Hey, everyone! Every year around this time, I like to create something to fundraise and help my family attend the annual Chromosome 18p- conference. This year I am creating handmade notebooks which can be customized. Here’s a poem to go with the notebook:
N is for Nature
O is for Outstanding
T is for Terrific
E is for Eager Writing
B is for Book
O is for Outrageous
O is for Ocean
K is for Kindness
The price offering is at least $25 which includes shipping. You can use this PayPal link or you can mail a check to my mother, Camilla Downs, P.O. 19812, Reno, NV 89511
Hey, everyone! This story is about a girl who wants to become a princess. Her life is changed in a way she’ll never forget. Read more to find out what happens. I hope you enjoy!
Once there was a girl named Britney, she was always beautiful and kind but she was lonely. You see, Britney’s parents left for America when she was 3 and her friends left for Hawaii when she was 5.
One day, Britney was in her garden thinking about lovely it would be to be a princess. Suddenly, she heard her name being called out and she wondered who it was.When she saw a maid with a scroll, she asked who the maid was and what the scroll was.
The maid told her name was Maid Becca of England and the scroll was an invitation to the ball of England. When Becca left, she opened the scroll carefully. The scroll explained that Princess Lillian was too young to rule England so Queen Camilla declared a ball to figure out who the temporary princess should be.
The scroll explained that Princess Lillian was too young to rule England so Queen Camilla declared a ball to figure out who the temporary princess should be.
The invitation said to be there at 7:00 pm and to wear a gown or dress to the ball. Britney saw it was 6:30 pm and she went to find her beautiful sparkly rainbow gown with a ribbon around the hem and her matching sparkly rainbow tiara. (The tiara was handmade by Britney herself).
About 10 minutes later, Britney was ready for the ball. By 6:50, she saw a beautiful carriage. She stepped into the magnificent carriage and in 5 minutes they arrived.
As Britney walked into the castle, she tried to imagine what it would be like to live in the castle. Britney approached slowly to the ballroom, not sure what to expect. When Britney entered the ballroom, she found herself looking down at royalty.
After she looked down at royalty, she slowly headed down shiny marble steps in a spiral. Everyone including the royalty family looked in awe at Britney. She began to dance in slow graceful moves that impressed everyone.
When she went over to the table that had fruit punch, she started talking to Queen Camilla and King Camelot about how kind she was, she wondered being a princess was like.
When Queen Camilla finished talking, Britney politely grabbed a chocolate covered cherry. While Britney talked to Princess Lillian, Queen Camilla and King Camelot discussed whether Britney should be the temporarily crowned princess or not.
After a few hours, Queen Camilla announced it was time to decide who the temporarily crowned princess will be. Queen Camilla began, “The crowned princess will be…,” paused Queen Camilla for effect.
As a few seconds went by, Britney felt her heart beating with anxiousness. “Britney”, said Queen Camilla. Britney couldn’t believe what she had heard but she walked up to the thrones when she heard her name.
Queen Camilla said, “I now declare you Princess Britney of England. Would you like to make a speech, Princess Britney?” Britney responded with a polite yes. Britney told the royalty and people who came to the ball that she was honored to be the princess of England, tour the castle, and she would get to know everyone in the castle.
Britney ended her speech by saying, “Beauty is always in you, no matter what people say.” By the time the ball was over, it was 11:00 pm and Britney thought she should get some rest before exploring the castle the next day and she easily found her bedroom.
The next morning, she woke up not knowing where she was. After a few seconds, Britney realized she was in a castle bedroom. Now that the sun was up, she could see the princess room.
When Britney stepped outside her bedroom door, she saw a note from Queen Camilla saying that breakfast was in the ballroom at 8:30 am and when Britney looked at a nearby clock it said 7:30 pm.
The note said she had a maid named Becca to help her get dressed. Britney would just ring the bell so the maid would hear it. She rang the bell with the sweetest movement.
Britney went to her bedroom and she saw Maid Becca. Maid Becca said as she dressed Britney, “Good Morning, Princess Britney. Congratulations on becoming a princess! I think you should walk to the dining room for breakfast.”
Britney had said in response, “Good Morning, Maiden Becca! Thank you kindly. I will walk to the dining room after I take a quick glance in the mirror. “ Britney took a quick glance in the mirror and gasped.
Britney was wearing a sparkly striped rainbow dress with rosettes in her hair. She had indigo-rainbow shoes on her feet and a beautiful blue rainbow tiara on her head. Britney walked into the dining room carefully.
Britney watched how the royalty eats and she repeated the movement. After breakfast, Britney explored the castle and she met the people working inside the castle. Maid Becca told her there was a royal garden in the courtyard which was through doors.
When Maid said the word garden, Britney’s face lit up with delight. When Britney saw the garden, she walked around exploring the garden until the birds sung. Britney saw a message from Queen Camilla saying royal lessons were to be in the royal gym.
Britney told herself that she would have to come back. So Britney went back to her bedroom and rung the bell again but this time Maid Becca brought the royal tailor in to create a simple gym dress. Maid Becca gave the sizing to the royal tailor.
Britney waited patiently for the royal tailor to get done with the dress. The simple dress was created just 3 seconds later. She left her room feeling amazed and headed to the royal gym.
Britney walked into the royal gym, not sure what to expect. She was surprised to find a tutor who had lived in the castle several years and the tutor helped the past princesses and princes learn about royalty.
Britney was pleased to find the tutor was funny and shared a love of nature. Queen Camilla said Britney’s royal lessons will begin on Thursdays. Britney was delighted she had Thursdays to look forward to.
During her royal lesson, Britney learned about yoga. After her royal lesson, she found a note from King Camelot. He said to meet in the ballroom for dancing lessons.
So Britney went to her bedroom to get dressed with help from Maid Becca. After Maid Becca finished dressing her, she went to the ballroom for dancing. She was surprised the same tutor was there.
This time, the tutor demonstrated dance moves for her. The tutor explained that yoga was related to dancing in a way. After her dance lesson, she found a note telling her lunch was ready. She quickly walked toward the dining room.
Before Britney could open the door to the dining room, she was greeted by Queen Camilla. Queen Camilla said Britney was doing great and that ruling lessons began tomorrow because she was doing a great job.
Maid Becca was standing around and she offered to open the door for them. Queen Camilla and Princess Britney said it would be lovely. When they entered the door, Britney sat down to eat but she figured she should wait until everyone in the dining room was eating.
At 12:15 pm, everyone was eating including Britney herself. After lunch, there were no notes so she decided to go back to the garden again. This time, she looked around the garden until she saw a few butterflies and peacocks and she sang to them.
The peacocks and butterflies didn’t want Britney to go when she saw the note from Queen Camilla. So she went to Queen Camilla’s throne room. The first thing Queen Camilla asked was how was her day.
Britney responded by saying her day was great. The next thing Queen Camilla asked was what her favorite part of the day was. Britney said, “Going out to the garden.”
Queen Camilla asked, “Is there anything else you’d like to improve?” Britney had told Queen Camilla that she thought her singing needed to be improved. Before Britney left, Queen Camilla told her that dinner would be around 6:15 pm.
