29 September 2012

Bugeater Chronicles - Church on South 24th Street

Just before 7 p.m., a driven departure occurred for a Friday night foray for the next determination of the bugeater chronicles. The destination was a couple of big chimneys on south 24th Street that were worth a closer look.

A few swifts had already congregated upon arrival. They twittered and swirled, which is their typical routine on any autumn evening anywhere on the river city scene.

Their particular chimney of interest was uncertain. There was another seemingly suitable chimney next door. After watching and looking about the immediate vicinity, it became apparent that the Immaculate Conception Church place would be the focus of the evenings watch, with whatever sort of results. There was also a parking place readily available with an appropriate view.

To indicate the size, the structure was 5.5x5.5 bricks, and more than four stories in height. It is at the southwest corner of 24th and Bancroft Streets, towards the back of the place of worship.
Immaculate Conception Church, south 24th Street; 29 September 2012.

With a focus on swifts, other dynamics soon became obvious. This was a place of spying eyes.

There were watchers wondering why someone was parked in their lot, and looking intently at the building.

A priest in his holy garb was noticed giving an intent look at the swarming birds.

No one inquired about the reason for a there being a swift watcher in the parking lot.

The dynamics soon changed. A big, white Suburban, with an obvious confrontational purpose arrived and parked seven spaces westward in the parking lot. The manly driver was talking on a cell phone, seemingly continuously, because my attention was mostly focused elsewhere.

As nighttime descended, and that would be about 7:45 p.m., the swifts were done but the dynamic situation continued. Mr. SUV moved his vehicle to a spot which can be best be conveyed as the second parking spot to the west at the south side of the lot on the south side of the church.

Obviously there was a confrontation of non-understanding underway. It would have been easy to leave, and perhaps it might have been proper to leave. However, this was not going to be the scenario.

Feet away, Mr. Suburbanite never got off the phone.

During this extended interval, notes were made and revised pertinent to these times associated with the bugeater chronicles.

During a short interlude of observation, there was no interest nor effort to inquire about this purpose. The effort was completely done without having even stepped a foot on the church property, which from a directed perspective, did not have any signs forbidding trespassing.

A few minutes after 8 p.m., the "Suburbanite" with a 59 number on its plate -- corresponding to Sarpy County, departed from the parking lot.

The situation was nearly over, but continued in particular significance so that the scenario would continue to its own significance.

Upon my personal departure, an attempt was made to get someone to answer the door bell at the church. That did not happen.

After driving around the church, the reverend father was obvious on the north walk of the church.

It was time to talk.

Two men then had a significant chat about the evenings events.

What followed was a brief explanation about the basic, yet essential tenets of swiftology, and how the church chimney was obviously important to the migration of these birds. The commentary included direct points how the birds should be appreciated, how they eat bugs, and that they should be appreciate and celebrated. Also mentioned was the loss of other swift habitat because other churches in eastern Omaha have capped their chimneys without any regard as to their value as a haven for birds    .

The priest of the church was certainly relieved to have been given an explanation regarding the occurrence of some     unknown person in their parking lot. His concern was about thievery by break-ins in the neighborhood.

It was a time of sharing. We shook hands. A blessing was also given by the reverend Father. A suggestion was given that he do a sermon on how the church is a safe haven for the bugeaters, and how the chimney is a place appreciated by some of "God's creatures" as spoken to particularly express a religious theme.

Whether there will be any advantage for the chimney swifts is in no way apparent. At least there was a new realization.

24 September 2012

Woods at Park Designated Offlimits to Motorized Vehicles

An area of woodland at the northwest corner of Levi Carter Park has been officially designated as being off limits to off-road and motorized vehicles. They had been ripping through the area, destroying vegetation. As well, the riders had dug out places to create jumps.

Three signs were installed early in the week of September 17, by Randy Garlip, park caretaker. A big thanks for his effort to improve the habitat quality of this little tract, which is an interesting little haven for wild birds.

A city ordinance prohibits the operation of these sorts of vehicles on city property.

Sign at southeast corner of woodland area; September 23, 2012.
Notice the glimpse of a small pond in the left background.

A request for this signage had been made to city officials at the end of July. The have also been asked to place large logs at key places to prohibit any illegal access.

During the Sunday visit, a wooden pallet and an errant tire were removed and taken elsewhere for proper disposal. At later visits, trash will be picked up and the place will see some improvement.

During the first week of October, city officials placed several large tree trunks across the former vehicle tracks, to further deter any vehicle trespass.

Tree truck barricade at the Northwest Pond, Levi Carter Park.

October 10, 2012.

Two Towhees on Saturday, and Swifts Too

During the 5 a.m. hour on a Saturday morning, it was time for another dead bird patrol. Among the always significant findings was a Spotted Towhee.

A dead bird of this species was at the Holland Performing Arts Center. In particular it was next to the glass of the west-facing wall at the southeast corner of the interior courtyard. Nearby was a Nashville Warbler, injured after hitting a wall of glass and trying to fly well enough to get away from the scene. It was seen to bounce off the glass some few times, before a particular effort was made to guide it onward from the glass and confusing lighting.

Since it was Saturday, the bird patrol man wasn't working, so it was easy to document both window strikes, on a chilly morning. There was no subterfuge underway by building employees.

As the day transpired, some time was spent in the afternoon being indoors at the Joslyn Art Museum, whereas it may have been preferable to be at the wachipi at Fort Omaha. Indoors the speakers spoke, using words of a relative degree, about the profound efforts of Prince Maximilian, a German visitor so instrumental in expressing history of the Missouri River during the historic period. Karl Bodmer was at least mentioned a time or two.

It cost $8 to enter the museum. There was nothing lost for the time, but nothing was learned from what the featured speakers said, and from their e-powered powerpoint presentations. At least there was free parking for people riding bicycles.

A couple of tidbits were none-the-less of some importance, but which significance depends.

The editor of Prairie Fire Newspaper was trying to find some writer to replace their current regular contributor of bird stories. Dr. Paul Johnsgard, a retiree of UNL was not writing anything "fresh." An introduction to this editor came from Robert Kuzelka, another longtime UNL employee, in search of a purpose.

During the time of speakers, there was no new wonder or fresh vitality for the expedition journals. The hours were gone, especially after more pedal strokes happened, so it eventually was later on a Saturday afternoon.

Then it was evening, and a unique surprise. In the local Carthage neighborhood,. it was a complete surprise to see a towhee in the backyard. There were robins, grackles and a few starlings on the scene, enjoying the bird bath. Some House Sparrows also appreciated the fresh water.

The spots of the towhee were obvious, then confirmed with a closeup perspective using a spotting scope. The carcass of earlier in the morning added to the significance. This bit of expressive bird activity represents species no. 68 for the Carthage neighborhood. Its occurrence was especially emphasized by the early morning finding of the carcass of a dead bird at the Holland Performing Arts Center..

