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though Mr. White thinks it poorly qualified for migration, on account of the wings being short, and not placed in the exact centre of gravity : how that may be I cannot say, but I know that its heavy sluggish flight is not owing to its inability of flying faster, for I have seen it fly very swiftly; although in general its actions are sluggish. Its unwillingness to rise proceeds, I imagine, from its sluggish disposition, and its great timidity; for it will sometimes squat so close to the ground as to suffer itself to be taken up by the hand, rather than rise; and yet it will at times run very fast.
What Mr. White remarks respecting the small shell-snails found in its gizzard, confirms my opinion, that it frequents corn fields, seed clover, and brakes or fern, more for the sake of snails, slugs, and other insects which abound in such places, than for the grain or seeds; and that it is entirely an insectivorous bird.*
FOOD FOR THE RING-DOVE.—One of my neighbours shot a ring-dove on an evening as it was returning from feed and going to roost. When his wife had picked and drawn it, she found its craw stuffed with the most nice and tender tops of turnips. These she washed and boiled, and so sat down to a choice and delicate plate of greens, culled and provided in this extraordinary manner.
Hence we may see that graminivorous birds, when grain fails, can subsist on the leaves of vegetables. There is reason to suppose that they would not long be healthy without; for turkeys, though corn-fed, delight in a variety of plants, such as cabbage, lettuce, endive, &c.; and poultry pick much
live for months together on commons by grazing alone. “ Nought is useless made :
On the barren heath
WHITE. near the sea a large congregation of these birds. The next day not one was to be found. -Ed.
* There is no doubt of its feeding much on grass seeds, which the length
That many graminivorous birds feed also on the herbage, or leaves of plants, there can be no doubt; partridges and larks frequently feed on the green leaves of turnips, which give a peculiar flavour to their flesh, that is to me, very palatable; the flavour also of wild ducks and geese greatly depends on the nature of their food; and their flesh frequently contracts a rank unpleasant taste, from their having lately fed on strong marshy aquatic plants, as I suppose.
That the leaves of vegetables are wholesome, and conducive to the health of birds, seems probable, for many people fat their ducks and turkeys with the leaves of lettuce chopped small.
MARKWICK. HEN-HARRIER.-A neighbouring gentleman sprung a pheasant in a wheat stubble, and shot at it; when, notwithstanding the report of the gun, it was immediately pursued by the blue hawk, known by the name of the hen-harrier, but escaped into some covert. He then sprung a second, and a third, in the same field, that got away in the same manner; the hawk hovering round him all the while that he was beating the field, conscious, no doubt, of the game that lurked in the stubble. Hence we may conclude that this bird of prey was rendered very daring and bold by hunger, and that hawks cannot always seize their game
when they please. We may farther observe, that they cannot pounce their quarry on the ground, where it might be able to make a stout resistance, since so large a fowl as a pheasant could not but be visible to the piercing eye of a hawk, when hovering over the field. Hence that propensity of cowering and squatting, till they are almost trod on, which, no doubt, was intended as a mode of security: though long rendered destructive to the whole race of gallinæ by the invention of nets and
Of the great boldness and rapacity of birds of prey, when urged on by hunger, I have seen several instances; par
of its legs and neck enable it to reach from the tops of the stalks.' When confined, the seeds should therefore be placed above them, and not strewed on the ground Mr. Herbert says that he does not believe the land-rail will touch a slug, and it may be doubted whether or not they ever take their food from the ground.- Ev.