest arrival?
  • Is he on time or early?
  • What does Pewee’s bill look like?
  • Is tail longer or shorter than his wings?
  • Can you find and name the birds listed that use tree holes?
  • Were the birds friendly and kind in this chapter?

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 NKJV)

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; (Job 12:7 NKJV)

Links:

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Links:

Longbill the Woodcock - Burgess Bird Book ©©Thum

 

  Next Chapter (Longbill and Teeter.)

 

Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

 

  Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

  

  

 ABC’s of the Gospel

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Vol. 2, # 5 – The Vermilion Fly-Catcher (II)

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

Vermilion Flycatcher for Birds Illustrated, 1897

THE VERMILION FLY-CATCHER.

imgt

HICKETS along water courses are favorite resorts of this beautiful Fly-catcher, which may be seen only on the southern border of the United States, south through Mexico to Guatemala, where it is a common species. Mr. W. E. D. Scott notes it as a common species about Riverside, Tucson, and Florence, Arizona. Its habits are quite similar to those of other Fly-catchers, though it has not been so carefully observed as its many cousins in other parts of the country. During the nesting season, the male frequently utters a twittering song while poised in the air, in the manner of the Sparrow Hawk, and during the song it snaps its bill as if catching insects.

The Vermilion’s nest is usually placed in horizontal forks of ratana trees, and often in mesquites, not more than six feet from the ground; they are composed of small twigs and soft materials felted together, with the rims covered with lichens, and the shallow cavity lined with a few horse or cow hairs. Dr. Merrill states that they bear considerable resemblance to nests of the Wood Pewee in appearance and the manner in which they are saddled to the limb. Nests have been found, however, which lacked the exterior coating of lichens.

Three eggs are laid of a rich creamy-white with a ring of large brown and lilac blotches at the larger end.

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) Eggs ©WikiC

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) Eggs ©WikiC

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Summary:

VERMILION FLY-CATCHER.Pyocephalus rubineus mexicanus.

Range—Southern Border of the United States south through Mexico and Guatemala.

Nest—In forks of ratana trees, not more than six feet up, of small twigs and soft materials felted together, the rims covered with lichens; the cavity is shallow.

Eggs—Usually three, the ground color a rich creamy-white, with a ring of large brown and lilac blotches at the larger end.


Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Margaret Sloan

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Margaret Sloan

Lee’s Addition:

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV)

But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ “And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? (Matthew 16:2-3 NASB)

Everytime I go to pronounce “Vermilion”, an extra “L” shows up and I say “million.” You have to admit that this beautiful bird looks like a “million.” This is another of the Lord’s fantastic birds.

For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. (Psalms 96:4-7 NASB)

The Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) is a small passerine bird in the Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers Family. Most flycatchers are rather drab, but the Vermilion Flycatcher is a striking exception. It is a favourite with birders, but is not generally kept in aviculture, as the males tend to lose their vermilion colouration when in captivity.

Vermilion Flycatchers generally prefer somewhat open areas, and are found in trees or shrubs in savannah, scrub, agricultural areas, riparian woodlands, and desert as well, but usually near water. Their range includes almost all of Mexico; it extends north into the southwestern United States, and south to scattered portions of Central America, parts of northwestern and central South America, and on southwards to central Argentina. They are also found in the Galapagos Islands.

The species grows to about 5-7 inches in length, and is strongly dimorphic; males are bright red, with dark brown plumage. Females have a peach-coloured belly with a dark grey upperside, and are similar to Say’s Phoebe. They frequently wag their tails. They have a bright red cap, throat and underparts with a black on an eyeline, back, wings and tail. Immatures are similar to females with varying amounts of red on the underparts. Females have brown underparts and their undertail coverts are tinged pink.

The flycatchers feed mostly on insects such as flies, grasshoppers and beetles. These are usually taken in mid-air, after a short sally flight from a perch.

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) Female on nest ©WikiC

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) Female on nest ©WikiC

They lay 2-3 whitish eggs in a nest made of twigs, stems and roots, and lined with hair. The eggs are incubated for around two weeks by the female and the young are ready to leave the nest 15 days after hatching.