In the local environs at the bluffs of Carthage and Dundee, particular attention was given to this bit of a bird, oblivious to record-keeping. Before doing dinner dishes, its id was easily confirmed with a closer look using a spotting scope.

During this same period of time, an avian congregation of grackles, robins and house sparrow appreciated the fresh water in the blue bowl. It is a joy to see them sip.

These particular observations are special because two days later, the Brown Thrasher was about the same ground.

Once the live bird antics ended, some time was taken to consider particular apropos for historic bird observations, including a pause necessary to get details correct for a particular date and other specifics.

As dusk spread over the River City scene, after 7 p.m., once again a bicycle was ridden to a place where there were many Chimney Swifts, over in the Izard Industrial Zone.

Dozens and dozens of bug-eaters gathered about at the place which they had selected as a night's haven. The display was appreciated along Izard Street.

After watching the wonderful birds and soon thereafter moving to return to my residence — while walking rather than bicycle riding — trash along the street was picked up, then thrown into local dumpsters.

20 September 2012

Churches Block Chimneys Used by Swifts

Two churches in north Omaha have blocked chimneys, rendering them useless for chimney swifts.

Sacred Heart Church at 2218 Binney Street has blocked access to both of its chimneys.There are two chimneys on the west side of the church, and they are both now capped, apparently as a result of the building renovation done in 2010.

The silver of the vent placed atop the chimney is visible in the background of this picture.

Sacred Heard Church, Sunday morning, September 23, 2012.

Swift use of the chimneys was originally noted in the autumn of 2003.

Just a few blocks away at 2215 Grant Street, the Zion Baptist Church also capped its large chimney. Swift use was first noted here in the autumn of 2007.

Zion Baptist Church, Sunday morning, September 23, 2012.
This chimney at The Church of Jesus Christ Whole Truth, at 3105 North 24th Street, was recently used by hundreds of chimney swifts. It was a grand spectacle to watch them gather, then dart into their night's haven.

The Church of Jesus Christ Whole Truth, Sunday morning, September 23, 2012.

Window-Strike Miscellany for Downtown Omaha

It is now the midst of the autumn window-strike season at downtown Omaha, and there have been some recent, significant findings.


Three previously unrecorded species were found on the mornings of September 18th and 19th. The first was a Blue-headed Vireo, kicked away from where it had died at the Omaha Public Power District Energy Plaza.

A disabled Blue Jay was seen on the west side of the CenturyLink Center Omaha. It had moved away from the glass, and was noted after dealing with a nearby, dead Lincoln's Sparrow. The jay flew towards the trees to the west, making it two-thirds of the distance, then bouncing off the ground and then reaching the landscaping, though it could not reach the upper part of a tree. There have been about 20 window-strikes here in the past four days, including eight on the 18th.

A Black-throated Blue Warbler was at the northwest corner of the north tower at the Central Park Plaza. It was disabled and after noting it and getting a distant picture, it flew away. This was just before several people got off the bus and would have certainly chased it away, or perhaps stepped on it.

People on the way to work in the morning are typically just focused on getting to their destination, as evidenced by usual behavior, noted repeatedly.

Prediction Comes True

When the architectural design was seen for the Zesto Building near the downtown ball park, it was predicted in an email to the design company that bird strikes would occur because of the extensive use of glass and nearby landscaping.

The first dead bird was found the morning of September 20th. It was a Lincoln's Sparrow, a bit of a ways south of the entrance to Lids Locker Room business, on the east side of the building, and its north end.

Holland Performing Arts Center

Staff at this building are purposely trying to hide window-strikes occurrences.

The morning of the 20th, a staff person - an older guy seen there on other occasions - was overheard talking about a bird trapped along the south glass of the courtyard. He had tried to capture it, but was unsuccessful. He left the bird there, and while walking around towards the south side of the building, his comment to a construction worker was that the bird was stupid anyway, and continued with: ... "let it die. I'll just pick it up later."

This guy obviously has a routine of removing any carcasses and chasing away any live birds as a part of his first in the morning routine, as it was only about 6:30 a.m.

Removing the dead birds means they know there is a problem, but they do not want anyone else to know. Their throwing bird carcasses into the trash does not show proper respect for the just recently lively bird. Chasing birds without proper knowledge of bird behavior on how to catch them can be considered harassment, and may lead to additional deaths, if a bird hits the extensive glass, again.

Numerous window-strike instances were denoted this spring, but the Lincoln's Sparrow trapped in the courtyard, was the first record this autumn, whereas there are typically more. There had to be a reason, and it became obvious this morning.

13 September 2012

Smithsonian Research Evaluating Bird Hazards

A researcher at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center is currently involved in a project to estimate the "magnitude of mortality caused by different human threats" including collisions with different man-made structures including buildings and communication towers, wind turbines, predation by cats, poisoning, etc.

As part of the investigation by Scott R. Loss, a postdoctoral research fellow, he is "bringing together data for bird collisions with buildings and windows. By looking at data from multiple sites across the US and applying advanced statistical methods, I am hoping to generate more rigorous estimates of the numbers of birds killed each year across the US. Also of central interest is investigating how collision risk varies seasonally, geographically, and by bird species."

Information will be evaluated as available from:

  • Toronto (Fatal Light Awareness Program)
  • Portland, Oregon (Bird Safe Portland - Portland Audubon Society)
  • Washington, DC (Lights out DC - City Wildlife, Inc.)
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Lights out Winston-Salem - Forsyth County Audubon Society)
  • Chicago (downtown buildings [Chicago Bird Collision Monitors] and 30-year data set for McCormick Place [Dave Willard, Field Museum])
  • Milwaukee (WINGS - Wisconsin Humane Society)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul (University of Minnesota and Minnesota Project Birdsafe – Minnesota Audubon Society)
  • Indianapolis (Lights Out Indy – Amos W. Butler Audubon Society)
  • New York (Project Safe Flight - New York City Audubon Society)

Details for window strike instances in east Omaha, have also been provided for this project.

"We are also summarizing a lot of previously collected data from private residences and office and university campuses, including Dr. Daniel Klem's work, among other researchers," Loss said.

The goal is to "determine whether these threats have substantial effects on bird populations" and to develop "analytical methods to quantify the magnitude of bird mortality associated with direct anthropogenic threats."

"The studies for each mortality source will come out in a staggered fashion, depending on how long the peer review process takes for each," he said. "Studies will be available in the next 1-2 years in the peer-reviewed literature, and we will also produce a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service technical report summarizing the entire project."

The project is funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and administered through the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's (National Zoological Park) Postdoctoral Fellowship program.

