The Burgess Bird Book For Children – Introduction

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ian

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ian

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

By Thornton W. Burgess

TO THE CHILDREN AND THE BIRDS OF AMERICA THAT THE BONDS OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN THEM MAY BE STRENGTHENED THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED


PREFACE

This book was written to supply a definite need. Its preparation was undertaken at the urgent request of booksellers and others who have felt the lack of a satisfactory medium of introduction to bird life for little children. As such, and in no sense whatever as a competitor with the many excellent books on this subject, but rather to supplement these, this volume has been written.

Its primary purpose is to interest the little child in, and to make him acquainted with, those feathered friends he is most likely to see. Because there is no method of approach to the child mind equal to the story, this method of conveying information has been adopted. So far as I am aware the book is unique in this respect. In its preparation an earnest effort has been made to present as far as possible the important facts regarding the appearance, habits and characteristics of our feathered neighbors. It is intended to be at once a story book and an authoritative handbook. While it is intended for little children, it is hoped that children of larger growth may find in it much of both interest and helpfulness.

Mr. Louis Agassiz Fuertes, artist and naturalist, has marvelously supplemented such value as may be in the text by his wonderful drawings in full color. They were made especially for this volume and are so accurate, so true to life, that study of them will enable any one to identify the species shown. I am greatly indebted to Mr. Fuertes for his cooperation in the endeavor to make this book of real assistance to the beginner in the study of our native birds.

It is offered to the reader without apologies of any sort. It was written as a labor of love—love for little children and love for the birds. If as a result of it even a few children are led to a keener interest in and better understanding of our feathered friends, its purpose will have been accomplished.

THORNTON W. BURGESS

CONTENTS

  1. Jenny Wren Arrives.
  2. The Old Orchard Bully.
  3. Jenny Has a Good Word for Some Sparrows.
  4. Chippy, Sweetvoice, and Dotty.
  5. Peter Learns Something He Hadn’t Guessed.
  6. An Old Friend In a New Home.
  7. The Watchman of the Old Orchard.
  8. Old Clothes and Old Houses.
  9. Longbill and Teeter.
  10. Redwing and Yellow Wing.
  11. Drummers and Carpenters.
  12. Some Unlikely Relatives.
  13. More of the Blackbird Family.
  14. Bob White and Carol the Meadow Lark.
  15. A Swallow and One Who Isn’t.
  16. A Robber in the Old Orchard.
  17. More Robbers.
  18. Some Homes in the Green Forest.
  19. A Maker of Thunder and a Friend in Black.
  20. A Fisherman Robbed.
  21. A Fishing Party.
  22. Some Feathered Diggers.
  23. Some Big Mouths.
  24. The Warblers Arrive.
  25. Three Cousins Quite Unlike.
  26. Peter Gets a Lame Neck.
  27. A New Friend and an Old One.
  28. Peter Sees Rosebreast and Finds Redcoat.
  29. The Constant Singers.
  30. Jenny Wren’s Cousins.
  31. Voices of the Dusk.
  32. Peter Saves a Friend and Learns Something.
  33. A Royal Dresser and a Late Nester.
  34. Mourner the Dove and Cuckoo.
  35. A Butcher and a Hummer.
  36. A Stranger and a Dandy.
  37. Farewells and Welcomes.
  38. Honker and Dippy Arrive.
  39. Peter Discovers Two Old Friends.
  40. Some Merry Seed-Eaters.
  41. More Friends Come With the Snow.
  42. Peter Learns Something About Spooky.
  43. Queer Feet and a Queerer Bill.
  44. More Folks in Red.
  45. Peter Sees Two Terrible Feathered Hunters.

Lee’s Addition:

I think you will greatly enjoy this book. Birds and their behaviors are presented in a story, but many birdwatching truths are introduced. Look for questions and Christian principle at the end of the chapters. These are also a good way to read and teach your child or grandchild. Enjoy!

(P.S. – Just found a source for audio for these chapters. They will be attached.)

(The first chapter is being released today)


The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Burgess Bird Book for Children, by Thornton W. Burgess

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

Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

 Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

 

Savannah Sparrow by Ray Barlow

  

  Wordless Birds

 

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Child’s Book of Water Birds – Re-visited

Child's Book of Water Birds - Book Cover

The Child’s Book of Water Birds

Revisited

An anonymous writer wrote the Child’s Book of Water Birds in 1855. You can see how Project Gutenberg published it as an e-book. (Public Domain) CLICK HERE

Below are the links to my “Re-visited” versions here. Moved these over from the Birds of the Bible for Kids blog and can be found in the Kid’s Section under Watching Birds.

The six different birds were written to a very young reader. I trust you will enjoy reading them for yourself or to your children or grand-children. They can be used to introduce you/them to birds.

Here are my versions of the Six Birds:

The Swan

Childs Bk of Water Birds swan

The Coot

Childs Bk of Water Birds coot

The Dabchick

Childs Bk of Water Birds dabchick

The Teal

Childs Bk of Water Birds teal

The Goose

Childs Bk of Water Birds goose

The Oystercatcher

Childs Bk of Water Birds oystercatcher

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The Bible tells us that we are to

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 KJV)

Introducing children to the amazing birds the Lord has created is a tiny step to help with that training. Introducing them to the Lord Jesus Christ, is the major step.

Wordless Birds

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Old Mr. Owl Writes A Book

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

OLD MR. OWL WRITES A BOOK

Daddys Bedtime Story Images

Old Mr. Owl Danced with the Rest

“Old Mr. Owl wanted to write a book and he asked the fairies how to set about doing it,” commenced daddy.

“‘Well,’ said the fairy queen, ‘it makes a good deal of difference, old Mr. Owl, what you want to write about.’

“‘What nonsense!’ he said. ‘It’s just that I want to know how to start off with my book. Just think what a marvelous book it will be—as for as long as folks can remember I’ve been called the Wise Bird—the bird who’s awake at night and whose eyes are so very bright!’

“‘Before I started saying what a fine book it would be, if I were you, I’d write it and give other people the chance to say so,’ said the fairy queen.

