Friday, February 19, 2010

New England Homestead Bird Work

Burgess's work for Country Life in America seems to have stimulated a renewed interest in writing about wildlife, especially birds. (Or he had material left over, not used in Country Life, that he could reuse for New England Homestead). I've scanned in five articles from this period and embedded them below (as always, please click to see readable images).

"How the Birds Walk" (Feb 22, 1902) is actually a piece about the pleasures of nature study, using observations of bird walking behavior as an example. "Who has eyes to see will find countless pleasures tramping abroad at all seasons of the year." This is a perspective associated with John Burroughs, particularly.

"The Queer Ways of a Queer Chap," (March 8, 1902) is about the way Common ("Maryland") Yellowthroats sometimes nest in skunk cabbage--a little bit of nature lore wrapped in an interesting package. Note the characterization of the bird as a "chap" or "litle fellow."

"Treasures in the Old Swamp" expands the visit to the swamp to include other nature study topics. The chickadee and the yellowthroat make reappearances. (Note: love of the swamp is an old dividing line between hunters (swamp lovers) and observers looking for conventional natural beauty).
May 10, 1902

Burgess discovers the nest of a hummingbird in "What the Apple Tree Held"
(May 17, 1902). Note the enthusiasm in his June Country Life installment for bird nest hunting generally.

Finally, "The Passing of the Birds," could be a fragment taken directly from the September calendar, with its emphasis on the transition of seasons.
September 27, 1902

Tomorrow: Feathered Soldiers

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