Birds Illustrated by Color Photography Move Finished

Snowy Egret in Breeding Plumage at Gatorland by Dan

Both Volume I and Volume II are completely moved to the Birds of the Bible for Kids blog. As best I could, all the links to photos, information and articles should be working properly. I am encouraging you to stop by and check out this latest volume.

Here is the rest of the latest blog over there:

I trust you will enjoy reading the articles. If you are not familiar with the Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, at the beginning of the index, they mention that the articles are written for the younger reader. Then, more information is given about the bird on a normal reading level. After that, I updated with current photos and information. Even though the original articles were produced in a magazine in 1897, they are worth repeating here.

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography Vol #1 – Complete covered the first Volume. Here is a list of the articles for Volume II. Please enjoy discovering interesting avian wonders from their Creator.

Volume 2, Number 1, July 1897

Wood Duck by Dan at Lake Hollingsworth

Wood Duck by Dan at Lake Hollingsworth [Real-not a painting]

Bird Song – July
The Bald-Headed Eagle
The Semi-Palmated Ring Plover
The Mallard Duck
The American Avocet
The Canvas-Back Duck
The Wood Duck
The Anhinga Or Snake Bird
The American Woodcock
The American Scoter
Old Abe
The Snowy Heron

Volume 2, Number 2, August 1897

Evening Grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina) male by Raymond Barlow

Evening Grosbeak (Hesperiphona vespertina) male by Raymond Barlow

Bird Song
The American Osprey
The Sora Rail
The Kentucky Warbler
The Red Breasted Merganser
The Yellow Legs
The Skylark
Wilson’s Phalarope
The Evening Grosbeak
The Turkey Vulture
To A Water-Fowl
Gambel’s Partridge

Volume 2, Number 3, September 1897

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) by BirdingPix

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) by BirdingPix

Bird Song – September
The Yellow Warbler
The Hermit Thrush
The Song Sparrow
The Cuckoo
The Ruby-Throated Humming Bird
The House Wren
The Phoebe
The Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
The Mourning Dove
How The Birds Secured Their Rights
The Captive’s Escape
The White-Breasted Nuthatch

Volume 2, Number 4, October 1897

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus swainsoni) by Ian

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus swainsoni) by Ian

The Blackburnian Warbler
The Lost Mate
The American Goldfinch
The Chimney Swift
Shore Lark
The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
The Warbling Vireo
The Wood Pewee
The Snowflake
The Slate-Colored Junco
The Kingbird

Volume 2, Number 5, November 1897

Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) by Daves BirdingPix

Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) by Daves BirdingPix

John James Audubon
The Summer Tanager
The American White-Fronted Goose
The Turnstone
The Belted Piping Plover
The Wild Turkey
The Cerulean Warbler
The Yellow-Billed Tropic Bird
The European Kingfisher
The Vermilion Fly-Catcher     Version II
The Lazuli Bunting
Bird Miscellany Plus

Volume 2, Number 6, December 1897

American Flamingo Beak at Gatorland by Lee

American Flamingo Beak at Gatorland by Lee

The Ornithological Congress
The Mountain Bluebird
The English Sparrow
Allen’s Humming Bird
The Green-Winged Teal
The Black Grouse
The American Flamingo
The Verdin
The Bronzed Grackle
The Ring-Necked Pheasant
More Bird Miscellany
The Yellow-Breasted Chat

Birds Vol 2 #6 – The Volume II. July to December 1897 – Index

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Wordless Birds

The Autobiography of a Duck

Pecking duckling ©WikiC

Pecking duckling ©WikiC

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A DUCK.
FOUNDED UPON FACT.

“How queer, my child! what a long, broad mouth you have, and what peculiar feet!”

It was my mother, a big brown hen, who spoke. I had stepped from my egg, only a short while before, and as I was the only one hatched out of the whole thirteen, my poor mother was greatly disappointed.

Now, to add to her troubles, there seemed to be something very peculiar about my appearance.

“Yes,” she went on still watching me critically, “I have raised many families, but never a chick like you. Well! well! don’t cry about it. Your yellow dress is very pretty. It doesn’t pay to be too sensitive, as you will find, I am afraid, when you have lived with these chickens. Some of them are dreadfully trying. Dear! dear! how stiff I am! This setting is tiresome work.”

“I wonder what sort of home we are going to have.”

Our home, into which we moved a few hours later, proved to be an upturned soap box. Seven little chickens were there before us.

“The same old story,” said my mother with a knowing air. “People imagine we hens have no sense. I did not hatch those chickens, but I am expected to care for them, as though I did. Some mothers would peck them so they would be glad to stay away.”

She had too good a heart for this, however, and I was very glad to have these brothers and sisters.

Chick ©PD

Chick ©PD

They were different from me, though, in many ways, principally, in their dislike for water. They hated even to get their feet wet, while I dearly loved to get in the pond, and swim around on its surface, or even dive down to the bottom, where such nice fat worms lived.

My poor mother never could understand my tastes. The first time she saw me on the water, she came rushing towards me, screaming and beating her wings.

“Oh, my child! my child!” she cried, with tears in her eyes. “You will drown! You will drown!”

I loved her, and so could not bear to see her distress. It was hard to be different from all the others.

I had a little yellow sister who was a great comfort to me at these times. I could never persuade her to try the water,—but she always sat upon the edge of the pond while I had my swim. We shared everything with each other; even our troubles.

About this time, my voice began to change. It had been a soft little “peep,” but now it grew so harsh, that some of the old hens made unpleasant remarks about it, and my mother was worried.

“It isn’t talking. It’s quacking,” said an old, brown-headed hen who was always complaining of her nerves.

She was very cross and spent most of her time standing on one leg in a corner and pecking any poor chicken that came in her reach.

“Don’t you know why it’s quacking?” asked a stately Buff Cochin who was a stranger in the yard; having arrived only that morning. “That child isn’t a chicken. She’s a duck.”

“What you giving us?” said a dandified Cock, who was busy pluming his feathers. “Whoever heard of a duck?”

“Not you, I daresay,” answered the Buff with a contemptuous sniff. “It’s easy to see you have never been away from this yard. I have traveled, I would have you understand, and I know a duck, too.”

“Well, I don’t care what you call her,” snapped the cross one. “I only hope she’ll keep her voice out of my hearing. The sound of it gives me nervous prostration.”

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) chick ©USFWS

Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) chick ©USFWS

As for poor me,—I stole quietly away, and went up into a corner of the chicken house to cry. I was a duck, alas! and different from all about me. No wonder I was lonely.

My mother asked the cause of my trouble, and when I told her she looked sad and puzzled. “I don’t know what a duck is,” she sighed, “things have been strangely mixed. But cheer up. Whatever comes you are still my child.”

That was indeed a comfort to me. For never had chicken or duck a better mother.

There was consolation also, in what the kind old Buff Cochin told me.

I had nothing to be ashamed of, she said, for ducks were much esteemed by those who knew them.

From her this had more weight, for we all regarded the Buff Cochin as very superior. They were well born, and well bred, and had seen life in many places. Their husband, too, was a thorough gentleman.

However, he also was having his troubles now. He was losing his old feathers, and his new ones were long in coming. Consequently, his appearance was shabby, and he staid away from the hens.