Sounds both by Andrew Spencer at xeno-canto.org

Song

Call

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Michael Woodruff

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Michael Woodruff

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Bonus:

Besides the Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus);

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Dario Sanches

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Dario Sanches

There are two more “Vermilion” birds:

Vermilion Tanager (Calochaetes coccineus) ©Nick Athanas

Vermilion Tanager (Calochaetes coccineus) ©Nick Athanas

Vermilion Tanager (Calochaetes coccineus)

237 Vermilion Cardinal (Cardinalis phoeniceus)

Vermilion Cardinal (Cardinalis phoeniceus) ©Flickr barloventomagico

Vermilion Cardinal (Cardinalis phoeniceus) ©Flickr barloventomagico

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 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

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The Lazuli Bunting

The Previous Article – The European Kingfisher

ABC’s of the Gospel

Links:

(Oops. Just realized this is a duplicate, but I added to it today. Keeping it.)

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Vol. 2, # 5 – The Vermilion Fly-Catcher

THE VERMILION FLY-CATCHER

The Vermilion Fly-catcher

From col. George F. Breninger. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE VERMILION FLY-CATCHER

imgt

HICKETS along water courses are favorite resorts of this beautiful Fly-catcher, which may be seen only on the southern border of the United States, south through Mexico to Guatemala, where it is a common species. Mr. W. E. D. Scott notes it as a common species about Riverside, Tucson, and Florence, Arizona. Its habits are quite similar to those of other Fly-catchers, though it has not been so carefully observed as its many cousins in other parts of the country. During the nesting season, the male frequently utters a twittering song while poised in the air, in the manner of the Sparrow Hawk, and during the song it snaps its bill as if catching insects.

The Vermilion’s nest is usually placed in horizontal forks of ratana trees, and often in mesquites, not more than six feet from the ground; they are composed of small twigs and soft materials felted together, with the rims covered with lichens, and the shallow cavity lined with a few horse or cow hairs. Dr. Merrill states that they bear considerable resemblance to nests of the Wood Pewee in appearance and the manner in which they are saddled to the limb. Nests have been found, however, which lacked the exterior coating of lichens.

Three eggs are laid of a rich creamy-white with a ring of large brown and lilac blotches at the larger end.


A WINTER NEST.

Pallid, wan-faced clouds
Press close to the frozen pines,
And follow the jagged lines
Of fence, that the sleet enshrouds.

Sharp in the face of the sky,
Gaunt, thin-ribbed leaves are blown;
They rise with a shuddering moan,
Then sink in the snow and die.

At the edge of the wood a vine
Still clings to the sleeping beech,
While its stiffened tendrils reach
A nest, and around it twine.

A little gray nest all alone,
With its feathery lining of snow,
Where bleak winds, piping low,
Croon a sweet minor tone.
—Nora A. Piper.

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Summary:

VERMILION FLY-CATCHER.Pyocephalus rubineus mexicanus.

Range—Southern Border of the United States south through Mexico and Guatemala.

Nest—In forks of ratana trees, not more than six feet up, of small twigs and soft materials felted together, the rims covered with lichens; the cavity is shallow.

Eggs—Usually three, the ground color a rich creamy-white, with a ring of large brown and lilac blotches at the larger end.


Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Margaret Sloan

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) by Margaret Sloan

Lee’s Addition:

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV)

The Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) is a small passerine bird in the Tyrannidae, or tyrant flycatcher family. Most flycatchers are rather drab, but the Vermilion Flycatcher is a striking exception. It is a favourite with birders, but is not generally kept in aviculture, as the males tend to lose their vermilion colouration when in captivity.

Vermilion Flycatchers generally prefer somewhat open areas, and are found in trees or shrubs in savannah, scrub, agricultural areas, riparian woodlands, and desert as well, but usually near water. Their range includes almost all of Mexico; it extends north into the southwestern United States, and south to scattered portions of Central America, parts of northwestern and central South America, and on southwards to central Argentina. They are also found in the Galapagos Islands.

The species grows to about seven inches in length, and is strongly dimorphic; males are bright red, with dark brown plumage. Females have a peach-coloured belly with a dark grey upperside, and are similar to Say’s Phoebe.

The flycatchers feed mostly on insects such as flies, grasshoppers and beetles. These are usually taken in mid-air, after a short sally flight from a perch.

They lay 2-3 whitish eggs in a nest made of twigs, stems and roots, and lined with hair. The eggs are incubated for around two weeks by the female and the young are ready to leave the nest 15 days after hatching.

