Puslapio vaizdai
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The harp-built walls of Luthany
Are builded high and strong,
To shelter singer, fool, and seer;
And glad they live, and long.
All others die who enter there,
But they are safe, these three.

The seer can warm his body through
By some far fire he sees;
The fool can naked dance in snow;
The singer - as he please!
And which I be of these, oho,

That is a guess for you!

Once in a thousand years, they say,
The walls are beaten down;
And then they find a singer dead;
But swift they set a crown
Upon his lowly, careless head,
And sing his song for aye!

So I to Luthany will flee,

While here the winter raves.

God send I go not as one blind
A-dancing upon graves!
God save a madman if I find
War's heel on Luthany!

THE WILD OSTRICH

BY THEODORE ROOSEVELT

egg.'

IN Mr. Scully's interesting article ages of the jackal among the ostrich on the life of the African ostrich, he eggs is of moment. In the course of the states that, as regards the habits of description he says that 'the whitethe wild birds, nearly every extant ac- necked raven coöperates with the count bristles with inaccuracies.'

jackal. He will carry a small heavy In the next paragraph, he states that stone up into the air and drop it into 'to an unprotected man in the open an the nest. Jackal and raven then share infuriated ostrich is as dangerous as a amicably the contents of the smashed lion. This sentence is itself a 'bristling inaccuracy.' If, when assailed by This is most interesting, and it is so the ostrich, the man stands erect, he is important, that Mr. Scully ought to in great danger. But by the simple ex- have described in detail the particular pedient of lying down, he escapes all observations which warrant the varidanger. In such case, the bird may ous features of the statement- the costep on him, or sit on him; his clothes operation, the use of the stone as a tool, will be rumpled and his feelings injured; the amity in sharing the result. Simbut he will suffer no bodily harm. I ilar statements are frequently made, know various, men - including Mr. usually about vultures. But I wish that William Beebe — who have had this we could get the testimony of trained experience. Does Mr. Scully imagine eye-witnesses. It is not in the least that an infuriated lion will merely sit impossible: in the same regions in Afon a man who lies down?

rica the alliance between the big honMr. Scully says that the ostrich is ey-badger and the queer honey-bird, the only animal man has domesticated is much more remarkable. Moreover, because of ‘sheer loveliness, as dis- many birds drop shells on rocks or pebtinguished from utility.' Surely Mr. bly beaches, to break them; last week I Scully has forgotten that the peacock saw gulls doing this. But the wielding of has been domesticated for a far longer a stone as a tool marks an effort of intime than the ostrich. His statement telligence akin to that of the higher that the ostrich plumes are ‘probably primates, and of man himself at about the most perfect decorative items in the opening of the Pleistocene; so that Nature's storehouse, ought, like any it would be interesting to have real such statement, to be put in the form evidence of it. The incident of a raven of an expression of personal taste; vari- and a jackal sharing the egg is also of ous storks, cranes, and herons, not to special interest

special interest - entirely possible, of

speak of birds of paradise and argus course, but as unexpected as a similar pheasants, carry plumes which to a friendly alliance between a fox and a multitude of persons with equally good crow; so that it ought to be a subject taste seem even more beautiful.

for first-hand testimony. Mr. Scully's description of the rav- In one paragraph Mr. Scully says that the wild ostrich is polygamous. the cock. The cock which I shot and Yet in the next paragraph but one he which is in the National Museum at states that both cock and hen sit on Washington was one of these birds the eggs, and that the cock sits on the which I, by accident, put up from sitnest ‘from about four o'clock in the ting on its eggs toward midday. Of afternoon until about eight o'clock course, five instances are not sufficient next morning, approximately sixteen to generalize from, but they do warhours.' This must mean that the cock rant further examination of the subject broods all the eggs of all the hens at before making dogmatic assertions as the same time; for, of course, if the to the cock always sitting at night and cock has more than one hen, he cannot the hen always in the daytime. My spend two thirds of each twenty-four own observations were that the two hours on each hen's separate nest. I sexes sat alternately, and indifferently, came across only six or eight cases of during both night and day. Nor are nesting ostriches and ostriches with my own observations the only ones to broods while I was in Africa. In each bear out this view. In Selous's Travel case there was only a pair of birds, a and Adventure, page 463, he speaks of cock and a hen; it was only a pair and a hen ostrich being shot ‘as she was always a pair that did the brooding of returning to her nest just at sunset.' the eggs, and only a pair and always a In Stewart Edward White's Rediscos. pair that led the chicks when hatched. ered Country, page 123, he describes a Of course, this does not mean that poly- return to camp after a morning's hunt, gamy may not occur; but inasmuch as and says, 'Near camp caught sight of both the cock and the hen sit on the a queer-looking black hump, sticking eggs, and as the sitting cock can hardly out of the tall grass. When near, it cover all the eggs of both or all the suddenly unfolded into a cock ostrich hens, polygamy must radically inter- and departed. We found twenty-eight fere with the normal habits in this eggs.' respect - and accurate and extended Moreover, even if the rule laid down observations on wild birds ought to be by Mr. Scully on this subject proves to a preliminary to generalizations on the apply generally, his interpretation of subject.

