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on worms and the larva of insects, and though it is a great destroyer of earth worms, it is injurious to land and crops, by raising hillocks. The female usually produces four or five young ones about April. The habitations in which they are deposited, are constructed with peculiar care and intelligence. Moles live in pairs, between which a warm attachment subsists.
THE HARE, Lepus Timidus.-Ears tipped with black, eyes prominent, whiskers long, colour a rich brown, mostly abounding on light dry soils.
Of this tribe there are several species, all of which are herbivorous, and exceedingly timid. Their fear is indeed justified by the continual persecution which they experience. The hare numbers among its enemies the sportsman, dogs, cats, all the weasel tribe, birds of prey, &c. so that, although its natural term of life does not usually exceed eight years, it seldom survives half that scanty period. It is endowed with great fleetness and sagacity, and uses a variety of arts to evade the dogs. When pursued, it has been known to push another hare from its seat and lie down there itself. The female breeds four times a year, it goes with young thirty days, and generally brings forth three or four at a time, which are suckled about three weeks, and then left to procure food for themselves. They generally feed in the night, upon the most tender blades of grass, and quench their thirst with the dew. They also live upon roots, leaves, fruit and corn, are particularly fond of parsley, birch, lettuce, pinks, sowthistle, and such plants as are furnished with milky juice, and during winter they strip the bark off trees. They are numerous at Egginton, Sudbury, Chatsworth, Alderwasley, Hopton, Shipley, &c. One of a grey colour is in the collection of preserved animals at Park Hill, the seat of A. N. Moseley, esq.
THE RABBIT, Lepus Cuniculus.—Ears almost naked, pupil of the eyes red.
In fecundity the rabbit far surpasses the hare, as it breeds seven times in the year, and generally produces seven or eight young ones at a time; so that, were this to happen regularly for four years, the progeny from a single pair would amount to almost a million and a half. Their enemies are so numerous as to prevent such amazing increase. Their fur is used in the manufacture of hats. They abound in Middleton wood, Alderwasley, Hopton, Brassington moor, Rowsley, Ible, Griffe grange, &c.
THE BROWN RAT, Mus Decumanus.-Length of the body nine inches, tail nine inches, back tawny, belly a dirty white, feet and legs almost bare, and tail scaly.
This species has nearly extirpated the black rat, but they are a dreadful substitute; they swarm about farm houses, destroying pigeons, poultry, leather, and all kinds of grain in great quantities. Though so rapacious and fierce, they are great cowards, being put to flight in a moment, or destroyed, if caught by the ferret, or by our native animal the weasel, which are both much less than themselves. So prolific are they, and so rapidly do they multiply, that the progeny of a single pair might, in two years time, be swelled to a million. They are therefore very injurious and destructive to mankind.
THE WATER RAT, Mus Amphibius. —Length of the body seven inches, tail five inches, body covered with long hairs, brownish black, belly grey, tail black, ears and eyes small.
THE COMMON MOUSE, Mus Musculus.-Differs very little from the common rat except in size, in other respects similar.
This well-known little animal, which is diffused in great numbers over almost every part of the world, seems a constant attendant on man. Its enemies are numerous and powerful, and it has no means of resistance; its amazing fecundity only, saves it from extinction. Its skin is sleek and soft, its eyes are bright and lively, all its limbs are formed with exquisite delicacy, and its motions are smart and active.
THE FIELD MOUSE, Mus Sylvaticus.— Is larger than the common mouse, back brown, belly grey.
THE SHORT-TAILED FIELD Mouse, Mus Arvalis.— Length of the body two inches and a half, tail two inches, ears naked, weight one-sixth of an ounce. They live in burrows under ground, and feed principally on acorns, nuts, and beech mast.
The harvest mouse is the smallest of British quadrupeds. This kind makes a beautiful nest, which they hang above the ground, and produce eight or nine young ones; in winter they burrow deep in the earth, and make warm beds of grass; but their grand rendezvous is in corn ricks, into which they are carried in harvest.
THE DORMOUSE, Myoxus Muscardinus.—Found in oat ricks.
THE SHREW MOUSE, Sorex Araneus.-Snout and tail long, above brown, beneath dirty white, five toes on each foot, small eyes, length four inches, weight 1 oz.
THE WATER SHREW, Sorex Fodiens.
THE COMMON SQUIRREL, Sciurus Vulgaris.-Colour reddish brown, belly white, ears tufted, tail a brush, upper fore-teeth like wedges, lower compressed.
