Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Chapter IX
 Back Cover

Group Title: Willy's book of birds /
Title: Willy's book of birds
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00003234/00001
 Material Information
Title: Willy's book of birds
Physical Description: 42 p., <15> leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Mackie, A.
W. C. ( Binding designer )
Geologist Office, London ( Publisher )
Publisher: The "Geologist Office"
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1860
Copyright Date: 1860
Subject: Birds -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Water birds -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Birds -- Pictorial works -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Water birds -- Pictorial works -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Hand-colored illustrations -- 1860   ( local )
W. C -- Signed bindings (Binding) -- 1860   ( rbbin )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1860   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1860
Genre: Hand-colored illustrations   ( local )
Signed bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
General Note: Illustrations are hand-colored.
Statement of Responsibility: by Mrs. Mackie.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00003234
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA4385
notis - ALH4001
oclc - 47850126
alephbibnum - 002233592

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page i
        Page i-a
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page ii
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    Chapter I
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Chapter II
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Chapter III
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 10a
        Page 10b
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Chapter IV
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 14a
        Page 14b
        Page 15
    Chapter V
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Chapter VI
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 22a
        Page 22b
        Page 23
    Chapter VII
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 26a
        Page 26b
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 30a
        Page 30b
        Page 31
    Chapter VIII
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 34a
        Page 34b
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 38a
        Page 38b
        Page 39
    Chapter IX
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 42a
        Page 42b
        Page 42c
        Page 42d
        Page 42e
        Page 42f
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Back Cover
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
Full Text


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THIS little book chiefly consists of anecdotes which I
have selected from the best sources for the amusement of
my little boy. I offer it to the world in the hope it may
afford amusement and instruction to other dear children,
and engender in them a love of the study of the works of
God, by interesting them in one of the most beautiful as
a class of all His creations.

To Messrs. Wilson and Buffon, of 391, Strand, I am
indebted for the kindness with which they have placed
the whole of their large and beautiful collection of stuffed
birds at my command for selection of those specimens
which have been figured.

A. M.

London, December, 1859.

$ 1 (15 j & (T (g.

Na-Lura,l `l Sij.


OOK, dear mamma, at the pretty bird. See
how it hops from branch to branch. Take me
on your lap, and let us watch it. There it
goes again, flying away with a feather. I
should think it would find that a very hard morsel."
c" Na g, this is the month of May, and the little
sparrow is building a nest for its young ones. It has
already made a great part with little pieces of sticks and
straws, and bits of moss. Now it is gathering feathers to
line it and to make it imce and warm for its young brood


when they are hatched. The poor eider-duck plucks off
her own feathers to line her nest; but the crows often
perch on the sheeps' backs, and pluck off their wool for
this purpose. Think how hard that poor little sparrow
must work, for you see it can carry only very small straws
in its beak at a time. How many miles it must fly in
fetching and carrying all those many tiny bits; but when
it has a nice warm nest, and hears the sweet chirping of
its young, it will be very happy and rewarded for all its
Let us now go into the garden and try if we can find a
nest in the hedge-row, for mamma would like to show
Willy one; but we must go gently and not frighten the
mother away from her eggs which she sits on so patiently
to hatch by the heat of her body. We will watch when
she goes to search for food, and then we will look at her
eggs, or her young ones. Some boys delight in robbing
nests, but this is very cruel, for when the poor mother
comes back and finds her little chicks all gone she is very
unhappy, and will flutter round and round her empty nest
so long and so sorrowfully. I have read of some poor



birds who have died rather than leave their young in time
of danger.
Once on a time a prudent little bird built her nest in
a very high tree in a beautiful quiet park, where she
thought her young would be quite safe. Soon after, how-
ever, the gentleman to whom the estate belonged gave
orders for some timber to be felled, and, unfortunately
for the poor bird, this very tree was one of those selected.
The woodmen came with their saws and axes, and began
to cut it down. Every shake of the tree the poor mother
felt, but still she would not quit her little ones. At last
with a crash down it came to the ground, and the sturdy
woodmen were touched with sorrow as they picked up the
dead mother and her progeny.
"Another poor bird built her nest in a barn, which after
a time caught fire. She could easily have flown away,
but she could not carry her young away with her, and
they were too feeble and helpless to fly themselves; so
the poor mother, rather than forsake them, was at last
enveloped by the smoke and flames, and all were burnt

B 2


S "A dear old clergyman who wrote many years ago a
sweet book about the different birds and animals in his
village tells a funny tale of a sparrow and its family going
for a ride; the bird had built its nest in a waggon, which,
when the waggoner came to take it out to go with a load
to a distance, the mother-sparrow would not forsake.
The waggoner was a good natured fellow, so he did not
disturb the bird, but took her and her brood off with him
in the waggon; and as they travelled along the mother-
sparrow every now and then flew into the road to pick up
food for her young ones and for herself; so all the
feathery party made a long journey, and returned in
safety back to the shed."



