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the trees and shrubbery in pursuit of their city. Mr. Stone' records that once he game and employing the cover of foliage had a studio in Washington near the with uncanny skill. They take a terrible Treasury Building, and a pair of sparrowtoll of bird life, from song-birds up to hawks came daily to a telephone pole grouse and pheasants, and in summer they close by and lay in wait for the English are the two hawks which are really re- sparrows, which they apparently took to sponsible for most of the chicken-stealing their young somewhere in a concealed I have seen one come up to an orchard courtyard. (They often nest in hollow where hens were scratching, keeping the trees.) This would seem to suggest postrees between him and his quarry till he sibilities to those communities which are was close by. Then he swooped like infested with sparrows. A few pairs of lightning in under the branches, seized a sparrow-hawks on every block would soon chicken, and rose with it, all before a man clean things up! could have reached for a gun and fired. The marsh-hawk (which is a mediumThe illustrator of this book tells me he sized bird, about seventeen inches long) once saw a sharp-shinned hawk fly so has apparently the habit of hunting over low he seemed to be actually hugging the a regular beat. I have records of this ground. He reached a thick hedge, from points as distant as New England simply flowed up over it, and landed in a and Mexico (the latter recorded by flock of pigeons on the other side, killing Charles Livingston Bull). In each case two of them before they knew he was the bird always appeared from a certain anywhere about. Personally, I disap- quarter, followed a definite line of flight prove of egg hunting and collecting. while under observation, and disappeared There are plenty of available collections at the same place. When the marshfor study, and most eggs would do more hawk notes some disturbance in the grass good as birds than as neglected "speci- or gets sight of a mouse or young woodmens” amid the clutter of a boy's den. chuck or desirable insect, he suddenly But if the boy can be taught to distinguish stops, mounts a little, hovers watching, the eggs of the Cooper and sharp-shinned and then strikes with great speed. It is hawks, the more he collects the better! estimated that a pair will account for It will not benefit his clothes, but it will eleven hundred mice, small birds, and help the community and all the beneficent other prey in the ten weeks of incubation birds.
and rearing of a family. Were it not for The sparrow-hawk (a small falcon) the fact that something over 25 per cent. and the marsh-hawk (which may be dis- of this total is sure to be birds, the marshtinguished unfailingly by the white upper hawk would not be a bad fellow to have tail coverts) should both be allowed to around. At the worst, he is listed only live, perhaps the former, at any rate. as "doubtful" by most ornithologists. Their food for the most part consists of To-day I stopped my motor beside a wide mice, insects, and so on, although both field and watched one hunting. He flew take a certain toll of bird life, especially low-not over twenty feet up-and paid the marsh-hawk. At the worst, they are no attention whatever to the other birds, South Germans, not Prussians. The which were numerous. He was intently sparrow-hawk is a pretty little falcon, watching the ground as he flew, and when with considerable rosy color on him, and he finally struck-too far away for me to is seen, perhaps, more often than almost see clearly-it was at something on the any bird of prey by the average unob- ground, probably a field-mouse. On the servant person, because he often sits on other hand, in March, when there were roadside telegraph poles or courses over still no insects and the mice were still the fields. I have seen them over the prairie close to the edge of the Rocky IWalter King Stone, the illustrator of In Mountains, and even in the heart of a Berkshire Fields.
hidden, I watched a marsh-hawk flying added many birds from the north to our over the fields beside a small pond. He resident population. The great horned found nothing, and crossed the water. owl, or "six-hooter" as he is called in the On the other shore he suddenly poised Adirondacks, because of his "song," is the himself in mid-air for a long moment, bad citizen among the owl tribe. (His then dropped to a height of only a few “song,” however, is by no means always feet, and shot up over a little headland of six hoots.) He is a big bird, standing of shrubs, coming down into the bushes often a full two feet high, and weighs on the other side. As he swooped, I saw about four pounds. He hunts by night, several small birds, probably song-spar- as a rule, but more than once he has been rows, scatter with little cheeps of terror caught out in the daytime, and I have into the densest part of the shrubbery. known of one with a crow in his talons, As they scattered, the hawk wheeled and pursued by thousands of live crows, in dodged about, trying to snatch one out of full day. The crows did not molest him the air. He then rose twenty feet, hover- while he was perched, but when he ated over the spot for some time, and event- tempted to fly they swarmed down upon ually decided it was no use, darting him. It was in deep woods, and the upswiftly away. The episode, however, roar could be heard a mile away. He did did not make me feel very pleasantly to- not escape till darkness came. One of ward him.
