Page:Condor19(2).djvu/25

This page needs to be proofread.


Mar., 1917 BIRDS OF THE HUMID COAST 51 the young full grown but dingy breasted. When I spoke to the carpenter's wife about their being out so early she rejoined, "They're an early layin' bird," which would apply equally to the Kinglets and Chickadees, all of whom were seen with families early in June. IV. UP THIg OLD ?rOOD ROAD An old wood road circled around from our clearing up along the foot of the mountains through half cut timber to the next clearing where a New Eng- land family were making a home, and from this road through the half open woods many birds were to be seen. In the brushy edge of the timber where ferns stood above my head, early in June I happened along at the rare moment when a Golden Pileolated, who generally sings hidden away in the greenery was impelled to proclaim his joy in the open, and oblivious of all passers-by, oblivious of all but the song in his heart., beginning softly on top of a high stub above me, flew singing more and more rapturously, more ecstatically from one lofty perch to another. As the old overgrown road swung around a corner before entering the woods, long arms of low Sitka spruces reaching to the light held out detaining fingers. Beyond, a luxuriant growth cf salmonberry bushes leaned out over the road, their long vine-like arms tossed so high that only winged birds or children riding by could pick their luscious berries, berries curiously enough both salmon yellow and raspberry pink, with a delicious flavor all their own. On the other side of the road stood tar beautiful spikes of bright pink Canter- bury bells, or fox gloves as the people of the country call them, at that time the dominant flowers of the clearings. Inside the woods little disturbed by man, as its overgrown road testified, the latter part of June I heard a second happy songster, this time a brown Win- ter Wren with his inch of a tail tipped up at his back, singing on the mossy top of an upturned root. A companion Wren was clambering arouhd over mossy branches close by, and her mate's song was of every day home happiness, but even so he sang so hard that his bill looked as if set wide open. Little Goldi- locks and her two white dogs were running about and one of the Wrens looking at the dogs gave a bob and disappeared. Whenever I passed that way after- wards, I looked for them and sometimes caught glimpses of them or heard snatches of song up the woods; but in any case it was pleasant to remember that they had been there, brown sprites of the dark shadowed forest. This 'dense Humid Coast country is the chosen home of these cheery spirited little birds whom no shadows have power to depress, and during the month of my stay I located what I took to be five different pairs within the radius of fifty rods which included most of my working beat. Along the woods road the dominant bird was the handsome crested Jay with its smoky head and neck, turquoise underparts and dark blue wings and tail. Its loud imperious check-ek-ek-ek-ek varied by a hoarse cha-cha-cha-cha- cha often greeted me on entering the woods, and one would sometimes sail down on outspread wings from tree to tree with a quick whecker-whecker- whecker, or perhaps give the crow-like 'cork-pulling' ker'r'r'r'r'r'r. When one wanted to get to the top of a tre% instead of flying straight up as many birds do, he would climb the winding stairs, a branch at a time; and one that I watched started near the top of a tall conifer and ran rapidly down his stair, at its foot apparently giving a bite of food to his mate.