.1 (.


" DIFFERENT birds build nests in very different kinds of
places. Some in tall trees; others in hedges; others on
the bare ground; whilst some build on the banks of rivers
and ponds amongst the shady rushes. The swallows we
see flying so swiftly about our streets in search of their
insect-food, build theirs under the eaves of houses. The
great eagle builds her nest on the pinnacles or in the
crevices of the crags of steep cliffs, often hundreds of feet
high, where the best and boldest mountaineer could find
no footing. Some adventurous men, however, will some-
times get their eggs by being let down over the cliff by a
rope. Although the eagles are very strong, they will not
often attack those who thus molest their nests; but they




evince the greatest distress, flying round in circles at a
short distance off, and giving expression to their anger
by loud and harsh screams. Some birds, too, build much
more elegantly than others. The chaffinch makes an
elegant nest of lichens and grass outside, and lines it inside
with wool, feathers, and hair. Chaffinches kuild in a
variety of places, but they prefer apple- and other garden-
Besides the chaffinch there are many other sorts of
finches, all of which build elegant nests. The goldfinch
is a gay lively bird, and next to the canary is the favourite
of all cage-birds. The goldfinches are affectionate little
pets, and reward those who feed them with sweet songs.
From their friendly habits, and the readiness with which
they imitate the warblings of other birds, they are used
by bird-catchers when they spread their nets on the
ground to decoy other birds into them. They are easily
taught to perform a variety of amusing tricks, such as to
draw water in a little bucket, or to open the lids of their
"In the spring and early part of summer goldfinches





are very common visitors to our gardens and orchards,
where they build pretty round neat nests in the apple- or
A gentleman once. noticing a pair of goldfinches be-
ginning to build their nest in his garden, scattered some
bits of wool about the paths, which the birds readily
picked up : I suppose they were glad of so good a chance
of making their nest warm. The next day he threw out
some cotton. This the birds preferred to the wool; and
the day after he threw out some little lumps of fine down,
which I have told Willy was so very soft, when they for-
sook both the wool and the cotton, and finished a beautiful
large warm nest with the down.
At first the parents feed their four or five little ones
with caterpillars and insects; but as soon as the young
ones are able to fly, they rove over commons and downs
to feed on the seeds of the dandelion, the chickweed,
groundsel, and plaintain; and it is pretty to see them
climbing and clinging to the stems of these plants to pick
South their favourite food. Thus they do good service to
the farmer by eating up the seeds of those weeds that

e". I


otherwise would spread over his fields and injure his
crops of corn.
Another favourite songster is the bullfinch. In Ser-
many young bullfinches are taught to sing tunes. Many
of them will learn the airs of songs which are whistled, or
played to them on a bird-organ. When wild they are
rather shy, and seldom associate with other birds. They
are very destructive to gardens by destroying the
blossom-buds of fruit-trees, and thus bring down on
themselves the vengeance of the gardeners.
The linnet we also often see in cages; for although
not a gaily coloured bird, it sings sweetly, and is very
sociable and friendly.

S.1- L


"COME very gently Willy, here is a nest. How beautifully
it is made 1 There are the little pieces of straw, sticks,
and moss which the bird has picked up, and the young
ones will lay on those nice warm feathers. I have already
told you it is warmth that turns eggs into little birds.
This is why the parents are obliged to sit upon them and
keep them very warm with their own bodies. If you put
your hand in the nest you will feel how beautifully warm
it still is, although the mother has been away some
minutes. How strong the nest is made, and just the
right size to contain her brood. She has made her nest
with her beak and claws, and moulded it round by the
movements of her body, padding it down with her breast,
and turning round and round until she got it smooth and


even. It thus cost her a great deal of pains and trouble
to make it so nice.

It wins my admiration
To view the structure of that little work-
A bird's-nest. Mark it well within, without;
No tool had she who wrought; no knife to cut;
No nail to fix; no bodkin to insert;
No glue to join: her little beak was all.'

"You will be surprised to hear that the cuckoo, whose
merry voice, echoing from hill to hill, we so love to hear
in time of spring, does not build a nest at all. She de-
posits her egg in another bird's nest, while the owner of
it is away. Sometimes the cuckoo will break one or two
of the other bird's eggs, so that when she returns she is
not aware an intruder has been. When the young cuckoo
is hatched he is very much bigger than the other little
birds, and makes himself master of the nest by tumbling
them out; these often perish thus in the branches
of the trees, or are killed in their fall to the ground.
SThus the greedy cuckoo gets all the food the mother
brings home, and has the nice warm nest all to himself.

