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and persecute those rapacious birds, till they “ Returning home (says Sir Charles) in have entirely driven them away.
“ the spring of the year, as I came into Swifts delight in fultry thundry weather, “ founding in our channel, a great flock of and seem thence to receive fresh spirits. “ swallows came and settled on all my rig. They fly in those times in small parties ging, every rope was covered; they hung with particular violence; and as they pass on one another like a swarm of bees; the near steeples, towers, or any edifices where “ decks and carving were filled with them. their mates perform the office of incuba They seemed almost familhed and spent, tion, emit a loud scream, a sort of serenade, “ and were only feathers and bones; but as Mr. White fupposes, to their respective being recruited with a night's reft, took females.
“ their flight in the morning.” This vait To the curious monographies on the fatigue, proves that their journey muil have swallow tribe, of that worthy correspondent, been very great, considering the amazing I must acknowledge myself indebted for swiftness of these birds, in all probability numbers of the remarks above-mentioned. they had crossed the Atlantic ocean, and
were returning from the shores of Senegal, $ 19. Of the Disappearance of Swallows.
or other parts of Africa; so that this ac There are three opinions among natu count froin that moít able and honcft fea. ralists concerning the manner the swallow man, confirms the later information of M. tribe dispose of themselves after their dif- Adanson. appearance from thecountries inwhich they' Mr. White, on Michaelmas-day 1768, make their summer residence. Herodotus had the good fortune to have ocular proof mentions one species that refide in Egypt of what may reasonably be supposed an acthe whole year: Prosper Alpinus afferts the tual migration of swallows. Travelling that fame; and Mr. Loten, late governor of morning very early between his houle and Ceylon, affured us, that those of Java never the coait, at the beginning of his journey pemove. These excepted, every other known he was environed with a thick fog, but en kind observe a periodical migration, or re- a large wild heath the mist began to break, treat. The swallows of the cold Norway, and discovered to him numberlets swallows, and of North America, of the distant Kamt- clustered on the itanding bushes, as if they fchatka, of the temperate parts of Europe, had roosted there : as foon as the fun burit of Aleppo, and of the hot Jamaica, ali out, they were inftantly on wing, and with agree in this one point.
an easy and placid flight proceeded towards In cold countries, a defect of insect food the sea. After this he saw no more flocks, on the approach of winter, is a futficient only now and then a straggler. reason for these birds to quit them; but This rendezvous of swallows about the since the same cause probably does not fub- same time of year is very common on the filt in the warm climates, récourse should willows, in the little illes in the Thames, be had to some other reason for their va- They seem to assemble for the same pure nishing:
pose as those in Han pshire, notwithstanding Of the three opinions, the first has the no one yei has been eye-witness of their utmost appearance of probability; which is, departure. On the 26th of September latt, that they remove nearer the fun, where they two gentlemen who happened to lie at Maican find a contiņuance of their natural diet, denhead bridge, furnished at least a proof and a temperature of air suiting their con of the multitudes there assembled: they ftitutions. That this is the case with some went by torch-light to an adjacent ifle, and fpecies of European swallows, has been in less than half an hour brought aihore proved beyond contradiction (as above fifty dozen; for they had nothing more to cited) by M. Adanson. We often observe do than to draw the willow twigs through them collected in flocks innumerable on their hands, the birds never stirring they churches, on rocks, and on trees, previous were taken. to their departure hence; and Mr. Collinson proves their return here in perhaps able instance of the distant fight of swallows; for
* In Kalm's Voyage to America, is a remarkequal numbers, by two curious relations of undoubted credit: the one communicated when he had palled only over (wo-thirds of the
one lighted on the hip he was in, September 2d, to himn by Mr. Wright, matter of a thip; Atlantic ocean. His pallage was uncommonly the other by the late Sir Charles Wager; in Sers than six weeks; and when this accident
quick, being performed from Deal to Philadelphia who both described (to the fame purpose) happened, he was fourteen days fail from Cape what happened to each in their voyages. Hinlopen.
