Petrified Birds in the Badlands

Petrified Birds in the Badlands

We’re reading Autumn Across America by Edwin Way Teele, one of a series of books on seasons in America that he wrote over 15 years prior to 1966.  We’ve reached the Badlands of South Dakota, where he describes some of the local palenontology:

In the badlands, fossil birds’ eggs have been found so perfectly petrified that the thickness of the shell can be measured and the yolk and white distinguished within. Here too are unearthed fragments of trees that millions of years ago turned to stone. Fossil eggs and fossil trees bring to mind the tall story of Jim Bridger, pioneer western trapper and scout, who reported seeing “peetrified birds and peetrified limbs singing peetrified songs.”

The spelling is Bridger’s.  Teele notes that in a way, we now have petrified bird songs—at the time of his writing they were “preserved in the hard, grooved disks of phonograph records.” Since then…!    Autumn Across America

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