1-.1 1 -1

Three quarter Size.


"There are some pretty birds that one often sees running
along the muddy margins of ponds, and in the pools and
water-filled ruts of roads in search of their insect food,
incessantly moving their long tails, from which habits they
are called water-wagtails. The young cuckoo is some-
times found in possession of their nest; and it must be a
pretty sight to see one of these elegant creatures return-
ing with some insect to feed the great greedy cuckoo.
The ostrich is a foreign bird that does not build any
nest. She lays her egg, which is very large-as large as
Willy's head-in the burning sands of Egypt, a country
a great way off, and there leaves it, for the sand is there
so hot with the heat of the sun, that it alone hatches the
egg, and as soon as the young ostrich is out of the shell,
it runs about in search of its own food, and provides for
The ostrich is a very tall bird with short wings and a
long neck. It cannot fly, for its wings are too short to
carry its heavy body, but runs very swiftly, with its wings
( spread out, and men sometimes ride on its back. The
g Arabs call it the camel-bird.' It is not at all an elegant


bird, although its wings and tail are covered with those
lovely feathers which ladies wear in their hair and little
boys in their hats. Those Turkish soldiers that fight
very bravely in battle are allowed to wear the ostrich
feather in their caps as a great mark of honour.
Ostriches are considered stupid birds, and the hunters
catch them by putting on an ostrich-skin and going in
amongst them. They are thus taken very easily. It is
also said that when they are frightened they will bury
their heads in the sand; and because they cannot then
see others, they fancy no one can see them."




THE blackbird is very shy: as soon as he sees any one
approaching he will fly off to some. neighboring bush,
and remain there out of sight. His note is more of a
whistle than like the warbling of other birds; but his
voice is so flexible that he can easily imitate their songs.
Sometimes he has been heard to crow like a cock,
appearing to be much amused when the hens in the
farm-yard would answer his call. At other times he
would mimic their cackling. Sometimes also he will
imitate a few of the nightingale's melodious strains.
"Here, Willy, is the nest of a blackbird in the centre
of this bush, and the little birds are hatched. See I! they
all open their beaks for something to eat, and the mother
blackbird is gone to find food for them. They will all be


fed in their turns. You see their nest is made differently
from that of the sparrow or the chaffinch. The outside
is formed of coarse roots and strong bents of grass plas-
tered over and intermixed with dirt; and the inside has
only finer bents for the young ones to lay upon instead of
the soft feathers.
"Once a gentleman who loved the study of birds
watched a nest the whole day long, to observe how many
times the parents would bring food for their young
ones, and he was greatly pleased to see the care they
took of their little nestlings. The male-bird brought them
food forty-four times, and the little mother sixty-nine
times during that day. Before either of them ventured
to approach the nest, it perched on some of the branches
of the surrounding trees, and looked about for a while, to
make sure that all was safe. Sometimes the parents re-
turned with a quantity of food, and fed each of their little
group, one after another; and sometimes they returned
with only sufficient for one. Once the mother-bird re-
S turned with a worm in her beak, and put it into the beak
of a young one, and then shi flew away; but when on her


I lit


return she found her little one choking, she set up a moan
of distress which immediately brought her mate to her.
They then both tried to force the worm down the little
bird's throat, but not successfully. The male-bird at last
discovered the reason. A part of the worm was somehow
entangled, and prevented from going down; so he imme-
diately set to work to disentangle it, and succeeded, hold-
ing it up in its beak until the young one swallowed it, and
then he flew off to a neighboring tree, and sung most
melodiously, as if in thankfulness. With like care, my
darling boy, your fond parents watch over you; and when
you are spared any of those dangers to which childhood
is subject, your parents are very thankful to Almighty
God for protecting you with his loving care. And I hope
you will grow up to love and praise Him for all His




" OH, mamma! there's a blackbird in the water. Will
it be drowned ? Oh dear it has sunk. Will it ever come
up? Poor bird! There it is I Oh, mamma, mamma,'
it is gone down again !"
You need not be afraid, dear : the little bird will not
come to harm. It is a moor-hen, and lives on the water,
in pretty lakes and ponds and streams. It is very fond
of diving, and the moment it perceives any stranger, it
pops down directly, often remaining some minutes under
the water. If it is shot at, or frightened, it will dive a
long way, and come very gently up to the surface among
the sedges and weeds at the sides of the banks, where it
will remain securely hid, with only its bill above the water
to enable it to breathe, until the danger is past. Should


we fall into the water, you know, we should come out
very wet and uncomfortable, but it is not so with such
water-birds; for they have a kind of oil on their feathers,
which makes the water run off their bodies; and the
moment they come out they are as dry as if they had
not been in the water at all.
All birds cannot swim; those that do have a different
kind of foot from those which cannot: it is called a web-
foot. If you look at a duck's foot you will see the skin
extended between each toe, like the silk between the rods
of an umbrella, and thus their feet serve as paddles to
propel them along.
"The canary, you know, has no skin between its claws;
neither have the little robins, nor the larks, nor the
sparrows you see hopping about the streets. Were they
to fall into the water they would be drowned, because
they cannot swim. The moorhens, however, although
they delight to swim about so much, have not webbed
feet like other water-birds."
"But, mamma, if moorhens live on the water, where
do they build their nests ?"