Duck Drawing ©PD

Duck Drawing ©PD

Poor fellow, he looked quite forlorn, leaning up against a sunny corner of the barn, trying to keep warm. I believe he felt the loss of his tail feathers most for the young roosters who strutted by in their fine new coats, made sneering remarks about it.

I was very sorry for him, but my own troubles were getting to be as much as I could bear; for just when I needed a sympathetic mother she was taken from me and her place filled by a big, bare-headed hen as high tempered as she was homely.

“Raising a duck,” she said with a contemptuous sniff at me. “I never supposed I’d come to that. Well, I’ll keep you, but understand one thing, don’t go quacking around me, and don’t bring your wet and mud into the house. I’m not your other mother. My children don’t rule me. I won’t have that Mrs. Redbreast saying my house is dirty. There’s no standing that hen anyhow. I’ll give her my opinion if she puts on her airs around me. There’s too much mixture here. One can’t tell where breed begins or ends.”

It was not many days later, before my mother and Mrs. Redbreast came to words and then blows. The cause was only a worm, but it was enough. Mrs. Redbreast insisted that it was hers. My mother thought otherwise, and with a screech of defiance rushed upon her enemy. Dust and feathers flew. We children withdrew to a safe distance, and with necks stretched watched in fear and trembling.

The fight, though fierce, was short. Our mother was victorious, but she had lost the tail feathers of which she had been so proud, and I am sure she never forgave Mrs. Redbreast.

Chicks and Ducklings ©PD

Chicks and Ducklings ©PD

Like children, chickens and ducks grow older and bigger with the passing days.

In time we were taken from our mothers and put to roost with the older hens and cocks. I was not made to roost so I spent my nights alone in a corner of the chicken house.

It was quieter down there—for up above the chickens all fought for best place, and their cackling and fluttering was disturbing.

The old gentleman was very heavy. Not only was it hard for him to fly up to the roost, but equally hard for him to hold on when once there. Yet I could never persuade him to rest on the floor with me. Like his kind, he preferred the discomfort of sleeping on a pole—a taste I cannot understand.

Three Ducklings ©WikiC

Three Ducklings ©WikiC

I was four months old before I saw one of my own kind. Then, one day three ducks were brought into the yard. They did not seem to mind being stared at, but fell to eating corn and talking among themselves.

“Horribly greedy,” said Mrs. Redbreast. “I for one don’t care to associate with them.”

“Now you know what you look like, old quacker,” snapped the cross hen, with a peck at me. “My poor nerves will suffer sadly now.”

These unkind remarks scarcely disturbed me, however. There was a new feeling stirring in my heart. I am afraid you will have to be a duck, and live a long time without other ducks, to understand it. Here were companions, whose natures and tastes were like mine, and I was content.

Louise Jamison.


Lee’s Addition:

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 KJV)

Trust you enjoyed this delightful bird tale about a duck. This was written by Louise Jamison in the Birds and Nature Vol. X, No. 3, Octorber 1901.

Near the end, when our duckling met up with some of her own and made this remark: “Here were companions, whose natures and tastes were like mine, and I was content.” I couldn’t but think of how we as Christian feel a certain bond when we are around like believers.

God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9 KJV)

that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3 ESV)

This is from Gutenberg’s ebooks.

Kid’s Section

Bird Tales

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In The Hollow Of His Hand

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) by Rat Kirkfield

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) by Rat Kirkfield

Are not two little sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s leave (consent) and notice. But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, then; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31 AMP)

IN THE HOLLOW OF HIS HAND.
(From an Ornithologist’s Year Book.)

So tiny that a child’s small palm can cover its whole body, inaudible at a few paces’ distance, invisible till it rises at your very feet, such is our yellow-winged sparrow. Yet he is a marvel; his plumage shows an exquisite mimicry of the earth tints, “the upper parts mixed black, rufous-brown, ashy and cream-buff,” with a touch of “yellowish olive-green” for the herbage, and here and there an orange or yellow shade, and a dusky whiteness beneath, to give the effect of light. What could be more perfect? No wonder the wee householders, with a nest of fine-woven grasses, low upon the ground, sits unseen on her “clutch” of wee speckled eggs within reach of your fingers. She knows this well, and will not rise until you are almost upon her retreat. Nor will she fly far. A fence post, a low shrub will serve as her watchtower until danger is over.

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) ©WikiC

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) ©WikiC

Our yellow-tinted sparrow has another name, the “Grasshopper Sparrow,” from its insect-like tremolo and chirp. Its song is a chord or two and a long trill on the insect letter, z. It is sung, to the eye, with a hearty abandon of joy, the head thrown back and mouth open, in a fine pose of ecstasy; yet, unless all around is still, and you listen with attention, not a sound will you hear, so small and fine are the vibrating tones. It is said, in a story of the Highlands, that on certain nights, if a man will but lay a couchant ear close to the breast of the earth, he may hear the fine, fine piping of the fairy tunes played in the underworld. Our bird’s song is one of these faint, sweet voices of the earth, like the music that breathes from every clod or leaf when the old world lies dreaming and dozing in a bit of holiday after work is done on a warm, sunny afternoon in autumn, a musical, tremulous, sweet piping everywhere.

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) ©WikiC

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) ©WikiC

Yet not one of these small creatures is forgotten before its Father. When the frost is in the air, and winter is near, the Divine impulse stirs in its breast, and its little wings will bear it far, far away in the long, mysterious journey over sea to the warm islands of the Atlantic. There it will sing for joy with its fellows in the sun, but when April returns, look well. Is there not a stir in the short grass? And listen. The faint, dream-like thrill throbs again in the throat of the sparrow, and our ground-dweller has returned. It is a parable of God’s care for His little ones.

Ella F. Mosby.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7 NKJV)

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This is from Gutenberg’s eBooks.

BIRDS AND NATURE. Vol. X  NOVEMBER, 1901. No. 4

I just found another wealth of great birds tales and information to write about. These are all in the Public Domain.

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Project Gutenberg eBooks

Grasshopper Sparrow – Wikipedia

Grasshopper Sparrow – All About Birds

Wordless Birds

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Mr. Plain Sparrow Calls on Ducks

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

MR. PLAIN SPARROW CALLS ON DUCKS

"Would you like to join us?"

“Would you like to join us?”

“It was such a hot day yesterday,” said daddy, “that Mr. Plain Sparrow simply could not get cool. You see he never goes away in the winter and so he gets used to really cold weather. On a day as hot as it was yesterday he simply doesn’t know what to do with himself. He called himself Mr. Plain Sparrow because that was exactly what he was. He was just a plain, ordinary sparrow, and he thought it such a wise thing to call himself that—and not put on any silly frills. He prided himself on being sensible.

“‘If there’s anything in this world I hate,’ he said, ‘it’s pretending to be what a creature is not.’ And so he called himself by the name of Mr. Plain Sparrow, and his wife was Mrs. Plain Sparrow, and his children were the Plain Sparrow Children.

“‘I think,’ he said, ‘that I will take a walk or a fly to the duck pond in the park nearby. Yes, it seems to me that’s an excellent scheme. I would like to see those ducks, for they’re right smart creatures, and I like to hear their funny quack-quack talk.’

“‘What are you up to, ducks?’ he called, as he flew over the pond, and then perched on a small bush that was at one side.

“‘We’re well,’ said the ducks. ‘We’re enjoying a cooling drink between swims. Would you like to join us? It’s just tea time.’

