Saturday, July 19, 2008

From Nature Articles by Earl N Plato

Ernest Thompson Seton in Canada from England - They made fun of him at nis new school in Toronto. It was such a big school that none of his brothers were in his class. “When I was four in England I was riding “horsey”on a high sofa. I fell on my head. I saw two two mothers and two clocks and two of everything!” My eyes became badly crossed and I had to squint. I was called “Squinty.” Despite his eyesight he still continued to love books. A favourite was his father’s Pictorial Book of Nature. He started sketching - flowers, birds and animals. Then he heard about Ross’s Birds of Canada. Ernest wanted a copy and saved his money until he had a dollar . He walked into the big book store and purchased his prized book. He was inspired to draw more. “At the age of 13 I built my own cabin in the Don Valley. It was my favourite place toget away. I did more art - mostly nature but also city buildings and people. All the time I wanted to be a naturalist. I talked with my mother about my anbitions. My father overheard and said, “NO! You will become an artist!” At Art school he won a gold medal at the Ontario School of Art and won a scholarship to study art in England. He went to England but his father gave him little help. He studied at the Royal Academy of Art but was very lonely and almost destitute. He learned more skills but after the scholarship was over he returned home as a 21 year old. He felt like a failure to his father who had kept a list of all the money and things he had given to Ernest. His father demanded to be paid back in full for his support. His mother welcomed him back and continued to believe in his dreams. Now back in Ontario he had no job. To him all wildlife was interesting - especially birds. “I will become a naturalist.” With his mother’s blessing he headed west to Manitoba. It was a happy time for Ernest. “I explored across the vast prairie - learning more and more. My poor health was over and for the next two years I was blessed with increasing strength. I had my books, my birds and animals, and my dreams.” Ernest was oficially appointed naturalist for the government of Manitoba. He drew more and more - sold sketches and drawings - did well. paid his father in full ion return visit to Toronto. He missed his mother very much but returned west to his job.
In defference to her he changed his surname to his mothers. Born Ernest Seton Thompson he now became ERNEST THOMPSON SETON. He was invited to New Mexico by the United States government to write four volumes - Life History of North American Animals. He was now writing short stories and novels about wildlife and was getting widespread fame. His most famous book, Wild Animals I Have Known, is still being reprinted in 2008.. Check it out, eh.

Read it here.

Why eat bugs when there's fresh citrus?

(from New

A former Manchester resident admits, “My wife and I are not avid birdwatchers, although we enjoy having them around and keep the birdbath filled with fresh water for their enjoyment. We live in a small city on the west coast of Florida, just across the bay from Tampa.

“Several days ago we enjoyed your article about the red-bellied woodpecker. It was of particular interest to us because we were in the last days of observing a pair raising their brood of two. We were very fortunate to have a front-row seat ,with the nest in a hollow dead branch of a live oak that was about 20 feet from our screen porch. Their squawking would alert us to activity at the nest. We enjoyed watching them grow up and leave the nest.

“The most unusual activity we observed was the parents feeding citrus to the young while in the nest and later watching the teaching of the young to peck a hole in the orange, feed some to the young two or three times, then fly up to a branch and watch for several minutes coaxing them to eat on their own. This took several tries before the young would eat on their own...

In the 1901 book “Wild Animals I have Known,” Ernest Seton-Thompson narrates the true story of a partial albino crow named Silverspot.

Actually, Silverspot was not much of an albino as was illustrated by the author when he wrote, “His name was given because of a silvery white spot that was like a nickel, stuck on his right side, between the eye and the bill, and it was owing to this spot that I was able to know him from the other crows, and to put together the parts of history that came to my knowledge.”

Read it all.