By Althea R. Sherman
Written within the early a part of this century, Birds of an Iowa Dooryard is stuffed with meticulous and witty observations of species either avian and human.
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Extra info for Birds of an Iowa Dooryard (Bur Oak Book)
Not all agreed with her as to the drastic remedies she advocated and resorted to. The article not only had the attention of bird students. Extracts of it appeared in farm journals and in the public press. Miss Sherman received many letters about the article. Some of these writers had not made a special study of bird behaviour. Some questioned Miss Sherman's knowledge of the subject! Such unwarranted criticism she could not ignore. She followed the matter with several succeeding articles and vehemently defended the position she had taken.
Althea Rosina Sherman, born in 1853 in the first frame house on the Iowa prairie north of Dubuque, had four sisters and one brother. Her parents were pioneers who had trekked west from New York State to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, in 1843 and had then moved on across the Mississippi River to Iowa two years later. Her father, Mark, was a cobbler and an investor in farm mortgages, and her mother, Melissa, was a pioneer mother with strong Victorian beliefs. They must have been unusual people for their time and place, since they sent all their surviving children to college.
At night a paper screen was placed over the window with a lamp behind it, so Sherman could still watch the birds' activity. It took three years before chimney swifts discovered the tower, but in the summer of 1918 the first chimney swift nest was built. Luckily the swifts located the nest in a favorable viewing spot just under the right-hand corner of the window, fifteen inches from Sherman's observing eyes. In her usual thorough way she recorded every facet of the nesting, hatching, and raising of chimney swifts.