August Birds in Cape Breton

AFTER traveling for two weeks through Cape Breton, on rail, steamboat, wagon, and my own legs, I felt sure that its distinctive tree was the spruce, its prevailing flower the eye-bright (Euphrasia officinalis), and its most ubiquitous bird the junco. Certainly, three more cheerful, sturdy, and honest elements could not be woven into every-day life, and they seem to me to be emblematic of the island province and its people. The junco was everywhere, in sunshine and in rain, at gray dawn and after dewy eve ; in the spruces which watched the sea at Ingonish, and in the early twilight of inland Loch o’ Law. He, she, and the infant juncos were at the roadside, in the fields, in the pastures, on the mountain top, and by the trout pool, and they were always busy, happy, and treating their neighbors as they liked to have their neighbors treat them, like brothers. These neighbors included song sparrows, whitethroats, grass finches, yellow-rumped and blackand - white creeping warblers, blackcapped and Hudsonian titmice, some of the thrush family, and occasionally pine siskins.

Of the thrushes, the robin was by far the most numerous, noisy, and generally distributed. He was not, however, a bird of the lawn, the orchard, and the shade tree by the house door, but by preference a dweller in larch swamps and spruce thickets, secluded river beds and upland forests. He was the first bird in every lonely grove or deep wood vista to give a note of alarm and warning to the neighborhood ; and the first to respond to a cry of fear or pain uttered by any other bird. The hermit thrush was present in fair numbers, and blessed the woods and pastures with his anthem. I saw Swainson’s and graycheeked thrushes, but the catbird and thrasher were apparently unknown, as was also the veery. The robin’s conduct made me feel as though he were not one and the same with the common New England dooryard birds, but of a race as different from theirs as the Cape Breton Highlander’s stock is from that of the matter-of-fact Scotch mechanic of the cities. The people round Loch Ainslie and between Cape Smoky and St. Anne’s Bay speak and think Gaelic ; and the robins in the Baddeck and Margaree woods speak and think a language of the forest and the glen, not of the lawn.

One evening, as I lay on the sandy shore of Loch Ainslie, close to the mouth of Trout Brook, the spotted sandpipers of the lake told me a secret of their little lives which seemed well worth knowing. The evening air was full of rural music : the tinkle-tankle of cowbells ; the clatter of tiny sheep-hoofs speeding over the wooden bridge ; the complaining of geese, homeward bound, by the roadside ; and the harsh, rattling cries of the kingfishers, which, half a dozen strong, persecuted the small fry of Trout Brook’s limpid waters. A school of big trout could be seen lying sluggish at the bottom of the brook, and their little kinsfolk were jumping freely in all parts of the quiet water. Tiny flies hovered over the pools ; and if they touched, or almost touched, the water, agile fish flung themselves into the air after them. Again and again I cast my feathered fly upon the ripples ; but as no answering rise pleased my expectant nerves, I tossed my rod aside, and drifted on towards evening with the stream of life and light and color flowing over me. The bell-cow came to the stream and drank, then passed slowly up the road homewards ; a lamb, whimpering, followed his woolly parent to the fold ; the geese, with outstretched necks and indignant heads, scolded all who passed them ; and suddenly an eagle with mighty wing came sailing towards me across broad Ainslie’s ripples, bound for his mountain loneliness. The sun had sunk below the western hills, — hills from whose seaward side Prince Edward Island could be seen as a long, low haven for a sinking sun to rest upon; the sky was radiant with color, and the lake’s slightly ruffled surface took the color and glorified it in countless moving lines of beauty. From the gold sky and over the gold water the black eagle came eastward, swiftly and with resistless flight. Nearer and nearer he came, until his image dwelt for a moment in the still stream, then vanished as he swept past above the bridge, and bore onward to the dark hills clad in their spruces and balsams. He seemed like the restless spirit of the day departing before the sweet presence of sleepy night.