Ancient and Modern Game

A Southern Iowa Editor in Search of the One Succeeds in Making the Other of His Friends.

(Sam B. Evans in the Ottumwa Democrat.)

As the stage climbed along to the top of the hill overlooking the scenery beyond, the driver checked his spirited horse and striking back with his whip to attract attention, exclaimed: "Gentlemen, see the finest lake in the northwest!" And behold, there was spread before us like a picture, West Okoboji, in all its loveliness.

The town of Spirit Lake is situated in the midst of lakes: Spirit Lake to the north, East Okoboji to the east, and West Okoboji and Diamond Lakes to the west and south.

This region may be denominated the hunters paradise; the lakes are full of fish and the inlets and lakelets covered with fowl. Here abound ducks of all varieties: blue winged teal, butter ducks, mallard, canvas-backs, plover, wild geese, curlew, snipe and in season thousands of prairie chickens.

An exploring party was organized on Saturday morning for the purpose of discovering and excavating the ancient mounds at the head of the main lake, and also to shoot the ferocious ducks and plover that might interfere with our archeological pursuits. The party consisted of nine, Smith of the Beacon, and the writer hereof hunting in couple. For the benefit of future explorers, we may say that the mounds are situated in Sec. 8, T100, R36, commanding a magnificent view of the main lake looking to the southeast. Prehistoric relics were secured in the shape of human bones, pottery, etc. and evidence in support of a theory which we do not find ourselves bold enough yet to announce.

After mound-hunting, came shooting, and Smith, of the Beacon, having kindly loaned us his excellent gun and agreeing to keep up with us, we boldly struck out in the primeval forest, scattering ducks, plover, loons and curlews from our paths like chaff before the storm. Those we did not kill were badly frightened, and yet we met there were ducks that came up missing in the family duck pond that evening. Smith is a mighty hunter in Dickinson, and labors under but one difficulty. He is broad in base and ponderous in bulk, and his wind is not equal to his ambition.

A dinner at Hunters' Lodge, where Crandell dishes up those marvelous stews, was on the programe, and here Smith vindicated his fair fame and name, for on Crandall's list of big eaters, lo! Smith's name led all the rest.

"The cool[??], fresh wind from the prairies,
Was [word not legible] the [word not legible] of the crystal lake."

Sunset too was coming and the Spirit Lake Exploring and Hunting Party set its race homeward — in the direction of the Minne Waukon House, where the genial Ed. Wells dispenses that hospitality which has made him famous with all tourists in Northwestern Iowa.

Fringed with timber on high hills, pebbly beaches and murmuring shores, Spirit Lake is a beautiful, romantic place, with the associations that render it one of the most interesting spots in Iowa. On its bosom no Indian would venture his canoe, for a spirit, according to the legend, was vigilant in drawing beneath the waters the boat of any red man who would venture to cross.

On these shores no later than 1857, a most terrible tragedy was enacted, the result of which to this day makes the blood of old pioneers bound in the veins. The entire settlement of about thirty persons was massacred by Ink-pa-du-tah's band of renegade Sioux. All the men were murdered; children were nailed to the cabin to die in torment in presence of their mothers, who were reserved for a fate that was worse.

Hon. R.A. Smith, the historian of the county, has given a very interesting account of the massacre, and which was published in the Beacon.

The time has passed rapidly away while her, and why should it not, when welcomed and entertained by such generous friends as J.A. Smith of the Beacon, Hon. Orson Rice and his son Fred, who by the way is just admitted to the law firm of Rice & Co.; A.A. Mosher, Ed. Wells, A.B. Funk, R.A. Smith, T.L. Twiford, Reynolds, Cutler, Terwilliger and Eastwood, of the Journal. I will come here again, if for nothing else than to see the new fleet of boats Commander Reynolds will have launched before the oaks on the mounds have put forth their leaves or the fish begin to bite well.

May 6, 1880. Spirit Lake Beacon 10(23): 3.

Sporting in Massachusetts

From the Boston (Mass.) Advocate, Aug. 30.

Horrid Massacre. — A set of infamous loafers down at Orleans have been guilty of the vile practice of ??ering the marsh plover by torch light. The mode of butchery is to kindle a fire near where the birds roost, when they flutter round it in immense flocks, and are swept down in scoop nets by the villains who thus violate the laws. The penalty is severe, and ought to be enforced. The practice is barbarous, wanton and useless, and will soon exterminate all the birds on the marshes, which now make fine healthful sport there. The other day, as we learn, about four bushels of redbreasts and yellow legs were sent to this city, all of which had been murdered in this horrid manner. If Robbins buys them in the market he ought to be fined for it. — The receiver is as bad as the thief. The bird dealers should all refuse to buy a bird whose neck has been wrung and no shot in him. Otherwise they will soon have no birds to sell, as well as those who love the marsh shooting, no birds to kill. Four bushels at one scoop destroys more birds than the gunners would kill in a whole season. The good people of the Cape are deeply interested in enforcing the law against thus murdering the birds, because the sport calls to their healthful and pleasant villages many strangers who have not a little money behind them, of which almost every man gets a share in one shape or another.

Whenever a matter of national importance is on the tapis, it never escapes the keen martial eyes of the Berry Street Rangers. Accordingly, at the meeting of that gallant corps on Monday, the Judge Advocate and Corporal Hunt were detailed for the purpose of marching to the Old Colony, this week, to reconnoitre the position of the tiger, in the Sandwich woods. Should it be necessary, the Berry Street Rangers, it is expected, will be ordered out to relieve the good people of Cape Cod of the devastations of the tiger, a feat that will be second in history only to the extermination of the great dragon of Egypt, by St. George, one of the seven Champions. In the mean time, while reconnoitering the tiger, we shall look after this massacre of plover.

En passant, the shooting is said to be fine on the marshes, and if our friends want the material for execution, they will find them as usual at Lane and Herd's in Duck Square.

September 5, 1837. Washington Daily National Intelligencer 25(7664): 2.

The marsh plover corresponds with the proper name of American Woodcock. Orleans is in Barnstable County, in the Cape Cod region.

12 September 2012

Notes on Nebraska Territory

By Th. Jefferson Sutherland.

Chapter IV. Game - Wild Beasts - Birds - Fishes - Reptiles and Insects.

Of the game which once existed in the territory of Nebraska in abundance, but a mere vestige remains. It has ceased to be in quantity sufficient for the Indians, or to afford profitable sport for the whites. The passage of several thousand emigrants annually through the territory, which has now been continued for four or five years, and they starting from all the different points on the Missouri river, and traversing the country in the months of April, May, and June, the breeding time for the animals, has resulted in a general destruction of the game, both of bird and beast; and at this time the necessities of the Indians drive them to entrap, to charge down, and to kill every animal which remains, of foot and wing. Enough do not escape the chase of the Indians and the hunt of the emigrants for the reproduction and continuance of the species.