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) Female on nest ©WikiC

Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) Female on nest ©WikiC

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 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 Lazuli Bunting

The Previous Article – The European Kingfisher

Sharing The Gospel

Links:

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Vol. 2, No. 4 – The Kingbird

Kingbird of Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Kingbird of Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

From col. F. M. Woodruff. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE KINGBIRD.

imgi

T is somewhat strange that there should be little unity of opinion concerning a bird as well known as is this charming fellow, who has at least one quality which we all admire—courage. We will quote a few of the opinions of well-known observers as to whether his other characteristics are admirable, and let the reader form his own conclusion.

John Burroughs says of him: “The exquisite of the family, and the braggart of the orchard, is the Kingbird, a bully that loves to strip the feathers off its more timid neighbors like the Bluebird, that feeds on the stingless bees of the hive, the drones, and earns the reputation of great boldness by teasing large hawks, while it gives a wide berth to the little ones.” Decidedly, this classifies him with the English Sparrow. But we will hear Dr. Brewer: “The name, Kingbird, is given it on the supposition that it is superior to all other birds in the reckless courage with which it will maintain an unequal warfare. My own observations lead me to the conclusion that writers have somewhat exaggerated the quarrelsome disposition of this bird. I have never, or very rarely, known it to molest or attack any other birds than those which its own instinct prompts it to drive away in self-defense, such as Hawks, Owls, Eagles, Crows, Jays, Cuckoos, and Grackles.” That Dr. Coues is a friend of the Kingbird, his language amply proves: “The Kingbird is not quarrelsome—simply very lively. He is the very picture of dash and daring in defending his home, and when he is teaching his youngsters how to fly. He is one of the best of neighbors, and a brave soldier. An officer of the guild of Sky Sweepers, also a Ground Gleaner and Tree Trapper killing robber-flies, ants, beetles, and rose-bugs. A good friend to horses and cattle, because he kills the terrible gadflies. Eats a little fruit, but chiefly wild varieties, and only now and then a bee.” If you now have any difficulty in making up your verdict, we will present the testimony of one other witness, who is, we think, an original observer, as well as a delightful writer, Bradford Torrey. He was in the country. “Almost, I could have believed myself in Eden,” he says. “But, alas, even the birds themselves were long since shut out of that garden of innocence, and as I started back toward the village a Crow went hurrying past me, with a Kingbird in hot pursuit. The latter was more fortunate than usual, or more plucky, actually alighting on the Crow’s back, and riding for some distance. I could not distinguish his motions—he was too far away for that—but I wished him joy of his victory, and grace to improve it to the full. For it is scandalous that a bird of the Crow’s cloth should be a thief; and so, although I reckon him among my friends—in truth, because I do so—I am always able to take it patiently when I see him chastised for his fault.”

The Kingbird is a common bird in Eastern United States, but is rare west of the Rocky Mountains. It is perhaps better known by the name of Beebird or Bee-martin. The nest is placed in an orchard or garden, or by the roadside, on a horizontal bough or in the fork at a moderate height; sometimes in the top of the tallest trees along streams. It is bulky, ragged, and loose, but well capped and brimmed, consisting of twigs, grasses, rootlets, bits of vegetable down, and wool firmly matted together, and lined with feathers, hair, etc.

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) by Margaret Sloan

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) by Margaret Sloan


THE KINGBIRD.

You think, my young friends, because I am called Kingbird I should be large and fine looking.

Well, when you come to read about Kings in your history-book you will find that size has nothing to do with Kingliness. I have heard, indeed, that some of them were very puny little fellows, in mind as well as in body.

If it is courage that makes a king then I have the right to be called Kingbird. They say I have a reckless sort of courage, because I attack birds a great deal larger than myself.

I would not call it courage to attack anything smaller than myself, would you? A big man finds it easy to shoot a little bird in the air; and a big boy does not need to be brave to kill or cripple some poor little animal that crosses his path. He only needs to be a coward to do that!

I only attack my enemies,—the Hawks, Owls, Eagles, Crows, Jays, and Cuckoos. They would destroy my young family if I did not drive them away. Mr. Crow especially is a great thief. When my mate is on her nest I keep a sharp lookout, and when one of my enemies approaches I give a shrill cry, rise in the air, and down I pounce on his back; I do this more than once, and how I make the feathers fly!

The little hawks and crows I never attack, and yet they call me a bully. Sometimes I do go for a Song-bird or a Robin, but only when they come too near my nest. People wonder why I never attack the cunning Catbird. I’ll never tell them, you may be sure!

