Meanwhile Porky lumbered slowly along in quest of new feeding-grounds, talking and singing to himself, forgetting entirely what had happened a minute or two before, and unconscious of the fact that Thor had saved him from a death as certain as though he had fallen over a thousand-foot precipice.
They seemed to require more than half of the continent for feeding-grounds, moving from one table to another, field to field, forest to forest, finding something ripe and wholesome all the year round. In going south in the fine Indian-summer weather they flew high and followed one another, though the head of the flock might be hundreds of miles in advance.
He succeeds best, as a rule, in imitations of the coarser, metallic sounds, and as his medley abounds in a variety of little, measured, tinkling, and clinking notes, as of tappings on a metal plate, it has struck me at times that these are probably borrowed from the sheep-bells of which the bird hears so much in his feeding-grounds.
Not only do all those normally circulating in the blood flowing through the injured part promptly stop and begin to scatter themselves through the underbrush and attack the foe at close quarters, but, as has been shown by Cabot's studies in leucocytosis, the moment that the red flag of fever is hoisted, or the inflammation alarm is sounded, the leucocytes come rushing out from their feeding-grounds in the tissue-interspaces, in the lymph-channels, in the great serous cavities, and pour themselves into the blood-stream, like minute-men leaving the plough and thronging the highways leading towards the frontier fortress which has been attacked.
As evening approaches and the shadows from the bordering wood point long fingers across the marsh, the blackbirds straggle back from their feeding-grounds and settle, clattering, among the reeds. Their clamour dies gradually away and night settles down upon the marsh. All sounds have ceased save the booming of the frogs, which but emphasises the loneliness of it all.
One has to know the favourite feeding-grounds, the trails that run to these grounds, and have an idea of the limits within which cattle and horses will range. As a rule, each band has its own feeding-grounds and its own spots for taking shelter. The difficulties of search are enormously increased by the broken character of a rolling bluffy prairie.
Denunciations of the treaty became outspoken, and as the young braves grew more and more insolent every day, it amounted to conviction that, unless by some means the irritation was allayed, hostilities would surely be upon us when the buffalo returned to their summer feeding-grounds between the Arkansas and the Platte.
Before the hour of dinner, we walked down on to the long neck of land where the shooters patiently abide the flight of the ducks: on one side is the Seneca, and on the other the Gunpowder river; both favourite feeding-grounds of all the water-fowl frequenting this region of creeks, rivers, and bays.
Unfortunately the winter referred to proved exceptionally severe and formed vast sheets of thick ice over the feeding-grounds where the ducks had expected to obtain their food. On Cayuga, Seneca and other lakes in central New York, and on the island of Martha's Vineyard, the flocks of ducks suffered very severely, and many perished of hunger and cold.
"Captain Nares of the Alert, in May 1876, when only a little to the southward of this, saw ptarmigan flying in pairs to the north-west, seeking for better feeding-grounds. Ducks and geese also passed northward early in June, indicating plainly the existence of suitable feeding-grounds in the undiscovered and mysterious North. "We have now passed beyond the point reached by Captain Nares.