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written of. It is the most brilliant red, tipped with even more brilliant red, if such a thing can be.
It glows like a living flame in these rather sombre forests. There are, of course, some quiet-colored, nun-like flowers, as the pipsissewa, but they impress one as visitors here and not as natives.
The ground is quite covered with needles and myriads of the small cones of the fir and spruce. The shapely cones of the sugar-pine are the largest of all the cones and are of a beautiful rich brown color.
When you desire Nature in her most sweet, most lovely, most charming self, go to the forests of the Coast Range. But when you desire Nature in her most grand, most noble, most inspiring self, go to the forests of the Sierra Range, and you will not be disappointed.
Eloise J. Roorbach.
Some Birds of the Spring
T IS not hard for the resident of the
has come. The melting of the snow, the thawing of the ground, the passing of the ice out of the rivers, and the coming of the birds, all proclaim that winter is over and warmer days are at hand. Though some of the birds are courageous enough to brave the wintry blasts, the majority of them go south until the cold weather is past, when they return to their old haunts in the north and are there heralded with delight, for they are forerunners of warmer weather-harbingers of spring.
In Southern California, where the seasons so merge into one another that it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins, I doubt me if a person blindfolded and set down in Los Angeles could tell whether it was fall, winter or spring. It might even confuse them to tell whether it was winter or summer, so many of our winter days are as warm as our summer ones. Here in California, as in the colder East, the birds proclaim the coming of spring. To the average person, perhaps, they do not mark it so distinctly here as in the East, because there are always birds with us, many species remaining here throughout the
year and coming commonly about our homes. The mocking birds, the brown towhees, the black phobes, the goldfinches, housefinches, butcherbirds and blackbirds are daily winter visitors that do not leave with the coming of spring. The whitecrowned sparrows and the beautiful Audubon warblers are two friendly birds that come to the table set for them in the winter, but leave for northern parts in April, and no matter what the weather, we know that it is spring. Though we are loath to lose our winter visitors, their places are taken by many beautiful birds that come to build their nests and raise their young throughout a long summer.
Two of the earliest, as well as the loveliest, of our spring arrivals are the orioles. While throughout the East and Middle West the Baltimore and orchard orioles are the two common varieties, the Arizona hooded and Bullocks are the two common Western species in Los Angeles and vicinity. They are both gorgeous birds, the Bullocks resembling the Baltimore oriole, having much the same notes and characteristics. The hooded oriole is, if possible, handsomer than the Bullocks, having the same gay colors. This bird received its name from the yellow patch which covers the entire head and ends in a black spot under the throat. This handsome fellow looks as if he might have thrown a gay mantilla over his head and fastened it under his chin. Though so different from the orchard oriole in coloring, he is said to resemble his Eastern cousin in habits.
The black-headed grosbeak is another showy bird that appears at about the same time as the orioles. The male has a deep rufous breast, black head, back and wings, the latter marked by conspicuous white bars. Though quite different in coloring from his Eastern cousin, the rose-breasted grosbeak, this Western bird is, in my estimation, equally attractive.
A noisy chattering, a flash of gray and yellow, proclaims the arrival of the Arkansas kingbirds. These birds are known to the small boys as "bee-martins," because it was commonly supposed that they ate the bees. We now know that, if anything, it is the drones, not the working bees, that they take. These birds are quite different in color
from the Eastern kingbirds and are not the fighters that the Eastern species has the reputation of being. They defend their nests, which they delight to build about telephone poles, but otherwise are at peace with all birdkind.
"Skee-e-e! Skee-ee!" trills a bird from the depth of a live oak tree, and you know, before he has been good enough to come out and show his pretty self, that it is a spurred towhee, a bird which is similar to the Eastern chiwink. He is so beautiful and so Oriental, with his black head, back and wings with white markings, rufous sides, white breast and red eyes, that you see no resemblance to his cousin the California towhee until he flies, and then you see that he goes with the same bobbing, jerky motion that the commoner bird has. These California towhees are plain brown birds whose friendly way of staying about the dooryard has caused them to sometimes be called "brown robins." Their habit of always saying, "Chip! chip!" has given them the cognomen of "chippies." Though this thin note is about the only one they use throughout the greater part of the year, in the spring and early summer they have a song which, if not beautiful, is better than the monotonous chipping.
