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Liloriole In Search Of
The Homes Of Fairyland, Part 1



On the thirtieth day of May she came unto the home of Brown Thrasher in the field upon the ground. It was builded of twigs, tendrils of vines and leaves and its lining was of rootlets. In it were four young bird children -- John and Jimmie, and Nellie and Timmie -- who not yet but soon where to be a quartette. (See their portrait in Music and Musicians of the Out-of-Doors.) Their voices were as yet undeveloped, as they had only a few days before come out of four eggs, like unto this one. For supper, which continued for three hours, being served at intervals, they had grasshoppers, caterpillars and spiders -- for breakfast the same, with a wee bit of fruit.


In a pasture near the fence was the burrow of Woodchuck. Liloriole called, but no one answered. She went on a little way and saw a Woodchuck upon a stump sunning himself. That burrow was not his home -- but it was the home of a Woodchuck, who was not just then at home. However, this Woodchuck told Liloriole several things of interest about her own family, and Liloriole went with her to her burrow. Her nest was lined with soft grass. And best of all were the three baby Woodchucks -- then three weeks old. When evening came Liloriole journeyed forth with Mother Woodchuck to the garden, where she ate cabbage (the inside of the heads) and beans. Back again they went into the burrow, where Liloriole cuddled down among the babies -- whose scientific name is Actomys monax.


On the face of the cliff, plastered there by their makers, were the homes of Cliff Swallows. Of mud pellets these cradles were made, and in them were eggs and Baby Swallows just out of eggs -- white ones spotted with brown and lilac. In one cradle, where Liloriole tarried for a moment, were five eggs, in another cradle three eggs. And three young Swallows were in the cradle in which she spent the night. For breakfast they had ants and other insects. Then Liloriole named the three Baby Swallows: Peter Petrochelidon, Pepper Petrochelidon, and Pippa Petrochelidon -- for their scientific name was Petrochelidon lunifrons.


Many little folk hurrying to and fro under a piece of bark. They were busy, busy folk. "And is this Ant Home?" inquired Liloriole politely from an Ant passing by. "Yes," came the answer -- and she entered in. "O, how shall I ever tell the Boys and Girls about this -- I know," and she clapped her hands, "I'll tell them to watch and see for themselves." So Liloriole wants you to sit quietly, not for just a few moments, but for many minutes, and watch beside and Ant Home. See them going to and fro, see them bringing in food. Watch their ways and then write and tell her what you see. (You may send letters to her in care of the author.)


The Catbird sings a crooked song,
in minors that are flat,
And when he can't control his voice,
he mews just like a cat,
Then nods his head and whisks his tail
and lets it go at that.
-- Dovie

In a rose bush was a cradle -- a cradle made of sticks and fine roots, leaves and grass. In this cradle were four greenish-blue eggs. "Whose home -- now I wonder," remarked Liloriole. She thought she heard a kitten nearby. Then she knew that a Mother Wren was near, and close by another bird cousin dear. But just then she knew it was none of these. 'Twas the Catbird -- and this the Catbird cradle. As evening came on she nestled under Mother Catbird's wing, and next morning heard Father Catbird sing.

He sits on a branch of yon blossoming bush,
This madcap cousin of robin and thrush,
And sings without ceasing the whole morning long;
Now wild, now tender, the wayward song
That flows from his soft, gray, fluttering throat.
But often he stops in his sweetest note,
And, shaking a flower from the blossoming bough,
Drawls out, "Mi-eu, mi-ow!"
-- E. Thomas


One evening Twilight took Liloriole to an old barn -- there were many cobwebs on the rafters. In this place were five young fairies. Here they had hatched from five white eggs. And these five fairies wore baby clothes of down -- and their faces were monkey-like. Breakfast time came soon after Liloriole came, and observing what these Baby Fairies were fed upon, she concluded that their parents were, and these babies would be when they grew up, economic allies of the farmer. That breakfast which Mother and Father Barn Owl were serving unto the Owlets five consisted of mice and gophers. Liloriole was not hungry, so she watched the comings and goings of Mother and Father Barn Owl. The scientific name of these dignified fairy folk is Strix pratincola. With them Liloriole lingered all night and slept with the Baby Barn Owls the next day.


Liloriole learned on her journey in search of the homes of Fairyland that other fairies beside Barn Swallow and her cousins make their cradles of mud. For upon a certain day she came upon a dainty cradle on a board -- a cradle about an inch long. What she first thought one cradle she found to be five dainty cradle close together. And in each sealed-up cradle was a Baby Mud Wasp to be. While she sat on the heap of cradles the mud from one end of one cradle fell away and out came a Mud Wasp. Unto Liloriole she told her life story -- of how her Mother had made the cradle of mud, and placed within the egg in which was the Baby Wasp to be -- and of her placing therein stunned spiders for the hungry larva to feed upon after hatching -- then of how she changed into a pupa -- and at last came out a grown-up Mud Wasp.