r- --





"They build, dear, in the rushes close by the water's
edge, or sometimes in the sloping branches of the shady
willows that sweep the water's surface. The nests are
made of dry rushes, flags, and reeds, put loosely together.
Very soon after the young birds are hatched they follow
their mother into the water without the slightest fear, and
swim about, enjoying their bath.
"It is very pleasant on a cool summer's evening to sit
a little distance from the water's edge, and watch the
old bird and her nestlings sailing along together on the
silvery pond, leaving long tracks after them of rip-
pling water.
Their nests are often destroyed by the floods; that
is, when the water in the river swells very high from
the rain it overwhelms their nests and their eggs to-
gether. I have heard of some clever moorhens who,
perceiving the water rising higher and higher, and their
nest in great danger from the flood, carried their eggs
up the bank, and left them on the grass while they re-
Sturned to the nest and contrived to raise it by some
pieces of stick ; after which they carried their eggs







back to it, and in a few days they were hatched, and the
young birds were all swimming together in the pond.
I have heard, too, of a swan who raised her nest two
feet and a half in height. By her instinct she seemed
forewarned of a flood which that very night occurred; but
the swan's nest was just above the water, and her eggs
were quite safe. The young of the swan are called
cygnets. It is said that the old swan carries down her
cygnets when they are hatched to the water, and that they
often sit on her back while she is swimming; indeed, I
have read that she will help them with her leg to get up.
The swan is a most elegant bird, bending its beautiful
long neck, and sailing as stately as becomes the peaceful
monarch of lake and river; for in olden times it was
esteemed a royal bird, which only nobility of high rank
were permitted to keep."



SOME birds live on the sea, and swim over the dashing
waves of the stormy ocean. They are usually bigger birds
than the timid moorhens, and delight in the splash-
ing water, under which they dive fearlessly in search of
fish, which is their food. The eider-duck that I told you
plucked her own feathers to line her nest is a sea-bird,
and lives on the bleak shores of Scotland, Iceland,
and other countries further to the north. Her nest
is made on the ground with her soft downy feathers; and
she so ingeniously places the light elastic material as to
form an elevated rim round her body while she is sit-
ting, and when she leaves it the soft feathers fall over
Sthe eggs, and keep them warm during her absence.
These soft feathers, which are called eider-down,' are




very valuable, and the people in the north take the poor
eiders' nests for the sake of the downy feathers, and get a
great deal of money for them. The down is used for filling
cushions, which are beautifully soft, and much lighter
than those made with any other sort of feathers.
The eider-duck is one of the commonest birds in the
islands of Norway, where they are carefully preserved.
They also live in very great numbers in Iceland; and
travellers to these very cold countries tell us they are so
tame at the season when they are sitting that they will
allow any one to stroke them on the back, or to handle
them, without their appearing at all alarmed. Almost
every hollow between the rocks at some of their breeding
places is occupied by the nests of these birds, which are
often so numerous that it is necessary to walk with the
greatest caution to avoid trampling upon them; while
they are so friendly towards each other, that sometimes
two birds will sit together on the same nest.
The stormy petrel,' the smallest of the sea-birds, is
of a dark-brownish colour; and superstitious sailors are
much 'alarmed by them, as they believe these little birds

-- -I --------- .-----------------------I

1.1 C .



bring storms : hence they call them witches,' Mother
Carey's chickens,' and all sorts of names. These harm-
less birds, however, only follow vessels silently along, and
pick up the bits of biscuits and crumbs that are thrown
"A storm at sea you know is a fearful thing. The
vessel heaves backwards and forwards, then is carried up
by the waves, and dashed down again with great force.
The poor sailors and people on board can scarcely stand
on her rolling deck, and are all in great terror, for some-
times vessels are dismasted and wrecked, and sometimes
even they sink to the bottom.
Petrels generally appear before a storm at sea, for by
their instinct they seem to know when one is coming long
before the sailors are aware of it; and thus they warn
them of its approach. Very likely they come round the
vessel during a storm for protection against the furious
waves, for they, too, are dashed about in them.
"They make their nests on bleak solitary coasts, where
they think they will be unmolested. Sometimes in holes
in the cliffs, but oftener under stones and rocks. In:


N' V


Two- thirTds Size.