A flash of most brilliant blue, relieved by bars of white on wings, dashes by you, and you involuntarily exclaim: "The lazuli bunting-how beautiful!" This brilliant bird replaces the indigo bunting of the East, and as you watch it dart about you are inclined to think. it more beautiful than even the orioles.
There is another beautiful bird which is only a tourist in Los Angeles, stopping (as so many human tourists do) only for a short sojourn on his way farther north. This bird is the Louisiana or Western tanager. His yellow body, black wings and tail and red head make him a fit emblem for the California Audubon Societies, whose button he adorns.
Beside all these larger birds who are not chary of showing themselves, there are dozens of small warblers, flycatchers and vireos, many of whom, like the tanagers, are only migrants, paying us a passing visit as they work their way into the mountains or some other locality.
Among these smaller birds the warblers are the handsomest. They are also the most aggravating to study, for they are constantly on the move, and delight in the large oak trees, which have such dense foliage that one cannot look into them.
One of the most attractive of these feathered mites is the black-throated grey warbler. He is a quiet little midget and seems to go about in the trees so intent upon finding small green caterpillars that he has no time to waste in song. As you catch a glimpse of him among the green leaves, he seems an animated bundle of black and white stripes, and you hold your breath lest you scare him away.
The pileated warbler is a gay little fellow with his yellow robe and black cap, The warbling vireos, though somber little birds, are so trustful, hunting in the trees beside one and singing so cheerfully, that one falls in love with them at once.
The Western house wren is not the sociable, jolly good fellow that the Eastern house wren is-still he sings and acts enough like his far-away cousin to carry one back to their childhood days, when California was a far-distant paradise to dream about.
The phainopepla is one of California's most princely birds, and no record of our Western birds would be complete without him. He does not return north as early as many of our feathered friends, so when we see him winging his way through the air-a pepper tree his objective point-we are sure that spring is fully established. It matters not though a recent snow has made our mountains white and brought a wintry chill to the atmosphere, if this glorious black bird has made you a visit it is surely spring, no matter what the other indications.
The phainopepla-of the waxwing family -in size and form resembles the mocking bird, and is, indeed, sometimes called the black mocking bird. But in actions he is a decided contrast to the mocker, being a quiet, dignified acting bird, never scolding in the noisy way the mocking bird so often does. The plumage of the male phainopepla is a glossy, iridescent black, the only bit of color being the large patches of white on the wings, which show only when the bird flies. But the thing that gives him his
distinguished appearance is his crest of black feathers which stand up high above his head and sometimes tip far forward, giving him at such times a jaunty, piquant appearance. The female has the crest, but is a dark drab color and does not have the distinct white wing patches. The phainopepla's call note is a rich, liquid one, not unlike one note of the robin. His song is a very sweet one, though so low that one must be near-by and give strict attention to hear it.
While throughout the Eastern States the ruby throat is the only species of humming bird, California is blest with many varieties, six nesting within her borders and two coming as migrants.
The Anna humming bird is the largest and commonest, remaining all the year around, coming tamely about our yards and building near our homes in trustful confidence. One of the delightful surprises about this tiny bird is his song. I have watched one of them for the greater part of an afternoon and the most of the time he sat on one
particular twig and sang his squeaky, rasping song-a song resembling some large insect more than that of a bird. Yet the tiny singer enters with such evident joy into the performance that one cannot help but rejoice with him.
All of our other humming birds go south. for the winter, so that when we see a tiny black-chinned hummer in our yard we have another proof that spring has come.
One can easily understand why the Eastern birds go south for the winter, but why need they do so in California, where it is warm enough for them, and it would seem as if there might be food enough? Is it a part of their inheritance, I wonder, this being drawn back and forth in a climate where it would seem that they might remain at all times? Whether inheritance or food supply, the fact remains that our birds leave us for the winter months, and when they choose to return to us we know that spring has arrived. Harriet W. Myers.*
*Chairman Bird Committee, Outdoor Section of the Civic Federation of Los Angeles.
THE WHOLE WORLD IS GLAD
BY CAROLINE B. LYMAN
Who'd frown or sigh
Would you would I?
Living is joy now the spring days are come!
Who would be sad?
The whole world is glad
Under the kiss of a glorious sun!
Who would not give
A deal more to live
When the buds cast off their tiny brown coats?
Who would not wake
With early daybreak
When first is heard robin's glad, warbled notes?