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It might be easy to suggest plausible common aerial birds. The swifts, hapreasons for the general absence of swal- pily, were everywhere, - jovial souls in lows from a country like that about a sooty dress, - and had already begun Chattanooga ; but the extraordinary scar- nest-building. I saw them continually city of hawks, while many persons pulling up against the twigs of a partialnot ornithologists — would account it less ly dead tree near my window. In them of a calamity, is more of a puzzle. From nature has developed the bird idea to Walden's Ridge I saw a single sparrow its extreme, a pair of wings, with just hawk and a single red-tail; in addition body enough for ballast; like a racingto which I remember three birds whose yacht, built for nothing but to carry sail identity I could not determine. Five and avoid resistance. Their flight is a hawks in the course of three weeks spent good visual music, as Emerson might entirely out of doors, in the neighborhood have said ; but I love also their quick, of mountains covered with old forest. eager notes, like the sounds of children Taken by itself, this unexpected show- at play. And while it has nothing to ing might have been ascribed to some do with Tennessee, I am prompted to queer combination of accidents, or to a mention here a bird of this species that

a failure of observation. In fact, I was I once saw in northern New Hampinclined so to explain it till I noticed shire on the 1st of October, that Mr. Brewster had chronicled a sim- traordinarily late date, if my experience ilar state of things in what is substan- counts for anything. With a friend I tially the same piece of country. Writ- had made an ascent of Mount Lafayette ing of western North Carolina, he says:' (one of the days of a man's life), and as “ The general scarcity - one may almost we came near the Profile House, on our

of hawks in this region return to the valley, there passed overduring the breeding season is simply head a single chimney-swift. What he unaccountable. Small birds and mam- could be doing there at that season was mals, lizards, snakes, and other animals more than either of us could divine. It upon which the various species subsist was impossible to feel any great conare everywhere numerous, the country cern about him, however. The afternoon is wild and heavily forested, and, in was nearly done, but at the rate he was short, all the necessary conditions of en- traveling it seemed as if he might be vironment seem to be fulfilled.” Cer- in Mexico before sunrise. And easily tainly, so far as my ingenuity goes, the enough he may have been, if Mr. Gätke

unaccountable ;” but of is right in his contention that birds of course, like every other mystery, it would very

moderate powers of wing are capaopen quickly enough if we could find the ble of flying all night at the rate of four key.

miles a minute ! Turkey vultures were moderately nu- The comparative scarcity of crows merous, — much less abundant than in about Chattanooga, and the amazing Florida, — and twice I saw a single dearth of jays in the oak forests of Walblack vulture, recognizable, almost as far den's Ridge, have been touched upon as it could be seen (but I do not mean elsewhere. As for the jays, their abat a first glance, nor without due pre- sence must have been more apparent caution against foreshortened effects), than real, I am bound to believe. It by its docked tail. Both are invaluable was their silent time, probably. Still in their place, — useful, graceful, ad- another thing that I found surprising was mirable, and disgusting. The vultures, the small number of woodpeckers. For the martins, and the swifts were the only the first four days I saw not a single 1 The Auk, vol. iii. p. 103.

