By Althea R. Sherman
Written within the early a part of this century, Birds of an Iowa Dooryard is filled with meticulous and witty observations of species either avian and human.
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Additional resources for Birds of an Iowa Dooryard (Bur Oak Book)
But a very small part of it is devoted to vegetables. Buildings occupy a part of it, and still another part is given over to the orchard, a large part of the trees of which (at present) are plum trees, bearing harvests mainly of birds' nests. There is toleration for plum trees for several reasons: They take care of themselves and are thorny and brushy about their trunks, thereby offering desirable sites for bird nests. Besides the plum trees, there are a few apple trees, shade trees, and the mulberry, gooseberry, raspberry, elderberry, and a half-dozen other kinds of bushes that have grown from seeds dropped by the birds.
In her powerful style Miss Sherman wrote a criticism of the law. She argued: Why a bird day? Why birds only? Why not a day for each form in the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms? Would there be enough days in the school year for that? Why should not a special day be set aside for the study of worms, since worms have been so intimately connected with man since the beginning of recorded history? Nature study, not birds alone, needed to be studied and that the year round. The law was useless and impractical, she argued.
Miss Althea did not overlook any wrongs and some of the wrongs were evidently not real. When rural mail delivery was established by the Post Office Department the post office in National was abandoned and the community was served through McGregor. Not so much the Post Office Department, but the people of McGregor and the town itself, became the objects of Miss Althea's scorn. From then Page 17 on she was unduly critical of everything said or done by the citizens of McGregor. " If the writer did not heed the first admonition he was likely to regret the oversight.