Some Homes in the Green Forest – Chapter 18

Redtail the Hawk - Burgess Bird Book ©©

Redtail the Hawk – Burgess Bird Book ©©

Some Homes in the Green Forest

The Crow, the Oven Bird and the Red-tailed Hawk.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children


CHAPTER 18. Some Homes in the Green Forest.

Listen to the story read.

Reddy Fox wasted very little time waiting for Peter Rabbit to come out from under that pile of brush where he had hidden at Sammy Jay’s warning. After making some terrible threats just to try to frighten Peter, he trotted away to look for some Mice. Peter didn’t mind those threats at all. He was used to them. He knew that he was safe where he was, and all he had to do was to stay there until Reddy should be so far away that it would be safe to come out.

Just to pass away the time Peter took a little nap. When he awoke he sat for a few minutes trying to make up his mind where to go and what to do next. From ‘way over in the direction of the Old Pasture the voice of Blacky the Crow reached him. Peter pricked up his ears, then chuckled.

“Reddy Fox has gone back to the Old Pasture and Blacky has discovered him there,” he thought happily. You see, he understood what Blacky was saying. To you or me Blacky would have been saying simply, “Caw! Caw!” But to all the little people of the Green Forest and Green Meadows within hearing he was shouting, “Fox! Fox!”

“I wonder,” thought Peter, “where Blacky is nesting this year. Last year his nest was in a tall pine-tree not far from the edge of the Green Forest. I believe I’ll run over there and see if he has a new nest near the old one.”

So Peter scampered over to the tall pine in which was Blacky’s old nest. As he sat with his head tipped back, staring up at it, it struck him that that nest didn’t look so old, after all. In fact, it looked as if it had recently been fixed up quite like new. He was wondering about this and trying to guess what it meant, when Blacky himself alighted close to the edge of it.

There was something in his bill, though what it was Peter couldn’t see. Almost at once a black head appeared above the edge of the nest and a black bill seized the thing which Blacky had brought. Then the head disappeared and Blacky silently flew away.

“As sure as I live,” thought Peter, “that was Mrs. Blacky, and Blacky brought her some food so that she would not have to leave those eggs she must have up there. He may be the black-hearted robber every one says he is, but he certainly is a good husband. He’s a better husband than some others I know, of whom nothing but good is said. It just goes to show that there is some good in the very worst folks. Blacky is a sly old rascal. Usually he is as noisy as any one I know, but he came and went without making a sound. Now I think of it, I haven’t once heard his voice near here this spring. I guess if Farmer Brown’s boy could find this nest he would get even with Blacky for pulling up his corn. I know a lot of clever people, but no one quite so clever as Blacky the Crow. With all his badness I can’t help liking him.”

Twice, while Peter watched, Blacky returned with food for Mrs. Blacky. Then, tired of keeping still so long, Peter decided to run over to a certain place farther in the Green Forest which was seldom visited by any one. It was a place Peter usually kept away from. It was pure curiosity which led him to go there now. The discovery that Blacky the Crow was using his old nest had reminded Peter that Redtail the Hawk uses his old nest year after year, and he wanted to find out if Redtail had come back to it this year.

Halfway over to that lonesome place in the Green Forest a trim little bird flew up from the ground, hopped from branch to branch of a tree, walked along a limb, then from pure happiness threw back his head and cried, “Teacher, teacher, teacher, teacher, teacher!” each time a little louder than before. It was Teacher the Oven Bird.

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) by Raymond Barlow

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) by Raymond Barlow

In his delight at seeing this old friend, Peter quite forgot Redtail the Hawk. “Oh, Teacher!” cried Peter. “I’m so glad to see you again!”

Teacher stopped singing and looked down at Peter. “If you are so glad why haven’t you been over to see me before?” he demanded. “I’ve been here for some time.”

Peter looked a little foolish. “The truth is, Teacher,” said he very humbly, “I have been visiting the Old Orchard so much and learning so many things that this is the first chance I have had to come ‘way over here in the Green Forest. You see, I have been learning a lot of things about you feathered folks, things I hadn’t even guessed. There is something I wish you’d tell me, Teacher; will you?”