representative of the family. It would

say absence

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be next to impossible to be so much out was picking off bits of lichen with which of doors in Massachusetts at any season to embellish the outer wall of her nest; of the year with a like result. During but after each browsing she alighted my three weeks in Tennessee I saw eight here or there on a leafless twig. If she flickers, seven hairy woodpeckers, two had been gathering nest material, she red-heads, and two or three red-cockaded would have flown away with it, I thought. woodpeckers, besides which I heard one At another time, in a tangle of shrubdowny and one log-cock.” The last bery, I witnessed a most lively encounnamed bird, which is big enough for ter between two humming-birds; a case even the careless to notice, seemed to of fighting or love-making, two things be well known to the inhabitants of Wal- confusingly alike to an outsider, — in the den's Ridge, where I heard it. By what midst of which one of the contestants they told me, it should be fairly com- suddenly displayed so dazzling a gorget mon, but I saw nothing of its “ peck- that for an instant I mistook it for a holes.” The first of my two red-headed scarlet flower. I did not "wipe my eye,” woodpeckers was near the base of Mis- not being a poet, nor even a "rash obsionary Ridge, wasting his time in ex- server," but I admired anew the wonderploring pole after pole along the railway. ful flashing jewel, now coal-black, now Did he mistake them for so many dead flaming red, with which, perhaps, the trees still standing on their own roots ? male ruby-throat blinds his long-suffering Dry and seemingly undecayed, they ap- mate to all his shaineful treatment of peared to me to offer small encourage- her in her season of watchfulness and ment to a grub-seeker ; but probably the motherly anxiety. Does she never refellow knew his own business best. On mind him, I wonder, that there are some questions of economic entomology, I fear things whose price is far above rubies? I should prove but a lame adviser for I had never seen the humming-bird so the most benighted woodpecker that ever much a forest-dweller as here, and gladdrummed. And yet, being a man, I ly confessed that I had never seen him could not help feeling that this particu- when he looked so romantically at home lar red-head was behaving uncommonly and in place. The tulip-trees, in particulike a fool. Was there ever a man who lar, might have been made on purpose did not take it as a matter of course that for him. he should be wiser than the “ lower ani- As the Chattanooga neighborhood was mals”?

poorly supplied with hawks, woodpeckHumming-birds cut but a small figureers, and swallows, so was it likewise in my daily notes till I went to Wal- with sparrows, though in a less marked den's Ridge. There, in the forest, they degree. The common species – the only were noticeably abundant, - for hum- resident species that I met with, but my ming-birds, that is to say. It seemed to explorations were nothing like complete be the time of pairing with them ; more were chippers, field sparrows, and than once the two sexes were seen to- Bachman sparrows; the first interesting gether, — an unusual occurrence, unless for their familiarity, the other two for my observation has been unfortunate, their musical gifts. In a comparison beafter the nest is built, or even while it tween eastern Tennessee - as I saw itis building. One female piqued my cu- and eastern Massachusetts, the Bachman riosity by returning again and again to sparrow must be set against the song the bole of an oak, hovering before it as sparrow, the vesper sparrow, and the before a flower, and more than once swamp sparrow. It is a brilliant and clinging to its rough upright surface. charming songster, one of the very finAt first I took it for granted that she est; but it would be too costly a bargain

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to buy its presence with loss of the song Walden's Ridge. This, too, is a rare sparrow's abounding versatility and high bird in Virginia ; so much so that Dr. spirits, and the vesper sparrow's unfail- Rives has never met with it there. In ing sweetness, serenity, and charm. certain places about Chattanooga it was

So much for the sparrows, commonly as common as it is locally in the towns so called.

If we come to the family as about Boston, where, to satisfy a skeptia whole, the goodly family of sparrows cal friend, I once counted eleven males and finches, we miss in Tennessee the in song in the course of a morning's rose-breasted grosbeak and the purple walk. That the Chattanooga birds were finch, two of our best esteemed Massachu- on their breeding grounds I had at the setts birds, both for music and for beau- time no question, although I happened ty; to offset which we have the cardinal upon no proof of the fact. grosbeak, whose whistle is exquisite, but

In the same way,

from the manner in who can hardly be ranked as a singer which the oven-birds were scattered over above either the rose-breast or the linnet, Walden's Ridge in the middle of May, to say nothing of the two combined. I assumed, rather hastily, that they were

At the season of my visit, — in the at home for the summer. Months afterlatter half of the vernal migration, — the ward, however, happening to notice their preponderance of woodland birds, espe- southern breeding limits as given by cially of the birds known as wood war- excellent authorities, — " breeding from

