42 Our Dumb Animals 1 (1909-1910)

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'0. ,  Animajs 1 The American Humane  13cain  7




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          GOD,
 *   PEACE ON EARTH,  
2  KINDNESS,  JUSTICE
O     AND MERCY TO
      EVERY  LIVING
  A.    CREATURE.    *
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                                             I would not enter on my list of friends,
                                             Though  graced with polished manners and fine sense,
                                             Yet wanting  sensibility, the man
                                             Who  needlessly sets foot upon a worm.-COWPER.


Vol. 42.                                        Boston, June, 1909.                                                         No. 1.


Reproduction, by special permission, of one of the Habitat Bird Groups in the American Museum of Natural History, New York.
THE AMERICAN EGRET IN A SOUTH CAROLINA CYPRESS FOREST.
        Background  by Bruce Horsfall.           Birds by Herbert Lang.


     (Written for Our Dumb Animals.)
AIGRETTE PLUMES: THE WHITE
      BADGE OF CRUELTY.
  No  form of feather adornment  has
been and is more harmful in its effects
than  the wearing  of aigrettes or
herons' plumes. These dainty, graceful
feathers, unlike the distorted skin of
some  poor humming   bird or warbler,
carry with them no suggestion of death,
and many  a woman   on whose  bonnet
they are placed is wholly ignorant of
the unspeakable cruelty the taking of
these feathers entails. If each plume
could tell its own sad history, every
humane  woman  in the land would raise
her voice in protest against a fashion
which threatens with extinction one of
the most beautiful of animate creatures.
  Aigrette plumes constitute the wed-
ding dress of the  several species of
white herons or egrets, and are worn
only during the nesting season. The
birds are exceedingly sociable in dis-
position, and, when breeding, gather in
colonies or rookeries, often containing
hundreds of pairs.
  The  plume hunter,  armed,  prefer-
ably with a small rifle, shoots the parent
birds as they return with food for their
young.  The bird falls, the slight report
of the rifle does not alarm others that
soon follow, and  within a few  days
most  of the parents have been killed,
while the nestlings, lacking their care,
die of starvation.
  The method  is simple-any boy with
a gun  can become  a plume  hunter -
but so effective that at the present rate
of destruction the  herons will soon
succumb to it. A Florida plume hunter
once told the writer that with two or
three assistants he had killed 300 egrets
in one afternoon; another boasted that


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