Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/108

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The Passenger Pigeon

the woods, in the direction of the bird sounds which came to our ears. Three of the party left the wagon and followed it; the twittering grew louder and louder, the birds more numerous, and in a few minutes we were in the midst of that marvel of the forest and Nature's wonderland—the pigeon nesting.

We stood and gazed in bewilderment upon the scene around and above us. Was it indeed a fairyland we stood upon, or did our eyes deceive us. On every hand, the eye would meet these graceful creatures of the forest, which, in their delicate robes of blue, purple and brown, darted hither and thither with the quickness of thought. Every bough was bending under their weight, so tame one could almost touch them, while in every direction, crossing and recrossing, the flying birds drew a network before the dizzy eyes of the beholder, until he fain would close his eyes to shut out the bewildering scene.

This portion of the nesting was the first formed, and the young birds were just ready to leave the nests. Scarcely a tree could be seen but contained from five to fifty nests, according to its size and branches. Directed by the noise of chopping and falling trees, we followed on, and soon came upon the scene of action.

Here was a large force of Indians and boys at work, slashing down the timber and seizing the young birds as they fluttered from the nest. As soon as caught, the