- - - - - -------- -------- ----------- ---

A It,


walking along the fishermen hear them under their feet,
and are guided by their warbling chatter to their re-
treats ; when turning over great stones as large as they
can lift, they generally find one or more of these little
birds patiently sitting on a nest in the hollows be-
tween the rocks.
Sometimes when a ship is so far away on the great
ocean that no land at all is visible, a white bird of
immense size, with wings often measuring as much as
twelve feet from tip to tip, will hover round her track.
Travellers tell strange tales of this great bird, which is
called the albatros; but, in truth, except from its occa-
sional visits, we know very little indeed about it. The
albatros is the largest of all sea-birds."


"How pleased, mamma, the birds that are now sing-
ing so merrily and busily building their nests and fly-
ing from branch to branch of the shady trees, must be
that the sweet spring is come. -Do you remember how
the poor little robin came and picked up the crumbs from
off the window-sill when the cold snow was on the ground,
and it had nothing to eat. We never heard the cuckoo
then, mamma l"
The reason is, dear, that the cuckoo and many other
birds leave this country when the cold weather sets in,
and fly hundreds of miles over the sea and other lands to
find another and a warmer home. At times they must feel
very tired and weary with their long journey over the sea;
but on they must go, for they have no trees there to rest 0
upon, and they are compelled to continue flying on.


Sailors on their long voyages are gladdened when such
flocks of birds will rest a little while ohn the masts and
rigging of their ships. Sometimes they capture them, but
oftener they throw them crumbs, and feed them.

Pretty little feathered fellow,
Why so far from home dost rove ?
What misfortune brought thee hither
From thy green embowering grove ?
Let thy throbbing heart be still;
Here secure from danger rest thee;
No one here shall use thee ill;
Here no cruel boy molest thee.
Barley-corns and crumbs of bread,
Crystal water, too, shall cheer thee;
On soft sails recline thy head;
Sleep, and fear no danger near thee.
And when kindly winds shall speed us
To the land we wish to see,
Then, sweet captive, thou shall leave us,
Then, amidst the groves be free.'

"After their unexpected halt, the birds will fly on again
until they reach the long looked for shore, where they can

rest in their other land, where the sun is shining brightly,
and birds singing merrily, while the clouds of the snow-
storm are darkening our own.


Our own life, dear Willy, is like the journey of the little
birds-one of toil and care. To some, indeed, it is along
and weary journey, and all their comfort is in the thought

of that better land to which I hope we all are travelling.


I hear thee speak of the better land.
Thou call'st its children a happy band:
Mother! oh, where is that radiant shore ?
Shall we not seek it, and weep no more ?
Is it where the flower of the orange blows,
And the fire-flies dance through the myrtle boughs ?'
Not there, not there, my child.'
'Is it where the feathery palm-trees rise,
And the date grows ripe under sunny skies ?
Or 'midst the green islands of glittering seas,
Where fragrant forests perfume the breeze,
And strange bright birds on their starry wings,
Bear the rich hues of all glorious things ?'
Not there, not there, my child!'
Is it far away in some region old,
Where the rivers wander o'er sands of gold ?
Where the burning rays of the ruby shine,
And the diamond lights up the secret mine,
And the pearls gleam forth from the coral strand.
Is it there, sweet mother, that better land ?'
Not there, not there, my child.'

V .11 ---------- -------------- -- -

Haif Si.e.

N. 0 oil! m


Birds generally travel in flocks or flights.' Before
they depart, great numbers of them assemble on some
tree, or church-steeple, and join together in a gentle
chirping, as if they were wishing dear Old England good-
bye before they all fly away together.
In the spring, when the trees are beginning to bud,
and the sweet violets and primroses border our hedges,
and fill the air with their fragrance, the birds return to
add their sweet music. Soon they begin to build new
nests; while the swallows and some few others return
again to their old ones. The cuckoo is the first to come
back; and all are very glad to hear its merry note again
-' Cuckoo! cuckoo I' ringing through the woods; for it
reminds us that sweet spring has come, when Willy can
sail his little boat on the sunlit pond, and watch the



' Eye hath not seen, my gentle boy !
Ear hath not heard its deep songs of joy;
Dreams cannot picture a world so fair-
Sorrow and death may not enter there;
Time doth not breathe on its fadeless bloom,
For beyond the clouds, and beyond the tomb,
It is there, it is there, my child.'


pretty lambs skipping and frisking in the green fields,
made verdant by the April showers. It is then the
cuckoo makes his first appearance.

