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and southward migrations, the former taking place on the early breaking up of winter, when they revisit their old breeding haunts, the latter in autumn, when the cold of the northern regions commences. In temperate latitudes, however, like our island, many home-bred water-fowl not only remain during the winter, { but are joined by northern visitors. During flight, they assume a definite order, proceeding either in single file, or in the form of a triangle, the leader occasionally changing places with others. Even when traversing the ground they observe a degree of order in the line of their march.

Most species incubate on the ground, but some in the holes of trees or on the broad flat top of large old pollards, and in situations of a similar character. Under these circumstances the parents convey the young to the water in their beak. The summer, or wood duck, of America, (anas sponsa,) pursues this singular plan; and even the common wild duck occasionally. Certain species, as the anas arborea, not only nestle but habitually perch in trees.

THE DOMESTIC DUCK.-This species belongs to the genus anas as restricted by modern naturalists, the male being characterised (at

certain seasons) by curled feathers in the upper tail coverts. The wild origin of our domestic duck, is unquestionably the wellknown species, anas boschas, usually termed the mallard, and which appears to be generally distributed throughout the temperate and colder regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. The mallard is smaller than the tame duck, of a lighter and more graceful figure, and much more quick, observant, and prompt in its actions. In the more northern regions, it is decidedly migratory.

The wild duck pairs early in March, sometimes in the latter part of February, but the male deserts his mate, when the duty of incubation commences, leaving the care of the eggs and young entirely to the female. Hence in the month of May it is not uncommon to see small flocks composed exclusively of males, whose mates are fostering their brood. Wilson says that both parents take charge of their young, but this is an error ; the female, only, rears them, as was first, we believe, pointed out by Mr. Selby. It is in May, moreover, that the male begins to change his colours, losing the curled tail feathers, and the glossy green of the neck, and assuming a plain dress, approximating to that of the female ;* nor is it until the autumnal moult, that he recovers his brilliant tints and fine pencilling. In domestic birds, this change does not occur, or only very partially.

The nest of the wild duck is composed of dried rushes, grass, and coarse stalks, and is usually placed on the ground under the covert of brushwood, or amidst a bower of sheltering herbage, not at any great distance from the water. Occasionally, however, other sites have been selected.

When her nest is approached, the wild duck, like the lapwing, puts various artifices in practice in order to draw off the intruder: she flutters along as if lamed, pretends to escape seizure with difficulty, when having succeeded in her object, she rapidly leaves her astonished pursuer. On quitting her nest, during incubation, for a supply of food and water, she usually covers the eggs with down and dry herbage, no doubt in order to conceal them from observation, and, perhaps, also to preserve their temperature. They vary from ten

* Mr. Selby regards it as an actual change of colour in the feathers, and not the result of a change of plumage or moult.

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to fourteen in number, and are of a bluishi white colour.

The food of the wild duck consists of grain and vegetable matters, slugs, aquatic insects, tadpoles, the fry of fishes, and other aliment. A large bony drum is placed at the lower portion of the windpipe of the male, (both wild and tame, just within the chest.

The domestic duck exceeds the wild bird in size, but is neither so alert nor graceful, and domestication has deprived it of a large portion of its original instincts. Instead of pairing with one mate, the male, as may be seen,

leads his troop of females, steering proudly at their head, but, unlike the gallant chanticleer, he neither defends them, nor calls them to partake of any delicacy. The domestic duck varies considerably in size, and the colour of the plumage ; and many breeds are particularly noted. Among these is the large white Aylesbury breed, which is prevalent in Buckinghamshire, where the rearing of ducks for the markets constitutes at least a part of the business of many cottagers. The Rhone duck, another noted breed, is large, with a darkcoloured plumage, and celebrated for the goodness and flavour of its flesh,

The tame duck often lays more eggs than she can well cover during incubation, but she should never be allowed to sit on more than twelve or fourteen. It is a common practice to put duck eggs under common hens, nor do the latter when the ducklings are hatched distinguish between them and their natural brood. The agitation of the poor hen when her web-footed charge betake themselves to the water, into which, instinct-guided, they fearlessly plunge, cannot have escaped the observation of every reader. That the hen should foster the ducklings she has hatched is not more strange than that the hedge-sparrow or wagtail should rear the young cuckoo, to the destruction of their own young; yet in some instances the hen distinguishes a strange nestling. Some years since we placed a nestling green linnet under a hen, brooding over her just hatched progeny: she at once rejected it with anger, and if not prevented would have killed it. Was this an accidental occurrence, or would it always on trial occur?

Though the young ducklings take early to the water, it is better that they should gain a little strength before they be allowed to ven, ture into ponds or rivers; a shallow vessel of

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