“‘Tea time, eh?’ said Mr. Plain Sparrow. ‘And would you give a fellow a good, fat worm in place of bread and butter and cake?’

“‘Quack-quack! ha, ha!’ laughed the ducks. ‘We don’t like bread and butter and cake. But we can’t get the worm for you just now, as we’re not very good at digging on such a hot day!’

“‘Well, then, how about my digging for a couple of them, and then joining all you nice ducks when you’re ready to have your tea?’

“‘Splendid idea,’ quacked the ducks. And off went Mr. Plain Sparrow to a soft place in the earth where he thought there would be some good worms.

“Pretty soon he came back with some fine ones, and he sat on his perch and ate them, while the ducks nibbled at their food, and had drinks of pond water, which they called tea. Mr. Plain Sparrow flew down and took sips of water by the side of the pond, and in one very shallow place he had some nice showerbaths while the ducks were having swims. And before he left he told the ducks what a good time he had had, and how nice and cool he felt.

“‘Well, you’re so friendly we’re glad you came,’ quacked the ducks once again.”


House Sparrow by Nikhil Devasar

Lee’s Addition:

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

Here is another Bird Tale to remind us to be friendly. Even though Mr. Plain Sparrow was having a rough day, he still showed himself friendly to others around him. When things don’t go the way we want, do we become unfriendly to those around us? What should we do?

Who is the friend who sticks closer than a brother? See ABC’s of the Gospel

 

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 Winter Wrens’ Dew-drop Baths

Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) by Ian

Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) by Ian

THE WINTER WRENS’ DEW-DROP BATHS

“The winter wren is really with us during the summer too,” said daddy. “But he is too shy to be near us. We can only hear him sing sometimes. When winter comes, though, he goes to people for protection and picks up the crumbs they give him.

“Yesterday he was sitting on a snow-berry bush with a tiny companion. The snow-berry bushes are full and leafy, and in the spring and summer are covered with very tiny pink blossoms. In the autumn and winter they are covered with little berries which look as if they had been made out of snow.

“‘Oh, how I dread the winter!’ said the tiny wren. ‘Just imagine how dreadful it would be if no one put any bread crumbs out for us, or no dog left us some of his dinner on a back porch.’

“‘Now,’ said Mr. Brown Wren, ‘you mustn’t think of such sad thoughts. You always [p.11]do! Someone will look after us. And maybe we’ll find a few spiders now and then in the cracks, and then well have a regular feast.’

“The next day they were back again on the snow-berry bush, and the day was much warmer. Now the wrens love to bathe above all things! Even in the winter they will go through a little sheet of ice and get into the cold, cold water underneath. For they must get their baths! And in the spring, when the tiny wrens are brought forth from their mossy nests, the first lesson they have is of bathing in some nearby brook.

“But this day it was early in the morning, the snow-berry bush was covered with dew-drops and the wrens were delighted.

“‘The sun will drive them away soon. Let’s take them while we get the chance,’ whispered Mr. Brown Wren.

“‘Yes, yes,’ said his small companion. ‘We will soon have to bathe when it is so cold. Let us have a good warm bath first.’

“And then those two little brown wrens took the dew-drops in their beaks, and dropped each one in turn on their feathers. [p.12]Then they got under some leaves full of dew-drops and shook them down over their little feathered bodies.

“After they were well covered with the dew-drops they began to shake all over just as every bird does when he takes a bath. And back they went to take another bath when this one was over. For they seemed to enjoy their last warm bath so much!

“Finally they had bathed enough, and the sun appeared strong as could be, and shining very hard. They perched still on the branches of the snow-berry bush and bathed now in the hot sun. Soon their little feathers were quite dry and they began to sing.

“And truly I think their song was one of gladness because of their dew-drop baths!”


Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) by Ian

Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) by Ian

Lee’s Addition:

My message shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the light rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb. (Deuteronomy 32:2 AMP)

By His knowledge the depths were broken up, And clouds drop down the dew. (Proverbs 3:20 NKJV)

And who do you think is the father of rain and dew, (Job 38:28 MSG)

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

 

 

 

 

Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) by Ian

 

  Troglodytidae – Wrens Family

 

 

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The Wren Who Brought Fire

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ian

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ian

The Wren Who Brought Fire ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

THE WREN WHO BROUGHT FIRE

Cur Book of Birds letter-cENTURIES and centuries ago, when men were first made, there was no such thing as fire known in all the world. Folk had no fire with which to cook their food, and so they were obliged to eat it raw; which was very unpleasant, as you may imagine! There were no cheery fireplaces about which to sit and tell stories, or make candy or pop corn. There was no light in the darkness at night except the sun and moon and stars. There were not even candles in those days, to say nothing of gas lamps or electric lights. It is strange to think of such a world where even the grown folks, like the children and the birds, had to go to bed at dusk, because there was nothing else to do.

But the little birds, who lived nearer heaven than men, knew of the fire in the sun, and knew also what a fine thing it would be for the tribes without feathers if they could have some of the magic element.

One day the birds held a solemn meeting, when it was decided that men must have fire. Then some one must fly up to the sun and bring a firebrand thence. Who would undertake this dangerous errand? Already by sad experience the Kingfisher had felt the force of the sun’s heat, while the Eagle and the Wren, in the famous flight which they had taken together, had learned the same thing. The assembly of birds looked at one another, and there was a silence.

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

“I dare not go,” said the Kingfisher, trembling at the idea; “I have been up there once, and the warning I received was enough to last me for some time.”

Indian Peafowl (Pavocristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

Indian Peafowl (Pavocristatus) by Nikhil Devasar

“I cannot go,” said the Peacock, “for my plumage is too precious to risk.”

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata) by Nikhil Devasar

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata) by Nikhil Devasar

“I ought not to go,” said the Lark, “for the heat might injure my pretty voice.”

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) ©USFWS

Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) ©USFWS

“I must not go,” said the Stork, “for I have promised to bring a baby to the King’s palace this evening.”

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) ©WikiC

“I cannot go,” said the Dove, “for I have a nestful of little ones who depend upon me for food.”

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) by Quy Tran

Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) by Quy Tran

“Nor I,” said the Sparrow, “for I am afraid.” “Nor I!” “Nor I!” “Nor I!” echoed the other birds.

Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)(captive) by Raymond Barlow

Western Screech Owl (Megascops kennicottii)(captive) by Raymond Barlow

“I will not go,” croaked the Owl, “for I simply do not wish to.”

Then up spoke the little Wren, who had been keeping in the background of late, because he was despised for his attempt to deceive the birds into electing him their king. (see King of the Birds)

Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) by Ray

Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) by Ray

“I will go,” said the Wren. “I will go and bring fire to men. I am of little use here. No one loves me. Every one despises me because of the trick which I played the Eagle, our King. No one will care if I am injured in the attempt. I will go and try.”

“Bravely spoken, little friend,” said the Eagle kindly. “I myself would go but that I am the King, and kings must not risk the lives upon which hangs the welfare of their people. Go you, little Wren, and if you are successful you will win back the respect of your brothers which you have forfeited.”

