Bird Children, The Little Playmates of the Flower Children (1912) is a collection of poems inspiring children to think of birds as similar to themselves. Drawings by M.T. Ross.
Birds are poetry come to life and set to music. If you should stand at the edge of a forest at sundown and hear the birds singing their good-night songs, hear the sleepy little notes grow fainter and fainter until the silence came,—then when the dusk had deepened, you should hear the night birds begin their plaintive songs, you would realize what a different place our beautiful world would be without birds. Even in great cities we have always some birds. The saucy little sparrow, who comes so boldly begging crumbs at your window, likes the cities best.
Only very thoughtless people, or those who do not understand, would harm or frighten a bird. They are real little people, and I am sure that when you have come to know them you will love them as much as you have learned to love the Flower Children. -- Elizabeth Gordon, 1912
SIR ROOSTER is a noisy chap,
He wakes you from your morning nap;
He sleeps but little all night through,
Crows at eleven, one and two.
MRS. HEN, the kind old dame,
Always dresses just the same;
She talks all day about her joys
And lays nice eggs for girls and boys.
SAID GUINEA HEN: “I like to eat
Three-cornered grains of nice buckwheat;
I only want good, simple food
To feed my Huffy little brood.”
DEAR little, downy GOSLING said:
“I can’t get learning through my head;
I really don’t see what’s the use—
When I grow up I’ll be a goose.”
SAID FATHER GOOSE: “I think I ’ll take
A stroll this morning to the lake.”
MOTHER GOOSE said: "Then I ’ll go, too,
And maybe take a swim with you.”
SAID YELLOW DUCKLING to his brother:
“Come on, let’s hide away from mother,”
But he replied: “Oh, dear me, No!
We’d better not, she’d worry so.”
“HONK-HONK, Honk-honk,” old SNOW GOOSE said,
“I think tonight we ’ll go to bed
A hundred miles due south from here,—
The snow is on the way, I fear.”
IN SHALLOW water MALLARD DUCK
At fishing sometimes tries his luck;
At other times he thinks it’s nice
To nibble at the sweet wild rice.
MADAM SWAN’S a graceful lady,
Likes to float where banks are shady;
When Father Swan goes out to swim
He takes the cygnets out with him.
GOLDEN PHEASANT took a notion
To take a trip across the ocean,
Got a nice room at the zoo
And said he’d stay a year or two.
TAKING his family for a walk
We see old Mr. TURKEY COCK;
He dresses up in colors gay,—
His wife wears quiet tones of gray.
OLD DOCTOR STORK, the kind old bird,
Brings the new babies, I have heard;
If you should ask him, he may bring
You one to keep, beneath his wing.
SIR ROOK is English, don’t you know?
Says: “Do not confound me with the Crow.”
His family tree is large and old,
Which makes his manner proud and cold.
PARADISE BIRD, in her new clothes,
Said: “They’re expensive, goodness knows!
I ’spose, because they were so dear,
I ’ll have to wear them all this year.”
PEACOCK’S a bird of much renown
And wears a lovely cap and gown;
They say he’s very, very vain
And likes to show his sweeping train.
SAID NIGHTINGALE: “It’s not my way
To practice singing in the day,
But wait till all the rest are through
And I will gladly sing for you.”
CANARY-BIRD said to his mother:
“Is that bird in the tree my brother?”
Mama Canary said: “Oh, no!
He’s just a cousin—wild, you know.”
BALTIMORE ORIOLE, pretty thing,
Builds his nest of bits of string;
He’s sociable and likes to stay
Where people live and children play.
MEADOW LARK has a flute-like voice,
Sings a song that’s very choice;
Builds his nest low, near the ground,
With woven grasses arched around.
BLACK, solemn-looking Mr. CROW
Steals the good farmer’s corn, you know;
If you ask why he breaks the laws,
He answers, wisely: “Caws, caws, caws.”