To what family do I belong? To a large family called Flycatchers. Because some Kings are tyrants I suppose, they call me the Tyrant Flycatcher. Look for me next summer on top of a wire fence or dead twig of a tree, and watch me, every few minutes, dash into the air, seize a passing insect, and then fly back to the same perch again.

Any other names? Yes, some folks call me the Bee Bird or Bee Martin. Once in awhile I change my diet and do snap up a bee! but it is always a drone, not a honey-bee. Some ill-natured people say I choose the drones because they can’t sting, and not because they are tramp bees and will not work.

Sing? Yes, when my mate is on her nest I please her with a soft pretty song, at other times my call-note is a piercing Kyrie-K-y-rie! I live with you only in the summer. When September comes I fly away to a warmer climate.

Summary:

KINGBIRD.Tyrannus tyrannus.

Range—North America north to New Brunswick and Manitoba; rare west of the Rocky Mountains; winters in Central and South America.

Nest—Compact and symmetrical, of weed-stocks, grasses, and moss, lined with plant down, fine grasses, and rootlets, generally at the end of a branch fifteen to twenty-five feet from the ground.

Eggs—Three to five, white, spotted with umber.


Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) by Margaret Sloan Eating

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) Eating by Margaret Sloan

Lee’s Addition:

Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding. (Psalms 47:6-7 NKJV)

The Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) is a large tyrant flycatcher native to North America that are part of the Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers Family. There are 421 species assigned to that family, at present. Eleven of those are Kingbirds.

Adults are grey-black on the upperparts with light underparts; they have a long black tail with a white end and long pointed wings. They have a red patch on their crown, seldom seen. They are of average size for a kingbird, at 7.5–9 in (19–23 cm), 13–15 in (33–38 cm) across the wings and weighing 1.2-1.9 oz (33-55 g).

The call is a high-pitched, buzzing and unmusical chirp, frequently compared to an electric fence.

Eastern Kingbird call from xeno-canto.

An Eastern Kingbird's nest and eggs.

Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) Nest ©WikiC

Their breeding habitat is open areas across North America. They make a sturdy cup nest in a tree or shrub, sometimes on top of a stump or pole. These birds aggressively defend their territory, even against much larger birds.

These birds migrate in flocks to South America. There is one European record, from Ireland in October 2012.

They wait on an open perch and fly out to catch insects in flight, sometimes hovering to pick food off vegetation. They also eat berries and fruit, mainly in their wintering areas.

Some eastern kingbirds place their nests in the open while others hide nests very well. Eastern kingbirds in Southern British Columbia can nest in open fields; in shrubs over open water; high in tall trees and even in the tops of small stumps. Both male and female participate in nest defense, but females may stay on well-hidden nests longer than females with open nests who may leave nests earlier to chase away predators. Those pairs nesting in the open may be able to see predators coming earlier and rely on aggressive behavior to protect their young.

They can recognize and remove cowbird eggs from their nests. Still, blue jays, American crows, squirrels, and tree-climbing snakes are on occasion nest predators. American kestrels are probable predators of adults.

For the LORD is the great God, And the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. (Psalms 95:3-6 NKJV)

There are 12 other Kingbirds in the Tyrannus genus.

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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 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

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(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – John James Audubon

The Previous Article – The Slate-Colored Junco

 

ABC’s of the Gospel

Links:

Eastern Kingbird – All About Birds

Eastern Kingbird – All About Birds

SIMILAR BIRDS – From All About Birds

Eastern Kingbird – Wikipedia

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Vol. 2, No. 4 – The Wood Pewee

Wood Pewee of Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Wood Pewee of Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Eastern Pewee’s Twilight Song (Though this bird sings throughout the day, listen for its ballads before dawn’s light and well after sunset when this activity peaks. WhatBird) by Todd Wilson – xeno-canto

From col. Chi. Acad. Sciences. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE WOOD PEWEE.

The listening Dryads hushed the woods;
The boughs were thick, and thin and few
The golden ribbons fluttering through;
Their sun-embroidered leafy hoods
The lindens lifted to the blue;
Only a little forest-brook
The farthest hem of silence shook;
When in the hollow shades I heard—
Was it a spirit or a bird?
Or, strayed from Eden, desolate,
Some Peri calling to her mate,
Whom nevermore her mate would cheer?
“Pe-ri! Pe-ri! Peer!”