Below the bridge, Trout Brook runs a score of rods between sandy beaches to a bar which half cuts it off from the lake. Upon this bar sandpipers were gathering by twos and threes, until their numbers attracted my attention. I strolled slowly towards them, crossing wide levels of sand, from which coarse grasses, sedges, and a few stiff-stalked shrubs sprung in sparse growth, and upon which a few clusters of rounded stones broke the evenness of the beach. As I drew near the margin of the lake the sandpipers rose, “ peep-sweeting ” as they flew, and with deeply dipping wings vibrated away over the water; heading at first towards the fading sunset, then sweeping inshore again, and alighting within an eighth of a mile of me on the curved beach. Noticing that some of the birds had risen from among the grasses above the line of wave-washed sand, I lay down upon the ground, with the hope that some of them might return, and perhaps come near me. Scarcely had my outlines blended with the contour of the shore when the clear “ peep, peep, peep ” of the little teeterers was heard on both sides, as they came in from distant points along the shore. Sometimes twenty birds were in sight at once, flying low over the water, apparently guided by a common impulse to gain the part of the beach near which I was concealed. I lay motionless, my head resting upon my arm, only a few inches above the sand. As I lay thus, the grasses rose like slender trees against the pale tinting of the August sky, and lake, distant hill, and sky all took on more emphatic tones, and appeared to have firmer and more significant outlines.

Slowly the light faded, and the line of clearest color shrank to narrower and narrower limits along the distant hills. I had almost forgotten the birds, although small squads of them kept passing, or wheeling in upon the shining edge of wet sand nearest me. Suddenly a white object glided among the grass stems, only a few feet from my face. It paused and teetered, then slid along out of sight into a thicket of grasses. I sharpened my vision and hearing, and found that all around me tiny forms were moving among the weeds, and that groups of birds seemed to be collecting in answer to low calls which suggested the warm, comfortable sound which young chickens make as they nestle to sleep under their mother. The sandpipers were going to bed in the grass forest, and I was lying in the midst of their dormitory, like sleepy Gulliver among the Lilliputians. I might have remained quiet longer had the peeps and I been the only living creatures on the Trout Brook beach, but mosquitoes and gnats were present, and the waving grass tips tickling my face made them appear even more numerous than they really were. So at last, when stars began to appear in the sky, I rose abruptly to my feet. Had I exploded a mine, the whir and rush which followed my arising could not have been more sudden. It was really startling, for in a second the air was filled with frightened birds flying from me towards the lake. How many there were I cannot say, nor even guess, but it seemed to me that all the sandpipers which patrolled the sandy shores of Ainslie must have been gathered together on that one small area of beach, bent on finding safety or a feeling of security in close association through the night hours.

Once or twice I have met the Hudson’s Bay titmouse in the Chocorua country in winter, but I had never seen him in numbers or in summer until I reached Cape Breton, and found him perfectly at home in its pasture and roadside thickets as well as in the deep forest. He is a cheaper edition of the common chickadee, who, on the same ground, excels him in many ways. His voice is feebler and husky. What he says sounds commonplace, and his manner of approach lacks the vigilant boldness of the blackcap. His brown head is readily distinguished 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 peculiar I should have doubted really having heard it.

About sunset on August 5, I 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 whitethroats, juncos, both kinds of chickadees, ruby-crowned kinglets, and of warblers the yellow - rumped, blackthroated green, Nashville, black - andwhite creeping, and the gorgeous blackand-yellow, as well as robins, a purple finch, and some young flickers. 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 several 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 Breton fence, or serial woodpile, which appeared to be built on the Kentucky principle 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, fearless 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 appearance to confuse them with their wicked cousins the blue jays ; in fact, I found my instincts rebelling at the idea of both being Corvidœ. 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 gentle bearing, the name “ Whiskey Jack,” applied to them by the lumbermen, seemed to me absurdly inappropriate.

