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Identifying birds via books

As I've mentioned before, I'm not too good (or interested) in identifying birds by books. Yesterday while having cocktails on the porch, we saw a strange bird in a tree - it looked a bit like a young feathery duck but probably was something else. I went to check to see how old my bird books were. My Peterson (my mother's) is a 1947 and as we all know birds these days are completely different. Then I rummaged through this bookcase of old books and found this gem: Our Mountain Garden by Mrs. Theodore Thomas. It's copyright date is 1904!

Here is a bit of Chapter IX: Conclusion
And so I counsel all who have a bit of ground, be it small or large, to start thereon a garden, without waiting for horticultural knowledge or instruction. Begin as I did, with a wheelbarrow full of black-eyed Susans; you have no idea to what charming acquaintances the Susans will introduce you! And above all, I advise you to do the work yourself as far as your physical strength allows. Dig an plant, week and water, cultivate and prune, and haul your little cart of tools up hill and down dale, all wit your own hands. It is astonishing how weak muscles will strengthen, pale cheeks turn rosy, stiff joints grow limber, and clogged lungs open themselves again to deep breaths of fresh air. But I must own that one cannot do this sort of work in fine raiment All one's clothing must be loose and light and washable. I wear a short skirt of heavy gingham, an ordinary shirt-waist, calfskin shoes with broad soles and low heels, a shade hat, and gloves of my own invention, which are the only kind I have found which thoroughly protect the hands. ...

My mother followed this approach - it wasn't one of her first books since she started gardening in ~1951 and here is the sales slip that I found in the book. Although the slip says Fresno, Calif I suspect it was from used bookstore in downtown NYC and you do see that the address has been replaced.
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it looked a bit like a young feathery duck but probably was something else.

It didn't look anything like a duck -- it had a long pointy bill. While jwg was looking for old bird books I got out my relatively new Sibley guide; of course by the time I got back out on the porch the bird had left, but it was most likely a young black-crowned night heron.

I find the date on the receipt to be especially auspicious!!


My email notification of comments doesn't work so I just noticed this.

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