The brave little bird set out upon his errand without further words. And weak and delicate though he was, he flew and he flew up and up so sturdily that at last he reached the sun, whence he plucked a firebrand and bore it swiftly in his beak back toward the earth. Like a falling star the bright speck flashed through the air, drawing ever nearer and nearer to the cool waters of Birdland and the safety which awaited him there. The other birds gathered in a flock about their king and anxiously watched the Wren’s approach.

Suddenly the Robin cried out, “Alas! He burns! He has caught fire!” And off darted the faithful little friend to help the Wren. Sure enough, a spark from the blazing brand had fallen upon the plumage of the Wren, and his poor little wings were burning as he fluttered piteously down, still holding the fire in his beak.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Daves BirdingPix

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Daves BirdingPix

The Robin flew up to him and said, “Well done, brother! You have succeeded. Now give me the fire and I will relieve you while you drop into the lake below us to quench the flame which threatens your life.”

So the Robin in his turn seized the firebrand in his beak and started down with it. But, like the Wren, he too was soon fluttering in the blaze of his own burning plumage, a little living firework, falling toward the earth.

Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti) by Nikhil Devasar

Desert Lark (Ammomanes deserti) by Nikhil Devasar

Then up came the Lark, who had been watching the two unselfish birds. “Give me the brand, brother Robin,” she cried, “for your pretty feathers are all ablaze and your life is in danger.”

So it was the Lark who finally brought the fire safely to the earth and gave it to mankind. But the Robin and the Wren, when they had put out the flame which burned their feathers, appeared in the assembly of the birds, and were greeted with great applause as the heroes of the day. The Robin’s breast was scorched a brilliant red, but the poor, brave little Wren was wholly bare of plumage. All his pretty feathers had been burned away, and he stood before them shivering and piteous.

Bald Eagle (close up) Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

Bald Eagle (close up) Lowry Park Zoo by Lee

“Bravo! little Wren,” cried King Eagle. “A noble deed you have done this day, and nobly have you won back the respect of your brother birds and earned the everlasting gratitude of men. Now what shall we do to help you in your sorry plight?” After a moment’s thought he turned to the other birds and said, “Who will give a feather to help patch a covering for our brave friend?”

“I!” and “I!” and “I!” and “I!” chorused the generous birds. And in turn each came forward with a plume or a bit of down from his breast. The Robin first, who had shared his peril, brought a feather sadly scorched, but precious; the Lark next, who had helped in the time of need. The Eagle bestowed a kingly feather, the Thrush, the Nightingale,—every bird contributed except the Owl.

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) by Bob-Nan

But the selfish Owl said, “I see no reason why I should give a feather. Hoot! No! The Wren brought me into trouble once, and I will not help him now. Let him go bare, for all my aid.”

“Shame! Shame!” cried the birds indignantly. “Old Master Owl, you ought to be ashamed. But if you are so selfish we will not have you in our society. Go back to your hollow tree!”

“Yes, go back to your hollow tree,” cried the Eagle sternly; “and when winter comes may you shiver with cold as you would have left the brave little Wren to shiver this day. You shall ruffle your feathers as much as you like, but you will always feel cold at heart, because your heart is selfish.”

And indeed, since that day for all his feathers the Owl has never been able to keep warm enough in his lonely hollow tree.

But the Wren became one of the happiest of all the birds, and a favorite both with his feathered brothers and with men, because of his brave deed, and because of the great fire-gift which he had brought from the sun.

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)  by Quy Tran

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) by Quy Tran


Lee’s Addition:

In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire. (Psalms 78:14 KJV)

As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three:… Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. (John 21:9-12 KJV)

Trust you enjoyed this tale from The Curious Book of Birds. These entertaining stories were written 1903 and they are just as delightful and fun to read today.

(Photos added by me.)

Links:

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ian

 

Troglodytidae – Wrens 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

 

 

*

The Forgetful Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) by Ian

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) by Ian

The Forgetful Kingfisher ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

THE FORGETFUL KINGFISHER

Cur Book of Birds letter-iN these days the Kingfisher is a sad and solitary bird, caring not to venture far from the water where she finds her food. Up and down the river banks she goes, uttering a peculiar plaintive cry. What is she saying, and why is she so restless? The American Kingfisher is gray, but her cousin of Europe is a bird of brilliant azure with a breast of rusty red. Therefore it must have been the foreign Kingfisher who was forgetful, as you shall hear.

Long, long after the sorrows of Halcyone, the first Kingfisher, were ended, came the great storm which lasted forty days and forty nights, causing the worst flood which the world has ever known. That was a terrible time. When Father Noah hastened to build his ark, inviting the animals and birds to take refuge with him, the Kingfisher herself was glad to go aboard. For even she, protected by Æolus from the fury of winds and waters, was not safe while there was no place in all the world for her to rest foot and weary wing. So the Kingfisher fluttered in with the other birds and animals, a strange company! And there they lived all together, Noah and his arkful of pets, for many weary days, while the waters raged and the winds howled outside, and all the earth was covered fathoms deep out of sight below the waves.

But after long weeks the storm ceased, and Father Noah opened the little window in the ark and sent forth the Dove to see whether or not there was land visible on which the ark might find rest. Now after he had sent out the Dove, Noah looked about him at the other birds and animals which crowded around him eagerly, for they were growing very restless from their long confinement, and he said, “Which of you is bravest, and will dare follow our friend the Dove out into the watery world? Ah, here is the Kingfisher. Little mother, you at least, reared among the winds and waters, will not be afraid. Take wing, O Kingfisher, and see if the earth be visible. Then return quickly and bring me faithful word of what you find out yonder.”

Day was just beginning to dawn when the Kingfisher, who was then as gray as gray, flew out from the little window of the ark whence the Dove had preceded her. But hardly had she left the safe shelter of Father Noah’s floating home, when there came a tremendous whirlwind which blew her about and buffeted her until she was almost beaten into the waves, which rolled endlessly over the face of the whole earth, covering the high hills and the very mountains. The Kingfisher was greatly frightened. She could not go back into the ark, for the little window was closed, and there was no land anywhere on which she could take refuge. Just think for a moment what a dreadful situation it was! There was nothing for her to do but to fly up, straight up, out of reach from the tossing waves and dashing spray.

The Kingfisher was fresh and vigorous, and her wings were strong and powerful, for she had been resting long days in the quiet ark, eating the provisions which Father Noah had thoughtfully prepared for his many guests. So up, up she soared, above the very clouds, on into the blue ether which lies beyond. And lo! as she did so, her sober gray dress became a brilliant blue, the color caught from the azure of those clear heights. Higher and higher she flew, feeling so free and happy after her long captivity, that she quite forgot Father Noah and the errand upon which she had been sent. Up and up she went, higher than the sun, until at last she saw him rising far beneath her, a beautiful ball of fire, more dazzling, more wonderful than she had ever guessed.

“Hola!” she cried, beside herself with joy at the sight. “There is the dear sun, whom I have not seen for many days. And how near, how beautiful he is! I will fly closer still, now that I have come so near. I will observe him in all his splendor, as no other bird, not even the high-flying, sharp-eyed Eagle, has ever seen him.”