“Mr. Owl began to write with his pen, made out of one of Mr. Turkey Gobbler’s best feathers, on a large, flat stone, which he put in the hollow of his tree. Very late in the night, he awakened the fairies who had been sleeping, and told them to listen to his book. Then he called all the owls from the neighborhood with a loud hoot-hoot. But before he began to read, he said:

“‘I’ve not enough light. I will hurt my eyes—my beautiful, wise, big eyes.’

“You see he had made a special arrangement to have his own lights, and when he said that he hadn’t enough, from all over came countless little fireflies. They sparkled and gave the most beautiful light all over the woods, and Mr. Owl put his spectacles on his nose, and said:

“‘Now I see to perfection—which means quite all right.’ And Mr. Owl commenced reading his book.

“It told about the parties, balls, and picnics in fairyland, and of the wild adventures and happenings in the woods. The fairies were absolutely delighted that a book had been written with so much about them in it.

“And the fairy queen was more than happy, for the last chapter was all about her.

“‘Well,’ said Mr. Owl, ‘you made me ashamed of myself for boasting about my book before I had written it, and so the only thing I could do was to write a wise chapter all about you.’

“And the fairy queen smiled with pleasure and also with amusement—for Mr. Owl had certainly thought he could write a wise book—though the next time, perhaps, he wouldn’t say so before he had written it.

“The fireflies had been sparkling and flashing lights all this time, and finally they whispered:

“‘Have a dance, all of you; we’ll give you the light and dance too. It is not well to read books all the time—you must dance.’

“So they all ended off with a fine dance, and old Mr. Owl, with his book under his wing, danced with the rest of the owls and fairies. But before the evening was over he presented to the fairy queen a copy of his book, which said on the cover, ‘A BOOK, by Wise Mr. Owl.’”


Barred Owl by Ray

Barred Owl by Ray


Lee’s Addition:

But I say to every one of you, through the grace given to me, not to have an over-high opinion of himself, but to have wise thoughts, as God has given to every one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3 BBE)

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (James 4:6 KJV)

Figured it was about time the first chapter was added to the Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories. We do need to be careful not to think too highly of ourselves. Let other complement what you do.

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Another Bird Tale From

Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories - Gutenberg ebooks

By

Mary Graham Bonner

With four illustrations in color by
Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis

Daddys Bedtime Story Images

These stories first appeared in the American Press Association Service and the Western Newspaper Union.


Many of the sketches in this volume are the work of Rebecca McCann, creator of the “Cheerful Cherub,” etc.

Daddys Bedtime Story Images
Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner – 1917

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Links:

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

Bird Tales

 

 

Daddys Bedtime Story Images

 

 Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer hispaniolensis) by Nikhil Devasar

  

 Wordless Birds

 

 

Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) baby Reinier Munguia

  Owls

 

 

 

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The Seagulls Move To Blue Cove

Laughing Gull and Skimmer by Lee

THE SEAGULLS MOVE TO BLUEY COVE

Daddys Bedtime Story Images (5)

“Mr. and Mrs. Seagull didn’t really know what to do,” said daddy. “They loved their home, which was in a big harbor, for they enjoyed seeing the boats pass and hearing the different whistles. All kinds of boats passed—ferryboats, sailboats, old fishing-boats, great big boats that went across the ocean, and little tugboats.

“The seagulls would fly overhead, and then they’d land on top of the water, but they never could stay there long, as the boats would come along, and they would have to fly off. Of late Mr. and Mrs. Seagull, although they were still as fond of their home as ever, became rather worried, for the little seagulls didn’t seem to be able to get out of [p.14]the way of the boats as quickly as the old seagulls could. Mr. and Mrs. Seagull were afraid that one of them might get hurt by a boat.

“Of course the little seagulls were quite certain that nothing like that would ever happen, but one day it did.

“They were playing tag on the surface of the water and so interested in their game that they didn’t notice until too late that a great huge boat was coming along. The captain of the boat had blown the whistle to scare the seagulls away. They hadn’t heard it at all, so busy were they playing, and it hit poor little Bluey Seagull. One of the others called out:

“‘Oh, fly up quickly, Bluey!’ He was not badly hit, for the pilot of the boat had seen the seagulls and made the boat slow down.

“Bluey was frightened almost out of his wits, but with the encouragement of the other seagulls he managed to fly off.

“When Mr. and Mrs. Seagull saw what had happened to Bluey they were horrified and quickly flew off with him, all the other little seagulls following.

“They flew as far from the boats as they could, for, now that Bluey had been hit, they didn’t think life in the harbor where the boats passed was so attractive. In fact, they decided they would never go back there again.

“They flew so far that they reached a little cove at the basin of the harbor, and when Mr. Seagull saw it he said:

“‘This will be our new home.’

“Mrs. Seagull said:

“‘We will never leave this home until all little seagulls are grown up, for then they will always be safe and can play all they want to without being afraid of getting hit by the big boats.’

“So it was decided, and the cove was named Bluey Cove because it had been on Bluey’s account that they had moved there. And of all the seagulls he was the happiest and most relieved.”


Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Lee’s Addition:

So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart. (1 Thessalonians 5:6)

Do you get so involved with what you are doing that you forget to be aware of danger. If a ball go into the street, do you forget and just run after it, not paying attention to cars. Your parents can help you think of other ways to stay alert.

As Christians, we are supposed to watch, and pray, so that we don’t do bad things (sin).

Seagulls are members of the Laridae – Gulls, Terns & Skimmers Family and are known to fly very long distances. So it wouldn’t have been hard for them to fly to a safe place.

Another Bird Tales

From

Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories – Gutenberg ebooks

By

Mary Graham Bonner

With four illustrations in color by
Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis

Daddys Bedtime Story Images

 

These stories first appeared in the American Press Association Service and the Western Newspaper Union.


Many of the sketches in this volume are the work of Rebecca McCann, creator of the “Cheerful Cherub,” etc.

Daddy's Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner - 1917

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Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner – 1917

*

Links:

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

 

 

  Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories

 

 

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

 

  Wordless Birds

 

 

 

 

Laridae – Gulls, Terns & Skimmers Family

 

  Charadriiformes Order (Has more Sea birds)

 

 

 

Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

 

  Laridae – Gulls, Terns & Skimmers Family

 

 

 

 

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The Bobolinks Have A Tea Party

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

THE BOBOLINKS HAVE A TEA PARTY

Who Should Arrive But the Fairies

Who Should Arrive But the Fairies

 

“The other day,” commenced daddy, “the bobolinks had an afternoon tea.