'Welcome! all hail to thee! welcome, young spring!
The sun-ray is bright on the butterfly's wing,
Beauty shines forth in the blossom-robed trees,
Perfume floats by on the soft southern breeze;
Music, sweet music! cheers meadow and lea,
In the song of the blackbird, the hum of the bee;
The loud happy laughter of children at play,
Proclaims how they worship spring's beautiful day.'"

"But the dear little robin, mamma; that does not for-
sake us in winter; we must take great care to give him
crumbs on the window-sill."
Yes, and he will sometimes become so friendly as even
to venture into the room.

Then hopping o'er the floor,
Eyes all the smiling family askance,
And pecks and starts, and wonders where he is.'

At last he gets bold enough to pick up the crumbs. Then
S. Willy can sing like the little cottager:

/-.^ ---- I- -- --- -- -- -. ---- - -----t I


'Little bird with bosom red,
Welcome to my humble shed;
Daily to my table steal,
While I take my scanty meal;
Doubt not, little though there be,
But I'll cast a crumb to thee;
Well rewarded if I spy
Pleasure in thy gleaming eye;
And see thee when thou'st had thy fill
Plume thy breast and wipe thy bill.
Come, my feathered friend again,
Well thou know'st the broken pane;
Ask of me thy daily store,
Ever welcome to my door.'

"Winter is unknown to the little swallow, for in au-
tumn he leaves the green meadows of England for the
myrtle- and orange- groves of Italy, and for the palms of
Africa ; thus he lives a life of enjoyment amongst the
loveliest forms of nature. The poor swallow, however,
sometimes suffers greatly from fatigue and exhaustion in
crossing the wide seas, and it has been seen to drop flat
on the water, spreading out its wings to rest for a
moment, and thus refreshed to fly on again. Sometimes
when the swallows have rested on the rigging of vessels





sailing on their voyages, they have been so tired that
when the sailors have attempted to capture them, they
have only had strength enough to fly from one mast to
another, and in this way would hover for a whole day
about the ship. In summer we often see swallows pick-
ing up bits of earth and mud from the sides of puddles
in the roads, and also from ponds. Of this, mixed with
straw, they make their nests, which afterwards they line
with nice warm feathers. When the young swallows first
leave their nests, they are timid, and they cling to the
house-tops and chimneys for several days before they
venture to fly over to some leafless bough, where they sit
in rows to receive their food. Next they try to imitate
their mother in her flight; but still unable to catch food
for themselves, they meet her in the air and take the
insects from her beak.
When the swallows fly near the ground, it is very
commonly regarded as a sign of rain; but the true reason
is that the insects do not in dull weather sport high in the
air as they do on sunny days. It is at such times that
we see the swallows in their swiftest flight, sweeping down


r4 I


( it




\VAT A 11 0



closely to the ground and skimming over the surfaces of
the ponds, occasionally even dashing up the water with
their breasts, and wheeling sharply aside to catch some
straggling insect as they dart into the air again.
Besides the swallows, there are other birds which are
often mistaken for them. These are the martens, which
also build mud nests against the walls of houses, and are
constantly seen flying about our streets like the swallows
to catch their insect prey.
There is also another sort of marten, which burrows
holes in the sand of cliffs and sand-pits, but it is a much
smaller bird than the house-marten. Now and then, too,
we see flying along another and larger kind of swallow,
which is called a swift."


ROOKS build their nests in very tall trees : generally in
the neighbourhood of some mansion, where they have
the protection of the kind family who will not allow them
to be disturbed. We often see eight or ten nests in
one tree, and sometimes more; forming quite a little
town. Although they are very quarrelsome, they are
very fond of society, and keep together in packs. Do
you not remember the rooks cry Khra, khraa I' as they
fly over your head in the fields P? Their whole life is one
of ceaseless activity and therefore must be one of plea-
sure. All day long they labour in the fields and pastures,
digging amongst tufts of decayed grass, thrusting their
S bills into the soft earth, or picking up the worms or the
seeds on the surface.

r . --- -- ---- ----- I .I..-


Sometimes the poor rooks find it difficult to get suffi-
cient food to satisfy their clamorous young. From
early dawn until after sun-rise they are abroad, but in
summer they usually repose for a time during the heat of
the day. Towards evening, collecting into large strag-
gling flocks, and uttering their loud and not unpleasant
cries, they betake themselves to their roosts; first wheel-
ing in succession, and after a while sinking into repose.

The rook sits high when the blast sleeps by,
Right pleased with his wild see-saw;
And though hollow and bleak be the fierce winds shriek,
It is mocked by its loud caw-caw.
What careth he for the bloom-robed tree,
Or the rose so sweet and fair;
He loves not the sheen of the spring-time green
Any more than the branches bare.
Oh, the merriest bird the woods e'er saw
Is the sable rook with his loud caw-caw!'