It is said to do much injury to fir plantations in severe winters. Though naturally wild, it soon becomes familiarized to confinement; and though timid, it is easily taught to receive the most familiar caresses from the hand that feeds it, which causes it to be a general favourite. It usually lives in woods, and seldom descends upon the ground, but leaps from
tree to tree with surprising agility. It feeds on nuts, fruits, acorns, &c. in winter, and in summer on buds and young shoots. When it eats it sits erect, and uses its fore-feet as hands to convey food to its mouth. They are numerous at Kedleston.
THE BAT, Vespertilio Murinus.-The common English bat is about the size of a mouse, teeth sharp and pointed, length two inches and a half, and flies like a bird.
The membranes, commonly called wings, are, in fact, nothing more than an extension of the skin all round the body; the skin is stretched on every side, when the animal flies, by the four inner toes of the fore-feet. They drink on the wing like the swallow, by sipping the surface as they play over pools and streams. They love to frequent waters, not only for the sake of drink, but on account of insects, which are found over them in the greatest plenty. They feed upon gnats, moths, and nocturnal insects of every kind, and appear only in the most pleasant evenings, when such prey is abroad. The bat, of which there are several species, seems at first sight to belong to the class of birds, or at least to constitute the link which connects the tribes of birds and beasts. Its hair, teeth, habits and conformation, all combine to rank it among quadrupeds.
THE LONG-EARED BAT, Vespertilio Auritus.-This is one of the most common English bats, and may be frequently seen during the summer evenings, pursuing the various insects on which it feeds.
THE GREAT BAT, Vespertilio Noctula.-The largest of the British species.
CLASS 2. BIRDS.
Or all the classes of animated creation, there is no one more calculated at once to afford pleasure and excite astonishment than that which consists of the feathered tribes. That a living creature, often of great magnitude, should be able to traverse rapidly and to remain buoyant in so thin a medium as the atmosphere, is alone sufficient to excite wonder. When we come to examine the means by which this is effected, we shall find abundant reason to admire the wisdom of the Creator, in so perfectly adapting each part to answer its intended purpose. The feathers are furnished with glands to secrete an oily matter, that they may not absorb wet; the bones are exceedingly light, yet strong; the muscles which belong to the wings are of such magnitude, that they constitute not less than one-sixth of the body; air vessels are extended through the whole frame, to prevent the respiration from being stopped by the rapidity of the flight; the sight is piercing, and the eyes are defended from injury by a membrane, which can be dropped over them at will; and the shape of the bird is that which is most proper for moving rapidly through the regions of air.
Ornithology, and every other branch of Natural History, has been studied with peculiar care, diligence and success by Willoughby (a native of Derbyshire) Ray, Edwards, Latham, Shaw and Pennant. The last-mentioned author has given so full and accurate a description of the birds found in Great Britain, that very little additional information can be given, by describing those found in any particular district. However, it may be useful to give a Catalogue of such as have been observed in this county. Derbyshire, being in the centre of the kingdom, and having a variety of surface and a difference or change of climate within so short a space, is perhaps furnished with as great a variety of the feathered tribe as any other district in the island of Great Britain.