“The tea party was given for the meadow larks. The bobolinks are great friends of the meadow larks and they wanted to be the first this season to entertain them. Besides, most of the bobolinks had new summer homes and their colony was near a beautiful stream.

“You know the bobolinks always build their homes in the meadows—but they build very near a stream and their homes are always deep down in the long grass.

“They had all come to live in Waving Grassland for the summer—that is, all the bobolinks who always moved about together in the summer and winter—and many of their friends, the meadow larks, were on hand to greet them. A number of others were going to arrive in a few days—before the tea party.

“Now Waving Grassland was very beautiful country. The meadows were very large and the grass was so beautiful and so long that it always waved in the soft breezes, so that the bobolinks named their new summer place Waving Grassland.

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) by Bob-Nan

Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) by Bob-Nan

“And so the bobolinks made all their preparations for the tea party. The guests arrived dressed up in their best new summer plumage. The meadow larks came first, as they were the guests of honor.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) by Raymond Barlow

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) by Raymond Barlow

“The red-breasted grosbeak family were all there looking too lovely for words. And the bluejays,

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) at Bok Tower By Dan'sPix

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix

downy woodpeckers,

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) by Raymond Barlow

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) by Raymond Barlow

the orioles,

Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus) by Daves BirdingPix

Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus) by Daves BirdingPix

the thrush family,

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) ©USFWS

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) ©USFWS

the chipping sparrows,

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) by Ray

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) by Ray

the robins,

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) eating by Jim Fenton

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) eating by Jim Fenton

the indigo birds—

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) by Raymond Barlow

Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) by Raymond Barlow

and even the shy vireos ventured forth.

Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) by Kent Nickell

Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) by Kent Nickell

Of course, usually they hate parties, but they loved the stream nearby and the beautiful country the bobolinks were living in, and they thought at least once a year they ought to be a little bit sociable and friendly with their neighbors.

“After they had all chatted together—to us it would have sounded more like chirping—the bobolinks began to serve tea.

“They had spring water for their tea—the water from the cool stream which had a deep spring within it. And this tea they served in little moss-covered stones. That gave it the most delicious flavor, and all the birds asked the bobolinks where they had found such good tea. You know in birdland they don’t ask each other where anything is bought, but where it is found! And the bobolinks told their secret.

Fairychapeltoun“But as they were drinking cup after cup—or stoneful after stoneful—of tea, who should arrive but all the fairies!

“The birds greeted the fairies with their best songs—or their way of saying ‘We’re so glad to see you’—and the bobolinks trilled with joy because they had arranged this lovely surprise for their guests.”

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Lee’s Addition:

In that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘Everyone will invite his neighbor Under his vine and under his fig tree.’ ” (Zechariah 3:10 NKJV)

Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, … But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14 NKJV)

That was nice of the Bobolinks to invite their neighbors and friends. We also should be willing to invite and share with others our blessings. Also, it sounds like they had a lot of fun and chats. Are you friendly to those around you and willing to share. We should share and not expect to receive something in return.

The best thing we can share is our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. ABC’s of the Gospel

Another Bird Tale From

Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories – Gutenberg ebooks

By

Mary Graham Bonner

With four illustrations in color by
Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis

 

Daddys Bedtime Story Images

These stories first appeared in the American Press Association Service and the Western Newspaper Union.


Many of the sketches in this volume are the work of Rebecca McCann, creator of the “Cheerful Cherub,” etc.

Daddys Bedtime Story Images
Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner – 1917

*

Links:

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

  ABC’s of the Gospel

 

 

 

 

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) by Ray

 

 

  Icteridae – Oropendolas, Orioles & Blackbirds (and Bobolinks) Family

 

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King Solomon and The Birds – Part 3

African Hoopoe (Upupa africana) ©WikiC

African Hoopoe (Upupa africana) ©WikiC

King Solomon and The Birds ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

KING SOLOMON AND THE BIRDS  - Part 3

Cur Book of Birds letter-kING SOLOMON was ever seeking to grow even wiser. The better to know the wonders of God’s world and the ways of all creatures, he undertook many journeys,—not as we ordinary poor mortals travel, in heavy wagons or clumsy boats, by dusty roads or stormy waves. It was in no such troublous ways that Solomon the all-powerful traversed space and reached the uttermost corners of the earth. Thanks to his great knowledge, he had discovered a means of locomotion compared to which the most magnificent railway coaches and the richest palanquins of Indian princes would seem poor indeed. He had caused his Genii to make a silken carpet of four leagues in extent. In the midst of this carpet was placed a magnificent throne for the royal traveler himself; and around it were seats of gold, of silver, of wood, for the multitude of persons of different rank whom he took with him. There was also no lack of the most gorgeous furniture and the necessary provisions for a king’s traveling banquet.

When all was ready Solomon was wont to seat himself upon his throne, and would command the winds to do their duty. Immediately they gently lifted the carpet and bore it rapidly through the air to the appointed spot. During the journey, above the aerial caravan fluttered a cloud of birds, who with their wings formed a splendid canopy to shield their beloved lord from the sun’s heat, as the Hoopoes had first done.

One day, while on such a journey, Solomon was shocked to feel a ray of sunlight piercing through this plumy dais (raised feathers) which overhung his head. Shading his eyes, the King glanced up and perceived that there was an opening in the canopy. One bird was missing from its post. In great displeasure Solomon demanded of the Eagle the name of the truant. Anxiously the Eagle called the roll of all the birds in his company; and he was horrified to find that it was Solomon’s favorite, the Hoopoe, who was missing. With terror he announced the bird’s desertion to the most wise King.

“Soar aloft,” commanded Solomon sternly, “and find the Hoopoe that I may punish him. I will pluck off his feathers that he may feel the scorching heat of the sun as his carelessness has caused me to do.”

