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Part Four


Birds' Occupations

This world is full of busy folk:
Of workers, great and small,
From Man and beast to fleet-winged birds
And tiny things that crawl.

All labor hard their food to find,--
To build their houses, too;
The birds have occupations---like
The tasks men have to do.

The robin is a potter,
And makes a cup of clay;
Within, without, he plasters it
With softest grass or hay.

Neat litfie mattress-makers
The chipping sparrows are;
Their children lie on beds of hair,
The nearest ones by far.

The vireos make baskets,
Just large enough to hold
Their darling little babies,
Away from harm and cold.

The kingbirds and the catbirds
Scrap-baskets like to make;
Newspaper bits and letters old
Occasionally they take.

The phoebes build 'neath bridges
Or under sheltering eaves;
A moss-filled hanging-basket
The pure white eggs receives.

The humming-bird and wood pewee
Make cups with lichens decked;
Bold Rubythroat avoids his home--
Perhaps he'd be henpecked!

The woodpeckers are carpenters;
They hammer on a tree,
And with their strong bills bore deep holes;
The chips fly steadily.

The kingfishers build tunnels;
Their children, in a row,
Run forward and run backward
As fast as they can go.

The mourning doves build platforms
From which they "bill and coo;"
As orators they do not shine,--
Poor singers are they, too.

Flamingoes build tall chimneys
On which their nests they place;
Their long slim legs are folded up
Like knife-blades in a case.

The oven-birds are bakers,
And in their ovens warm
The tiny little babies
Are sheltered from the storm.

The shrike's a naughty butcher;
He catches little mice,
Impales them on a thorn to die,
Then eats them in a trice.

The partridge is a drummer;
Just hear him boom and drum!
You'd think that he was telling
The soldier-boys to come.

The swallows and the chimney swifts
Good masons seem to be;
Their bills like trowels, plaster mud
Or glue sticks carefully.

Sweet Madam Oriole weaves a bag
And hangs it in a tree;
Her needle is her bill, with which
She labors skillfully.

The best of all housekeepers
Is tidy Jenny Wren;
She makes a home of anything
That comes within her ken.

Bob White and Mr. Meadow Lark
Good farmers try to be,
And build their homes out in the fields,--
Great Nature's granary.

       *         *         *         *         *

The bird-world's full of busy folk
In field and bush and tree;
And people, too, must find their work
To meet life happily.


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