During the summer months the buffaloes and the antelopes, in their migration from the south, make their appearance upon the plains in the territory, three or four hundred miles west of the Missouri river; and during that season they are hunted and killed by the Indians. The buffalo do not always appear in great numbers, but when they come in numerous herds, (which is frequently the case) being readily taken, the Indians from all parts of the territory supply themselves liberally with flesh for their winter support, and with hides and robes, which they barter for bread and whiskey. The antelopes are always shy, and they are captured only with difficulty, consequently they furnish but little available means of support for the Indians; and when captured by the better mounted emigrant, or brought down by his surer rifle, it is always at a cost of labor for which the body of the animal affords no appropriate remuneration.

The deer, which were once abundant at all seasons of the year within the territory, are now but seldom met with; and those that remain have been so frequently subjected to the chase of the Indians and the emigrants, that they have become shy and difficult to be brought within the reach of a rifle. A few elk also remain, but they are as difficult to capture as the deer.

Within the timbered lands, raccoons and squirrels of the gray and fox kind, are somewhat numerous. rabbits are common in the cottonwood and patches of hazel bushes, and these are easily captured with dog and gun. But being found only within, or near the timbered lands, they do not exist in such quantities as to add much for the support of the Indians, or often to furnish food for the hunting appetite of the emigrant.

The common little striped ground squirrel exists in considerable numbers upon the prairies; and there are in like numbers a large field mole, called a gopher — which is a very industrious animal. They cut channels or chambers in the soil, under the sod, all over the prairies, and here and there a few feet a part, they pierce the sod and throw up the soil in little heaps, which are called gopher hills. This animal sometimes commits depredations upon the growing potato, and garden vegetables; but it is said, that when castor-oil beans are planted, and grown in a potato field or garden, the gophers will leave.

In a section of the territory far west from the Missouri river, it is said there are many burrows of a little haired quadruped, called the prairie dog; which is unquestionably a species of the rabbit race; though the habits of this animal are quite different from those other members of the pussy family.

Bears, if they have there existed, are now unknown in the territory; and the fox is seldom, if ever seen or heard of in that region. Occasionally, in the timbered lands, a panther and a wild cat is seen; and the fool-hardy courage of these animals, make them at all times easy of capture and destruction. The prairie-wolf exists in considerable numbers throughout the territory, and this is the only animal that is likely to give trouble in the least to the settler. It is a small species of the wolf family, or a gray color, and corresponds in character and habit with the coyote of Mexico. It is a wandering animal — not gregarious — and will prey upon young pigs, lambs, and sometimes upon sheep, but it is a silly animal — without the cunning of the fox, or the courage of the large gray wolf, and may be taken and destroyed with little difficulty. Wherever the settler comes there they soon cease to exist.

It is not known to the writer that either the skunk, woodchuck, or hedgehog, exists within the territory. Yet they may be found in some parts, nevertheless. Or it may be the fact that the ease with which those animals are taken, has led to the entire destruction of their races in that region by the Indians.

In the eastern part of the territory, wild turkeys still remain in considerable numbers. They there grow to an enormous size, and present the finest specimens of their race. But they have been so much hunted by the Indians, and their eggs or late having been so uniformly destroyed by the emigrants, that their numbers have not increased so as to render them a game worthy of any considerable attention.

The prairie hen, though much hunted by the Indians and emigrants, still exists there in considerable numbers; and it is not to be doubted that the numbers of these and the wild turkey would be greatly increased were the Indians removed, and the whole territory subjected to settlement by the whites. When the young of the prairie fowl are from three to four months old, they afford agreeable and profitable sport, and furnish a rich and palatable food. The flesh of the old ones is tough and tasteless. partridges, quails, pigeons, and turtle doves are also, in their season, abundant throughout the eastern part of the territory.

During the months of March and April, in each year, the Missouri river, for the distance of about one thousand miles from its mouth, is found to be literally alive with wild geese, prosecuting their annual migration to the north. A few of these remain and nest in the northern part of the territory. With the great myriads of wild geese which annually follow up the course of the Missouri river, there are occasionally small flocks of swans and pelicans, and considerable numbers of brant. In the autumn, the wild geese and brant return with their young, and spread through the corn and wheat fields along the river in pursuit of food, when they are easily taken; and the young ones, when properly dressed, are fine for the table. Ducks, of several varieties, are not only abundant on the Missouri river, but they inhabit all the streams of the territory, and breed there. The ducks may be reckoned among the most common and available game of the territory.

A crane now and then shows itself on the Missouri river, and turkey buzzards may be seen in considerable numbers throughout the territory. There are also many flocks of sand-hill cranes — a kind of nondescript birds, a seeming cross between a kite and a goose. hawks, ravens, crows, and blackbirds are there in usual numbers. OF the blackbird family, thee is a singular breed, the head, neck, and breast of which are of a beautiful orange color, and in each wing there are three white feathers.

Flocks of paroquets are frequently seen along the shores of the Missouri river, as high up as the mouth of the Nebraska. Within the timbered lands of the territory, birds are very numerous, and of all the varieties and descriptions which are common to corresponding latitudes.

Fish are abundant in all the streams of the territory. Those of the Missouri river are pike, pickerel, bass, perch, buffalo, and a large description of catfish. In the smaller streams suckers, sunfish, perch, and a small kind of catfish are taken, all of which are excellent. In some of the streams north and south of the Nebraska river, trout of a good quality are plentiful.

The annual burnings of the dried prairie grass do not allow the existence of a large number of reptile and insects. Toads are almost as rare in Nebraska as in Ireland; and the big bull-frog is there seldom heard or seen; but along the brooks and smaller streams of water a species of little green frog exists in great numbers.

Snakes are not numerous, and those to be met with are large, and marked with the signs of many years. The snake race inhabiting the territory of Nebraska consists of the bull snake, or American boa, blue racer, and the rattlesnake, of two kinds; the pied or spotted, which is large, and the black, which is of a small size. The bull snake and the racer are entirely harmless. The rattlesnakes are alone venomous; but they never strike without warning, and are continually giving notice of their presence with the shake of their rattles. When the country becomes settled, the rattlesnake soon disappears. The common black snake and the garter snake are not know to exist in the territory, nor are there any of the milk snakes of the east.

The butterfly and the moth exist in considerable numbers throughout the territory. But these are only of the common species. The grasshopper, the spider, and the whole bug race, exists only in diminished numbers — the eggs and young being continually subject to destruction by the burning of the dried grass of the prairies. Those of the insect race which by chance or habit take refuge within the timbered lands, furnish the only reproduction of their species; and if it were not for these, the insect race of the territory of Nebraska would long since have shared the fate of the timber where the prairie grass has taken root. The midge and the gnat are not know in the territory, and mosquitoes prevail only along the rivers and bottoms.