A very active, pert, talkative fellow is the jackdaw;
full of fun, and very fond of company : not only of his
brother jackdaws, but he will often make friends with the
rooks. We often see the jackdaws strutting very vainly
over the furrows in the ploughed fields, nodding their



heads from side to side, and chattering as if they were
quarrelling. Crows also strut over the ploughed fields in
search of food, keeping together in great parties, while
some few perch themselves, as sentinels, on the trees and
railings around, to give warning to the rest of the
approach danger.
Jackdaws can be easily tamed; and they are amus-
ing, although troublesome pets, for they are great rascals,
and do not seem to have a distinct idea of right frdon
wrong. Sometimes they will carry away from their
master's house, or his neighbour's, they are not parti-
calar which, to their hiding places any little things they
take a fancy to. They are especially fond of glittering
objects, and they will steal pins oht of pincushions, silver
spoons, bits of lace, frills, stockings, and shrdls, and will
hide them away under old floors, and other places, or
will carry them off to their nests.
"Once a man who had a jackdaw lost numberless
things, and suspecting master Jack, determined to be on
the watch. One day the thief flew off to his nest with
some cotton; but as he was flying away he dropped the


% A


Nla tura Siz.e.,
,04 '
I~a~ura~1 ize


reel, carrying off the thread to his nest, little suspect-
ing how soon he would thus be found out. The old man
finding the reel, and following the thread, soon found the
place of concealment of all his lost things.
So you see, although the jackdaw is very expert in
robbing and stealing, like other thieves, he is sure to be
caught at last."
"A strange, black, stealthy bird is the raven, that no
one likes and every one looks upon with suspicion and
mistrust; perched on a rock or elevated spot in some
wild solitary place, it stands motionless and silently
watching all around, until it spies some injured or helpless
creature that it thinks it may venture to attack, when it
flings itself rapidly into the air, and flies towards it until
within a short distance, when it alights-for although a
fierce and powerful bird it approaches very cautiously with
a harsh croak and stealthy sidelong hops to make sure
that its intended victim is helpless. Men sometimes
shoot the raven by lying on their backs and feigning to
be dead until the bird is within a few yards; they are
obliged to be very careful and not let it approach too near,



- L4`1'

otherwise it would attack their eyes. The raven lives to
a great age; some have been said to be more than a
hundred years old.
In the bright summer-time, when Willy is taking his
walks he will often meet with sprightly little parties of
starlings feeding with the crows amongst the sheep with
their tinkling bells grazing in the green fields. It
is nice to think of the friendship that must exist be-
tween these little birds, for as the day declines and
the golden sun sinks down behind the distant clouds,
hundreds fof them congregate to roost in the same
shaded grove. Then through the wicket gate, that in
the grey shadow of the dusky evening can scarce be
seen, comes the kind shepherd to take his little
flock to their fold; and in that peaceful hour Willy's
thoughts should rise to the kind Shepherd above, who
watches over all through the silent hours of the
In winter when the ground is hard with frost and
and snow, the flocks of starlings may be seen on the soft
muddy sea-side shores jerking over the stones with their





beaks, and picking up the worms and shell-fish they find
beneath them.
Some birds are noted for their strength and their
rapacity as the lion is amongst the beasts. These are
called birds of prey. The eagle, the king of the air,' is
the largest and boldest of them all. Floating in the air
hundreds of feet above the highest mountains; it sails
along undisturbed by the storm that rages under his feet,
for you know, dear Willy, that storms only reach to a
certain height in the heavens, and the eagle can soar
above them where the sky is blue and serene, while below
all is dark and cloudy.
There are other birds less strong and powerful which
still attack and live upon smaller birds. The sparrow-
hawk is one of these, and as, with half expanded wings it
glides over the hedgerows and flutters in the air, it
creates great terror amongst the robins and sparrows
and other little birds, who fly off for safety to the
woods. Sometimes summoning up courage they will
return and pursue the hawk, flying round and round
him in circles, and pecking at him in all directions






until they so bewilder him that he will fly off completely
Too-whit too-whoo too-whit too-whoo !' moans
the old owl sitting in his dark hole in the ivyed tower,
as the moon's beams glancing through the great dark
trees silvers with light the rippling stream. All day
long he has been dozing in his dismal hiding-place;
and now he comes out and silently winnows his way
through the air, softly as a snow-flake, to pounce on
the rats and mice as they run to the barns to pilfer
the corn.
The barn-owl is a big fellow, and not a very friendly
one; but in Germany and France there are some pretty
little owls of a greyish colour. When mamma was
a little girl she had three of these little owls' and
pretty little pets they were. They muffled themselves
up in some quiet corner during the day, but in the
evening they would fly about the room and settle on the
table, bobbing their heads and bowing in a most friendly
manner. They were fed on pieces of meat, and were also
allowed to fly out of doors in search of their own food.