Queen Camilla had also told Britney that she had the rest of the day to do whatever she wished to do. So Britney headed toward Maid Becca and asked her if there were any different gardens.
Maid Becca said there was a butterfly garden, bird garden, flower garden. Britney thought she would go to the butterfly garden. Maid Becca told her how to get to the butterfly garden.
When Britney opened the door, she was amazed to see so many butterflies. So she walked around humming to the butterflies. Again when she left to go look for the bird garden, the butterflies didn’t want her to leave.
Britney found the bird garden easily. She was impressed with how many birds there were. As she walked in the garden, she tweeted, chirped, hooted, and cooed with a sweet melody.
Once again, the birds didn’t want her to go when she went to go to the flower garden. Britney found the flower garden door. Britney thought that the flower garden looked identical to the main garden but she went in anyway.
She sang again with a lilt in her voice and the birds and butterflies came to her. This time, the birds sang along while the butterflies fluttered their wings to the tune. The birds and butterflies didn’t want Britney to go.
Britney knew she had to go get ready for dinner. This time as Britney walked, she saw King Camelot walking toward her. When King Camelot approached, he asked how Britney liked living here and he also said Princess Lillian enjoys Britney’s company.
Britney said, “I enjoy living here, Your Majesty. I’m glad that Princess Lillian enjoys my company.” The king held the door open for Britney. When Britney sat down, she noticed everyone but King Camelot eating.
So Britney determined she should eat. Britney also made a mental note to ask the tutor what the proper way to eat at a castle is later. When she was heading out of the dining room, she saw Maid Macy in the royal library cleaning the books.
Britney decided she would go into the library to read instead going back to the garden. She asked Maid Macy had any book recommendations for her. Maid Macy grabbed a book called the Sunshine Beauty by F. Lien for her.
Maid Macy asked her if the book sounded good. Britney told her it sounded great to her. It was getting late so Britney took the book with her to bed. She read a little before she turned off her royal lamp.
Britney lay in the dark thinking about the busy day ahead of her. After a while, she drifted off to sleep. When she woke up, it was morning again. She got up to ring the bell to Maid Becca’s attention.
Instantly, Maid Becca came and dressed her. This time after Maid Becca dressed her, Britney had more time to talk to Maid Becca because Britney woke up a little earlier. Britney talked about her old home and it’s garden.
While Maid Becca told her about her pets and her books. Maid Becca also told her that she’d often go to the royal library. Britney showed her the Sunshine Beauty book. After a little while though, Britney had to get to the dining room.
As Britney headed to the dining room, Britney stopped by the royal library to see if Maid Macy was there. Britney didn’t see Maid Macy in there so she went on her way to the dining room. Surprisingly, she got to the dining room early.
Britney looked around the dining room and saw pictures of past Queens and Kings of England. Finally, it was 7:00 am and Queen Camilla walked in with King Camelot. The maids who ate breakfast with them walked in.
They were all surprised to see Princess Britney sitting in her chair looking around the dining room. Britney noticed the surprised looks on Queen Camilla, King Camelot, and the maids.
Britney explained that she hadn’t looked around in the dining room fully. Queen Camilla said, “I’m okay with that, Britney.” The king and maids agreed with Queen Camilla.
They all began to eat breakfast together and nothing was heard but eating sounds. After breakfast, she went to have a ruling lesson with the tutor. Before they started on the ruling lesson though, Britney remembered to ask what the proper way to eat at a castle.
The tutor said,” That question is a big question with a short answer. I have noticed they don’t wait for everyone to start eating and they eat quietly as a mouse.” So the tutor began the ruling lesson.
Britney learned what the proper way to wave and speak to crowds of people. After she left the tutor, she decided to go to the flower garden to read. Britney thought she should read out loud to the animals.
So she began to read out loud until she had to leave. The animals didn’t want Britney to go. Britney promised she’d bring food for them soon.
Britney went to her royal music lesson next in the music room. After she left the music room, she went directly to the library to check for Maid Macy. Britney saw Maid Macy in the library.
Britney immediately asked Maid Macy about seeing Maid Becca. Maid Macy said she’d seen Maid Becca several times in the library. After she left the library, she went to get some lunch because she was starving.
The lunch today was chip chicken and bacon wrapped pork. Britney was delighted to be treated with yummy delicacies. After lunch, she went to her dancing lesson. She practiced basic ballet moves.
After Britney was done in the ballroom, she went to the flower garden and like she promised she brought food with her. After she left the garden, she went to talk to Queen Camilla about singing lessons.
Queen Camilla told her that her singing was beautiful but it needed more tune to it. After Britney left the throne room, she went to her first singing lesson. She learned basic tips of singing a better tune and how to soothe her throat for singing.
After the singing lesson, Britney went to the royal gym to swim until dinner. At dinner, she began thinking about writing a story. After dinner, she went to her bedroom to take notes of her ideas.
After she finished her story ideas, she rang the bell for Maid Becca. Instantly, Maid Becca came. Britney asked Maid Becca if she knew any story starters.
Maid Becca said she did and told her the tips. After Maid Becca left, Britney started writing the first draft of a story. Shortly after she had finished writing her chapter, she sat in her bed reading.
After reading 2 chapters though, Britney felt tired so she turned off the lamp and went to sleep. When Britney woke up the next morning, something seemed wrong but she didn’t know what. So she rang the bell like she usually would have.
Maid Becca didn’t come so Britney looked in the maid book for how many rings would summon Maid Macy. The book said to do only 2 rings. Instantly, Maid Macy came in. Maid Macy dressed Britney quickly.
After Maid Macy dressed Britney, Britney asked where Maid Becca was. Maid Macy responded that Maid Becca wasn’t feeling good. Maid Macy and Britney walked to the dining room for breakfast.
When Queen Camilla came in, Maid Macy and Britney walked over to Queen Camilla to ask if they could announce that Maid Becca was sick. Queen Camilla said, “Alright.”
After Maid Macy and Britney announced that Maid Becca was sick, they ate and then they went to see Maid Becca. Maid Becca who had looked so cheerful last night looked pale and sad. Britney went to her singing lesson first that morning.
Britney sang with a bit of tune but she was too worried about Maid Becca. After her singing lesson, she went to see Maid Becca again.
The royal doctor reported that Maid Becca was expecting a baby. Britney raced to the maid headquarters to tell the maids.
The maids were impressed including Maid Macy. The maids and Britney went to tell King Camelot and Queen Camilla together. Queen Camilla seemed surprised and relieved when she heard the news.
King Camelot seemed anxious and excited. After the maids and Britney left the throne room, Britney went to her dance lesson. Britney danced her emotions out freely. Her tutor was amazed at how freely she danced when she let her emotions out.
The tutor asked Britney why it was so easy for her. Britney told the tutor about the news and the tutor was pleased. After Britney’s dancing lesson, she went to sing in the bird garden. Britney sang her emotions out.
The animals had gotten used to Britney leaving them. After Britney left the garden, she went to her music lesson. The tutor taught her a new tune on the ukulele and she did it perfectly.
After Britney was done with her music lesson, she went to see Maid Becca. Britney was delighted to see Maid Becca awake. Britney greeted her with a good morning and Maid Becca told her good morning in a quiet voice.