To trace it in its green retreat
I sought among the boughs in vain;
And followed still the wandering strain
So melancholy and so sweet,
The dim-eyed violets yearned with pain.


Long drawn and clear its closes were—
As if the hand of Music through
The sombre robe of Silence drew
A thread of golden gossamer;
So pure a flute the fairy blue.
Like beggared princes of the wood,
In silver rags the birches stood;
The hemlocks, lordly counselors,
Were dumb; the sturdy servitors,
In beechen jackets patched and gray,
Seemed waiting spellbound all the day
That low, entrancing note to hear—
“Pe-wee! Pe-wee! Peer!”


“Dear bird,” I said, “what is thy name?”
And thrice the mournful answer came,
So faint and far, and yet so near,
“Pe-wee! Pe-wee! Peer!”
—J. T. Trowbridge.

Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) by Raymond Barlow

Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) by Raymond Barlow

THE WOOD PEWEE.

I am called the Wood Pewee, but I don’t always stay in the woods. If you have an orchard or a nice garden, you will hear me singing there in June.

People think I am not a happy bird, because my song seems so sad. They are very much mistaken. I am just as happy as any other little fellow dressed in feathers, and can flirt and flutter with the best of them.

Pewee! Pewee! Peer!

That is my song, and my mate thinks it is beautiful. She is never far away, and always comes at my call.

Always, did I say?

No; one day, when we were busy building our nest—which is very pretty, almost as dainty as that of our neighbor the Humming Bird—she flew away to quite a distance to find some soft lining-stuff on which to lay her eggs. I had been fetching and carrying all day the lichens to put round the nest, which was hidden among the thick leaves on the bough of a tree, and was resting by the side of it.

Pewee! Pewee! Peer!

“She will hear that,” thought I, and again I sang it as loud as I could.

“I’ll bring that fellow down, too,” said a boy, who surely had never heard anything about our happy, innocent lives, and as I peered down at him, he flung a large stone, which struck the bough on which I sat. Oh, how frightened I was, and how quickly I flew away!

“He has killed my little mate,” I thought. Still, I called in my plaintive way, Pewee! Pewee! Peer!

A faint, low cry led me to the foot of a large tree, and there on the ground lay my mate, struggling to rise and fly to me.

“I think my wing is broken,” she sobbed. “Oh, that wicked, wicked boy!”

I petted her with my broad, flat beak, and after a while she was able to fly with me to our nest; but it was days and days before she was out of pain. I am sure if that boy sees my story in Birds, he will never give such an innocentlittle creature misery again.

I dress plainly, in a coat of olive and brown, and they do say my manners are stiff and abrupt.

But my voice is very sweet, and there is something about it which makes people say: “Dear little bird, sad little bird! what may your name be?”

Then I answer:

Pewee! Pewee! Peer!


THE WOOD PEWEE.

LTHOUGH one of the most abundant species, common all over the United States, the retiring habits, plainness of dress, and quiet manners of this little bird have caused it to be comparatively little known. Dr. Brewer says that if noticed at all, it is generally confounded with the common Pewee, or Phoebe bird, though a little observation is sufficient to show how very distinct they are. The Wood Pewee will sit almost motionless for many minutes in an erect position, on some dead twig or other prominent perch, patiently watching for its insect prey. While its position is apparently so fixed, however, its eyes are constantly on the alert, and close watching will show that the bird now and then turns its head as its glance follows the course of some distant insect, while anon the feathers of the crown are raised, so as to form a sort of blunt pyramidal crest. This sentinel-like attitude of the Wood Pewee is in marked contrast to the restless motion of the Phoebe, who, even if perched, keeps its tail constantly in motion, while the bird itself seldom remains long in a fixed position. The notes of the two species (see August Birds) are as different as their habits, those of the Wood Pewee being peculiarly plaintive—a sort of wailing pe-e-e-e-i, wee, the first syllable emphasized and long drawn out, and the tone, a clear, plaintive, wiry whistle, strikingly different from the cheerful, emphatic notes of the true Pewee.

The Wood Pewee, like all of its family, is an expert catcher of insects, even the most minute, and has a remarkably quick perception of their near presence, even when the light of day has nearly gone and in the deep gloom of the thick woods. Dr. Brewer describes it as taking its station at the end of a low dead limb, from which it darts out in quest of insects, sometimes for a single individual, which it seizes with a sharp snap of its bill; and, frequently meeting insect after insect, it keeps up a constant snapping sound as it passes on, and finally returns to its post to resume its watch. While watching it occasionally twitters, with a quivering movement of the head and tail, uttering a feeble call-note, sounding like pee-e.

