Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 49 > Page 37 - August Birds in Cape Breton, 1893

Page 37 - August Birds in Cape Breton, 1893

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1988/8/1 (227 reads)

Black-and-white Warbler or a feeling of security in close associa? tion through the night hours. Once or twice I have met the Hudson's Bay titmouse in the Chocorua country in winter, but I had nev? er seen him in numbers or in summer until I reached Cape Breton, and found him per? fectly at home in its pasture and roadside thickets as well as in the deep forest. He is a cheap? er edition of the common chickadee, who, on the same ground, excels him in many ways. His voice is fee? bler and hus? ky. What he says sounds commonplace, and his manner of approach lacks the vigilant boldness of the blackcap. His brown head is readily distin? guished from the black crown of his more sprightly relative, though it is likely to be looked at closely merely to confirm the impression already conveyed by his voice that he is not the common chickadee, but a new friend well worth knowing. Apparently, in Cape Breton, he outnumbered our common titmouse by five or six to one, yet the blackcap was generally distributed and was as numerous near Ingonish as farther south. Of the blackcap's friends, the white and the red breasted nuthatches, I saw nothing. Once at Margaree Forks I heard the "quank" of the red-breasted, but I failed to see the speaker, and had the note been less pe? culiar I should have doubted really having heard it. About sunset on August 5,1 was seated in an evergreen thicket a mile or more back of the village of Baddeck. By "squeaking" I had drawn near me a mob of white-throats, juncos, both kinds of chickadees, ruby- crowned kinglets, and of warblers the yel? low- rumped, black-throated green, Nash? ville, black-and-white creeping, and the gorgeous black-and-yellow, as well as rob? ins, a purple finch, and some young flick? ers. Suddenly I heard an unfamiliar bird note, a harsh, loud call, which, without much consideration, I attributed to geese, great numbers of which are kept by the Cape Breton farmers. After an interval of sever? al minutes the cries were repeated, and this time it occurred to me that geese were not likely to be wandering in a hackmatack swamp just at sunset, especially as the sky foretold rain and the wind was backing round into the east. So I left my thicket in search of the maker of the strange sounds. A path led through the larches to a clearing surrounded by a typical Cape Bre? ton fence, or serial woodpile, which ap? peared to be built on the Kentucky princi? ple of being "horse high, pig low, and bull proof," and consequently impregnable to turkeys, geese, and sheep. The moment I emerged from the trees a fine marsh hawk rose from the ground and floated away out of sight. While watching him, a flash of white on the fence drew my eyes to the edge of the woods, and there, to my delight, I saw five of the most charming denizens of the great northern forests: birds in quest of which I had traveled miles through the New Hampshire mountain valleys, always in vain. As I turned, one of these beautiful creatures, with wings widespread and tail like a fan, was sailing just above, but parallel with, the fence. He paused upon it, looked towards me with his large, fear? less eyes, and then noisily tapped a knot in the upper pole with his beak. "Moose birds at last!" I exclaimed, and at once felt the strongest liking for them. There was nothing in their appearnce to confuse them with their wicked cousins the blue jays; in fact, I found my instincts rebel? ling at the idea of both being Corvidae. Their large rounded heads had no sign of a crest, and the white on the crown and under the chin gave them a singularly tidy look, as though their gentle faces were tippeted. Their plumage as a whole was Quaker-like in tone, so that, considering their demure and Druker Insurance Charlotte St., Sydney 562-5504 Mayflower Mall 564-1818 WILL INSURE VIRTUALLY ANY CAR, HOUSE OR BUSINESS COMPARE RATES: YOU COULD SAVE Phone Toll Free 1-564-6000 BUDGET PLAN AVAILABLE IN EMERGENCY: Avvie Druker. F.I.I.C. 564-6615 Mary Bfxnvifs FHed Oiicken. King Street North Sydney EAT IN & DRIVE THRU & HOME DELIVERY 794-4410 Welton Street Sydney EAT IN & DRIVE THRU & HOME DELIVERY 562-8200 Kings Road Sydney River EATIN & HOME DELIVERY 562-0739 Mairy Brown has Hie best legs in town. 37
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