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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/357

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339
THE BIRDS AT DINNER.

dantly nourished. If we notice carefully the beaks of all the birds we see, it will help us, by indicating their habits of feeding, to locate them in their families and thus lead us to their correct names. All the sparrows have short, stout beaks, well suited to cracking open seeds and grain, which is their usual food. The thrushes have a curved bill, convenient for holding worms and digging in the soil; they find most of their food on the gound, poking among the dead leaves and rubbish for grubs, beetles, and larvæ. Our robins, which are true thrushes, do valuable spring work in the garden and lawn pulling worms from the soil. Have you ever watched a robin at work? How he tugs and pulls when the worm is long and does not come easily! There is an

PSM V49 D357 Hummingbird warbler and vireo.jpg
Ruby-throated Humming Bird
(Trochilus colubris).
Golden winged Warbler
.Red-eyed Vireo
. Natural size.

energy and a certain business air about him when at work which is very interesting.

The food of the thrushes is chiefly animal, although they like a few strawberries and cherries for dessert, which we ought to be very willing to allow them as a slight return for all the worms and insects they destroy for us. The warblers are almost exclusively insect-eating birds. A few of them hunt on the ground for their food, but as a family their place is high in the tree tops, searching among the foliage for the tiny insects, plant lice, and spiders that make their homes there. They are small birds, having slender beaks.

The tiny humming birds, with their long, needle-shaped bills, are well equipped for securing honey from the very heart of the trumpet flowers and honeysuckles. They find numerous small, insects within the flower as well as honey. From a paragraph in a recent number of The Auk we might judge that spiders were a favorite food with them, a writer there telling us that he found