The Eagle soared heavenward, until the earth beneath him looked like a bowl turned upside down. Then he poised on level wings and looked around in every direction to discover the truant. Soon he espied the Hoopoe flying swiftly from the south. The Eagle swooped down and would have seized the culprit roughly in his strong talons, but the Hoopoe begged him for Solomon’s sake to be gentle.

“For Solomon’s sake!” cried the Eagle. “Do you dare to name the King whom you have injured? He has discovered your absence and in his righteous anger will punish you severely.”

“Lead me to him,” replied the Hoopoe. “I know that he will forgive me when he hears where I have been and what I have to tell him.”

The Eagle led him to the King, who with a wrathful face was sitting on his throne. The Hoopoe trembled and drooped his feathers humbly, but when Solomon would have crushed him in his mighty fist the bird cried,—

“Remember, King, that one day you also must give an account of your sins. Let me not therefore be condemned unheard.”

“And if I hear you, what excuse can you have to offer?” answered Solomon, frowning. But this was his favorite bird and he hoped that there might be some reason for sparing him.

“Well,” said the Hoopoe, “at Mecca I met a Hoopoe of my acquaintance who told me so wonderful a tale of the marvelous Kingdom of Sheba in Arabia that I could not resist the temptation to visit that country of gold and precious stones. And there, indeed, I saw the most prodigious treasures; but best of all, O King, more glorious than gold, more precious than rare jewels, I saw Queen Balkis, the most beautiful of queens.”

“Tell me of this Queen,” said Solomon, loosening his rough grasp upon the Hoopoe. So it was, say the people, that a bird told Solomon of the great Queen whose journey to Jerusalem is described in the Bible.

The Hoopoe told of her power and glory, her riches, her wisdom, and her beauty, until Solomon sighed a great sigh and said, “It seems too good to be true! But we shall see.”

So the King wrote a letter to Balkis, bidding her follow the guidance of fate and come to the court of the wise King. This note he sealed with musk, stamped with his great signet, and gave to the Hoopoe, saying,—

“If now you have spoken truth, take this letter to Queen Balkis; then come away.”

The Hoopoe did as he was bid, darting off towards the south like an arrow. And the next day he came to the palace of the Queen of Sheba, where she sat in all her splendor among her counselors. He hopped into the hall and dropped the letter into her lap, then flew away.

Queen Balkis stared and stared at the great King’s seal upon the mysterious letter, and when she had read the brief invitation she stared and stared again. But she had heard the fame of Solomon and was eager to ask him some of her clever questions to prove his wisdom. So she decided to accept his invitation and come to Jerusalem.

She came with a great train of attendants, with camels that bore spices and treasures of gold and precious stones, gifts for the most wise King. And she asked him more questions than any woman had ever asked him before, though he knew a great many ladies, and they were all inquisitive.

But Solomon was so wise that he answered all her questions without any trouble.

And she said to him, “It was a true report that I heard of you in my own land, of your wisdom and of your glory. Only that which now I know and see is greater than what I heard. Happy are thy men and happy are thy servants who stand continually before thee and hear thy wisdom.”

And she gave the King a hundred and twenty talents of gold, which was a very rich treasure, besides great store of spices, and the most precious gifts; no one had ever seen such gifts as the Queen of Sheba gave to Solomon.

But he in turn was even more generous. For he gave to the fair Balkis all that she desired and everything she asked, because he admired so much this splendid Queen of whom the Hoopoe had first told him.

And so, the Bible says, the Queen of Sheba turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. But the People’s tales say that in later days she married Solomon and they lived happily ever after. And it was all the work of that little Hoopoe with a yellow crown, whom after that we may be sure Solomon loved better than ever.

***

Now King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all she desired, whatever she asked, much more than she had brought to the king. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants. (2 Chronicles 9:12 NKJV)

And that ends our story of King Solomon and the Birds.

See:

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 1

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 2

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Links:

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by Peter Ericsson

 

 

  Hoopoes - Upupidae Family

 

 

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

Curious Book of Birds - Cover

 

 

  The Curious Book of Birds

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

  

 

 

  Wordless Birds

 

 

 

*

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 2

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by W Kwon

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by W Kwon

King Solomon and The Birds ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 2

 

Cur Book of Birds letter-one day when Solomon was journeying across the desert, he was sorely distressed by the heat of the sun, until he came near to fainting. Just then he spied a flock of his friends the Hoopoes flying past, and calling to them feebly he begged them to shelter him from the burning rays.

The King of the Hoopoes gathered together his whole nation and caused them to fly in a thick cloud over the head of Solomon while he continued his journey. In gratitude the wise King offered to give his feathered friends whatever reward they might ask.

For a whole day the Hoopoes talked the matter over among themselves, then their King came to Solomon and said to him,—

“We have considered your offer, O generous King, and we have decided that what we most desire is to have, each of us, a golden crown on his head.”

King Solomon smiled and answered, “Crowns of gold shall you have. But you are foolish birds, my Hoopoes; and when the evil days shall come upon you and you see the folly of your desire, return here to me and I will help you yet again.”

So the King of the Hoopoes left King Solomon with a beautiful golden crown upon his head. And soon all the Hoopoes were wearing golden crowns. Thereupon they grew very proud and haughty. They went down by the lakes and pools and strutted there that they might admire themselves in the water mirrors. And the Queen of the Hoopoes became very airy, and refused to speak to her own cousin and to the other birds who had once been her friends.

There was a certain fowler who used to set traps for birds. He put a piece of broken mirror into his trap, and a Hoopoe spying it went in to admire herself, and was caught. The fowler looked at the shining crown upon her head and said, “What have we here! I never saw a crown like this upon any bird. I must ask about this.”

So he took the crown to Issachar, the worker in metal, and asked him what it was. Issachar examined it carefully, and his eyes stuck out of his head. But he said carelessly, “It is a crown of brass, my friend. I will give you a quarter of a shekel for it; and if you find any more bring them to me. But be sure to tell no other man of the matter.” (A shekel was about sixty-two cents.)

After this the fowler caught many Hoopoes in the same way, and sold their crowns to Issachar. But one day as he was on his way to the metalworker’s shop he met a jeweler, and to him he showed one of the Hoopoes’ crowns.

“What is this, and where did you find it?” exclaimed the jeweler. “It is pure gold. I will give you a golden talent for every four you bring me.” (A talent was worth three hundred shekels.)