-“ blers, was very striking. Of ninety-three . . Virginia northward,” — I saw that species observed, twenty-eight belonged I might easily have been in error. I to the warbler family. In this list it was wrote, therefore, to a Chattanooga gentlecurious to remark the absence of the man, who pays attention to birds while Nashville and the Tennessee. The cir- disclaiming acquaintance with ornitholocumstance is significant of the compara- and he replied that if the oven-bird tive worthlessness except from a his- summered in that country he did not torical point of view — of locality names know it. The case seemed to be going as they are applied to American birds against me, but I bethought myself of in general. Here were Maryland yel- Mr. Brewster's Ornithological Reconnaislow-throats, Cape May warblers, Canada sance in Western North Carolina, and warblers, Kentucky warblers, prairie war- there I read,2 « The open oak woodlands, blers, palm warblers, Acadian flycatch- so prevalent in this region, are in every ers, but not the two birds (the only two, as way adapted to the requirements of the well as I remember) that bear Tennes- oven - bird, and throughout them it is see names. The absence of the Nash- one of the commonest and most charville was a matter of wonderment to me. acteristic summer birds.” “Open oak Dr. Rives, I have since noticed, records woodlands” is exactly descriptive of the it as only a rare migrant in Virginia. Walden's Ridge forest; and eastern TenYet by some route it reaches eastern nessee and western North Carolina beNew England in decidedly handsome ing practically one, I resume my assured numbers. Its congener, the blue golden- belief (personal and of no authority) that wing, surprised me in an opposite direc- the birds I saw and heard were, as I tion, by its commonness, both in the first thought, natives of the mountain. lower country near the river and on Birds which are at home have, as a rule,

gy,

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1 Both these warblers - the Nashville and the Tennessee — were named by Wilson from the places where the original specimens were shot. Concerning the Tennessee warbler he sets down the opinion that “it is most probably a

native of a more southerly climate.” It would be a pity for men to cease guessing, though the shrewdest are certain to be sometimes wrong

2 The Auk, vol. iii. p. 175.

an air of being at home; a certain man- nevertheless, if he did but know it, are ner hard to define, but felt, nevertheless, only a poorer kind of child's play ; less as a pretty strong kind of evidence

spontaneous, infinitely less satisfying, and not proof — by a practiced observer. equally irrational. Ecstasy is not to be

Several of the more northern species assayed by any test that the reason is of the warbler family manifested an al competent to apply; nor does it need most exclusive preference for patches of either defense or apology. It is its own evergreens. I have elsewhere detailed end, and so, like beauty, its own excuse my experience in a grove of stunted for being. That is one of the crowning pines on Lookout Mountain. A similar felicities of this present order of things, growth is found on Cameron Hill, – in - the world, as we call it.

What dog the city of Chattanooga, one side of would hunt if there were no excitement which is occupied by dwellings, while the in overhauling the game? And how other drops to the river so precipitously would elderly people live through long as to be almost inaccessible, and is even evenings if there were no exhilaration in yet, I was told, an abode of foxes. On the odd trick ? the day after my arrival I strolled to the “What good does it do?” a prudent top of the hill toward evening, and in friend and adviser used to say to me, the pines found a few black - polls and smiling at the fervor of my first ornithoyellow-rumps. I was in a listless mood, logical enthusiasm. He thought he was having already taken a fair day's exer- asking me a poser ; but I answered gaycise under an intolerable sun, but I waked ly, “It makes me happy;” and, taking up with a start when my glass fell on things as they run, happiness is a pretty a bird which at a second glance showed substantial “ good.” So was it now with the red cheeks of a Cape May warbler. the sight of this long-desired warbler. For a moment I was almost in poor Su. It taught me nothing ; it put nothing into

my pocket; but it made me happy, — "I looked, and my heart was in heaven."

happy enough to sing and shout, though

I am ashamed to say I did neither. And Then, all too soon, as happened to poor even a sober son of the Puritans may be Sasan, also, the vision faded. But I had glad to find himself, in some unexpected seen it. Yes, here it was in Tennessee, hour, almost as ineffably lighted as he the rarity for which, spring after spring, used to be with a new plaything in the I had been so many years on the watch. time when he had not yet tasted of the I had come South to find it, after all, tree of knowledge, and knew not that - a bird that breeds from the northern the relish for playthings could ever be border of New England to Hudson's Bay! outgrown. I cannot affirm that I went

