Little Boy Blue
To know the little boy blue in his domestic life had been my desire for years. In vain did I search far and wide for a nest, till it began to look almost as if the bird intentionally avoided me. I went to New England, and blue jays disappeared as if by magic ; I turned my steps to the Rocky Mountains, and the whole tribe betook itself to the inaccessible hills. In despair I abandoned the search, and set up my tent in the middle country, without a thought of the bonny blue bird. One June morning I seated myself by my window, which looked out upon a goodly stretch of lawn dotted with trees of many kinds, and behold the longdesired object right before my eyes !
The blue jay himself pointed it out to me ; unconsciously, however, for he did not notice me in my distant window. From the ground, where I was looking at him, he flew directly to a pine-tree about thirty feet high, and there, near the top, sat his mate on her nest. He leaned over her tenderly; she fluttered her wings and opened her mouth, and he dropped into it the tidbit he had brought. Then she stepped to a branch on one side, and he proceeded to attend to the wants of the young family, too small as yet to appear above the edge.
The pine-tree, which from this moment became of absorbing interest, was so far from my window that the birds never thought of me as an observer, and yet so near that with my glass I could see them perfectly. It was also exactly before a thick-foliaged maple that formed a background against which I could watch the life of the nest, wherever the sunlight fell, and whatever the condition of the sky ; so happily was placed my blue jay household.
I observed at once that the jay was very gallant and attentive to his spouse. The first mouthful was for her, even when babies grew clamorous and she took her share of the work of feeding. Nor did he omit this little politeness when they went to the nest together, both presumably with food for the nestlings. She was a devoted mother, brooding her bantlings for hours every day, till they were so big that it was hard to crowd them back into the cradle ; and he was an equally faithful father, working from four o’clock in the morning till after dusk, a good deal of the time feeding the whole family. I acquired a new respect for Cyanocitta cristata.
I had not watched the blue jays long before I was struck with the peculiar character of the feathered world about me, the strange absence of small birds. The neighbors were blackbirds (the blueheaded), Carolina doves, golden-winged and red-headed woodpeckers, robins and cardinal grosbeaks, and of course English sparrows, — all large birds, able to hold their own by force of arms, as it were, except the foreigner, who maintained his position by impudence and union, a mob being his weapon of offense and defense. Beside him no small bird lived in the vicinity. No vireo hung there her dainty cup, while her mate preached his interminable sermons from the trees about ; no phœbe shouted his woes to an unsympathizing world; no sweet-voiced goldfinch poured out his joyous soul; not a song sparrow tuned his little lay within our borders. Unseen of men, but no doubt sharply defined to clearer senses than ours, was a line barring them out.
Who was responsible for this state of things ? Could it be the one pair of jays in the pine, or the colony of blackbirds the other side of the house ? Should we characterize it as a blue jay neighborhood or a blackbird neighborhood ? The place was well policed, certainly ; robins and blue jays united in that work, though their relations with each other bore the character of an armed neutrality, always ready for a few hot words and a little bluster, but never really coming to blows. We never had the pleasure of seeing a stranger among us. We might hear him approaching, nearer and nearer, till, just as the eager listener fancied he might alight in sight, there would burst upon the air the screech of a jay or the war-cry of a robin, accompanied by the precipitate flight of the whole clan, and away would go the stranger in a most sensational manner, followed by outcries and clamor enough to drive off an army of feathered brigands. This neighborhood, if the accounts of his character are to be credited, should be the congenial home of the kingbird, — tyrant flycatcher he is named; but as a matter of fact, not only were the smaller flycatchers conspicuous by their absence, but the king himself was never seen, and the flying tribes of the insect world, so far as dull-eyed mortals could see, grew and flourished.
Close scrutiny of every movement of wings, however, revealed one thing, namely, that any small bird who appeared within our precincts was instantly, without hesitation, and equally without unusual noise or special publicity, driven out by the English sparrow ; and I became convinced that he, and he alone, was responsible for the presence of none but large birds, who could defy him.
One of the prettiest sights about the pine-tree homestead was the way the jay went up to it. He never imitated the easy style of his mate, who simply flew to a branch below the three that held her treasure, and hopped up the last step. Not he; not so would his knightly soul mount to the castle of his sweetheart and his babies. He alighted much lower, often at the foot of the tree, and passed jauntily up the winding way that led to them, hopping from branch to branch, pausing on each, and circling the trunk as he went; now showing his trim violet-blue coat, now his demure Quaker-drab vest and black necklace : and so he ascended his spiral stair.
