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The Bird Whistle


This instrument, also known as the prairie whistle, is clearly

shown in our illustration. It is constructed as follows: First,

procure a piece of morocco or thin leather. From it cut a circular

piece one inch and a quarter in diameter. Through the centre of

this disc, cut a round hole, one-third of an inch in diameter. A

semi-circular piece of tin is next required. It should be of the

shape of an arc, as seen in our il
ustration; its width across

the ends being about three-quarters of an inch, and its entire

length being pierced with a row of fine holes. Next procure a piece

of thin sheet India rubber or gold beater's skin. Cut a strip about

an inch in length by half an inch in width, and lay one of its long

edges directly across the opening in the leather disc. Fold the

leather in half (over the rubber), and draw the latter tightly. Next

lay on the arc of tin in the position shown in the illustration, and

by the aid of a fine needle and thread sew it through the holes,

including both leather and rubber in the stitches. When this is

done, the whistle is complete. If the gold beater's skin is not

attainable, a good substitute may be found in the thin outer membrane

of the leaf of a tough onion or leak, the pulp being scraped away.

To use the whistle, place it against the roof of the mouth, tin

side up, and with the edge of the rubber towards the front. When

once wet, it will adhere to the roof of the mouth, and by skilful

blowing, it can be made to send forth a most surprising variety

of sounds. The quack of the duck and the song of the thrush may

be made to follow each other in a single breath, and the squeal

of a pig or the neigh of a horse are equally within its scope. In

short, there is scarcely any animal, whether bird or quadruped,

the cry of which may not be easily imitated by a skilful use of

the prairie whistle, or, indeed, as it might with propriety be

called, the menagerie whistle.