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groves to kill them as they came in to roost.1 These are the principal circumstances relating to this wonderful internal migration, which with us takes place towards the end of November, and ceases early in the spring. Last winter we had in Selborne high wood about an hundred of these doves; but in former times the flocks were so vast not only with us but all the district round, that on mornings and evenings they traversed the air, like rooks, in strings, reaching for a mile together. When they thus rendezvous here by thousands, if they happened to be suddenly roused from their roost-trees on an evening,

"Their rising all at once was like the sound
Of thunder heard remote."

It will by no means be foreign to the present purpose to add, that I had a relation in this neighbourhood who made it a practice for a time, whenever he could procure the eggs of a ring-dove, to place them under a pair of doves that were sitting in his own pigeon-house; hoping thereby, if he could bring about a coalition, to enlarge his breed, and teach his own doves to beat out into the woods and to support themselves by mast: the plan was plausible, but something always interrupted the success; for though the birds were usually hatched, and sometimes grew to half their size, yet none ever arrived at maturity. I myself have seen these foundlings in their nest displaying a strange ferocity of nature, so as scarcely to bear to be looked at, and snapping with their bills by way of menace. In short, they always died, perhaps for want of proper sustenance: but the owner thought that by their fierce and wild demeanour they frighted their foster-mothers, and so were starved.

Virgil, as a familiar occurrence, by way of simile, describes a dove haunting the cavern of a rock in such engaging numbers, that I cannot refrain from quoting the passage: and John Dryden has rendered it so happily in our language, that without farther excuse I shall add his translation also.

1 Some old sportsmen say that the main part of these flocks used to withdraw as soon as the heavy Christmas frosts were over.

"Qualis spelunca subito commota Columba,
Cui domus, et dulces latebroso in pumice nidi,
Fertur in arva volans, plausumque exterrita pennis
Dat tecto ingentem—mox acre lapsa quieto,
Radit iter liquidum, celeres neque commovet alas."

"As when a dove her rocky hold forsakes,
Rous'd, in a fright her sounding wings she shakes;
The cavern rings with clattering :—out she flies,
And leaves her callow care, and cleaves the skies:
At first she flutters:—but at length she springs
To smoother flight, and shoots upon her wings."

I am, etc.



Selborne, June 30, 1769. Dear Sir,

When I was in town last month I partly engaged that I would sometime do myself the honour to write to you on the subject of natural history: and I am the more ready to fulfil my promise, because I see you are a gentleman of great candour, and one that will make allowances; especially where the writer professes to be an out-door naturalist, one that takes his observations from the subject itself, and not from the writings of others.

The following is a List of the Summer Birds of Passage which I have discovered in this neighbourhood, ranged somewhat in the order which they appear:

1. Wryneck,

2. Smallest willow


3. Swallow,

4. Martin,

5. Sand-martin,

9. Middle willow-wren,
10. White-throat,RAII NOMINA.

Jynx, sive torquilla.
Regulus non cnstatus.

Hirundo domestica.

Hirundo rustics.

Hirundo riparia.

Regulus non cnstatus.Ficedulae affinis.USUALLY APPEARS ABOUT

The middle of March : harsh note.

March 23: chirps till September. April 13. Ditto. Ditto.

Ditto: a sweet wild note.

6. Black-cap,

7. Nightingale,

8. Cuckoo,




Beginning of April. Middle of April. Ditto: a sweet plaintive note.

Ditto: mean note;
till September.

sings on



11. Red-start, Ruticilla. Middle of April: more

agreeable song.

12. Stone-curlew, Oedicnemus. End of March: loud noc

turnal whistle.

13. Turtle-dove, Turtur.

14. Grasshopper-lark, Alauda minima locustae Middle of April: a small

voce. sibilous note, till the end

of July.

15. Swift, Hirundo apus. About April 27.

16. Less reed-sparrow, Passer arundinaceus A sweet polyglot, but hurry

minor. ing: it has the notes of

many birds.

17. Land-rail, Ortygpmetra. Aloud harsh note,crex,crex.

18. Largest willow- Regulus non cristatus. Can/at voce striduld locustae;

wren, end of April, on the tops

of high beeches.

19. Goat-sucker, or Caprimulgus. Beginning of May; chatters

fern-owl, by night with a singular


20. Fly-catcher, Stoparola. May 12. A very mute bird:

this is the latest summer bird of passage.

This assemblage of curious and amusing birds belongs to ten several genera of the Linnaean system; and are all of the ordo of passeres, save the jynx and cuculus, which are picae, and the charadrius (oedicnemus] and rallus (ortygometra), which are grallae.

These birds, as they stand numerically, belong to the following Linnaean genera:

1, Jynx- '3- Columba.

2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 16, 18. Motacllla. 17. Rallus.

3, 4, 5, 15. Hirundo. 19. Caprimulgus.
8. Cuculus. 14. Alauda.

12. Charadrius. 20. Muscicapa.

Most soft-billed birds live on insects, and not on grain and seeds; and therefore at the end of summer they retire: but the following soft-billed birds, though insecteaters, stay with us the year round:


D i, nil /These frequent houses; and

Redbreast, Rubecula. I . i -u- • ,

w „ , , . -{ haunt outbuildings in the

Wren, Passer troglodytes. \ -j

• [ winter; eat spiders.

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A List of the Winter Birds of Passage round this neighbourhood, ranged somewhat in the order in which they appear:

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Turdus iliacus.
Turdus pilaris.

Cornix cinerea.

Gallinago minor.

Gallinago minima.

Cfgnus ferus.


Anas torquata minor. Anas fera fusca. Penelope.

4. Royston-crow,

5. Woodcock,

6. Snipe,

7. Jack-snipe,

8. Wood-pigeon,

9. Wild-swan,

10. Wild-goose,

11. Wild-duck,

12. Pochard,

13. Wigeon,

14. Teal, breeds with Querquedula. us in Wolmer-forest,

1 5. Gross-beak, Coccothraustes.

16. Cross-bill, Loxia.

\ -j. Silk-tail, Garrulus bohemicus.

This is a new migration which I have lately discovered about Michaelmas week, and again about the fourteenth of March.

About old Michaelmas.

Though a percher by day, roosts on the ground.

Most frequent on downs.

Appears about old Michaelmas.

Some snipes constantly breed with us.

Seldom appears till late: not in such plenty as formerly. On some large waters.

On our lakes and streams.

These are only wanderers that appear occasionally, and are not observant of any regular migration.

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