Published by Ken Dunn - Dunway Enterprises
The origin of birds has been a contentious topic within evolutionary biology for many years, but more recently a scientific consensus has emerged which holds that birds are a group of theropod dinosaurs that evolved during the Mesozoic Era.
A close relationship between birds and dinosaurs was first proposed in the nineteenth century after the discovery of the primitive bird Archaeopteryx in Germany and has been all but confirmed since the 1960's by comparative anatomy and the cladistic method of analyzing evolutionary relationships.
The ongoing discovery of feathered dinosaur fossils in the Liaoning Province of China has shed new light on the subject for both specialists and the general public. In the phylogenetic sense, birds are dinosaurs.
PHOEBE - DOWNY
WOODPECKER - YELLOW-BELLIED WOODPECKER
REEDBIRD; MAYBIRD; MEADOW-BIRD; AMERICAN ORTOLAN;
Perhaps none of our birds have so fitted into song and story as the bobolink. Unlike a good child, who should "be seen and not heard," he is heard more frequently than seen. Very shy, of peering eyes, he keeps well out of sight in the meadow grass before entrancing our listening ears.
The bobolink never soars like the lark, as the poets would have us believe, but generally sings on the wing, flying with a peculiar self-conscious flight horizontally thirty or forty feet above the meadow grass. He also sings perched upon the fence or tuft of grass. He is one of the greatest poseurs among the birds.
In spring and early summer the bobolinks respond to every poet's effort to imitate their notes. "Dignified 'Robert of Lincoln' is telling his name," says one; "Spink, spank, spink," another hears him say. But best of all are Wilson Flagg's lines:
". . . Now they rise and now they fly;
They cross and turn, and in and out; and down the middle and wheel about,
With a 'Phew, shew, Wadolincon; listen to me Bobolincon!"
After midsummer the cares of the family have so worn upon the jollity of our dashing, rollicking friend that his song is seldom heard. The colors of his coat fade into a dull yellowish brown like that of his faithful mate, who has borne the greater burden of the season, for he has two complete moults each year.
The bobolinks build their nest on the ground in high grass. The eggs are of a bluish white. Their food is largely insectivorous: grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, spiders, with seeds of grass especially for variety.
In August they begin their journey southward, flying mainly by night. Arriving in the Southern States, they become the sad-colored, low-voiced rice or reed bird, feeding on the rice fields, where they descend to the ignominious fate of being dressed for the plate of the epicure.
Could there be a more tragic ending to the glorious note of the gay songster of the north?
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