The honey bee is seen in considerable numbers upon the prairies, and in the timbered lands swarms are numerous, from which honey of a good quality may be obtained. The bumble bee is also seen upon the prairies, and hornets and wasps in sparse numbers.

May 20, 1852. New York Herald 7141: 3.

Thomas Jefferson Sutherland apparently was the publisher of the Nebraska Boomer newspaper, having previously published a paper called the Black Dwarf, at Utica, New York.

All of the previous articles in the New York Herald have not been located. Another article in the series does discusses the primary waterways, mostly in Nebraska, but also elsewhere within the territory. A subsequent article issued in June, has details for a trip from Turkey Creek — along the Missouri River in southeast Nebraska — to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Sutherland died October 7, 1852 of typhus fever, with the place of death indicated as the Iowa Mission, Nebraska Territory. An announcement was issued in several eastern newspapers.

A Flight of Birds in the Night

One of the phenomena which has been noticed in connection with the cold and stormy weather of the past four weeks, says the Worcester spy, is the scarcity of some species of birds which usually make their appearance in numbers throughout the country from the 1st to 15th of this month. Although in the milder weather of the last month the early birds came thick and fast, passing on their way to the north, the tide of migration has apparently been stayed by the unfavorable weather, which has retarded as well the growth of vegetation in some ways. Many of our birds which may be seen here regularly in numbers on certain dates every season, have not appeared at all or but few have been seen. It is well known that flights of birds occur quite regularly in autumn before the storms, and in spring after them. It is also known that many birds in their migrations travel during the night, resting usually during the day. We were prepared on the rise of the mercury Saturday evening to note a flight of birds during the night and were not disappointed. The early hours of the evening passed without much having been heard of the birds, except now and then the chirp of a warbler of the noise of a small flock passing overhead. At 11 o'clock, however, bird calls began to resound high in the air and on all sides, and from 12 to 2 in the morning the multitudes of birds were heard passing overhead; some low, some so high that their notes came back like a faint echo in the darkness. Occasionally a flock of warblers or sparrows would pass, flying so low that the rustling of their wings could be heard. Now and then a flock of some small song birds passed high overhead, making a continuous musical ripple through the night. From the regions of the upper air, high above all, came back the tones of the plover and other shore birds, all tending toward the north. The notes of many such as the bobolink, tanager, Wilson's thrush, white-crowned sparrow, etc., were recognized, and during a walk Sunday morning these birds and many others were found in numbers. Those who wish to observe the small land birds now on their way to the north should be on alert, for in ten days from this time very few birds will be found here except our summer residents. This flight of birds, which is probably not local, may extend over the entire portion of the northern United States east of the Mississippi, or even further. Countless millions of birds are spreading through these states, returning from their wanderings in southern forests to their old homes in the north.

October 5, 1882. St. Paul Daily Globe 5(278): 6. The report is however, obviously about spring migration.

Singular Occurrence

One night a short time since an immense flock of birds passed over Sharpsville, Mercer county. In their course they flew over the Douglas furnaces, and commenced dropping by the hundreds, until there was a perfect shower of them. It is supposed they became bewildered, and flying too near the furnaces were suffocated by the gas and smoke. A great many of them were badly burned, and the stench becoming so great, that they were gathered up and thrown into the furnaces. The next morning dead birds were found lying all about the vicinity of the furnaces, and a number of persons collected them by the basketful, for the purpose of having them stuffed, and taxidermists were in demand. The singular part of the affair is that the birds were of different species — embracing bluebirds, redbirds, woodcocks, yellow birds, wild ducks, and a number of varieties — many of them having beautiful plumage. How such a collection migrated together is a mystery.

June 19, 1878. Somerset Herald 27(2): 1. Issued at Somerset, Pa.

A Kentucky Bird Story

A sight so strange that it would pay strangers to come miles to see occurs every night, five miles south of this place, on the Cedar Bluffs of the Cumberland River. Every evening just about sundown the sky is darkened as far as the eye can see by great flocks of birds coming to roost in these cedars. Your correspondent, accompanied by a native and a lantern, spent a couple of hours last night among the cedars watching this wonderful congregation of every tongue, plumage, and almost every country this side of the tropics. Startled by our approach great clouds of the chattering tribe would rise from their perches in the cedars and fly off with a noise like deep and distant thunder. We had to scream at the top of our voices to hear one another speak. Large limbs of the trees were broken off, caused by the accumulated weight of birds. Hundreds, blinded by our lantern, would fly into our faces. We could pick thousands of them from the branches of the trees. But what seemed so strange about this bird convention was the seeming peace and harmony that existed between the birds. The hawk and dove roosted in perfect safety around the perch of large owls. In the early morning when these songsters of the groves left their perches in the cedars for the fields of the open country it was a most beautiful and gorgeous sight to behold. With the blue of the jay, the crimson and red of the fence wren and red bird, the yellow and gray of the yellow and sparrow birds seemed like some grand and splendid panorama of the floral kingdom endowed with the power of music moving through the air in a procession composed of all the colors of the rainbow. Hundreds of people come every night to see this strange wonder. A great many poor people gain almost their entire support by catching and selling these birds. — Somerset (Ky.) Special to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

April 23, 1881. Colfax Chronicle 4(24): 2. Also issued March 31, 1881 in the Columbus Journal.

10 September 2012

Journal of a Missouri River Hunting Party

Journal of a Hunting Party,

Consisting of three Sergeants, two Corporals, and twenty-six Privates, under the command of Captains Martin and Shaler, who left Camp Council Bluffs, Oct. 13, 1820.

All things being in readiness, the little party moved off at 2 P.M., with those feelings of mirth, anticipated pleasure, and mutual good will, visible in the countenances of the silent, and difficult to restrain in the more noisy, which are only inspired by that thirst for novelty and love of adventure, which alone can induce the sportsman and explorer, so often, to incur hazards. Now wending over trackless prairies, now penetrating the unpathed forests, and now braving the current of the rapidly rushing stream — leaving the bed of down and pillow of sheltered repose, for a couch of leaves, deep in the wild woods over shadowed only by the blue celestial gauze of the canopy above, and unprotected from the peltings of the merciless storm save by the leaky thatch of the trees, or scanty covering of some hollow log — to encounter the wild howling of a hungry pack of wolves, the close hug of the dreaded bear, or some more fearful enemy, that they might recount their valorous conflicts, heroic exploits, and brilliant achievements, when surrounding in the years of after Life the more quiet domestic hearth; imbuing, perhaps, the minds of their children with a love and admiration of their prowess and encouraging to deeds of like daring, or by the relation of their hair breadth escapes striking sorrow and terror to their young and unsophisticated minds till it is seen in the glistening watery eye or tremulous shaking of the body. As I observed in the outset our party were of that good cheer; animated by that love of romance which only attends the footsteps of the hunstman, and which is so seldom satiated while in the pursuit of the chase.