these big owls can easily kill a hen, or Eagles are becoming so rare in the East even a turkey, and on farms which adjoin now that few people ever see one. Some- the wild forests where the owls love to times they think they see one, when it is nest (in hollow trees or even in old crows' in reality the big osprey, or fish-hawk. nests) they are often a serious pest. They That noble-looking and vicious-acting also kill skunk, woodchuck, game-birds, brute, the golden eagle, who nests on in- and rabbits, as well as song-birds and accessible cliff ledges, has been driven mice. The call of the great horned owl more and more into remote mountain is generally represented as follows: Whoo, fastnesses. But the bald eagle still is hoo-hoo-hoo, whoo, whoo. It doesn't found occasionally. In December, 1917, sound unlike the long-drawn toot of a one was seen in southern New Hampshire, distant freight-engine. An owl on my and the next day one was shot in May- mountain last winter invariably omitted nard, Massachusetts, while eating a pig the first whoo. he had just killed. Presumably it was the I have found but one record of a snowy same bird seen in New Hampshire the owl in western Massachusetts, though day before. Twenty-five years ago we they not infrequently come down the seaused to see bald eagles rather frequently coast in winter, from their northern home, both in Rhode Island, along the salt even as far as Long Island. This one ponds, and in the wilder parts of the appeared a few years ago, and was capBerkshires and the White Mountains. tured single-handed by an old lady. She But they are encountered less and less heard a commotion just at twilight in her often now. You have to seek the high chicken-yard, rushed out, and saw the Rockies to find them a characteristic fea- great white bird, a total novelty to her, ture in the aërial perspective.
endeavoring to rise with her pet rooster But the owls we have with us still. in his talons. The rooster was putting The taxidermists agree that more great up a good scrap, and the old lady rushed horned owls were brought in the last two to his assistance, armed with her apron. winters than in any season for years. In She got the apron over the owl, and acfact, the supply of artificial eyes for the tually succeeded in getting him into the stuffed specimens was entirely exhausted house, though both she and the apron before the winter of 1917-18 was over. showed the marks of the contest. One of Probably this means that the severe cold the menfolks then appeared and killed it, and it is now a treasured ornament of the many, if not most, sections of Massa front parlor.
chusetts, though hardly here where I The barn-owl is not found in our live, I think, in the mountains and close region either, which is a pity, for he is to extensive tracts of woodland. The not only one of the most humorous-look- barred owl is not a robber like the great ing creatures in the feathered kingdom, horned. He lives chiefly on mice and running a close race for first honors with other small mammals, and should be pro the penguin and the puffin, but he is also tected. The following note from the ila great destroyer of rodents far exceeding lustrator is interesting and vivid. the much-vaunted barn cat, which usually prefers milk to mice. I have often Once I was fishing for bullheads at night wondered why the bird societies do not
on Lake Catherine near Poultney, Vermont,
and I heard a barred owl and answered him. try the experiment of distributing barn
Inside of half an hour I had three in one owls to regions where they are not at tree on the edge of the lake; I could even present found. The same barn-owl, in hear them squabbling and flapping among the Europe, lives in deserted castles and
limbs of the tree. They kept answering me haunted towers and
for an hour or more. When I began calling I could hear them approach down the moun
tain by stages-first far off, then nearer, then does to the moon complain
from the lake margin, and then an interval Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
and the voice would come from the nearer Molest her ancient solitary reign.