There is nothing demure about the blue jay, let me hasten to say, except his vest; there is no pretension about him. He does not go around with the meek manners of the dove, and then let his angry passions rise, in spite of his reputation, as does that “ meek and gentle ” fellowcreature on occasion. The blue jay takes his life with the utmost seriousness, however it may strike a looker-on. While his helpmeet is on the nest, it is, according to the blue jay code, his duty, as well as it is plainly his pleasure, to provide her with food, which consequently he does; later, it is his province not only to feed, but to protect the family, which also he accomplishes with much noise and bluster. Before the young are out comes his hardest task, keeping the secret of the nest, which obliges him to control his naturally boisterous tendencies ; but even in this he is successful, as I saw in the case of a bird whose mate was sitting in an apple-tree close beside a house. There he was the soul of discretion, and so subdued in manner that one might be in the vicinity all day and never suspect the presence of either. All the comings and goings took place in silence over the top of the tree, and I have watched the nest an hour at a time without being able to see a sign of its occupancy, except the one thing a sitting bird cannot hide, the tail. And by the way, how providential — from the bird student’s point of view — that birds have tails ! They can, it is true, be narrowed to the width of one feather and laid against a convenient twig, but they cannot be wholly suppressed, nor drawn down out of sight into the nest with the rest of the body.
When the young blue jays begin to speak for themselves, and their vigilant protector feels that the precious secret can no longer be kept, then he arouses the neighborhood with the announcement that here is a nest he is bound to protect with his life ; that he is engaged in performing his most solemn duty, and will not be disturbed. His air is that so familiar in bigger folk, of daring the whole world to “ knock a chip off his shoulder,” and he goes about with an appearance of important business on hand very droll to see.
The bearing of the mother of the pine-tree brood was somewhat different from that of her mate, and by their manners only could the pair be distinguished. Whatever may be Nature’s reason for dressing the sexes unlike each other in the feathered world, — which I will leave for the wise heads to settle, — it is certainly an immense advantage to the looker-on in birddom. When a pair are fac-similes of each other, as are the jays, it requires the closest observation to tell them apart; indeed, unless there is some defect in plumage, which is not uncommon, it is necessary to penetrate their personal characteristics, to become familiar with their idiosyncrasies of habit and manner. In the pine-tree family, the mother had neither the presence of mind nor the bluster of the partner of her joys. When I came too near the nest tree, she greeted me with a plaintive cry, a sort of “ craw! craw! ” at the same time “ jouncing ” herself violently, thus protesting against my intrusion ; while he saluted me with squawks that made the welkin ring. Neither of them paid any attention to me so long as I remained upon a stationary bench not far from their tree ; they were used to seeing people in that place, and did not mind them. It was the unexpected that they resented. Having established our habits, birds in general insist that we shall govern ourselves by them, and not depart from our accustomed orbit.
On near acquaintance, I found the jay possessed of a vocabulary more copious than that of any other bird I know, though the flicker does not lack variety of expression. When some aspiring scientist is ready to study the language of birds, I advise him to experiment with the blue jay. He is exceedingly voluble, always ready to talk, and not in the least backward in exhibiting his accomplishments. The low-toned, plaintivesounding conversation of the jays with each other, not only beside the nest, but when flying together or apart, or in brief interviews in the lilac bush, pleased me especially, because it was exactly the same prattle that a pet blue jay was accustomed to address to me ; and it confirmed what I had always believed from his manner, that it was his most loving and intimate expression, the tone in which he addresses his best beloved.
Beside the well-known squawk, which Thoreau aptly calls “ the brazen trump of the impatient jay,” the shouts and calls and war-cries of the bird can hardly be numbered, and I have no doubt each has its definite meaning. More rarely may be heard a clear and musical two-note cry, sounding like “ ke-lo ! ke-lo! ” This seems to be something special in the jay language ; for not only is it peculiar and quite unlike every other utterance, but I never saw the bird when he delivered it, and I was long in tracing it home to him. Aside from the cries of war and victory, jays have a great variety of notes of distress ; they can put more anguish and despair into their tones than any other living creature of my acquaintance. Some, indeed, are so moving that the sympathetic hearer is sure that, at the very least, the mother’s offspring are being murdered before her eyes ; and on rushing out, prepared to risk his life in their defense, he finds, perhaps, that a child has strayed near the tree, or something equally dreadful has occurred. Jays have no idea of relative values; they could not make more ado over a heart-breaking calamity than they do over a slight annoyance. Some of their cries, notably that of the jay baby, sound like the wail of a human infant. As to one curious utterance in the jay répertoire, I could not quite make up my mind whether it was a real call to arms, or intended as a joke on the neighborhood. When a bird, without visible provocation, suddenly burst out with this loud two-note call, instantly every feathered individual was on the alert, — sprang to arms, as it were. Blue jays joined in, robins hurried to the tops of the tallest trees and added their excited notes, with jerking wings and tail, and at the second or third repetition the whole party precipitated itself as one bird — upon what ? Nothing that I could discover.
