Scientific American Supplement, No. 421, January 26, 1884 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 108 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement, No. 421, January 26, 1884.

Keeper Clark never shoots ducks.  Scarcely a morning has dawned for two months but that several of the poor birds have been picked up at the foot of the light house tower with the broken necks which have mutely told the story of death, reached by plunging headlong against the crystal walls of the dazzling lantern overhead the night before.  There is a tendency with such migratory birds as are on the wing at night to fly very high.  But the great, glaring, piercing, single eye of Montauk light seems to draw into it by dozens, as a loadstone pulls a magnet, its feathered victims, and they swerve in their course and make straight for it.  As they flash nearer and nearer, the light, of course, grows brighter and brighter, and at length they dash into what appears a sea of fire, to be crushed lifeless by the heavy glass, and they fall to the ground below, ready to be plucked for the oven.  Inside the lantern the thud made by these birds when they strike is readily felt.  Although they are comparatively small, yet so great is their velocity that the impact creates a perceptible jar, and the lantern is disfigured with plashes of their blood.  Upon stormy and foggy nights the destruction of birds is found to be greatest.  When the weather is clear and fair many smaller birds, like robins, sparrows, doves, cuckoos, rail, snipe, etc., will circle about the light all night long, leaving only when the light is extinguished in the morning.  Large cranes show themselves to be almost dangerous visitors.  Recently one of these weighing 40 pounds struck the wrought iron guard railing about the lantern with such force as to bend the iron slats and to completely sever his long neck from his body.—­N.Y.  Times.

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The genus Carpinis is widely distributed throughout the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.  There are nine species known to botanists, most of them being middle-sized trees.  In addition to those mentioned below, figures of which are herewith given, there are four species from Japan and one from the Himalayan region which do not yet seem to have found their way to this country; these five are therefore omitted.  All are deciduous trees, and every one is thoroughly deserving of cultivation.  The origin of the English name is quaintly explained by Gerard in his “Herbal” as follows:  “The wood,” he says, “in time, waxeth so hard, that the toughness and hardness of it may be rather compared to horn than unto wood, and therefore it was called horne-beam or hardbeam.”


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Scientific American Supplement, No. 421, January 26, 1884 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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