Now when the value of the Hoopoes’ crowns was known, every one turned fowler and began to hunt the precious birds. In all the land of Israel was heard the twang of bows and the whirling of slings. Bird lime was made in every town, and the price of traps rose in the market so that the trap-makers became rich men. Not a Hoopoe could show his unlucky head without being slain or taken captive, and the days of the Hoopoes were numbered. It seemed that soon there would be no more Hoopoes left to bewail their sad fate.

At last the few who still lived gathered together and held a meeting to consider what should be done, for their minds were filled with sorrow and dismay. And they decided to appeal once more to King Solomon, who had granted their foolish prayer.

Flying by stealth through the loneliest ways, the unhappy King of the Hoopoes came at last to the court of the King, and stood once more before the steps of his golden throne. With tears and groans he related the sad fortune which had befallen his golden-crowned race.

King Solomon looked kindly upon the King of the Hoopoes and said, “Behold, did I not warn you of your folly in desiring to have crowns of gold? Vanity and pride have been your ruin. But now, that there may be a memorial of the service which once you did me, your crowns of gold shall be changed into crowns of feathers, and with them you may walk unharmed upon the earth.”

In this way the remaining Hoopoes were saved. For when the fowlers saw that they no longer wore crowns of gold upon their heads, they ceased to hunt them as they had been doing. And from that time forth the family of the Hoopoes have flourished and increased in peace, even to the present day.


Lee’s Addition:

When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2 NASB)

Vanity means – “too much pride in oneself or in how one looks.”

Pride can mean – “a sense of one’s own value that is too high.” or “an inborn feeling of self-worth.” (One of these definitions is good and the other bad.)

Was our King of the Hoopoes showing good or bad pride? When we think too much of ourself and think we are better or nicer looking. (“Look at me, I have a gold crown.”)

You could work hard on a project and win a gold ribbon or metal for that effort. If you wore that ribbon around your neck, would your attitude about it be a good or bad pride?

Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Psalms 106:1 NKJV)

Links:

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 1

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 2

King Solomon and The Birds – Part 3

 

Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops) by Peter Ericsson

 

 

  Hoopoes - Upupidae Family

 

 

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

Curious Book of Birds - Cover

 

 

  The Curious Book of Birds

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

  

 

 

  Wordless Birds

 

Fixed Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories

Daddys Bedtime Story Images (1)

Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories had some broken links because of a change in Gutenberg’s policy. They do not want links to their articles and photos. Long story short, I fixed them and now they should be okay. I also added photo links since I had to redo all of them. Here are the stories so far. I realized there are many stories yet to be told yet. Stay tuned!

(If you should find any broken links, please leave a comment on that story so it can be fixed. Thanks.)

These are the ones available for reading:

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Links:

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

  

 

 

  Wordless Birds

 

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Small Fire Department Rescues Birds

Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) ©WikiC

Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) ©WikiC

SMALL FIRE DEPARTMENT RESCUES BIRDS

"We'll have our hose ready."

“We’ll have our hose ready.”

 

 

“We’ll have our hose ready.”

“The salamanders,” said daddy, “are little creatures very much like lizards in looks, except their skin is not scaly as a lizard’s. They have four legs and a tail, and are very nice, kind and gentle.

“Well, these salamanders agreed that they would have a fire department, and the next thing was to arrange for the hose and ladder. Finally it was decided that their salamander cousins should be chosen to run the hose and ladder.

“‘We shall call ourselves the fire and water fire department,’ said one of the fire salamanders. ‘It will be our business to rush in and rescue the animals who are in danger of being burned to death, and it will be your business to help them down to the brook, where we’ll have our hose ready to sprinkle them with good, cool water.’

“But days and days went by, and still no fire broke out.

“‘I know what’s the trouble,’ said another one of the fire salamanders. ‘We have no fire bell; there may have been fires that we knew nothing of; you never can tell.’

“‘Don’t be gloomy,’ said still another fire salamander. ‘We’ll have a fire bell. I know where a kind old cow left her bell from last year. We’ll put it by the stump just at the edge of the brook and all the animals can be told to move it when there is a fire. Then we will all come out and stop the fire.’

“And soon notices were put up all over the woods and around the brook which read:

“‘To the Animals: Attention! In case of fire, ring the cow bell by the brook. The Fire and Water Fire Department of the Salamanders will PUT IT OUT.’

“These notices were read by all the animals, and the very next day the salamanders heard the cow bell.

“‘Where’s the fire?’ they all shouted.

“‘Over there,’ said Grandfather Frog, who was watching the fire department start off.

“They wiggled and crawled as quickly as they could to the spot where the fire was. It was the vireo family’s nest. You know the vireos are those beautiful, shy birds that live in the woods and have such lovely voices. The fire salamanders rushed right into the fire and pulled out of the nest the vireo children just in time before their little feathers got burnt. And, of course, the Mother and Daddy Vireo were able to fly out.

“When they all reached the brook at last, the Mother and Daddy Vireo sang the most wonderful song as a reward to the brave salamander fire department.”

 


Lee’s Addition:

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) by Raymond Barlow

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) by Raymond Barlow

Red-eyed Vireo song from xeno-canto.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:16-17 KJV)

The story doesn’t say which kind of Vireo this was, but Vireos belong to the Vireonidae – Vireos, Greenlets Family. They all have beautiful songs.

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Another Bird Tales

From

Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories - Gutenberg ebooks

By

Mary Graham Bonner

With four illustrations in color by
Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis

Daddys Bedtime Story Images

 

These stories first appeared in the American Press Association Service and the Western Newspaper Union.


Many of the sketches in this volume are the work of Rebecca McCann, creator of the “Cheerful Cherub,” etc.

Daddy's Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner - 1917

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Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner – 1917

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Links:

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

 

 

  Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories

 

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

 

  Wordless Birds

 

 

 

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The Rescue of the Canary Bird

Yellow Canary (Crithagra flaviventris) Male ©WikiC

Yellow Canary (Crithagra flaviventris) Male ©WikiC

THE RESCUE OF THE CANARY BIRD

She Watched the Little Bird.