While I was studying the manners and customs of the bird in blue, babies were growing up in the pine-tree nest. Five days after I began to observe, I saw little heads above the edge. On the sixth day they began, as mothers say, to " take notice,” stirring about in a lively way, clambering up into sight, and fluttering their draperies over the edge. Now came busy and hungry times in the jay family; the mother added her forces, and both parents worked industriously from morning to night.
On the seventh day I was up early, as usual, and, also as usual, my first act was to admire the view from my window. I fancied it was the most beautiful in the early morning, when the sun, behind the rampart of locust and other trees, threw the yard into deep shade, painting a thousand shadow pictures on the grass; but at still noon, when every perfect tree stood on its own shadow, openings looked dark and mysterious, and a bird was lost in the depths, then I was sure it was never so lovely ; again at night, when wrapped in darkness, and all silent except the subdued whisper of the pine, with its
O mournful tree,
In thy boughs forever clinging,”
I knew it could not be surpassed. I was up early, as I said, when the dove was cooing to his mate in the distance, and before human noises had begun, and then I heard the baby cry from the pinetree, — a whispered jay squawk, constantly repeated.
On this day the first nestling mounted the edge of his high nursery and fluttered his wings when food approached. Every night, after that, it grew more and more difficult to settle the household in bed, for everybody wanted to be on top ; and no sooner would one arrange himself to his mind than some " under one,” not relishing his crushed position, would struggle out, step over his brothers and sisters, and take his place on top, and then the whole thing would have to be done over. I think that mamma had often to put a peremptory end to these difficulties by sitting down on them, for frequently it was a very turbulent-looking nest when she calmly placed herself upon it.
Often, in those days, I wished I could put myself on a level with that little castle in the air and look into it, filled to the brim with beauty as I knew it was. But I had not long to wait, for speedily it became too full, and ran over into the outside world. On the eighth day one ambitious youngster stepped upon the branch beside the nest and shook himself out, and on the ninth came the plunge into the wide, wide world. While I was at breakfast he made his first effort, and on my return I saw him on a branch about a foot below the nest, the last step on papa’s winding stair. Here he beat his wings and plumed himself vigorously, rejoicing, no doubt, in his freedom and in plenty of room. Again and again he nearly lost his balance, in his violent attempts to dress his beautiful plumage and remove the last remnant of nest mussiness. But he did not fall, and at last he began to look about him. One cannot but wonder what he thought when he
A world of green leaves all around,”
looking down upon us from his high perch, complete to the little black necklace, and lacking only length of tail of being as big as his parents.
After half an hour of restless putting to rights, the little jay sat down patiently to wait for whatever might come to him. The wind got up and shook him well, but he rocked safely on his airy seat. Then some one approached. He leaned over with mouth open, and across the yard I heard his coaxing voice. But alas ! though he was on the very threshold, the food-bearer omitted that step, and passed him by. Then the little one looked up wistfully, apparently conscious of being at a disadvantage. Did he regret the nest privileges he had abandoned ? Should he retrace his steps and be a nestling ? That the thought passed through his head was indicated by his movements. He raised himself on his legs, turned his face to his old home, and started up, even stepped one small twig nearer. But perish the thought ! he would not go back ! He settled himself again on his seat.
