An Introduction to the Birds of Australia

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author, 1848 - Australia - 134 pages

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Page 114 - There was a stream of from fifty to eighty yards in depth, and of three hundred yards or more in breadth ; the birds were not scattered, but were flying as compactly as a free movement of their wings seemed to allow ; and during a full hour and a half this stream of Petrels continued to pass without interruption, at a rate little inferior to the swiftness of the Pigeon. On the lowest computation I think the number could not have been less than a hundred millions.
Page 13 - They were built upon the ground, from which they rose above two feet, and were of vast circumference and great interior capacity ; the branches of trees and other matter of which each nest was composed, being enough to fill a cart.
Page 9 - The river gradually filled up the channel nearly bank high, while the living cataract travelled onward, much slower than I had expected to see it ; so slowly, indeed, that more than an hour after its first arrival the sweet music of the head of the flood was distinctly audible from my tent, as the murmur of waters and the diapason crash of logs travelled slowly through the tortuous windings of the river bed.
Page 114 - Taking; the stream to have been fifty yards deep by three hundred in width, and that it moved at the rate of thirty miles an hour, and allowing nine cubic yards of space to each bird, the number would amount to 151,500,000. The burrows required to lodge this quantity of birds would be 75,750,000 ; and allowing a square yard to each burrow, they would cover something more than 18^ geographic square miles of ground.
Page 5 - Stringy-bark trees, taking their circumference at about 5 feet from the ground. One of these, which was rather hollow at the bottom, and broken at the top, was 49 feet round ; another that was solid, and supposed to be 200 feet high, was 41 feet round ; and a third, supposed to be 250 feet high, was 55 ^ feet round. As this tree spread much at the base, it would be nearly 70 feet in circumference at the surface of the ground. My companions spoke to each other, when at the opposite side of this tree...
Page 9 - ... so suddenly, that they narrowly escaped it. Still the bed of the Macquarie before our camp continued so dry and silent, that I could scarcely believe the flood coming to be real, and so near to us, who had been put to so many shifts for want of water. Towards evening, I stationed a man with a gun a little way up the river, with orders to fire on the flood's appearance, that I might have time to run to the part of the channel nearest to our camp, and witness what I had so much wished to see, as...
Page 5 - ... feet at the base ! My companions spoke to one another and called to me when on the opposite side of the tree, and their voices sounded so distant that I concluded they had inadvertently quitted me in search of some other object: I accordingly called to them, and they in answer remarked the distant sound of my voice, and inquired if I possibly were behind the tree.
Page 10 - Parrakeet (Mclupsittacus undulatus), which prior to 1838 was so rare in the southern parts of Australia that only a single example had been sent to Europe, arrived in that year in such countless multitudes on the Liverpool Plains, that I could have procured any number of specimens, and more than once their delicate bodies formed an excellent article of food for myself and party.
Page 9 - It rushed into our sight, glittering in the moonbeams, a moving cataract, tossing before it ancient trees, and snapping them against its banks. It was preceded by a point of meandering water, picking its way, like a thing of life, through the deepest parts of the dark, dry, and shady bed, of what thus again became a flowing river. By my party, situated as we were at that time, beating about the country, and impeded in our journey, solely by the almost total absence of water, suffering excessively...
Page 80 - ... in succession are placed in the interstices, but always in the same plane, so at last there is a circle of eight eggs, all standing upright in the sand, with several inches of sand intervening between each. The male bird assists the female in opening and covering up the mound, and provided the birds are not themselves disturbed, the female continues to lay in the same mound, even after it has been several times robbed. The natives say that the hen bird lays an egg every day.

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