The Bluebirds Move to the Mountains
THE Bluebirds were not at all like Mrs. Cowbird. I should say not! They not only raised one family of babies, but after the first family had left the nest they raised another. Mr. Bluebird had watched over the first family until they were entirely grown, while Mrs. Bluebird was sitting on the new eggs. After the new eggs hatched, it kept both Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird busy feeding the second family of babies until they were large enough to leave the nest.
Before long the second family was ready to leave the Nesting Box and join the first family. Of course, they were. not so strong as the first family of Young Bluebirds, but they were quite able to go with them from place to place on the Old Homestead. Everything was new to them, and interesting.
Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird had worked hard raising their two families, and they needed a rest.
"Let us move to the Big Mountains where it is cooler," suggested Mr. Bluebird one hot fall day.
Said Mrs. Bluebird, "That's a good idea--a very good idea."
And so they left the Old Homestead and went to the higher and cooler atmosphere. It was almost a day's flight from the Old Homestead to the Big Mountains, and there were many things to be seen. Mr. Bluebird knew that before long they would be leaving for the Sunny Southland, and he thought the flight to the Big Mountains would strengthen the Young Bluebirds' wings.
Of course, the Bluebirds did not fly straight to the' Big Mountains without a rest. Oh no! They stopped quite often, for the Young Bluebirds got hungry. Whenever Mr. Bluebird saw a place that looked as if bugs would be plentiful, he stopped long enough for the Young Bluebirds to catch some. Once he saw a patch of wild berries, and that was a feast for them.
was quite a task for Mr, and Mrs. Bluebird to keep their family together
along the way. First Betty Bluebird would see something new that she
wanted to investigate. Then one of her brothers would stop to rest and
look around. Soon another would see a grasshopper or bug and stop to
catch and eat it. And so it went through the long day.
During the day, the Bluebirds met another family of Bluebirds that were also going to the Big Mountains for a vacation. They had been living on a farm not far from the Old Homestead.
"Let us travel together," said Mr. Bluebird.
Mr. Bluebird thought it would be safer and not so lonesome if they joined their neighbors. The other Bluebirds thought so too, and soon they were all flying along together like one big family.
It would be well if every one could live together in peace on this earth as the Bluebirds do. But some people are like Flash the Humming Bird. Flash is very selfish, and prefers to live alone. He does not even live peaceably with other humming birds. If one comes near his flower, he darts at the intruder with his long, sharp bill and drives it away. And he will not let other birds come near his garden.
The Bluebirds were glad to travel with the other Bluebirds, because they liked company. They were not selfish. They did not care if the others caught some of the grasshoppers and bugs along the way.
And so when the two families arrived in the Big Mountains, they were, having a fine time together. They were having such a nice time that Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird did not notice that Betty Bluebird was not with them until they were ready to go to sleep, that night.
"Where is Betty?" asked Mrs. Bluebird.
Mr. Bluebird flew, back and forth among the trees, but Betty was nowhere in sight. He visited their neighbors, but she was not with them. Mr. Bluebird was worried when he flew back to Mrs. Bluebird.
"I cannot find Betty," he said. "She�s not here."
"Oh, dear," said Mrs. Bluebird. "I hope she is safe. I wonder what could have happened to her."
The Long Shadows were creeping through the trees and across the deep gorges in the Big Mountains. Soon everything was hidden in darkness.
The Bluebirds had found a Great Pine Tree, and there they had gone to sleep among its dense branches, wondering what had happened to Betty.
The Adventures of Betty Bluebird
BETTY BLUEBIRD had been enjoying her trip to the mountains very much. At first everything had seemed new and strange to her. She was not quite sure that she was as safe as she had been on the Old Homestead. But after she had traveled awhile, she began to lose her fears. She felt quite able to take care of herself
It was not long until Betty was flying bravely here and there, just keeping in sight of the rest of the Bluebirds. Sometimes' she would fly ahead while they were resting, and then she would stop and catch bugs until they came. Sometimes she would stop with the others, and if she was not quite ready to go on when they did, she would wait and. catch another grasshopper or bug.