shore, the owl having flown across. It was
exciting. Undoubtedly he is also the owl who, on a certain famous and romantic evening,“for little screech-owl (so called, though he
I fancy that for most Americans the all his feathers was acold.”2 It is rather
doesn't screech) really inspires the rocurious that two birds so famous in Old World song and legend as the peregrine of the barn-owl. That soft, mournful,
mance which in Europe is the possession falcon and the barn-owl should play so slight a part in our New World life. The prolonged whistle of his
, that quavering
note as if he always had his vox humana barn-owl, at least, deserves recognition and protection. Some years ago a colony stop pulled all the way out-whoo-00-00of barn-owls lived in the Smithsonian
00-00--00---00---00% has been heard by
all of us, winter and summer, in the still tower in Washington, entering and leaving by, a broken window. Somebody night, often from the orchard beside the ing by a broken window. Somebody house. Many a night, as a boy, I have mended this window, thus killing all the owls inside and driving away all who
lain in bed and listened to the owl calling
from his hole in an old apple-tree, while were outside at the time. A careful and expert examination of the dead birds, the
the November wind rustled the dead leaves pellets, and the nests showed that the
on the oak beside my window and a deowls of this colony had been taking a tre
licious melancholy stole over me. Many mendous toll of rodents and small pests;
a time, too, I have seen, in the daytime,
the face of the little fellow peering from they had been a positive asset to the surrounding community.
a hole, and watched it fade mysteriously Many observers maintain that the bar
from sight as I drew near, much like the red owl (which is somewhat smaller than
Cheshire cat when conversing with Alice. the great horned, and is often called the
However, if you poked your hand down
into the hole, it was no spirit nip you "eight-hooter," because his call has eight notes) is now more common than his
got on the finger! The screech-owl, larger cousin. This is probably true in something like the black bear, has a red
phase. (The so-called cinnamon bear is 1Gray's “Elegy Written in a Country not a separate species). Certain observers Churchyard."
have sought to explain this by differKeats' “The Eve of St. Agnes.”
ences in diet. Doctor Eaton discov
ered that the red-owls he examined had I had never seen so many owls, of any been eating crayfish. As the screech- sort, at one time before. owls in the Mississippi Valley, where There is one bird not classed with the crayfish are abundant, are more often red raptores which visits us in winter and than gray, there would seem to be some must be included among those foes of basis for the theory. The little fellows animal or bird life which swoop down nest in early spring, laying their eggs in out of the air. It is the Northern shrike, New England before May ist, and they or butcher-bird. He is purely a winter often use an old ficker-hole. Undoubt- visitor in the East, and I think is growedly, the owls could be persuaded into ing much less common.
The Northern artificial boxes, and this should be done. shrike is a little over ten inches in length, Not only are they beneficial birds, hunt- gray on top, with black tail and wings. ing mice eagerly, but their faces at the On each wing is a white spot, and the nest hole by day are odd and pretty sights, ends of the tail feathers are white. He and when they are caught outside the will pursue a winter bird like a treenest and puff themselves out or draw sparrow or chickadee or nuthatch relentthemselves up straight and thin, to look lessly through trees and thickets till the like a strip of bark, they are excellent poor little thing is exhausted, when the examples of the protective instinct at shrike kills him by a blow on top of the work.
head and carries him off. One of his Last spring, in April, we enjoyed for curious tricks is to impale his prey on a several evenings a curious experience. In thorn or the barb of a fence. If you have a meadow near our farm, and beside the ever found a small bird or mouse thus road under the mountain wall, suddenly impaled, he was probably put there by a appeared a flock of screech-owls. There shrike. The captor perhaps was later must have been twoscore at the least. scared away, or he may even have killed Evidently they foregather, something like for the love of it, without any intention crows, at the news of good hunting, and of eating his prey. One of the oddest make a clean-up. This meadow, which shrike tricks I have seen recorded is that also comprised a garden and cornfield described by an observer in Birds of New where the corn had stood shocked all York. This bird was hunting sparrows winter, was no doubt full of mice. Be- near the railroad yards in Green Island, ginning at sundown and keeping it up till New York. He caught two and impaled about nine or nine-thirty, the owls hunted them on the point of a lightning-rod at over this field for five or six nights, and the top of a brick chimney a hundred and then disappeared again. They few low, forty feet high. A pair of fieldglasses back and forth, and as they flew they kept were used to verify the fact. up their quavering call, which, when On a little artificial pond near my farm they are on the wing, is fairly loud and we have seen domestic ducks pulled under sounds a little like a kind of mournful and killed by snapping-turtles (the sublaughter. The air was so full of this marine menace); we have seen fish taken sound, which would come rustling at you by an osprey (the hydroplane menace); overhead, and grow fainter into the dis- we have seen hens and pheasants and other tance as the dim, receding form of the creatures killed by hawks and owls (the bird was outlined against the late twi- airplane and Zeppelin menace). When light sky, that it was strangely unreal, it come to cruelty, even in our little almost as if you stood with Dante on a world of farms and peaceful hills and brink where the lost souls fluttered past. lovely forests nature has given man most Only the shrill peeping of the hylas kept of his lessons; which, to be sure, is hardly the sense of our familiar fields in April. a valid excuse for man, at that.
