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powers of flight will do, but this bird, from its swiftness on the wing, and its muscular energy, is doubtless superior ; nevertheless, old birds, if not kept in active training, are

heavy, and disinclined to very long flights. | We once purchased a very young pair of black

carriers, and having kept them shut up for a few weeks gave them their liberty; after several circles high in the air, they started off in one direction, straight as an arrow, till far out of sight. We gave them up for lost, and having paid a considerable sum for them, were not a little annoyed. This happened about eleven,

At about four, P.M., while on the look out we heard a whirring of wings, and immediately the two birds settled on their dovecote, and were eager for food and drink. Let it be remembered that they had never been previously at liberty, and yet after a voluntary excursion of many miles, they returned with unerring precision to their home; this was repeated so often, till they began to breed, that it gave us no concern respecting their safety, the more especially as they flew above gun-shot reach.

Is it by the eye that these birds travel from long distances to their home? We


cannot doubt it. Hence, if very long distances are to be achieved, training is requisite; they must be accustomed by a graduated series of removals, to at least the greater part of the road; and even then, if a fog obscures their way-marks, they are apt to wander and be lost.

Occasionally we hear of trials of the power of the pigeon (we know not whether the birds are always carriers or not) which are not a little surprising

A given number of birds for example will be turned off in some town in Holland, Belgium, or France, destined for London, or vice versá; we read of the safe arrival of at least the greater number, and of the short space of time in which the journey is accomplished. In such cases, two or three practised birds to take the lead will, no doubt, prove good guides to the rest, which, in their turn, having safely arrived, will guide others. Short distances, however, will easily be performed without much training. Our theory is as follows : a carrier pigeon is taken to a distance, say a hundred miles from home, it is turned loose, it mounts to a great elevation, and performs a series of circles, wider and wider still. At home, it has performed

the same.

Now from any part of the circle, let it perceive an object, which while performing its circles at home, has caught its eye, it bas at once a clue to the right direction; that object attained, a succession of others familiar to it are rapidly passed, till its home greets its keen and long-surveying powers of vision.

This idea struck us forcibly when viewing the prospect from Mont Cassel, near St. Omer. Though this conical mount, once a Roman military occupation, is of no very great elevation, we saw an amphitheatre around us of from fifty to sixty miles in nearly every direction, and across the Manche the white cliffs of the Kentish coast. If a long-sighted pigeon had soared above us, say at the elevation of one mile (its home being in London) we feel assured that its old familiar land-marks would have been at once discerned by it, and have been guide-posts, to direct it in its homeward flight.

Audubon speaking of the passenger pigeon of North America, says that specimens have been killed in the neighbourhood of New York, with their crops full of rice, which must have been collected in the fields of Georgia and

Carolina, those districts being the nearest, in which they could have collected a supply of that grain. The swiftness of the carrier pigeon is equal to that of the passenger pigeon, and is very great, but then much time is lost while it mounts and makes its circles of observation, before it starts fairly on its course. Perhaps the average rapidity is fifty or sixty miles an hour ; but it can wing its way still more expeditiously, when eager to regain its home, and no very great difficulties have to be encountered. M. Antoine informs us that a gentleman residing in Cologne, called by business to Paris, laid a considerable wager that he would give information to his friends of his safe arrival, within three hours. The distance is a hundred leagues; the accomplishment of the object seemed impossible, and the wager was at once accepted. He had brought from Cologne two carrier pigeons, which had nestlings, and arriving at Paris at ten in the morning, he tied a letter to each bird and despatched them both at eleven precisely. One of these pigeons arrived at Cologne at five minutes past one o'clock, and in nine minutes afterwards the other came in ; hence, supposing their flight to have been

direct from an elevation rapidly attained, it could not have been much below the ratio of a hundred and forty or fifty miles an hour. This was, indeed, an extraordinary instance of speed, to which we do not know a parallel, unless Montagu be correct, who estimates the flight of the Peregrine falcon, when pursuing its quarry, at the rate of one hundred and fifty miles an hour.

The Dragoon, or Dragon.—This variety presents, in an inferior degree, the characters of the carrier, and appears to be a cross breed between that variety, and the tumbler or ordinary dove-cote runt. It is smaller and lighter in contour than the carrier, with the carunculated skin at the base of the beak and around the eyes less developed, but with the general figure similar. It is a bird of great powers of flight, but though rapid for short distances, it wants the power of muscular endurance requisite for the swift accomplishment of very long journeys.

The Pouter.—This large pigeon, formerly highly valued by fanciers, and bred with much care, and no little expense, is originally the product of a cross between the dragoon and the old Dutch cropper, so called from the

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