And with that the foolish Kingfisher turned her course downward, with such mad, headlong speed that she had scarcely time to feel what terrible, increasing heat shot from the sun’s rays, until she was so close upon him that it was too late to escape. Oh, but that was a dreadful moment! The feathers on her poor little breast were scorched and set afire, and she seemed in danger not only of spoiling her beautiful new blue dress but of being burned into a wretched little cinder. Horribly frightened at her danger, the Kingfisher turned once more, but this time toward the rolling waters which covered the earth. Down, down she swooped, until with the hiss of burning feathers she splashed into the cold wetness, putting out the fire which threatened to consume her. Once, twice, thrice, she dipped into the grateful coolness, flirting the drops from her blue plumage, now alas! sadly scorched.

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

When the pain of her burns was somewhat relieved she had time to think what next she should do. She longed for rest, for refuge, for Father Noah’s gentle, caressing hand to which she had grown accustomed during those stormy weeks of companionship in the ark. But where was Father Noah? Where was the ark? On all the rolling sea of water there was no movement of life, no sign of any human presence. Then the Kingfisher remembered her errand, and how carelessly she had performed it. She had been bidden to return quickly; but she had wasted many hours—she could not tell how many—in her forgetful flight. And now she was to be punished indeed, if she could not find her master and the ark of refuge.

The poor Kingfisher looked wildly about. She fluttered here and there, backward and forward, over the weary stretch of waves, crying piteously for her master. He did not answer; there was no ark to be found. The sun set and the night came on, but still she sought eagerly from east to west, from north to south, always in vain. She could never find what she had so carelessly lost.

The truth is that during her absence the Dove, who had done her errand faithfully, returned at last with the olive leaf which told of one spot upon the earth’s surface at last uncovered by the waves. Then the ark, blown hither and thither by the same storm which had driven the Kingfisher to fly upward into the ether-blue, had drifted far and far to Mount Ararat, where it ran aground. And Father Noah, disembarking with his family and all the assembled animals, had broken up the ark, intending there to build him a house out of the materials from which it was made. But this was many, many leagues from the place where the poor Kingfisher, lonely and frightened, hovered about, crying piteously for her master.

And even when the waters dried away, uncovering the earth in many places, so that the Kingfisher could alight and build herself a nest, she was never happy nor content, but to this day flies up and down the water-ways of the world piping sadly, looking eagerly for her dear master and for some traces of the ark which sheltered her. And the reflection which she makes in the water below shows an azure-blue body, like a reflection of the sky above, with some of the breast-feathers scorched to a rusty red. And now you know how it all came about.


Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Nikhil Devasar

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Nikhil Devasar

Lee’s Addition:

An enjoyable Bird Tale from The Curious Book of Birds. Kingfishers belong to the Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family.

We know the Lord created Kingfishers and gave them their colors, but it is fun to read stories about them, even if they are make-believe. The flood and the ark were true, but that is not quite how they came to fly up and down the waterways.

That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; (Psalms 78:7 NKJV)

My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; (Proverbs 3:1 NKJV)

Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. (Proverbs 4:5 NKJV)

Kingfishers have been created by a loving Creator just as we have been. We differ from the birds because we were made in God’s image. Therefore, we need to remember our teachings about God and Christ and not forget them. That also includes what your parents ask you to do also.

(Photos added by me.)

Links:

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) by Nikhil Devasar

 

 

  Alcedinidae – Kingfishers 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

 

 

*

The Robins Come To The Rescue

THE ROBINS COME TO THE RESCUE

 

Saving the Little Birds from Danger.

Saving the Little Birds from Danger.

 

 

 

The honeysuckles were beginning to bud. Already the humming-birds were hovering near and had built a nest right in the heart of the vine. This vine was in a nice old-fashioned garden, but near by there was a vacant lot which was very swampy.

“You know the garden by the vacant lot?” began daddy.

“Yes,” replied both children, “are you going to tell us a story about that garden?”

“I am going to tell you,” said daddy, “about the mother humming-bird whose little ones were attacked by a cruel snake when they were rescued by the brave robins.

“The snake had come over from the vacant field and had crawled up the honeysuckle vine as the mother humming-bird had gone off for some food. Some robins hovering near had seen the awful snake. They had cried out in terror and had flown over to the nest.

“The mother humming-bird heard the cries and hurried back, but the robins had frightened off the snake. The snake was not a very large one, and really he had been frightened by all the noise the robins had made, and when he saw so many birds flying toward him he got away very quickly.

“The mother humming-bird got back just as the snake was leaving the nest.

“She couldn’t thank the robins enough for flying to the rescue and saving her beloved little ones, but the robins didn’t want any thanks. They were thankful, too, that the dear little birds had been saved, for birds are very loyal to one another and will risk any danger to save each other.”

“I am so glad,” said Evelyn, “that the little humming-birds were saved, for I love to see them having such a good time in the honeysuckle vines, and the more there are of them the nicer it makes the summer seem.”

“It was brave of the robins to come to the rescue, though, wasn’t it, daddy?”

“Indeed it was,” said daddy; “but almost all animals and birds will do anything they can to help one another, and they seem to forget that there is such a thing as being afraid if they see any creature in danger or distress.

“After the mother humming-bird had recovered from the awful fright, and after the little ones had shown that they were perfectly well and strong, with no ill effects from their fright, the mother humming-bird invited the robins to partake of the delicious meal she had succeeded in getting before the cries came from the robins.”

Daddys Bedtime Story Images (34)

“THE MOTHER HUMMING-BIRD HURRIED BACK.”


Lee’s Addition:

Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. (Pro 3:23)

Did the Robin brag about what they did? No. Was the Humming-bird thankful? Yes. Were they friends, yes. What can we learn from this story?

We should be willing to watch out for our friends and we should not forget to appreciate and thank those who do things for us. Also, the Lord said that He knows about the birds (Sparrows) and cares about them and us. The Lord cares more about you than the birds.

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. (Luk 12:6-7)

*

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

 

 

 

*

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) eating by Jim Fenton

 

 

  Turdidae – Thrushes Family

 

 

 

*

Halcyone (Kingfisher)

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) by Nikhil Devasar

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) by Nikhil Devasar

Halcyone ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

HALCYONE

Cur Book of Birds letter-tHE story of the first Kingfisher is a sad one, and you need not read it unless for a very little while you wish to feel sorry.

Long, long ago when the world was new, there lived a beautiful princess named Halcyone. She was the daughter of old Æolus, King of the Winds, and lived with him on his happy island, where it was his chief business to keep in order the four boisterous brothers, Boreas, the North Wind, Zephyrus, the West Wind, Auster, the South Wind, and Eurus, the East Wind. Sometimes, indeed, Æolus had a hard time of it; for the Winds would escape from his control and rush out upon the sea for their terrible games, which were sure to bring death and destruction to the sailors and their ships. Knowing them so well, for she had grown up with these rough playmates, Halcyone came to dread more than anything else the cruelties which they practiced at every opportunity.

One day the Prince Ceyx came to the island of King Æolus. He was the son of Hesperus, the Evening Star, and he was the king of the great land of Thessaly. Ceyx and Halcyone grew to love each other dearly, and at last with the consent of good King Æolus, but to the wrath of the four Winds, the beautiful princess went away to be the wife of Ceyx and Queen of Thessaly.

For a long time they lived happily in their peaceful kingdom, but finally came a day when Ceyx must take a long voyage on the sea, to visit a temple in a far country. Halcyone could not bear to have him go, for she feared the dangers of the great deep, knowing well the cruelty of the Winds, whom King Æolus had such difficulty in keeping within bounds. She knew how the mischievous brothers loved to rush down upon venturesome sailors and blow them into danger, and she knew that they especially hated her husband because he had carried her away from the island where she had watched the Winds at their terrible play. She begged Ceyx not to go, but he said that it was necessary. Then she prayed that if he must go he would take her with him, for she could not bear to remain behind dreading what might happen.

