Volume VI - Nos. 5 & 6
OUT OF THE WILDS
One of the outstanding attractions in our national and state parks is the wildlife. The forests and fields within the parks are inviolate and perpetual sanctuaries and no hunting or trapping is permitted. Creatures of the wilderness are allowed to live and die by natural means, without interference from humans. Normally the "use areas", those spots set aside to provide for the comfort of visitors who come into the park, are very small by comparison to the remainder of the wilderness. Within the boundaries of those refuges are certain tracts where even the trails are obscure. Nature is really in the "raw".
Wild birds and animals in the parks rank near the top of the chief conversation topics and are among the sights longest remembered by the average park guest. The bears at Yellowstone attract as many visitors as the geysers, which are classed among the world's greatest wonders. The nature trails, showing the myriad forms of natural life at Bear Mountain State Park, are interesting to all types and ages of people. The snake pit and nature museum at this park on the Hudson River are always ringed with human faces.
Because of such interest in our birds and animals, the editors of the Regional Review felt that this series of pictures, made by the Tennessee Conservation Department, would strike a responsive chord among the readers of the Review.
The quail is a song bird in many of the northern states. In the south he is known as king of the sporting birds. Many thousands of dollars are spent each year on the protection and propagation of this colorful inhabitant of the wilds. In the parks the bobwhite quail is protected from the hunter's gun. But sharp eyes are needed to find the parent birds when they are engaged in their domestic duties in the sedge or by an old roadside.
The last census of big game animals in the United States showed that more than 3-1/2 million of the 5,844,718 big game individuals were white-tailed deer. In other words, there are more white-tailed deer in the United States and its possessions than a total of all other big game animals.
Deer are shy, sensitive creatures in the wild. Where they are protected in state and national parks, they rapidly become tame and maybe seen along the roads and trails late in the afternoon and at dawn. Most of the big predatory animals, as the cougar, wolf, and sometimes the wildcat prey on deer. Because they must be eternally on the alert, these graceful animals have developed keen senses which are attuned to danger.
Very few visitors ever get a glimpse of this predator of the forest aisles. He hunts by night on wings that make no sound. His hunting cry strikes terror into the hearts of all the tiny forest creatures. The Great Horned Owl is found throughout the east central and eastern United States from Canada to Florida. As vicious and as violent as he is, nature has found a place for him in her "scheme" for building up and maintaining healthy individuals.
This is a picture of Crane Town, Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee. Late in the spring each year thousands of herons, egrets and cormorants gather here to nest. They build their homes in the tops of the trees and rear their families. The nests are crude, makeshift affairs of sticks and large twigs, laid miraculously in the forks of the tree branches. Sometimes many families of birds of different species will live in one tree top. During the nesting season these apartment trees are alive with winged neighbors croaking across the back limbs.
Many such rookeries may be found through the range of the herons and egrets and other birds which nest in the heron colonies. These little villages are usually built far off the lanes of travel, over a swamp, where prowling land animals will not disturb the eggs and young. A bird city of this kind is one of the picturesque sights of the wilds.
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