The northern naturalists will perhaps place; this was between All Saints and fay, that this assembly met for the purpose Christmas. of plunging into their subaqueous winter These are doubtless the lurking-places quarters ; but was that the case, they would of the latter hatches, or of those young birds, never escape discovery in a river perpetu- who are incapable of distant migrations. ally fished as the Thames, some of them There they continue insensible and rigid; must inevitably be brought up in the nets but like flies, may sometimes be re-animatthat harass that water.
ed by an unseasonable hot day in the midst The second notion has great antiquity on of winter: for very near Christmas a few its fide. Aristotle and Pliny give, as their appeared on the moulding of a window of belief, that swallows do not remove very far Merton College, Oxford, in a remarkably from their summer habitation, but winter in warm nook, which prematurely set their the hollows of rocks, and during that time blood in inotion, having the same effect as lose their feathers. The former part of laying them before the fire at the same their opinion has been adopted by several time of year. Others have been known to ingenious men; and, of late, several proofs make this premature appearance; but as have been brought of some species, at least, soon as the cold natural to the season rehaving been discovered in a torpid state. turns, they withdraw again to their former Mr. Collinson favoured us with the evidence retreats. of three gentlemen, eye witnesses to num
I thall conclude with one argument bers of land marrins being drawn out of a drawn from the very late hatches of two cliff on the Rhine, in the month of March Species. 1762. And the honourable Daines Bar On the twenty-third of October 1767, a rington communicated to us the following martin was seen in Southwark, Aying in fact, on the authority of the late Lord Bel- and out of its neft : and, on the twentyhaven, that numbers of swallows have been ninth of the same month, four or five swalfound in old dry walls, and in sandhills near lows were observed hovering round and his lord hip’s seat in East Lothian; not once settling on the county hospital at Oxford. only, but from year to year; and that when As these birds must have been of a late they were exposed to the warmth of a fire, hatch, it is highly improbable that at solate they revived. We have also heard of the a season of the year they would attempt, same annual discoveries near Morpeth in from one of our midland counties, a voyage Northumberland, but cannot speak of them almost as far as the equator to Senegal or with the same assurance as the two former: Goree: we are therefore confirmed in our neither in the two last instances are we notion, that there is only a partial migracertain of the particular species.
tion of these birds; and that the feeble late Other witnesses crowd on us, to prove hatches conceal themselves in this counthe residence of those birds in a torpid try. ftate during the severe season.
The above are circumstances we cannot First, In the chalky cliffs of Suffex; as but affent to, though seemingly contrawas seen on the fall of a great fragment dictory to the common course of nature in some years ago.
regard to other birds. We must, therefore, Secondly, In a decayed hollow tree that divide our belief relating to these two so was cut down near Dolgelli, in Merioneth- different opinions, and conclude, that one Thire.
part of the swallow tribe migrate, and that Thirdly, in a cliff near Whitby, York. Others have their winter quarters near shire; where, on digging out a fox, whole home. If it should be deinanded, why bushels of swallows were found in a torpid swallows alone are found in a torpid ftate, condition. And,
and not the other many species of soft bilLastly, The Reverend Mr. Conway, of led birds, which likewise disappear about Sychton, Flintshire, was so obliging as to the same time? The following reason may communicate the following fač: A few be assigned : years ago, on looking down an old lead. No birds are so much on the wing as mine in that county, he observed numbers swallows, none Aly with such swiftness and of swallows clinging to the timbers of the rapidity, none are obliged to such sudden shaft, seemingly asleep; and on flinging and various evolutions in their fight, none some gravel on them, they just moved, but are at such pains to take their prey, and we never attempted to fy or change their may add, none exert their voice more in
cessantly; all these occasion a vast expence son to account for these birds being able ta of strength, and of spirits, and may give endure so long a submersion without being such a texture to the blood, that other ani. fuffocated, or without decaying, in an elemals cannot experience; and so dispose, or ment so unnatural to so delicate a bird; we may fay, necessitate, this tribe of birds, when we know that the otter, the corvoor part of them, at lealt, to a repose more rant, and the grebes, foon perish, if caught lasting thin that of any others.
