Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/608

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

others. Here, with something of the poet, the artist, of the serious man of business, too, yet being in truth none of these, he sets about creating his own world—a world which, like those we all create in our several fashions, bears on every feature the stamp of the creative mind.


WHILE snow still sparkles in the frost furrows on Chocorua's peak, the first rubythroats appear in the warm meadows and forest glades at the south of the mountain. They love the flowers as others of their race love them, and when apple blossoms bless the air with perfume and visions of lovely color and form, the humming birds revel in the orchards of the North as their brothers delight in the rich flowers of the tropics. It is not, however, among flowers that the Chocorua rubythroats are happiest or most frequently seen. Were some one to ask me to find a humming bird quickly, it would make no difference what the age of the summer or what the hour of the day, I should turn my steps toward the forest, feeling certain that at the drinking fountains of the yellow-breasted woodpecker, the red-capped tapster, and loud-voiced toper of the birch wood, I should find the rubythroats sipping their favorite drink.

About the middle of April, and again nearly six months later, a mischievous and wary woodpecker migrates north and south across New England. The casual observer might take him to be a demure little downy, intent upon keeping the orchard free from insects, and if the sly migrant was ordinarily quick in placing a tree trunk between his black-and-white body and the observer his identity would not be detected. On April 17, 1892, 1 noticed one of these birds clinging to a smooth spot on the trunk of a shagbark which grew on a warm pasture hillside in sight of Bunker Hill and the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House. Watching him carefully for a moment, I saw that he was a yellow-breasted or sap-sucking woodpecker, perhaps one of my own Chocorua neighbors, and that he was quietly sipping the sweet sap of the shagbark which was flowing from several small holes in the bark, drilled, no doubt, that very morning by the traveler so serenely occupied. The sapsuckers reach northern New Hampshire before the snow has wholly melted in the woods. I have seen them at Chocorua, on May 1st, at work upon trees which they had evidently been tapping for fully a week. From this time until the last of September, perhaps even till the 7th or 8th of October, they spend the greater part of their time drilling small