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Birds in the Garden and How to Attract them

Birds in the Garden and How to Attract them

Margaret McKenny
Introduction by CLYDE FISHER
Copyright Date: 1939
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 348
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  • Book Info
    Birds in the Garden and How to Attract them
    Book Description:

    This reprint of Birds in the Garden is published by the University of Minnesota Press in answer to a widespread demand for a book of this type -- a complete and practical guide for nature lovers who want to enjoy the useful and charming companionship of birds around their homes. Lavishly illustrated with 16 full-page color portraits from Thomas S. Roberts’ noted Bird Portraits in Color, which in now out of print. These reproductions of paintings by some of America’s foremost nature artists, Walter Alois Weber, W.J. Breckenridge, and the late, great Allan Brooks, are among the finest in existence. They depict 104 different birds of 48 species in all their brilliant natural color and plumage. Also included are 32 pages of black-and-white photographs with 81 scenes of birds at home, at work, and at play -- instructive as well as amusing when combined with Miss McKenny’s gay prose. For the serious garden planner, there are five pages of diagrams: planting plans for bird sanctuaries in town and country, bird homes, and feeding devices. Birds in the Garden was first published in 1939 by Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc., and has been out of print for some years.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3644-4
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-x)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xi-xviii)
    (pp. 1-18)

    BIRDS and flowers—they are closely associated in our thoughts—they are a part of our heritage of beauty. But birds, even more than flowers, are significant of vibrant life; they are never static; they are dynamic, pulsating with energy, surcharged with new charm every hour of the day, every season of the year.

    If we were asked just what birds meant to us, many of us would say that they meant the freedom of open spaces—wide skies and untouched forest depths. Others would remember the rapture of the dawn chorus, or the simpler but equally moving beauty of...

  4. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 19-33)

    GRANTED that the birds bring to the garden the joye of life and movement, and to it also, through their destruction of insect pests, a greater beauty of flower, fruit and foliage, it then follows that we must want to do all we can to insure their presence. This can be done more easily than the gardener usually realizes, for birds, whether they are insect or seed eaters, are dependent on vegetation for their existence; all that we have to do is to plant trees and shrubs which are not only ornamental in the garden, but which will be of...

  6. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 34-49)

    ON A place with a slightly larger area than the suburban lot, the trees and shrubs already mentioned and others particularly loved by certain birds should by all means be planted. Unfortunately, if on the larger place you have an orchard the valuable red cedar will have to be omitted because it develops on its branches the fungus called cedar apples. The spores which fly from this fungus cause a destructive rust on the leaves of trees of the apple family, including the native crabapples. But fortunately for us, as well as for the birds, the Asiatic crabapples, so ornamental...

  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  9. Chapter Four FEEDING DEVICES
    (pp. 50-60)

    THERE are people who say that we merely pauperize the birds by feeding them and that it is pure sentimentality on our part to want to see the birds near us.

    It is true that all summer the birds have a bountiful larder, but it is also true that whatever food we offer them winter or summer is only a supplement to their natural diet. Who hasn’t seen a chickadee leave a lump of suet after a bite or two and start busily inspecting a twig, attacking it from every angle, even hanging upside down in order to peer into...

  10. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 61-69)

    SO MUCH for the various types of cafeterias, now for the “fixin’s.” For the insect-eating birds, like the woodpeckers nothing is better than suet. Among other birds attracted by it are the chickadee, brown creeper, golden-crowned kinglet, and the white-breasted nuthatch. The blue jay, too, is exceedingly fond of it. He should have some of course in payment for the beautiful picture he makes against the snow, but not the whole piece which he will surely take if the lump is merely nailed to a tree. Various devices for feeding suet have been manufactured. There is the regular suet box...

  12. Chapter Six PROTECTION
    (pp. 70-77)

    THE most effective protection that can be given our birds is properly selected planting, which means a growth of plants which as nearly as possible duplicates their natural habitat. In the close-set belt of sheltering evergreens they will find protection from cold rainy winds and from snow and ice, and in the tangle of thorny shrubs and vines they can get the cover necessary for nesting.

    When we think of the life in our gardens we are inclined to consider only the plants and the song birds. We not only enjoy the birds but appreciate the benefit they do us...

  13. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  14. Chapter Seven BIRD HOMES
    (pp. 78-110)

    A GARDEN with a planting that provides food and cover, and where there is water and a constant supply of supplementary food, will attract birds all winter. But when spring comes and the urge to mate and nest is upon the birds, will the majority of the guests leave? They frequently do, and to keep the birds with us at this time is most desirable, for not only is this mating season the season of greatest beauty of plumage and song, but a most desirable time from the utilitarian standpoint to have the birds in the garden. After the eggs...

  15. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  16. Chapter Eight WATER IN THE GARDEN
    (pp. 111-116)

    THE birds are our guests in the garden. We should see that they have not only food and nesting sites, but also something to drink and somewhere to bathe. These are most essential parts of our hospitality. Fortunately, though we have given great thought to food and have provided an elaborate menu, we need not compile a wine list. We need never serve any drink except Adam’s ale, but from a selfish standpoint alone it will pay us to provide water, for birds often pick at and ruin cherries and berries, not so much because they are hungry, but because...