the rule is certainly erroneous. ProMr. Scully says that the nesting hab- tective coloration is a relative matter.

a its offer 'an undoubted instance of pro- Under the conditions which Mr. Scully tective coloration. The cock, being jet- describes, the cock ostrich is practicalblack, cannot be seen at night; the hen, ly always revealingly colored, as comwhich sits throughout the greater part pared to the hen, and his coloration is of of the day, is more or less the color of a highly advertising type. Mr. Scully the desert sand. She thus attains a says that the hen is colored like the maximum of invisibility while on the desert sand, and therefore attains the nest.' This is certainly a misreading of maximum of invisibility compared

( the facts, even if the facts are ob- to the cock) when on the nest. This served correctly, — and is probably a is true; and it is almost as true at night failure to observe them correctly. In as in the daytime. Under most conAfrica I came across wild-ostrich nests ditions, and normally, the cock is five times, always toward noon — that

- more easily seen at night than the hen. is, between nine in the morning and Cloudy nights are very rare in the three in the afternoon. In three cases desert: half the time it is moonlight; the hen was on the eggs, in two.cases, and then the cock is almost as reveal

ingly colored as in daylight. The rest any exercise calculated to attract the of the time it is brilliant starlight, and attention of enemies is unthinkable.' against the desert sand the cock is even The facts directly contradict this asserthen more visible than the hen.

tion. In the first place, by the time the Nor is this all. Mr. Scully says the young birds are old enough to gyrate cock sits on the nest during four hours or waltz, they are so conspicuous that of daylight, the two hours after sunrise any foe is sure to see them, whether and the two hours before sunset. These they are walking about or gyrating; are precisely the four hours during and after their early youth ostriches do which carnivores are most active if not seek to escape observation — they they are abroad during daylight at all. live under such conditions that they African carnivorous beasts are for the trust exclusively to seeing their foes most part nocturnal; but they are often themselves, and not to eluding the active for a couple of hours before sun- sight of their foes. In the second place, set or after sunrise; whereas during the 'exercises calculated to attract attenheat of the day, say from nine o'clock tion' not merely are not 'unthinkable, until four, it is exceptional for them to but are actual in the cases of many move round. Therefore, if Mr. Scully birds with far more numerous foes than is correct, the cock ostrich sits on the the ostrich has. In East Africa, in parts nest during the very hours of daylight of the ostrich country, I found the when its revealing coloration is most whydah finches numerous. The very dangerous and disadvantageous, while conspicuous males performed continuthe hen sits on the nest during the ously in their dancing rings, and their hours when her concealing coloration exercise was 'calculated to attract the is of little or no consequence.

attention of' every beast or bird that Mr. Scully's theory — the accepted

the accepted possessed eyesight. Relatively to the theory of many closet naturalists — has size of the bird, it was far more conno warrant in fact. All the evidence spicuous, far more advertising to all goes to show that neither the revealing possible enemies, than the waltzing of coloration of the cock ostrich, nor the the ostrich. Certain antelopes, especoncealing coloration of the hen, is a cially when young, indulge in play alsurvival factor. The birds' habits and most as conspicuous. surroundings, their keen sight, wariness, Mr. Scully's explanation (of a condispeed, and fecundity, and the desert tion which does not exist) is to the effect conditions, not their coloration pat- that 'probably' the ostrich had its terns, are the survival factors.

origin in some ‘vast Australian tract Mr. Scully speaks of the curious where carnivora were scarce. This is waltzing or gyrating of the ostriches mere wild guesswork; all the informaas not occurring among wild birds. tion that we have indicates that it is I saw it twice among parties of wild the reverse of the truth. birds in the Sotik country, beyond the Mr. Scully writes with genuine Guaro Nyero of the south. Mr. Scully charm about much of his subject. This says that, as ostriches live under 'con- would be in no way interfered with if he stant menace' from carnivorous foes, were more careful, both in his observa'the general practice of gyration or of tions and in his generalizations.

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