She Watched the Little Bird.

“I am going to tell you a really true story,” said daddy, “something which happened to-day. I was walking along a rather poor part of the city when I saw a number of children gathered in a group in a little side yard of a tenement house. The children were screaming to one boy: ‘Oh, catch him! Don’t let the awful cat get him!’”

“Oh, was it a bird?” asked Jack eagerly.

“Yes,” replied daddy; “it was a bird, but not just the usual kind of bird that is seen around city streets, for only the sparrows like the noise of a city. Most birds like the woods and the country, where they can have homes in the trees and can sing all day long.

“But this was a tame yellow canary who had flown out of an open window to pick up some goodies he saw on the ground, and a cat was after him.”

“Did they get him from the cat?” asked Evelyn eagerly, for she was devoted to animals and perhaps especially to birds.

“Yes,” answered daddy; “the little boy succeeded in rescuing him, but the poor canary had been so frightened that his little heart was beating, oh, so fast, and the children were afraid he was not going to live.

“They all followed the little boy who had caught the canary just in time into the tenement house. The cat had knocked several feathers from the bird’s tail.

“Another child told me the canary belonged to a little girl who lived in the tenement. He asked me to follow, too, for he said that the little girl had trouble with her back and had to lie flat all the time. She loved visitors, for so much of the time she was lonely. Her mother was poor and out all day sewing, so the little girl’s only companion was the canary, who would sing for hours and hours. He seemed to know he must keep her cheered up.

“So along I went too. We climbed some stairs until we came to a dingy room where on a cot by the window lay a little girl about eight years old. She had big dark eyes, and when I saw her her cheeks were bright red from all the excitement.

“All her friends had gathered around, each giving her a special description of how the bird had been rescued. She was smiling with joy and watching the bird, who was now busily engaged nibbling at a little piece of apple which had been given him. Before long he began to sing, oh, so joyously, for he knew he was once more back in his happy home, where he would take good care to stay in the future.

“I told the little girl of my Jack and Evelyn, and she said she wanted to see you both. Shall we all go to see her and her little bird some day?”

“We’d love to!” cried Jack and Evelyn delightedly.


Lee’s Addition:

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalms 18:2)

Another delightful story from Daddy’s book.

The Yellow Canary (Serinus flaviventris) is a small passerine bird in the finch family. It is a resident breeder in much of the western and central regions of southern Africa and has been introduced to Ascension and St Helena islands. They have been kept for pets for many years. They belong to the Fringillidae – Finches Family.

Its habitat is karoo and coastal or mountain valley scrub. It builds a compact cup nest in a scrub.

The Yellow Canary is typically 13 cm in length. The adult male color ranges from almost uniform yellow in the northwest of its range to streaked, olive backed birds in the southeast. The underparts, rump and tail sides are yellow. The female has grey-brown upperparts, black wings with yellow flight feathers, and a pale supercilium. The underparts are white with brown streaking. The juvenile resembles the female, but has heavier streaking.

The Yellow Canary is a common and gregarious seedeater. Its call is chissick or cheree, and the song is a warbled zee-zeree-chereeo.

Another Bird Tales

From

Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories - Gutenberg ebooks

By

Mary Graham Bonner

With four illustrations in color by
Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis

Daddys Bedtime Story Images

 

These stories first appeared in the American Press Association Service and the Western Newspaper Union.


Many of the sketches in this volume are the work of Rebecca McCann, creator of the “Cheerful Cherub,” etc.

Daddy's Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner - 1917

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Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories by Mary Graham Bonner – 1917

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Links:

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

 

 

  Daddy’s Bedtime Bird Stories

 

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

 

  Wordless Birds

 

 

 

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 Fringillidae – Finches Family

 

 

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A Red-headed Cousin (Red-headed Woodpecker)

Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) ©USFWS

Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) ©USFWS

IX

A RED-HEADED COUSIN

Besides his half-brothers, the narrow-fronted and ant-eating woodpeckers, the Carpenter has a numerous family of cousins,—the red-headed, the red-bellied, the golden-fronted, the Gila, and the Lewis’s woodpeckers. These all belong to one genus, and are much alike in structure, though totally different in color. Most of them are Western or Southwestern birds, but one is found in nearly all parts of the United States lying between the Hudson River and the Rocky Mountains, and is the most abundant woodpecker of the middle West. This well-known cousin is the red-headed woodpecker, the tricolored beauty that sits on fence-posts and telegraph poles, and sallies out, a blaze of white, steel-blue, and scarlet, a gorgeous spectacle, whenever an insect flits by. He is the one that raps so merrily on your tin roofs when he feels musical.

So named from being found along the Gila River.

In many ways the red-head, as he is familiarly called, is like his carpenter cousin. Both indulge in long-continued drumming; both catch flies expertly on the wing; and both have the curious habit of laying up stores of food for future use. The Californian woodpecker not only stores acorns, but insect food as well. But though the Carpenter’s habits have long been known, it is a comparatively short time since the red-head was first detected laying up winter supplies.

The first to report this habit of the red-head was a gentleman in South Dakota, who one spring noticed that they were eating young grasshoppers. At that season he supposed that all the insects of the year previous would be dead or torpid, and certainly full-grown, while those of the coming summer would be still in the egg. Where could the bird find half-grown grasshoppers? Being interested to explain this, he watched the red-heads until he saw that one went frequently to a post, and appeared to get something out of a crevice in its side. In that post he found nearly a hundred grasshoppers, still alive, but wedged in so tightly they could not escape. He also found other hiding-places all full of grasshoppers, and discovered that the woodpeckers lived upon these stores nearly all winter.

But it is not grasshoppers only that the red-head hoards, though he is very fond of them. In some parts of the country it is easier to find nuts than to find grasshoppers, and they are much less perishable food. The red-head is very fond of both acorns and beechnuts. Probably he eats chestnuts also. Who knows how many kinds of nuts the red-head eats? You might easily determine not only what he will eat, but what he prefers, if a red-headed woodpecker lives near you. Lay out different kinds of nuts on different days, putting them on a shed roof, or in some place where squirrels and blue jays would not be likely to dare to steal them, and see whether he takes all the kinds you offer. Then lay out mixed nuts and notice which ones he carries off first. If he takes all of one kind before he takes any of the others, we may be sure that he has discovered his favorite nut. Such little experiments furnish just the information which scientific men are glad to get.

