The Warbling Vireo is not colorful. If you happen to see his back, you will see he is a grayish olive-green, slightly grayer on the head. When looked at from below, and that is the way you generally see him, you may see a tinge of yellow on the white under parts. A white line over the eye is the only other marking. But don’t give up; you will note the slow, deliberate vireo movement. He loves to sing and soon you will hear a pleasing series of notes, all connected but each note on a different pitch; a wave of bird notes, not hurried but clear and musical. This song could be confused with that of the Purple Finch but the latter is slightly higher in pitch and faster.
Unlike other vireos, he likes to nest in the high, deciduous trees which line the streets of cities and towns. Parks and farm homes also offer suitable habitat. The nest is a neat structure, placed near the end of a drooping branch on some well-developed tree; one which is growing in the open, for these small birds like plenty of room around their homes. The male is so proud of his home he often sings while taking his turn with the incubating.
Black and White Warbler
Warblers are an unusual family of birds. Some act like flycatchers and often feed on flying insects. Others join the vireos in searching for larvae in the thick foliage of higher trees. A few mingle with sandpipers and find their food along the banks of some small stream, while the ground-dwelling contingent share choice morsels with thrushes. The Black and White Warbler is different, for while nesting on or near the ground, he feeds on the trunk or larger limbs of trees, combining the upward movement of the Brown Creeper with reverse actions of nuthatches. His is more of a swing movement, quickly switching as if undecided whether to go up or down. Various beetles, ants, weevils, plant lice and larvae are included in his diet.
This bird can be distinguished from the similar Black-polled Warbler by the white stripe down the center of the crown and the white line over the eye. Their habits and songs are different.
The Yellow Warbler, commonly called “Wild Canary,” is the best-known member of the warbler family. Its breeding range extends from the northern part of Alaska, thru Canada, United States and into Mexico, and from coast to coast. It winters as far south as Peru. Unlike most warblers, this friendly little bird seems to enjoy being near people and may nest in some shrub or bush near your home.
You will recognize him instantly for he is the yellowest of all our warblers, even in confusing fall plumage. The male shows pale, chestnut streaks on the throat, breast and sides. The female may show a few obscure markings, but not the distinct pattern worn by her mate.
It is easy to see why these warblers are called water-thrushes. They resemble thrushes and usually are found near water. When you see him walking down a half-submerged log or wading along the edges of a pool, you will find he teeters like a Spotted Sandpiper. You also will notice the dark, olive-brown back, yellowish stripe over the eye, the throat and under parts buffy-yellow streaked with dark olive. The slightly larger Louisiana Water-thrush shows a white line over the eye, white or buffy-white under parts, unmarked white throat with duller streaks under the body. The Ovenbird, a near relative, shows an eye ring, reddish-orange crown and lacks the line over the eye. Western observers will find that Grinnell’s Water-thrush is slightly larger with lighter eye lines and under parts.
The Yellow-breasted Chat is not only the largest, but the most unwarbler-like of this colorful family. If you live near thickets of dense shrubbery, where brier tangles and brushy, low bushes grow in profusion, there you will find this bird. He prefers low, damp ground but does not overlook similar habitat on dry hillsides. His loud and varied song will let you know when he arrives. Each series of notes is followed by a long pause, and then another series, but on an entirely different pitch; clear-whistled notes, low grating tones, caws or reed-like tones all find a place in this bird’s song.
When you make this bird’s acquaintance, you will wonder why he was not called a “Black-capped Warbler,” for no name would be more fitting. In fact, many ornithologists now refer to him by that name. Those who do their birding in the Western United States might feel the same about the Pileolated Warbler, which is similar. Both birds show olive-green above and yellow below, with no wing marks or other distinguishing features, except the black cap worn by the males. Some females carry this mark faintly outlined, but it is lacking on the young. The western bird is slightly larger.
