Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/338

This page has been validated.

always done. Swiss and Austrians are colonizing northern Italy; Danish immigration into Germany is common enough. Wherever we turn we discover a constantly increasing population seeking an outlet southward. The ethnic result has been therefore this: that to-day the Teuton overlies the Alpine race, while it in turn encroaches upon, submerges the Mediterranean type. Thus do economic laws, viewed in a broader way, come to the support of ethnic facts. Other problems concerning population are immediately suggested. These we shall consider in the next and final paper of our series.


VERY few persons ever visit the southern portion of the United States and become at all familiar with its woodland life without being captivated by that prince of singers, the mocking bird. Not only as a musician, but in general "smartness," he is far and away ahead of anything else that flies. He is the "Yankee" among birds. In vivacity, in cleverness, in a quick and dexterous use of his small but brilliant brain, it would be hard to point out his equal. And when in the springtime the woods resound with his clear, flutelike, and exultant notes, even the man, if such there be, "who hath no music in his soul" would find it hard to resist the contagious good humor of his glad and gleeful song.

And yet the mocking bird (Mimus polyglottus) is incorrectly named. He is by no means a natural mimic. Half a dozen birds could be mentioned that in this particular far surpass him. This may seem a very strange thing to say, in view of the stories current so abundantly illustrating and emphasizing this supposed gift.

Professor Chandler, in a notable case in a Boston court, once remarked that it was practically impossible for most people to tell the truth even if they tried. Especially is this the case in observing scientific phenomena by persons not trained in that special field. Imagination often plays strange tricks with the recording cameras in such excited brains. As an illustration bearing upon the case in point: A lady had a beautiful grove of young oaks in her front yard of several acres in extent. It was fairly alive with mocking birds. It was in the springtime at their first nesting season, and many of the young birds were beginning to try their wings. One morning Jim, the lazy old tomcat, was missed from his accustomed corner on the sunny porch, and soon was heard a chorus of confused and stridulent cries issuing from the back part of the grove, and there came Jim