A good ornithologist, says the Rev. G. White, should be able to distinguish birds in the air as well as by their colours and shape; on the ground as well as on the wing, and in the bush as well as in the hand. For, though it must not be said that every species of birds has a manner peculiar to itself, yet there is somewhat in most genera at least, that at first sight discriminates them, and enables a judicious observer to pronounce upon them with some certainty. Put a bird in motion
Et vera incessu patuit
Thus kites and buzzards sail round in circles with wings expanded and motionless; and it is from their gliding manner that the former are still called in the north of England gleads, from the Saron verb glidan, to glide. The kestrel or wind-hover, has a peculiar mode of hanging in the air in one place, his wings all the while being briskly agitated. Henhariers fly low over heaths or fields of corn, and beat the ground regularly like a pointer or setter-dog. Owls move in a buoyant manner, as if lighter than the air; they seem to want ballast. There is a peculiarity belonging to ravens that must draw the attention even of the most incurious-they spend all their leisure time in striking and cuffing each other on the wing in a kind of playful skirmish; and when they move from one place to another, frequently turn on their backs with a loud croak, and seem to be falling to the ground. When this odd gesture betides them, they are scratching themselves with one foot, and thus lose the centre of gravity. Rooks sometimes dive and tumble in a frolicsome manner; crows and daws swagger in their walk; woodpeckers fly volatu undoso, opening and closing
their wings at every stroke, and so are always rising or falling in curves. All of this genus use their tails, which incline downward, as a support while they run up trees. Parrots, like all other hooked-clawed birds, walk awkwardly, and make use of their bill as a third foot, climbing and descending with ridiculous caution. All the galline parade and walk gracefully, and run nimbly; but fly with difficulty, with an impetuous whirring, and in a straight line. Magpies and jays flutter with powerless wings, and make no despatch; herons seem encumbered with too much sail for their light bodies; but these vast hollow wings are necessary in carrying burthens, such as large fishes, and the like; pigeons, and particularly the sort called smiters, have a way of clashing their wings the one against the other over their backs with a loud snap; another variety called tumblers turn themselves over in the air. Some birds have movements peculiar to the season of love: thus ring-doves, though strong and rapid at other times, yet in the spring hang about on the wing in a toying and playful manner; thus the cock-snipe, while breeding, forgetting his former flight, fans the air like the wind-hover: and the green-finch in particular exhibits such languishing and faltering gestures as to appear like a wounded and dying bird; the king-fisher darts along like an arrow; fern-owls, or goat-suckers, glance in the dusk over the tops of trees like a meteor; starlings, as it were, swim along, while missel-thrushes use a wild and desultory flight; swallows sweep over the surface of the ground and water, and distinguish themselves by rapid turns and quick evolutions; swifts dash round in circles; and the bankmartin moves with frequent vacillations like a butterfly. Most of the small birds fly by jerks, rising and falling as they advance. Most small birds hop; but wagtails and larks walk, moving their legs alternately. Skylarks rise and fall perpendicularly as they sing; woodlarks hang poised in the air; and titlarks rise and fall in large curves, singing in their descent. The white-throat uses odd jerks and gesticulations over the tops of hedges and bushes. All the duck-kind waddle; divers and auks walk as if fettered, and stand erect on their tails: these are the compedes of Linnæus. Geese and cranes, and most wild-fowls, move in figured flights, often changing their position. The secondary remiges of Tringa, wild ducks, and some others, are very long, and give their wings, when in motion, an hooked appearance. Dab-chicks, moor-hens, and coots, fly erect, with their legs hanging down, and hardly make any despatch; the reason is plain, their wings are placed too forward out of the true centre of gravity; as the legs of auks and divers are situated too backward.
From the motion of birds, the transition is natural enough to their notes and language, of which we shall say something. Not that we would pretend to understand their language like the vizier; who, by the recital of a conversation which passed between two owls, reclaimed a sultan, before delighting in conquest and devastation; but we would be thought only to mean that many of the winged tribes have various sounds and voices adapted to express their various passions, wants, and feelings; such as anger, fear, love, hatred, hunger, and the like. All species are not equally eloquent; some are copious and fluent, as it were, in their utterance, while others are confined to a few important sounds: no bird, like the fish kind, is quite mute, though some are rather silent. The language of birds is very ancient, and, like other ancient modes of speech, very elliptical; little is said, but much is meant and understood.
The notes of the eagle kind are shrill and piercing; and about the season of nidification much diversified. The notes of our hawks much resemble those of the king of birds. Owls have very expressive notes; they hoot in a fine vocal sound, much resembling the vor humana, and reducible by a pitch-pipe to a musical key. This note seems to express complacency and rivalry among the males; they use also a quick call and a horrible scream; and can snore and hiss when they mean to menace. Ravens, beside their loud croak, can exert a deep and solemn note that makes the woods to echo; the amorous sound of a crow is strange and ridiculous; rooks, in the breeding season, attempt sometimes, in the gaiety of their hearts, to sing, but with no great success; the parrot kind have many modulations of voice, as appears by their aptitude to learn human sounds; doves coo in an amorous and mournful manner, and are emblems of despairing lovers; the woodpecker sets up a sort of loud and hearty laugh; the fern-owl, or goat-sucker, from the dusk till day-break, serenades his mate with the clattering of castanets. All the tuneful passeres express their complacency by sweet modulations, and a variety of melody. The swallow, by a shrill alarm, bespeaks the attention of the other hirundines, and bids them be aware that the hawk is at hand. Aquatic and gregarious birds, especially the nocturnal, that shift their quarters in the dark, are very noisy and loquacious; as cranes, wild-geese, wild-ducks, and the like; their perpetual clamour prevents them from dispersing and losing their companions.