Catbird's Song
(Fred Mullen)


There it was in the tree -- looking like a knot upon the limb. Of plant fibers it was made and covered with lichens. In it were two tiny white eggs. Liloriole's heart went pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat, for she knew she had come unto the home of Hummingbird, whom Aurelius Evangel, the Wind Fairy, said was the most exquisite cradle in all Birdland. Mother Hummer returned in a few moments; and Liloriole sitting on the edge of the nest had a happy time talking with her. She learned that Hummingbirds not only like honey but plant lice and small spiders as well. As the close of day drew near she went away with Twilight, Child of Day and Night, to another home; but before going she promised Mother Hummer to return again when Baby Hummers were out of the eggs.


And the home she was journeying unto Liloriole knew not until Twilight gave three taps on an old decayed tree in the woods. Thirteen feet up from the ground on a knot he and Liloriole waited two minutes -- then again he gave three taps and led Liloriole in through a hole by the knot -- led her right into Chick-a-dees home. And there were a set of triplets and two sets of twins. Liloriole cuddled down among them and slept. Next morning she was hungry and was given for breakfast insect eggs -- for dinner, which was served at intervals, insect hash of grasshoppers, flies and caterpillars. And Baby Chick-a-dees were waxing fat and fluffy on just such a diet. As their scientific name was Parus atricapillus she named those seven Chick-a-dee youngsters -- Atlas Atricapillus, Atlanta Atricapillus, Alice Atricapillus, Alma Atricapillus, Atilla Atricapillus, Arnold Atricapillus, Aloah Atricapillus -- Liloriole's tongue rested for five minutes after she named them. Happy are her memories of the days spent with them.


In the marsh among the reeds -- attached to the reeds was the home of Long-billed Marsh Wren. Of grasses, reeds and weeds it was builded, and soft was its lining of Cat-tail seeds. And in it were seven eggs like unto this one and on them was dear little Mother Wren. And the day Liloriole came that way was the twenty-seventh day of May -- and she tarried that night within the little home. Among the things she learned before her departure were -- that the music box a-tilt on the reed that she heard again and again as she was coming near unto the home on yesterday, was dear little Mother Wren's mate -- the eggs within the nest were soon to be baby Long-billed Marsh Wrens -- and that her scientific name was Cistothorus palustris.


In a tree in a grove at the edge of the field Liloriole found Mother Crow at home. Of sticks, sticks, and more sticks and weed stalks it was made. With grass, straw, wool, hair, leaves, roots it was lined. And in this nest were six eggs like this one. She learned that Mother Crow's scientific name was Corvus americanus -- and that her cousins were Magpie, Raven and Blue Jay. Liloriole planned to come again when the Baby Crows were in the nest.


On Father Chimney Swift's back Liloriole journeyed to their home in the chimney. Their cradle was a wall pocket of twigs cemented to the chimney with salivary glue. Those baby Swifts were four and Liloriole named them Charles, Elsie, Caroline and Elisa Chaetura -- and Chaetura pelagica is their scientific name. While she was in the home she, too, was fed upon an insect diet.


In a thicket she saw a ball of feathers, and that ball of feathers was diligently looking for insect eggs -- and that ball of feathers was no other than Sir Bush-Tit himself, the cousin of Chick-a-dee. Sir Bush-Tit wore a coat of brownish gray. Every now and then he was upside down around on the other side of the twig. The second time he came right side up, Liloriole called to him and told him, all in one breath, lest her turn upside down before she could finish, of her search for the Homes of Fairyland. "There's a hanging cradle five trees and two bushes distant from here in which you will be welcomed, dear child," Sir Bush-Tit said. And truly it was a wonderful cradle, and so -- so much larger than Sir Bush-Tit and his darling mate and the little Bush-Tits seven who had come out of seven small white eggs. And O that cradle -- it was made of plant fibers, mosses, lichens and feathers. And O those babies -- they were dear and so dear. Liloriole learned that they were cousins of Chick-a-dee, Wren-tit and Verdin. Their scientific name is Psaltriparus.


In the woods in a thicket she came unto the home of Wood Rat. It was dome-shaped. Of sticks, sticks, sticks, and more sticks it was made. To, there were other bits of things, shreds of bark, etc. "Wood Rat is beautiful," thought Liloriole, for he looked much like White-footed Mouse enlarged. His fur was very soft and more like Squirrel's fur. Liloriole had a lovely time in the Wood Rat's home -- and she thought each Boy and Girl who reads of her journey would find it very interesting to watch for Wood Rat's home when they see heaps of sticks in a thicket or a tree. "Please remember," she says to tell you, "that Wood Rat is a very different sort of person from the pesky House Rat."