While I watched these birds, they moved slowly along the fence towards the swamp, coming nearer and nearer, and finally passing within about fifty feet of me. One of them was a young bird, with but little white on his dusky brown head ; two others were females, also less white than the males. Finally they vanished in the swamp, the last bird going upstairs on a dead tree in true jay fashion, and then plunging, head foremost, into the shadows of the grove beneath. As I left the larches behind me, the same strange, harsh cry echoed from its depths, and I accepted it as the moose birds’ prophecy of impending rain. It is an odd fact that these birds die if they become chilled after being wet in a heavy rain, and on this occasion they were undoubtedly seeking dense foliage to protect them from the storm which began a few hours later.

Of the Cape Breton warblers, the black-and-yellow were among the most numerous, and by all means the most brilliant in plumage. Whenever I called the birds together, the magnolias were sure to appear, their gleaming yellow waistcoats showing afar through the trees, and contrasting with their dark upper plumage and the cool gray of their caps. One male redstart seemed the most richly marked bird of his species that I had ever met with. The black extended much lower on the breast than usual, and the vermilion which lay next it burned like a hot coal. Summer yellowbirds were common in the meadow borders, where Maryland yellowthroats also abounded ; a single black-throated blue warbler appeared to me near Baddeck ; one anxious mother Blackburnian scolded me in the dark forest near the falls of Indian Brook ; and a few Canadian fly-catching warblers flashed in and out among their dark evergreen haunts in various parts of the island. Watching ever so eagerly, I failed to see any blackpolls, Wilson blackcaps, bay-breasted, mourning, or yellow redpoll warblers, and it seemed strange to miss entirely the oven birds, chestnut-sided, pine-creeping, and Paruda warblers, so readily found near Chocorua. These species may be known to Cape Breton, but they could hardly have escaped my notice had they been abundant.

Years ago, when houses and barns were less often or less thoroughly painted than they are now, and when overhanging eaves were common, the eaves swallow was a familiar bird in New England. Now the youthful nest-robber thinks of the mud-nest builder as a rare bird, one for whose eggs he is willing to travel many a mile. In all the Cape Breton country, where barn swallows abound, I saw but one colony of eaves swallows, and that was in a place so dirty and dreary I regret that these charming birds must always recall it to my mind. Scottsville — may the spirit of cleanliness some day come with sapolio and Paris green to cleanse it! — lies at the head waters of Southwest Margaree, within sight of the point where that restless river leaves Loch Ainslie. Opposite the village store stands an unpainted building with ample eaves, and on its northern side, crowded into a space about thirty feet long, were one hundred of the retort-shaped mud nests of the eaves swallows. They were placed one above another, often three deep. Their bottle-mouths were pointed upwards, downwards, to left, or right, or towards the observer, as the overcrowding of the tenements made most convenient. While some of the older nests were symmetrical, others were of strange shapes, dictated by the form of the building-site left to them.

Bank swallows were abundant, almost every available cutting being riddled with their holes. Near Baddeck I found one hole in a bank overhanging the waves of Bras d’Or, at a point where every passing wagon must have made thunder in the ears of the tiny occupants of the nest, which was literally under the highway. I was attracted to this nest by seeing a bird enter it. The Bay of Fundy pours its terrible tides into the Basin of Minas, and the Blomidon region presents to the turbulent waters which rush into the basin not only vast expanses of red mud which are leftbare at low water, but also cliffs of rock or red clay which resist the surging waves at high tide. In the earth cliffs, which stand as straight as brick walls above the floods, the bank swallows find houses just to their liking, and from the cliffs of Pereaux to the waving grass of Grand Pré the little fleets of these birds flit back and forth hour by hour in the warm sunlight, or veer and tack close to the waves when chilly fogs come in from Fundy.

Of the chimney swift I saw little. He was in Cape Breton, but not in large numbers, and one or two farmers and fishermen said that he was a bird that built in hollow trees, and seemed not to know that in these times the chimney is supposed to be his chosen home. Night hawks were abundant, especially in the streets of Baddeck, where, in the twilight, which no lamp-post rises to injure, these swift and silent fliers darted in and out among the heads of the passersby, to the bewilderment of those quick enough to see them. Probably, if I had visited Cape Breton in June or early July, I should have heard the whippoorwill ; for when I whistled his song, the dwellers by sea or inland lake said, “ Oh yes, we have that bird. He sings at night.” To me, however, he said nothing, nor did the humming-bird condescend to make its small self known farther north than the Basin of Minas, which is a hundred miles or more from Cape Breton. Still, when I asked those who had gardens full of gayly tinted flowers if they knew the humming-bird, they always replied, “ Yes, the one with the beautiful red throat; ” which made me wonder why they never saw the female ruby-throat with her more modest coloring of green and white.

