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Cowbirds are gregarious. The ungrateful young birds, as soon as they are able to go roaming, leave their foster-parents and join the flock of their own kind.
Red-headed Woodpecker
This woodpecker has the thrifty habit of storing away nuts in the knot-holes of trees, between cracks in the bark, or in decayed fence rails—too often a convenient storehouse at which the squirrels may help themselves.
The Hairy Woodpecker
The hairy woodpeckers love the deep woods. They are drummers, not singers; but when walking in the desolate winter woods even the drumming and tapping of the busy feathered workmen on a resonant limb is a solace, giving a sense of life and cheerful activity which is invigorating.
The Downy Woodpecker
In contrast to his large brother woodpecker, who is seldom drawn from timber lands, the little downy member of the family brings the comfort of his cheery presence to country homes, beating his rolling tattoo in spring on some resonant limb under our windows in the garden with a strength worthy of a larger drummer.
Yellow-bellied Woodpecker
These woodpeckers have a variety of call-notes, but their rapid drumming against the limbs and trunks of trees is the sound we always associate with them and the sound that Mr. Bicknell says is the love-note of the family.
The Chewink
When startled, the bird rises not more than ten or twelve feet from the earth, and utters its characteristic calls. On ac-count of this habit of flying low and grubbing among the leaves, it is sometimes called the ground robin.
Whirling about in the drifting snow to catch the seeds on the tallest stalks that the wind in the open meadows uncovers, the snowflakes suggest a lot of dead leaves being blown through the all-pervading whiteness.
The Rose-breasted Grosbeak
It is not that his quiet little sparrow-like wife has advanced notions of feminine independence that he takes his turn at sitting upon the nest, but that he is one of the most unselfish and devoted of mates.
The Bobolink
After midsummer the cares of the family have so worn upon the jollity of our dashing, rollicking friend that his song is seldom heard. The colors of his coat fade into a dull yellowish brown like that of his faithful mate, who has borne the greater burden of the season, for he has two complete moults each year.
Blackpoll Warble
Vivacious, a busy hunter, often catching insects on the wing like the flycatchers, he is a cheerful, useful neighbor the short time he spends with us before travelling to the far north, where he mates and nests.
Black-and-white Creeping Warbler
Very rarely indeed can his nest be found in an old stump or mossy bank, where bark, leaves, and hair make the downy cradle for his four or five tiny babies.
Chimney Swift
Thrifty New England housekeepers claim that bedbugs, commonly found on bats, infest the bodies of swifts also, which is one reason why wire netting is stretched across the chimney tops before the birds arrive from the South.
The kingbird is preeminently a bird of the garden and orchard. The nest is open, though deep, and not carefully concealed. Eggs are nearly round, bluish white spotted with brown and lilac.
Wood Pewee
The wood pewees show that devotion to each other and to their home, characteristic of their family. Both lovers work on the construction of the flat nest that is saddled on some mossy or lichen-covered limb, and so cleverly do they cover the rounded edge with bits of bark and lichen that sharp eyes only can detect where the cradle lies.
Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) is the Western representative of the Eastern species, which it resembles in coloring and many of its habits. It is the bird of the open plains, a tireless hunter in midair sallies from an isolated perch, and has the same vibrating motion of the tail that the Eastern phoebe indulges in when excited.
Great-crested Flycatcher
The fact that gives the great-crested flycatcher a unique interest among all North American birds is that it invariably lines its nest with snake-skins if one can be had. Science would scarcely be worth the studying if it did not set our imaginations to work delving for plausible reasons for Nature's strange doings.
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Only in the migrations may people south of Massachusetts hope to see this flycatcher, which can be distinguished from the rest of its kin by the darker under parts, and by the fluffy, yellowish-white tufts of feathers on its flanks.
Least Flycatcher
While giving this characteristic call-note, with drooping, jerking tail, trembling wings, and uplifted parti-colored bill, he looks unnerved and limp by the effort it has cost him. But in the next instant a gnat flies past.
The Chickadee
Friendly as the chickadee, is—and Dr. Abbott declares it the tamest bird we have—it prefers well-timbered districts, especially where there are red-bud trees, when it is time to nest.
Tufted Titmouse
Comparatively little has been written about this bird, because it is not often found in New England, where most of the bird litterateurs have lived. South of New York State, however, it is a common resident, and much respected for the good work it does in destroying injurious insects, though it is more fond of varying its diet with nuts, berries, and seeds than that all-round benefactor, the chickadee.
Canada Jay
The Canada jay looks like an exaggerated chickadee, and both birds are equally fond of bitter cold weather, but here the similarity stops short. Where the chickadee is friendly the jay is impudent and bold; hardly less of a villain than his blue relative when it comes to marauding other birds' nests and destroying their young.
The catbird's nest is like a veritable scrap-basket, loosely woven of coarse twigs, bits of newspaper, scraps, and rags, till this rough exterior is softly lined and made fit to receive the four to six pretty dark green-blue eggs to be laid therein.
The Mocking-bird
With all his virtues, it must be added, however, that this charming bird is a sad tease. There is no sound, whether made by bird or beast about him, that he cannot imitate so clearly as to deceive every one but himself.
They are trim, sprightly, sleek, and even natty; their dispositions are genial and vivacious, not quarrelsome, like their sparrow cousins, and what is perhaps best about them, they are birds we may surely depend upon seeing in the winter months.
White-breasted Nuthatch
With more artless inquisitiveness than fear, this lively little acrobat stops his hammering or hatcheting at your approach, and stretching himself out from the tree until it would seem he must fall off, he peers down at you, head downward, straight into your upturned opera-glasses.
Red-breasted Nuthatch
For many years this nuthatch, a more northern species than the white-breasted bird, was thought to be only a spring and autumn visitor, but latterly it is credited with habits like its congener's in nearly every particular.
Loggerhead Shrike
It is not easy, even at a slight distance, to distinguish the loggerhead from the Northern shrike. Both have the pernicious habit of killing insects and smaller birds and impaling them on thorns; both have the peculiarity of flying, with strong, vigorous flight and much wing-flapping, close along the ground, then suddenly rising to a tree, on the lookout for prey.
Northern Shrike
More contemptible than the actual slaughter of its victims, if possible, is the method by which the shrike often lures and sneaks upon his prey. Hiding in a clump of bushes in the meadow or garden, he imitates with fiendish cleverness the call-notes of little birds that come in cheerful response, hopping and flitting within easy range of him.
Bohemian Waxwing
Surely no bird has less right to be associated with evil than this mild waxwing. It seems the very incarnation of peace and harmony.
Bay-breasted Warbler
The chestnut breast of this capricious little visitor makes him look like a diminutive robin. In spring, when these warblers are said to take a more easterly route than the one they choose in autumn to return by to Central America, they may be so suddenly abundant that the fresh green trees and shrubbery of the garden will contain a dozen of the busy little hunters.
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