xt7jh98zct60_25 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086.dao.xml Bevins, Martha 0.05 Cubic Feet 55 items archival material 2015ms086 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Martha Bevins letters to Tom McCarthy Radio broadcasting. Agriculture -- Kentucky. Birds Women air pilots. 1957 June 24 text 1957 June 24 2016 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086/Box_ms_42/Folder_1/Item_25/1957_6_24_Bevins_Cookoo_p1.pdf 1957 June 24 1957 1957 June 24 section false xt7jh98zct60_25 xt7jh98zct60 rlllll,
. Morning View Kentucky
24 June 1957
Hello Mr. McCarthy,
Friday morning there occurred one of those Small bits of coincidence,
completely inconsequentiaa, but none-the-less enjoyable. I was
picking green beans over in the garden that rests like a chip on
the shoulder of the pond—field. I have no great fondness for green
beans, but aIWays plant some, as they, like radishes, are so
satisfying to grow -- Just stuff the seeds into the earth with neither
great care nor skill, and return within what seems only a few days
to gather the crop. I have often suspected Thoreau of planting them
because they are so undemanding.
As I gathered beans, thereby reducing the loveliness of early morning
to a most plebean level, the Rain Crow (our American member of the
Cuckoo family) flew low above me on his way from his nest in the tree
patch to a locust clump where he Was accustomed to hunt little green
caterpillars for his young. His sleek beauty and magnificent flight
, restored the morning's splendor. Pleased with an excuse to straighten
3 up. I stopped picking beans to watch him, and, as has long been my
1 custom upon seeing a Cuckoo, I recited in his general Direction,
l "Sumer is icumen in
Ihude sing cuccu."
a few feet aWay, partially obscured by a pudgy bean bush, my tiny
radio instantly replied,
"Sumer is icumen in
Lhude sing cuccu." -- except your version had an ly suffix of
To be sure, practically everyone has encountered this unlovely bit of
ancient song, and you were quoting it to usher in summer, whereas I
spoke directly to the Cuckoo; but I was nevertheless astonished to
hear it so immediately repeated. Had I spoken a few seconds later, it
would have been a most unrehearsed duet.
actually, it is most unfair to direct a son‘iwritten of the pernicious
“nglish Cuckoo at his distant American relat ve. Our cuckoo is a
self respecting bird who builds his nest and raises his family with
the utmost care, whereas the English one has no nest and despoils
with its eggs, the nest of smaller birds.
Both in coloring, tan above and white below, and in the slow grace
of his normal flight movements, our Rain Crow always reminds me of
the effortless, smooth flapping of a swimming sting ray. Even the
young birds are sleek and only slightly awkward when they emerge from
the nest. ‘
Our counterpart to the English Cuckoo in nesting, or rather, lack of
nesting habit, is the Cow Bird. Occasionally they lay their eggs in
the nest of a bird as large as a Cardinal or Wood Thrush, in which

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case several of therrightful residents of the nest manage to survive.
Most of the time, however, the Cow Bird prefers to impose upon smaller
birds such as Song Sparrows and Buntings. Upon hatching, the cow bird
baby is much larger and promptly takes command, snatching all the food
proffered by the bewildered parents of the smaller babies. If these
little fellows do not starve completely, the Cow Bird baby either
kills them or hurls them out of the nest to die. The Song Sparrow, or
whoever the rightful owner of the nest may be, will continue to
carefully raise the young Cow Bird until he leaves them to consort with

' other Cow Birds which he seems to instinctively recognize as his
true tribe.
Whenever I hear the ugly buzzing call of a young Cowbird, I spare no
pains to find the nest containing it and kill it at once. Sometimes
I find it while other little birds are still in the nest and there is
a happy ending. Often, by the time the baby CowBird is loud enough
to hear, he has already destroyed the true babies. Oddly, when I kill
him, his foster parents, though my friends, will battle violently to I
save him. My tamest Cardinal was once fiathering a young Cow Bird
and when I killed it, it Was several weeks before I could coax
the Cardinal back to his original friendly attitude toward me.
Meanwhile, having deposited their egg in another bird's nest,
occasionally forcibly driving out the rightful owner to do so, but ‘
preferring to visit the nest by stealth when the owners are absent,
the mature Cow Birds have gone merrily away, never to visit the
nest again, and ignoring the young Cowbird until it is old enough
to join them as a flock member. ‘
One winter, when all the leaves had fallen, I found a Chipping
Sparrows nest that was unusually tall, very thick from top to
bottom. The nest hohlow seemed normal enough, with this unexplained
great mass of leaves and grass below it. I tore it apart. Sealed

' up several inches below the final nest, was the original nest containing
two Chipping Sparrow eggs and a Cow Bird egg. The Chipping Sparrows
had abandoned the lower nest after the Cowbird eggwwas deposited there,
and, as rarely happens, had built an entirely new nest atop the old.
Of course the eggs in the lower nest had not hatched.
I am not in the habit of going around slaughtering things, but
actually enjoy killing a Cow Bird, particularly a female.
haw/v” e