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covered with a membrane, which is pierced in several places, and communicates with several large vesicles or air-bags, dispersed about the cavities of the body.

The eyes of birds are more or less convex in the different tribes; and, in general, it may be observed, that the sense of sight is more acute in birds than in most other animals. Birds have no outward ear, but the internal one is formed on the same general plan as in quadrupeds. Birds are oviparous animals, always producing eggs, from which the young are afterwards excluded. The first appearance of the young, as an organized body, begins to be visible in six hours after the egg has been placed in a proper degree of heat, under the parent animal. The chick, or young bird, when arrived at its full size, and ready for hatching, is, by nature, provided with a small and hard protuberance at the tip of the bill, by which it is enabled the more readily to break the shell, and which falls off some hours after its hatching.

Birds are divided by Linnæus into six orders :— accipitres, picæ, passeres, gallinæ, grallæ, and an


ORDER I. ACCIPITRES, are birds of prey, and feed entirely on animal food. The bill is more or less curved, strong, and often covered round the base by a naked membrane, called a cere; and on each side, towards the tip, is a projection, forming a kind of tooth, and serving to tear the prey. The wings are large and strong, and the whole body stout and muscular; the legs strong and short, the claws much curved, and sharp-pointed. The accipitres are generally remarkable for building a negligent or slightlyformed nest in lofty situations, and laying from two to four eggs. The female in this order is always larger than the male; and the whole tribe, in the language of Linnæus, may be considered as analogous to the order fere among quadrupeds. They are naturally warlike and destructive; and when tamed, a few of them claim importance from their subserviency to our pleasures in the field; a subserviency which

laid a foundation for the now neglected art of falconry. But they are otherwise of no immediate utility to man. The genera are: 1. Vultur, vultures. 2. Falco, falcon, eagle, hawk *, kite. 3. Strix, owl. 4. Lanius, shrike or butcher-bird ↑.

The tawny eagle seats his callow brood

High on the cliff, and feasts his young with blood.
On Snowdon's rocks, or Orkney's wide domain,
Whose beetling cliffs o'erhang the western main,
The royal bird bis lonely kingdom forms
Amid the gathering clouds and sullen storms:
Through the wide waste of air he darts his sight,
And holds his sounding pinions poised for flight;
With cruel eye premeditates the war,
And marks his destined victim from afar:
Descending in a whirlwind to the ground,
His pinions like the rush of waters sound;
The fairest of the fold he bears away,
And to his nest compels the struggling prey.


From yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, who, wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Molest her antient solitary reign.


ORDER II. PICE or PIES. The bill is commonly of a slightly compressed and convex form, and they build their nests, or deposit their eggs, in trees. The pies comprehend a numerous assemblage, and are so

* As in the mountains, fleetest fowl of air,
The hawk darts eager at the dove; she scuds
Aslant; he, screaming, springs and springs again
To seize her, all impatient for the prey:
So fell Achilles constant to the track
Of Hector.


+ This small bird is so courageous, that he will attack, combat, and kill much larger birds than himself; and, to manage his tearing them with more ease, he hangs them at a thorn, as a butcher does his beasts at a hook, and dilaniates them at pleasure; from which circumstance the French call him the lanier, from the Latin lanius, ' a butcher.'

various in their form and habits, that hardly any characters, however general, will apply to them all. They live upon fruits, grains, insects, and flesh. As an article of food, they are generally reckoned impure : their feathers are of little use for any of the purposes of human life. Though they are fond of the vicinity of man, they are the least profitable of his servants; for they live upon the fruits of his industry, while their death makes no compensation for the mischiefs they have committed. They are noisy, restless, and loquacious; some of them possess the faculty of imitating the human voice; and instructing them in the art of speaking, constitutes frequently the amusement of the idle.

Though useless or hurtful to man, birds of this order are, by their remarkable ingenuity, and active habits, well fitted for society.