The nest of the Wood Pewee, which is always “saddled” and securely attached to a rather stout branch, usually lichen-covered, is said to be one of the most elegant examples of bird architecture. From beneath it so much resembles a natural portion of the limb, but for its betrayal by the owner, it would seldom be discovered. It is saucer-shaped, with thick walls, and the whole exterior is a beautiful “mosaic” of green, gray, and glaucous lichen. The eggs are a rich delicate cream color, ornamented by a “wreath” round the larger end of madder-brown, purple, and lilac spots.

The Wood Pewee has many admirers, a more interesting creature to watch while feeding being hard to imagine. Often you will find him in the parks. Sitting in some quiet, shady spot, if you wait, he will soon show himself as he darts from the fence post not far away, to return to it time after time with, possibly, the very insect that has been buzzing about your face and made you miserable. His movements are so quick that even the fly cannot elude him.

And to some he is pleasant as a companion. One who loves birds once saw this Flycatcher flying in a circle and repeating breathlessly his emphatic chebec. “He sang on the wing, and I have never heard notes which seemed more expressive of happiness.”

Summary:

WOOD PEWEE.Contopus Virens.

Range—Eastern North America; breeds from Florida to Newfoundland; winters in Central America.

Nest—Compact and symmetrical, of fine grasses, rootlets and moss, thickly covered with lichens, saddled on a limb, twenty to forty feet up.

Eggs—Three or four, white, with a wreath of distinct and obscure markings about the larger end.


Western Wood Pewee (Contopus sordidulus) by Michael Woodruff

Western Wood Pewee (Contopus sordidulus) by Michael Woodruff

Western Wood Pewee by Scott Olmstead – xeno-canto

Lee’s Addition:

He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he. (Proverbs 16:20 NKJV)

Both the Eastern and Western Wood Pewee belong to the Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers Family. There are only 2 Wood Pewees and 12 Pewees in the family. If you click through their photos, you will see that they are just plain little birds, but mighty important to the Lord. Whether a Pewee or a Sparrow:

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. (Matthew 10:29 NKJV)

The Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens) is a small tyrant flycatcher from North America. This bird and the Western Wood Pewee (C. sordidulus) were formerly considered to be a single species. The two species are virtually identical in appearance, and can be distinguished most easily by their calls.

The Western Wood Pewee (Contopus sordidulus) is a small tyrant flycatcher. Adults are gray-olive on the upperparts with light underparts, washed with olive on the breast. They have two wing bars and a dark bill with yellow at the base of the lower mandible. This bird is very similar in appearance to the Eastern Wood Pewee; the two birds were formerly considered to be one species. The call of C. sordidulus is a loud buzzy peeer; the song consists of three rapid descending tsees ending with a descending peeer. (Wikipedia with editing)
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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 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 Snowflake

The Previous Article – The Warbling Vireo

 

Wordless Birds

Links:

Vol. 2, No. 3 – The Phoebe

The Phoebe or Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

The Phoebe or Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

From col. J. G. Parker. Jr. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.

THE PHOEBE

Oft the Phoebe’s cheery notes
Wake the laboring swain;
“Come, come!” say the merry throats,
“Morn is here again.”
Phoebe, Phoebe! let them sing for aye,
Calling him to labor at the break of day.
—C. C. M.

EARLY everywhere in the United States we find this cheerful bird, known as Pewee, Barn Pewee, Bridge Pewee, or Phoebe, or Pewit Flycatcher. “It is one of that charming coterie of the feathered tribe who cheer the abode of man with their presence.” There are few farmyards without a pair of Pewees, who do the farmer much service by lessening the number of flies about the barn, and by calling him to his work in the morning by their cheery notes.

Dr. Brewer says that this species is attracted both to the vicinity of water and to the neighborhood of dwellings, probably for the same reason—the abundance of insects in either situation. They are a familiar, confiding, and gentle bird, attached to localities, and returning to them year after year. Their nests are found in sheltered situations, as under a bridge, a projecting rock, in the porches of houses, etc. They have been known to build on a small shelf in the porch of a dwelling, against the wall of a railroad station, within reach of the passengers, and under a projecting window-sill, in full view of the family, entirely unmoved by the presence of the latter at meal time.