But Ceyx was resolved that Halcyone should not go. The good king longed to take her with him; no more than she could he smile at the thought of separation. But he also feared the sea, not on his own account, but for his dear wife. In spite of her entreaties he remained firm. If all went well he promised to return in two months’ time. But Halcyone knew that she should never see him again as now he spoke.

The day of separation came. Standing heart-broken upon the shore, Halcyone watched the vessel sail away into the East, until as a little speck it dropped below the horizon; then sobbing bitterly she returned to the palace.

Now the king and his men had completed but half their journey when a terrible storm arose. The wicked Winds had escaped from the control of good old Æolus and were rushing down upon the ocean to punish Ceyx for carrying away the beautiful Halcyone. Fiercely they blew, the lightning flashed, and the sea ran high; and in the midst of the horrible tumult the good ship went to the bottom with all on board. Thus the fears of Halcyone were proved true, and far from his dear wife poor Ceyx perished in the cruel waves.

That very night when the shipwreck occurred, the sad and fearful Halcyone, sleeping lonely at home, knew in a dream the very calamity which had happened. She seemed to see the storm and the shipwreck, and the form of Ceyx appeared, saying a sad farewell to her. As soon as it was light she rose and hastened to the seashore, trembling with a horrible dread. Standing on the very spot whence she had last seen the fated ship, she looked wistfully over the waste of stormy waters. At last she spied a dark something tossing on the waves. The object floated nearer and nearer, until a huge breaker cast before her on the sand the body of her drowned husband.

“O dearest Ceyx!” she cried. “Is it thus that you return to me?” Stretching out her arms toward him, she leaped upon the sea wall as if she would throw herself into the ocean, which advanced and retreated, seething around his body. But a different fate was to be hers. As she leaped forward two strong wings sprouted from her shoulders, and before she knew it she found herself skimming lightly as a bird over the water. From her throat came sounds of sobbing, which changed as she flew into the shrill piping of a bird. Soft feathers now covered her body, and a crest rose above the forehead which had once been so fair. Halcyone was become a Kingfisher, the first Kingfisher who ever flew lamenting above the waters of the world.

The sad bird fluttered through the spray straight to the body that was tossed upon the surf. As her wings touched the wet shoulders, and as her horny beak sought the dumb lips in an attempt to kiss what was once so dear, the body of Ceyx began to receive new life. The limbs stirred, a faint color returned to the cheeks. At the same moment a change like that which had transformed Halcyone began to pass over her husband. He too was becoming a Kingfisher. He too felt the thrill of wings upon his shoulders, wings which were to bear him up and away out of the sea which had been his death. He too was clad in soft plumage with a kingly crest upon his kingly head. With a faint cry, half of sorrow for what had happened, half of joy for the future in which these two loving ones were at least to be together, Ceyx rose from the surf-swept sand where his lifeless limbs had lain and went skimming over the waves beside Halcyone his wife.

Oriental Dwarf-Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) by Khong Tuck Khoon

Oriental Dwarf-Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) by Khong Tuck Khoon

So those unhappy mortals became the first kingfishers, happy at last in being reunited. So we see them still, flying up and down over the waters of the world, royal forms with royal crests upon their heads.

They built their nest of the bones of fish, a stout and well-joined basket which floated on the waves as safely as any little boat. And while their children, the baby Halcyons, lay in this rocking cradle, for seven days in the heart of winter, no storms ever troubled the ocean and mariners could set out upon their voyages without fear.

For while his little grandchildren rocked in their basket, the good King Æolus, pitying the sorrows of his daughter Halcyone, was always especially careful to chain up in prison those wicked brothers the Winds, so that they could do no mischief of any kind.

And that is why a halcyon time has come to mean a season of peace and safety.

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Daves BirdingPix

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Daves BirdingPix


Lee’s Addition:

Another enjoyable Bird Tale from the Curious Book of Birds. Kingfishers belong to the Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family. There are two genus in the Kingfishers called Ceyx and Halcyon. Humm! What do you think? Must be those that name birds read the story?

We know the Lord created Kingfishers, but it is fun to read stories about them, even if they are make-believe.

And when he (Jesus) had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. (Luke 5:4-6 ESV)

Kingfishers don’t have to use nets like these fishermen, which were the disciples. But they obeyed and they received a great many fish.

(Photos added by me.)

Links:

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) by Nikhil Devasar

 

 

  Alcedinidae – Kingfishers 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 of the Birds

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by Ray

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by Ray

King of the Birds ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

KING OF THE BIRDS

Cur Book of Birds letter-oNCE upon a time, when the world was very new and when the birds had just learned from Mother Magpie how to build their nests, some one said, “We ought to have a king. Oh, we need a king of the birds very much!”

For you see, already in the Garden of Birds trouble had begun. There were disputes every morning as to which was the earliest bird who was entitled to the worm. There were quarrels over the best places for nest-building and over the fattest bug or beetle; and there was no one to settle these difficulties. Moreover, the robber birds were growing too bold, and there was no one to rule and punish them. There was no doubt about it; the birds needed a king to keep them in order and peace.

So the whisper went about, “We must have a king. Whom shall we choose for our king?”

They decided to hold a great meeting for the election. And because the especial talent of a bird is for flying, they agreed that the bird who could fly highest up into the blue sky, straight toward the sun, should be their king, king of all the feathered tribes of the air.

Therefore, after breakfast one beautiful morning, the birds met in the garden to choose their king. All the birds were there, from the largest to the smallest, chirping, twittering, singing on every bush and tree and bit of dry grass, till the noise was almost as great as nowadays at an election of two-legged folk without feathers. They swooped down in great clouds, till the sky was black with them, and they were dotted on the grass like punctuation marks on a green page. There were so many that not even wise Mother Magpie or old Master Owl could count them, and they all talked at the same time, like ladies at an afternoon tea, which was very confusing.

Little Robin Redbreast was there, hopping about and saying pleasant things to every one, for he was a great favorite. Gorgeous Goldfinch was there, in fine feather; and little Blackbird, who was then as white as snow. There were the proud Peacock and the silly Ostrich, the awkward Penguin and the Dodo, whom no man living has ever seen. Likewise there were the Jubjub Bird and the Dinky Bird, and many other curious varieties that one never finds described in the wise Bird Books,—which is very strange, and sad, too, I think. Yes, all the birds were there for the choosing of their king, both the birds who could fly, and those who could not. (But for what were they given wings, if not to fly? How silly an Ostrich must feel!)

Now the Eagle expected to be king. He felt sure that he could fly higher than any one else. He sat apart on a tall pine tree, looking very dignified and noble, as a future king should look. And the birds glanced at one another, nodded their heads, and whispered, “He is sure to be elected king. He can fly straight up toward the sun without winking, and his great wings are so strong, so strong! He never grows tired. He is sure to be king.”