Red-headed Cousin

It is well known that the red-head is very fond of beechnuts. Every other year we expect a full crop of nuts, and close observation shows that the red-heads come to the North in much larger numbers and stay much later on these years of plenty than on the years of scanty crops. Lately it has been discovered that they not only eat beechnuts all the fall, but store them up for winter use. This time the observation was made in Indiana. There, when the nuts were abundant, the red-heads were seen busily carrying them off. Their accumulations were found in all sorts of places: cavities in old tree-trunks contained nuts by the handful; knot-holes, cracks, crevices, seams in the barns were filled full of nuts. Nuts were tucked into the cracks in fence-posts; they were driven into railroad ties; they were pounded in between the shingles on the roofs; if a board was sprung out, the space behind it was filled with nuts, and bark or wood was often brought to cover over the gathered store. No doubt children often found these hiding-places and ate the nuts, thinking they were robbing some squirrel’s hoard.

In the South, where the beech-tree is replaced by the oak, the red-heads eat acorns. I should like to know whether they store acorns as they do beechnuts. Are chestnuts ever laid up for winter? How far south is the habit kept up? Is it observed beyond the limits of a regular and considerable snowfall? That is, do the birds lay up their nuts in order to keep them out of the snow, or for some other reason?

It remains to be discovered if other woodpeckers have hoarding-places. We know that the sapsucker eats beechnuts, and the downy and the hairy woodpeckers also; that the red-bellied woodpecker and the golden-winged flicker eat acorns; and I have seen the downy woodpecker eating chestnuts, or the grubs in them, hanging head downward at the very tip of the branches like a chickadee. It may be possible that some of these lay up winter stores.

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This is Chapter XI from The Woodpeckers book. Our writer, Fannie Hardy Eckstorm, wrote this in 1901. There are 16 chapters, plus the Forward, which are about the Woodpecker Family here in America. All the chapters can be found on The Woodpeckers page. I added photos to help enhance the article. In 1901, photography was not like today.

Woodpeckers belong to the Picidae – Woodpeckers Family.


Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) ©Bing

Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) ©Bing

Lee’s Addition:

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 KJV)

He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? (Matthew 16:2-3 KJV)

The Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), which belongs to the Picidae – Woodpeckers Family, is a small or medium-sized woodpecker from temperate North America. Their breeding habitat is open country across southern Canada and the eastern-central United States.

The Red-headed Woodpecker was one of the many species originally described by Linnaeus in his 18th-century work Systema Naturae. The specific epithet is derived from the Ancient Greek words erythros ‘red’ and kephalos ‘head’.

Adults are strikingly tri-colored, with a black back and tail and a red head and neck. Their underparts are mainly white. The wings are black with white secondary remiges. Adult males and females are identical in plumage. Juveniles have very similar markings, but have an all grey head.

These birds fly to catch insects in the air or on the ground, forage on trees or gather and store nuts. They are omnivorous, eating insects, seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, and occasionally even the eggs of other birds. About two-thirds of their diet is made up of plants. They nest in a cavity in a dead tree, utility pole, or a dead part of a tree. They lay 4 to 7 eggs in early May which are incubated for two weeks. Two broods can be raised in a single nesting season. (Wikipedia with editing)

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Interesting Bird Facts about the Red-headed Woodpecker

  • It has the greatest G-force (acceleration due to gravity): beak of red-headed woodpecker hitting bark at 20.9 km/h (13 mph). (Internet)
  • The Red-headed Woodpecker has many nicknames, including half-a-shirt, shirt-tail bird, jellycoat, flag bird, and the flying checker-board. (All About Birds)

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El Carpintero – The Woodpeckers

VIII

EL CARPINTERO

In California and along the southwestern boundary of the United States lives a woodpecker known among the Mexicans as El Carpintero, the Carpenter.

Carpentering is both his profession and his pastime, and he seems really to enjoy the work. When there is nothing more pressing to be done, he spends his time tinkering around, fitting acorns into holes in such great numbers and in so workmanlike a fashion that we do not know which is more remarkable, his patience or his skill. Every acorn is fitted into a separate hole made purposely for it, every one is placed butt end out and is driven in flush with the surface, so that a much frequented tree often appears as if studded with ornamental nails. “What an industrious bird!” we exclaim; but still it takes some time to appreciate how enormous is the labor of the Carpenter. Whole trees will sometimes be covered with his work, until a single tree has thousands of acorns bedded into its bark so neatly and tightly that no other creature can remove them.

Work of Californian Woodpecker.

Work of Californian Woodpecker.

We may take for examination, from specimens of the Carpenter’s work, a piece of spruce bark seven inches long by six wide, containing ten acorns and two empty holes. As spruce bark is so much harder and rougher than the pine bark in which he usually stores his nuts, this specimen looks rough and unfinished, and even shows some acorns driven in sidewise; but for another reason I have preferred it to better-looking examples of his work for study. As we shall see later, it gives us a definite bit of information about the bird.

They often use white-oak bark, fence-posts, telegraph poles, even the stalks of century-plants, when trees are not convenient. (Merriam, Auk, viii. 117.)

Think of the work of digging these twelve holes. Think of the labor of carrying these ten large acorns and driving them in so tightly that after years of shrinking they cannot be removed by a knife without injuring either the acorn or the bark. Yet how small a part of the woodpecker’s year’s work is here! How long could he live on ten acorns? How many must he gather for his winter’s needs? How many must he lose by forgetting to come back to them? We cannot calculate the work a single bird does nor the nuts he eats, for several birds usually work in company and may use the same tree; but all the woodpeckers are large eaters, and the Californian has been singled out for special mention.

Can we estimate the amount of work required to lay up one day’s food? Judging by the amount of nuts some other birds will eat, I should think that all ten acorns contained in this piece of bark could be eaten in one day without surfeit. The estimate seems to me well inside of his probable appetite. I have experimented on this piece of bark, using a woodpecker’s bill for a tool, and it takes me twenty minutes to dig a hole as large but not as neat as these. Doubtless it would not take the woodpecker as long; but at my rate of working, four hours were spent in digging these twelve holes. Then each acorn had to be hunted up and brought to the hole prepared for it. This entailed a journey, it may have been only from one tree to another, or it may have been, and very likely was, a considerable flight. For these acorns grew on oak-trees, and we find them driven into the bark of pines and spruces.

