Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

voice. As a general rule, match your birds from a good stock, direct from Manchester, with their opposites. A fine jonk cock, paired! York, or Norfolk, or from a London dealer, on with a green hen, produces pied birds, rich in whom dependence may be placed as to early colour, hardy, and good songsters. Clear birds associations and pedigree, if possible ; but, as are preferred by many amateurs : they are to these are remote contingencies, I prefer the be obtained by " putting up" a bright jonquil | German stock; the objection on the score of cock with a mealy-coloured hen. The results | delicacy is removed by the young being accliwill be doubtful, unless some knowledge has matised. been obtained of non-adulteration of colour in Canaries should not be paired before the end the progenitors on both sides—that male and of April. The birds of the latest broods have female have been bred from clear birds the sweetest notes: the first are fierce and as canaries “throw back" to the old colour, impatient in song; besides, early nestlings which, if it had an admixture of black, may be have the chances of a severe spring to contend reproduced. These startling particulars are with. Both for song and for breeding, the male immaterial, unless for the indulgence of pleas should be two years old : he is then past the ing the eye. I should attend more closely to | age for taking up false notes, and will have temper, disposition, health, and song. A good dignity in his paternal department of feeding bird is straight and taper, he has power over his offspring. It is advanced by experimenhis notes, sings with ease, and beats out, talists, that the lady being older causes an by his insinuating language, “ the little fat increase of male birds. man."

The breeding-cages should be placed in a My experience is so decidedly in favour of room having the morning sun: the effect on the true German canary, that I am only pre the temper and temperament of the parents is pared to advocate the system I pursued. I great; the aspect has a direct influence on the matched my birds, both Germans, (irrespective | young, making them more softly beautiful, and of colour,) and found that, although at first an more healthily prepared for their earliest trial expensive arrangement, the production had all --the first moult. I recommend a large wirethe hardy health of the English, with the fronted cage-top, sides, and back of mahogany truest perfection of song: beyond the fact of with a moveable division ; two nests at the the parent bird remaining in the same apart- ends (which should each have a wire door). I ment, no particular tuition was afforded. One never use nest-bags or boxes: the latter are ** family," especially, named par excellence "the harsh, the former subject to red mites. My Smiths"--most numerous !-kept up a first-rate plan is this: I paste a piece of calico over character; and, after enjoying connubial bliss, an oil-flask; when dry, cut it across, to rein "semi-detached houses," " Mr. and Mrs. S.” move it from the bottle, and thus two nests were turned into my large aviary-cage, which are ready. Line them with one fold of flanwas six feet in length, with a dome sufficiently nel, very smooth, cutting away superfluous large to furnish sleeping apartments for forty pieces. The custom of furnishing hair and birds, home and foreign. In one end of the moss, I think objectionable; the cage, the cage the matron established herself, to my water, and the food are soiled, and the bird regret, in a box appropriated to WAXBILLS, makes and unmakes her nest before incubation, and there she lived and loved. One of her becoming restless and dissatisfied. An expeheirs, born in a crowd, is now six years old, rienced matron does not always approve of a and a splendid bird, without an hour's ailment. | deficiency in the “raw material,” and will

It is easy to account for the superiority I borrow a few feathers from her breast. At state. Our birds are mostly ill-treated in the same time, as birds, like men, have their cages; hung out of windows, in an easterly | antipathies, let not a good hen be disappointed wind or a hot sun ; unprotected, even within on rational grounds, I propose the adoption. the house, from draughts of air ; left unco Some are sufferers from “perspiration," orivered during moult, and exposed to nightly ginating, I think, in the excessive heat and change of temperature from the same cause : small size of box-nests; parasites, that destroy the consequences are, their notes become harsh, their nestlings, are produced by this ailment. (may have been originally so by descent, both I do not advise any remedies such as I have by imitation of the notes of other birds, and read of—“salt and water," and warm bathing from the effects of cold-too much dependence -either would drive the hen from her duties. being placed on native strength. There are Good strengthening food should be given; and some we hope many-exceptions : if the if her weakness continues, prevent her from birds selected for breeding can be procured sitting again for the season. Some keep two

hens in one cage, and a division between. Polygamy does not answer : ladies are jealous, the progeny ill-tempered. Birds having the range of the room, select their own partners; and unless some choice birds are to be matched, let nature alone.