In so extensive a subject, sketches and outlines are as much as can be expected: for it would be endless to instance in all the infinite variety of the feathered nation. We shall therefore confine the remainder of these observations to the few domestic fowls of our yards, which are most known, and therefore best understood. And first the peacock, with his gorgeous train, demands our attention; but, like most of the gaudy birds, his notes are grating and shocking to the ear: the yelling of cats, and the braying of an ass, are not more disgust
* See Spectator, Vol. vii. No. 512.
ful. The voice of the goose is trumpet-like and clanking; and once saved the Capitol at Rome, as grave historians assert: the hiss also of the gander is formidable and full of menace, and "protective of his young." Among ducks the sexual distinction of voice is remarkable; for while the quack of the female is loud and sonorous, the voice of the drake is inward and harsh, and feeble, and scarcely discernible. The cock turkey struts and gobbles to his mistress in a most uncouth manner; he hath also a pert and petulant note when he attacks his adversary. When a hen turkey leads forth her young brood she keeps a watchful eye and if a bird of prey appear, though ever so high in the air, the careful mother announces the enemy with a little inward moan, and watches him with a steady and attentive look; but, if he approach, her note becomes earnest and alarming, and her outcries are redoubled.
No inhabitants of a yard seem possessed of such a variety of expression and so copious a language as common poultry. Take a chicken of four or five days old, and hold it up to a window where there are flies, and it will immediately seize its prey, with little twitterings of complacency; but if you tender it a wasp or a bee, at once its note becomes harsh and expressive of disapprobation and a sense of danger. When a pullet is ready to lay, she intimates the event by a joyous and easy soft note. Of all the occurrences of their life that of laying seems to be the most important; for no sooner has a hen disburthened herself, than she rushes forth with a clamorous kind of joy, which the cock and the rest of his mistresses immediately adopt. The tumult is not confined to the family concerned, but catches from yard to yard, and spreads to every homestead within hearing, till at last the whole village is in an uproar. As soon as a hen becomes a mother her new relation demands a new language; she then runs clucking and screaming about, and seems agitated as if possessed. The father of the flock has also a considerable vocabulary; if he finds food, he calls a favourite concubine to partake; and if a bird of prey passes over, with a warning voice he bids his family beware. The gallant chanticleer has, at command, his amorous phrases and his terms of defiance. But the sound by which he is best known is his crowing: by this he has been distinguished in all ages as the countryman's clock or larum, as the watchman that proclaims the divisions of the night. Thus the poet elegantly styles him
the crested cock, whose clarion sounds The silent hours."
According to the most generally received modification of the Linnæan System, the LAND BIRDS are divided into five Orders, viz. 1st, ACCIPITRES (rapacious ;) 2nd, PICA (the pie kind;) 3rd, PASSERES (passerine, or sparrow kind;) 4th, COLUMBE, or PALUMBES (the doves;) 5th, GALLINE (gallinaceous.) The WATER BIRDS are divided into three Orders, 6th, GRALLE (waders ;) 7th, PINNATIPEDES (with pinnated feet ;) and 8th, PALMIPEDES (web-footed.) A more detailed description of the Orders and Genera will be found below.
ORDER 1. ACCIPITRES.
Bill more or less incurved, the upper mandible either dilated towards the point, or armed with a tooth-like process each side; legs short, with three toes forwards and one backwards ; toes warty underneath.
1. Falco, bill hooked, covered with a naked cere at the base; nostrils placed in the cere; tongue cloven; middle toe connected with the outermost as far as the first joint.
2. Stria, bill hooked, without cere; nostrils oblong, covered with recumbent bristles; tongue cloven; head, ears and eyes large; outmost toe capable of being turned backwards; exterior web of the outer quill-feather serrate.
3. Lanius, bill straight, hooked at the end, with a tooth each side of the upper mandible near the tip, naked at the base; tongue jagged at the end; outer toe connected to the middle one as far as the first joint.
