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is very short; the nails also are short, or, when lengthened, always stretch out in a line with the toe. With the exception of the pigeons, the wings of these birds, not being designed for flight, are short and rounded, and the body heavy.
3. This order of birds has been variously divided by modern writers on ornithology into several great families, the most important of which are our common poultry, pheasants, pigeons, and grouse. Our domestic fowls were originally natives of Southern Asia, and in a wild state their originals are still found in the forests and jungles of India.
4. It is well known that when the common hen has reared a brood of ducks instead of her natural progeny, and they take to the water, as their instinct teaches them, she is in a perfect agony, running round the brink of the pond, and sometimes flying into it, in hopes of rescuing her brood from the danger she supposes them to be in. Yet this natural antipathy to water may be in a great degree overcome, as the following anecdote shows:
5. “A hen, which had reared three broods of ducks in three successive years, became habituated to their taking to the water, and would fly to a large stone in the middle of the pond, and patiently and quietly watch her brood as they swam about it. The fourth year she hatched her own eggs, and finding that her chickens did not take to the water as the ducklings had done, she flew to the stone in the pond, and called them to her with the utmost eagerness. This recollection of the habits of her former charge is very curious."
6. In the pheasant family are found the pheasants, the turkeys, the peacocks, and the Guinea-fowls, all birds of large size and magnificent plumage. Pope's description of the dying pheasant has rendered that beautiful bird additionally famous:
"See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
Flutters in blood, and, panting, beats the ground.
"Ah! what avail his glossy varying dyes,
His purple crest and scarlet-circled eyes;
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold ?"-POPE.
7. The following description of the common ring-necked pheasant, by another writer, will give a still better idea of the splendid appearance of the same bird: "Splendid his form: his eyes, of flaming gold, Two fiery rings of living scarlet hold;
His arching neck a varying beauty shows,
8. The pheasants and peacocks are natives of Southern Asia; the turkey was found originally in North America, and the Guinea-fowls in Western Africa; but all of them are now distributed over the civilized world. The splendor of the peacock attracted the attention of the mariners of King Solomon, who, in their southern expedition, obtained these birds and carried them to their royal master; and at a period still more ancient, the beauty of this bird was referred to by the patriarch Job, who says, "Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks ?"
9. The turkey is still found wild in large numbers in the forests of our Western States, migrating in large flocks in the latter part of autumn. The manner in which it escapes from the attacks of large owls is thus described by C. L. Bonaparte, in his work entitled3 "American Ornithology:"
10. "These birds are guardians of each other, and the first who sees a hawk or an eagle gives a note of alarm, on which all within hearing lie close to the ground. As they usually roost in flocks, perched on the naked branches of trees, they are easily discovered by the large owls; but when attacked by these prowling birds, they often escape by a somewhat remarkable manœuvre. The owl sails around the spot to select his prey; but, notwithstanding the almost inaudible1 action of his pinions, the quick ear of one of the slumberers perceives the danger, which is immediately announced to the whole party by a chuck.5
11. "Thus alarmed, all rise on their legs, and watch the motions of the owl, who, darting like an arrow, would inevitably secure the individual at which he aimed, did not the
latter suddenly drop his head, squat, and spread his tail over his back: the owl then glances over, without inflicting any injury, at the very instant that the rkey suffers himself to fall headlong toward the earth, where he is secure from his dreaded enemy."
Scale of Inches
1. Bronze-winged Dove of Australia, Columba chalcoptera. 2. Wild Rock Pigeon, C. livia. 3. Crowned Goura Pigeon of Java, C. coronata. 4. Wild or Passenger Pigeon, C. migratoria. 5 and 6. English Ringdove, or Cushat, C. palumbus.
12. The pigeon or dove family, which unites the characters of the perchers and the poultry birds, has some species in nearly every quarter of the globe; but it is in the tropical climates of Southern Asia that the varieties-often vying with the parrots in the color of their plumage-are the most numerous. In no other country, however, does any one species swarm so abundantly as the wild pigeon in our own.
13. The celebrated American ornithologists, Wilson and Audubon, have very happily described the migrations of almost innumerable multitudes of wild pigeons which they saw in our Western country. The passing flocks were at times so large as to obscure the sun for hours together. The roostingplaces of these birds presented a curious spectacle. Large trees were continually breaking down by the masses that settled on them; and the birds that were killed by the fall, and by the clubs of the people who gathered around the borders of the woods, literally piled the ground in heaps of thousands.
The noise occasioned by the continust flapping of wings was like thunder; persons could not hear each other speak; and the report of a gun a distant could scarcely be distinguished in the general uproar. On the departure of the birds, the forests looked as if they had been swept by a tornado.
14 addition to the wild pigeon, and the common dove which is familiar to all, and which latter, in a wild state, is known as the wild rock pigeon, there are two other species in this country, one known as the Carolina turtle-dove, and the other as the Southern ground-dove, or ortolan. Our turtledove is a favorite bird with all who love to wander among our woods in spring, and listen to their varied harmony. Its peculiar mournful moanings, which sound so much like the voice of sorrow, are none other than the love-notes with which it woos its happy mate. The English ringdove, or cushat, is also noted for its cooing, and plaintive murmuring.
"Dear is my little native vale,
The ringdove builds and warbles there
To every passing villager."-ROGERS.
15. Another important division of this order of birds is the grouse family, which embraces those large groups of game birds known in familiar language as grouse, partridges, quails, and ptarmigans. The names by which the several species of the grouse family are known vary greatly in different places. The engravings which we have given of several of these birds will convey a better knowledge of them than any description. The pinnated grouse is a very singular bird, peculiar to America alone, and is found in pine-barrens and prairie-lands. In New England the quail is often called a partridge; and in Pennsylvania the true partridge (or ruffed grouse) is usually called a pheasant. In early spring-time the partridge makes a loud drumming sound by beating his sides with his wings. This drumming is thus described by an American poet:
"Hearest thou that bird?'
And pheasant by the Delaware. He beats
'Gainst his barred sides his speckled wings, and makes
A sound like distant thunder; slow the strokes
1 DO-MES'-TI-CA-TED, tamed; made domes-13 EN-TI-TLED, named; having the title of. tic. 4 IN-AU-DI-BLE, that can not be heard. 2 JUN ́-GLE, land mostly covered with brush-5 CHUCK, the voice or call of a hen. wood. 6 €USH'-AT (pronounced koosh'-at).
THE CITY DOVE.
1. STOOP to my window, thou beautiful dove!
To catch the glance of thy gentle eye.
2. Why dost thou sit on the heated eaves,
And forsake the wood with its freshened leaves?
When the paths of the forest are cool and sweet?
This noise of people-this sultry air?
3. Thou alone, of the feathered race,
Has become a name of truth and love.
4. Come then ever, when daylight leaves
Lessons of wisdom, sweet bird, in thee.
N. P. WILLIE,