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bright yellow. Hence I conclude the change of colour to be the result of increasing age.
On inquiry in London, I have been surprised to find the number on sale so few. Liverpool is the mart for American birds, yet the demand is not great for orioles. Their price is at all seasons high, varying from fifty to sixty shillings; and the subject is incomprise, therefore the demand is not great.
The Baltimore oriole and the orchard oriole are of this genera : the former is a handsome specimen, often caged, is ornamental and gentle, without any decided characteristics ; the latter is called “the bastard." And I here take the opportunity of introducing a correct and excellent observation of an ornithologist, as remarkable for refinement as for fidelity of narrative, that“ specific names, to be perfect, ought to express some peculiarity not common to others of the genus, and should be consistent with truth." This word, like that of “goat-sucker,” is ridiculous, and calculated to perpetuate the error from which it originated ; and, I may add, is, like any other popular error, a gross absurdity.
“ The African golden oriole” is a splendid yellow bird; “the small-billed oriole," and " the Cape black-capped oriole," complete the species.
every occasion, more suitable, the liver producing thirst. Raw meat is essential to this class of birds. Orioles eat hemp and canaryseed: they do not partake of prepared food with avidity, but seem to prefer picking at all provisions in turn. Fruits, especially cherries and oranges, are most welcome, also berries ; to the ordinary green food, except grasses and heaths, they are indifferent. I was advised to add fine granite (called freestone) to the sand usually provided.“ Diavolo” drank milk constantly, and seldom approached the watervessel. He bathed with great apparent enjoyment. On one occasion, he opened, with some dexterity and trouble, a meal-worm jar, and devoured the contents-no small quantity. I was called too late to the rescue: he stood in bold defiance, crying loudly, with angry gestures, and a harsh scolding tone, which they adopt when thwarted. The day before my poor bird met with an accidental death, by falling from a window, we had a very angry altercation on the subject of figs ! I brought a supply home next day; the draught from an open door caught the heavy cage--it fell—the sufferer was dead from fright before he reached the pavement. One drop of his heart's-blood fell on my hand; I thought his heart still beat -it was my own! His loss nearly cured me of keeping pets. He was my greatest favourite ; and five years have not obliterated the pang of reproach and regret I then suffered.
I heard also of another well-nurtured oriole. He was allowed the range of the lawn, and was recalled by the voice of his mistress, and left the high trees in an avenue, allured home by mealworms. He affected to lie dead on the hand, and performed many tricks. It died suddenly, but was a fine young bird.
I have been induced to advocate the oriole's cause, because he is not sufficiently appreciated. He is reproached for not singing. “It is not given to every one to go to Corinth," is the Greek proverb. To the mere lover of songsters I cannot recommend him; but his joyous whistle is worth much that is called melody. To travestie Alexander's memorable compliment to Diogenes—if I were not a nightingale, I would be an oriole.
All the individuals of this species are not equally diverting: these birds require notice and great kindness, otherwise even their farouche propensities lie dormant, and they exist in a state of fat contented ignorance. One imported with mine, lived and died uncultivated; year after year his plumage grew brighter-being orange at first; mine was
(Motacilla Luscinia.) “ Hark! 'tis the vesper hymn of some sweet bird, Chaunting his evening lay to yon bright star, The while, the plaintive cadence sooths his mate."
This, the sweetest warbler of the feathered tribe, combining in his notes all that is preeminent in song, is unrivalled among British birds for the volume, compass, and quality of his voice. A native of the South, the nightingale visits England in April—the period of their arrival will vary by a fortnight in some localities-travelling by night, and appearing singly; the females follow about ten days later. On the eve of being mated, which takes place about a week after the point of destination has been attained, “sweet Philomel” pours forth his song of love and joy.
