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But it is a very hard wind that can break one of these rocker boughs or blow a bird's cradle out of its place. Sometimes a crib is blown out of the elbow of a tree because the nest in the elbow is not fastened by string, as it is in a bough, but is just tucked in between the great branches.
Birds are very wise and select their boughs with great care. Lithe, yielding branches are just right for rockers; they will spring and swing so readily. Sometimes a young twig and a strong old twig, joined together, make a pair of bird rockers.
A cradle of this kind is very handy for the mother bird. The wind rocks the babies to sleep, and the leaves sing lullaby songs, while the mother blinks away on the nest or goes off in search of food.
Sometimes the mother herself sings the babies to sleep, sitting in the cradle with them. Some of the finches twitter a low, musical song over their little ones, and we have often found their nests by hearing these soft, sweet notes. One must listen, as well as look, to learn these pleasant secrets.
Some mother birds do not approve of rockers for their babies. These are very sensible mothers.
They make their cradles in the firm, still crotch of a tree, high up among the forked branches, or lower, right in the hollow trunk. Other birds choose the ground or low shrubs.
Some cradles, like those of the oriole and titmouse,
are curtained all around with beautiful lace fiber or lattice work. Other cribs have no curtains at all, except drooping leaves and waving grass.
Those of us who can afford them have eiderdown quilts on our beds. But these are rare and costly, and not many people have them. Birds do not have to think about the cost of anything. There must be downy quilts in every nursery. These crib blankets are always on
NEST OF VIREO
hand. Sometimes they are soft gray or brown in color, and sometimes they are “ crazy quilts.” It all depends upon what sort of a breast the mother bird has.
At first thought one might fear that such a quilt might be too heavy. You see the old bird flies to the nest and settles quickly down above her young, as if she took her seat right on their frail little backs. She does not take the trouble to explain to you that her feet are below and between the young birds, and that she lifts her feathers gently. She is really a very fluffy “comfortable,” soothing and warm, covering the delicate birds or the still more delicate eggs.
Some birds, like the hummers, build their cradles of material which is just the color of the branch or the rockers upon which they rest. We have seen hummers' nests on orange trees covered on the outside with the black scales which are so frequent on these trees. We have seen them on the sycamore trees all covered with the light yellow wool which grows
on the backs of the sycamore leaves. The birds do this, that the nests may look like a part of the branch on which they rest. In this way, these shrewd little creatures hope to deceive the shrikes and owls and hawks and boys. It is not easy to find a nest that looks just like everything about it.
A VOYAGE AT DUSK
From Lapland to Napland the way is not long,
From Lapland to Napland the way is not far,
For the sails are unfurled, and the breezes are fair,
From Lapland to Napland the way is not cold,
dies On the pillows of down where my little one lies.
THE STORY OF A MOCKING BIRD. PART I
FROM "Two PRISONERS," Thomas Nelson PAGE
The dingiest room in the house was the little hall cupboard at the head of the second flight of rickety stairs. It was small and dim. Its single window looked over the tops of wretched shingled houses. The only break in the view of squalor was