Page images

its appearance you would say it was the last bird in the world likely to find the acrid potato bug eatable. But the grosbeak likes potato bugs, and where it is an abundant species — and it is not rare in spring and summer anywhere in the Northern states — the farmer can save his Paris green money to buy gasoline for his automobile.

Everybody in the United States who has looked twice at a bird knows the flicker, although perhaps he does not know him by that name, for the flicker rejoices, or grieves, over the fact that he carries thirty-six local names round with him. He is the yarrup of the Canadians, the high-hole, the yellow hammer, the pigeon woodpecker and a score or so of other things to the people who live in between.

Of all the woodpeckers the flicker is the most abundant. It has been persecuted unmercifully in accordance with the old English tradition that the Anglo-Saxon must go out every fine day to kill something. The flicker literally shines as a mark and persons of the kind who at the first pinch of hunger would eat a baby, consider this golden-winged woodpecker a pot and a pan delicacy. Perhaps back in the centuries the flicker was wholly a woodpecker; to-day he spends as much time on the ground as he does in the tree. His specialty is ant hunting, his appetite for these industrious and frequently injurious creatures being as great as that of the tapir. An apartment house owner in Chicago, in order to increase the value of his property, bought some adjoining land and made a lawn of it. The ants appeared and raised their little hills all over the place, making it unsightly, ruining the grass and resisting all attempts to clear them out. One morning in September twelve flickers appeared, took possession of the lawn, and worked all day. They stayed three days and when they took up their journey southward there wasn't an ant left. The flicker is no halfway workman.

There are probably not more than a dozen, or at the outside a score, of American birds in whose lives the evil outweighs the good. There are nine hundred or more American species all told, and one might pick out the good-deed subjects haphazard, with little fear of going wrong. What is true of the wren, the grosbeak, the kingbird, and the flicker is true of their kindred. The familiar birds are those whose work can be easily and quickly seen and understood. The unfamiliar birds are at the same good work in the hedges of osage, privet, and wild honeysuckle. They work in retirement and without ostentation, but they work well and constantly.

The insect eaters are not only birds of service. The seed eaters, like the goldfinch and the scores of species of the native sparrow tribe, forage daily for their thistle seeds and their weed seeds and help the farmer keep down the choking pests. ...

The bird's dinner hour begins at sunrise and ends an hour after sunset. All the song birds and all the silent birds give their service to man and they ask no pay for it except to be let alone.

And the farmer who is wise will let the old shotgun rust out before he turns it on his best friends — the birds.


1. Covet, to desire eagerly; acrid, of a cutting, burning taste, harshly bitter; palatable, pleasant to the taste; tapir, a South American and East Indian animal something like a pig in shape and size; ostentation, show, putting on airs; forage, to search for, to collect; rodents, gnawers, as field mice, squirrels, etc.; preda= tory, constituted for living by preying on others; incessant, unceasing, never stopping; provender, food.

2. Put the proper vowel in each of the following blank spaces:

av - lanche
am - teur
lat – tude
jug - lar
for – ge

cem – tery mut – nous par – ntal hyg - ene rod – nts

Exercise number 2 may be used as a Bb. exercise.
Review, pp. 419-424.

THIRTY-FOURTH DAY “Oh, Uncle Jack,” said May, as she came skipping in from school. “My teacher has given me a beautiful piece to learn. Won't you teach it to




“Certainly, May, with pleasure.” So Uncle Jack and May — and Ben and Belle too — learned the piece because it was so beautiful.


The world is full of wonderful things —
I saw a flower that opened its wings
And flew from the sweet syringa tree —
It seemed a beautiful sight to me
To see a blossom up in the sky.
Mother called it a butterfly;

But it was a flower that came to life.

I saw another wonderful sight,
I saw a star that danced in the night

When all the rest of the stars were still. · * From the Pall Mall Gazette.

« PreviousContinue »