Maid Becca slowly fell asleep again and Britney left. Britney headed to her bedroom and she suspected something strange. Britney began writing the clues down. She got the answer for the question. The tutor was Maid Becca’s husband.
Britney left to talk to Queen Camilla. Britney told Queen Camilla what she’d discovered. Queen Camilla looked confused and asked for the tutor. Queen Camilla asked,” Is it true are you Maid Becca’s husband?” The tutor responded yes.
The tutor told Britney that she was a clever girl. After meeting with Queen Camilla, Britney went to see Maid Becca but this time the doctor was there. The doctor told Britney that the baby was almost fully grown and that the baby would come out on Thursday. Britney had the whole afternoon to do whatever she pleased.
Britney went to her room to work on her story. After Britney finished writing the 2nd chapter, dinner was ready. She walked into the dining room and ate dinner. After she ate dinner, she went back to her bedroom to write the 3rd chapter.
The third chapter Britney wrote was about a princess. After she finished her 3rd chapter, Britney went to the dining room to eat dinner. Britney told Queen Camilla about when Maid Becca’s baby was due to come.
Queen Camilla was amazed. The queen told Britney she could go visit Maid Becca anytime from that point on. After dinner, Britney went out to the flower garden to watch the sunset and pick flowers.
The flowers she picked were lavender, rose, lilies, daffodils, dandelions, and more flowers. After Britney was done picking flowers, she went to the royal craft room to spruce the flowers up.
After Britney finished sprucing the flowers up, she did a 3-second portrait in full color of the flowers. She went to Maid Becca to give her the flowers.
This time, Maid Becca was awake. So Britney asked, “Do you feel well enough to tell me about how you married the tutor? If the story is too long, you could just tell the story slowly. I could ask the tutor if you don’t feel well enough.”
Maid Becca said, “I think I feel well enough to tell you.” So Maid Becca told Britney about how the tutor and Maid Becca met. Maid Becca told her that they met in Greenland and how Maid Becca had worked as a gardener in the Kingdom of Luna.
After Maid Becca said she was too sleepy to continue the story, Britney headed to her room to work on her story. After she finished her 4th chapter, she got into her bed and read 3 chapters more of her book because she had more time tonight.
After Britney finished reading, she turned off the light and lay awake thinking how much excitement there had been Saturday. The next morning, Britney woke up the next morning and realized today was Sunday.
Britney found Queen Camilla was in the throne room so she went to the throne room to ask if she had almost the whole day off and whether she had to go to the church. “Yes you have almost all day off “, said Queen Camilla, “You do have church lessons in the royal library every Sunday. You could even pray for Becca”.
Britney told Queen Camilla that she would like to pray for Maid Becca. She went to her church lesson just after breakfast. The royal preacher read part of the Bible and then the royal preacher announced it was praying time.
Britney prayed for Maid Becca like she said she would. She also prayed for the tutor and the other maids. After the church lesson, she went to see Maid Becca. Once again, the royal doctor was there.
The royal doctor asked if Britney wanted to feel Maid Becca’s stomach. She said yes. Britney instantly put her hand on Maid Becca’s stomach and she felt a kick come from inside Maid Becca’s stomach.
Britney asked if that was the baby kicking Maid Becca’s stomach. The royal doctor chuckled and answered yes. Britney went to tell the ladies in waiting about the baby so they could tell Queen Camilla.
Queen Camilla was impressed by the update. After Britney left the throne room, she went to write another chapter of her book. Britney thought she was so lucky to get story tips from Maid Becca before they found out that Maid Becca was expecting a baby.
After Britney had finished writing 3 chapters of her book, she read a little bit of the book that Maid Macy had given her. After she finished reading, she realized she was hungry. So Britney went to look at the clock to see if it was close to lunch.
The clock said 12:15 pm and Britney knew that lunch was over. Luckily, she found Queen Camilla heading out of the dining room. Britney explained she had accidentally missed lunch.
Queen Camilla suggested Britney goes to the dining room to see if the food was still out. Surprisingly, the food was still out and almost everyone was still sitting. So Britney started eating lunch because she was starving.
Maid Macy told Britney that she’d received more news about Maid Becca’s baby while Britney ate her lunch. Maid Macy told her that the baby was to be a baby girl. After Maid Macy left, she ate quickly so she could go see Maid Becca.
As Britney walked into the door, she saw the doctor again. Britney asked what the doctor was doing and the doctor told her that she was helping examine the stomach to help guess how much the baby would weigh.
After Britney responded to the royal doctor, she left Maid Becca & the doctor and she went to the flower garden to think of how crazy her past week had been. She couldn’t believe that last week she was just at her cottage in her garden.
After Britney was in the flower garden, she went to have dinner with the royal family. After dinner, Britney went to see Maid Becca again. The royal doctor said the baby might come out on Tuesday which was earlier than expected.
After the royal doctor left, she talked to Maid Becca about how crazy her previous week had been. Maid Becca nodded to show she agreed about how crazy the previous week had been. After Britney left Maid Becca, she went to her room to write her next to the last chapter of the book she was writing.
Then Britney read a little more of the book she was reading. After Britney read, she went to tell Queen Camilla & King Camelot about the baby being born on Tuesday instead of Thursday.
When Britney told Queen Camilla and King Camelot, they were surprised and called Princess Lillian into the royal throne room. After Princess Lillian was told about the news, she also looked surprised.
Queen Camilla, King Camelot, and Princess Lillian suggested they try to find a good name for a baby girl just in case Maid Becca needed help choosing a name. “Can you check with the royal tutor and Maid Becca to see what Maid Becca’s plan is after she has her baby?” asked King Camelot.
Britney said, “I’d be glad to check with the royal tutor and Maid Becca to see what plan is after her baby is born.” So Britney went to find the royal tutor to see if he knew what Maid Becca’s plan was.
When Britney found him, she asked him if he knew Maid Becca’s plan. He responded that he knew. He told her that her plan was to still work as a part-time maid. Britney was relieved and then asked what his plan was.
The royal tutor told Britney that he was still going to be a full-time tutor for the royalties. Britney went to Queen Camilla to tell her about Maid Becca’s plan. Queen Camilla called Maid Macy into the royal throne room to tell her that she would be a part-time maid for Maid Becca.
After Britney left, she went to her room to sleep. She hardly could wait to see what was in store for Monday. On Monday morning, she woke up excited because the baby girl would be due Tuesday.
Britney called Maid Macy to help her get dressed and she went to see Maid Becca. The royal doctor was there again and the doctor told her she was in contractions.
Britney was concerned but she went to go get Queen Camilla and King Camelot. Britney urged Maid Becca to push a little for a few minutes. After she left, she went to eat breakfast.
Britney went out to the bird garden to sing to help her feel better. She also went to read and write in her room before lunch. She had herbal chicken nuggets with curly fries, waffle fries, and smiley face fries for lunch.
Britney was glad to have something yummy to eat on such an important day. After she finished her yummy meal, she went to talk to Queen Camilla. After she’d talked to Queen Camilla, she went to find Maid Macy to talk to her.
Britney and Maid Macy talked until dinner time. At dinner, she wondered how Maid Becca was doing. After dinner, she went to see Maid Becca. She asked the doctor how Maid Becca was doing.