Like all the flycatcher family the Phoebe takes its food mostly flying. Mrs. Wright says that the Pewee in his primitive state haunts dim woods and running water, and that when domesticated he is a great bather, and may be seen in the half-light dashing in and out of the water as he makes trips to and from the nest. After the young are hatched both old and young disport themselves about the water until moulting time. She advises: “Do not let the Phoebes build under the hoods of your windows, for their spongy nests harbor innumerable bird-lice, and under such circumstances your fly-screens will become infested and the house invaded.”

In its native woods the nest is of moss, mud, and grass placed on a rock, near and over running water; but in the vicinity of settlements and villages it is built on a horizontal bridge beam, or on timber supporting a porch or shed. The eggs are pure white, somewhat spotted. The notes, to some ears, are Phoebe, phoebe, pewit, phoebe! to others, of somewhat duller sense of hearing, perhaps, Pewee, pewee, pewee! We confess to a fancy that the latter is the better imitation.

Summary:

PHOEBE.Sayornis phœbe. Other names: “Pewit,” “Pewee.”

Range—Eastern North America; in winter south to Mexico and Cuba.

Nest—Compactly and neatly made of mud and vegetable substances, with lining of grass and feathers.

Eggs—Four or five; pure white, sometimes sparsely spotted with reddish brown dots at larger end.


Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) by Dan

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) by Dan

Lee’s Addition:

I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

Luckily today, at least here, we can ignore this one remark; “She advises: ‘Do not let the Phoebes build under the hoods of your windows, for their spongy nests harbor innumerable bird-lice, and under such circumstances your fly-screens will become infested and the house invaded.’ ” I am sure back in 1897 that was a problem for them. Isn’t it amazing how times have changed for humans, but the birds are pretty well doing the same nest building and living as before. Not sure of the interchange between the Phoebe and the Pewee. They are in the same family, Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers, but they are different species.

There are three Phoebes:
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)
Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya)

There are 14 Pewees and Wood Pewees:

Greater Pewee (Contopus pertinax)
Dark Pewee (Contopus lugubris)
Smoke-colored Pewee (Contopus fumigatus)
Ochraceous Pewee (Contopus ochraceus)
Western Wood Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)
Eastern Wood Pewee (Contopus virens)
Tropical Pewee (Contopus cinereus)
Tumbes Pewee (Contopus punensis)
White-throated Pewee (Contopus albogularis)
Blackish Pewee (Contopus nigrescens)
Cuban Pewee (Contopus caribaeus)
Hispaniolan Pewee (Contopus hispaniolensis)
Jamaican Pewee (Contopus pallidus)
Lesser Antillean Pewee (Contopus latirostris)

The genus Sayornis is a small group of medium-sized insect-eating birds in the Tyrant flycatcher family Tyrranidae native to North and South America.

They prefer semi-open or open areas. These birds wait on a perch and then catch insects in flight, also sometimes picking them up from the ground. Their nest is an open cup sometimes placed on man-made structures.

They often slowly lower and raise their tails while perched.

This species appears remarkably big-headed, especially if it puffs up the small crest. Its plumage is gray-brown above. It has a white throat, dirty gray breast and buffish underparts which become whiter during the breeding season. Two indistinct buff bars are present on each wing. Its lack of an eye ring and wingbars, and its all dark bill distinguish it from other North American tyrant flycatchers, and it pumps its tail up and down like other phoebes when perching on a branch. The Eastern Phoebe’s call is a sharp chip, and the song, from which it gets its name, is fee-bee. (Wikipedia)
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Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for September 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 Ruby-Crowned Kinglet

The Previous Article – The House Wren

Gospel Presentation

Links:

Eastern Phoebe

Phoebe (bird) – Wikipedia

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Birds Vol 1 #5 – The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. May, 1897 No. 5

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THE SCISSOR-TAILED FLYCATCHER.

F for Birds Illustrated by Color Photography

LYCATCHERS are all interesting, and many of them are beautiful, but the Scissor-tailed species of Texas is especially attractive. They are also known as the Swallow-tailed Flycatcher, and more frequently as the “Texan Bird of Paradise.” It is a common summer resident throughout the greater portion of that state and the Indian Territory, and its breeding range extends northward into Southern Kansas. Occasionally it is found in southwestern Missouri, western Arkansas, and Illinois. It is accidental in the New England states, the Northwest Territory, and Canada. It arrives about the middle of March and returns to its winter home in Central America in October. Some of the birds remain in the vicinity of Galveston throughout the year, moving about in small flocks.