The Woodpeckers

This it is which gives our specimen its particular interest. While oaks and pines may be intermingled, though they naturally prefer different soils and situations, and in the Rocky Mountains the pine-belt lies above the oak region, spruce and oak trees do not grow in the same soil. The spruce-belt stands higher up than the pine. As these nuts are stored in the bark of a spruce-tree, we have clear evidence that the bird must have carried them some distance. For every nut he made the whole journey back and forth, since he could carry but one at a time,—ten long trips back and forth, certainly consuming several minutes each.

Then each acorn had to be fitted to its hole. We have already spoken of the accuracy with which this is done, so that the Carpenter’s work is a standing taunt to the hungry jays and squirrels which would gladly eat his nuts if they could get them. A careful observer tells us that when the hole is too small, the woodpecker takes the acorn out and makes the hole a little larger, working so cautiously, however, that he sometimes makes several trials before the acorn can be fitted and driven in flush with the bark. Some of these acorns show cracks down the sides, as if they had been split either in forcibly pulling them out of a hole not deep enough for them, or in driving them when green and soft into a hole too small for them. Of course after each trial the acorn must be hunted up where it lies on the ground and driven in again, and this takes considerable time.

As nearly as we can estimate it, not less than half a day must have been spent in putting these acorns where we find them. With smaller acorns, stored in pine bark, less time would have been required; but weeks, if not months, of work are spent in laying up the winter’s stores.

How the woodpecker’s back and jaws must have ached! Surely he is human enough to get tired with his work, and it is not play to do what this bird has done. Some of the acorns measure seven tenths of an inch in diameter by nine tenths in length, and the bird that carried them is smaller than a robin. How he must have hurried to reach his tree when the acorn was extra large! Yet he took time to drive every one in point foremost. Even those that lie upon their sides must have been forced into position by tapping the butt. He knows very well which end of an acorn is which, does our Carpenter.

But what is the use of all this work? Why, if he wants acorns, does he not eat them as they lie scattered under the oaks, instead of taking pains to carry them away and put them into holes for the fun of eating them out of the holes afterward? The absurdity of this has led some people to surmise that the Carpenter chooses none but weevilly acorns, and stores them that the grub inside may grow large and fat and delicious. This would be very interesting, if it were true. There must of course be more weevilly acorns on the ground than he picks up, so that he could get as many grubs without taking all this trouble, and there is no reason why they should not be as large and good as those hatched out in holes in trees. When I wish to keep nuts sweet, I spread them out on the attic floor in the sun and air, keeping them where they will not touch each other. The Carpenter does practically the same thing. Is it probable that he tries to raise a fine crop of grubs in this way? If so, one or the other of us is doing just the wrong thing. But if weevils are what the Carpenter wants, then the nuts in the bark should be wormy; yet only two of them show any sign of a weevil, and of these one appears from its dull color and weather-beaten look to be a nut deposited several years before the others by some other woodpecker. Every other acorn is as hard, shining, and bright colored as when it fell from the tree. Evidently the bird picked these nuts up while they were fresh and good; perhaps he chose them because they were good and fresh. The possibility becomes almost a certainty when we observe that naturalists agree that the Carpenter uses no acorns but the sweet-tasting species. Now there are likely to be as many grubs in one kind of an acorn as in another, and he would scarcely refuse any kind that contained them, if grubs were what he wanted. The fact that he takes sweet acorns, and those only, shows that it is the meat of the nut that he wants. And all good naturalists agree that it is the kernel itself that he eats.

Why he stores them is not hard to decide when we remember that the Californian woodpecker, over a large part of his range, is a mountain bird. Though we think of California as the land of sunshine, it is not universal summer there. The mountain ranges have a winter as severe as that of New England, with a heavy snowfall. When the snow lies several feet deep among the pines and spruces of the uplands, the Carpenter is not distressed for food: his pantry is always above the level of the snow; he need neither scratch a meagre living from the edges of the snow-banks, nor go fasting. His fall’s work has provided him not only with the necessities, but with the luxuries of life.

But why does he spend so much time in making holes? He might tuck his nuts into some natural crevice in the oak bark, or drop them into cavities which all birds know so well where to find. And leave them where any pilfering jay would be able to pick them out at his ease? Or put them in the track of every wandering squirrel? Jays and squirrels are never too honest to refuse to steal, but they find it harder to get the woodpecker’s stores out of his pine-tree pantry than to pick up honest acorns of their own. So, like the woodpecker, they lay up their own stores of nuts, and feed on them in winter, or go hungry.

We have had very little aid from anything except the piece of bark we were studying, yet we have learned that the Californian woodpecker is a good carpenter; that he works hard at his trade; that he shows remarkable foresight in collecting his food, much ingenuity in housing it, good judgment in putting it where his enemies cannot get it, and wisdom in the plan he has adopted to give him a good supply of fresh nuts at a season when the autumn’s crop is buried under the deep snow.

If I were a Californian boy, I think I should spend my time in trying to find out more about this wise woodpecker, concerning which much remains to be discovered.

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This is Chapter VIII from The Woodpeckers book. Our writer, Fannie Hardy Eckstorm, wrote this in 1901. There are 16 chapters, plus the Forward, which are about the Woodpecker Family here in America. All the chapters can be found on The Woodpeckers page. I added photos to help enhance the article. In 1901, photography was not like today.

Woodpeckers belong to the Picidae – Woodpeckers Family.


Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) Female ©WikiC

Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) Female ©WikiC

Lee’s Addition:

He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame. (Proverbs 10:5 NKJV)

The bird mentioned in this article is actually the Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus bairdi). The subspecies, named “bairdi” is the “El Carpintero.” It has just a slight difference in coloration, but is still an Acorn Woodpecker.

Click this link to see a video of the “bairdi” subspecies.

It appears that the Lord has given this Woodpecker some very good work ethics.

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