The royal doctor told Britney that Maid Becca was okay. After the visit to Maid Becca, she decided to go to bed a little early so she could be awake in case the baby came in the morning.
Of course, Britney still wrote her story and read a little in bed before going to sleep. On Tuesday morning, she quickly rang the bell to tell Maid Macy to dress her. After she dressed, she went to see Maid Becca.
Britney could already see the baby’s feet sticking out. She asked the royal doctor if she had time to devour her breakfast and share the news to Queen Camilla and King Camelot.
The royal doctor told her that Britney had enough time to eat her breakfast and tell Queen Camilla. So she went by Queen Camilla’s royal throne room to share the news.
Britney told Queen Camilla to pass the news to King Camelot and the other royalty. So she went to eat a waffle topped with fruit on it for breakfast and hurried back to the royal nursery room where everyone was quietly watching.
Soon, Britney could see the baby’s belly. Shortly after, she could see the head. Once the baby was out, the royal doctor wrapped it in a special blanket. The royal doctor let Maid Becca holds the baby. Maid Becca declared the name to be Katie.
The royal tutor was relieved to see the baby girl. So as the year went by, Princess Lillian grew into a wise 10-year-old child. Meanwhile, Katie grew and talked as well as walked by the time the year was over.
As for Britney, she resumed her studying and lessons. Britney still found time to read, sing, write, and walk in the gardens. As promised, Maid Becca returned to her maid duty for the half time maid job.
As 8 more years passed, everything was normal. Katie was a talented 9 year old at the time. Queen Camilla and King Camelot talked about getting Princess Lillian ready to rule.
Britney was finally ready for her final test as a temporary princess. After Britney succeeded, Queen Camilla and King Camelot had a surprise for Britney.
The surprise was a plane ticket to take Britney to see her parents in America and to see her friends in Hawaii. Britney was excited but she asked if she could still come visit. Queen Camilla and King Camelot said, “Yes, you may.”
Of course, Britney went home to her beautiful cottage for a few days first before her trip. After 3 days past, she went flew on a special plane to America to see her parents. She was excited.
Britney recognized her parents immediately as she stepped outside the airport. Her parents ran over and said, “Wow, Britney. You have gotten tall and have grown up.” So she explained how she got to America.
Britney stayed for a few days to know how life was in America. She left America by boat to travel to Hawaii. She immediately recognized her friends the moment she stepped off the boat.
Britney’s friends ran over to Britney and said, “Wow, you look amazing, Britney! It’s so great to see you again!” So Britney stayed a little while to see what life was like in Hawaii. Soon she had to go back home though.
Britney hoped to see her parents and friends again soon. Many years later, her friends and parents came to visit her. They had the most fun together before heading back to the United States of America.
A few years later, Britney met a man named Mark and fell in love. They married 9 years later. After that, she had 3 babies. Their names were Heidi, Abby, and Sierra. They all lived happily ever after.
Hello, everyone! You might want to know more about Christmas. Thank you for visiting my blog! Christmas is my favorite holiday. In Argentina, the weather is almost always warm at Christmas. Preparations for Christmas begin very early in December and … Continue reading →
Hi there! I’m doing a special blog post for Halloween but it’s a little late. Hope you enjoy anyway!
In Austria, some people will leave bread, water, and a lighted lamp on the dinner or kitchen table when they go to bed at night. The reason why they leave bread, water, and a lighted lamp on a dinner or kitchen table is that they believed by doing so the objects on the table would welcome the dead souls back to earth for this particular night is a night of strong cosmic energies. In Austria, Catholics celebrate the entire portion between October 30 and November 8 as Seleenwoche or All Souls’ Week.
On All Saints’ Day, Catholics attend church services in honor of the saints, the martyrs and those who have died for the Catholic faith. Some people may also visit their family’s graves to beautify the graves with wreaths and small lanterns. Sometimes, a mass is said at the gravesite and the grave is sprinkled with holy water.
On November 2nd which is All Souls’ Day, Catholics attend a special Requiem masses, where they can remember the people who may be close to them that have died. Prayers for the dead are said and votive candles are lit to honor their memories. In Belgium, people believed that it was bad luck for a black cat to cross your way.
Some people believed that it was unlucky for a black cat also to come into their homes or travel on their ships. In Belgium, people light candles in memory of their spiritless relatives. In Great Britain, everyone wants to welcome the friendly spirits with special soul-cakes for them.
When children in costumes called upon their neighbors’ homes on Halloween they would be given soul-cakes also! In some parts of Britain, Halloween was known as Mischief Night in the past. It was a night for mischief making.
People would take the doors off their hinges on that night. The doors were often tossed into ponds, or taken a long way away. In England, it is said that elves rode on the backs of the villagers’ cats. The cats had fun but the villagers didn’t and would lock their cats up so that the elves couldn’t catch the cats.
Children were told not to sit in the circles of yellow and white flowers where fairies have danced as they may be stolen by the fairies. It was also considered bad to sit under the hawthorn tree because the fairies loved to dance on the hawthorn tree and if the children saw them, their tempers would be prickled. In England, the black cat was considered to be good luck and a white cat was considered to be bad luck.
In England, children make punkies out of large beets. The children cut out a design of their choice into the beet. The children carry them through the streets and sing the Punkie Night Song afterward.
The children knock on doors and ask for money. In some parts of England, turnip Lanterns are placed on gateposts to protect homes from the evil spirits. In England, Halloween was nicknamed, Nutcracker Night or Snap Apple Night.
Families would sit before a great fire in the hearth, roasting nuts and eating apples. The families told stories and played holiday games. It was an evening of great fun and merriment.
In England, they continued to practice their deep-rooted, ancient pagan rites well after the arrival of Christianity in the middle of the sixth century. The Church fathers had become concerned that the popularity of non-Christian festivals was growing at the expense of Christian holy days. Pope Gregory I, in 601 issued a decree to his missionaries about the faith and customs of the people whom he wanted to convert to Christianity.
Gregory knew that it would be impossible to eradicate the beliefs of the natives totally and so suggested to his priests that they convert them whenever possible. If the native people worshipped at a well, or sacred grove, Gregory informed his missionaries to enshrine them to Christ and let the worship continue. Gregory’s successor Pope Boniface IV in 609, declared May 13 All Saints’ Day.
Unfortunately, while pagans were happy to add All Saints’ Day to their calendar, they were unwilling to give up their existing festival of the dead and continued to celebrate Samhain. Intent on eliminating the ongoing power of the pagan beliefs, Pope Gregory III followed in the footsteps of the earlier Christian leaders and intentionally united the Christian All Saints’ Day to the festival of Samhain. He then moved All Saints’ Day to November 1, which became more commonly known as All Hallows.
Because Samhain had traditionally fallen the night before All Hallows, it eventually became known as All Hallows’ Even’ or Halloween. Previous church leaders to Gregory III discouraged the Samhain tradition of wearing frightening costumes, but Gregory decided to allow people to dress up in honor of the saints. Other traditions, such as begging for food and kindling, were made legal by the Church, providing that any food that was given to the beggars would be given to the poor, rather than to appease the evil spirits.