• The Rev. Gilbert White, in his Natural History of Selborne, says, "A neighbouring gentleman one summer had lost most of his chickens by a sparrow-hawk, that came gliding down between a fagot pile and the end of his house to the place where the coops stood. The owner, inwardly vexed to see his flock thus diminishing, hung a setting net adroitly between the pile and the house, into which the caitiff dashed, and was entangled. Resentment suggested the law of retaliation; he therefore clipped the hawk's wings, cut off his talons, and fixing a cork on his bill, threw him down among the brood-hens. Imagination cannot paint the scene that ensued; the expressions that fear, rage, and revenge, inspired, were new, or at least such as had been unnoticed before: the exasperated matrons upbraided, they execrated, they insulted, they triumphed. In a word, they never desisted from buileting their adversary till they had torn him in an hundred pieces."
ORDER 2. PICA.
Bill sharp-edged, convex above, without the tooth-like process on the upper mandible. 1. With three toes before and one behind.
4. Corvus, bill mostly straight, strong, pointed; nostrils covered with recumbent bristles; tongue cloven at the end; outer toe connected with the middle one as far as the first joint.
9. Sitta, bill straight, strong, pointed, the upper mandible a little longer, compressed and angular at the tip; nostrils covered with recumbent bristles; tongue short, with a horny jagged point; middle toe closely connected to the others at the base, the back toe as large as the middle one.
10. Certhia, bill slender, bowed, acute; tongue shorter than the bill, pointed; tail of twelve stiff pointed feathers; hind toe very large; claws long, hooked.
8. Alcedo, bill triangular, straight, strong, pointed; nostrils covered with feathers; tongue very short, flat, acute; middle toe connected by the three lower joints to the outer
2. With two toes before and two behind, all divided to their origin.
5. Cuculus, bill roundish, weak, a little bowed; nostrils bordered by a narrow rim; tongue arrow-shaped, short, pointed; tail of ten long wedge-shaped feathers.
6. Jyna, bill roundish, slightly curved, weak; nostrils concave, without feathers; tongue very long, slender, cylindrical, with a horny point; tail of ten even soft rounded feathers.
7. Picus, bill angular, straight, strong, wedge-shaped at the tip; nostrils covered with recumbent bristles; tongue very long, cylindrical, with a horny jagged point; tail of ten stiff pointed feathers.
ORDER 3. PASSERES.
Bill conic, pointed; nostrils oval, pervious; toes slender, three before and one behind; claws slender, curved.
1. With a thick conic bill.
14. Loxia, bill strong, convex above and below, very thick and rounded at the base; the lower mandible bent in at the edge; nostrils small, round, at the base of the bill; tongue entire, truncate.
15. Emberiza, bill strong, conic; the sides of each mandible bending inwards; the upper one narrower, with a hard gibbosity in the roof; tongue pointed, covered with a hard scale at the end.
16. Fringilla, bill perfectly conic, slender towards the end, pointed; tongue covered at the end with a hard scale.
2. Upper mandible a little bent at the point.
22. Hirundo, bill short, small and a little incurved at the point, broad and depressed at the base; nostrils open; tongue short, broad, cloven; gape larger than the head; wings long; tail forked.
23. Caprimulgus, bill short, a little incurved at the point, depressed at the base, with a row of stiff bristles at the base of the upper mandible; nostrils tubular, a little prominent; tongue small, entire; tail entire, of forty feathers; toes connected as far as the first joint; the claw of the middle one broadish and serrate.
3. Upper mandible slightly notched near the point.
12. Turdus, bill nearly straight, a little bending towards the point; nostrils oval, naked; mouth with a few slender hairs at the corners; tongue slightly jagged at the end; middle toe connected to the outer as far as the first joint.
13. Ampelis, bill straight, a little convex, bending towards the point: nostrils hid in reflected bristles; tongue sharp, cartilaginous, cloven: middle toe connected with the first as far as the first joint.
17. Muscicapa, bill flattish at the base, nearly triangular, beset with bristles at the base; tongue cloven, rough on the sides; toes divided to their origin.
4. Bill straight, taper, entire.
11. Sturnus, bill subulate, angular, depressed, rather obtuse, the edges of the upper mandible a little spreading: nostrils surrounded with a rim; tongue cloven, acute; middle toe connected to the outer as far as the first joint.
18. Alauda, bill straight, slender, a little curved at the point; nostrils partly covered with feathers and bristles; tongue cloven, acute; toes divided to their origin; the hindclaw very long and more straight.
19. Motacilla, bill straight, weak, slender, slightly notched at the end; nostrils covered with bristles; tongue lacerated at the point; wings short; tail very long.
20. Sylvia, bill straight, weak, slender; nostrils obovate, a little depressed; tongue cloven; middle toe connected underneath to the outer one at the base.