Thus they whispered among themselves, and the Eagle heard them, and was pleased. But the little brown Wren heard also, and he was not pleased. The absurd little bird! He wanted to be king himself, although he was one of the tiniest birds there, who could never be a protector to the others, nor stop trouble when it began. No, indeed! Fancy him stepping as a peacemaker between a robber Hawk and a bloody Falcon. It was they who would make pieces of him. But he was a conceited little creature, and saw no reason why he should not make a noble sovereign.

Cobb's Wren (Troglodytes cobbi) ©WikiC

Cobb’s Wren (Troglodytes cobbi) ©WikiC

“I am cleverer than the Eagle,” he said to himself, “though he is so much bigger. I will be king in spite of him. Ha-ha! We shall see what we shall see!” For the Wren had a great idea in his wee little head—an idea bigger than the head itself, if you can explain how that could be. He ruffled up his feathers to make himself as huge as possible, and hopped over to the branch where the Eagle was sitting.

“Well, Eagle,” said the Wren pompously, “I suppose you expect to be king, eh?”

The Eagle stared hard at him with his great bright eyes. “Well, if I do, what of that?” he said. “Who will dispute me?”

“I shall,” said the Wren, bobbing his little brown head and wriggling his tail saucily.

“You!” said the Eagle. “Do you expect to fly higher than I?”

“Yes,” chirped the Wren, “I do. Yes, I do, do, do!”

“Ho!” said the Eagle scornfully. “I am big and strong and brave. I can fly higher than the clouds. You, poor little thing, are no bigger than a bean. You will be out of breath before we have gone twice this tree’s height.”

“Little as I am, I can mount higher than you,” said the Wren.

“What will you wager, Wren?” asked the Eagle. “What will you give me if I win?”

“If you win you will be king,” said the Wren. “But beside that, if you win I will give you my fat little body to eat for your breakfast. But if I win, Sir, I shall be king, and you must promise never, never, never, to hurt me or any of my people.”

“Very well. I promise,” said the Eagle haughtily. “Come now, it is time for the trial, you poor little foolish creature.”

The birds were flapping their wings and singing eagerly, “Let us begin—begin. We want to see who is to be king. Come, birds, to the trial. Who can fly the highest? Come!”

Then the Eagle spread his great wings and mounted leisurely into the air, straight toward the noonday sun. And after him rose a number of other birds who wanted to be king,—the wicked Hawk, the bold Albatross, and the Skylark singing his wonderful song. The long-legged Stork started also, but that was only for a joke. “Fancy me for a king!” he cried, and he laughed so that he had to come down again in a minute. But the Wren was nowhere to be seen. The truth was, he had hopped ever so lightly upon the Eagle’s head, where he sat like a tiny crest. But the Eagle did not know he was there.

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) by Bob-Nan

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) by Bob-Nan

Soon the Hawk and the Albatross and even the brave little Skylark fell behind, and the Eagle began to chuckle to himself at his easy victory. “Where are you, poor little Wren?” he cried very loudly, for he fancied that the tiny bird must be left far, far below.

“Here I am, here I am, away up above you, Master Eagle!” piped the Wren in a weak little voice. And the Eagle fancied the Wren was so far up in the air that even his sharp eyes could not spy the tiny creature. “Dear me!” said he to himself. “How extraordinary that he has passed me.” So he redoubled his speed and flew on, higher, higher.

Presently he called out again in a tremendous voice, “Well, where are you now? Where are you now, poor little Wren?”

Once more he heard the tiny shrill voice from somewhere above piping, “Here I am, here I am, nearer the sun than you, Master Eagle. Will you give up now?”

Of course the Eagle would not give up yet. He flew on, higher and higher, till the garden and its flock of patient birds waiting for their king grew dim and blurry below. And at last even the mighty wings of the Eagle were weary, for he was far above the clouds. “Surely,” he thought, “now the Wren is left miles behind.” He gave a scream of triumph and cried, “Where are you now, poor little Wren? Can you hear me at all, down below there?”

But what was his amazement to hear the same little voice above his head shrilling, “Here I am, here I am, Sir Eagle. Look up and see me, look!” And there, sure enough, he was fluttering above the Eagle’s head. “And now, since I have mounted so much higher than you, will you agree that I have won?”

“Yes, you have won, little Wren. Let us descend together, for I am weary enough,” cried the Eagle, much mortified; and down he swooped, on heavy, discouraged wings.

“Yes, let us descend together,” murmured the Wren, once more perching comfortably on the Eagle’s head. And so down he rode on this convenient elevator, which was the first one invented in this world.

When the Eagle nearly reached the ground, the other birds set up a cry of greeting.

“Hail, King Eagle!” they sang. “How high you flew! How near the sun! Did he not scorch your Majesty’s feathers? Hail, mighty king!” and they made a deafening chorus. But the Eagle stopped them.

“The Wren is your king, not I,” he said. “He mounted higher than I did.”

“The Wren? Ha-ha! The Wren! We can’t believe that The Wren flew higher than you? No, no!” they all shouted. But just then the Eagle lighted on a tree, and from the top of his head hopped the little Wren, cocking his head and ruffling himself proudly.

“Yes, I mounted higher than he,” he cried, “for I was perched on his head all the while, ha-ha! And now, therefore, I am king, small though I be.”

Now the Eagle was very angry when he saw the trick that had been played upon him, and he swooped upon the sly Wren to punish him. But the Wren screamed, “Remember, remember your promise never to injure me or mine!” Then the Eagle stopped, for he was a noble bird and never forgot a promise. He folded his wings and turned away in disgust.

“Be king, then, O cheat and trickster!” he said.

“Cheat and trickster!” echoed the other birds. “We will have no such fellow for our king. Cheat and trickster he is, and he shall be punished. You shall be king, brave Eagle, for without your strength he could never have flown so high. It is you whom we want for our protector and lawmaker, not this sly fellow no bigger than a bean.”

So the Eagle became their king, after all; and a noble bird he is, as you must understand, or he would never have been chosen to guard our nation’s coat of arms. And besides this you may see his picture on many a banner and crest and coin of gold or silver, so famous has he become.

But the Wren was to be punished. And while the birds were trying to decide what should be done with him, they put him in prison in a mouse-hole and set Master Owl to guard the door. Now while the judges were putting their heads together the lazy Owl fell fast asleep, and out of prison stole the little Wren and was far away before any one could catch him. So he was never punished after all, as he richly deserved to be.

The birds were so angry with old Master Owl for his carelessness that he has never since dared to show his face abroad in daytime, but hides away in his hollow tree. And only at night he wanders alone in the woods, sorry and ashamed.


Lee’s Addition:

No one who trusts in you will be disappointed. But disappointment will come to those who try to deceive others. They will get nothing. (Psalms 25:3 ERV)

We are not supposed to cheat or deceive others.

The wise accept instruction, but fools argue and bring trouble on themselves. Honest people can always feel secure, but lying cheaters will be caught. (Proverbs 10:8-9 ERV)

(Photos added by me.)

