SEEING THINGS OUT OF DOORS
Compiled by THE EDITORS
W E are learning that the best way to study nature is to engage in intelligent, helpful action with living things.
Just now we are very much interested in the birds. The bluebird, the robin, the swallow and the brown thrasher are already here, as I write. But orioles, bobolinks, and tanagers are yet to come. It is not too late to start a bird-chart in the home. Fasten beside some window a card divided into seven columns: Name of bird; date of arrival; departure; location of nest; height of nest; material of nest; description of nest. It will take all summer to fill it out. Another pleasant plan is to plot a sketch-map of the home-grounds or the block and make a census of the birds' nests by placing a black dot where each is discovered, with some number scheme for identification.
A still better way to learn to love birds is to fight for them. We must appreciate their value. Hodge estimates that a robin is worth more than $20 each season for the worms he devours. A single pair of robins, if protected, would have a progeny of 120 million in ten years. But during the past fifteen years our song-birds have decreased at least 50 per cent. The greatest enemy of birds is the cat. A cat is responsible on the average for the death of about fifty song-birds a year. Next is the English sparrow, who pre-empts the nests of other birds and devours their eggs—"a ruffian in feathers." I would not, of course, slaughter cats and sparrows, but I would understand