In the meadow among the weeds was a home made of dried grasses. In it were four pale blue eggs. While yet Liloriole waited near unto it first came Mother Dickissel and perched at the edge of the nest. Then came Father Dickissel and he perched on a twig near by. That night she nestled under Mother Dickissel's wing. Next morning for breakfast she had grasshopper mush. After breakfast Father Dickissel told her that their scientific name was Spiza americana. Mother Dickissel told her that their cousins were Grosbeaks, Towhees, Song Sparrows, Juncos, Buntings and Goldfinches.


In the field was a little burrow. At the bottom of the burrow was a nest. When Liloriole came unto this burrow in the field she lay down and peeked over its edge to see who was down there and just as she peeked over somebody else from within the burrow peeked out to see what the outside world looked like -- and their noses met. He who peeked out was a Baby Meadow Mouse. Liloriole liked him and he told her about the other Baby Meadow Mice in the nest at the bottom of the burrow. So they both slid down the burrow to the nest. "There's folks that like to eat us and we have to watch out for them," piped Least Mouse of all as he came sliding down the burrow.
"Who be they?" inquired Liloriole.
"Marsh Hawks, Hen Hawks, Crows, Owls, Cats and Weasels," answered Mother meadow Mouse in profound tones. Then Liloriole being very tired out, nestled close to Least Mouse of all and went to sleep.


In the field at the foot of a bunch of grass she found the home of Meadowlark. It was builded of grass and arched over. It was in the month of May she found it -- and in it were six eggs like unto this one. Liloriole thought them beautiful indeed. As she nestled under Mother Meadowlark's wing she heard afar in the field the liquid voice of Father Meadowlark. When next morning she said good-bye she promised to return again when the little birds were hatched.

Sweet, sweet, sweet!
O happy that I am!
(Listen to the meadow-larks
across the fields that sing!)
Sweet, sweet, sweet!
O subtle breath of lamb,
O winds that blow, O buds that grow,
O rapture of the spring!
Sweet, sweet, sweet!
O happy world that is!
Dear heart, I hear across the fields
my mateling pipe and call.
Sweet, sweet, sweet!
O world so full of bliss,
For life is love, the world is love,
and love is over all.
-- Coolbrith


In a burrow close to the stream dwelt a Mother Muskrat and her Baby Muskrats six. Liloriole tripping along through the grass fell down through the air hole into the burrow. She liked the Baby Muskrats so well that she stayed all night and yet another night. And Mother Muskrat shared her own lily-roots and clams with her. While with them Liloriole learned that they had to watch out for Minks and Weasels, Foxes and Dogs, Owls and Hawks, for these include Muskrats among those things delicious to eat. Next day she rode on Mother Muskrat's back as she swam about in the stream.


Behind a cascade of singing waters was a lovely cradle of green mosses. The waters rushed on, murmuring, rippling and singing. But the heart of the Mother feared not the rushing of the water -- the music of the stream seemed a part of her life. Day after day she tenderly guarded the treasures in the cradle of mosses behind the cascade. Now, this cradle was shaped like an oven -- an opening it had on the side. The treasures within it numbered five -- pure white in color, these eggs in which were the Baby Water Ouzels to be. Unto this home Liloriole came, and was surprised at the way Father and Mother Water Ouzel hurried over the wet rocks. While there she heard Sir Water Ouzel sing, and in his song was the beauty and the strength of the mountains around them. To the five Baby Water Ouzels to be she gave these names -- Cinclora Cinclus, Cindora Cinclus, Cinflora Cinclus, Cindrona Cinclus and Cicero Cinclus -- for their scientific name was Cinclus mexicanus. And when leaving time came she yet lingered, for Father Water Ouzel was singing -- and in his song was the glory of the mountains, the rippling laughter of the streams -- their dreamy sadness, too; the beauty of the mosses and ferns along the water. The tinkle of the raindrops traveling over the tiny rocks -- all these more too -- the joy of living in God's good world, was in the song of the Ouzel.


In a thicket along the stream she saw a Sunshine Bird -- saw the Summer Warbler -- he whose name is Dendroica aestiva in a tree close by was his cup-shaped home made of plant fibers. Soon Liloriole came unto this home, and saw there five eggs like these. When Mother Warbler came she learned that Cowbird (who is the black sheep of the Icteridae family) had placed one of her eggs in their newly built home -- and that a platform had been built over this Cowbird egg. Also she learned that Summer Warblers are cousins of Audubon, Magnolia, Dusky and Yellow-throat Warblers. She cuddled one night under Mother Summer Warbler's wing -- and promised to return when the young birds were out of their eggs. As she went away she planned what she would name them.

