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builds its own nests, hatches its own eggs, and rears its own
1. THE parrots, which belong to the class of climbing birds, are remarkable for their gay, varied, and, in many instances, splendid plumage; their hooked and powerful bill; their thick, fleshy tongue; their intelligence and docility;1 and the peculiar facility2 with which many of them learn to imitate the human voice. The numerous members of this family are grouped under several divisions, such as parrakeets, macaws, the parrots proper, the cockatoos, and the lories.
2. The parrots are of nearly all colors, red, yellow, green,
blue, and scarlet. The crested cockatoo is nearly white, with a crest of bright yellow. The Papuan lory, a bird of graceful form and motions, is particularly noted for its scarlet plumes, which flash with exceeding brilliancy when the sunlight strikes upon them in the depth of its native forests.
3. The parrots are mostly birds of warm climates; and in their native wilds, when climbing among the trees and hanging from the branches in every possible attitude, their movements are marked by an ease and grace of motion that we can never see exhibited in a state of confinement. Of one hundred and seventy of the parrot family that have been described, only one species is a native of the United States. Many interesting incidents illustrating the character and habits of these birds might be related. The following, by the poet Campbell, is believed to be a true story:
“There, through the trunks, with moss and lichens3 white,
And 'mid the cedar's darksome boughs illumes,*
"A parrot from the Spanish Main,
Full young, and early caged, came o'er
"To spicy groves, where he had won'
"He changed these for the smoke of turf,
"But, fretted in our climate cold,
He lived and chattered many a day,
"At last, when, blind and seeming dumb,
To Mulla's shore
"He hailed the bird in Spanish speech,
1 DO-CIL'-I-TY, teachableness; readiness to 6 MUL-LA, here used for Ireland. learn.
7 WON, obtained.
2 FA-CIL'-I-TY, ease; readiness.
8 RE-SPLEN'-DENT, brilliant; shining.
3 LI'-CHEN ('-ken), a plant; rock-moss.
4 IL-LUMES', lights up.
9 HEATH'-ER-Y (heth'-er-y), abounding with the plant called heath or heather.
5 AT-TI-TUDE, position.
THE CUCKOO AND THE SWALLOW.
Your ladyship has cross'd the Main'!
2. "How goes the world' ? come', tell' the news';
How do the folks in Turkey use
3. "What say the Georgian maids so pretty About young Nightingale's dull ditty'?b
Do any praise it now' ? I fancy not`." "Excuse' me," said the swallow', "much they praise His plaintive and melodious lays',
And call them charming', and I know not what'."
4. "Charming'! that's droll enough'; what says
5. "Of you'!" exclaimed the wondering bird— "Of you'!"-in truth, sir, not a word'."
"What'! never' ?" said the cuckoo, "never' !a Does no one talk of me'? How' !"—Why' !____ That's very strange', indeed', for I
Talk of myself" forever'."
His plumage' and his wit`."
"His wit'! that's well," the cuckoo cried with glee,
a See Rule II.
c See Rule I. for the reason of this inflection.
1. THE Cuckoo is noted for being a shy bird-for being often heard, but seldom seen. This fact is thus alluded to by the poet Wordsworth:
b See Rule III.
d See Rule X., Note.
"O blithe new-comer'! I have heard-
IV. THE SCRATCHERS OR POULTRY BIRDS
OFTEN CALLED THE GALLINACEOUS BIRDS.
Scale of Feet.
1. Peacock, Pavo cristatus. 2. Ruffed Grouse, or Partridge, Tetrao umbellus. 3. Peacock Pheasant, Polyplectron emphanum. 4. Pinnated Grouse, Tetrao cupido. 5. Argus Pheasant, Argus giganteus. 6. Common Guinea-fowl, Numida Meleagris. 7. Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo. 8. Virginian Quail, Ortyx Virginianus. 9. Red GrousePtarmigan, or English Moorfowl, Lagopus Scoticus.
1. THE fourth order of birds embraces that part of the feathered creation which is by far the most useful to man. The common barn-door fowls, the turkey, peacock, and Guinea-fowls; the many species of pigeons, and the various birds known as game, all fall in this division; and whether considered as wholesome articles of food, or as adornments to man's abode, they are universally esteemed, and by almost all nations are reared and domesticated1 for their various uses.
2. As these birds are designed principally for abode upon the ground, they have strong legs and feet; and the hind toe, so important in perching and grasping, is often wanting, or