Having a long journey before us, (designing an absence of some months) our purpose was to proceed slow and cautiously; not fretting at unavoidable delays and content to make the night, night, wherever its shaded wings over-spread us. Hence we quietly descended to an Indian trading establishment, a distance of seven miles, where we arrived at 4 o'clock and having some business of a private nature to transact, took up our abode until next morning, Saturday 14; when as early as the gilding of the eastern horizon by Aurora's harbinger, our little boat was again struggling amid the strong current, over which we had scarcely made eight miles before we were compelled to lay by for the remainder of the day, in consequence of high winds, which not unfrequently impeded our progress, as we afterwards found.

Sunday, 15. The wind still continuing to blow we determined not to leave our moorings, and detached a small party for game who returned in the evening, bringing in 2 deer, 1 turkey, 16 ducks and 4 plover.

Monday, 16. The morning being fine, all hands were once more in motion, and ere the setting of the sun, we had made eighteen miles.

17. After having increased our distance seventeen miles, the wind spring up, we came to at 3 P.M. and sent out four men who returned bringing in 8 turkies.

18. Wind being still high, we did not attempt to move. The day ended in the killing of 4 deer and 8 turkeys.

19. Left our encampment at the break of day and after running four miles on a host of snags and sawyers our boat struck one which lay concealed under the water with so much force as to spring a leak and render it quite difficult to reach the shore; so that this day ended with the killing of 1 deer, 3 turkeys — and only three miles additional distance on our journey.

20. Having got our boat again in a seaworthy condition we started about 8 o'clock, and the day being exceedingly fine cut off about forty-five miles and hauled up for the night.

21. This morning a dense fog, depressing our spirits by its gloomy mists, as an excess of ease and sleep overcomes the dull senses of an indolent, drowsy man, prevented our getting off later than our usual hour. After going, however, six miles, we halted for a late breakfast, and some of our men going out for a little recreation, by way of strengthening the palate, returned with 5 turkies — after which we proceeded on till we arrived about 2 P.M. at Targneo: where we had designed to remain for a few days. But being disappointed in the scarcity of game, with the intuitive perception of the sagacious sportsmen soon discovered that we should neither feather our bed with the down, clothe ourselves with the skins, or supply the hungry man of a gnawing appetite with wild game at this place.

Accordingly, on Monday 23, we dropped down four miles further; sent out all our men but ten, who returned after a short absence with the bountiful supply of 11 deer and 5 turkies. Nothing transpired here for several days except the taking of some additional game each day.

On Saturday, 28, we had again left our encampment, and were proceeding as usual on our way, filing off now to the left, then to the right, through and over snags and sawyers, as thick as they were dangerous, when we unfortunately, for the second time gave our little barque a most fearful wretching, and were saved from filling with water only by the redoubled effort of our men — who succeeded after much difficulty in getting it ashore, where we detained some hours in making good the damages; after which we again embarked and reached Nodaway without further vexations accidents. This was another intended point of temporary delay. We were here joined by a party of our men who had been left to proceed by land, and who came in well burthened with game.

29. Early this morning sent out two parties of five men each to explore the country, and to be absent 3 or 4 days. — Captains Martin and Shaler were here desirous of displaying their sportsmanship, and armed cap a pie, they sallied forth to test their skill in decoying the timid deer and still wilder turkey, but from their ill success, returned, evincing by trustful looks the conviction, that if better drilled in military discipline than their subordinates, they were at most not superior in the subtle craft of the huntsman. Game, however, seems very abundant and promises excellent sport to all whose organ of destructiveness takes pleasure in seeing the warm heart's blood flow. — As yet it is not determined whether we continue further on our journey or make this our winter quarters.

30. Capt. Shaler went out again this morning, and as if to redeem himself from the chagrin of yesterday, returned well laden with ducks, 7 of which he says were killed at one shot. — 2 deer were taken today.

31. The exploring parties detached a few days since, returned this evening with 18 deer. One of the parties report that a large company of Indians are approaching; we shall probably see them in the morning. This is their hunting ground, and we are under serious apprehensions that our occupancy of it will excite their jealousy.

Wednesday, November 1st, after due advisement we have concluded to establish ourselves here permanently for the winter, and have this day commenced the erection of Log Hunts on which our men will be employed until completed.

4. Our winter lodges are rapidly progressing and already begin to wear an air of comfort for which the courtly mansion and pampered appetite of its courtly lord might be well exchanged to engage in the buxom, healthful sport of the chase. This evening a scouting party sent out a few days since, returned with 17 deer — two other companies were ordered out this morning. The Indians of whom we received the report on the 31st, have not yet made their appearance.

7. The morning has dawned beautifully after a night in which was so fearfully exhibited the terrific grandeur of the angry elements. The thunder and lightning of last night spoke louder for the natural world, in a single hour, than all the artificial manufactured by the pelting officers of earth since its creation. 2 deer taken to-day.

9. The party that was sent out on the 4th inst. returned last night, burdened with 26 deer and one bear. An Indian of the Kanzas tribe accompanied them in, and says there are thirty of his tribe hunting on the opposite side of the river. He gives us every assurance of friendship. Reloaded our boat this morning, and with a part of our company descended the river for a short excursion — shall probably be absent for two or three days. Before leaving another party was sent up the Nodaway.

10. Last night snow fell to the depth of three or four inches and this morning the scene is as wintry as a Laplander could desire. The trees are festooned with icicles and snow covers the face of the land as ice in part does that of the waters, and every thing around and beneath us, seems so much like a northern winter, that the scenes of home and the society of neighbors, might be realized in part without a journey either to Norway or Sweden.

12. Returned back to camp this evening; the weather still continues of the frigid order.

13. An absent party brought us in an additional supply of 10 deer, and 3 others were killed during the day by Captains Martin and Shaler. The weather yet remains uncomfortably cold. Two other companies have gone out to-day.

15. Captain Shaler set out his morning, accompanied by two men, for Council Bluffs. A company who have been absent for a day or two returned with 18 deer, and 5 more were killed by Capt. Martin.

18. The two parties that went out on the 13th inst. returned to-day bringing 28 deer : a larger number than has been brought in at any one time before. Large herds of elk have been seen within the last few days, one of which was wounded by Corporal Wilson, but escaped.