The Church also added a second day to the festival that fell on November 2 and was called All Souls’ Day and was dedicated to the souls of those who are still left in purgatory. These souls had to endure the punishment of purgatory for their sins. It is believed that the lighting of candles and the saying of prayers for the dead would shorten the time they were to suffer in purgatory before they would rise to heaven.
The tradition of begging for food soon was replaced with souling or Soul Caking. The idea was for children to go from door to door asking for money to give to the poor and a soul cake to have for themselves. Every cake they would receive, the children would say a prayer for the souls of the dead.
Soul cakes were called several different names throughout England such as Saumas or soul mass cakes which were dark fruitcakes, another cake was covered in caraway seeds and made into a bun. In North England, the tradition of lighting bonfires was central to the Halloween celebration. Superstition was still very strong as a result of the aftermath of the witch-hunts; witches were believed to take to the air to harass everyone at Halloween.
Halloween was called Tan Day for the township of Lancashire. Tan Day was named as it was the Celtic tein, or fire and pitchforks full of burning hay were flung into the air to scare the witches. Another reason was the heat and the smoke of the bonfires would also drive away any airborne witches.
In Canada, people welcome trick-or-treaters by placing pumpkins called jack-o’-lanterns in their windows. Also in Canada, it is bad luck for a black cat to cross your path, enter your home, or even enter your ship. In Canada, people give trick-or-treaters treats to make sure they are not being played a trick on.
Children also make Jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween. Dressing up as witches, ghosts and beasts for trick-or-treating is done also. It was believed these costumes would protect people from bad luck.
Thousands of years ago there was a tribe of farmers called the Celts. They knew that the sun helped make their crops grow, so when autumn came the sun began to fade and they believed that the sun would be winter’s prisoner for six months. They were worried that the sun would not return so to make sure it did they held a festival on October 31.
During which, they asked the sun to return safely in the summer. All the cooking fires were put out and a huge bonfire was lit on the hillside. Here they prayed the sun would shine brightly after winter was over.
The next morning, they would return to the hillside take a piece of the burning wood from the remains of the bonfire and light new fires so as to bring good luck. Feasts were held over the new fires and people would dress up in costumes made out of animal skins. It was believed these costumes would protect people from bad luck.
This is how Halloween is said to have begun and is still celebrated today. Cats were considered by the Celts to be spirits and that cats could predict the future. In Ireland, the black cat was considered to be bad luck and if it crosses your path while walking or crosses the threshold of your home or ship it was considered bad luck.
In Ireland, children would cut scary faces into hollowed-out turnips, large rutabagas, or potatoes. Then place a candle inside them. Children once enjoyed throwing cabbages and turnips at doors at Halloween time.
Smashing bottles near windows was also done for fun. The Celts referred to Halloween as The Samhain Festival. It was during this time that you would lead your livestock home from summer pastures to the winter shelters.
Samhain Eve was a time when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead grew thinner, and ghosts ventured toward the warmth if people’s homes and hearths. On the Eve, the Celts built bonfires in memory of their departed ancestors and left food and drinks on their tables overnight for eating by the ghosts. The tenth-century abbot of Cliny Odile changed Samhain’s name to All Saints’ Day.
October 31 became All Hallows’ Eve or Hallowes’ Even, and eventually would become Halloween. Halloween is now for the children, whose practice of trick-or-treating has its roots in the English custom of soul-caking. From medieval times onward, poor people would beg door-to-door for spiced cakes that the householders would award as payment for prayers the beggars promised to say for the householders’ ancestors.
This song was referred to as the soul-cakers song. In Ireland, they continued to practice their deep-rooted, ancient pagan rites well after the arrival of Christianity in the middle of the sixth century.
The Church fathers had become concerned that the popularity of non-Christian festivals was growing at the expense of Christian holy days. In China, the Halloween festival is known as Teng Chieh in which food and water are placed in front of photographs of relatives of people. Bonfires and lanterns are lit to light the spirits path back to earth.
Another Halloween festival is called The Feast of the Hungry Ghosts. In China, the souls of the dead, particularly
during the seventh lunar month, wander the earth in search of affection. They are known as the hungry ghosts because of their hunger for recognition and care.
The number of souls is usually increased by those who died unnatural deaths, and who may not have been given a proper burial or burial place which their families could visit in order to pay them respect. Other such Hungry ghosts that are abroad during this month are the spirits of people whose families had either died out or who showed no concern for their welfare in the beyond. Bereft of comfort, they feel abandoned and, lacking ancestral worship, may turn malignant and become powerful threats to the living.
The purpose of the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts, is dedicated to the earthbound spirits. It’s purpose is to make them feel welcome and to satisfy their spiritual hunger. This will placate any possible anger they might have and gain their gratitude.
In the sacred ritual of the day, the spirits are offered joss sticks, food and gifts. The gifts that are made of paper represent objects with which they were familiar while on earth and are intended to make them feel at home. Paper money is burnt on their behalf, to pay for their expenses in the netherworld.
Fires are lit to light the way for the hungry ghosts and a gesture of welcome. In Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed by the fireside. There is a chair for each family member and one for each family member’s spirit.
In Germany, people put their knifes away. This has to be done so they don’t risk hurting the returning spirits.
In the regions of Bavaria, Austria, and Southern Germany, Catholics celebrate the entire period between October 30 and November 8 as Seleenwoche or All Souls’ Week. In Hong Kong, there is a festival similar to Halloween.
During the Hungry Ghosts Festival or Yue Lan, ghosts and spirits roam the world for 24 hours. Some people burn pictures of fruit or money. This was believed to reach the spirit world and comfort the ghosts on this day.
In Italy, they make cakes in the shape of beans. These cakes are called Beans of the Dead. In Southern Italy, families prepare a special feast for the souls of the departed on All Souls’ Day.
When the family came home to find that their offerings hadn’t been consumed it meant that the spirits disapproved of their home and would work evil against them during the coming year. In Italy, November 1 has become a public holiday. In Japan, O-Bon festival celebrates the memory of the dead relatives.
Food and water is placed in front of photos of the dead. Bonfires and lanterns light the spirits’ path back to earth. O-Bon celebrated by some people from July 13-15 and others from August 13-15, O-Bon gets its name from the Sanskrit word for “to hang upside down.”
It refers to a legend about a Buddhist monk who is deep in meditation was able to see his long-lifeless mother hanging upside down in the Buddhist equivalent of misery. This was her punishment for eating meat during her lifetime which is a Buddhist taboo and refusing to repent of it. The monk was holy enough to go to misery and buy his mother’s passage to Nirvana with some of his own excess goodness.
On the first day of O-Bon, people decorate their loved ones’ graves with fruit, cakes, and lanterns. On the second day, spirit altars or they are referred to tamadana are assembled at home. Atop a woven rush mat stand the ancestors’ memorial plaques, tempting vegetarian dishes, and cucumbers carved to represent horses on which the spirits are invited to ride.
On the third day, whole communities gather for the bon-odori, a hypnotic, slow dance that moves in concentric circles or multiple lines. Hundreds of people often dance together. As evening falls, tiny paper lanterns are set adrift on river or sea: these omiyage gently light the spirits way back to the other shore.
