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


Page 137

SERVICE AND THRIFT
A BIRD HOUSE BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD by
ERNEST HAROLD BAYNES

the end of a stout pole about eighteen feet long, which lay on the ground near the barnyard gate.
The bluebirds had already chosen a hole in the apple tree for their first home, so for the present they were not interested in any other. But on the telephone wire sat a pair of tree swallows, their steel-blue coats and white shirt fronts glistening in the sunlight. As soon as Duncan and his father began to raise the pole into the air, the swallows left their perch, and twittering excitedly, flew round and round the little bird house as if they knew that it was for them. It had barely come to rest as the end of the pole dropped into the hole which had been dug for it, when the swallows alighted boldly on the roof and took possession.
During the next few days the birds were very busy. Much of their time was spent in looking over their new home, creeping first into one room, then into another as if trying to decide which they liked best. Then they would sit on the telephone wire in full view of the bird house, perhaps admiring it, and ready to attack and drive away any other bird which came near. And of course they never neglected their regular work of darting back and forth to catch the insects which they needed for their daily food.
At last one of the rooms was selected, and the birds began to gather bits of hay to make a nest, and then followed swift visits to the poultry yard for feathers with which to line it. One morning when Duncan opened the door of the henhouse and let out the hens, he was surprised and amused to see the swallows swoop down, pluck soft feathers from an indignant old biddy, and bear them home in triumph.
Five white eggs had been laid when a flock of English sparrows arrived. One tree swallow was in the nest and the other on guard outside. A fierce but one-sided battle

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