Tracks And The Stories They Tell
from Things To See In Springtime
Tracks, and the Stories They Tell
Sometimes, in town, just after rain, when the gutters are wet, and the pavement dry, look for the tracks of some Dog that walked with wet feet on the pavement. You will find that they are like "a" in the drawing. A Dog has five toes on his front feet, but only four touch the pavement as he walks. The claws also touch, and make each a little mark.
Now look for the track of a Cat; it is somewhat like that of the Dog, but it is smaller, softer, and the claws do not show (b). They are too good to be wasted on a pavement; she keeps them pulled in, so they are sharp when she has use for them.
Make a drawing of each of these, and make it life size.
When there is dust on the road, or snow, look for Sparrow tracks; they are like "c."
Note how close together the front three toes are. The inner two are really fast together, so they cannot be separated far and the hind toe is very large. Last of all, note that the tracks go two and two, because the Sparrow goes "hop hop, hop." These things mean that the Sparrow is really a tree bird; and you will see that, though often on the ground he gets up into a tree when he wishes to feel safe.
Look for some Chicken tracks in the dust; they are like "d" in the drawing because the Chicken does not go "hop, hop, hop" like the Sparrow, but "walk, walk, walk." The Chicken is a ground bird. Most of the song birds hop like the Sparrow, and most of the game birds walk like a Chicken. But the Robin (e) goes sometimes hopping and sometimes running, because part of his life is in the trees, and part on the ground.
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