Books > Old Books >The Elson Readers Book Six (1910)


Page 048

THE HUMMING BIRD
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON

No sooner has the returning sun again caused millions of plants to expand their leaves and blossoms to his genial beams than the little humming bird is seen advancing on fairy wings, carefully visiting every opening flower-cup, and, like a curious florist, removing from each the injurious insects that otherwise would ere long cause its beauteous petals to droop and decay. Poised in the air, it is observed peeping cautiously, and with sparkling eye, into their innermost recesses; while the motions of its pinions, so rapid and so light, appear to fan and cool the flower, and produce a delightful murmuring sound, well adapted for lulling the insects to repose.
Then is the moment for the humming bird to secure them. Its long, delicate bill enters the cup of the flower, and the tongue touches each insect in succession and draws it from its lurking place, to be instantly swallowed. All this is done in a moment, and the bird, as it leaves the flower, sips so small a portion of its liquid honey that the theft, we may suppose, is looked upon with a grateful feeling by a flower, which is thus kindly relieved from the attacks of her destroyers.
The prairies, the fields, the orchards and gardens-nay,

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