A device now often used by ornithologists is the umbrella blind, which is easy to construct. Take a stout umbrella, remove the handle, and insert the end in a hollow brass rod five feet. long. Sharpen the rod at the other end and thrust it into the ground. Over the raised umbrella throw a dark green cloth cut and sewed so as to make a curtain that will reach the ground all round. A draw-string will make it fit over the top. Get inside, cut a few vertical observation slits six inches long, and your work is done. Erect this within ten feet of a nest, and leave it alone for a few hours. The birds will quickly get accustomed to it so that later you may go inside and watch at close range without disturbing them in the least. This blind is often used for close bird photography. I have taken pictures of Herring Gulls at a distance of only six feet with the aid of such a blind. If you wish to use it on a windy day it may be stayed by a few guy-lines from the top and sides.
The foregoing instructions include all the necessary aids to a beginner in bird study who desires to start afield properly equipped. To summarize them, all that is really necessary is a field glass, a notebook for memoranda, inconspicuous clothing, and a desire to listen and learn.
In the next chapter we shall discuss some of the things to be learned in the study of the life about the nest.
NOTE.The following publications will be found of great aid to the student in identifying wild birds:
“Handbook of Birds of Eastern North America,” by Frank M. Chapman, published by D. Appleton & Company, price $3.65, postpaid.
“Handbook of Birds of Western United States,” by Florence Merriam Bailey, published by Houghton, Mifflin Company, price $3.68, postpaid.
“Water and Game Birds: Birds of Prey” and “Land Birds East of the Rockies: From Parrots to Blue Birds,” by Chester A. Reed, published by Doubleday, Page & Company, price of each in sock cloth, $1.1o, postpaid; in flexible leather, $i.35, postpaid.
Educational Leaflets, published by the National Association of Aubudon Societies, New York City, a series of nearly one hundred, price 2 cents each.