It is of the nature of such excitements quite as wild over my first Cape May that, at the time, the subject of them has warbler as I did over my first sled (how no thought of analyzing or justifying his well the rapture of that frosty midwinemotions. He is better employed. Af- ter morning is remembered, - a hard

terward, in some vacant mood, with no crust on the snow, and the sun not yet longer anything actively to enjoy, he risen !), but I came as near to that state may play with the past, and from an evil of heavenly felicity -- to reënter which

habit, or flattering himself with a show we must become as little children of intellectuality, may turn his former a person of my years is ever likely to do, delight into a study ; tickling his present perhaps. conceit of himself by smiling at the man It is one precious advantage of natuhe used to be. How very wise he has ral history studies that they afford endgrown, to be sure! All such refinements, less opportunities for a man to enjoy

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himself in this sweetly childish spirit, specific determination and their individwhile at the same time his occupation is ual study a work most agreeably difficult dignified by a certain scientific atmos- and tantalizing. The ornithologist who phere and relationship. He is a collec- has seen all the warblers of his own tertor of insects, let us say. Whether he ritory, say of New England, and knows goes to the Adirondacks for the summer, them all by their notes, and has found or to Florida for the winter, he is sur- all their nests, well, he is himself a rounded with nets and cyanide bottles. pretty rare specimen. He travels with them as another travels As for my experience with the family with packs of cards. Every day's catch in Tennessee, I was glad, of course, to is part of the game; and once in a while, scrape acquaintance or to renew it, as as happened to me on Cameron Hill, he the case might be — with the more southgets a “great hand,” and in imagination, ern species, the Kentucky, the hooded, at least, sweeps the board. Common- the cerulean, the blue-wing, and the yelplace people smile at him, no doubt; low-throat: that was partly why I was but that is only amusing, and he smiles here; but perhaps I enjoyed quite as in turn. He can tell many good stories keenly the sight of our own New Engunder that head. He delights to be called land birds moving homeward ; tarrying a "crank.” It is all because of people's here and there for a day, but not to be ignorance. They have no idea that he tempted by all the allurements of this is Mr. So-and-So, the entomologist; that fine country; still pushing on, northward, he is in correspondence with learned and still northward, as if for them there men the country over; that he once dis- were no place in the world but the woods covered a new cockroach, and has had a where they were born. Of the southern grasshopper named after him; that. he species just named, the Kentucky was has written a book, or is going to write the most abundant, with the hooded not one. Happy man! a contributor to the far behind. The prairie warbler seemed world's knowledge, but a pleasure-seeker; about as common here as in its favored a little of a savant, and very much of a Massachusetts haunts ; but unless my child ; a favorite of Heaven, whose work ear was at fault its song went somewhat is play. No wonder it is commonly said less trippingly: it sounded labored, that natural historians are a cheerful set. too much like the scarlet tanager's in the

For the supplying of rarities and sur- way of effort and jerkiness. Unlike the prises there are no birds like the war- golden warbler, the prairie was found not blers. Their pursuit is the very spice of only in the lower country, but — in less American ornithology. The multitude numbers on Walden's Ridge. The of species (Mr. Chapman's Handbook of two warblers that I listed every day, no the Birds of Eastern North America enu- matter where I went, were the chat and merates forty-five species and sub-spe- the black-and-white creeper. cies) is of itself an incalculable blessing When all is said, the Kentucky, with in this respect. No single observer is its beauty and its song, is the star of the likely ever to come to the end of them. family, as far as eastern Tennessee is conThey do not warble, it must be owned, cerned. I can hear it now, while Falland few of them have much distinction ing Water goes babbling past in the as singers, the best that I know being shade of laurel and rhododendron. As the black-throated green and the Ken- for the chat, it was omnipresent : in the tucky ; but they are elegant and varied valley, along the river, on Missionary in their plumage, with no lack of bright Ridge, on Lookout Mountain, on Waltints, while their extreme activity and den's Ridge, in the national cemetery, at their largely arboreal habits render their Chickamauga, — everywhere, in short,

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