Makeup Birds (ca. May 1922)

Barbara’s makeup birds that would come to inhabit Farksolia. One description per page. From her letter to Mr. Oberg on May 22, 1922:

Talking of eggs reminds me of the makeup birds that I have been writing about. There are eighteen of them and I think they are all quite interesting, but the most interesting ones are the six finourios and the four fisheens. The finourios are all very pretty, but the knowraino finourio has the power to change his coat and also his song before it rains. The fisheens also are quite pretty, and they are the birds that sit on rocks sticking out of the water, and catch fish as they come by. But the short-billed fisheen has to duck his head under water to catch the fish. The total length of the fresh-water fisheen’s bill is six inches; the total length of the salt-water fisheen’s bill is four inches; the total length of the short-billed fisheen’s bill is one and a half inches; and the total length of the silvery fisheen’s bill is four and two eights inches. When you come to see me I will read the rest of the birds to you.

Imaginary Birds (April 1922)

1. Ositeroo

Birds are white, with an olive crown and tail-feathers.

Song — Twitter ritter eeno, very sweet and musical.
Call — Virue, virue, also musical
Nest — Made of fire-blossoms, lined with cotton or milkweed. In a little room made out of the finest grass possible is their winter supply of food, milkweed seeds.
Eggs — In the spring two to four white eggs speckled with yellow are laid.


2. Orine

Birds are brown, with a yellow breast and a stripe of green across it.

Song — Curioo, curioo, twit, twee with trills.
Call — Jurer, jurer.
Nest — Made of dried grass, lined with wax. In the nest is a hollow cube, with one of the sides loose like a door. In this the bird stores away his winter supply of honey.
Eggs — Five to nine bluish eggs are laid early in the spring.


3. Greenit

Birds are green, with a yellow border around the wings and tail, a yellow crown, and a white breast.

Song — Twit-twoon, twit-twee, greenit.
Call — Twurer, twurer, shit, very sweet and musical.
Nest — Made of the thorns of roses, with the thorns outside to keep people from taking the nest; lined with fine grass.
Eggs — Late in summer three to eight reddish-brown eggs are laid.


4. Golden Woodchuck

Birds are orange-coloured with a gray crown and a line of gray where each wing joins on to the body, and two green tail-feathers on each side of the tail.

Song — Twit, twit, twee, chirp, chip.
Call — Sit, sit, see.
Nest — Made of the stems of flowers bound together with threads of silk, with the flower head on.
Eggs — Three to five white blue-speckled eggs.


5. Kitty-goo

Birds are white with yellow crowns and wings and brown tail-feathers.

Song — A sweet repetition of his name, adding two more goo’s and a short gue.
Call — A short curoo curoo with trills.
Nest — Twigs around the top and the bottom, with moss connecting them.
Eggs — Two to four blue yellow-speckled eggs.


6. Ashlaroo

Birds are white with a gray crown and red tail-feathers.

Song — Twur, twee, ashlaroo, very much like the flutelike song of the orine.
Call — Cur-croo.
Nest — Made of moss lined with wool or velvet.
Eggs — In the spring two to five yellow eggs are laid.


7. Farceed Gerum

Birds are brown with pink tail-feathers and a white yellow-speckled breast.

Song — Tit-chip, clear, very musical and pleasant.
Call — A short Tit-it.
Nest — Made of dried grass lined with cotton.
Eggs — In the summer five to eight yellow eggs are laid.


8. Common Finourio

Birds are yellow with white wings and a black band around the tail and wings.

Song — Twit, twit, twurt, flute-oo, very musical and pleasant.
Call — Flur-it, also musical.
Nest — Made of clay with peach blossom stuck to the outside of it; lined with milkweed.
Eggs — Two to six bluish-green eggs are laid in August.


9. Woods Finourio

Just the same as the common finourio, only brown instead of yellow.

Song — Tritter-rino, not very musical, but more musical than the chick-a-dee.
Call — Tit-twit-twurt, more musical than the song.
Nest — Made of blades of grass woven together, and lined with cotton.
Eggs — Two to nine reddish-purple eggs are laid early in spring.


10. Knowraino Finourio

Birds are green with orange wings. The two middle tail-feathers are black. The other four of them are orange. But just before it rains he changes himself to silver—silver wings and everything. How he knows when it is going to rain is a mystery, but he knows—hence the name knowraino.

