feline cry of terror, which makes his opprobrium with boys, is but a part of some hidden doom?
No, the lovely color of the eggs which his companion watches on that laboriously builded staging of twigs shall vindicate this familiar companion from any suspicion of original sin. Indeed, it is well demonstrated by our American oologist, Dr. Brewer
, that the eggs of the Cat-Bird
affiliate him with the Robin and the Wood-Thrush
, all three being widely separated in this respect from the Red Thrush
The Red Thrush
builds on the ground, and has mottled eggs; while the whole household establishment of the Wood-Thrush
is scarcely distinguishable from that of the Robin, and the Cat-bird differs chiefly in being more of a carpenter and less of a mason.
The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, which Audubon
places so high on his list of minstrels, comes annually to one region in this vicinity, but I am not sure of having heard it. The young Pine Grosbeaks come to our woods in winter, and have then but a subdued twitter.
Every one knows the Bobolink; and almost all recognize the Oriole, by sight at least, even if unfamiliar with all the notes of his cheery and resounding song.
The Red-Eyed Flycatcher
, heard even more constantly, is less generally identified by name; but his note sounds all day among the elms of our streets, and seems a sort of piano-adaptation, popularized for the million, of the rich notes of the Thrushes.
He is not mentioned by Audubon
among his favorites, and has no right to complain of the exclusion.
Yet the birds which most endear summer are not necessarily the finest performers; and certainly there is none whose note I could spare less easily than the little Chipping-Sparrow
, called hereabouts the Hair-Bird
To lie half awake on a warm morning in June, and hear that soft, insect-like chirp draw in and out with long, melodious pulsations, like the rising and falling of the human breath, condenses for my ear the whole luxury of summer.
Later in the day, among the multiplicity of noises, the chirping becomes louder and more detached, losing that faint and dream-like thrill.
The bird-notes which have the most familiar fascination are perhaps simply those most intimately associated with other rural things.
This applies especially to the earliest spring songsters.
Listening to these delicious prophets upon some of those still and moist days which slip in between the rough winds of March, and fill our lives for a moment with anticipated delights, it seems as if their varied notes were sent to symbolize all the different elements of spring association.
The Bluebird appears to represent simply spring's faint, tremulous, liquid sweetness, the Song-Sparrow
its changing pulsations of more positive and varied joy, and the Robin its cheery and superabundant vitality.
The later birds of the season, suggesting no such fine-drawn sensations, yet identify themselves with their chosen haunts, so that we cannot think of the one without the other.
In the meadows we hear the languid and tender drawl of the Meadow