under ice, or entangled in nets: and it is The third notion is, even at first sight, well known, that those animals will contitoo amazing and unnatural to merit men nue much longer under water than any tion, if it was not that some of the learned other, to whom nature hath denied that have been credulous enough to deliver, for particular firucture of heart, necessary for fact, what has the strongest appearance of a long residence beneath that element. impoflibility; we mean, the relation of fwallows palling the winter immersed under ice, at the bottom of lakes, or lodged beneath the water of the sea at the foot of
$ 20. Of the SMALL BIRDS OF FLIGHT. socks. The first who broached this opi In the suburbs of London (and partinion, was Olaus Magnus, Archbihop of cularly about Shoreditch) are several weaUpsal, who very gravely informs us, that vers and other tradesmen, who, during the these birds are often found in clustered months of October and March, get their maffes, at the bottom of the northern lakes, livelihood by an ingenious, and we may mouth to mouth, wing to wing, foot to say, a scientific method of bird-catching, fcot; and that they creep down the reeds which is totally unknown in other parts of in autumn to their subaqueous retreats. Great Britain. That when old fishermen discover such a The reason of this trade being confined mass, they throw it into the water again; to so small a compass, arises from there be. but when young inexperienced ones take it, ing no considerable sale for singing-birda they will,' by thawing the birds at a fire, except in the metropolis: as the apparatus bring them indeed to the use of their wings, for this purpose is allo heavy, and at the which will continue but a very short time, fame time must be carried on a man's back, þeing owing to a premature and forced it prevents the bird-catchers going to above revival.
three or four miles distance. That the good Archbishop did not want This method of bird-catching must have credulity, in other instances, appears from been long practised, as it is brought to a this, that after having stocked the bottoms moft systematical perfection, and is attendof the lakes with birds, he stores the clouds ed with a very considerable expence. with mice, which sometimes fall in plenti The nets are a moft ingenious piece of ful showers on Norway and the neighbour- mechanism, are generally twelve yards and ing countries.
a half long, and two yards and a half wide; Some of our own countrymen have given and no one on bare inspection would ima. credit to the fubmersion of swallows; and gine that a bird (who is so very quick in Klein patronises the doctrine strongly, giv- all its motions) could be catched by the ing the following history of their manner
nets Happing over each other, till he be. of retiring, which he received from some countrymen and others. They afferted, * Though entirely satisfied in our own mind of that sometimes the swallows allembled in the impofiibility of these relations; yet, defrous numbers on a reed, till it broke and sunk of strengthening our opinion with some better with them to the bottom; and their immer authority, we applied to that able anatomiit, Mr.
John Hunter; who was sa obliging to inforn us, fion was preluded by a dirge of a quarter that he had diffected many swallows, but found of an hour's length. That others would nothing in thiem different from other birds as to onite in laying hold of a straw with their the organs of respiration. That all those animais bills, and so plunge down in society. Others
which he had directed of the class that deep duagain would form a large mass, by clinging different conformation as to those argans. That
ring winter, such as lizards, frogs, &c. bad a very together with their feet, and so commiç all these animals
, he believes, do breathe in their themselves to the deep,
torpid fate; and as far as his experience reaches, Such are the relations given by those that be knows they do; and that therefore he efteems are fond of this opinion, and though deli- it a very wild opinion, that terrestrial animais vered without exaggeration, must provoke
can remain any long time under water without
drowning smile. They align not the smallest rea
comes eye-witness of the pullers seldom a yellow hammer, titlark, and aberdavine, failing *
and perhaps a bullfinch; these are placed The wild birds fly (as the bird-catchers at small distances from the nets in little term it) chiefly during the month of Oc- cages. He hath, besides, what are call, tober, and part of September and Novem- ed Alur-birds, which are placed within the ber; as the fight in March is much less nets, are raised upon the flur, and gentconsiderable than that of Michaelmas. It ly let down at the time the wild bird apis to be noted also, that the several species proaches them. These generally consist of birds of fright do not make their ap- of the linnet, the goldfinch, and the green, pearance precisely at the same time, dure finch, which are secured to the flur by what ing the months of September, October, and is called a bracet; a contrivance that seNovember. The Pippet t, for example, cures the birds without doing any injury begins to Ay about Michaelmas, and then to their plumage, the Woodlark, Linnet, Goldfinch, Chaf. It having been found that there is a su. finch, Greenfinch, and other birds of flight periority between bird and bird, from the succeed; all of which are not easily to be one being more in song than the other; the caught, or in any numbers, at any other bird.catchers contrive that their call-birds time, and more particularly the Pippet and should moult before the usual time. They the Woodlark.
