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these last sounds seem intended for menace and defiance.
The grasshopper - lark chirps all night in the height of summer.
Swans turn white the second year, and breed the third.
Weasels prey on moles, as appears by their being sometimes caught in
A nightingale. mole-traps.
Sparrow.hawks sometimes breed in old crows' nests, and the kestril in churches and ruins.
There are supposed to be two sorts of eels in the island of Ely. The threads sometimes discovered in eels are perhaps their young: the generation of eels is very dark and mysterious.
Hen-harriers breed on the ground, and seem never to settle on trees.
[Of this bold bird White afterwards writes in his “ Observations:"_“A gentleman flushed 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 hover. ing 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 A weasel. farther observe, that they cannot
pounce on 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 guns.]
When redstarts shake their tails they move them horizontally, as dogs do when they fawn: the tail of a wagtail, when in motion, bobs up and down like that of a jaded horse.
Hedge-sparrows have a remarkable flirt with their wings in breeding-time; as soon as frosty mornings come they make a very piping plaintive noise,
Many birds which become silent about Midsummer reassume their notes again in September; as the thrush, blackbird, woodlark, willow-wren, &c.; hence August is by much the most mute month, the spring, summer, and autumn through. Are birds induced to sing again because the temperament of autumn resembles that of spring ?
Linnæus ranges plants geographically: palms inhabit the tropics, grasses the temperate zones, and mosses and lichens the polar circles; no doubt animals may be classed in the same manner with propriety.
House-sparrows build under eaves in the spring; as the weather becomes hotter they get out for coolness, and nest in plum trees and apple-trees. These birds have been known sometimes to build in rooks' nests, and sometimes in the forks of boughs under rooks' nests.
As my neighbour was housing a rick he observed that his dogs devoured all the little red mice that they could catch, but rejected the common mice ; and that his cats ate the common mice, refusing the red.
Redbreasts sing all through the spring, summer, and autumn. The reason that they are called autumn songsters is, because in the first two seasons their voices are drowned and lost in the general
chorus; in the latter their song becomes distinguishable. Many songsters of the autumn seem to be the young cock redbreasts of that year: notwithstanding the prejudices in their favour, they do much mischief in gardens to the sum
mer-fruits. They Redbreasts.
eat also the berries of the ivy, the honeysuckle, and the Euonymus Europæus, or spindle-tree.
The titmouse, which early in February begins to make two quaint notes like the whetting of a saw, is the marsh titmouse ; the great titmouse sings with three cheerful joyous notes, and begins about the same time.
Wrens sing all the winter through, frost excepted. House-martins came remarkably late this year
both in Hampshire and Devonshire. Is this circumstance for or against either hiding or migration ?
Most birds drink sipping at intervals, but pigeons take a long continued draught, like quadrupeds.
Notwithstanding what I have said in a former letter, no grey crows were ever known to breed on * Dartmoor: it was my mistake.
The appearance and flying of the Scarabæus solstitialis, or fern chafer, commence with the month of July, and cease about the end of it. These scarabs are the constant food of caprimulgi, or fern-owls, through that period. They abound on the chalky downs, and in some sandy districts, but not in the clays.
In the garden of the Black-Bear Inn in the town of Reading is a stream or canal running under the stables and out into the fields on the other side of the road: in this water are many carps, which lie rolling about in sight, being fed by travellers, who amuse themselves by tossing them bread; but as soon as the weather grows at all severe these fishes are no longer seen, because they retire under the stables, where they remain till the return of spring. Do they lie in a torpid state? If they do not, how are they supported ?
The note of the whitethroat, which is continually repeated, and often attended with odd gesticulations on the wing, is harsh and displeasing. These birds seem of a pugnacious disposition; for they sing with