Eastern birders are unfortunate for only on rare occasions do they have a chance to see and study this handsome bird. He is larger than the Red-winged Blackbird, with which he often is associated, but smaller than the Grackles. During migration, they join other members of their family in feed lots, pastures or fields and any mixed flock is worth inspecting. They are identified easily for no other bird has the black body, white wing patch and yellow head and breast. The female lacks wing markings and shows dusky, grayish-brown coloring with a yellowish tinge on lighter head markings. They walk with almost a strut, as if they were proud of their brilliant plumage.
Yellow-headed Blackbirds nest in colonies and affix their bulky nests to tules and other vegetation which grow in the center of marshes and swamps in western areas. There seems to be a tendency to move eastward, for a few are nesting in the marshes of the upper Mississippi valley.
Their song is distinctive and consists of a series of chuckles, squeaks and grating notes, all produced by what seems to be a great physical effort. The results hardly justify such a strain.
Most people are attracted to birds by one of 3 things—their brilliant plumage, a beautiful song or the way they build their nests. The Baltimore Oriole scores in every department. Few birds are more colorful than an adult male, perched on the top of some tall tree, in full sunlight. The rich-orange body glows like a living ember. When you add the black of the head, back, wings and central tail feathers, the white wing bar and feather edging on the wings and the orange outer feathers, near the end of the tail, the contrasting pattern is unique. The female and young are less colorful with dull black and yellowish-orange markings and 2 distinct wing bars.
The Baltimore Oriole’s song is a rich melodious whistle which varies slightly when given by different birds, but retains the oriole quality. It could be confused with songs of some of the grosbeaks, but the latter use more “chip” notes with their whistles. Western birders will find a similar quality in the songs of Bullock’s and Scott’s Orioles.
Almost everyone who lives or has traveled any place east of the Rocky Mountains has seen this bird. The chances are they call it a blackbird, for most people do. From his appearance, they are right. Since there are a number of different species of blackbirds, this one should be examined more closely. When you see him walking around your yard, you will notice he is larger than a Robin, has a wedge-shaped tail and yellow eyes. The male often shows a keel-shaped tail, when flying. The plumage is iridescent and may show green, blue or purple. Those who live along the Atlantic coast refer to these birds as Purple Grackles, a name which is becoming popular for both the eastern and western types.
Grackles gather in huge flocks and can do much damage to unharvested crops. In mixed flocks, grackles show a more even flight pattern than most blackbirds.
Many birders seem to have trouble in listing the Blue Grosbeak. One reason is the size, for they are smaller than most members of this family. Another reason is that light conditions often make them appear black. A third reason might be their choice of habitat. They prefer brushy areas near some stream, but may be found along woodland borders or hedges, where ample brush is found. They usually nest in low trees or shrubs. There you probably will find the male as he sings from the top of some bush or even utility wire which crosses his territory. You can see he is a deep, but rather dull blue, with 2 chestnut wing bars. The female is brown and shows 2 buffy wing bars. Both show a heavy beak which gives them their name.
Blue Grosbeaks nest from Maryland to California but shun the northern states. They winter as far south as Honduras and are fonder of warm weather than most members of their family
Pine Siskins are unpredictable. Some years they are numerous, while others produce few, if any, in the same area. Food supply is not necessarily the answer, for they are erratic wanderers. These small finches seem to prefer conifers for nesting. They build a neat structure, using grass, bark or moss with a lining of finer materials. Their home is well hidden by the heavy foliage near the end of a limb. The eggs are a pale bluish-green, dotted with brown or black markings, more colorful than the pale blue eggs of the American Goldfinch.
Siskins resemble goldfinches in their notes, flocking habits and size, but can be identified by the uniform, striped appearance. They have semi-concealed yellow patches near the body on both wings and tail. Goldfinches show clear breasts in any plumage. Birders have found the best clue to the identity of this bird is the long buzzy note which forms a part of his song. His notes are husky in quality.
Towhees inhabit thickets, bushes and brushy areas, and spend most of their time scratching thru litter which covers the ground in such locations. When disturbed, they usually utter the call note which gave them their name. Opinions differ as to sounds made, so these birds are referred to as “Towhees,” “Jorees” or “Chewinks.” Some call them “Ground Robins,” since they feed on the ground and a part of their plumage resembles that of our Robins.