therefore, in June or July, put them into ą These birds, during the Michaelmas and close box, under two or three folds of blanMarch flights, are chiefly on the wing from kets, and leave their dung in the cage to day break to noon, though there is after- raise a greater heat; in which state they wards a small fight from two till night; continue, being perhaps examined but once but this however is so inconsiderable, that a week to have fresh waier. As for food, the bird-catchers always take up their nets the air is so putrid, that they eat little durat noon.
ing the whole state of confinement, which I
may well deserve the attention of the lasts about a month. The birds frequently naturalit whence these periodical fights of die under the operation t; and hence the certain birds can arise. As the ground value of a stopped bird rises greatly. however is ploughed during the months of When the bird hath thus prematurely Oktober and March for fowing the winter moulted, he is in song, whilst the wild birds and lent corn, it should seem that they are are out of song, and his note is louder and thus fupplied with a great profusion both more piercing than that of a wild one; but of seeds and insects, which they cannot so it is not only in his note he receives an aleasily procure at any other season. teration, the plumage is equally improved,
It may not be improper to mention an The black and yellow in the wings of the other circumstance, to be observed during goldfinch, for example, become deeper and their fitting, viz. that they fly always more vivid, together with a most beautiful against the wind; hence, there is great gloss, which is not to be seen in the wild contention amongst the bird-catchers who bird. The bill, which in the latter is likefall gain that point; if (for example) it is wife black at the end, in the stopped bird westerly, the bird catcher who lays his nets becomes white and more taper, as do its most to the east, is sure almost of catching legs: in short, there is as much difference every thing, provided his call-birds are between a wild and a stopped bird, as there good : a gentle wind to the south-west ge- is between a horse which is kept in body nerally produces the best sport.
clothes, or at grass. The bird-catcher who is a substantial When the bird catcher hath laid his man, and hath a proper apparatus for this purpofe, generally carries with him five or A moveable perch to which the bird is tied, fix linnets (of which more are caught than
and which the bird-catcher can raise at pleasure, any singing bird) two goldfinches, two
by means of a long string fastened to it.
+ A fort of bandage, formed of a Nender filken greenfinches, one woodlark, one redpoll, ftring that is faftened round the bird's body, and
under the wings, in so artful a manner as to binder These nets are known in most parts of Eng, the bird from being hurt, let it flutter ever la land by the name of day-nets or clap-nets ; but all much in the raising. we have seen are far inferior in their mechanism 1 We have been lately informed by an expeto those used near London.
rienced bird-catcher, that he pursues a cooler re† A small species of Lark, but which is infe- gimen in stopping his birds, and that he therefore rior to other birds of that genus in point of feldom loses one ; but we suspect that there is song.
not the fame certainty of making them moult.
nets, he disposes of his call-birds at proper near each other, and in sight, feldom jerk intervals. It must be owned, that there is or sing. They either fight, or use short a most malicious joy in these call-birds to and wheedling calls; the jerking of these bring the wild ones into the same itate of call-birds, therefore, face to face, is a most captivity; which may likewise be observed extraordinary initance of contention for fawith regard to the decoy ducks.