Buddhist Japanese remember their dead at the time in autumn of equal days and nights. The festival that is celebrated is called Higan. It is a time when people visit the graves of friends and family who are dead.
They tidy up the area and think about the dead people. In Mexico, they have picnic lunches on the graves of their relatives. As this is a day of remembrance, happiness and celebration.
They bake bread and make candy in the shape of skull and crossbones, a casket, or a skeleton. The children run through the streets with lanterns and ask for coins. People light bonfires, set off firecrackers, and hang lanterns on trees to guide the souls of the dead home.
In Mexico, All Saints’ Day is devoted to all the departed children. This is a prelude to November 2’s Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead which is a national holiday on which all the grown-up ghosts will be arriving in full force. The littler ghosts get a head start.
To help them find their way back to the homes where they once lived, parents and still alive family members often shoot off firecrackers. In some parts of Mexico on this night, they strew a path of flower petals from the graveyard to the front porch. Mexico’s Day of the Dead calls for happy all day picnics beside the graves of dead relatives.
At home, people assemble little altars called ofrendas, stocked with the departed loved ones favorite foods and drinks, their photos, and other memories, as well as candles and pungent marigolds, a flower long associated with death. The Mexican custom of Erecting Day of the Dead altars has caught on north of the border, where the altars serve as the focus of ancestor rituals and memorials.
In Mexico, October 27 is the Feast of the Holy Souls or Fiesta de las Santas Animas, families begin the fiesta by cleaning their relatives’ graves and adorning them with pine needles and flowers. The families assemble a temporary altar near the gravesite, stocking the altars with candles and all kinds of foods such as meat, beans, chilies, salt, tortillas, fruit and sometimes adult beverages. Each person in the family then takes turns in talking to the departed spirit, offering it the food and assuring it that it is loved.
The ceremonies go on for several days, as every family has more than one grave to attend to. In the United States, trick-or-treaters are welcomed by placing lighted pumpkins known as jack-o’-lanterns in their windows. The North American tradition of trick or treat comes from the original idea that you must be kind to dead ancestors or they will play a trick on you.
Neopagans of North America honor their ancestors on October 31. It was once believed that on this night any souls who had not yet passed into the paradise of the summer lands might return to wander the streets and visit their old homes once more. Neopagans celebrate the festival today as a turning point between the old and the new year, as well, the date of October 31 as the gateway between the worlds.
Many neopagans also believe that on the eve of Samhain, the veil that separates each world that of the living and that of the dead is at its thinnest and that on this night, there is a better chance of being successful in communicating with their ancestors. In the Philippines, people will light candles in the memory of their dead relatives. In Poland, doors and windows are left open to welcome the spirits or the visiting souls.
In Portugal, they have feasts of wine and chestnuts at the cemetery. In Portugal, they bake special sugar cakes with cinnamon and herb flavoring. Parentalia the Roman holiday dedicated to honoring dead family began precisely at the sixth hour on the thirteenth day of February and lasted a full nine days afterward.
These English parental days weren’t a spooky time for the average Roman citizen. Rather, these were days of obligation and feasting, quiet and respectful, introspective, like a wake. During the Parentalia, all temples were closed, weddings were forbidden, and governmental magistrates uncharacteristically appeared in public devoid of the insignia of their office.
People visited their parents’ and other relatives’ graves, bringing objects such as milk, wine, honey, oil, and spring water. Some brought sacrificial blood from the bodies of black animals. They decked the graves with roses and violets.
Dining with the dead at the grave site, the celebrant would offer the traditional greeting and farewell of the holiday which is Salve, sancte parens and Hail, holy ancestor. The Vestal virgins, the priestesses who tended the goddess Vesta’s shrine in the Forum performed rites of their own at the Parentalia. The senior Vestal paid a ceremonial visit to the group’s parental tomb which was the early Vestal, Tarpeia.
On May 9 is the Lemuria a festival held to remove the more hungry ghosts. The Lemuria is a festival held for homeowners to rid their homes of resident lemures. A celebrant would walk through the house barefoot at midnight walking from room to room with one hand upheld in the fig gesture which is the thumb held between the second and third fingers.
The celebrant’s mouth would be filled with dried black beans which he would spit out one by one as he walked. The beans were used as ghost bait. As he walked he would spit a black bean out and say the chant nine times: With these I redeem myself and mine.
The idea was that the lemures would be following him, eating the beans that had been spat out by the celebrant. While the celebrant was walking around with the ghosts following him people weren’t to look back during the ritual. Once the celebrant had come full circle, he would wash his hands thoroughly then he would beat brass pans together making as much noise as possible so as to bid the lemures leave.
A festival held called Feralia is much like the Day of the Dead ceremony. The name feralia comes from the verb ferre meaning to carry, or to ferry. The Roman families would go to the ancestral graveyard, ferrying offerings.
The reasons was that they believed the ghosts were hovering around the graves, so they take food to extinguish the pyres. Once the ancestors were honored and fed, comes the ceremony Caristia from the word Cara meaning dear. This was a holiday to re-affirm, a day of affectionate family reunions.
All fighting was forbidden, old feuds would be forgotten, and sibling rivalries would have to be set aside. In Russia, the blue cat is said to bring good luck. Blue cats like the Russian Blue, British Blue and Burmese.
In Scotland, Soul Cakes were known as Dirge Loaves and were flat, round buns of oat flour. Scottish superstitions ran deeper and darker than most. In memory of the fact that Scotland had been the only country to burn to death its supposed witches, children in Aberdeenshire would run around their villages, banging on doors and shouting.
This practice continued until the early twentieth century. Effigies of witches were burned on the Halloween bonfire. A dummy of an old woman called the shandy Dan was wheeled in a cart to the center of a large gathering of villagers and then tossed onto the fire with much celebration.
They also smashed bottles near windows. March 13-19 in Spain is Las Fallas which is in honor of St. Joseph whose feast day is on March 19. There are fireworks, bullfights, music, costumed revelers and parades.
Giant models of people or papier-mâché effigies called ninots are stuffed with fireworks and burned. The bonfires and burning of effigies is done to blazing away the last vestiges of winter and welcoming the glow of the summer Sun. In Australia, they celebrate Guy Fawkes Eve as the day for Halloween or as it is also known Mischief Night or Danger Night.
On this night, it is a day for children to create mischief by doing tricks or getting a treat. It is not widely done in Australia as it is in America and elsewhere, in fact most children in Australia celebrate it as dancing at their schools or in other activities. Not as a day to create lawless or other mischief.
In Estonia, folktales tell of unsuspecting people who wander into village churches on All Saints’ Day night only to find all the pews filled with ghosts who sit and kneel attentively while a ghostly priest celebrates mass at the altar. French bellmen would walk through the streets warning of the arrival of, “The spirits are about to arrive!” Once everyone heard this they would all hurry to bed and shut their eyes.
Today, the French children beg for flowers with which to decorate churches and the graves of loved ones. In Guatemala, the advent season is a time of men dressing up as the devil in costumes playfully chasing children through the streets. To bring the season to a close on December 7, people are to light bonfires in front of their homes.
They would toss accumulated garbage and other debris onto these. In the City, fireworks explode into the night. This event is called the Burning the Devil or La Quema del Diablo.