FRIENDLY little CHICKADEE
Is just as cunning as can be;
Upon your window-sill he ’ll come
And thank you kindly for a crumb.
CARDINAL BIRD wears vivid red,
He’s very amiable, ’tis said;
He likes fresh fruits and seeds to eat
And has a song that’s very sweet.
MAGPIE’S a gossip—that’s the truth—
A naughty, disobedient youth;
We must not judge him, but suppose
He does the very best he knows.
GREAT BLUE HERON likes to fly,
And so he builds his house up high,
Way in the tops of tallest trees
Where he lives, happy as you please.
INDIGO BUNTING comes in May,
Saying cheerfully: “I’m here to stay.”
He’s a nice, friendly little thing,
Willing at any time to sing.
EAGLE has piercing yellow eyes,
He’s very strong and very wise;
He’s king and master over all
The other birds, both great and small.
TURKEY BUZZARD, on the wing,
Is a most graceful-looking thing;
Like scavengers, who come each day,
He does much good in his own way.
YELLOW WARBLER comes to stay
Along about the first of May;
He likes to live by pond or rill
And builds his nest with care and skill.
SIR PARTRIDGE is a drummer bold,
You’ll hear him drum when days are cold.
He says the nicest things to eat
Are red thorn apples, ripe and sweet.
THE SNOWY HERON’S used to be
A very fine, large family;
I tell you this with great regret:
Men hunt the birds their plumes to get.
SAID KING-FISHER: "The choicest dish
I know of is a fresh caught fish;
I love to fish, and, if you’ll wait,
I’ll get you some—I need no bait.”
SAID GOLDFINCH: “I believe in weeds;
I live all winter on the seeds;
In my snug coat of black and gold
I really do not feel the cold.”
“CHEER UP, cheer up, it’s going to rain,”
Sang plump SIR ROBIN, “but ’tis plain
We need some moisture for the ground,
So dinners may be better found.”
FLITTING ’round the swimming pool,
Where the air is nice and cool,
Red-winged BLACK-BIRD sings in glee:
QUAIL sings a song of sheer delight:
“Bob White, Bob White, Bob-Bob-Bob White.”
I wonder who Bob White may be
To whom he calls so merrily.
WITH a flash of bright-hued wing,
BLUEBIRD comes to say it’s spring;
Sets about to build his nest
Upon the tree which suits him best.
LITTLE SIR SCREECH OWL and his wife
Live such a cheerful, useful life;
They nest among the apple trees,
Saying: “May we eat the bugs here, please?”
“WHO, WHO, who, who?” asks SIR BARN OWL,
When he comes out at dusk to prowl;
He has great shiny yellow eyes,
And looks so very, very wise.
OSTRICH grows to be immense
But has so very little sense,
For when an enemy’s at hand
He covers up his head with sand.
SAID PENGUIN, pensively, one day:
“Come, fishie dear, come out and play,”
But fishie answered, in a fright:
“I ’ve heard about your appetite.”
THE dainty MISSES PARRAKEET
A Dress all in green and look so sweet;
From South America they came
And “Love Bird” is their other name.
HUMMING BIRD, the dainty thing,
Has no voice and cannot sing,
He lives daintily, and sips
Honey from the flowers’ lips.
MADAME IBIS, stately bird,
Stands and thinks without a word;
She can’t forget that long ago
She was a sort of queen, you know.
SANDPIPER lives beside the water
With her little son and daughter;
Shows the cunning little brood
Exactly where to look for food.
PARROT’S a very wise old bird,
She can speak English well, I’ve heard;
Laughs and says in manner jolly:
“Have you a cracker for Miss Polly? ”
A DREADFUL thief is old BLUE JAY,
He robs the other birds, they say;
He wears a handsome suit of blue,
And calls a gay “Good-day” to you.
SPARROW’S an Englishman, I’m told,
His manners are both rude and bold;
Other birds wish he’d go away,
But he says: “No, I’ve come to stay.”
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