By Althea R. Sherman
Written within the early a part of this century, Birds of an Iowa Dooryard is filled with meticulous and witty observations of species either avian and human.
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Additional resources for Birds of an Iowa Dooryard (Bur Oak Book)
Are Birds Decreasing in Numbers? 223 XVIII. At the Sign of the Northern Flicker 237 A Bibliography of the Published Writings of Althea R. Sherman 266 Page ix The Johnson County Songbird Project Barbara Boyle From her early childhood Althea Sherman learned all that she could of the natural world. She lamented that her parents' generation had not even more carefully observed and documented the native plants, birds, and wildlife. This would have at least provided a record of what had been lost in the encroachment of white settlement.
But she began poisoning them to redress the balance. Sherman's battle against the well-loved "Jenny Wren," who sings so beautifully, was uphill at best. " Naturally, Sherman took every attack as a personal affront. "Of course Bighead Baldwin was there running over the sewer spout about his lousy wrens," she wrote to Nice. " As part of her scorn toward those she called "bird lovers" as opposed to ornithologists, she wrote a bitter, sarcastic paper, "The Old Ornithology and the New," comparing the scientific work of ornithologists to the "bird talks" of uninformed bird lovers.
Twenty percent of their sustenance was gained from songbirds, and so Sherman made her decision. " Her solution was to give away the owlets as pets, but after that experience she became judge and jury where screech owls were concerned, killing three of them when she discovered that they had killed a family of southern orioles. Sherman's "Acre of Birds," as she called the area around her home where she did her observing, was definitely managed. House sparrows were killed, dressed, and fed to her cats, house wrens were shot by neighbor boys she enlisted and supplied with an air gun, rabbits and woodchucks were trapped and removed, and she urged her neighbors to shoot ring-necked pheasants "that are filling our acres in the township.