Sketches of birds in short enigmatical verses

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Harvey and Darton, 1832
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Page 58 - Pigeons began to move off in a direction quite different from that in which they had arrived the evening before, and at sunrise all that were able to fly had disappeared. The...
Page 101 - This bird is most punctual in beginning its song exactly at the close of day; so exactly that I have known it strike up more than once or twice just at the report of the Portsmouth evening gun, which we can hear when the weather is still.
Page 159 - ... and twenty others, succeed with such imposing reality, that we look round for the originals, and discover, with astonishment, that the sole performer in this singular concert is the admirable bird now before us.
Page 57 - The birds continued to pour in, the fires were lighted, and a magnificent as well as wonderful and almost terrifying sight presented itself. The pigeons, arriving by thousands, alighted everywhere, one above another, until solid masses, as large as hogsheads, were formed on the branches all round. Here and there the perches gave way under the weight with a crash, and falling to the ground, destroyed hundreds of the birds beneath, forcing down the dense groups with which every stiek was loaded.
Page 90 - ... at the same time, as is often the case in the pairing season, and at no great distance from each other, the noise, mingling with the echoes from the mountains, is really surprising. Strangers, in parts of the country where these birds are numerous, find it almost impossible for some time to sleep ; while to those long acquainted with them, the sound often serves as a lullaby to assist their repose.
Page 78 - ... to elude the grasp of his cruel talons. It mounts, doubles, and willingly would plunge into the stream, were it not prevented by the Eagle, which, long possessed of the knowledge that by such a stratagem the swan might escape him, forces it to remain in the air by attempting to strike it with his talons from beneath.
Page 52 - I had ever seen them before, and feeling an inclination to count the flocks that might pass within the reach of my eye in one hour, I dismounted, seated myself on an eminence, and began to mark with my pencil, making a dot for every flock that passed. In a short time finding the task...
Page 42 - About the middle of May, if the weather be fine, the martin begins to think in earnest of providing a mansion for its family. The crust or shell of this nest seems to be formed of such dirt or loam as comes most readily to hand, and is tempered and wrought together with little bits of broken straws to render it tough and tenacious. As this bird often builds against a perpendicular wall without any projecting ledge under...
Page 92 - There are," says the same writer in another place, "few persons who have crossed the Atlantic that have not observed these solitary wanderers of the deep, skimming along the surface of the wild and wasteful ocean ; flitting past the vessel like swallows, or following in her wake, gleaning their scanty pittance of food from the rough and whirling surges. Habited in mourning, and making their appearance generally in greater numbers previous to or during a storm, they have long been fearfully regarded...
Page 44 - They are often capricious in fixing on a nesting-place, beginning many edifices and leaving them unfinished ; but, when once a nest is completed in a sheltered place, it serves for several seasons. Those which breed in a ready-finished house get the start, in hatching, of those that build new, by ten days or a fortnight. These industrious artificers are at their labors in the long days before four in the morning : when they fix their materials they plaster them on •with their chins, moving their...

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