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reduced to two general classes-the wild and the tame. Of the wild duck, the canvass-backed is peculiar to America ; where it is in higher estimation than any other, on account of the exquisite ilavor of its flesh. It abounds in the neighborhood of Chesapeake bay ; but is seldom seen north of Pennsylvania.
The Mallard is the most common of wild ducks, and is the original of our domestic duck. Wild ducks pair in the spring, build their nests among rushes near the water, and lay from ten to sixteen eggs. The female is a very artful bird, and does not always make the nest close to the water, but frequently at a good distance from it; in which case, she will carry the young to it in her beak, or between her legs. There are various means used to catch wild ducks and geese, of which one seems worth mentioning. The person wishing to take these, wades into the water up to the chin, and, having his head covered with a calabash, approaches the place where the ducks are: when they, not regarding an object of this sort, suffer the man freely to mix with the fock ; after this, he has only to pull them by the legs into the water, one after the other, till he is satisfied; returning as unsuspected by the remainder, as when he first came among them. This method is frequently put in practice on the river Ganges, using the earthen vessels of the Gentoos, instead of the calabashes; these vessels are what the Gentoos boil their rice in, and after being once used, they consider them defiled, and throw them into the river as useless. The ducks, seeing these vessels float down the stream, look upon them with disregard, and the duck-takers find them, on this account, convenient for their purpose.
The tame duck is the most easily reared of all our domestic animals; and in the neighborhood of a sufficiently sluggish and muddy stream will procure their living, and even grow fat without being fed. It is better, however, to confide them to the care of a hen, because the duck is a heedless and inattentive mother, and frequently leaves her eggs, until they spoil. After hatching her brood, she forth with leads them to a pond, shows them the water, and appears to think that she has performed every duty which is required of her.
À singular mode of fattening ducks obtains in France. In the autumn, when tolerably fat, they are shut up, eight by eight, in a dark place, and crammed with boiled corn. They are sometimes suffocated, but if they are soon bled, they are not the worse for it. They pass fifteen days in a state of oppression and suffocation, which makes their livers grow large. When the tail spreads out like fan, they are fat enough; they are then turned out to bathe, after which they are killed.
Two days after killing, they are opened below, and their wings and legs taken off, and the flesh covering the rump and stomach. The whole is put into a salting tub, with the neck and end of the rump, and left covered with salt for fifteen days, after which they are cut into four quarters, and put into the pot. They are first seasoned with cloves, and other spices put in them. Some leaves of Spanish laurel, and a little salt-petre having been put in the brine to give the meat a red color.
WILD PIGEON OF AMERICA. “ The wild pigeon of the United States," says Wilson in his Ornithology, "inhabits a wide and exten
sive region of North America, on this side of the Great Stony Mountains, beyond which, to the westward, I have not heard of one being
According to Mr. Hutchins, they abound in the country round Hudson's bay, where they usually remain as late as December, feeding, when the ground is covered with snow, on the buds of juniper. They are spread over the whole of Canada, were seen by Capt. Lewis and his party, near the great falls of the Missouri, upwards of 2500 miles from its mouth, reckoning the meanderings of the river, were also met with in the interior of Louisiana, by Col. Pike, and extend their range as far south as the Gulf of Mexico; occasionally visiting or breeding in almost every quarter of the United States.
“ But the most remarkable characteristic of these birds is their associating together, both in their migrations, and also during the period of incubation, in such prodigious numbers as almost to pass belief; a circumstance which has no parallel among any other of the feathered tribes on the face of the earth, with which naturalists are acquainted.
“These migrations appear to be undertaken, rather in quest of food than merely to avoid the cold of the climate. Vast inultitudes congregate in the western forests, particularly in the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. These extensive regions abound with the beach nut, which constitutes the chief food of the wild pigeon. During their stay they fix upon some spot in a forest as their roosting place. These roosting places sometimes occupy a large extent. When thoy have frequented one of these places for some time, the appearance it exhibits is surprising. The ground is covered to the depth of several inches with their excrement; all the tender grass and underwood is destroyed; the surface strewed with large limbs of trees broken off by the weight of the birds clustering one above another; and the trees themselves, for thousands of acres, killed as completely
, as if girdled with an axe. The marks of this desolation remain for many years on the spot; and numerous places could be pointed out, where, for several years after, scarce a single vegetable made its appearance.