FOR WHAT MEN DIEDI
SIR PHILIP GIBBS Sir Philip Gibbs was knighted in 1920 for his journalistic work during the war. He served six years in the field as special correspondent and descriptive writer, first with the Bulgarian army, then with the French and Belgian armies, and later with the British. Consequently, his information in Now It Can Be Told (1920), a realistic account of the moral effects of war, is based on actual observation and not on the rumor and hearsay of casual talkers. Sir Philip early entered the profession of journalism, and his articles on post-war conditions in Europe have been a great factor in the molding of public opinion.
What of England ? . Looking weakened ancestry. In the mass, apart back at the immense effort of the British from neurotic types here and there among people in the war, our high sum of sac- officers and men, the stock was true and rifice in blood and treasure, and the pa- strong. The spirit of a seafaring race tient courage of our fighting-men, the which has the salt in its blood from Land's world must, and does, indeed, acknowl- End to John o' Groat's and back again edge that the old stoic virtue of our race to Wapping had not been destroyed, but was called out by this supreme challenge, answered the ruffle of Drake's drum and, and stood the strain. The traditions of with simplicity and gravity in royal navy a thousand years of history filled with war and in merchant marine, swept the highand travail and adventure, by which old ways of the seas, hunted worse monsters fighting races had blended with different than any fabulous creatures of the deep, strains of blood and temper-Roman, and shirked no dread adventure in the Celtic, Saxon, Danish, Norman-sur- storms and darkness of a spacious hell. vived in the fiber of our modern youth, The men who went to Zeebrugge were country-bred or city-bred, in spite of the the true sons of those who fought the weakening influences of slumdom, vicious Spanish Armada and singed the King o' environment, ill-nourishment, clerkship, Spain's beard in Cadiz harbor. The vicand sedentary life. The Londoner was a tors of the Jutland battle were better men good soldier. The Liverpools and Man- than Nelson's (the scourings of the prischesters were hard and tough in attack ons and the sweepings of the press-gang) and defense. The South Country battal- and not less brave in frightful hours. ions of Devon and Dorsets, Sussex and Without the service of the British seaSomersets, were not behindhand in ways men the war would have been lost for of death. The Scots had not lost their France and Italy and Belgium, and all fire and passion, but were terrible in their onslaught. The Irish battalions, with re- The flower of our youth went out to cruiting cut off at the base, fought with France and Flanders, to Egypt, Palestine, their old gallantry, until there were few Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, and Saloniki, to answer the last roll-call. The Welsh and it was a fine flower of gallant boydragon encircled Mametz Wood, devoured hood, clean, for the most part eager, not the "Cockchafers" on Pilkem Ridge, and brutal except by intensive training, simple was hard on the trail of the Black Eagle in minds and hearts, chivalrous in instinct, in the last offensive. The Australians without hatred, adventurous, laughterand Canadians had all the British quality loving, and dutiful. That is God's truth, of courage and the benefit of a harder phy- in spite of vice-rotted, criminal, degenesique, gained by outdoor life and un- rate, and brutal fellows in many battal1 From Now It Can Be Told by Philip
ions, as in all crowds of men. Gibbs. Copyright, 1920, by Harper and
In millions of words during the years Brothers. Reprinted by permission.
of war I recorded the bravery of our