Once Betty stopped with the others. She had been flying a long time, and she was getting tired and hungry. When the rest left, Betty was busy trying to catch a large grasshopper. It was a flying grasshopper; and every time Betty was ready to grab it, it would fly again.
At last Betty saw another grasshopper sitting on the ground. She thought she might grab it before it saw her. And so she let the first one go, while she dashed after the next. Before Mr. Grasshopper knew Betty was near, she had grabbed him by the back. That was the end of Mr. Grasshopper.
When Betty was ready to fly again, she saw that the was alone. There was not a Bluebird in sight. Every one had gone on, and there was Betty in a strange land, hardly knowing which way to go.
Betty remembered she had last seen the other Bluebirds flying across a field almost at the edge of the Big Mountains. But even though she flew as swiftly as she could, she did not overtake them. Up, up she flew into the Big Mountains, not know�ing which way to go Then Betty knew that she was lost.
It was a lonesome Betty that sat on the limb of an aspen tree wondering what to do, when she noticed a tiny stranger sitting not far away. He wore a black cap and a white vest, and looked quite pert
in his bluish-gray overcoat and large black necktie.
"Who are you?" asked Betty rather rudely, for she had never seen anyone like the stranger on the Old Homestead.
"Chickadee-dee-dee, chickadee-dee-dee," he re plied in his sauciest air.
Dandy the Chicadee lived in the mountains most of the time, and that was why Betty had never seen him. He spent the greater part of his time looking for tree borers and bark lice among the trees, and he was just as likely to hang from the bottom side of a twig as he was to sit on it. Dandy the Chickadee was a relative of Whitebreast the Nuthatch, and Whitebreast can stand on the side of a tree as well with his head down as with it up. It really makes no difference to him which end up he is when he is looking for tree borers. Dandy the Chickadee is not quite as active as Whitebreast the Nuthatch, but he is not far behind.
"I wonder if you could tell me where to find the other Bluebirds," said Betty. "I am lost, and do not know where they went."
But all Dandy would say was, "Chickadee, dee�dee, chickadee-dee-dee." He must be proud of his name to say it over so many times.
At last Betty flew farther into the Big Mountains and left Dandy the Chickadee sitting there shouting his name after her. It was growing dark, and Betty feared that she would not find the others.
Far ahead in the Big Mountains Betty saw a Hidden Pasture. It was something like the Wide Wide Pasture on the Old Homestead except that it was smaller and surrounded by trees. In it Betty could see something that looked like Old Bent Horn, but it was taller. And its horns were many times larger than hers. It was the first time that Betty had seen Cervus the Elk.
Cervus the Elk had come to the Hidden Pasture for his supper. During the day he stayed hidden in the Dense Trees so Terror the Hunter could not find him. The trees also helped Cervus to brush off Biting Fly. You see, Cervus did not have a long tail like Old Bent Horn's with which to switch off Biting Fly. His tail was just an abbreviation. It looked as if part of it was gone. So Cervus the Elk was glad to hide in the Dense Trees where he could brush Biting Fly off his back.
Betty was not sure whether Cervus was a friend or not. But she thought she would be safe if she sat on a high limb and asked Cervus about the other Bluebirds. Of course, Cervus had not seen the other Bluebirds. He had been hidden all day. And he would not have noticed one bluebird more than another if he had seen them, for there were many other bluebirds in the Big Mountains.
Betty Bluebird did not like to be alone, but there was nothing else to do. The Long Shadows were growing longer every minute. Betty almost wished she was back at the Nesting Box on the Old Homestead.
Just as the Laughing Yellow Sun bowed good night over a Big Mountain, Betty went to bed. She found a Dense Tree with broad, sheltering boughs, and there she went to sleep just as the other Bluebirds were going to bed in their Great Pine Tree. But Betty had no idea where they were.