Monday 20. Three lodges of Indians passing themselves for the Ottoes, arrived and encamped last night on the opposite of the Nodawa, they wish to make themselves very friendly, but the old proverb is, "a modest distrust is the parent of serenity." Their horses have been turned to pasture among the rushes on the island — this indicates a protracted stay, which it is feared will disparage our hunting pleasures — their intentions, however, toward us are yet to be known.

22. This morning our spying neighbors, the Indians, very unceremoniously struck their wigwams and decamped giving us indubitable evidence of the legerdemain, by leaving us minus several knives, tomahawks, &c. &c., in despite of the injunction which had been levied for the united vigilance of all hands. They even attempted to carry off Capt. Shaler's young and favorite dog, Nimrod, but being pursued this dog was secured, which is esteemed of no little value, but less from the celebrity of his name, than from his other general good qualities. Another of our hunting parties came in this evening, bringing a respectable portion of game, and report that like the fable of the hungry flies sapping poor Reynards best blood, we are about to be visited again by some of natures rude natured men, in whom the organ of truce and concretion, to call it by no harsher name, however defective in its development, is in no particular deficient in size, as we have already had ocular demonstration.

23. Another of our parties returned to-day with 11 deer, and say they have suffered the loss of one over-coat, two pairs of shoes, leggins, &c. &c., through the thieving propensities of the same band that had similarly visited us.

December 1. Nothing worthy of record has transpired for some days; we are in the daily receipt of a full supply of game. Last night 23 deer were brought in, and to-day our camp is stored with 29 more. Kerr and Rogers, two of our men, arrived yesterday from the Bluffs, and will depart in the morning for St. Louis. — We are receiving additional proof this evening that winter is upon us in good earnest; for while I write the aqueous particles congealed until their very substance is exhausted, are falling thick and fast, and I am not unwilling to admit that the ardor of our first pursuit is fast subsiding before the terrors of a dreary winter. Already has the longing for the more comfortable rooms of our proper military posts, as depicted in the countenances of our men taken the place of the first earnestness of the chase; and which plainly indicates that novelty interests only while new, and that too much of a good thing may lead to a surfeit, which is little better than to starve with nothing.

So by this time you are left to the conclusion that your journalist is

No Sportsman.
April 2, 1844. Green Bay Republican 3(25): 1. Written for the Green Bay Republican.

The bird records in this text were added to a bird database, using a historic, Lewis and Clark era map of the Missouri River to determine approximate locations. This article was an exiting find because of its date and place and since it has not been previously known for the chronicles associated with old-time bird history for Nebraska.

The first post created at what became the Engineer Cantonment was called Cantonment Martin, after Captain Wyly Martin.

Grange Resolves to Protect Indigenous Birds

Rising Star Grange.

Resolution in Regard to the Killing of Indigenous Birds.

Peru, August 9, 1875.
Editor Nebraska Advertiser.

Would you please publish the following preamble and resolutions adopted by Rising Star Grange at its August meeting.

Wm. Bridge, Sec.

Whereas, We believe that all the birds that are indigenous to this state are the farmer's friend, inasmuch as they wage an incessant warfare on those insects that prey upon our fruit and grain; and

Whereas, It is a common practice of sundry persons in our community to wantonly kill or frighten the birds; and

Whereas, There is a law on our statute books against the killing of insectivorous birds; and that we recognize the prairie hen and quail as belonging to said class of birds; therefore be it

Resolved by the members of Rising Star Grange that we will seen that every violation of the law coming to our notice is reported to the proper authorities for punishment.

And further — Be it resolved that we request the farmers of this county to co-operate with us in this matter.

Thos. J. Rossin[?],
Emor Lash,
Wm. Bridge,
August 12, 1875. Nebraska Advertiser 20(7): 3. Issued at Brownville.

This is one of the first known efforts by a group of Nebraskans to actively promote the protection of native birds.

Nebraska Prairies - A Perspective

O what a scene! so pure and green,
And boundless to the roving eye;
Untilled, untouched, wild and serene,
And arched by such a glorious sky;
The clouds swell out in silver waves,
Around the deep ethereal blue;
And some, like shores of cliffs and eaves,
Jut from the North in dusky hue.
In loveliest variation spread,
The fresh green prairies glow around;
Some rambling hills the valleys lead,
And some the plains like bulwarks bound.
Two months ago swift prairie flame
O'er all with golden circles swept;
And cleaner than the flocks or game
It grazed to where the waters crept.
Then vernal showers gently fell
To wash the scorched and darkened earth,
And call from every hill and dell
The waiting shoots of herbage forth.
Till now, like richest emerald, glow
Around me valley, plain and hill,
And silk-green trees, and plums like snow,
Escort the gently journeying rill.
Young flowers their dewy eyes upturn,
To woo the angel stars by night;
But droop to hide, when day-beams burn,
Their bashful beauty from the sight.
In other flowery coverts deep
The doe conceals her speckled fawn;
And prairie hens their chirplings keep,
Till circling hawks above are gone.
Soon 'midst the waves of summer green
The brown fat deer and antelope
Shall in the watered dells be seen
Beneath the shade-tree's dusky cope.
Blest in the bounties of each day,
And from man's dominion rude,
All live their happy lives away,
In nature's own sweet solitude.
What unrecorded ages past
Lie hid in silent mystery here!
What future states their shadows cast
Beyond the Indian's wild career!
For hark! that whistle, shrill and clear!
Those puffs from fiery throats and heart!
All nature shrinks with silent fear
When comes you harbinger of art.
The locomotive, in its course,
With sun-like eye, and mane of steam,
Drags civilization on by force,
And wakes wild centuries from their dreams.
What change few brief years have wrought
Within this western wilderness!
Developed with the speed of thought,
To lovely farms and villages.
In towns the railways knot, that speed
To all parts safe, in hours more few,
Than once the traveler, armed for need
In weeks the tardy oxen drew.
Neat buggies whirl their lords along
Where buffaloes thundered o'er the plain;
And field-larks from their joyous song,
O'er fields and miles of waving grain.
May 29, 1874. Nebraska prairies. Jefferson City (Missouri) State Journal 2(23): 6. Written for the State Journal.

06 September 2012

Opera House Chimney a Roost for Swifts

Late Local News.

Mayor Lasselle has for several days been watching the peculiar actions of the chimney swallows. Every evening large flocks of swallows can be seen swarming about the large chimney of the opera house. Presently one will take the lead and dart down into the chimney followed by the rest. Mayor Lasselle has watched them several evenings and on a rough calculation finds the number at from 1,000 to 2,000. They fly down into the furnace chimney to roost. During the summer many hundreds have made their nests there. When the entire number are settled it is stated that the lower walls are lined from top to bottom.

September 10, 1884. Logansport (Indiana) Pharos Tribune 10(70): 4.