I close this portion of my subject, by enjoining that cages may be so constructed as not to disturb the parent bird, and at the same time convenient for the supply of food, and for the usual attention to cleanliness ; on which latter subject there have been mistaken opinions--I trust, now obsolete--that it is hurtful. The arrangements for an aviary must proceed on a more extended scale. The period of incubation is thirteen days; for fifteen more the parent birds must be provisioned, twice daily, with scalded rape-seed, in one vessel, and the fourth portion of a hard-boiled egg, mixed with roll, squeezed out of water in another; and take care, or your nestlings will perish, that this food is not left to sour. On the fifteenth day, the young feed themselves; then begins the trying time. The food is the same; the males begin to warble; the lady sits again; the father gives his daily lessons, and at a month old the new generation may leave the maternal wing*find a new home. Then it is the period when succulent food is replaced by seed: then the danger. Let the transition be gradual, or the “i wasting fever,” or “surfeit, intervenes. I found but one cure: a handful of groundsel to a pint of water, boiled down to half the quantity; make fresh as required, and give it in the drinking vessel. In all my cages I put a lurp of rock salt, and pounded mortar.

The diversity of opinions as to the superiority of the German canaries, being best esteemed for their song, yet objected to on the score of liability to loss of voice, suggests a glance at the causes of the good and the evil. In the Hartzgebürge there is a mining district, called Andresbürge: the occupants of the ranges of the little dwellings are the families of the miners, who rear from 40,000 to 50,000 canaries yearly. At three weeks old their education begins, they hear but the best singing, from nightingales and woodlarks, and are, so far, perfect at three months old. Self-interest on the part of the dealers prevents these very imitatire birds from hearing bad singing ; for,

while their aptitude for learning is in one sense desirable, on the other hand, it is unsafe to allow any canary-finch to be within hearing of bad singing till he is at least two years old : hence the defects of most English birds. I do not say that when imported all are good singers; far from it. A first-rate bird will cost from three to five guineas.

The mode of life adopted by the miners causes delicacy. Bred in an atmosphere totally heated by stoves, the transition to a cold and damp climate is in its effects calculated to produce hoarseness-that complaint from which vocalists, the animal bipe implume, of foreign lands suffer. I have had German birds, bought them from the foreign dealers, and I have taken some pains to obtain opinions; and I can safely pronounce that one year's acclimatising, one year's trial of food, will enable the amateur to understand his bird. The first moulting season is dangerous : pass over that, and your little companion is as safe as any. The cruel carelessness of life shown in the ordinary treatment of one of our poor natives is rarely practised on an expensive pet. Keep your “ German” warm the first year; cover half his cage at night; during moult, put baize round his cage by day also, except in front; according to his strength, reduce the temperature the second year. All these attentions are imperative, in consequence of stove-rearing: it is not therefore necessary to treat other birds, more hardy, in the same way, but do not therefore slight and ill-treat a British songster. You will find him as social, merry, and attaching as the foreign favourite : he has the same amount of animal feeling, an equal desire to please, as just a claim upon your mercy and kindness.

I have known birds given away in disgust when they became hoarse their glory had departed !--and those same birds were cured, and live. This serious malady is caused chiefly by cold-sometimes by “over-singing." For the cure, scald some rape-seed, make it into a paste, with roll-crumbs, or sweet bun, and pour over it almond oil. Give as little seed as will content the patient; allow nothing heating; leave a vessel with new milk in his cage; keep him warm, and in a quiet place; and by persevering steadily, the sufferer will become “ the gayest of the gay."

