Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/472

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

are woodland flowers and flowers of the field, and flowers that grow on the border line among the briers and cripple as though undecided which dwelling place to choose, or lingering in the delights of both. Who ever found the mullein and the toadflax in the depths of a wood or picked an anemone in open fields? Yet there are flowers that find a congenial home in each, like the bluets, spring beauties, and the star of Bethlehem. In every province of life we find forms peculiar to the open grass lands and forms characteristic of the woodland, each "to the manner born."

These points of comparison apply especially to bird life. Every boy who has indulged the natural propensity to haunt running streams and wild, delectable places, to pursue shy birds and pry into the secret of their nests, knows full well that there are birdsPSM V42 D472 Vesper sparrow.jpgFig. 1.—Vesper Sparrow.of the fields and birds of the woods. A student of ornithology soon learns that certain groups or families of birds are peculiar either to the woods or to the fields, and that their organization is in more or less entire accordance with the manner of life induced by the physical conditions of the area they inhabit. Among our Eastern American birds the titmice, wrens, creepers, nuthatches, wood warblers, tanagers, vireos, shrikes, waxwings, tyrant fly-catchers, the woodland group of thrushes, crows, jays, and woodpeckers are all tree-lovers, for the most part nesting in trees, and, if on or near the ground, usually in the depths of tangled underwood. On the other hand, a number of species belonging to the large family of the finches (sparrows, buntings, etc.) are strictly birds of the grass lands, and this is true also of some members of the closely allied family of starlings, blackbirds, and orioles, notably in the case of the field lark, some blackbirds, and the bobolink.

Among the finches that are strictly grass-loving and dwellers in fields are three well-known Eastern species—the vesper, savanna, and grasshopper sparrows. The vesper sparrow, so called from its soft, rich song that fills the still evening air on upland pastures and immortalized by the pen of John Burroughs, is a familiar inhabitant of open fields and roadsides. Like most of its relatives it is a plain-colored bird, streaks of soft brown blending