When I said that the junco was the distinctive bird of Cape Breton, I had in mind one rival claimant who certainly pervades the island with his presence. I well remember descending, just at sunset, into the exquisite glen of Loch o’ Law, the most satisfying piece of inland scenery which I saw in all Cape Breton. As the road bent around the wooded border of the lake, seven large blue birds rose from one end of the lake, and flew, in a straggling flock, down to a spot remote from the road. They looked like kingfishers. but I thought I had learned from experience that, around small mountain lakes, kingfishers hunt singly in August. Nevertheless they were kingfishers, and they were hunting in a flock. A few hours before, at Middle River, where trout lie in shallow sunlit water over a yellow sandy bottom, I had seen a kingfisher hover above a point in the stream for several minutes. A rival flew down upon him and drove him away ; but before my horse could walk across the iron bridge above the river he was back again, hovering, kingbird-like, over the same spot. At Baddeck, the kingfishers perched upon the telegraph wires, or assumed statuesque poses upon the tips of slender masts of pleasure boats at anchor. There appeared to be no point on the Bras d’Or or the fresh-water lakes and rivers of the island where kingfishers were not twenty or thirty times as abundant as they are in northern New England.

The osprey was also common on good fishing-grounds, and scarcely a day passed without my seeing both ospreys and eagles. One afternoon, shortly before sunset, I saw an osprey rise from the Bras d’Or with a good-sized fish in his claws. I expected to see him take it to some point near by, but instead he flew westward, high above the trees, until finally he was lost in distance.

I have already mentioned seeing marsh hawks. None of the big buteos came near enough for me to identify them, nor did I see a Cooper’s hawk, but, to my delight, sparrow hawks were not uncommon, and were comparatively fearless. The first that we saw were in a large field near Middle River. As we drove slowly along the road, a pair of sparrow hawks frolicked in front of us. They rose as we came near enough to see distinctly all their handsome markings, and flew airily from one perch on the fence to another a rod or two farther on. They rose and fell, tilted, careened, righted, tacked, made exquisite curves, and in fact performed as many graceful manœuvres in the air as a fine skater could on the ice, and then came back to the fence and perched again. I drove slowly in order not to frighten them, and the result was that they rose and settled again before us more than a dozen times.

Although I saw no living owls during my trip, I saw stuffed birds representing the common species, and heard stories of the daring attacks of great horned owls upon the dwellers in the poultry yard, — geese, even, included. With snowy owls, the natives to whom I spoke seemed to be wholly unacquainted.

Crows and blue jays were common in all sections of Cape Breton, but the crow grew less interesting after I had met his big cousin the raven, just as the blue jay had sunk to even lower depths in my estimation after my introduction to the moose bird. The blue jay is a downright villain, and his rascality is emphasized by the Canada jay’s virtues. The common crow is shrewd, but he lacks dignity. The first glimpse I had of a raven was from the top of Cape Smoky, where, from a crag more than a thousand feet above the waves which dashed against the rocks below, I saw three large black birds come round a headland and sail upon broadly spread wings to the face of a ledge upon which they alighted. The eye often detects differences in outline, movement, and carriage which the mind does not analyze or the tongue describe. The three black birds looked like crows ; in fact, the Ingonish fisherman will deny all knowledge of the American raven, and insist that there is no specific difference between what he calls a “ big crow ” and any other crow. Nevertheless, something in the shape, bearing, and method of flight of the three visitors to Smoky fixed my attention several moments before a hoarse croak from the throat of one of them came echoing up the ravine and proclaimed their true character. At Ingonish they were abundant, especially near the cliffs of Middle Head, where I should expect to find them breeding if I made search at the proper season. Both ravens and crows were remarkably tame, and when I found that very little Indian corn is grown in Cape Breton, and that the people seemed ignorant of the crow’s affection for sprouting corn, I felt that I had discovered one reason for their tameness. It was not unusual for a flock of ten or more crows to sit quietly upon the top rail of a snake fence bounding a highway, until a person walking or driving past came nearly opposite to them. If they were in a tree twelve or fifteen feet above the road, they did not think of flying away. Six ravens in a pine-tree on Middle Head remained quiet while I clambered over a mass of rocks less than a hundred feet from them.