Nightingales are by no means generally distributed. Individuals settle in the southern counties of England, and as far north as York and Carlisle ; are never seen in Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, or Ireland—while, on the Continent, they proceed farther north, even to Sweden and Russia.* Audobon, in one of his
* Dr. Clarke mentions Moscow especially. This intelligent traveller says that nightingales are there | heard during the night, making the city resound
with the melody of the forest.
charming narratives of birds, makes this ob have characterized the strains of the “ solemn servation :-" There exists a singular arrange- bird" as a miserabile carmen. Subsequent obment of Nature relative to singing birds of all servations have more justly prized his excelling sorts-it is this : I have never met with birds powers of song-lively, and full of vivacity, truly migratory- by which I mean birds that and with but a few notes of a melancholy tone, visit countries, from which they retire as soon "he all night long his amorous descant sings." as their young are able to travel—that ever Proud and shy, he loves only his own wild sing in confinement during winter in the coun airs; his song is Nature's masterpiece ; he tries to which they had migrated to breed, refuses instruction; certain of perfection, he though they sing in the country to which they bears no rivalry. return to spend the winter." The nightingale The management of this class of warblers is bears out this observation, for it does not ex altogether a task of difficulty ; simply that the hibit its vocal power in confinement until after food provided is of necessity unnatural, and the spring moult.
that their impulses being under restraint, they Mr. Thompson, in a late work, has enume grieve and suffer. As the time approaches for rated at least twenty-four well-known speci flight, their trouble, and that of their captors, mens of birds that summer with us, and winter increases. I heard from an amateur of strict south of the Mediterranean. The nightingale veracity, and an enthusiast in his attachment takes his departure from the middle of Septem to songsters, that on one occasion his nightinber to the end of that month. This bird is heard gale rushed night and day through his cage, in the greatest perfection towards the east; without taking any food for twelve days. On and his voice declines in sweetness as it mi the thirteenth, he lay still, and apparently grates north and west: hence, London ama dead ; his protector moistened the bird's beak, teurs prefer the nightingales of Surrey to those soaked Naples biscuit, and placed it in it of Middlesex. The Italian birds excel the crumb by crumb. After a time of watchful French, and the latter surpass the English anxiety, he gave signs of life, raised his head nightingale; whereas Persia and Greece can for a mealworm, and was gradually restored. boast of an undoubted superiority over all He lived some years afterwards. Yet, all this other countries. In the East, nightingales are suffering, where instinct would fain burst the not migratory ; but from all parts of Europe prison-bars, is but an evidence of man's selfthey retire to Asia and Africa.
ishness. I have, contrary to my usual practice, en The only chance for passing over the migratered into the peculiarities of a bird in its wild tory period, is to have previously treated your state, and have done so advisedly, as all the bird judiciously, as to food and quietness. It facts detailed tend to its efficient management is at roosting time that restlessness is most in a state of captivity. The migratory impulses apparent: if a candle is taken suddenly into (which have never yet been satisfactorily ex the room where the nightingale is, at the plained) are especially developed in “the migratory seasons, it will cause great disturbvarious-voiced bird"-the theme of Hesiod, ance--the poor prisoner bends his neck backVirgil, and Pliny, of old—the admired of our wards, beats his head against the cage-top, and own poets, Milton and Shakespeare. The night looks anxiously upwards. By this and other ingale, if I may so express myself, has more signs, it is supposed that moonlight is the time character than any other bird. No writer on chosen for flight. The dispositions of this bird the subject has succeeded in accounting for its vary much; none bear interruption to their choice of habitat ; climate has no attraction, habits, nor disturbance of any kind ; yet some food no peculiar charm; attempt to acclimatize are more cheerful than others, liking to be him, and he returns no more. The direct agency hung in a window. Some like the society of of God is here obvious: there are impulses man and their own species; others, sulky, given, independent of common causes, and affect the reverse. These tendencies demand through the aid of a higher intelligence. These indulgence for a subject so delicate. impulses ought to point out that emigrants I do not approve (except for newly-caught are unfit for domestication; that the cage is birds) of the system of trappings about the more than their prison-it is their mausoleum ! cage, to darken it-captivity is enough, “ with
