Bird-Lore/Volume 01/No. 1/Audubon Department

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Bird-Lore: Volume I, No. 1
Audubon Department

Reports of Societies[1]


The Massachusetts Audubon Society has reissued the Audubon Calendar of last year and it is having a good sale. The drawings were made especially for

the calendar by a member of the society; the originals are painted in water colors on Japanese rice paper, and are very artistic bird portraits. The same artist is now at work on drawings of new birds for a calendar for 1900, which the directors hope will be reproduced by a more accurate and satisfactory process.

The Bird Chart of colored drawings of twenty-six common birds, which the Directors undertook last spring, is now ready. The drawings have all been especially made for the chart by E. Knobel and are reproduced by the Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Co. , on twelve stones. Some of our best ornithologists have seen the color proof and pronounce it good. The society has published a descriptive pamphlet to accompany the chart which has been prepared by Ralph Hoffman. His sketches of the birds are delightfully written, and the book is valuable in itself.[2]

The Directors have recently sent out a new circular mainly in Boston and vicinity which briefly describes the work undertaken and asks for further cooperation from interested persons, and states that “in addition to our first object, the support of other measures of importance for the further protection of our native birds has been assumed by the Society. Among such measures may be mentioned:

1. Circulation of literature.

2. Improved legislation in regard to the killing of birds, and the better enforcement of present laws.

3. Protection during the season for certain breeding places of Gulls, Herons and other birds, which, without such protection will soon be exterminated.

4. Educational measures. This includes the publication of colored wall charts of birds, Audubon Calendars and other helps to bird study.

The response to this circular has been gratifying. The society now numbers over twenty-four hundred persons, twenty-six of these are Life Associates, having paid twenty-five dollars at one time; four hundred and seventy-five are Associates, paying one dollar annually; the remaining are Life Members, having paid twenty-five cents. While the rage for feather decoration is unabated, we feel that there is steadily growing a sentiment among our best people in condemnation of the custom. There is a noticeable decrease in the use of aigrettes and of our native birds, excepting the Terns and the plumage of the Owl; and a marked increase in the employment of the wings and feathers of the barnyard fowl. While the latter continue to feed the fashion they are harmless in themselves.


The Audubon Society of Rhode Island was organized in October, 1897, and has now about 350 members.

The purposes of the society, according to its by-laws, are: the promotion of an interest in bird-life, the encouragement of the study of ornithology, and the protection of wild birds and their eggs. Some work has been done in the schools, abstracts of the state laws relating to birds have been circulated throughout the state, lectures have been given, and a traveling library has been purchased for the use of the branch societies.

Nearly five thousand circulars of various kinds have been distributed, and it is evident that the principles of the society are becoming well known and are exerting an influence, even in that difficult branch of Audubon work, the millinery crusade. Annie M. Grant, Sec′y.


A score of ladies met in Fairfield on January 28, i8g8, and formed “The Audubon Society of the State of Connecticut.” Mrs. James Osborne Wright was chosen president and an executive committee provisionally elected, representing so far as possible at the beginning, the State of Connecticut.

An effort was made to find every school district in the state, and a Bird-Day programme was sent to 1,350 of these schools. Care was naturally used to see that the rural schools, at least, should be reached. Through the kindness of Congressman Hill of this district, one of our vice-presidents, 740 copies of Bulletin No. 54, ‘Some Common Birds in their Relation to Agriculture,’ issued by the United States Department of Agriculture, were received by the secretary, and 600 of these have been mailed to individuals.

The Society has had two lectures prepared, one by Willard G. Van Name, entitled ‘Facts About Birds That Concern the Farmer,’ illustrated by sixty colored lantern slides, and one by Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright, on ‘The Birds About Home,’ illustrated by seventy colored slides. A parlor stereopticon has been purchased for use in projecting the slides.

The lectures and slides are intended primarily for the use of the local secretaries of the society, and after these for such members of the society as desire to give educational entertainments in the interest of bird protection.

The only expense connected with the use of the lectures and slides will be the expressage from Fairfield to place and return.

Under no circumstances will the outfit be allowed to go outside of the State of Connecticut.

The oil lantern accompanying the slides is suitable for a large parlor or school room, and can be worked by anyone understanding the focussing of a photographic camera, but it is advised that when the audience is to be composed of more than fifty people the exhibitor should secure a regular stereopticon.

Applications should be made at least two weeks before the outfit is desired.

No admission fee is to be charged at any entertainment at which the outfit is used, the intention of the Audubon Society of the State of Connecticut being to furnish free information about our birds, and so win many, who may never have given the matter a thought, to a sense of the necessity and wisdom of their protection.

