Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/680

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



and when four years old explained to me that she did not mind them because she knew they didn't really happen."

It appears to me to be incontestable that in this spontaneous outgoing of fellow-feeling toward others, human and animal, the child manifests something of a truly moral quality. C——'s stout and persistent advocacy of the rights of London horses against the oppression of the bearing-rein had in it something of righteous indigation. The way in which his mind was at this period preoccupied with animal suffering suggests that his sympathies with animals were rousing the first fierce protest against the wicked injustice of the world. The boy De Quincey got this first feeling of moral evil in another way through his sympathy with a sister who, rumor said, had been brutally treated by a servant. He could not, he tells us, bear to look on the woman. It was not anger. "The feeling which fell upon me was a shuddering horror, as upon a first glimpse of the truth that I was in a world of evil and strife."[1]


WHETHER your object be to study birds as a scientist or simply as a lover of Nature, the first step is the same—you must learn to know them. This problem of identification has been given up in despair by many would-be ornithologists. We can neither pick, press, net, nor impale birds; and here the botanist and the entomologist have a distinct advantage. Even if we have the desire to resort to a gun its use is not always possible. But with patience and practice the identification of birds is a comparatively easy matter, and in the end you will name them with surprising ease and certainty. There is generally more character in the flight of a bird than there is in the gait of a man. Both are frequently indescribable but perfectly diagnostic, and you learn to recognize bird friends as you do human ones—by experience.

If you confine your studies to one locality, probably not more than one third of the species described in this volume will come within the field of your observation. To aid you in learning which species should be included in this third, the paragraphs on range are followed by a statement of the bird's standing at Wash-

  1. Autobiographical Sketches, chap. i.
  2. Being part of a chapter from the author's illustrated Handbook of Birds of Eastern North America recently issued by Messrs. D. Appleton & Co.