Towhees are smaller than Robins. The male shows 3 distinct colors; the head, throat, back, wings and tail are black; sides are rusty, and the belly, outer tips of the tail and wing spots are white. The female is browner but easily identified by the color pattern. Western birds are called Spotted Towhees, since their wings and backs show more white feathers. Both have red eyes. Those who do their birding along the coast from South Carolina to Florida will find birds with lighter irises and referred to as White-eyed Towhees.
Several kinds of sparrows can be found in open fields, along roadside fences and hedgerows, but the Vesper Sparrow is easiest to identify. If you should miss the chestnut patch on the bend of the wing or the white belly, bordered by fine lines, you still will notice the white outer-tail feathers. The back is a light grayish-brown with dark stripes.
Thirteenth-Century Hospital Interior (Tonerre)
From “The Thirteenth: Greatest of Centuries,” by J. J. Walsh
This was built by the sister of Louis IX of France, Marguerite of Bourgogne, who retired to it herself to spend her life caring for the ailing poor.
Surgical instruments of the Arabs, according to Abulcasim
After plates in Gurlt’s “Geschichte der Chirurgie”
1. A pincher for extracting foreign bodies from the ear
2. An ear syringe for injections
3. A tongue depressor
4. Concave scissors for the removal of tonsils
5. Curved pinchers for foreign bodies in the throat
6 to 29. Instruments for the treatment of the teeth
19 and 20. Forceps
21 to 25. Levers and hooks for the removal of roots
26. Strong pinchers for the same
27. A tooth saw 28 and 29. Files for the teeth
Surgical instruments of Guy de Chauliac, nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4 (fourteenth century);
and surgical apparatus of Hans von Gerssdorff, nos. 5, 6 and 7 (fifteenth century)
After plates in Gurlt’s “Geschichte der Chirurgie”
2. Balista used for extraction of arrows
3. Cauterizing shears with cannula for cauterization of the uvula
5. Extension arrangement for reducing upper arm dislocations, called “The Fool”
6. Screwpiece for extending a knee contracture
7. Extension apparatus in the form of armour-arm and armour-leg plates
(“harness instruments”) for contractures of the elbow and knee joints
From Gurlt’s “Geschichte der Chirurgie”
Hans von Gerssdorff and Hieronymus Brunschwig, who flourished in the latter half of the fifteenth century in Germany, have both left early printed treatises on Surgery which give excellent woodcuts showing pictures of instruments, operations, and costumes, at the end of the medieval period.
This is the first picture of an amputation known
From Gerssdorff’s woodcut, reproduced in Gurlt’s “Geschichte der Chirurgie”
Bull and man
Birds in a tree
There must be water here
The woodsman and the soldier
The Merchant with the golden bowl
The Merchant throws the bowl on the ground
The King and the turtle
The Geese and the turtle
The Geese and the turtle
Men with swords
Men and deer
Men against elephant
He Ran away from the crowd
Going to the king
Feeding the pig
Feeding the pig to the people
Elephant with sore foot
Elephant pulling out a tree
Elephant playing with children
Elephant chained up
Elephant and man
Elephant and children
Crane with crab on its back
Crane catching a fish
Children looking up in the air
Catching quail in the net
Abris des wvnderbaren Vogels Eme. From the fifth edition of Erste Schiffart in die orientalische Indien so die holländische Schiff im Martio 1595 aussgefahren vnd im Augusto 1597 wiederkommen verzicht … Durch Levinvm Hvlsivm.
THE name ‘emu’ has an interesting history. It occurs in the forms ‘emia’ and ‘eme’ in Purchas his Pilgrimage, in 1613. ‘In Banda and other islands,’ says Purchas, ‘the bird called emia or eme is admirable.’ We should probably pronounce ‘eme’ in two syllables, as e-mé. This eme or emia was doubtless a cassowary—probably that of Ceram.
Casuarius uniappendiculatus, juvenile
From an example in the British Museum of Natural History.