For the food of all canaries, I prefer equal portions of turnip-seed, millet, canary, and flax seeds. I say "turnip" advisedly, for the "summer rape," on which the German vendors

insist, can only be distinguished by “growers," i and the kind usually sold is so rank and bitter,

* A friend of mine was very proud of her four nestling canaries ; when, one morning, she heard a great squeaking and fluttering in her aviary, and found that it proceeded from the desire the old birds had to peck the feathers off the young birds, to line afresh their nest for the anticipated eggs. The young brood were obliged to seek the shelter of a new cage.--Ed.

that birds scatter it about, and will only eat it tion—say about eighteen fine specimens. He if unavoidable. I admit that it is better to requested, on his arrival, to have some sand give the foreign visitor more turnip-seed in provided : the day following found eleven proportion to the others named, as they are birds dead! The narrator considered that reared upon it. Hemp should not be allowed, deleterious matter had been accidentally mixed except as a bonne bouche. German paste, with the gravel. I am of opinion the deaths groats, bread and milk, and all the etceteras arose through necessary abstinence from the named as the “soft food" of the granivorous natural and only aid to digestion provided for class, in addition. A fig, a bit of apple, the these “tenants of land, air, and ocean." pips especially, will be esteemed as delicate In my walks, I frequently offer advice to the morceaux by your companions. Be sparing, uneducated classes on two subjects relative during incubation and rearing, of green food, to their charges — “no sand," "placed in and never give it during frost. The original | draughts”-and, like all gratuitous offerings, canaries came from marshy lands: to their it goes for nothing. I wish I could assert that descendants baths are second nature; a hardy to the ignorant these cruelties are alone conBriton will immerse himself in snow. Der fined. canarienvogel ought to be supplied with a In confinement, moulting is a disease ; for tepid bath in cold weather ; but in neither case birds on the wing, Nature supplies an abunrefuse the luxury for which their nature yearns. dance of food—a provision needful, when there I heard of a merry little fellow allowed to is an extra demand on the strength. The wellroam about the room, (as all my birds do at doing of a cage-bird will greatly depend on proper times, that, to remind his mistress of previous wholesome feeding, and warmth during his “want,” used to go through the evolutions the malady. For a hardy canary, it will be of a wash and a splash in one of the chimney | sufficient to place the cage in a cheerful, warm ornaments, its ridiculous flutterings ceasing situation, out of all draughts; for the more when water was supplied : like the beggar and delicate German and Dutch birds, I would the barmecide, it gladly relinquished the empty cover the cage, except in front, with brown vessel for the full one.

paper, pasted on, or with wash-leather, or thin There is another “supply," upon which I baize; and when this trying process is over, would strenuously insist, its advantages being the winter will have set in, and the removal threefold ; I allude to sand—from sea or river must be gradual-in some cases not done at all. matters not. London is fortunately provided I give less green food at the time---more lettuce with it on sale, and of a kind especially adapted and maw seeds. I do not find much advantage for finches and other small birds. For loxias, in iron-water-none in saffron. I sometimes I added rough gravel ; for it is not generally add liquorice-root to the drinking vessel, or understood that when any imprisoned bird, give toast and water. My chief dependence is including poultry, is seen to carry about a on egg, roll-crumbs, and German paste, and on pebble, taking up and laying it down, he is en a vessel with milk. A partial moult is more gaged in measuring and weighing its fitness. remarkable with canaries and the new conThis mark of intelligence was hinted to me, and tinent productions than with our own birds ; I followed up my observations to the closest it shows itself prior to the pairing season ; the experiments, with a satisfactory assurance to entire change takes place in autumn. myself and others, and no worse effect to those I do not think that canaries are more subject experimented upon, than a little loss of temper to diseases than other birds deprived of their during the progress of “the sliding scale” natural freedom. I never had a bird with principle. As soon as the proper size gravel parasites, and I chiefly attribute their infesting was left in the cage, the withdrawal of choice cages to want of proper attention, or to a carewas forgiven. It is one thing to keep birds less purchase. I shall be, at a future writing, for the amusement of the possessor only; in tempted to give an excellent receipt for cure, if such case, an inanimate object might equally only for the sake of sparing suffering pets from answer, where life is forgotten in self: it is the really cruel prescriptions in vogue. Cramps another, and a better aim, to become an in should be treated by administering a warm quirer into Nature.

bath, and fits by a cold one ; but as these arise I was once, and lately, told, that a gentleman from two causes quite opposed, the subject will who really does love his birds, yet may not be elsewhere treated of en grand. have had opportunities for the better under The Dutch or Belgian canaries are held in standing of their management, brought to great estimation by most amateurs; their perLondon, en route home from abroad, a collec- fection being, that while perching, the beak VOL. I. N. S.