The unsupported advocacy of a single reasoner out poking fun at it.” A good nightingale, on a subject where there is a traffic in opposi judiciously treated, will not fail to sing, both tion, would prove as useless a piece of labour | early and late, but never at night, unless the as the task of Sysiphus. Let us proceed to in moon is at its full, the weather and sky serene carceration. Virgil and other classic poets -indeed, it is most likely they will cease to
sing in confinement an hour or two after sunset. adopted-German paste, and parboiled sheep's The mode adopted for quieting this bird, when heart- the latter free from fat. It is my opifirst caged, (and if taken after he has been nion, that the ingredients composing the paste mated he will surely die,) is to place him are too rich for a bird so delicate as the present previously tying the tips of his wings—in a subject. Some birds (branchers, so called from cage, the top, sides, and back of which are made the time they leave their nests until they miof wood; paste over the front a covering of grate in autumn) are brought to thrive on this tissue-paper, and feed the bird from a trough, strong food; but it is doubtful if they are longor pan, placed on a level with the sand-drawer; lived. The first-named food should be given also, the drinking-vessel to be so arranged as fresh, twice a day-in summer, morning and not to require to open the cage-door ; feed the mid-day, or the meat will have become tainted, bird from the bottom, not looking at him, at and injure the feeder. Ants—their eggs-and the same hour daily. After the third day, he ants' mould are desirable; mealworms allowed will go down at once to feed, and the paper occasionally, principally when, as is frequently may be torn away by degrees, by which time the case, their appetites fail, at the migratory he will have become tame.
season; as an article of daily food, they are With reference to food, I furnish the formule hurtful, producing restlessness, and distaste for found to be most successful, premising that the other food. The greatest cleanliness to be obbest is far removed from nature ; and this ob served in scalding the feeding-vessels and servation holds good with regard to all artificial scouring the sand-drawer ; and the cages to be preparations for birds that are not granivorous. so constructed as not to require to disturb them Press the yolk of a hard-boiled egg once from the wall during the process. through an iron sieve, pour on it a few drops In summer, the drinking vessels should be of water, sufficient to form a paste, scrape an renewed twice, daily; in winter, every day, equal quantity of juicy raw beef, and mix all and, if possible, the amateur should perform together ; the consistence should not be heavy, these attentions at a regular hour, noticing his or the bird will not feed freely, nor too light, captive all the time, who will become familiar or it will cause weakness. If your bird is not or sulky, according to the modicum of attention fat, the water may be omitted. In autumn, proffered ; not that the nightingale will perthey fatten much, and should be given meal mit the familiarities that a seed-eating bird worms and spiders three times a week; when would meet half-way, his dignity would be at the swollen appearance declines, keep the bird fault. warm; likewise, if inclined to leanness, give The skin of this bird being porous and very figs, chopped finely, and mixed with the ordi tender, care must be taken with reference to nary food, but discontinue them when not bathing. In winter, he should not be allowed needed.
a greater supply of water than the drinkingThe great difficulty in treating of food arises vessel contains, and at no time should he be from the evils of confinement, causing indiges allowed to bathe if the temperature be below tion to this bird especially. Those so fed I have 70°, and the sun not shining; it is perhaps heard sing gloriously, have moulted well, and at best on all occasions to take the chill off the this writing have a plumage smooth as marble; water; an ardent desire common to migrants one especially shows a bold front, advances to to wash himself will cause this bird to wash, wards his kind master, and distinguishes him, and soak, and shiver, day after day, till he gazing at strangers with a shy aspect. It dies; paralysis is a frequent consequence of is a scandal to impugn the appearance of the winter bathing to many of this species. nightingale: his dress is of sober brown; his The nightingale is subject to loss of sight if shape elegant; his gait is proud and graceful; the room is kept below temperate, a moderate his eyes are full of inquiry and intelligence, heat is best suited to their constitution; many not observable to careless persons, but in ac mistaken opinions have induced the adoption cordance with the true harmony of nature; his of a high artificial temperature, which has grave aspect protects him; with a bright proved fatal. During moult, their digestion is coat, and throat of the most perfect music temporarily impaired, give additional ants,
what chance would he have? In confine ants' eggs, and mealworms, also a spider, and ment, his appearance varies with the care he some iron or saffron water ; if melancholy, dismay enjoy; smoky, close rooms will darken solve sugar candy in the drinking vessel, and his plumage, and improper food destroy his provide suitable food—this care will cheer and elastic gait.
