Bird Studies In Winter.

AH!  Now we see how that the  November

winds  have  torn  away  the  green  and 

purple  and  crimson  curtains,  behind which 

the homes  of  the little birds  were  hidden  

where it was that they lived  and raised their 

young ones  last summer.  How strange we 

didn't find out  more  about  it  then!  The 

leaves were so  thick,  and  they were so  sly, 

and we  hadn't  learned  how to  look.  We 

will  make  thorough  work,  now  while  the 

birds  are  away  and  the  trees  are  bare,  of 

this jollification  study.  Don't  know what 

that  means?  Why, the nesting  of  birds, 

and the next time they come with  their   

jollifications,  we'll  have  our  eyes  and  our

 wits sharpened all ready for  them.

Look  here,  now,  right  over  our  heads,  in 

the midst of the branches of this young elm 

tree,  is  an  oriole's  nest.  Little  did  you 

think  as  you  passed  under  it  to  school 

that those  bright birds that were flashing in 

and  out  among the trees of the  orchard,  and 

filling  the  air with  their sweet,  brave songs 

hours  before  your  eyes  were  open  in  the 

morning,  were  making this small  pocket  of 

a  nest  to  lay their  eggs  and swing their   

babies  in.  Wouldn't it have  been nice if you 

had happened  on  just  the right morning to 

know  what was  going  on,  and  could  have 

watched from  behind  this  post  to  see  just 

how  they did it.  You would  have seen  one 

bird  come first  with  a  thread  or  string  or 

fiber  of  grass  or  flax,  and  tie  one  end   

securely with  his  beak  and  claws  to  a small 

twig,  and  then  take  up  the  other  end  and 

fasten  it  securely to  another  twig,  two  or 

three  inches  off,  taking  care  to  leave  the 

string hanging between  the  points where it 

is  tied,  as  low  down as the nest is to be long 

 the first thread looking just like the swing 

your  brother  fastened  up  for  you  on  the 

branches  of  the  cherry  tree.  Then  the 

other  bird  would  come  with  another  fiber, 

and if  she  found  the first  all  right,  would 

tie hers in just the same way, only she would 

have it cross  the first;  then there would  be 

two  swings,  crossing  at  the  lowest  point, 

like the  wires  of an  egg-beater.  Then they 

would  bring  more  fibers,  tying  them  all 

around so  as to make a sort of skeleton nest; 

and  then they would weave in more  threads 

or fibers, the other way, until they had filled

it out round, and tied it so  tight that a tem- 

pest  could  not shake it  off.

Now  it  is  all ready to  be finished.  We 

do  not  consider  our  houses  ready to  live in 

until the  carpets  are  down,  and  the  walls 

hung with something to make them cozy and 

comfortable.  Just so  the birds.  They find 

either hair or fur, or wool, for  a soft lining, 

and work  away to pack  it smooth  and  even, 

getting  into  the  nest  and  rubbing  their 

breasts  against the  wall,  all the time  chirping 

  to  each  other in the lovingest way;  only 

if  a  dog  or  a  cat,  or  a small  boy,  happens 

along to  interfere with them,  the soft  notes 

turn  to  an  angry  scold,  by  which  the    

intruder is  warned  off  the premises.  While 

they  are  about  their  domestic  business, 

which  concern no one in the world but their 

own  two  selves,  they  do  not want to  be   

interfered with.  How in  the world they  ever 

double  themselves  up  to  get  down  into  this 

deep  well  of a nest to smooth the lining and 

set on  the  eggs is more than I can imagine.

If these same  orioles  had  been  building 

their nest  anywhere  down  in  the  Southern 

States, they would  have varied it to suit the 

circumstances.  There  they  guard  against 

heat instead  of  cold;  so  they put  the  nest 

on  the north-east side  of  a  tree,  and make 

it  of  the  long  moss  that  hangs  beard-like 

from  the  live  oak  trees,  and  do  not line it 

at  all,  but  leave  it  in  open-work,  so  the 

winds  can  run  in  and  out,  and  fan  the 

young ones,  and keep  them  cool.

I  am  glad  the  orioles  do  not  all  stay 

South, we should miss  them so.  They make 

our summer  glad,  and gay,  and  musical by 

their  chatty,  songful,  shooting-star-like 

ways;  and they are really useful,  too.  Can 

you  guess  how?  I'll  tell  you.  I  had  a 

good  chance  one  day  to  watch  one.  He 

came  into  the  cherry  tree,  directly under 

my window,  for  his  dinner.  I ran  to  the 

window when I heard his  glad  whistle,  and 

watched  him  go  all  over the branches,  now 

holding fast  with  his  claw  to  a  twig while 

he stretched himself far as he could possibly 

reach for a beetle hidden under  a leaf;  then 

he  would  hop  sideways  a  few  steps,  then 

glide  along  the branches,  and  so,  going  all 

over  and  over  the tree,  as  if he were bound 

to  clean it thoroughly  of  all the  insects  on 

it (there were  a  great many black lice then, 

and  he  seemed  to  be making his  dinner  of 

them),  chuckling to  himself,  and  occasion- 

ally giving  a loud shout,  as  though he were 

enjoying  it  immensely.  His  black  and   

orange feathers were  brilliant,  I  assure  you, 

when  he  came  out into  the sunshine.  It is 

said that orioles  are  quite  fond  of  certain 

little juicy scarlet balls  that, at certain sea- 

sons,  are  found  dangling  from  the  cherry 

branches,  and  that they do  not  hesitate now 

and then to  help  themselves  to  a  bite,  and 

take home  a bunch  of  them  to their young 

ones.  "Who  has  a  better right, I should 

like to  know?"  Their main living is    

caterpillars  and  beetles,  and  I  doubt  not 

 they  feel  the  need  of  vegetable  food  once

  in  a  while  for  health.  

These  birds  are  called Baltimore orioles, 

because the brilliant black 

and  orange  of  the males  are like  the  colors 

on  the  coat-of-arms  of  Lord Baltimore.

Have you ever wondered why the male  of 

so  many species  of  birds  is  so  much more 

highly  colored  than  the  female?  A good 

many persons  have  wondered  and  formed 

theories  about  it.  The  one  that  seems  to 

me most likely to be right is this:  They say

where the male  bird  is  gay  and showy,  he 

does not take his  turn in sitting  on  the  eggs 

to  hatch them;  but  where  both  of  the  pa- 

rent birds  are much  alike,  and both of a   

sober tint, each takes a share in the work of   

incubation.  A bird  of dull color  is  not  easily 

noticed among the branches and leaves, or on 

the  ground,  if it nests  there.  You see if a 

boy who  can  hit  a  mark  with  a  stone  so 

neatly, should happen  all of a sudden to spy 

a bright red mother bird  on  a  nest, he would 

not  stop  to  think  before  he  would  send 

a  pebble  speeding  after  it;  and  when 

it was  too  late  to  think,  the  beautiful  

creature might be killed, and  how sorry he 

would  feel when  he  heard  the  other  bird 

 mourning  for  his  dead  mate,  and  thought  of

  the  pretty  eggs,  and the  little birds that 

might  have  been,  but for  his  temptation,  and

 now can  never  be.  We shall find, as  we  go  

on  to study nature,  how  God  takes  care  for

  the preservation  of his creatures.  Does not 

this care in  coloring  the  sparrow,  to  ensure

  her safety,  look some  like  the  answer,

  before  it is  said,  to  the  prayer,  "Lead  us

  not into temptation, but  deliver us  from  evil?" 

 And who  knows  but  this  is  for  the  good  

of  the boys  as  well  as  the  birds? 

F. B. J., 

 in Laws of Life.