“That depends on what it is,” replied Teacher, eyeing Peter a little suspiciously.

“It is why you are called Oven Bird,” said Peter.

“Is that all?” asked Teacher. Then without waiting for a reply he added, “It is because of the way Mrs. Teacher and I build our nest. Some people think it is like an oven and so they call us Oven Birds. I think that is a silly name myself, quite as silly as Golden Crowned Thrush, which is what some people call me. I’m not a Thrush. I’m not even related to the Thrush family. I’m a Warbler, a Wood Warbler.”

“I suppose,” said Peter, looking at Teacher thoughtfully, “they’ve given you that name because you are dressed something like the Thrushes. That olive-green coat, and white waistcoat all streaked and spotted with black, certainly does remind me of the Thrush family. If you were not so much smaller than any of the Thrushes I should almost think you were one myself. Why, you are not very much bigger than Chippy the Chipping Sparrow, only you’ve got longer legs. I suppose that’s because you spend so much time on the ground. I think that just Teacher is the best name for you. No one who has once heard you could ever mistake you for any one else. By the way, Teacher, where did you say your nest is?”

“I didn’t say,” retorted Teacher. “What’s more, I’m not going to say.”

“Won’t you at least tell me if it is in a tree?” begged Peter.

Teacher’s eyes twinkled. “I guess it won’t do any harm to tell you that much,” said he. “No, it isn’t in a tree. It is on the ground and, if I do say it, it is as well hidden a nest as anybody can build. Oh, Peter, watch your step! Watch your step!” Teacher fairly shrieked this warning.

Peter, who had just started to hop off to his right, stopped short in sheer astonishment. Just in front of him was a tiny mound of dead leaves, and a few feet beyond Mrs. Teacher was fluttering about on the ground as if badly hurt. Peter simply didn’t know what to make of it. Once more he made a movement as if to hop. Teacher flew right down in front of him. “You’ll step on my nest!” he cried.

Peter stared, for he didn’t see any nest. He said as much.

“It’s under that little mound of leaves right in front of your feet!” cried Teacher. “I wasn’t going to tell you, but I just had to or you certainly would have stepped on it.”

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) Nest ©WikiC

Very carefully Peter walked around the little bunch of leaves and peered under them from the other side. There, sure enough, was a nest beneath them, and in it four speckled eggs. “I won’t tell a soul, Teacher. I promise you I won’t tell a soul,” declared Peter very earnestly. “I understand now why you are called Oven Bird, but I still like the name Teacher best.”

Feeling that Mr. and Mrs. Teacher would feel easier in their minds if he left them, Peter said good-by and started on for the lonesome place in the Green Forest where he knew the old nest of Redtail the Hawk had been. As he drew near the place he kept sharp watch through the treetops for a glimpse of Redtail. Presently he saw him high in the blue sky, sailing lazily in big circles. Then Peter became very, very cautious. He tiptoed forward, keeping under cover as much as possible. At last, peeping out from beneath a little hemlock-tree, he could see Redtail’s old nest. He saw right away that it was bigger than it had been when he saw it last. Suddenly there was a chorus of hungry cries and Peter saw Mrs. Redtail approaching with a Mouse in her claws. From where he sat he could see four funny heads stretched above the edge of the nest.

“Redtail is using his old nest again and has got a family already,” exclaimed Peter. “I guess this is no place for me. The sooner I get away from here the better.”

Red-tailed Hawk- Cochran Shoals Unit Chattahoochee River by SSlayton

Red-tailed Hawk- Cochran Shoals Unit Chattahoochee River by SSlayton

Just then Redtail himself dropped down out of the blue, blue sky and alighted on a tree close at hand. Peter decided that the best thing he could do was to sit perfectly still where he was. He had a splendid view of Redtail, and he couldn’t help but admire this big member of the Hawk family. The upper parts of his coat were a dark grayish-brown mixed with touches of chestnut color. The upper part of his breast was streaked with grayish-brown and buff, the lower part having but few streaks. Below this were black spots and bars ending in white. But it was the tail which Peter noticed most of all. It was a rich reddish-brown with a narrow black band near its end and a white tip. Peter understood at once why this big Hawk is called Redtail.