66 When these roosts are first discovered, the inhabitants from considerable distances visit them in the night, with guns, clubs, long poles, pots of sulphur, and various other engines of destruction. In a few hours they fill many sacks and load their horses with them. By the Indians, a pigeon roost, or breeding place is considered an important source of national profit and dependence for that season; and all their active ingenuity is exercised on the occasion. The breeding place differs from the former in its greater extent. In the western countries above mentioned, these are generally in beech woods, and often extend in nearly a straight line, across the country for a great way. Not far from Shelbyville, in the state of Kentucky, about five years ago, there was one of these breeding places, which stretched through the woods in nearly a north and south direction ; was several miles in breadth, and was said to be upwards of forty miles in extent! In this tract almost every tree was furnished with nests wherever the branches could accommodate them. The pigeons made their first appearance there about the tenth of April, and left it altogether, with their young, before the twenty-fifth of May.
" To form a rough estimate,” continues Mr. Wilson, “ of the daily consumption of one of these immense flocks, let us first attempt to cal
WILD PIGEON.CARRIER PIGEON.
culate the numbers of that above mentioned, as seen in passing between Frankfort and the Indiana territory. If we suppose this column to have been one mile in breadth,--and I believe it to have been much more, and that it moved at the rate of one mile in a minute, four hours, the time it continued passing, would make its whole length two hundred and forty miles. “Again, supposing that each square yard of this moving body comprehended three pigeons, the square yards in the whole square multiplied by three, would give two thousand two hundred and thirty millions, two hundred, and seventy-two thousand pigeons ! an almost inconceivable multitude, and yet probably far below the actual amount. Computing each of these to consume half a pint of mast daily, the whole quantity, at this rate, would equal seventeen millions, four hundred and twenty-four thousand bushels per day. Heaven has wisely and graciously given to these birds rapidity of flight and a disposition to range over vast uncultivated tracts of the earth; otherwise they must have perished in the district where they resided, or devoured the whole productions of agriculture, as well as those of the forest.
“ Happening to go ashore one charming afternoon, to purchase some milk at a house that stood near the river, and while talking with the people within doors, I was suddenly struck with astonishment, by a loud rushing roar, succeeded by instant darkness, which, at the first moment, I took for a tornado, about to overwhelm the house, and every thing around in destruction. The people, observing my surprise, said coolly, it is only the pigeons,' and on running out, I beheld a flock, thirty or forty yards in width, sweeping along, very low, between the house and the mountain, or height that formed the second bank of the river. These continued passing for more than a quarter of an hour, and at length varied their bearing, so as to pass over the mountain, behind which they disappeared before the rear came up.”
CARRIER PIGEON. This is a name given to a variety of the tame pigeon, or house dove, from being sometimes employed to convey letters, or small packets, from one place to another. Mention is made of them by ancient writers. Modern history records several interesting accounts of the employment of these aerial messengers.
When the city of Ptolemais, in Syria,” says the Percy Anecdotes, “was invested by the French and Venetians, and it was ready to fall into their hands, they observed a pigeon flying over them, and immediately conjectured that it was charged with letters to the garrison. On this, the whole army raising a loud shout, so confounded the poor aerial post, that it fell to the ground; and on being seized, a letter was found under its wings, from the sultan, in which he assured the garrison that “ he would be with them in three days, with an army sufficient to raise the siege.”. For this letter the besiegers substituted another, to this purpose, “ that the garrison must see to their own safety, for the sultan had such other affairs pressing him, that it was impossible for him to come to their succour;” and with this false intelligence, they let the pigeon pursue his course. The garrison, deprived by this decree of all hopes of relief, immediately surrendered. The sultan appeared on the third day, as he had promised, with a powerful army, and was not a little mortified to find the city already in the hands of the Christians.
