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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 7.djvu/329

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THE BIOGRAPHY OF A BIRD.

human nature, which consists in the inability to discern in the universe any law by which human life may be guided, there is in the present age less danger than ever, and it is daily made more and more impossible by science itself: of revolt against the Christian law of fraternity, there is also less than ever in this age, and that redemption of the poor and that pacification of nations which Christianity first suggested are more prominent than ever among the aspirations of mankind. On the other hand, the organization of the Church seems ill-adapted to the age, and seems to expose it to the greatest danger; and, what is far more serious, the old elevating communion with God, which Christianity introduced, appears to be threatened by the new scientific theology, which, while presenting to us deeper views than ever of his infinite and awful greatness, and more fascinating views than ever of his eternal beauty and glory, denies for the present to him that human tenderness, justice, and benevolence, which Christ taught us to see in him.—Macmillan's Magazine.

 

THE BIOGRAPHY OF A BIRD.
By ERNEST INGERSOLL.

THE bird which is the subject of this sketch is familiar to all who walk in green pastures and beside still waters; for in such haunts do the Bank-Swallows congregate in merry companies, making up for their want of companionship with man, which is so characteristic of the other hirundines, by a large sociability among themselves. Conservator of ancient ways, it is almost the only swallow which has not attached itself to humanity as soon as it had opportunity, and changed from a savage to a civilized bird. Perhaps it, too, has tried it, long ago, and voluntarily returned to the fields; for our bank-swallow is a cosmopolite, and has watched the rise and fall of all the dynasties and nationalities that have grouped the centuries into eras, from Nineveh to San Francisco. It is at present an inhabitant of all Europe and eastward to China; of a large part of Africa, especially in winter; and throughout North America, the West Indies, Central America, and the northern Andean countries. On both continents its wanderings extend to the extreme north, where, in Alaska, it is one of the commonest summer visitors. So this modest little bird, smallest of his kind, is entitled to our respect as a traveler at least; and, to compare the habits and appearance of the representatives in different portions of the globe of so widely distributed a species, becomes a most interesting study.

Cotyle riparia, the bank-swallow, sand-martin, sand-swallow, river-swallow, l'hirondelle de rivage, or back-svala, is generally diffused over