Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

April 25, 1915. Omaha Sunday Bee 44(45): 14-A.

Nobody Loves the Mudhen; High Federal Officials Give Her the Jest

Just a word of warning to the American coot, commonly known as the mudhen.

Listen, then, mudhen!

Don't expect any protection from Frank S. Howell, United States Attorney in and for the division of Omaha.

For if you do you will be disappointed, oh, coot, or hen, whatever you are.

He is your enemy.

Yes, coot, it is the proper word.

You and papa coot and all the little coots - he loves you not.

He doesn't give a hoot for the coot.

He doesn't know when he wouldn't shoot a mudhen - even a gentleman mudhen.

Why, he said so right in open court Friday, right in the august presence of a United States judge, to-wit, Robert E. Lewis.

Yes, mudhens. Indeed, coot.

And was he rebuked by the august court for this treason to you and papa mudhen and all the little mudhens?

Nary rebuke, oh mudhen.

A chap was up in court for shooting some of your species, genus and tribe; might have been some of your own friends right in your set.

The chap pleaded guilty and filed a motion in arrest of judgment.

And the court arrested the judgment and turned the chap loose because it was held that the congress of the United States had no right to pass the migratory bird act which protects you, oh, coot, oh, mudhen, you and your beloved and all the little mudhens.

And then, oh, mudhen, after it was held to be all right to shoot a coot, these august men did jest about you, and the aforesaid Frank S. Howell, then and there being, did make the following joke:

"If it wasn't for the fact that these fellows insist on coming in here and pleading guilty to violating the migratory bird act in shooting mudhens, I would advise that they be defended on the ground of justifiable hen-icide."

And the aforesaid and hereinbefore mentioned United States judge, then and there being, and sitting upon the bench and listening to the above mentioned jest or joke perpetrated by the above mentioned Frank S. Howell, than and there being, did laugh at the said jest or joke of the said Frank S. Howell; and the attorneys, then and there being, did laugh boisterously, and even the bailiff did join in the laughter at the said jest or joke of the aforementioned Frank S. Howell.

Scoot, oh coot! These men won't protect you.

You should be a robin or a wren, oh, mudhen.

Nobody loves you.