  17. Chapter Nine BIRD SONG
    (pp. 117-135)

    IN JUNE or July, either to lie in bed held in the magic net of song or, before the sun rises, to walk in the dusky woods or on the dew-wet prairies, is to hear an ecstatic, spontaneous expression of the joy of life comparable to no other earthly experience.

    Few know of the rhapsodic outpouring of the dawn chorus. Many of us rise early to hear the birds’ morning songs. But not early enough. By five or six o’clock on a June or July day, the chorus has died down and the birds have taken up the necessary duties...

  18. Chapter Ten CARE OF STRAY BIRDS
    (pp. 136-141)

    A HELPLESS bird on the ground! Yes, helpless, but does it need your help? “Stop, look, listen,” should be your watchword when you see a bird fluttering in the grass or hear cries of distress from the bushes. Nine times out of ten if you move back out of sight but where you can watch, you will find that the parent birds, attracted by the hunger call, will be on hand to feed the forlorn young beggar just what he needs. Perhaps only a little while before he had been urged out of the nest so that he could learn...

    (pp. 142-153)

    FOR how many thousands of years has man dated spring and fall by the inevitable arrow of wild geese piercing the mists as it wings unhesitatingly North or South? We know how ancient is the lineage of birds, for their fossilized remains have been found in the upper Eocene deposits of France and England and these remains show that the birds of forty million years ago are almost identical with those of today. Back and forth the flocks have sped, sure, confident, over the ages, led by the marvelous migratory urge, and this ancient impulse, this inexorable regularity, makes us...

  20. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 154-169)

    ON AN estate of some extent, there are usually fields surrounded by hedgerows, and what a boon these hedgerows are, not only to the home gardener, but to the farmer. They furnish food and cover to many species of birds, not only to those of the orchard and garden, but also to those which make their homes in the woods and fields. If in outlying fields, the red cedar climbs in thick ranks on the hillside sloping south, and if hemlocks or other evergreens partly clothe the northern slopes, then ideal protection is found for any of the birds that...

  22. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  23. Chapter Thirteen NATURE’S BALANCE KEEPERS
    (pp. 170-182)

    THE gardener as well as the farmer should know how beneficial hawks are in the scheme of nature. Dr. John B. May says: “It is evident that hawks play an important role in nature or they would not be found in such large numbers of species, and so widely distributed, but until a comparatively few years ago man had very little conception of what that part might be.” Unfortunately, as he points out, in the many myths that have sprung up about them in different countries, they have often been used not only as symbols of courage but of rapacity,...

  24. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  25. Chapter Fourteen BIRDS IN THE CITY GARDEN
    (pp. 183-194)

    THE twitter of the barn swallow, the bubbling song of the wren—how those that are shut in cities miss them if they have known the joy of childhood in the country. Too many times bird song to the city dweller means the harsh chatter of English sparrows or the monotonous moan of pigeons, neither natives of America. But even barriers of wood and stone cannot prevent the true nature student from pursuing his hobby. Astonishing records of the number of birds observed have been made in the tiniest of backyards and often the rarest species are seen in Central...

  26. Chapter Fifteen HUNTING WITH A CAMERA
    (pp. 195-201)

    IN THE far-off days of the caveman if one did not hunt, one starved. It was either hunt or be hunted, and thus the hunting urge, through the desire for self-preservation, became ingrained in man. After thousands of years, life and the struggle for existence became less strenuous and in civilized countries man no longer had to pursue and kill for food. But today there is a theory that just as the human embryo shows the various stages of man’s evolution, so the child repeats his psychic development through the ages in the years from babyhood to maturity. It is...

  27. Chapter Sixteen SANCTUARIES
    (pp. 202-209)

    THE word sanctuary means a place of refuge. In ancient times a criminal sought refuge in a temple or a church to escape from his pursuers. But even then he had to go through certain forms before he received protection. And now, though we speak of our gardens as bird sanctuaries, they are often far from perfect places of refuge, for, of course, no bird can receive complete protection; it always must be subject to the various checks which maintain the delicate balance of nature.

    Nicholson, inBirds in England, says a sanctuary should be an area where birds can...

  28. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
    (pp. 210-227)

    This list is arranged for the beginning student, and that is why the order is alphabetical, not according to the AOU Check List.

    Blackbird, Red-winged,seeRed-wing

    Bluebird, Eastern

    Length 7 inches; male, bright blue above, cinnamon below; female, similar, but duller; young, mostly brown with speckled breast; nest of grass in a hole in a tree, post or bird-house; eggs, pale blue, nearly white.

    Bluebird, Mountain

    Length 7 inches; male, sky blue above, paler blue on head and breast; belly white; female, grayish, blue showing on wings and tail; young brownish with speckled breast; nest in old woodpecker holes...

    (pp. 228-317)

    From the Atlantic westward to Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri, and from Canada southward to Missouri, Kentucky and Virginia, inclusive...

    (pp. 317-323)
    (pp. 323-326)
    (pp. 327-330)
  34. INDEX
    (pp. 331-349)