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IN THE WORLD.
the voices of bulbuls and other attractive singers added to the charms of the celebrated hanging gardens of Babylon. African parrots were brought to Rome in the time of Nero from beyond upper Egypt, where they had been discovered by explorers, and were highly prized both as pets and as table delicacies by the Romans, who kept them in cages of tortoise-shell and ivory with silver wires. A good talker of this species in those days often fetched a higher price than a human slave.
The forthcoming Year Book of the Department of Agriculture (to advance proof-sheets of which the writer is mainly indebted for his material) contains an article on this interesting subject by Henry Oldys, who says that American parrots owe their first introduction to the Old World to Columbus, who carried a few of them back with him on his return
from his first and most famous voyage HUMPBACKED Belgian CANARIES —The Most VALUABLE
of discovery. They were among the
most striking trophies exhibited by him Many notes are to be heard, but it is on the occasion of his formal and hisdifficult to determine from which of the toric entry into the city of Seville. scores of throats they proceed. This, The most popular members of all the however, is a task which the "tester" is parrot tribe are the little green Austracalled upon to perform ; and, when he has lian parrakeets, which, familiar on the satisfied himself of the excellence of the streets as fortune-tellers and performers performance of any particular bird, he of tricks, are retailed in this country at puts a chalk mark on its cage. The cages four or five dollars a pair. They are thus marked are afterwards removed, and among the easiest of all foreign birds to their occupants are sold as "guaranteed" raise, and one cause of their wide distrisingers.
The practice of keeping birds in cages appears to date back to a period long antedating the earliest dawn of history. Feathered creatures prized for their beauty or for their song were found in such captivity on the islands of the South Seas when they were first discovered; parrots and many other birds were similarly imprisoned by the ancient Mexicans and Peruvians, long before Columbus discovered America, and doubtless
"TESTING." Picking OUT THE BEST SINGERS.
transportation very well, a great majority of those imported dying soon after they arrive. Next in rank as conversationalists are the "double yellow-heads," from tropical America, which when well trained command prices ranging up to several hundred dollars apiece. It is worth mentioning, by the way, that these birds are commonly instructed in the art of speech nowadays by the use of specially-constructed phon* ographs, which automatically repeat, for hours at a time, selected words, phrases, or songs.
During the last year about 325,000 cage bird3 were imported into this country, of which number all but 30,000 were canaries. Formerly and up to a very fecent period, we did a large export trade in such feathered captives, but to this traffic an effective
stop has been put by the A Giant AVIARY SO ARRANGED That People MAY WALK THROUGH
adoption of prohibitory
laws in various states. bution over the world at the present time Such enactments have been inspired lies, oddly enough, in the fact that they by the efforts of the Audubon soare able to survive for an extraordinary cieties, which called attention to the length of time without water. Thus they fact that the depredations of the birdcan get along with a minimum of atten- hunters were threatening to exterminate tion; and it is said on good authority many of the most valued species—such, that specimens have been shipped from for example, as the mocking-bird, the Australia to Europe, a voyage of four bluebird, the cardinal, the tanager, the months' duration, without a drop of indigo bird, and the nonpareil. Happily, water, arriving nevertheless in good con- however, the danger has been averted, dition.
and in future there will be a fully adeAmong parrots the best talkers by far quate protection for the songsters which are those of the African gray' species. enliven our fields and woods with their Unfortunately, they do not endure tuneful vocalization.
Building a Butterfly Dam
By William Hard
S the sewage of Chicago, astonishingly clean and clear. Running pouring into the Chicago water, like a successful man, purifies River from all the houses itself as it advances and if it goes far in an area of some two enough no one can reproach it with its hundred square miles, past sins. Lockport is only about thirty
goes down the South five miles from Chicago, but by the time Branch into the Drainage Channel and the polluted waters of Lake Michigan down the Drainage Channel to the Illi- and of the Chicago River have arrived at nois River and to the Mississippi, it will that point they look as innocent as if encounter, near Lockport, a new and a they had never had any past at all. wonderful kind of dam, a "butterfly" It is water, then, and not sewage which dam, a dam that will be capable of being will float toward the "butterfly" dam. swung around bodily, in the current of But it will not float over it. That is the the stream, on two enormous metal pins. curious thing about “butterfly” construc
It is perhaps a mistake to say that the tion. The water will float by the dam. sewage of Chicago will itself encounter The dam will swing aside to let it pass, this dam. By the time the water of the just as a bridge swings aside to let an Drainage Channel reaches Lockport it is ore-steamer go down the Calumet River.
This remarkable dam will be one of the of a big steel girder, will be some ten greatest curiosities in that museum of feet wide. With body and wings, the curiosities, the Chicago Drainage Chan- butterfly dam will stretch almost two nel. The spectacle of a river flowing the hundred feet across the channel from wrong way against its natural inclina- bank to bank and, when it chooses, will tion, the mountainous cañons of clay and absolutely stop the whole flow from Lake rock through which the sewage of a great Michigan to the Mississippi.
The butterfly's body, the central girder, has just been completed. It is the largest girder ever put together in a workshop in Chicago. A few days ago, when it was lying on its side in the long, grimy room which was its birthplace, it looked more like a New York flat than like a girder.
Many a New York flat is less spacious. This girder is a big oblong box of steel, thirty-two and a half feet in length. It has seven rooms inside of it. Each of these rooms is nine feet high and eleven feet long.
Their average width is about five feet. Seven rooms placed end to end, seven chambers of hard steel—that is the girder which will form the body of the butterfly dam; and many a family paying a high rent can be seen living in less extensive quarters.
When this overgrown
monster had been put toExcavation Work and Construction of Dam.
gether (it grew origin
ally in more than three city is conducted across the quiet plains hundred separate steel-pieces and now of an inland state, the gigantic concrete enjoys the possession of more than caverns through which, near Joliet, the seven thousand steel rivets which waters of the channel will plunge down- hold its three hundred steel limbs toward, making electricity as they plunge- gether and serve it as joints), when these things will not attract a larger this body of the butterfly was finally number of amazed spectators than the ready for shipment, with all of its seven dam which flutters its wings in imitation thousand rivets hammered red-hot into of the beautiful insect after which it is place with air-driven hammers, the railnamed.
road hunted all over its lines for a long It will be a rather large butterfly. Each time to find a car that would be capable of its two wings will be some ninety feet of moving it. That car was never found. long. Its body in the middle, consisting The railroad officials at last contented themselves with putting two cars together and switching them into the yard of the factory to see what would happen.
There are three traveling cranes in that factory. . They hover over it like eagles with their wings spread. One wing rests on a rail on one side of the work-room. The other rests on a rail on the other side. And all three cranes go solemnly and grindingly up and down the whole length of the room.
Dam of Stone, CLAY AND CONCRETE, Which Temporarily Diverrs Water The three of them collaborated in the moving of the butterfly girder. They all and was laboriously and thankfully pushed three let down their chains and grappled out into the open. The butterfly girderwith it. And though all three of them the mere pivot of the butterfly damwere responsible, and though any one of weighs seventy-five tons, one hundred the three is equal to any ordinary task, and fifty thousand pounds. the men in the factory were careful, in This is the girder which will stand on this case, not to stand under the butterfly end in the middle of the stream near girder as it moved slowly down the room Lockport, and which will contain the pins
BEAR TRAP DAM, over WHICH WATER NOW POURS INTO OLD DES PLAINES BED.