Links:

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by Quy Tran

 

 

  Accipitridae – Family (Kites, Hawks & Eagles) 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

 

 

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Mother Magpie’s Kindergarten

Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nuttalli) by Daves BirdingPix

Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nuttalli) by Daves BirdingPix

Mother Magpie’s Kindergarten ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

MOTHER MAGPIE’S KINDERGARTEN

Cur Book of Birds letter-dID you ever notice how different are the nests which the birds build in springtime, in tree or bush or sandy bank or hidden in the grass? Some are wonderfully wrought, pretty little homes for birdikins. But others are clumsy, and carelessly fastened to the bough, most unsafe cradles for the feathered baby on the treetop. Sometimes after a heavy wind you find on the ground under the nest poor little broken eggs which rolled out and lost their chance of turning into birds with safe, safe wings of their own. Now such sad things as this happen because in their youth the lazy father and mother birds did not learn their lesson when Mother Magpie had her class in nest-making. The clumsiest nest of all is that which the Wood-Pigeon tries to build. Indeed, it is not a nest at all, only the beginning of one. And there is an old story about this, which I shall tell you.

In the early springtime of the world, when birds were first made, none of them—except Mother Magpie—knew how to build a nest. In that lovely garden where they lived the birds went fluttering about trying their new wings, so interested in this wonderful game of flying that they forgot all about preparing a home for the baby birds who were to come. When the time came to lay their eggs the parents knew not what to do. There was no place safe from the four-legged creatures who cannot fly, and they began to twitter helplessly: “Oh, how I wish I had a nice warm nest for my eggs!” “Oh, what shall we do for a home?” “Dear me! I don’t know anything about housekeeping.” And the poor silly things ruffled up their feathers and looked miserable as only a little bird can look when it is unhappy.

All except Mother Magpie! She was not the best—oh, no!—but she was the cleverest and wisest of all the birds; it seemed as if she knew everything that a bird could know. Already she had found out a way, and was busily building a famous nest for herself. She was indeed a clever bird! She gathered turf and sticks, and with clay bound them firmly together in a stout elm tree. About her house she built a fence of thorns to keep away the burglar birds who had already begun mischief among their peaceful neighbors. Thus she had a snug and cosy dwelling finished before the others even suspected what she was doing. She popped into her new house and sat there comfortably, peering out through the window-slits with her sharp little eyes. And she saw the other birds hopping about and twittering helplessly.

“What silly birds they are!” she croaked. “Ha, ha! What would they not give for a nest like mine!”

But presently a sharp-eyed Sparrow spied Mother Magpie sitting in her nest.

“Oho! Look there!” he cried. “Mother Magpie has found a way. Let us ask her to teach us.”

Then all the other birds chirped eagerly, “Yes, yes! Let us ask her to teach us!”

So, in a great company, they came fluttering, hopping, twittering up to the elm tree where Mother Magpie nestled comfortably in her new house.

“O wise Mother Magpie, dear Mother Magpie,” they cried, “teach us how to build our nests like yours, for it is growing night, and we are tired and sleepy.”

The Magpie said she would teach them if they would be a patient, diligent, obedient class of little birds. And they all promised that they would.

She made them perch about her in a great circle, some on the lower branches of the trees, some on the bushes, and some on the ground among the grass and flowers. And where each bird perched, there it was to build its nest. Then Mother Magpie found clay and bits of twigs and moss and grass—everything a bird could need to build a nest; and there is scarcely anything you can think of which some bird would not find very useful. When these things were all piled up before her she told every bird to do just as she did. It was like a great big kindergarten of birds playing at a new building game, with Mother Magpie for the teacher.

She began to show them how to weave the bits of things together into nests, as they should be made. And some of the birds, who were attentive and careful, soon saw how it was done, and started nice homes for themselves. You have seen what wonderful swinging baskets the Oriole makes for his baby-cradle? Well, it was the Magpie who taught him how, and he was the prize pupil, to be sure. But some of the birds were not like him, nor like the patient little Wren. Some of them were lazy and stupid and envious of Mother Magpie’s cosy nest, which was already finished, while theirs was yet to do.

As Mother Magpie worked, showing them how, it seemed so very simple that they were ashamed not to have discovered it for themselves. So, as she went on bit by bit, the silly things pretended that they had known all about it from the first—which was very unpleasant for their teacher.

Mother Magpie took two sticks in her beak and began like this: “First of all, my friends, you must lay two sticks crosswise for a foundation, thus,” and she placed them carefully on the branch before her.

“Oh yes, oh yes!” croaked old Daddy Crow, interrupting her rudely. “I thought that was the way to begin.”

Mother Magpie snapped her eyes at him and went on, “Next you must lay a feather on a bit of moss, to start the walls.”

Western Jackdaw (Coloeus monedula) ©WikiC

Western Jackdaw (Coloeus monedula) ©WikiC

“Certainly, of course,” screamed the Jackdaw. “I knew that came next. That is what I told the Parrot but a moment since.”

Mother Magpie looked at him impatiently, but she did not say anything. “Then, my friends, you must place on your foundation moss, hair, feathers, sticks, and grass—whatever you choose for your house. You must place them like this.”

“Yes, yes,” cried the Starling, “sticks and grass, every one knows how to do that! Of course, of course! Tell us something new.”

"Next you must lay a feather"

“Next you must lay a feather”

Now Mother Magpie was very angry, but she kept on with her lesson in spite of these rude and silly interruptions. She turned toward the Wood-Pigeon, who was a rattle-pated young thing, and who was not having any success with the sticks which she was trying to place.

“Here, Wood-Pigeon,” said Mother Magpie, “you must place those sticks through and across, criss-cross, criss-cross, so.”

“Criss-cross, criss-cross, so,” interrupted the Wood-Pigeon. “I know. That will do-o-o, that will do-o-o!”

Mother Magpie hopped up and down on one leg, so angry she could hardly croak.

“You silly Pigeon,” she sputtered, “not so. You are spoiling your nest. Place the sticks so!”

“I know, I know! That will do-o-o, that will do-o-o!” cooed the Wood-Pigeon obstinately in her soft, foolish little voice, without paying the least attention to Mother Magpie’s directions.

Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) with newly hatched young ©WikiC

Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus) with newly hatched young ©WikiC

“We all know that—anything more?” chirped the chorus of birds, trying to conceal how anxious they were to know what came next, for the nests were only half finished.

But Mother Magpie was thoroughly disgusted, and refused to go on with the lesson which had been so rudely interrupted by her pupils.

“You are all so wise, friends,” she said, “that surely you do not need any help from me. You say you know all about it,—then go on and finish your nests by yourselves. Much luck may you have!” And away she flew to her own cosy nest in the elm tree, where she was soon fast asleep, forgetting all about the matter.

But oh! What a pickle the other birds were in! The lesson was but half finished, and most of them had not the slightest idea what to do next. That is why to this day many of the birds have never learned to build a perfect nest. Some do better than others, but none build like Mother Magpie.

But the Wood-Pigeon was in the worst case of them all. For she had only the foundation laid criss-cross as the Magpie had shown her. And so, if you find in the woods the most shiftless, silly kind of nest that you can imagine—just a platform of sticks laid flat across a branch, with no railing to keep the eggs from rolling out, no roof to keep the rain from soaking in—when you see that foolishness, you will know that it is the nest of little Mistress Wood-Pigeon, who was too stupid to learn the lesson which Mother Magpie was ready to teach.

And the queerest part of all is that the birds blamed the Magpie for the whole matter, and have never liked her since. But, as you may have found out for yourselves, that is often the fate of wise folk who make discoveries or who do things better than others.


Lee’s Addition:

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, (Proverbs 1:5 ESV)

(Photos added by me.)

Links:

Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia) ©USFWS

 

  Corvidae – Crows, Jays, Ravens 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

 

 

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