Hundred-Year-Old Bird Drawings

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, February 23, 1914:  Nothing hardly worthwhile.


Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:


For crying out loud, how can nothing be happening when you got invited to a party yesterday?  The party’s on Friday—aren’t you thinking about what you’ll wear? . . . what you say? . . .

At least you could have told us about everyday events. . . even if it’s boring stuff because I’d find it interesting.

For example, what birds did you see and hear today? I heard a woodpecker pecking (hopefully not on my house) today. Are there woodpeckers on your farm?

And, this time of year the trees in my yard are often filled with noisy crows. Are there crows cawing in your yard?


Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I share some pictures from a book of birds published in 1914.


Crow: These birds, against which the hand of every farmer is uplifted, are very shy and cunning, as is well-known, they nearly always post a sentinel in some tree top to keep watch while the rest of the flock is feeding in the field below. In the fall and winter, large numbers of them flock, and at night all roost in one piece of woods.


Screech Owl: This well-known species, which is often called “Little Horned Owl” because of its ear tuffs. They nest anywhere in hollow trees, being found very frequently in decayed stubs of apple trees. They also often nest in barns or other old buildings which are not frequented too freely. Their food consists chiefly of mice and meadow moles, and occasionally small birds.


Chickadee: The Chickadee is too well known to need any description; suffice it to say that they are the favorites with everyone among all the North American birds.

The Bird Book (1914) by Chester A. Reed