|Nebraska State Historical Society nbhips 10186|
No one argues with the idea that life was hard for pioneer women. Life in a soddy on the Nebraska prairie involved more hard labor in a day than most of us encounter in a week--hauling water, planting gardens, preserving wild fruit, tending livestock, kneading bread--not to mention caring for children in a world rife with dangers like rattlesnakes. In light of all that, why would a woman make time to care for bird? What's up with the bird cages in the photo above? This is only one example of many photos taken by Solomon Butcher featuring sod houses, families, and bird cages. One folklorist has suggested that for a woman on the prairie, canary song was a sweet note in a windy world without trees and consequently without the songbirds that were common fare back home in Illinois, Wisconsin, Virginia, etc.
I didn't know that pioneer women wouldn't have seen these birds that are common in the state today:
|Photo in the public domain|
|Photo courtesy of Adamo (Wikipedia)|
|Photo courtesy of Wikipedia and in the public domain|
Starlings are present in the United States thanks to Shakespeare. Yes, really. In the 1890s, a group of Americans released 100 starlings in Central Park, motivated by their goal to establish every bird mentioned by William Shakespeare. Today, those original 100 birds have 200 million descendants. I'd call that success!
Do you enjoy birdwatching?
Have you ever come to Nebraska to see the cranes? Every year, half a million of these magnificent birds (some over 4 feet tall) pause in western Nebraska, creating one of the premier birdwatching events in the world. To learn more: https://visitkearney.org/sandhill-cranes/
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