H

and tail, in their propinquity, nearly form a circle. They have their merits, also. When German hen-birds are scarce, the Dutch lady is chosen, and she rarely fails in her duties, I think them, however, inferior in figure and song to a good German. Not so their countrymen! At least twelve Dutch and Belgian cities have “societies" in their honour, where premiams are given for “a shapely, well-complexioned, long-bodied bird ;” the most influential of which is that of St. Cecilia, where the distinguished bird is entitled to the initials F.S.C. Classical associations connect themselves, also : in all the paintings of Gerard Dow, and Netscher, my subject is to be found; and it is stated by more than one competent authority, that the original cost of the birds therein depicted exceeded the original price of the paintings.

And what are the characteristics of this farfumed bird ? Widely as his name has spread, he deserves his distinctions. With numerous virtues, and but few vices, he has won a corner in many a heart: grateful, loving and social, pert, saucy, and playful, he puts his little pipe in competition with mirth, laughter, and conversation. He will be heard; he has “a voice potential in the senate;" his endearing ways of recognising one beloved presence, of acknowledging “ the goods the gods provide him," have a degree of character beyond mere animal instinct? Who has not a story to tell of "the pet of the family?”

The following anecdotes form but a portion of a collection :--A friend of mine had attached his bird by the usual process of " gifts," but he “ respected words" still more; pending the toilet, “ Dick" was indulged with conversations, and from "early morn to dewy eve" he enjoyed himself as canaries are wont to do in solitude-he ate, drank, and sung--and then the conversazione was renewed with his friend on his return home. One hapless day, some little visitors, intruding on Dick's presence, allowed him to escape; he found the sunshine and the flowers charming; the delinquents were alarmed; on and on in luxurious travelling he went; the household turned out; to coaxing or to trapping he was equally averse ; farther and farther still he fled. His master was met by a simultaneous burst of sorrow, explanations, and excuses — Dick was “nowhere!" One moment's withdrawal from the Babel of voices, and his really fond master proceeded to search out and to talk to the wanderer: he was shortly answered; gradually, though yet unseen, the solo became an animated duo ; and in a short period the

canary had, from tree to tree, traversed a long avenue, and finally voluntarily entered the cage held by his owner. I regret to say, that his death proved the truth of the influence of the kindly and endearing effect of one voice upon his gratitude and affection. His friend left home : the bird was removed from the usual room, hung up out of the way of all petting, but well kept; and he was found dead. Young, and without ailment–in truth, he pined away!

I now relate a family trait-canaries, father and son, the whole actors. The elder gentleman, aged twenty-one, was very infirm; and his strength had departed—his mandibles no longer obeyed his will. With every desire on the part of his kind mistress to smooth the difficulties of his venerable life, this was a case she could not possibly anticipate. Canary, fils, was observed to look earnestly and repeatedly at his papa. An ever-watchful care on the part of the lady induced her to put the two cages side by side, and soon it was observed that the younger bird (aged fifteen years) shelled seed, with which, through the double wires, he fed his parent. This story is not apocryphal ; I have it from a friend of the lady to whom the birds belong, and hope to realise the promise made me of an introduction to her and to the modern "pious Eneas,"

With reference to the longevity of birds, I have been in company with the possessor of the very Methuselah of canaries—he is, without mistake, twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old. Some doubts having been started as to the fact, and suggestions thrown out as to the possibility of the original bird having died, and being replaced by some attendant to avert blame, the lady, on whose strict veracity there cannot be a second opinion, says the bird had been for a few times (a very few months) ont of her sight; yet he was always in the charge of some of the family, and there is no reason to doubt that he is the same individual that has been her pet through this almost incredible number of years; some peculiarities of temper and disposition supplying the proof (if any was needed) that he is himself.

