Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/226

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

"TO A GULL.

"Soul of bereaved one, troubled and tossed,
Searching the sea for the one that was lost;
Skimming the air or riding the wave,
Seeking forever that precious one's grave;
Bird of the sea, is it true, is it true,
That the soul of some mourning one lives within you?

"Whom art thou seeking, some brother or son
Who sank to his rest ere his voyage was done?
Or was it a husband, or lover so brave
Who found an unmarked and untended grave?
Bird of the sea, is it true, is it true,
That the sea holds the one who is dearest to you?

"Bird of the sea, when the dismal winds wail,
And the breast of the ocean is swept by the gale,
When the demons of storm in their fierce anger rave,
And you sink 'neath their wrath to a watery grave,
Bird of the sea, is it true, is it true,
That the loved and the lost you find waiting for you?"

To "those who go down to the sea in ships" it is most interesting to watch the antics of the flock of gulls that follows a vessel, hour after hour, on the PSM V52 D226 Herring gull larus argentatus.jpgHerring Gull (Larus argentatus). watch for scraps of food that may be thrown into the sea. The birds are sharp-eyed and wise, and not to be deceived by anything short of real crackers. A traveler once tried to cheat the gulls by tossing out bits of orange-peel and cardboard, but the birds paid no attention whatever until a cracker was thrown to them, when immediately a wild rush was made and the cracker seized before it touched the water.

It has been thought by some that the gulls which follow a ship all day return to the nearest land at night, and another flock appears the next morning. Only recently an experiment was tried that dis-