All things come in time to him who can wait, and the next provision stopped at the little wanderer. His father alighted beside him and fed him two mouthfuls. Thus fortified, his ambition was roused, and his desire to see more, to do more. He began to jump about on his perch, facing first this way, then that; he crept to the outer end of the branch he was on, and was lost to view behind a thick clump of pine needles. In a few minutes he returned, considered other branches near, and, after some study, did really go to the nearest one. Then, step by step, very deliberately, he mounted the winding stair of his father, using, however, every little twig that the elder had vaulted over at a bound. Finally he reached the branch opposite his birthplace, only the tree trunk between. The trunk was small, home was invitingly near, he was tired : the temptation was too great, and in a minute he was cuddled down with his brothers, having been on a journey of an hour. In the nest, all this time, there had been a hurry and skurry of dressing, as though the house were to be vacated, and no one wished to be late. After a rest and probably a nap, the ambitious young jay took a longer trip: he flew to the next tree, and, I believe, returned no more.
The next day was spent by all the nestlings in hopping about the three branches on which their home was built, making beautiful pictures of themselves every moment; but whenever the bringer of supplies drew near, each little one hastened to scramble back to the nest, to be ready for his share. The last day in the old home had now arrived. One by one the birdlings flew to the maple, and turned their backs on their native tree forever; and that night the “ mournful tree ” was entirely deserted.
The exit was not accomplished without its excitement. After tea, as I was congratulating myself that they were all safely out in the world without accident, suddenly there arose a terrible outcry, robin and blue jay voices in chorus. I looked over to the scene of the fray, and saw a young jay on the ground, and the parents frantic with anxiety. Naturally, my first impulse was to go to their aid, and I started ; but I was saluted with a volley of squawks that warned me not to interfere. I retired meekly, leaving the birds to deal with the difficulty as they best could, while from afar I watched the little fellow as he scrambled around in the grass. He tried to fly, but could not rise more than two feet. Both the elders were with him, but seemed unable to help him, and night was coming on. I resolved, finally, to “ take my life in my hands,” brave those unreasoning parents, and place the infant out of the way of cats and boys.
As I reached the doorstep I saw that the youngster had begun to climb the trunk of a locust-tree. I stood in amazement and saw that baby climb six feet straight up the trunk. He did it by flying a few inches, clinging to the bark and resting, then flying a few inches more. I watched, breathless, till he got nearly to the lowest branch, when alas! his strength or his courage gave out, and he fell back to the ground. But he pulled himself together, and after a few minutes more of struggling through the grass he came to the trunk of the maple next his native pine. Up this he went in the same way till he reached a branch, where I saw him sitting with all the dignity of a young jay (old jays have no dignity). While he was wrestling with fate and his life was in the balance, the parents had kept near him and perfectly silent, unless some one came near, when they filled the air with squawks, and appeared so savage that I honestly believe they would have attacked any one who had tried to lend a hand.
But still the little bluecoat had not learned sufficient modesty of endeavor, for the next morning he found himself again in the grass. He tried climbing, but unfortunately selected a tree with branches higher than he could hold out to reach; so he fell back to the ground. Then came the inexorable demands of breakfast, with which no one who has been up since four o’clock will decline to comply. On my return, the straggler was mounted on a post that held a tennis net, three or four feet from the ground. One of the old birds was on the rope close by him, and there I left them. Once more I saw him fall, but I concluded that since he had learned to climb, and the parents would not accept my assistance anyway, he must take care of himself. I suppose he was the youngest of the brood, who could not help imitating his elders, but was not strong enough to do as they did. On the following day he was able to keep his place, and he came to the ground no more.
From that day I saw, and, what was more evident, heard, the jay babies constantly, though they wandered far from the place of their birth. Their voices waxed stronger day by day ; from morning to night they called vigorously ; and very lovely they looked as they sat on the branches in their brand-new fluffy suits, with their tails a little spread and showing the snowy borderings beautifully. Twenty-two days after they bade farewell to the old home before my window, they were still crying for food, still following their hard-working parents, and, though flying with great ease, never coming to the ground (that I could see), and apparently having not the smallest notion of looking out for themselves.
Early in my acquaintance with the jay family, wishing to induce the birds of the vicinity to show themselves, I procured a quantity of shelled corn, and scattered a few handfuls under my window every night. This gave me opportunity to note, among other things, the jay’s way of conducting himself on the ground, and his table manners. To eat a kernel of dry corn, he flew with it to a small branch, placed it between his feet (the latter of course being close together), and, holding it thus, drew back his head and delivered a blow with that pickaxe beak of his that would have broken a toe if he had missed by the shadow of an inch the grain for which it was intended. I was always nervous when I saw him do it, for I expected an accident, but none ever happened that I know of. When the babies grew clamorous all over the place, the jay used to fill his beak with the whole kernels. Eight were his limit, and those kept the mouth open, with one sticking out at the tip. Thus loaded he flew off, but was back in two minutes for another supply. The red-headed woodpecker, who claimed to own the cornfield, seemed to think this a little grasping, and protested against such a wholesale performance ; but the overworked jay simply jumped one side when he came at him, and went right on picking up corn. When he had time to spare from his arduous duties, he sometimes indulged his passion for burying things by carrying a grain off on the lawn with an air of most important business, and driving it into the ground, hammering it well down out of sight.