Saint Martin’s Day, November 11th, is a celebration in Holland has a lot in comparison to “trick-or-treating”. People in Holland go around getting treats by ringing on some doorbells, singing songs for which they are given sweets or tangerines. They go around with lanterns and here is one of the songs they sing:
Elf November is de dag,
Dat mijn lichtje,
Dat mijn lichtje.
Elf November is de dag,
Dat mijn lichtje branden mag.
Those were the words to the Sint Maarten Song. This is the story of why the Dutch celebrate Saint Martin. It was a dark and stormy night.
Martin was quite alone on that dark stormy night. He only had a cloak and a singular piece of bread. He was returning home when suddenly a poor and homeless man appeared in the darkness.
Martin felt pity for the man and gave him half his piece of bread, and half his cloak and offered him hospitality in his home. Now he is called Saint Martin and is known for his kindness to the stranger. That is why they celebrate Saint Martin’s Day.
It is popularly a night for mischief and is called Mischief Night or Danger Night, which is on November 5th. The Odo Festival is held to mark the return of the dead which is the Odo to those still living, this occurs in the village of Igbo, Nigeria. The festival has three stages.
The first stage is observed with ritual celebrations and festivities to welcome those returning from the spirit world. The spirits stay for six or more months. Their departure is an emotional affair as they will not return for two years.
There are Odo plays featuring different characters in costumes. Most roles are by men with women as chorus members and as spectators. Children in Sicily go to bed on November 1 well aware that outside, in all the graveyards, the dead are rising from their tombs and coming like Santa Claus to deliver candies, cookies, and gifts to leave for them in celebration of All Saints’ Day.
On All Souls’ Day, the Sicilian chefs mark the holiday with almond-flavored “bones of the dead”, bone-shaped biscotti, with molded-sugar dolls, and with fave dei Morti, little Venetian cookies in the shapes of fava beans, a legume associated since ancient times with rites of the dead. Vu-Lan or Wandering Souls’ Day is a festival celebrated by all Vietnamese. When a person dies, it is believed their soul goes to inferno where it is judged and, depending on the person’s behavior on earth, is sent to heaven or kept in inferno.
Souls in inferno can gain release by the prayers of the living. Wandering Souls’ Day is the best time for these rituals. Inferno’s gates are opened at sunset and the bare hungry souls fly out, returning to the family altars.
Tables are spread with a meal for the ancestors and ‘wandering souls’, and incense sticks and votive papers are burned. This takes place in large rooms or outdoors so there is plenty of room for the ‘wandering souls’ who have no relatives, or whose relatives have forgotten them. In Wales, people build Halloween fires on the Vigil of Samhain.
The celebration is very somber. Each of the family is to write his or her name on a white stone which is then thrown in the fire. Then all of the family members march around a fire, praying for good fortune.
The next morning, after the fire has died out, each member sifts through the ashes to search for the stone. If any stone is missing, it means that the spirits will call upon the soul of that person during the coming year.
Hello, everyone! If you have a holiday you’re celebrating, enjoy it! This story is a fantasy version of my life. Hope you enjoy my story!
Once upon a time, there lived two parents who wanted at least a daughter and a son. So one night on September 13 in the year 2000, a daughter was born at 9:00pm. Her name was Sparkle because her eyes sparkled like diamonds ever since she opened her eyes for the first time. When Sparkle was 4, her mother discovered that her daughter had a short arm deletion called 18p- and her mother decided to find out as much as possible about 18p-. When Sparkle was 5, her parents had a son on November 12 in the year 2005. His name was Ocean because he had ocean colored eyes ever since he had opened his eyes for the first time. When she was 9, she went to her first 18p- conference in Las Vegas. She made 2 friends named Rainbow and Shimmer and she had a lot of fun at her 1st conference! Ever since then, she liked the conferences. She had gotten books, clothes, homemade stuff, and other store-bought stuff for Christmases to come. When she was 15, she got almost everything she wanted especially the laptop and telescope. She even got what she wanted for her birthday. So far, they live happily ever after!
Please note that I changed some of the details for safety reasons! Thank you for reading my story!
Hi, everyone! I chose this story because I wanted the story to be worthy of sharing. Take a deep breath and enter the magical cat story below.
Once upon a time, there was a cat named Maggie McRita who wanted to be different from every other cat. So she went to her cat books and read but couldn’t get any ideas.
After she finished reading, she decided to research on her cat laptop. She discovered so many ideas and she brainstormed to choose the best idea yet.
The best idea was to learn some magic and become famous. She set out for her kitten books again which were in the cat fun room.
This time she read magic cat books, so she looked at the beginner tricks. She assumed that all the magic was going to be slightly easier than her kitten chores.
She decided to do a coin trick as her first trick. She decided to do a card trick as her next magic trick at 6:00pm PDST or 9:00pm.
She practiced until bedtime and she got so good, she had a good idea. She had started to perform in front of her whole cat family.
She started performing for other cats who lived in the country and they started asking her to perform at a cat birthday party. She started getting famous during her magic tricks.
She wanted a lot of cats to help out too and she wanted a mate. Soon, she was traveling to places she had always dreamed of going.
She finally found a cat who wanted to mate with her and his name was Concertino. She fell in love but she kept on doing her magic tricks and they both had the same clever idea.
She got married to Concertino 3 months later. She and Concertino did magic tricks and traveled together to places they always dreamed of going.
They had two twin kittens named Water and Earth. As the kittens grew up, they helped with magic but they really wanted to be artists.
When they were old enough, they told the truth. Maggie wasn’t disappointed in them, she figured that was what they were up to.
So, off they went and they both found mates that were also twins. They offered to be in just one house.
So they lived in a cat mansion. The mates wanted to become artists also so Water and Earth set off to teach their mates as much as they knew.
Shortly afterward, they each had 4 babies. Meanwhile, Maggie had some health issues and she was unable to do magic during that time.
So the rest of the family helped her to do magic until she was healthy again. She went onward to doing challenging tricks.
One day while Maggie was practicing, she fell on her paw weirdly. The paw hurt so much that it was bleeding and she couldn’t get up.
So the rest of the family went to look for the cat doctor. They found her and the family told them that Maggie had hurt her ankle and come as fast as she can.
After a few seconds, the doctor arrived. The doctor told the family including Maggie that she had a broken ankle and she had to sit in a wheelchair for a few days.
Shortly afterward, she began to walk on crutches for a month. After the month had past, she walked with a rainbow walker that glittered for the rest of the year.
After the last of the year had past, she was able to walk again. She was advised not to do any advanced magic tricks that involved her paws.
She kept that warning for years to come and when her health fell for the last time, no one was able to help her at all. She slipped into a coma that lasted a few weeks and the coma kept coming back after a few weeks more.
Then the coma kept getting worse until she slept the whole time. Eventually, her breathing slowed down until it was nothing at all.
At that point, her death had struck her almost immediately and they thought that she was just holding her breath. Her whole family was completely devastated and that was only her 2nd life and they no longer did magic.
However, they remembered her for the rest of their lives. They put her in the cat Hall of Famous Cats and every cat who didn’t know her asked someone who knew her.