It was not until Mr. and Mrs. Redtail had gone in quest of more food for their hungry youngsters that Peter dared steal away. As soon as he felt it safe to do so, he headed for home as fast as he could go, lipperty-lipperty-lip. He knew that he wouldn’t feel safe until that lonesome place in the Green Forest was far behind.

Yet if the truth be known, Peter had less cause to worry than would have been the case had it been some other member of the Hawk family instead of Redtail. And while Redtail and his wife do sometimes catch some of their feathered and furred neighbors, and once in a while a chicken, they do vastly more good than harm.

This story gives good examples of friends watching out for friends. Also, friends love their neighbors and go for visits now and then.

“But you be watchful in all things,…” (2 Timothy 4:5a NKJV)


  • Who was the one warning the animal and bird friends?
  • What is a call of the Crow?
  • Is it good for us to warn others of danger?
  • What does Peter really think it says?
  • Who was the little bird that Peter spotted up in the tree?
  • Why is he called by that name?
  • When Peter began to leave, why did the little bird become upset?
  • What bird was Peter looking for, yet had to make sure that bird didn’t see him?
  • Why didn’t Peter want to be seen?
  • Who sees us all the time? Can we hide from Him?


“A friend loveth at all times,…” (Proverbs 17:17a KJV)





  Next Chapter (A Maker of Thunder and a Friend in Black. Coming Soon)








Gold/Yellow = Heaven



Wordless Birds





Lee’s Two Word Tuesday – 2/28/17


Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) by Kent Nickell



“And he [i.e., Ehud] brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man.  (JUDGES 3:17)

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) by Kent Nickell


More Daily Devotionals


Birds of the World – Furnariidae – Ovenbird Family

White-eyed Foliage-gleaner (Automolus leucophthalmus) by Dario Sanches

White-eyed Foliage-gleaner (Automolus leucophthalmus) by Dario Sanches

And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:10 KJV)

Yesterday you were introduced to the Firewood-gatherer from the Ovenbird – Furnariidae Family. Let’s look at some more things about this family. There are presently (IOC 3.3) 307 species assigned together, but it is such a diverse group. There are over 70 Genera listed. Number one, the Ovenbird, is not even a member of this family. You have to look for it in the Parulidae – New World Warblers to find it.

The Ovenbird name seems to be from the fact that many of these birds make an “oven style” nest or at least one that has an opening to enter or a covering, not the “cup type” of nest of many birds. Most are  insectivores that are mostly arboreal in nature. Insects form the majority of the diet, with some spiders, centipides, millipides and even lizards being taken as well.

They are sub-divided into subfamilies which help find them. It is the names of these birds that have caught my attention this time. Listen to these names:

Tawny-throated Leaftosser (Sclerurus mexicanus) by Michael Woodruff

Tawny-throated Leaftosser (Sclerurus mexicanus) by Michael Woodruff

Subfamily: Sclerurinae ~~ Miners and Leaftossers

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper (Glyphorynchus spirurus) by Michael Woodruff

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper (Glyphorynchus spirurus) by Michael Woodruff

Subfamily: Dendrocolaptinae ~~ Woodcreepers

  • Tribe: Sittasomini – “intermediate” woodcreepers
  • Tribe: Dendrocolaptini – “strong-billed” woodcreepers and scythebills
Rufous Hornero (Furnarius rufus) ©WikiC