Strange Flight of Martins

Immense flocks of swallows haunt a little copse in Westerly. Hundreds of thousands of these birds gather, filling the air and confusing the mind with their twittering. The come singly, in pairs, by the score, in hundreds and even in flocks of thousands, until there seems no room in the air for more. All at once, as by magic, they shoot into the copse and disappear. It is really a wonderful sight. Westerly people visit the place every evening, and come over even from Watch Hill and Stonington to witness the singular phenomenon. They have been known to gather there for a number of years, but in number they excel this year.

September 7, 1877. Strange flight of swallows. Petersburg Index and Appeal 24(37): 2. From a Westerly (R.I.) letter to the Providence Journal.

04 September 2012

Swifts - a Singular Phenomenon in Connecticut

Woodbury, Conn., May 24th, 1847.

An accident occurred in this place on the 18th of the present month, which neither that distinguished personage, the "oldest inhabitant," nor any other individual recollects to have witnessed or known before, and which, there, I deem worthy of record.

In the latter part of the day above mentioned, an immense flock of birds, commonly known as chimney swallows, collected over the village where by their gyrations, numbers and peculiar notes, they attracted much attention for about two hours, when they began to describe a regular circle in the heavens. This circle the mysterious visitors, by every evolution, made smaller and smaller until it became quite contracted, when suddenly they commenced descending into a well which was directly under the centre of the former movements. Soon some of them were seen flying out, and for a few minutes many were moving in each direction, though the greatest number moving in.

While the birds continued thus entering and escaping, some individuals approached the well, and for a time stood directly over it, observing the movements of the little adventurers. The presence of the observers was not at first regarded by them, but they continued their apparent purpose of a visit to the cool waters for a while, when they ceased to fly in, and immediately disappeared entirely from the heavens.

On examination we found the water about four feet below the surface of the ground, and the well being completely covered with the birds — many of them dead and others dying, and all, as was very manifest, having first alighted directly in the water.

After all had flow away that seemed able or willing, an individual went into the well in order to remove the rest, but so thick were the birds in the crevices that he was obliged to clear away numbers to find places for his hands and feet. He collected upwards of seven hundred, as was found by enumeration, and as many more flew away before he entered.

The object of the visitants no one can divine, and they did not see fit to tell us intelligibly, though they kept up quite a chattering among themselves. We therefore state the facts, and leave it for others, either by the yankee privilege of guessing or other means to ascertain the reason. These statements are made by one who was an eye-witness.

Yours, &c.

If we had not the name of the most respectable and reliable eye witness to the above phenomenon, we should have pronounced it rather fishy. As it is, we are bound to believe the statement, however unnatural and unaccountable it may appear.— Ed.

Birds - singular phenomenon. June 1, 1847. New York Evening Express, page 2. From the New Haven Herald.

Remarkable Flight of Shorebirds in Wisconsin

On Thursday last, during a severe southeast storm, a number of birds, new in this part of the country, were discovered on the farms in this vicinity, and on Friday immense numbers of large flocks were observed passing over the city from the northeast to the southwest — and the flight continued nearly two days and nights. — The width of the flight was "as far as heard from," is at least sixty miles. We heard from a shrewd Yankee estimate the number, taking the number that flew over his house as a basis at, a 'leetle more than ten thousand million.' A few were brought in by the sportsmen, and are believed to be the black breasted plover. These flocks were arranged in straight lines like wild geese, and they emitted a noise like a whistle. Their weight will average five ounces; shape live a dove, but with long curved wings — head and bill like a pigeon, with an oval white ring with an edging of black around the eye — feathers on the back, black, tinged with a yellowish green on the breast, brown and white — long brown legs with but three toes — crops filled with grasshoppers and other insects. Who can tell what they are and where they come from?

Remarkable flight of birds. September 27, 1852. Kenosha Democrat 2(15): 1. From the Kenosha Journal. A couple of misspellings corrected.
[These are possibly golden-plover, rather than the Grey Plover.]

Great Flock of Pigeons - Jersey Shore

Several large flocks of pigeons have been noticed of late. Capt. Bricker, of Jersey Shore, who was in the city yesterday, related that on Friday a flock passed over that town which reached from mountain to mountain, and attracted the attention of everybody. Old hunters declared that they had never seen anything like it. But the most remarkable part remains to be told. The Captain was out with his gun, like many others, and noticing the myriads of birds, fired into the center of them. The caused the flock to double up like a great knot, and arrested the flight for a moment. But one solitary bird was brought down, to the intense disgust of the marksman. When they got in motion again the sound declared by their wings resembled the roar of distant thunder. There was "millions in" that flock, and it sailed away in the direction of Williamsport.

April 6, 1875. Williamsport Daily Gazette and Bulletin 6(114): 4.

Grand Canal Dinner - 1824

On Saturday, Mr. Sykes, of the New-York Coffee-House, gave his annual dinner, in honor of Clinton and the Grand Canal. The company to the number of 250, assembled at three o'clock, when they sat down to the most sumptuous entertainment consisting of every variety of fish, flesh and fowl, and every delicacy that our extensive markets could supply. Gen. Robert Swartwout presided. Five tables were spread, each of which was tastefully ornamented with flags and inscriptions. At the head of the first table, stood a temple with the colonnades on every side, and from the centre of which rose a lofty tower, surmounted with flowers, and the whole surrounded with statutes of classical design. From different parts floated banners of blue and white silk, with inscriptions in letters of gold. The ornaments were tastefully arranged, and produced a happy effect. The wines supplied for the occasion, were of the highest and richest flavors, and imparted a zest to a great number of toasts which were given in the course of the evening.

That the table literally "groaned under the weight of the feast," will not be doubted by any one who peruses the following bill of fare which composed the entertainment: —

First Course. — Green turtle, oyster and oxtail soup; boiled and barbecued fish; chickens; ducks; geese; turkeys; hams, tongues, veal alamode; legs and chinese lamb; fricasees; oyster, chicken, bird and rabbit pies; roast, corned and alamode beef.

Second Course. — Gallipagos turtle ragout, do. steaks; green turtle callipash, do callipee, do. steaks; turkeys a la Francaise; snipe; plover; woodcock; quails; partridges; teal; widgeon; broad-bills; black ducks; wood ducks; brant; canvass-back ducks; saddles and haunches of venison.

Dessert. — Plumb, marrow, Vermicelli, and lemon puddings; apple, cranberry and guava pies; raspberry tartlets; jellies; blancmanges, syllabubs; fruit.

The price of tickets to this dinner, was but fifty cents — a fact which we state simply to show the great abundance and variety with which our markets are daily stored. We may safely say, there is not a city or country in the universe, where such an entertainment could be furnished for such a moderate price.

November 15, 1824. Boston Commercial Gazette 66(46): 4.