The secretary is glad to report on January 1, 1899, that the society has had practical proof of the success of its experiment in sending out these free illustrated lectures. Much interest has been awakened by them, and the State Board of Agriculture has listed both lectures for the Farmers′ Institutes, held during the winter months. Much enterprise is being shown by local secretaries. An illustrated lecture by Mrs. Kate Tryon, having been given in Bridgeport, November 19, under the auspices of Miss Grace Moody (local secretary), Mrs. Howard N. Knapp, and Mrs. C. K. Averill. While Mr. Frank M. Chapman lectured before a large audience at the Stamford High School, on December 2, under the auspices of Mrs. Walter M. Smith, the local secretary of that city.

Harriet D. C. Glover,

Cor. Sec′y and Treas.


Since November, 1897, the society has distributed 13,465 leaflets, making a total distribution of over 40,000 since its organization on February 23, 1897.

In spite of this large circulation of literature, the society has only 529 members, including 9 patrons, 7 sustaining members, 356 members, 157 junior members.

Financially, the society is now in a sound condition.

During the year two public meetings have been held in the large lecture hall of the American Museum of Natural History, at both of which the hall was well filled. Addresses were made by Dr. Henry van Dyke, Dr. Heber Newton, and others.

A ‘Bird Talk’ was also given by Mr. W. T. Hornaday, at the house of one of the honorary vice-presidents, which was well attended.

In educational work we have secured the publication of a paper on ‘The Relation of Birds to Trees,’ by Florence A. Merriam, in the annual Arbor Day Manual of New York State, and Mr. Chapman, chairman of our Executive Committee, reports that in connection with Professor Bickmore, of the American Museum′s Department of Public Instruction, and a committee representing the science teachers of the fourteen normal colleges of the State, he has prepared a course in bird study for the normal colleges for the present year.

Further interest in birds was shown by the science teachers of the State in their invitation to Mr. Chapman to address them on the subject of ‘The Educational Value of Bird Study,’ during their convention, held in New York City, December 29-30, 1898.

That the good work accomplished cannot be gauged by the number of members is proved by the constant reports received from local secretaries and others, telling of classes formed for bird study, of clubs that have taken up the subject, of bird exercises in schools, etc. If all these silent sympathizers would only realize how much the cause might be strengthened by open, concerted action, shown by a large membership roll of the Audubon Society, its influence would be greatly increased.

Emma H. Lockwood, Sec′y.


We have at present 124 members and have distributed over 1,000 general circulars in regard to the work, and 1,000 aigrette circulars written by Mr. Chapman. We expect to have new literature issued during the coming year, and are now having the State bird-laws printed for distribution.

Mary A. Mellick, Sec′y.


Mrs. John Dewhurst Patten, secretary of the Audubon Society of the District of Columbia, reports much valuable work. A course of six lectures was given by Mrs. Olive Thorne Miller, and others by Mr. Chapman and Dr. Palmer.

A successful and fashionably attended exhibit of millinery was held in April. Nine of the leading milliners contributed hats and bonnets, which, of course, were entirely free from wild bird feathers. The society has designed an Audubon pin after a drawing of the Robin, by Mr. Robert Ridgway. This has already been adopted by the Pennsylvania and Massachusetts societies. At the suggestion of the secretary of the Pennsylvania society, efforts have been directed towards the establishment of societies in the south.

In response to a great demand for a cheap book of information about local birds, this society has been instrumental in issuing ‘Birds of Washington and Vicinity,’[3] by Mrs. L. W. Maynard—200 pages 12mo, illustrated, which may be had for the small sum of 85 cents. The price placing the volume within the reach of teachers and pupils in the public schools.


Miss Clara Russell, corresponding secretary of the Ohio society, informs us that at a meeting held in Cincinnati on December 14 an Ohio Audubon society was organized with the following officers: President, William Hubbell Fisher; vice- president, William H. Venable; corresponding secretary, Miss Clara Russell; secretary, Mrs. T. B. Hastings; treasurer, Mrs. W. T. Armor.

On December 30 Miss Russell writes: “We have over fifty members, and feel much encouraged that we have aroused a sentiment in this locality to know more about our feathered friends, and to protect birds from being wantonly destroyed for pleasure, fashion, or the table.”

Reports from the New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota Societies, will appear in the April number.

  1. The editor acknowledges the receipt from Mr. Witmer Stone, chairman of the Committee on Bird Protection of the American Ornithologists Union, of a number of the following reports, which, before the establishment of an official organ for the Audubon Societies, had been sent to Mr. Stone for inclusion in his annual report to the A. O. U. from which, through lack of space, they were necessarily omitted.
  2. See note on this chart and pamphlet in Book News and Reviews.
  3. See a review of this book in Book News and Reviews