In the year 1839, there was a talking canary in London. The exhibitor was making a rapid fortune ; but the greed of gain defeated itselfa few months afterwards, the poor bird died. This victim to an unnatural state of existence was a tame and beautiful bird, and did what few parrots can be induced to do-spoke with very little solicitation, and a few grains of hempseed. The exhibition took place several times daily; the room lighted with gas, even

[ocr errors]

when there was daylight. The words were Pretty Dick," Pretty Queen," Save the Queen"--and these, with some other phrases, were pronounced as distinctly as they could have been by human organs, but with a sound totally different; the canary's, unlike a parrot's, voice, retained its own chirrup.

I have been told that at Kensington there is a canary ventriloquist. My informant, struck by the double sounds, looked about for a second cage; the lady of the house entering, stated the fact, and assured the astonished hearers that their mistake was one of daily occurrence.

Had I not been eye-witness to a circumstance I am about to relate, I should fear to be its narrator. A pet, par excellence, of that daring, saucy, yet loving, kind, that endears itself to its owner, flew from its cage at the first opportunity, daily, into my hand; it fondled, nestled, fed, and bathed, in close familiarity: nothing seemed to startle the little creature. I had another canary, not tame, and an object of perfect unconcern to his neighbour. He died. I had him on my extended hand, looking as I feel on seeing a dead bird. “Tiny” left his cage, fluttered towards me, retired, and never again could I induce him to renew his

love-tokens—to become “mine own familiar friend!" I have not, though years have elapsed, been able to decide whether terror or jealousy affected the bird.

I shall close my subject by one observation : that there is no bird more easily treated, none more inclined to be grateful, than are many canaries ; but few good songsters. To keep these imitative birds in the training necessary, let them have no inferior company until after the moult of the second year ; and of whatever quality is your captive, treat him with such mercy as all that are endowed with life are entitled to at the hands of their captors.

The limits of my space do not permit of even a glance at Hybrids. The congeners of the present subject will take their own places, when particulars of the difficulties, as also the advantages, of cross-pairing shall be treated of; also aviary management, where " pluralities" may be permitted. And here I must say a word in favour of hen-birds; they are frequently carelessly treated - often discarded after “the season"-when self-interest at least should induce their possessors to give them simply fair treatment; a large store-cage, if numerous, and to be placed in a separate room from the singers.

THE TRIAL BY BATTLE.*

A TALE OF CHIVALRY.

CHAPTER II.—THE CHAMPION. The Emperor Henry IV. of Germany, the husband of the falsely accused Empress, was one of the bravest and most unfortunate princes who ever sat upon a throne. He had succeeded his father, Henry the Black, in 1036, at the age of six years, and the diet had given to Agnes of Aquetaine the administration of the affairs of state during his minority. But the princes and barons of Germany feeling themselves humiliated by their subjection to a foreign female, revolted against the empire, and Otho Margrave of Saxony commenced that series of civil wars, in which the Emperor was destined to consume his life. Thus Henry IV. was always engaged in contests, first with his uncles, and then with his son; sometimes an emperor, sometimes a fugitive; to-day a proscriber, to-morrow proscribed; but always a “man of war and woe,"

even in his greatest triumphs. After having deposed Pope Gregory VII.--after having, in expiation of that sacrilege, crossed the Apennines on foot, his staff in his hand, like a mendicant, in the depth of winter-after having waited three days in the court of the Castle of Canassa without clothes, without fire, without food, till it pleased his highness to admit him into his presence, he kissed his feet, and swore on the cross to submit himself to his authority; for at this price alone would the Pope absolve the imperial penitent of the guilt of sacrilege; but the humiliation of the emperor displeased and disgusted the Lombards, who accused him of cowardice. Threatened by them with deposition, if he did not break the shameful league he had made with the Pope, he purchased peace with the Lombards by renouncing his submission to Gregory. His acceptance of these terms set him at variance with the German barons, who elected Rodolphe of Suabia in his place. Henry who had gone to Italy as a suppliant, returned to Germany a soldier,

Continued from page 53.

« НазадПродовжити »