Song — Before it rains his song is twit, twit, raino, very musical, and when there is no sign of rain his song is twurt, twit, jaderoo.
Call — His call is always jardainoo.
Nest — His nest is made of dried grass lined with wool, which the birds pull from sheep.
Eggs — In the spring four to eight reddish-brown eggs are laid.


11. Rockarteen Finourio

Birds are grayish pink; underneath they are white. The breast has on it a cross of variegated colours. The rocks are his favorite hiding place; hence the name rockarteen.

Song — Twur, twit, twee, tit, tit, tit, chirip; very musical and sweet.
Call — A sharp rookle.
Nest — Usually built in the rocks; made of shells stuck together with clay. It is first lined with fine grass; inside of that is milkweed; inside of that is grass again; and inside of that is the yellow fur from ducklings. There are so many linings so that the bird can cover himself on cold nights, and he sleeps between the first layer of grass and all the other linings.
Eggs — Usually yellow speckled with blue, but sometimes five to seven white reddish-brown speckled eggs are laid early in the fall.


12. Iristic Finourio

Birds are white, with brown wings and tail-feathers. On the throat is a white circle with a yellow band around it, and just below is a band of dark variegated colours. All the rest of the breast is light variegated colours; hence the name iristic.

Song — The same as the rockarteen finourio, only leaving out the three tits and not as musical.
Call — A musical rookler, imitating his friend the rockarteen finourio.
Nest — This finourio is jealous of the rockarteen finourio and imitates everything that he does; only, to keep people from thinking that he doesn’t, he makes it a little different. His nest is just the same as the rockarteen finourio, with only one layer of linings, and that is of grass.
Eggs — White, speckled with lavender and red. Five to twelve of them are laid in the summer.


13. Bareen Finourio

Birds are white, with blue wings and a yellow crown and tail-feathers.

Song — Twittoo, twit chirp, very musical—so musical that it is almost as musical as the ositeroo’s song.
Call — Twee, chirp-chip, twee; not as musical as the song.
Nest — Made of lichen and lined with fur from squirrels.
Eggs — Eight to twelve white red-speckled eggs are laid late in July.


14. Woods Parceeldul

Birds are white with pink wings, crown, tail-feathers, and breast.

Song — A flutelike iwurt, iwurt, twee, chip.
Call — A sharp chirip.
Nest — Made of fine grass lined with thistle down.
Eggs — Three to eight bluish-green eggs are laid early in the spring.


15. Salt-Water Fisheen

Birds are light yellow, with yellow wings and a band of white around them (the band of white being a good quarter inch wide with one little thread of yellow in the middle of it), and a white breast; the total length of the bill is four inches.

Song — Thrit, thrit, twe-e-e-e-e, very musical; more so than the fresh-water fisheen’s song.
Call — A short throit.
Nest — Made out of pine needles stuck together with pine sap, and lined with anything soft that the birds can find.
Eggs — In the fall three to ten reddish purple eggs are laid.


16. Short-Billed Fisheen

Birds are green, with yellow breast and a black throat. The total length of the bill is one and a half inches. This is why he is called the short-billed fisheen. Instead of leaning over to catch the fish he ducks his head under water to do it.

Song — Twuri-thewoo; very musical.
Call — Quto; also musical.
Nest — Made of dried grass lined with silk.
Eggs — In the spring five to six yellow eggs are laid.


17. Silvery Fisheen

Birds are brown with silver-coloured wings and breast. The total length of the bill is four and two-eighths inches.

Song — Silker rooee, with trill at the end of the rooee; the song is much more musical than the salt-water fisheen’s song.
Call — Twurt-wee; almost as musical as the song.
Nest — Made of moss lined with milkweed. The bird is very fond of shine; hence the name silvery fisheen. Inside of the nest is a hollow cube filled with mica, and when the bird begins to feel lonely he opens the door and looks at the mica for a while.


18. Fresh-Water Fisheen

Birds are white with green wings and throat, and the total length of the bill is six inches. This is so that the bird can sit perched on a rock sticking above the water and catch fish as they come by; hence the name fisheen.

Song — Rarar rarar twit twee-e-e-e-e-e-e; very sweet and musical.
Call — Twitter ree.
Nest — Made of seaweed and lined with silk.
Eggs — Late in summer five to ten white yellow-speckled eggs are laid.


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