keep him healthy-of insects, these birds eat There is another kind of food sometimes | all but the hairy caterpillar; the young larvæ
in the combs of wasps and hornets, is his favo the solemn quiet of evening, and in welcoming rite food.
in the approaching morn, Like the black-cap, robin, and thrush species,
6 Where silence yields the nightingale feeds on juicy berries, espe
To the night-warbling bird, that now awake, cially towards the autumnal migratory season. Tunes sweetest his love-labor'd song." This is but little noted by amateurs ; by a trifling degree of trouble they might be pre Izaak Walton's eulogy runs thus :-" The served in summer, by drying the berries and nightingale breathes such sweet music out of fruits in the sun that have been previously hert little instrumental throat, that it might threaded with a needle ; in cold weather, dip make mankind to think that miracles had not them daily in tepid water, when they will ceased. He, that at midnight, when the very swell, recover a portion of their colour, and be labourer sleeps securely, should hear, as I have taken with avidity by your bird. The cole very often, the clear airs, the sweet descants, opterous insects may be also preserved ; meal the natural rising and falling, the doubling and worms can be purchased, or “ raised," by the redoubling of her voice, might well be lifted possessor of soft-billed birds. A clever writer above earth, and say, “Lord, what music hast made this pithy observation, that the night thou provided for the saints in heaven, when ingale, not being an egg-sucker, the provision thou afforded to bad man such music on earth!"" of an hard-boiled egg is unnatural as staple Some idea of the superiority of this songster food.
will be afforded, when it is related that the The scales must be removed once a year from Hon. Daines Barrington, in his table of the the feet of the nightingale ; for gout, use fresh comparative merits of birds, with regard to butter; for cramps, hartshorn and oil.
their notes—twenty being the point of perOwing to carelessness in feeding, fibrous fection--states the nightingale's to be ninematter from meat will sometimes collect round teen in mellowness, nineteen in plaintiveness, the tongue, causing the appearance of choking, nineteen in compass, nineteen in duration, and in such case, open the beak very gently with a fourteen in sprightliness. flat stick, and remove the obstruction.
The Encyclopædia Britannica pronounces I have now given the fullest instruction for this bird to sing but ten weeks in the year in the treatment of this favourite songster, and a wild state, and ten months in captivity; the conclude by advising no one to keep nightin error is evident, were it confirmed, the voices of gales who has not sedentary occupations, with birds would arise more from sorrow than from spare time and patience.
joy; authority and experience demonstrate Abler pens than mine have vainly tried to that he sings from the time he is mated until describe the preparation of the nightingale for the period when the young are hatched, his the hymn of nature—the soft breathings of note then changes to a low hoarse note, exlove and joy—the strains poured forth amidst | pressive of anxiety: soon afterwards he departs.
MOSSFOOT, THE DEMON OF THE RED MAN.
(We extract this article from our able contemporary of New York-The Literary World. It occurs in the course of a series entitled Home Sketches, and is from the pen of the author of The Yemassee. We so rarely meet a fairy tale of the New World, that our readers will, we are sure, thank us for transferring this to our pages.)
“THE car stops! what can be the matter ? There is a screw loose somewhere."
Sure enough, there was a screw loose; and, our engineer, with his assistants, was soon | busy hammering and tinkering at the wheels
of the iron horse. The delay threatened to be a serious one; and the passengers were soon to be seen, white and black, tumbling out in all directions. Our party of four followed the general example, and strolled off to a little hillock, freshly strewn with the decaying German paste on the surface of his food as usual (which he will shun), and continue the ants until he quite recovers.
+ It is here observable that our quaint old favourite adopts the feminine gender. The female sings sweetly, but not so powerfully as to attract.