Both male and female unite their labours in building their nests; and, in general, both are employed alternately in the duty of incubation. When the young are produced, they are abundantly supplied by the joint labours of both parents. They are peculiarly distinguished for establishing a kind of government for the general safety of the society. One bird watches for the whole flock, while it is feeding; and among the crows, there has been observed a sort of distributive justice, by which every individual is punished for his offences against the laws of the society.

As they in general live by pilfering from the property of man, all the tribes are marked by a look of archness and cunning; they are able to elude more successfully than other birds all the efforts of man to destroy them; efforts, which, from their frequent pillages, he is continually obliged to practise. In the jackdaw the habit of thieving seems to be instinctive; for, even in his domestic state, when placed above the reach of necessity, he carries off to his nest every toy or glittering substance which he can find. A whole family has been alarmed at the loss of a ring; every

servant has been accused; and all in the house, conscious of their own innocence, have been suspecting each other, when, to their surprise, the abstracted goods have been found in the nest of a tame magpie or jackdaw, which, though alone guilty, had alone escaped suspicion.

The genera of the order PICE are: 1. Buceros, rhinoceros-bird. 2. Ramphastos, toucan. 3. Psittacus, parrot-kind. 4. Picus, wood-pecker. 5. Paradisea, birds of paradise. 6. Alcedo, king-fisher. 7. Cuculus, cuckoo. 8. Trochilus, humming-bird. 9. Corvus, crow, raven, jackdaw, magpie, jay. 10. Coracias, roller.

It would be difficult to produce a more pathetic incident from the records of animal life, or one described with a happier selection of circumstances, than that of the halcyon (the king-fisher of the antients) being deprived of her young, as told by Valerius Flaccus.

As when from shelter of an arching rock,
Sea-beat, the flood bears off a halcyon's nest
With all her unfledged brood; the wretched dam
Hovering above, plains to the swelling waves,
Resolved to follow wheresoe'er they waft

The precious freight: and dares and fears by turns;
Till, battered by the tide, the fragile house
Sinks in the whelming flood: a piercing cry
Attests her grief: she soars, and quits the scene.

Of all animated beings, the humming-bird is the most elegant in form and superb in colours. The precious stones, polished by art, cannot be compared to this jewel of nature. Her miniature productions are ever the most wonderful; she has placed in it the order of birds, at the bottom of the scale of magnitude; but all the talents that are only shared amongst the others, she has bestowed profusely on this little favourite. The emerald, the ruby, and the topaz, sparkle in its plumage, which is never soiled by the dust of the ground. It is inconceivable how much these brilliant birds add to the high finish and beauty of the western landscape. No sooner is the sun


risen, than numerous kinds are seen fluttering abroad: their wings are so rapid in motion, that it is impossible to discern their colours, except by their glittering; they are never still, but continually visiting flower after flower, and extracting the honey. For this purpose they are furnished with a forked tongue, which enters the cup of the flower, and enables them to sip the nectared tribute; upon this alone they subsist. In their flight they make a buzzing noise, not unlike a spinning-wheel; whence they have their name.

The ourissia, bee-like in its size,

Humming from flow'r to flow'r delighted flies,
And in a wondrous living rainbow drest,
Shifts all its colours on its wings and breast.


The nests of these birds are not less curious than their form they are suspended in the air at the extremity of an orange branch, a pomegranate, or a citron tree, and sometimes even to a straw pendent from a hut, if they find one convenient for the purpose. The female is the architect, while the male goes in quest of materials, such as fine cotton, moss, and the fibres of vegetables. The nest is about the size of half a walnut. They lay two eggs at a time, and never more, in appearance like small peas, as white as snow, with here and there a yellow speck. The time of incubation continues twelve days, at the end of which the young ones appear, being then not larger than a blue-bottle fly. I could never perceive (says Father Dutertre) how the mother fed them, except that she presented the tongue covered entirely with honey extracted from flowers.' Those who have tried to feed them with syrups could not keep them alive more than a few weeks; these aliments, though of easy digestion, are very different from the delicate nectar collected from the fresh blossoms. It has been alleged by various naturalists, that during the winter season they remain torpid, suspended by the bill from the bark of a tree, and are


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