Yellow Warbler
Dendroica petechia

"You know about the great work of
Audubon societies, don't you?" remarked Twilight to Liloriole one evening.
"O, yes -- of course I do. I saved my pennies and nickels to help protect Egret homes," replied Liloriole.
And then Twilight asked her if she wouldn't like to visit and Egret home. So away they traveled to a distant state. All night they journeyed and the next day Liloriole slept in a rose. The following night they came to the end of their journey at Heron Colony, in the Southland. Liloriole, being sleepy, was at once cuddled by a Mother Egret. When the sunbeams woke her up next morning she looked all about -- climbed over the nest and explored about. There were lots of others homes there -- like the one she had slept in, made of twigs. Now, in these cradles there was neither lining of moss, feathers, nor any soft material whatsoever -- just twigs and more twigs. The eggs were blue -- some cradles had four and some had five, and some cradles had little birds very much alive. One Father Snowy Egret took Liloriole with him when he went for food. Twelve miles distant he went, and the food for which he went was minnows. Liloriole learned that Baby Egrets are given this fish food by the method of regurgitation. She felt certain that if people knew more about egret home life they would want to do much to help the Audubon Society to protect Egret colonies from the plume hunters. She named several Snowy Egret babies -- and many to-be Snowy Egret babies, the ones who were to come out of the blue eggs. Some of them she named Edith Egretta, Ellen Egretta, Eddie Egretta, Eleanor Egretta -- for their scientific name was Egretta candidissima. Cousins of Snowy Heron, Great Blue Heron, Night Heron and Bittern, are Snowy Egret fairies.


Here and there Liloriole would see Cowbirds, but no Cowbird home was she able to find. Finally one day, being very inquisitive, she inquired of a certain Cowbird where she would find the homes of the Cowbirds. "Why, my dear child, I have no nest -- other birds raise my children. I bother not with the troubles of home-making. But -- if you desire to know more of my eggs you might look in yonder Warbler's nest." So she went unto this Warbler's home and there among the Warbler's own four eggs was a much larger whitish egg with brown blotches over it. Later, Liloriole saw a tiny Warbler mother feeding a young hungry Cowbird hatched from an egg placed in her nest by a Cowbird. Liloriole had not even a thimble-full of affection for this unnatural Cowbird mother, who, like all Cowbird mothers, shirks home duties -- leaving her young to the care of other -- often smaller birds. Molothrus ater is the scientific name of Cowbirds, disreputable cousins of our lovely Bob-o'-links, Meadowlarks and Orioles. Cowbird is truly the black sheep of the family Icteridae.


A bird's nest, mark it well, within, without,
No tool had he that wrought, no knife to cut,
No nail to fix, no bodkin to insert,
No glue to join; his little beak was all.
And yet how neatly finished! What a nice hand,
With every implement and means of art,
And twenty years' apprenticeship to boot,
Could make me such another?
-- Hurdis

In the beginning of the month of June came she unto the home of Wood Pewee in a large Maple tree. Of rootlets, fine grass and moss it was made -- and coated with lichens. A very dainty cradle Liloriole thought it was as she cuddled down among the babies three. And she named them Virolla, Vera and Virgil Virens -- for their scientific name was Contopus virens. For breakfast, which lasted until dinner began, they had caterpillars and grasshoppers. Phoebes, Flycatchers and Kingbirds are cousins of Wood Pewee.


"Is it near unto this place that the Song Sparrows dwell?" asked Liloriole. And the Flower fairies whispered, "Just over the way in a tussock of grass." And Liloriole coming to the tussock of grass climbed part way up a blade of grass and sat down on the edge of the nest made of dry leaves and grass. The four baby Song Sparrows were glad to see her. And their scientific name was Melospiza. She named them Marian, Marto, Melora and Lorene Melospiza. A day and two hours she tarried with them.


In the thicket on the ground was the towhee home. It was in the month of May that she came unto this home. It was made of dead leaves, twigs, vine tendrils and grass; and was lined with fine roots and grass. The four babies in the cradle she named Pippin Pipilo, Peter Pipilo, Polly Pipilo, Pipona Pipilo -- for their scientific name was Pipilo. For breakfast they had insects, the same for dinner and supper. Cousins of Junco, Song Sparrows, Goldfinch and Indigo Bunting are Towhee fairies.

Next Chapter:
Liloriole In Search Of
The Homes Of Fairyland, Part 3