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and reducible by a pitch-pipe to a musical key. All species are not equally eloquent. The language of some species is copious and fluent, but that of others is confined to a few important sounds, which are necessary to express barely their feelings and their wants. But no bird, like the finny tribes, is perfectly mute. The language of birds, Mr. WHITE of Selbourne remarks, is very antient, and, like other antient languages, very elliptical. They say little, but much is meant and understood. Owls have a very expressive language. They hoot in a fine vocal sound, which has a considerable resemblance to the human voice. This note seems to express complacency, and sometimes rivalship among the males. They likewise use a quick call, and a horrible scream; and they snore and hiss when they mean to threaten and intimidate. The notes of the eagle-kind are shrill and piercing, and, in the scason of love, very much diversified. Ravens, beside their loud croaks, sometimes exert a deep and solemn note, which makes the woods resound. The amorous sound of a crow is strange, and even somewhat ridiculous. In the breeding season, rooks make clumsy attempts towards singing. The par. 5 rot-kind possess a great range of modulation in their voice, as appears by the facility with which they learn to pronounce words, and even short sentences. The coo of the pigeon is amorous and mournful. When the male makes love, or is jealous of rivals, he erects his body, raises the feathers of his neck and head, and employs many strutting and lively gesticulations. To these movements he adds a guttural but not unpleasant kind of speech. When jealous of a rival, he utters the same notes, but gives them a more sharp, and even a menacing tone, The woodpecker, when pleased, sets up a loud and hearty species of laugh. The goat-sucker, or fernowl, from the dusk tili day-break, serenades his mate with sounds similar to the whirling of a spinning
Wheel. Most of the small birds, or passeres, texpress their complacency by sweet modulations, and a variety of melodious sounds. The swallow, by a shrill 'alarm, rouses the attention of his species, and tells them that the hawk approaches. Gregarious and aquatic birds, especially those of the nocturnal kind, who shift their abodes in the dark, are extremely noisy and loquacious; as crañes, wild-geese, wild-ducks, &c. Their perpetual clamour prevents them from dispersing and losing their companions. • We shall now make a few observations on domestic fowls, whose language is best known, and, of course, best'understood. The'voice of the peacock, like those of many birds of the finest plumage, is harsh and 'grating. The braying of asses, or the yelling of cats, are not more disagreeable. The voice of the goose clanks and sounds somewhat like a trumpet; but the gandér, especially when he apprehends danger to the young brood, joined to his threatening aspect, and the movements of his neck, hisses in a manner so formidable as deters the too near approach of children and of small dogs. In the 'duck-kind, the voices of the female and male are remarkably different. The quack of the female is loud and sonorous; but the voice of the drake is harsh, inward, and feeble. The cock'turkey, sometimes, when 'proud, blows 'up his wattles, ereots his feathers, makes a humming noise by vibrating his 'wings, and utters a gobbling kind of sound, which, though we cannot describe, is perfectly understood by his own spécies. When attacked by a boy, or any other adversary, he assumes a pert and petulant tone; and such is the 'obstinate courage he displays, that he will rather die than give up the contest. A hen turkey, when she leads forth her young brood, watehes them with the utmost anxiety. If a'hawk, or any bird' of prey, appear, though very high in the air, the careful and affectionate mother announces the enemy with a low
inward kind of moan. If he makes a nearer approach, her voice becomes earnest and alarminge and her outcries are redoubled both in loudness and frequency. The effects of this interesting eloquence upon the young are astonishing. They understand the intimidating language of the mother, though they know not the immediate cause of the danger; but, by the intuitive knowledge of the meaning of what she says to them, they instantly employ every artifice to conceal and protect themselves from the im: ponding danger. To accomplish this purpose, they rup under hedges, brush-wood, and even the leaves of cabbages and, of such other plants as happen to be near them.
Ņone of our domestic birds seem to possess such a variety of expression and so, copious a language · as common poultry. A chicken of four or five days old, when held up to a window frequented by dies, immediately seizes its prey, and utters little twitterings of complacency; but, if a bee or a waşp be presented to it, its notes instantly become harsh, and expressive of disapprobation, and of a sense of danger. When a hen is about to lay an egg, she intimates her feelings by a joyous and soft note; but she has no sooner disburthened herself, than she rushes forth with a clamorous kind of joy, which the cock and the rest of the hens immediately adopt. This tumultuous noise is not confined to the family, but is transmitted from yard to yard, and spreads to every homestead within hearing, till at last the whole village is in an uproar. When a hen has hatched a brood, a new and interesting scene is exhibited. Her relation as a mother requires a new species of language. She then runs clucking and screaming about, and seems to be agitated with the greatest anxiety. When men or dogs suddenly approach her feeble brøgd, her courage and maternal care are astonishing. With loud cries, and rapid motions, she assails the enemy; neither a man, yor a lion, in these circumstances,
is sufficient to repress the courage of the unarmed bird.' A hen, when attending her young, has been seen boldly to attack, intimidate, and beat off a mastiff. The vocabulary of the cock is likewise pretty extensive, and his generosity is remarkable : when he discovers a quantity of food, instead of devouring it himself, he instantly calls to the hens to partake of the repast; and, if he discerns a bird of prey, or any other alarming danger, with a warning voice he desires his family to be on their guard against the common enemy. The cock has also at command his love speeches, and his terms of defiance. But his most peculiar sound is his crowing, by which, in all ages, he has distinguished himself as the countryman's clock, as the watchman who proclaims the divisions of the night'."
There is one instance, indeed, in which birds discover an astonishing docility, and seem to surpass that degree of intelligence which nature has allotted to their order; and that is, their faculty of imitating and repeating sounds. Though we suspend our belief of the great musical talents which some are said to have acquired by education, we find many well attested instances of a delicate ear in some birds no way remarkable for vocal execution. Madame Piozzi relates of a tame pigeon, that it answered by gesticulation to every note of the harpsichord.' As often as she began to play, it hurried to the concert with marks of rapturous delight. A false note produced in the animal evident tokens of displeasure; if frequently repeated, it lost all temper, and tore her hands. In some birds the ear is sufficiently delicate and precise to enable them to catch and retain a continued series of sounds, and even of words: hence proceed their musical powers; hence, too, * 'their faculty of speaking. Of the parrot we have
heard narrated many wonderful exertions of eloquence, which rather tend to evince the surprise of
• Smellie's Philosopby of Natural History, vol. ii, p. 426.
mankind at the docility of an animal so insipid, than to prove any real attainment. He receives words, without understanding them; his voice, by its flexibility, enables him to repeat them, but he gives them back as he received them; he articulates, but does not speak: for with him articulation does pot proceed from thought, the principle of speech; it is merely an imitation, which represents nothing of what passes within the animal, nor expresses any of his affections.
Elassification. The two grand divisions of the feathered creation are into LAND and WATER Birds, which are again subdivided into six orders.-1. Accipitres, or rapacious birds.—2. Pice, or pies.-3. Passeres, or sparrow kind, including birds of song.–4. Galline, or poultry kind.-5. Grallæ, or waders; and–6. Anseres, or swimmers. Having named the distinguishing characteristics of each order, we shall proceed to describe some of the genera which are least known, generally omitting such as are familiar to our daily obseryation, or have been described in the previous volumes of Time's Telescope.
DIVISION 1.—LAND BIRDS.
Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She
dwelleth and abideth on the rock, and the strong place : thence she seek. eth the prey, and her eyes behold afar off.-Job xxxix, 27-29.
These are birds of prey, and feed entirely on animal food. The bill is more or less curved, strong, and often covered round the base by a naked mem