In Nova Scotia I saw kingbirds everywhere, four or five sometimes being in sight, from the car window at once. I felt as though in the orchard and hay country of the Annapolis Basin the kingbirds must have discovered their chosen home. In Cape Breton, while not so abundant, they were by no means rare. On the other hand, pewees and small flycatchers were few and far between, and great-crested flycatchers, which are common at Chocorua, were not to be seen. Olive-sided flycatchers were present in various parts of Cape Breton in favorable localities; and when I heard their loud, unmusical call, coming from the tip of some leafless, fire-bleached pine, it always took me back to my first meeting with the bird high up on the desolate ridges between Chocorua and Paugus, where from the pinnacles of dead trees they scanned the air for insects, and wearied nature by intermittent cries.

Red-eyed vireos were not so numerous in Cape Breton as they are in New Hampshire, but there were enough of them to keep up a running fire of conversation from one end of the island to the other. I saw solitary vireos in several localities, one of which was a wooded pasture in Ingonish, near a small sheet of fresh water, and a hill in which the outcropping rock was gypsum. Within an hour I recognized over thirty kinds of birds in this pasture, including, among those not already mentioned in these pages, a white-winged crossbill, a chipping sparrow, and several goldfinches. This white-winged crossbill was the only one that I saw during my trip, but red crossbills were to be met with in small numbers all through the region between Baddeck and Ingonish. The first that I saw appeared in the air over Baddeck River, just as I was driving a horse across the iron bridge which spans the river on the road to the Margaree. The wind was blowing so hard that I felt some concern lest my buggy should be tipped over; but the crossbills, with their usual appearance of having lost either their wits, their way, or their mother, perched upon the iron braces of the bridge directly over our heads, and looked this way and that, distractedly, with their feathers all blown wrong side out. An hour or two later, when approaching Middle River, I noticed a flock of blackbirds in a small grove by the roadside. I got out and entered the grove. Every bird in the flock of sixteen seemed to be reciting blackbird poetry, and that, too, in the sweetest voice which rusty grackles are capable of making heard. Although, on many other occasions, I saw representatives of this species in various parts of Cape Breton, I was unable to find any of its near kindred. No purple grackles, redwings, cowbirds, bobolinks, starlings, or orioles crossed my path ; yet I saw much territory in which they might, for all I could see, have been very happy, and in which song, swamp, and savanna sparrows, Maryland yellowtlwonts, and similar birds appeared to be established.