There is no denying that the gracefulness of the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher should well entitle him to the admiration of bird-lovers, and he is certain to be noticed wherever he goes. The long outer tail feathers he can open and close at will. His appearance is most pleasing to the eye when fluttering slowly from tree to tree on the rather open prairie, uttering his twittering notes, “Spee-spee.” When chasing each other in play or anger these birds have a harsh note like “Thish-thish,” not altogether agreeable. Extensive timber land is shunned by this Flycatcher, as it prefers more open country, though it is often seen in the edges of woods. It is not often seen on the ground, where its movements are rather awkward. Its amiability and social disposition are observed in the fact that several pairs will breed close to each other in perfect harmony. Birds smaller than itself are rarely molested by it, but it boldly attacks birds of prey. It is a restless bird, constantly on the lookout for passing insects, nearly all of which are caught on the wing and carried to a perch to be eaten. It eats moths, butterflies, beetles, grasshoppers, locusts, cotton worms, and, to some extent, berries. Its usefulness cannot be doubted. According to Major Bendire, these charming creatures seem to be steadily increasing in numbers, being far more common in many parts of Texas, where they are a matter of pride with the people, than they were twenty years ago.

The Scissor-tails begin housekeeping some time after their arrival from Central America, courting and love making occupying much time before the nest is built. They are not hard to please in the selection of a suitable nesting place, almost any tree standing alone being selected rather than a secluded situation. The nest is bulky, commonly resting on an exposed limb, and is made of any material that may be at hand. They nest in oaks, mesquite, honey locust, mulberry, pecan, and magnolia trees, as well as in small thorny shrubs, from five to forty feet from the ground. Rarely molested they become quite tame. Two broods are often raised. The eggs are usually five. They are hatched by the female in twelve days, while the male protects the nest from suspicious intruders. The young are fed entirely on insects and are able to leave the nest in two weeks. The eggs are clear white, with markings of brown, purple, and lavender spots and blotches.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) by Daves BirdingPix

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) by Daves BirdingPix


Lee’s Addition:

I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

The Lord has given us another beautiful bird to enjoy. The Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are in the Tyrant Flycatchers – Tyrannidae Family. Adult birds have pale gray heads and upper parts, light underparts, salmon-pink flanks, and dark gray wings. Their extremely long, forked tails, which are black on top and white on the underside, are characteristic and unmistakable. At maturity, the bird may be up to 14.5 inches (37 cm) in length. Immature birds are duller in color and have shorter tails. A lot of these birds have been reported to be more than 40 cm.

They build a cup nest in isolated trees or shrubs, sometimes using artificial sites such as telephone poles near towns. The male performs a spectacular aerial display during courtship with his long tail forks streaming out behind him. Both parents feed the young. Like other kingbirds, they are very aggressive in defending their nest. Clutches contain three to six eggs.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) ©TexasEagle

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus) ©TexasEagle

In the summer, Scissor-tailed flycatchers feed mainly on insects (grasshoppers, robber-flies, and dragonflies), which they may catch by waiting on a perch and then flying out to catch them in flight (hawking). For additional food in the winter they will also eat some berries.

Since the article was written they are increased their range. Their breeding habitat is open shrubby country with scattered trees in the south-central states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas; western portions of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri; far eastern New Mexico; and northeastern Mexico. Reported sightings record occasional stray visitors as far north as southern Canada and as far east as Florida and Georgia. They migrate through the Gulf states of Mexico to their winter non-breeding range, from southern Mexico to Panama. Pre-migratory roosts and flocks flying south may contain as many as 1,000 birds.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher - Oklahoma-quarter

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – Oklahoma-quarter

The scissor-tailed flycatcher is the state bird of Oklahoma, and is displayed in flight with tail feathers spread on the reverse of the Oklahoma Commemorative Quarter.

There are actually four Scissor-tailed named birds in the world:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Scissor-tailed Hummingbird
Scissor-tailed Kite
Scissor-tailed Nightjar

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 May, 1897 No 5 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 May, 1897 No 5 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for April 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 – Prothonotary Yellow Warblers

Previous Article – The Black-capped Chickadee

Gospel Message

Links:

Birds of Oklahoma Plus

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – All About Birds

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – Wikipedia

Tyrant Flycatchers – Tyrannidae Family

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