To CHILDREN  who  live in  the  country, 

there  are few  birds better known than  those 

that  are  commonly  known  as  night-hawks. 

They are not hawks, in reality, at all.  Hawks 

are  birds of prey a sort of second-cousins 

to  eagles and  have very strong  talons,  and 

sharp, hooked  beaks,  by which  they  are  

enabled to seize  and  tear in  pieces the animals 

they feed  on:  which  are field-mice, squirrels, 

chickens,  and  smaller  birds,  and  sometimes 

snakes  and  fishes.  But  the  night-hawk  is 

more  properly  a  night swallow.  That is,  its 

form  and  habits  are more  like  those  of  the 

swallows,  except that the swallows fly  about 

and pursue their food in the day-time, chiefly; 

and  the night-hawks fly mostly in  the  night, 

and live  on  those sorts  of insects that also fly 

about in  the  night.  The reason these bird 

got  the  name  of  hawk  is,  that when flying, 

they have  motions  a good  deal  like those  of 

hawks;  and they are large birds, too a good 

deal  larger  than  the  day-swallows.  The 

night-hawks have  a single, short note,  not at 

all  musical, which  country boys think sounds 

like the word  "beef."  And they have a    

curious  habit  of  occasionally  plunging    

down-ward  in  the  air  with  a  very  swift 

 motion,  and it is supposed  with their mouths 

 or  bills  open, so  that  the  air  makes  a loud,

 rushing  sound,  which  the  same  boys  fancy 

 sound like  "pork," uttered  very strongly  and

 with  the "O" drawn out to great length.

The whip-poor-will belongs to the same genus 

with  the  night-hawk,  and  is  a very similar- 

looking bird;  but  has  a way of  perching itself 

on  the  fences,  or white  rooks,  or sandy 

places, and repeating very rapidly the curious

guttural note which  at a distance sounds like 

the  words which make  up the common  name 

of  the  bird.

These  two  are  the  only  species  of  this 

family of  birds which  are found  hereabouts. 

There  are many more species living in  other 

regions, one of which is the fork-tailed night- 

swallow.  Its  long and forked  tail  is  a  sign 

of its relationship to  the swallow,  or at  least 

to  our most familiar friend  in  this  branch  of 

the  family,  the  barn-swallow.

But it is curious that, while  the  day-swallows

and  night-swallows  are  so  much  alike 

in  their food  and  their  way  of  catching  it, 

and in  the  broad  and very wide opening  bill, 

or rather mouth, which  helps them  about   

securing their nimble  prey, when  we  come  to 

the  matter  of building  their  nests, they follow 

very different  plans.

The swallows are decidedly in-door  birds 

about their  nests;  one  kind  builds inside  of 

barns;  another  under the  eaves;  another in 

chimneys;  two kinds in  boxes,  when  we  are 

kind  enough to furnish the right sort of box; 

another  kind  under  ground,  in  the  sides  of 

sand-banks;  but  all  under cover.  But the 

night-swallows select  a  soft  spot  on  a  bare 

rock, and lay their  eggs without making any 

nest  at  all.  Perhaps, as the  little  birds  are 

to  be  brought up  to be  abroad  all  night, it is 

best for them to  have a hard  and cold cradle.

There  is  one  large  and  quite  interesting 

species of these birds which live in the Southern 

States, that goes  by the  name of "Chuck 

Will's  Widow."  One  would  think  these 

birds  must  have  a  notion  that  Will  was  a 

sad  sort of  fellow,  and  led  an  unhappy  life 

with his wife, to set one  of them to  singing, 

"Whip-poor-will,"  and  the  other  to  crying 

out, "Chuck Will's Widow."

 S. S.  Gazett