Cape Breton is unquestionably a favorite resort of woodpeckers, including the flicker, hairy, downy, yellow-breasted, and black-backed, and I doubt not the pileated also, although I was not fortunate enough to see or hear him. Flickers were common, and consorted much with robins, as they do in New Hampshire during their autumn migration. The hairy woodpeckers were most abundant near highways, where they frequented the telegraph poles and snake fences. As I write, I cannot recall seeing a hairy woodpecker anywhere except upon the poles and fences close to roads, but I saw many in those favored places. They were noticeably tame, as most of the Cape Breton birds were, and allowed me to drive close to them, while they tapped gayly upon the bleached poles, or scrambled over, through, and under the fence sticks. Downy woodpeckers were less conspicuous, and of the yellow-breasted I saw only one. He was a young male that had been tapping alder trunks in a thicket growing upon very damp ground, on the edge of the Southwest Margaree, near the point where it escapes from the broad waters of Loch Ainslie. Nearly a dozen trees had been bled by him or his family. As soon as I entered the thicket he flew away ; and although I awaited his return as long as time permitted, neither he nor any other woodpecker or humming-bird came to the sap fountains. One of the birds which I most wished to see in the northern woods was the black-backed, three-toed woodpecker. I searched for him near Baddeck, at Loch Ainslie, and on my journey northward from Baddeck to Ingonish, but he did not appear. One morning, during my journey southward from Cape Smoky, I arose very early and visited the beautiful falls and cañon of Indian Brook, which are about twenty-five miles north of Baddeck. In the deep woods near the falls I met three of these sprightly birds. I had concealed myself among the bushes to call birds around me, and was watching Hudson’s Bay titmice, common chickadees, flickers, wary wood-wise robins, juncos, and a few shy warblers, when a woodpecker cry, manifestly not made by a flicker, rang through the woods. High up on a blasted tree was a medium-sized woodpecker, somewhat resembling a sapsucker in attitude and air of being up and a-coming. I squeaked more vigorously, and he came nearer. Then a second and a third arrived, and all of them approached me with boldness born of curiosity and inexperience. They scolded and hitched up and down tree trunks, flew nervously from one side of me to the other, tapped protests on the sounding bark, and behaved in general like true woodpeckers. Differences in birds are what we think of most in studying them ; but after all, their points of similarity. especially when these points hint strongly at the identity of the origin of species, are quite as instructive, and worthy of serious thought.

Leaving the three-toed inquisitors, I walked on through the woods skirting Indian Brook, and within quarter of a mile flushed a woodcock and several ruffed grouse. Of the latter I saw a dozen or more during my rambles near Baddeck and Ingonish, but of spruce partridges I failed to secure even a glimpse, although all the local sportsmen declared them to be abundant, and as tame as barnyard fowls. At the point where the highway between Englishtown and Cape Smoky crosses Indian Brook there is a long and very deep pool. As I emerged from the woods above this pool, I saw three red-breasted mergansers swimming slowly across it. A prettier spot for them to have chosen for their morning fishing could not have been found on the Cape Breton coast. High ledges overhanging dark water, and overhung in turn by spruce and fir forest, formed a beautiful setting for the still pool across which they swam in single file, with their keen eyes watching me suspiciously. Many are the young salmon and speckled trout they cut with their ragged jaws.

Had my visit to northern Cape Breton fallen during the period of the autumn migration, I should have seen wonderful flights and fleets of sea fowl. As it was, the species which I saw and the individuals which I met were few, save in the case of Wilson’s tern, which was ubiquitous, and the least sandpiper, which in numerous flocks swarmed upon the sands. I saw also solitary and semipalmated sandpipers, greater yellowlegs, herring gulls, dusky ducks, old squaws, and golden-eyes. Blue herons were plentiful near Baddeck, as they had been on the Annapolis Basin. They formed a striking part of every evening picture, where sparkling water, tinted sky, purple hills, and gathering shadows were united under the magic words “ Bras d’Or.” In Loch o’ Law, as the sun sank over the Margaree, a mother loon swam and dived with her chick in the placid water ; but the bird which impressed itself most strongly upon my memory, during my trip, was the lonely shag, or cormorant, which I saw on the outer end of a line of rocks projecting into Ingonish Bay from the side of Middle Head. Dark and slimy, melancholy and repulsive, its head and neck reminded me of a snake or turtle more than of any genuine feather - wearer. When at last it saw me, it was to the bay that it turned for escape, and upon the waters, almost out of sight, that it settled down to rest among the waves. There is more community of interest between this creature and the fish which swim under the waves than with the swallow which flies above them.

All told, I think that I saw eighty species of birds during my two weeks’ wandering in Cape Breton. Had I taken my tame owl Puffy with me, I should doubtless have seen more, for he would have drawn many shy birds round him which found no difficulty in secluding themselves from me. The island is certainly remarkably good ground for bird study ; species are many, and individuals numerous. The combination of ocean, bay, inland lake, both salt and fresh, forest, and mountain is one which favors diversity and stimulates abundance.

Frank Bolles.