periority in song: Their fight and hearing infinitely excels It may be allo worthy of observation, that of the bird-catcher. The initart that that the female of no fpecies of birds ever the * wild birds are perceived, notice is fings: with birds, it is the reverse of what given by one to the rest of the call-birds occurs in human kind : among the fea. (as it is by the first hound that hits on the thered tribe, all the cares of life fall to the scent to the rest of the pack) after which lot of the tender sex: theirs is the fatigue follows the fame sort of tumultuous ecstacy of incubation; and the principal share in and joy. The call.birds, while the bird is nursing the helpless brood : io alleviate at a distance, do not fing as a bird does in a thele fatigues, and to support her under chamber; they invite the wild ones by what them, nature hath given to the male the the bird-catchers call short jerks, which long, with all the little blandithments and when the birds are good, may be heard at soothing arts; these he fondly exerts (even a great distance. The ascendancy by this after courtihip) on some spray contiguous call or invitation is so great, that the wild to the nell, during the time his mate is bird is flopped in its course of flight, and if performing her parental duties. But that not already acquainted with the nets t, the should be filent, is also another wife lights bo!jly within twenty yards of per. provision of nature, for her song would haps three or four bird-catchers, on a spot discover her neft; as would a gaudinefs of which otherwise it would not have taken plumage, which, for the iame reason seems the least notice of. Nay, it frequently hap- to have been denied her. pens, that if half a flock only are cauglit, To these we may add a few particulars the remaining half will immediately after that fell within our notice during our enwards light in the nets, and share the same quiries among the bird-catchers, such as, fate; and should only one bird escape, that they immediately kill the hens of every that bird will suffer itself to be pulled at species of birds they take, being incapable till it is caughi; such a fascinating power of finging, as also being inferior in plahave the call-birds.
mage; the pippets likewise are indiscrimiWhile we are on this subject of the jerk- nately dettroyed, as the cock does not fing ing of birds, we cannot omit mentioning, well : they fell the dead birds for threethat the bird-catchers frequently lay con pence or four-pence a dozen. fiderable wagers whoíe call-bird can jerk These fmall birds are to good, that we the longest, as that determines the fupe- are surprised the luxury of the age neglects riority. They place them oppofite to each so delicate an acquisition to the table. I he other, by an inch of candle, and the bird modern Italians are fond of small birds, who jerks the ofteneít, before the candle is which they eat under the common name of burnt out, wins the wager. We have been Beccaficos: and the dear rate a Roman informed, that there have been initances of tragedian paid for one dish of singing birds. a bird's giving a hundred and feventy jerks is well known. in a quarter of an hour; and we have Another particular we learned, in conknown a linnet, in such a trial, persevere in versation with a London bird-catcher, was its emulation till it swooned from the perch the vast price that is sometimes given for thus, as Pliny says of the nightingale, victa a single fongbird, which had not learned morte finit fæpe vitam, spiritu prius deficiente to whistle inng. The greatest sum we quàm cant!. Lib. x. c. 29.
heard of, was five guineas for a chaffinch, It may
be here obierved, that birds when that had a particular and uncommon note, It may be also observed, that the moment Maximè tamen insignis eft in bac memoria, Clodii they see a hawk, they communicate the alarm to Æsopi oragici biftrionis parina fexcentis H. S. iaxata ; each other by a plaintive note; nor will they then in quo pofuit au's cantu alique, aut bumano sermone, usjerk or call though the wild birds are near.
cales. Plin. lib. x.c. 51. The price of tbis er+ A bird, acquainted with the nets, is by the penfive dish was about 68431. 1os. according to bird.ca chers termed a sharper, which they en Arbuthnot's Tables. This seems to have been a deavour to drive away, as they can have no sport wanton caprice, sather than a tribute to epicu. whill it continues near them.