Nature Notes

Vol. III August 4th, 1925 No. 6

By Charles Landes, Nature Guide

The loud and prolonged scolding of a jay indicated that something unusual was happening among the denizens of the woods. The Jay is usually a noisy fellow but these vehement protests indicated that a very personal insult had been placed upon him.

Almost simultaneously with the jay's protests there emerged from the woods and cut upon the road a Douglas squirrel carrying some strange object looking at a distance like a pine cone. But why should the jay object to this very usual occupation of the squirrel? The Douglas squirrel halted for a moment to get a better grip upon her load. Then it was I noted that the load carried was a baby.

The squirrel held the tiny bundle of fur by a firm grip upon the skin of its abdomen and the legs of the youngster were firmly clasped about the head of its mother.

I followed her as she carried the baby into the forest a short distance beyond the office. Here she left it in its new home, a broken off and hollow snag. Then back to the woods beyond the road went the mother squirrel for more of the family, oblivious to everything about her, passing almost over my feet with her precious burden, until she had removed in all five youngsters to their new home. Then with her task completed the mother squirrel returned to the trees beyond the road and by a variety of calls - one almost like the song of a bird expressed her satisfaction that moving day as over. Mr. Jay retired in silence.

By Charles Landes, Nature Guide

The Varied Thrush, often called the swamp or Alaska Robin is the most common bird of the heavily forested mountain trails. He bears considerable resemblance to a young robin in size and marking. He has distinctive blackish collar and wings conspicously varied by tawny markings.

This bird lends a peculiar charm to the mountain trails. His song, a clear, vibrant, long-drawn note with a melancholy strain about it that is hard to describe but once heard is never forgotten is not his least attraction. There is no sound of the woods more mysterious, that blends better with soughing of pine and the distant roar of rushing torrents. This single note is very befilling and elusive. It is given in in a minor key and in an ascending scale, usually, but often is flatted and without reasonance, at other times it reaches a high metallic pitch and rings through the woods like the sound of a hammer on an anvil.

The Varied Thrush is a bird of the damp woods and high mountains. A shy bird more often heard than seen, but very widely distributed throughout the lower valleys of the park. It lives near the ground where it seeks its food on the forest floor. This thrush like the robin loves the rain and is a true " web-footer " Let the day be cloudy or rainy and his voice joyously rings from all parts of the forest but if the day be cloudy or rainy and his voice joyously rings from all parts of the forest but if the day be sunny he remains mute or only at intervals, and from the denser and darker forest zones, gives out his song. The Varied Thrush retires to the lowlands when winter snow become deep and so is often seen about our city parks in winter. They nest in the trees of the forest, building the nest of moss, twigs and grass, on a limb close to the body of the tree. The write found a nest along the trail to Eagle Peak near Longmire recently.

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