Little Brothers of the Air by Olive Thorne Miller
To study a nest is to make an acquaintance. However familiar the bird, unless the student has watched its ways during the only domestic period of its life,-nesting time,-he has still something to learn. In fact, he has almost everything to learn, for into those few weeks is crowded a whole lifetime of emotions and experiences which fully bring out the individuality of the bird. Family life is a test of character, no less in the nest than in the house. Moreover, to a devotee of the science that some one has aptly called Ornithography, nothing is so attractive. What hopes it holds out! Who can guess what mysteries shall be disclosed, what interesting episodes of life shall be seen about that charmed spot?
To find a newly built nest is the first June work of the bird-student, and this year on the Great South Bay a particularly inviting one presented itself, on the top branch of a tall oak-tree near my "inn of rest." It was in plain sight from the veranda. The builder evidently cared nothing for concealment, and relied, with reason, upon its inaccessible position for safety. To be sure, as days went by and oak leaves grew, a fair screen for the little dwelling was not lacking; but summer breezes were kind, and often blew them aside, and, better still, from other points of view the nest was never hidden.
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