The blue jay’s manner of getting over the ground was peculiar, and especially his way of leaving it. He proceeded by high hops, bounding up from each like a rubber ball; and when ready to fly, he hopped farther and bounded higher each time, till it seemed as if he were too high to return, and so took to his wings. That is exactly the way it looked to an observer; for there is a lightness, an airiness of bearing, about this apparently heavy bird impossible to describe, but familiar to those who have watched him.
Some time after the blue jay family had taken to roaming about the grounds, I had a pleasing little interview with one of them in the raspberry patch. This was a favorite resort of the neighboring birds, where I often betook myself to see who came to the feast. This morning I was sitting quietly under a spruce-tree, when three blue jays came flying toward me with noise and outcries, evidently in excitement over something. The one leading the party had in his beak a white object, like a piece of bread, and was uttering low, complaining cries as he flew ; he passed on, and the second followed him ; but the third seemed struck by my appearance, and probably felt it his duty to inquire into my business, for he alighted on a tree before me, not ten feet from where I sat. He began in the regular way by greeting me with a squawk ; for, like some of his bigger (and wiser ?) fellow-creatures, he assumed that a stranger must be a suspicious personage, and an unusual position must mean mischief. I was very comfortable, and I thought I would see if I could not fool him into thinking me a scarecrow, companion to those adorning the “ patch ” at that moment. I sat motionless, not using my glass, but looking him squarely in the eyes. This seemed to impress him; he ceased squawking, and hopped a twig nearer, stopped, turned one calmly observant eye on me, then quickly changed to the other, as if to see if the first had not deceived him. Still I did not move, and he was plainly puzzled to make me out. He came nearer and nearer, and I moved only my eyes to keep them on his. All this time he did not utter a sound, but studied me as closely, and to all appearance as carefully, as ever I had studied him. Obviously he was in doubt what manner of creature it was, so like the human race, yet so unaccountably quiet. He tried to be unconcerned, while still not releasing me from strict surveillance ; he dressed his feathers a little, uttering a soft whisper to himself, as if he said, “ Well, I never!” then looked me over again more carefully than before. This pantomime went on for half an hour or more ; and no one who had looked for that length of time into the eyes of a blue jay could doubt his intelligence, or that he had his thoughts and his well-defined opinions, that he had studied his observer very much as she had studied him, and that she had not fooled him in the least.
The little boy blue is one of the birds suffering under a bad name whom I have wished to know better, to see if perchance something might be done to clear up his reputation a bit. I am not able to say that he never steals the eggs of other birds, though, during nearly a month of hard work, when, if ever, a few eggs would have been a welcome addition to his resources, and sparrows were sitting in scores on the place, I did not see or hear anything of the sort. I have heard of his destroying the nest, and presumably eating the eggs or young, of the English sparrow; but the hundred or two who raised their broods and squawked from morning to night in the immediate vicinity of the pine-tree household never intimated that they were disturbed, and never showed hostility to their neighbors in blue. Moreover, there is undoubtedly something to be said on the jay’s side. Even if he does indulge in these little eccentricities, what is he but a “ collector " ? And though he does not claim to be working “ in the interest of science,” which bigger collectors invariably do, he is working in the interest of life, and life is more than science. Even a blue jay’s life is to him as precious as ours to us, and who shall say that it is not as useful as many of ours in the great plan ?
