Illustrations of British Ornithology: Land birds

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proprietor, and published, 1833

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Página 282 - Bewick's observations on the plumage of the linnet were made upon caged birds, I am not surprised at his assertion of its always retaining the same appearance; for I have repeatedly verified the fact of its never acquiring, under confinement, those brilliant tints which distinguish it at a particular period of the year when in a state of liberty. I will adduce one instance strikingly to the point in question. For some particular purpose of observation, a linnet was shot more than two years ago, towards...
Página 296 - ... the end of that year). Many of the females killed by Mr. Selby showed plainly, from the denuded state of their breasts, that they had been engaged in incubation some time previous to their arrival ; which circumstance, he observes, agrees with the account given of the early period at which they breed in higher latitudes.
Página 196 - ... or destroyed. This flight must have been immense in quantity, as its extent was traced through the whole length of the coasts of Northumberland and Durham. There appears little doubt of this having been a migration from the more northern provinces of Europe, (probably furnished by the pine-forests of Norway, Sweden, &c.), from the circumstance of its arrival being simultaneous with that of large flights of the Woodcock, Fieldfare, and Redwing.
Página 197 - This happened towards the conclusion of the month of January 1823, and a few days previous to the long-continued snow-storm so severely felt through the northern counties of England, and along the eastern parts of Scotland. The range and point of this migration are unascertained, but it must probably have been a distant one, from the fact of not a single pair having returned to breed, or pass the succeeding summer, in the situations they had been known always to frequent. Nor was one of the species...
Página 42 - I endeavoured, by keeping the barrel of my gun close to my cheek, and suddenly elevating its muzzle when they were in the act of striking, to ascertain whether they had the power of instantaneously changing the direction of their rapid course, and found that they invariably rose above the obstacle with the quickness of thought, showing equal acuteness of vision and power of motion.
Página 270 - In Northumberland and Scotland, this separation takes place about the month of November, and from that period till the return of spring, few females are to be seen, and those few always in distinct societies. — The males remain, and are met with, during the winter, in immense flocks, feeding with other...
Página 234 - Durham as early as the month of November. Selby says that in the winter of 1810 large flocks were dispersed through various parts of the kingdom, and that from that period it does not seem to have visited our island till the month of February, 1822, when a few came under his inspection, and several were again observed during the severe storm in the winter of 1823. Montagu...
Página 287 - The nest is built in a bush or low tree, (such as willow, alder, or hazel,) of moss and the stalks of dry grass, intermixed with down from the catkin of the willow, which also forms the lining, and renders it a particularly soft and warm receptacle for the eggs and young. From this substance being a constant material of the nest, it follows, that the young are produced late in the season, and are seldom able to fly before the end of June, or the beginning of July. The eggs are four or five in number...
Página 384 - During summer, however, and when moulting, they do not tree, but squat among the long grass and cover, offering themselves in this way an easy prey to another class of enemies, polecats, foxes, &c. When pheasants are numerous, Mr Selby observes, " the males are in general found associated during the winter, and separate from the females ; and it is not until the end of March that they allow the approach of the latter without exhibiting signs of displeasure, or at least of indifference. At the...
Página 52 - That it will do so, under some circumstances, is evident, since birdcatchers have discovered the Kestrel in the very act of pouncing their bird-calls ; and I have myself caught it in a trap baited with a bird. In summer, the cockchafer supplies to this species an object of pursuit and food, and the following curious account given from an eye-witness of the fact.

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