* It is a great error to feed nightingales on flies, they disorganize the digestion of this bird ; the consequences have been so suddenly fatal as to induce the supposition that the insects had partaken of poison. The sole remedy is to strew the sanddrawer with ant-mould and ants, scatter a little
leaves of the forest, where we cast ourselves down, waiting events. The woods were still clothed in a most glorious garniture. The trees immediately about us were scrubby oaks, each of which was caparisoned like a young prince in crimson, waiting to be crowned. In the back-ground rose up a pine thicket, solemnly dark in its uniform depth of green. We mused for awhile, and at length naturally resumed the subjects of previous conversation.
"Woods and forests seem to be proper places to be haunted," was the remark of one of our companions. “But the spirits, or elves, or fairies, change their character according to the degree of civilization in a country. The English fairies were tricky and playful spirits, full of mischievous fun and fancy, but not malignant. The German elves were demons; and the Brownies of Scotland were scarcely less so— quite as rough, certainly, if less frightful and diabolical. The forest and wild are possessed by demons; the woods by fairies. This seems to be the difference."
“Necessarily; and yet, such as are recognised (were rather) by our early back-woodsmen, do not seem to have been particularly hostile or malicious. From all that I have heard, they belong to the Puck and Robin Goodfellow order of spirits, and are never spiteful, unless when neglected or ill-treated. Our Aborigines, it is true, tell us of darker and sterner beings, who occupied with them the forests. Of these they had greater terrors, and generally converted them into deities, whose wrath they deprecated by worship and sacrifices. The wilder kind of elves whom they knew, they adopted into the family, as it were, making them lares familiares, and naturally seeming to expect from them a sort of domestic service. These could be mischievous, like those of the English, and they sometimes ran away with the venison, and so charmed the bows and arrows, as to defeat for a time, and until the hunter made atonement for his neglect or his offences, his skill and enterprise. There is undoubtedly a strong family likeness running through the elves and demons of all nations, which shows the secret conviction of the soul, making its superstitions to have been derived, in all regions, from the same universal fountains of imagination and thought. The most curious feature in this history is, that a nation succeeds to the phantoms of the people whom it supersedes, even as the Hebrews and other races; the Romans, for example, occasionally borrowed their gods from their neighbours. Among the early settlers of the American forests, there was a clear belief that, though
they dispossessed the Indians, their Dië Lares still remained in frequent cases in the old settlement, town, or hunting range, and were to be seen and felt upon occasion. They seemed to belong to the soil rather than the people ; and a change in the tribe or nation, so long as the habits of the people remained the same, worked no change in their auspices. This, I suspect, was the true reason why they lingered behind the race by whom they were first recognised. Their offices and influences were the same, and equally essential, so long as there was no decided alteration in the character and civilization of the human family. Now, during the first thirty years after the English colonization of this region, the greater number of the settlers were a wild, rude, uneducated people, whose acquisitions as well as habits were of a sort to make them particularly accessible to superstitious influences. I need not tell you that, where there is no faith, there are no spectres;-we lose our capacity to perceive the supernatural, in due degree, as common reason opens to us, and satisfies us with the natural. But our early colonists had made few advances, and were nearly as rude, in most respects, as the Indians. They became hunters and graziers, and found themselves under the same influences through which the Indian had been made sensible of the spiritual in his forests. They also became acquainted, through tradition, with the elves and deities of the red man. These revived and strengthened the early superstitions of the European races, from which they sprang; and, in the lone depths of the forest, with the crash of winds among the trees, and the deep sighing of the midnight breeze, spectral images became necessary to supply the solitude with associations. The heart rather encourages such indications under such influences. Poverty and toil, in particular, perpetually crave a supernatural sympathy, as a substitute for that which wealth and society deny. Accordingly, the hermit, hunter, farmer, or grazier, remote from the world, in solemn, silent depths of the forest, becomes singularly susceptible of all the changes of the seasons, of the atmosphere, stars, and suns, and, through these, finds his sensibilities continually awakening to other and more occult influences. It is easy to find elves where we desire them. Our early peasantry had their familiars of the forest, with whom, in some cases, they lived on terms of singular intimacy. Ordinarily, what they knew of them was singularly vague and uncertain. They were conscious of strange noises, night and day, about them in the woods, particularly on the edges of the swamp