The only indications of hostilities that I observed in four weeks’ close study, at the most aggressive time of bird life, nesting time, I shall relate exactly as I saw them, and the record will be found a very modest one. In this case, certainly, the jay was no more offensive than the meekest bird that has a nest to defend, and far less belligerent than robins and many others. On one occasion, a strange blue jay flew up to the nest in the pine. I could not discover that he had any evil intention, except just to see what was going on, but one of the pair flew at him with loud cries, which I heard for some time after the two had disappeared in the distance; and when our bird returned, he perched on an evergreen, bowing and “ jouncing ” violently, his manner plainly defying the enemy to “ try it again.” At another time, I observed a savage fight, or what looked like it, between two jays. I happened not to see the beginning, for I was particularly struck that morning with the behavior of a bouquet of nasturtiums which stood in a vase on my table. I never was fond of these flowers, and I noticed then for the first time how very self-willed and obstinate they were. No matter how nicely they were arranged, it would not be an hour before the whole bunch was in disorder, every blossom turning the way it preferred, and no two looking in the same direction. I thought, when I first observed this, that I must be mistaken, and I took them out and rearranged them as I considered best; but the result was always the same, and I began to feel that they knew altogether too much for their station in the vegetable world. I was trying to see if I could discover any method in their movements, when I was startled by a flashing vision of blue down under the locusts, and, on looking closely, saw two jays flying up like quarrelsome cocks, — only not together, but alternately, so that one was in the air all the time. They flew three feet high, at least, all their feathers on end, and looking more like shapeless masses of blue feathers than like birds. They did not pause or rest till one seemed to get the other down. I could not see from my window well enough to be positive, but both were in the grass together, and only one in sight, who stood perfectly quiet. He appeared to be holding the other down, for occasionally there would be a stir below, and renewed vigilance on the part of the one I could see. Several minutes passed. I became very uneasy. Was he killing him ? I could stand it no longer, so I ran down. But my coming was a diversion, and both flew. When I reached the place, one had disappeared, and the other was hopping around the tree in great excitement, holding in his beak a fluffy white feather, about the size of a jay’s breast feather. I did not see the act, and I cannot absolutely declare it, but I have no doubt that he pulled that feather from the breast of his foe as he held him down ; how many more with it I could not tell, for I did not think of looking until it was too late.
Again, one day, somewhat later, when blue jay and catbird babies were rather numerous, I saw a blue jay dive into a lilac bush much frequented by catbirds, young and old together. Instantly there arose a great cry of distress, as though some one were hurt, and a rustling of leaves, proclaiming that a chase, if not a fight, was in progress. I hurried downstairs, and as I appeared the jay flew, with two catbirds after him, still cryingin a way I had never heard before. I expected nothing less than to find a young catbird injured, but I found nothing. Whether the blue jay really had touched one, or it was a mere false alarm on the part of the very excitable catbirds, I could not tell. This is tire only thing I have seen in the jay that might have been an interference with another bird’s rights; and the catbirds made such a row when I came near their babies that I strongly suspect the only guilt of the jay was alighting in the lilac they had made their headquarters.
The little boy blue in the apple-tree, already spoken of, did not get his family off with so little adventure as his pinetree neighbor. The youngling of this nest came to the ground and stayed there. The people of the house returned him to the tree several times, but every time he fell again. Three or four days he wandered about the neighborhood, the parents rousing the country with their uproar, and terrorizing the household cat to such a point of meekness that no sooner did a jay begin to squawk than he ran to the door and begged to come in. At last, out of mercy, the family took the little fellow into the house, when they saw that he was not quite right in some way. One side seemed to be nearly useless; one foot did not hold on; one wing was weak; and his breathing seemed to be one-sided. The family, seeing that he could not take care of himself, decided to adopt him. He took kindly to human care and human food, and before the end of a week had made himself very much at home. He knew his foodprovider, and the moment she entered the room he rose on his weak little legs, fluttered his wings violently, and presented a gaping mouth with the jay baby cry issuing therefrom. Nothing was ever more droll than this sight. He was an intelligent youngster, knew what he wanted and when he had had enough. He would eat bread up to a certain point, but after that he demanded cake or a berry, and his favorite food was an egg. He was exceedingly curious about all his surroundings, examined everything with great care, and delighted to look out of the window. He selected his own sleeping-place, — the upper one of a set of bookshelves, — and refused to change ; and he watched the movements of a wounded woodcock as he ran around the floor with as much interest as did the people. Under human care he grew rapidly stronger, learned to fly more readily and to use his weak side; and every day he was allowed to fly about in the trees for hours. Once or twice, when left out, he returned to the house for food and care ; but at last came a day when he returned no more. No doubt he was taken in charge again by his parents, who, it was probable, had not left the neighborhood.
After July came in, and baby blue jays could hardly be distinguished from their parents, my studies took me away from the place nearly all day, and I lost sight of the family whose acquaintance had made my June so delightful.
Olive Thorne Miller.