J 7v


Half Size.



Sometimes they would go away for a week, but sooner or
later they always returned.
The snowy owl' is the loveliest of all the owls and
as white as the snow of the cold lands it lives in. In the
islands of Scotland, when the sportsmen are out with
their guns, this cunning old fellow will follow and watch
them, and when a bird is shot and falls to the ground, he
sharply darts down and flies off with the game
before the sportmen can make their way to the spot.




THE lark builds her nest in corn- or hay-fields in a
hollow scraped in the ground. It is made of stalks and
blades of withered grass, rather loosely put together, and
twined with fine fibres. The lark is a sweet singer, and
a very early riser, long before Willy was awake, when the
bright sun was rising over the dancing waves of the sea
and the grey air was glistening with its silvery beams,
while the grass was decked with dew drops, brilliant as
pearls, and the blinds were all drawn in elegant houses,
the little lark was hovering over its nest among the stub-
ble of the corn-fields singing merrily, as if it were never
too early to be happy and thankful.
S There is a worm that on summer nights gives a
pretty bright light on the road-side banks, lighting up


the crisp grass around it, and pleasing poor travellers
walking along. It is called the glow-worm, and Cowper,
who wrote very sweet verses long ago, made some about
it and the nightingale, to teach us that we should not
despise the humblest of God's creatures.

A nightingale that all day long
Had cheer'd the village with his song,
Nor yet at even his note suspended
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite;
When looking eagerly around
He spied far off upon the ground.
A something shining in the dark.
And knew the glow-worm by his mark;
So, stooping down from hawthorn top,
He thought to put him in his crop.
The worm, aware of his intent,
Harangued him thus right eloquent.

Did you admire my lamp quoth he,
As much as I your minstrelsy,
You would abhor to do me wrong,
As much as I to spoil your song;
For 'twas the self same power divine
Taught you to sing and me to shine;
That you with music, I with light
Might beautify and cheer the night.



9) The songster heard his short oration,
And, warbling out his approbation,
Released him, as my story tells,
And found a supper somewhere else.'

"The nightingale is considered the best songster of all
the birds, but he generally sings when the others are
gone to rest. It is very sweet, when the night is cover-
ing up the hills in darkness and the woods are giving out
a delicious fragrance, to hear, as we are coming home
tired with our long ramble, the soft notes of the nightin-
gale, so plaintively sweet, like an evening hymn to the
Great Creator; as if a little bird could be thankful to
God for the mercies of the day that had passed, whilst
so many human beings with minds far beyond the tender
nightingale's are forgetful of still greater kindnesses and
mercies than are shown to the little bird.
"Mamma often thinks of some sweet verses, written
by a great poet, as they recall to her mind her beloved
parents and her dear home, where, in sweet bowers and
S gardens Mamma has often listened to the song of the
birds when she was a little girl. Willy must learn them.

1iI natural Size.

-,,,, ., .I.


Half Size


N natural Sa ize.



"It is sa which must appear like prisons to them. Mamma always
wishes she could release them and send them back to their
green fields. How different their song is from that of
the birds that are free, so melodiously thrilling, warbling
their morning and evening hymns to God, enjoying the
refreshing 'breezes, fluttering on their wings, or sipping
fresh water in shady brooks.
"It is not unkind to keep canaries, for if they were
let free they would linger and die of cold and hunger, as
they would not be able to provide for themselves in this
country. They are brought over in ships from the Canary
Islands, but many are reared in England. Willy must be
kind to his little canary, and coax it for its friendship;

'There's a bower of roses by Bendemeer's stream,
And the nightingale sings round it all the day long;
In the time of my childhood 'twas like a sweet dream
To sit in the roses and hear the bird's song.
That bower and its music I never forget,
But oft when alone, in the bloom of the year
I think, is the nightingale singing there yet ?
Are the roses still bright by the calm Bendemeer ?'




it will then fly about the room, perch on Willy's finger,
and return to its cage as to its home and resting place.
Willy must love and study the works of nature, for
the more we employ our minds, the more happy and
contented we feel. As Willy grows older mamma will
give him bigger and better books to study about birds,
and he must go into the green fields, where he will find
out numberless things, which will fill his heart full of
love for the great Creator, who taketh care of us, as
well as of the birds of the field. For Christ has said
'Behold the fowls of the air: they sow not, neither do
they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly
Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than
they ?'"


Printed at the Geologist" Office, 154, Strand.

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