Hi there! My mother, Camilla suggested that I write a series of posts about birds on my blog since I’ve been talking about them and learning about them. Please let me know if you have any bird books, CDs, or a website you’d recommend! Here is the part about American Tree Sparrows.
American Tree Sparrows are small, round-headed birds that often fluff out their feathers, making their plump bodies look even chubbier. Like other sparrows, they have fairly small bills and long, thin tails. Their color pattern is a rusty cap and rusty (not black) eyeline on a gray head, a streaked brown back, and a smooth gray to buff breast in both male and female American Tree Sparrows give an overall impression of reddish-brown and gray. A dark smudge in the center of the unstreaked breast is common.
Small flocks of American Tree Sparrows hop about on the ground, scrabbling for grass and weed seeds, calling back and forth with a soft, musical twitter that might make you twitter, sing, or dance. A single American Tree Sparrow may perch in the open top of goldenrod stalks or shrubs, or on low tree branches. Look for small flocks of American Tree Sparrows in the winter in weedy fields with hedgerows or shrubs, along forest edges, or near marshes except for Reno, NV. They readily visit backyards, especially if there’s a seed feeder.
American Tree Sparrows breed in the far north and are hardly seen south of northern Canada in the summer. 4-6, usually 5. Pale bluish or greenish, with brownish spotting often concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female, 11-13 days; male visits nest often, but does not incubate. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest at age 8-10 days, when flight feathers not yet fully grown.
Parents may lure them away from nest by offering food. Young are able to fly at about 14-15 days after hatching; parents continue to feed them for about 2 more weeks. 1 brood per season, but may attempt to renest if 1st attempt fails. Diet in the winter is almost entirely seeds, from grasses, weeds, and other plants; also a few insects and berries.
In the summer, they eat mostly insects and other small invertebrates, plus a few seeds. Young are fed mostly insects. Pairs form shortly after birds arrive on breeding grounds. Male actively defends territory, chasing away other members of same species.
Nest site is on or near ground, in grass clumps beneath shrubs. Sometimes on hummock in open tundra; rarely up to 4′ above ground in willow or spruce. Nest is an open cup of twigs, grasses, moss, lined with fine grass and with feathers (usually ptarmigan feathers). Female builds nest in about 7 days.
All wintering areas are well to the south of breeding areas. Migrates relatively late in fall and early in spring. Apparently, migrates mainly at night. On average, females winter somewhat farther south than males.
The American Tree Sparrow is a small sparrow with a long notched tail. The adult has a streaked back and wings, with two white wing bars, but is otherwise unstreaked, while the juvenile is streaky overall. Adults have an unstreaked gray-brown breast and belly, with a dark spot in the center. The tail, rump, and nape of the neck are all solid gray.
The upper mandible of the bill is dark and the lower is yellow. The head is mostly gray, with a rufous crown and eye-line. American tree sparrows (Spizella arborea) breed throughout almost all of Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest territories, the very north of Manitoba and Ontario, all of Labrador, and in northern Quebec. Their winter range includes a very small part of southern Canada and all of the United States except for the western most 250 miles, the southern most 450 miles and all of Florida.
American tree sparrows usually breed near the tree line in open scrubby areas with willows, birches, alder thickets or stunted spruce. They may also breed in open tundra with scattered shrubs, often near lakes or bogs. They spend the winter in open forests, gardens, fields, and marshes. Baumgartner followed birds for the first 22 days of development.
Order of hatching was not dependent on the order of laying. Earlier hatched birds took the lead in development. During the nine and one-half days in the nest, the four feather tracts of the birds (dorsal, ventral, alar, caudal) go from completely bare to the back covered, lower belly slightly bare, wings 2/3 grown, and tail still a stub, and the birds grow from 1.62 gm to 16.7 gm, while their length goes from 33 mm to 75 mm during the same period. They lose 1.5 gm the first day out of the egg but have gained 3 gm by day 21 (Baumgartner, 1968).
On the second day after hatching the young were able to stretch for food. On the fourth day their eyes were half open, after the fifth day, wide open. The first sounds were made on the fifth day but were very soft. Fear was acquired between 7.5 and 8 days as demonstrated by their raucous calls when touched by humans.
During the first 12 days of the fledgling period (which lasts until about a month after leaving the nest in (Spizella arborea) the birds showed a steady increase in both tail length (14-47mm) and wing length (46-68mm). At the end of the first 21 days the wings were still slightly shorter and the tails about 2/3 the length of mature birds. A tree sparrow was observed to fly 30 or 40 ft fifteen days after hatching, and a little before one month after hatching, the birds could fly all around their territory. American tree sparrows are monogamous (one male mates with one female).
Males and females form breeding pairs after they arrive at the breeding sites in the spring. Both males and female sing to attract a mate. Females become excited when males come to sing nearby. They call back to the male, making a “wehy” sound.
Males may show off for females by spreading their wings and fluttering them or darting to the ground in front of the female, then flying back up to a perch. American tree sparrows breed between May and September. They raise one brood of chicks each year. The females builds the nest alone.
The nests are built on the ground out of moss, grasses, bark and twigs. They are lined with fine grass and feathers.The female then lays about 5 eggs. She lays one egg each day.
She incubates the eggs for 10 to 14 days and broods the chicks after they hatch. The chicks are altricial (helpless) when they hatch, so they rely on the female to protect them and keep them warm. Both parents feed the chicks until 2 to 3 weeks after the chicks leave the nest (called fledging). The young fledge from the nest about 9 days after hatching.
In late summer, the families join larger flocks. We do not know when young American tree sparrows begin breeding.
American tree sparrows breed once per year. Females incubate the eggs and brood the chicks after they hatch.
Both parents feed the chicks until they are about 22 days old. The oldest known American tree sparrow lived at least 10 years and 9 months. Most American tree sparrows probably live about 2.3 to 3.4 years. American tree sparrows are migratory.
Though they are usually active during the day (called diurnal), they migrate at night. American tree sparrows are territorial during the breeding season. Males sing to claim territories and they defend their territories from others. Females occasionally chase intruders too.
American tree sparrows do not defend winter territories. During the winter, they form large flocks that forage together. Within these flocks, some birds are dominant over other birds. American tree sparrows move by hopping on the ground and on branches, and by flying.
They do not swim or dive, but they do bath frequently. They roost alone trees or shrubs, haystacks, cornfields, and marshes. In the winter, they might take shelter together under the snow. American tree sparrows are omnivorous; they eat many different seeds, berries and insects.
During the winter, American tree sparrows mainly eat grass and weed seeds. During the summer, they mostly eat insects and spiders. American tree sparrows search for food among plants on the ground and the branches and twigs of shrubs and trees. In Massachusetts, they are often seen in flocks, feeding at bird feeders.
American tree sparrows need to drink a lot of water each day. During the winter, they eat snow in order to get enough water. Known predators of American tree sparrows include northern goshawks, sharp-shinned hawks, screech owls, pygmy owls, Cooper’s hawks, American kestrels, weasels, foxes, and red squirrels. When approached by humans, American tree sparrows give a rapid series of “tset” calls.
It is unknown how American tree sparrows respond to other potential predators. American tree sparrows are very important members of the food chain. They eat many weed seeds and insects and spiders, and they are an important food source for their predators.