* Carrier pigeons were again employed, but with better success, a
the siege of Leyden, in 1675. The garrison were, by means of the information thus conveyed to them, induced to stand out, till the enemy, despairing of reducing the place, withdrew. On the siege being raised, the Prince of Orange ordered that the pigeons, which had rendered such essential service, should be maintained at the public expense, and that at their death they should be embalmed and preserved in the town house, as a perpetual token of gratitude.
“ In the East, the employment of pigeons for the conveyance of letters, is still very common; particularly in Syria, Arabia, and Egypt. They are also employed in several parts of Europe, but rather for the purposes of amusement, than for objects of great utility.
“ The diligence and speed, with which these feathered messengers wing their course, is extraordinary. From the instant of their liberation, their flight is directed through the clouds, at an immense height to the place of their destination. They are believed to dart onwards in a straight line, and never to descend, except when at a loss for breath, and then they are to be seen commonly at dawn of day, lying on their backs on the ground, with their bills open, sucking in with hasty avidity the dew of the morning. Of their speed, the instances related, are almost incredible.
“Some years ago, a gentleman sent a carrier pigeon from London, by the stage coach, to his friend in Edmundsbury, together with a note, desiring that the pigeon, two days after the arrival there, might be thrown up, precisely when the town clock struck nine in the morning. This was done accordingly, and the pigeon arrived in London, and flew to the Bull Inn in Bishopgate street, into the loft, and was there shown at half an hour past eleven o'clock, having flown seventytwo miles in two hours and a half.
“ It is through the attachment of the animals to the place of their birth, and particularly to the spot where they have brought up their young, that they are thus rendered useful to mankind.
“When a young one flies very hard at home, and is come to its full strength, it is carried in a basket, or otherwise, about half a mile from home, and then turned out; after this it is carried a mile, then two, four, eight, ten, twenty, &c., till at length it will return from the furthermost parts of the country.”
PRESERVATION OF HEALTH.
PRESERVATION OF HEALTH, &c.
Every one is liable to suffering, either from accident or disease. Yet, it is certain that a l'arge proportion of the accidents which occur, as well as many of the diseases which affict mankind, are the result of carelessness and neglect. Less haste, or a little more forethought, would often save a bone from being broken ; and a little more attention to diet, air, exercise, cleanliness, moderation in drink, needless esposure, &c. &c., would frequently prevent dangerous and protracted illness, and especially those chronic diseases, which, if less immediately dangerous, occasion suffering and distress, perhaps through life.
Yet, it is nevertheless true, that accidents and diseasоs will sometimes occur. They will occur suddenly and unexpectedly. A physician may not be within immediate call; and before he can be summoned, life may have become extinct, or the foundation laid for months of debility and suffering.
Such calamities, it cannot be doubted, might not unfrequently be prevented, by a little knowledge of the human fraine, and of a few simple medicines, or expedients easily comprehended; almost always at hand, and which every person of common understanding may administer and apply.
Without, therefore, infringing upon the province of the regularly bred physician, or appearing to advocate empyricism, the editor believes an article devoted to the prevention of diseases and accidents, and the management of the latter more especially, which shall be divested of the technical language of the profession-may be useful to those families, for which this work is designed.
It is needless to say that a regular treatise on surgery and practice is not here attempted. Such an attempt would justly subject the conductor of this work to ridicule; nor will it fall within the object and scope of this part of the work to sanction snursery gossip -nor to countenance and spread abroad the “mendacious reports of nostram. *makers and venders.” But rather to select such hints on the subject of preserving the health, and to recommend such remedies for certain accidents as have been furnished by enlightened experience, and which are safe and useful in the hands of the professionally unlearned.
Hence, it will be obvious, that this article is not designed for the critically learned. Should such an one-to use the language employed in an admirable work of a similar character, and written by a distinguished physician—"cast his eye on these pages, he will here learn, this book was written for the unlearned ; and he will also learn that a handkerchief tied loosely round a man's leg above a wounded and bleeding artery, and a stick twisted into it, will as effectually save life as a surgeon's turniquet--and many other such things. He will therefore please to spare this little work, for the sake of him whose house is far removed from the surgeon, and who has no money to pay the physician."