Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

May 12, 1918. Omaha Sunday Bee 47(46): 6-A. Spelling corrections made for tanager.

Taking an Early Morning Hike With Bird Lovers is Rare Treat for Uninitiated

"Amateur" Accompanies Ornithologists on Trip Through Woods and Canons of Fontenelle Reserve; Annual "Warbler Day" Held Saturday at Child's Point.

By Mabel Gudmundsen.

An early morning trip to Child's Point, watching the sun rise above the Missouri river, tramping miles through the Fontenelle forest reserve, listening to the songs of birds and catching glimpses of bright colored plumage, was a part of Saturday's program for members of the Nebraska Ornithologists' union, which held its annual meeting in Omaha last week.

Nearly 100 bird lovers were present. Among them were 20 members of the Bruner Bird club from Lincoln. The club is named after Prof. lawrence Bruner of Lincoln, who is recognized as the most famous naturalist in the world, and who has inspired the members of the club to do original work in the study of birds and their habits. mrs. George Loveland, secretary of the club, and several instructors and students from the state university were in Omaha for the meeting.

Wilson Tout, superintendent of schools at North Platte, is an ardent bird lover and was one of the most active members of the "bird hunt" Saturday.

Mrs. Lily Ruegg Button of Fremont has attained distinction because of her ability to set the songs of the birds to music. She carries her music blanks with her on the trips and as she hears the singing of a bird she writes the notes and thus preserves the song of the shy little warbler.

"I don't look for birds; I listen for them," explained Mrs. Button, who is able to distinguish scores of birds by their songs.

Saturday was "warbler day" because it is now the height of the warbler's migration. There are 153 different kinds of warblers. The bird enthusiasts were delighted because they caught a glimpse of the Cape May warbler, which is seldom seen so far north as Nebraska. It is a tiny bird, scarcely five inches in length. Its full throat is a bright orange and its song is a melodious little warble.

First Summer Tanager.

The summer tanager was another unusual Nebraska bird which the audubons saw perched high on the branches of an old oak tree. It is a little red bird and is usually found in the southern states. As far as authorities know, this is the first time the summer tanager has ever been seen in Nebraska, as no record has been found which includes it.

The bird lovers separated in groups of 8 or 10 and tramped in various directions over the hills and through the canons of the reserve. At noon all met at the spring for a camp fire luncheon and to compare notes on the birds. Many of the groups saw 50 different kinds of birds. A total of 77 different kinds of birds were seen by the members.

Almost a hundred different kinds of birds an hour's ride from Sixteenth and Farnam streets! The busy Omahan, whose heart is heavy with thoughts of shrapnel and submarines and autocracy and von Hindenburg will find it hard to realize that he is within easy hiking distance to the home of 50 different kinds of birds, and, more than that, many varieties of wild flowers.

Enjoyed By All.

One does not need to be an authority on birds to enjoy a trip with the audubons. A tramp through the forest, the full-leaved trees, hillsides covered with wild honeysuckles and larkspur, and the twitter of tiny songsters, is both rest and stimulus. There's the smell of spring in the air and the place is pregnant with the hope of growing things. The distant hills are checkered with freshly plowed fields and the tiny pathways in the valleys are edged with strawberry beds, white with blossoms.

The government is cooperating with the work of bird lovers and the work of studying birds and their habits is a real war measure and "the right bird in the right place" will do more to conserve crops by destroying harmful insects, and the bird lovers are helping in this method of bird conservation.

Among the birds that were seen by members of the Ornithologists' union Saturday are: Barn swallow, wren, western meadow lark, thrasher, yellow warbler, Baltimore oriole, red-headed woodpecker, Phoebe, blue jay, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, great crested fly catcher, myrtle warbler, chickadee, wood thrush, red-eyed vireo, gold finch, white breasted nut hatch, red winged blackbird, cat bird and mourning dove.