Rufous Hornero (Furnarius rufus) ©WikiC

Subfamily: Furnariinae ~~ Neotropical ovenbirds and allies

  • Xenops and Palmcreeper
  • Tribe Pygarrhichini – Treerunner, Xenops, Earthcreeper
  • Tribe Furnariini – Horneros and allies (Tuftedcheeks, Barbtail, Earthcreeper, Cinclodes, Streamcreeper, Rushbird, Reedhaunter)
  • Tribe Philydorini – Foliage-gleaners and allies (Xenops, Treehunter, Canebrake, Woodhaunter)
  • Tribe Synallaxini – Spinetails and allies (Treerunners, Barbtails, Rayaditos, Wiretail, Canasteros, Reedhaunter,Softtails, Thorntails, Firewood-gatherer, Brushrunner, Prickletail, Plushcrown, Graytails, Graveteiro)

Just reading the names you can almost image what they do. Many of them are “creepers,” “runners,” “gleaners,” “haunters,” and then others have their tail described. The tails are Barb, Spine, Wire, Soft, Thorn, Prickle and Gray. The Runners are apparently running up Trees or in the Stream. Not sure what the Miners are digging for, but maybe they are trying to find insects in the ground, whereas the Leaf-tossers are probably looking under leaves for their lunch. They don’t appear to be a “lazy” bird family.

This is a family that I could see being named by what they were doing or how their tail looked. After the birds were created, the Lord brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. What ever he decided to call them, that was their name. Maybe this is how Adam named them by observing their behaviors. Others from another family may have had a different way he named them.

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. (Genesis 2:19-20 NKJV)

Some interesting articles about this family:

Birds of Brazil – Woodpeckers, Woodcreepers and Foliage-gleaners by Mark George


Wordless Birds


Ovenbirds – Ground Singers by A J Mithra

Ovenbirds – Ground Singers

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) by Kent Nickell

Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) by Kent Nickell

Using bird songs to find the population of birds,
according to the team conducting the study of a
more accurate estimate of bird population numbers
is reached when using this technique.
The bird song used in the study that employed
this latest technique is the Ovenbird, a small warbler found in North America.
Researchers gathered their data by recording the bird’s chirping.
Four microphones were used to record the birdsong
and the team combined the sound information and then
employed a computational method in which to convert
the recordings to give a more accurate estimate of the density
of the birds in certain areas..

If the same method is used in church, i am sure,
researchers would be fooled, cos,
we have more of silent churches than of singing churches..
But, Bible says,

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. (Psalm 41:1)

Most of us fail to understand that GOD loves our noise and not our voice..

JESUS did ground level ministry…
HE asked Zachaeus to come down from the tree
before offering to go with him to his house…

People feel proud to sing in the choir seated high above the ground..
Jonah praised from the whale’s belly and GOD delivered him.. (Jonah chapter 2)
Nebuchadnezzar praised from his lowly place
and GOD delivered him.. (Daniel chapter 4)
Don’t we need to learn to sing praises even from a lowly place
like these Oven birds?
Let us learn to sing not only from the ground
but also sing when we are aground…

A small, inconspicuous bird of the forest floor,
the Ovenbird is one of the most characteristic birds of the eastern forests.
Its loud song, “teacher, teacher, teacher,” rings through the summer forest,
but the bird itself is hard to see
Neighboring male Ovenbirds sing together.
When one male starts singing, the second will join in immediately after.
They pause, and then sing one after the other again, for up to 40 songs.
The second joins in so quickly that they may sound from a distance
as if only one bird is singing.
Ovenbirds rarely overlap the song of their neighbors…

Joshua and his men were silent for six days in unison
And they shouted together in unison…
Their oneness brought them victory…
Your silence at the presence of the LORD is worship you know?
Paul and Silas sang in unison and their praise shook the prison and broke their chains…
We have been singing in church for ages but still nothing of this sort
has happened..Why?
Is it because, we still overlap our neighbors’ song?
Is it because, we still haven’t learned to sing together as one like these birds?

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Romans 14:11)

Have a blessed day!
Yours in YESHUA,

A. J. Mithra

Please visit us at: Crosstree

Ovenbirds in the Parulidae – New World Warblers Family of the Passeriformes Order

Video of an Ovenbird by Robert Schaefer (IBC)