Bird Study – Making Bird Sanctuaries

THE best place to study wild birds is on a reservation, for there birds have greatly lost their fear of man, and primitive conditions have been largely restored. In one of the ,southern sea-bird colonies I have photographed Royal Terns standing unafraid on the sands not twelve feet distant. They had become so accustomed to the warden in charge that they had regained their confidence in man. At Lake Worth I saw a gentleman feed Scaup Ducks that swam to within two yards of his boat. In thousands of dooryards throughout the country wild birds, won by kind treatment, now take their food or drink within a few feet of their human protectors. The dooryards have become little bird reservations. I have several friends who regularly feed Chickadees in winter, perched on their outstretched hands. It is astonishing how quickly wild creatures respond to a reasonable treatment. This may readily be learned by any householder who will try the experiment. With a little patience any teacher can instruct her pupils in the simple art of making the birds feel at home in the vicinity of the schoolhouse.

Natural Nesting Places Destroyed.—Some kinds of birds, as far back as we know their history, have built their nests in the holes of trees. Woodpeckers have strong, chisel-shaped bills and are able to excavate nesting cavities, but there are others that do not possess such tools. These must depend on finding the abandoned hole of some Woodpecker, or the natural hollow of some tree. It not infrequently happens that such birds are obliged to search far and wide for a hole in which they can make their abode I t is customary for those who take care of lawns and city parks to chop away and remove all dead limbs or dead trees. As very few Woodpeckers ever attempt to dig a nesting hole in a living tree, such work of the axeman means that when the season comes for the rearing of young, all mated Woodpeckers must move on to where more natural conditions await them. This results in an abnormal reduction of the number of holes for the use of the weaker-billed hole-nesting species, and they must seek the few available hollows or knot-holes. Even these places are often taken away from them, for along comes the tree doctor, who, in his purpose of aiding to preserve the trees, fills up the natural openings with, cement and the birds are literally left out in the cold. It is plainly to be seen, therefore, that one reason why more birds do not remain in our towns through the spring months is the absence of places where they can lay their eggs and rear their young.