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Quadr. is an innocuous and sweet animal ; but, when pressed hard by dogs and men, it can eject such a most pesti.ent and fetid smell and excrement, that nothing can be more hurrible. *

A gentleman sent me lately a fine specimen of the lanius minor cinerascens cum maculâ in scapulis albâ, Raii ; Ray's lesser butcher-bird, ash-coloured, with a white spot at the insertion of the wings; which is a bird that, at the time of your publishing your two first volumes of British Zoology, I find you had not seen. You have described it well from Edwards's drawing.



SELBORNE, Nov. 2, 1769. DEAR SIR,—When I did myself the honour to write to you, about the end of last June, on the subject of natural history, I sent you a list of the summer birds of

passage which I have observed in this neighbourhood, and also a list of the winter birds of passage; I mentioned, besides, those soft-billed birds that stay with us the winter through in the south of England, and those that are remarkable for singing in the night.

According to my proposal, I shall now proceed to such birds (singing birds, strictly so called) as continue in full song till after midsummer, and shall range them somewhat in the order in which they first begin to open as the spring advances.


1. Woodlark,

Alauda arborea.

In January, and continues

to sing through all the summer and autumn.

* It was formerly very much the custom with the young gentlemen of Eton College (and may be so still) to keep snakes which they trained and often carried about with them. They would eat bread and milk, and were perfectly sweet, except when irritated, and then they stunk, as Mr. Wl ito remarks, Se defendendo.-Ed.

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In February, and on to

August; re-assume their

song in autumn. All the year, hard frost ex

cepted. Ditto. Early in February, to July

the 10th. Early in February, and

through July to
August the 21st.
In February, and on to

From April to September.
S Beginning of April to

July the 13th.
From middle of April to

July the 16th.
"Sometimes in February

and March, and so on to July the 23d; re-assumes

in autumn. In April, and on to July

the 23rd. April, and through to Sep

tember the 16th. On to July and August

the 2nd.
May, on to beginning of

Breeds and whistles on till

August; re-assumes its
note when they begin to
congregate in October,
and again early before the
flocks separate.

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Birds that cease to be in full song, and are usually silent at or before midsummer:

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Birds that sing for a short time, and very early in tlie spring :

January the 2nd, 1770, in

February. Is called in

Hampshire and Sussex tho 21 Missel-bird, Turdus viscivorus.

storm-cock, because its song is supposed to fore. bode windy wet weather; is the largest singing bird

we have. 22. Great titmouse, or

In February, March, April ;

re-assumes for a short ox-eye,

time in September.

} Pringillago.

} Regulus cristatus.

Birds that have somewhat of a note or song, and yet are hardly to be called singing birds :

Its note as minute as its 23. Golden - crowned

person; frequents the wren,

tops of high oaks and firs;

the smallest British bird. 24. Marsh titmouse, Parus paustris.

Haunts great woods; two

harsh sharp notes.

Sings in March and on to tus.


Cantat voce stridula lo26. Largest ditto, Ditto.

custæ ; from end of April

to August. minima

Chirps all night, from the

middle of April to the voce locusta.

end of July. 28. Martin,

Hirundo agrestis.

All the breeding time ; from

May to September. 29. Bullfinch,


From the end of January 30. Bunting, Emberiza alba.

to July.

27. Grasshopper-lark, } Alameda

All singing birds, and those that have any pretensions to song, not only in Britain, but perhaps the world through, come under the Linnæan ordo of passeres.

The above-mentioned birds, as they stand numerically, belong to the following Linnæan genera :1, 7, 10, 27, Alauda. 8, 28,

Hirundo. 2, 11, 21, Turdus. 13, 16, 19,

Fringilla. 3, 4, 5, 9, 12, 15, li, 18, 20, 23, Motacilla. 22, 24,

Parus. 25, 26, 6, 30, Emberiza. 14, 29,


Birds that sing as they fly are but few :


s Rising, suspended, Skylark, Alauda vulgaris.


In its descent; also sitting Titlark, Alauda pratorum. on trees, and walking on

the ground. Woodlark,

Alauda arborea.

Suspended; in hot summer

nights all night long.

Sometimes from bush to Blackbird, Merula.


Uses, when singing on the Whitethroat, Picedulce affinis. wing, odd jerks and gese

ticulations. Swallow,

Hirundo domestica. In soft sunny weather.

Sometimes from bush to Wren,


Passer troglodytes. {

Birds that breed most early in these parts :Raven,


Hatches in February and

March. Song-thrush,


In March. Blackbird,


In March. Rook,

Cornix frugilega.

Builds the beginning of

March. Woodlark,

Alauda arborea. Hatches in April.

Palumbus torqua- s Ringdove,

Lays the beginning of April. tus.


All birds that continue in full song till after midsummer, appear to me to breed more than once.

Most kinds of birds seem to me to be wild and shy, somewhat in proportion to their bulk : I mean in this island, where they are much pursued and annoyed; but in Ascension Island, and many other desolate places, mariners have found fowls so unacquainted with a human figure, that they would stand still to be taken, as is the case with boobies, &c. As an example of what is advanced, I remark that the golden-crested wren, (the smallest British bird,) will stand unconcerned till you come within three or four yards of it, while the bustard (otis,) the largest British land fowl, does not care to admit a person within so many furlongs.


SELBORNE, Dec. 8, 1769. DEAR SIR, I was much gratified by your communicative letter on your return from Scotland, where you spent, I find, some considerable time, and gave yourself good room to examine the natural curiosities of that extensive kingdom, both those of the islands, as well as those of the Highlands. The usual bane of such expeditions is hurry; because men seldom allot themselves half the time they should do; but, fixing on a day for their return, post from place to place, rather as if they were on a journey that required dispatch, than as philosophers investigating the works of nature. You must have made, no doubt, many discoveries, and laid up a good fund of materials for a future edition of the British Zoology, and will have no reason to repent that you have bestowed so much pains on a part of Great Britain that perhaps was never so well examined before.

It has always been matter of wonder to me, that fieldfares which are so congenerous to thrushes and blackbirds, should never choose to breed in England: but that they should not think even the Highlands cold, and northerly, and sequestered enough, is a circumstance still more strange and wonderful. The ring-ousel, you find, stays in Scotland the whole

year round; so that we have reason to conclude that those migrators that visit us for a short space every autumn, do not come from thence.

And here, I think, will be the proper place to mention, that those birds were most punctual again in their migration this autumn, appearing, as before, about the 30th of September; but their flocks were larger than common, and their stay protracted somewhat beyond the usual time. If they came to spend the whole winter with us, as some of their congeners do, and then left us, as they do, in spring, I should not be so much struck with the occurrence, since it

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