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rice, and is exceeded both in weight and magnitude by several species of bees.
We shall close this chapter with an account of THE GOLDEN EAGLE. This bird weighs above twelve pounds, and is about three feet long, the wings, when extended, measuring seven feet four inches. The sight and sense of smelling are very acute; the head and neck are clothed with narrow, sharppointed feathers, of a deep brown colour, bordered with tawny; the hind part of the head is of bright rust colour. These birds are very destructive to fawns, lambs, kids, and all kinds of
ame, particularly in the breeding season, when they bring a vast quantity of prey to their young. Smith, in his History of Kerry, relates, that a poor man in that country got a com. fortable subsistence for his family, during a summer of famine, out of an eagle's nest, by robbing the eaglets of the food the old ones brought, whose attendance he protracted beyond the natural time, by clipping the wings and retarding the flight of the former. It is very unsafe to leave infants in places where eagles frequent; there having been instances in Scot land of two being carried off by them; but, fortunately, the thefts were discovered in time, and the children were restored unhurt out of the eagles' nests. In order to extirpate these pernicious birds, there is a law in the Orkney isles, which entitles every person that kills an eagle to a hen out of every house in the parish where it was killed. Eagles seem to give the preference to the carcases of dogs and cats. People who make it their business to kill those birds, lay one of these carcases by way of bait; and then conceal themselves within gun-shot. They fire the instant the eagle alights; for she that moment looks about before she begins to prey. Yet, quick as her sight may be, her sense of hearing seems still more exquisite. If hooded crows or ravens happen to be nearer the carrion, and resort to it first, and give a single croak, the eagle instantly repairs to the spot. These eagles are remarkable for their longevity, and for sustaining a long abstinence from food. Mr. Keysler relates, that an eagle died at Vienna after a confinement of 104 years. This pre-eminent length of days is alluded to by the Psalmist, "Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's."
One of this species, which was nine years in the possession of Owen Holland, Esq. of Conway, lived thirty-two years with the gentleman who made him a present of it; but what its age was, when the latter received it from Ireland, is unknown. The same bird also furnishes us with a proof of the truth of the other remark; having once, through the neglect of servants, endured hunger for twenty-one days without any sustenance whatever.
Here it is proper to take notice of a very singular var ety of the Golden Eagle, described by Mr. Bruce, in his Travels in Abyssinia; for, whether it properly belongs to this species or not, we do not find that it has been, as yet, either arranged under any other, or ranked as a different genus, (which indeed it appears to be,) by Mr. Kerr, or any other ornithologist. Mr. Bruce says, it is not only the largest of the eagle kind, but the largest bird that flies. By the natives it is vulgarly called abon duchem, or, father long-beard. It is not an object of any chase, nor stands in need of any stratagem to bring it within reach. Upon the highest top of mount Lamalmon, while Mr. Bruce's servants were refreshing themselves after their toilsome ascent, and enjoying the pleasure of a most delightful climate, eating their dinner in the open air, with several large dishes of boiled goat's flesh before them, this eagle suddenly made its appearance; he did not stoop rapidly from a height, but came flying slowly along the ground, and sat down close to the meat, within the ring the men had made around it. A great shout, or rather cry of distress, which they raised, made the bird stand for a minute as if to recollect himself; but while the servants ran for their lances and shields, his attention was fully fixed upon the flesh. He put his foot into the pan, where was a large piece in water nearly boiling; but feeling the smart, he withdrew it, and forsook the piece which he held. There were two large pieces, a leg and a shoulder, lying on a wooden platter: into these he struck his claws, and carried them off, skimming slowly along the ground, as he had come, till he disappeared behind a cliff. But being observed, at his departure, to look wistfully at the large piece which remained in the warm water, it was concluded that he would soon return; in expectation of which, Mr. Bruce loaded a rifle gun with ball, and sat down close to the platter by the meat. It was not many minutes before he came; and a prodigious shout was raised by the attendants, "He is coming, he is coming!" enough to have discouraged a less courageous animal. Whether he was not quite so hungry as at his first visit, or suspecting something from Mr. Bruce's appearance, he made a small turn, and sat down about ten yards from him, the pan with the meat being between them. In this situation Mr. Bruce fired, and shot him with the ball through the middle of his body. about two inches below the wing, so that he lay down upon the grass without a single flutter. Upon laying hold of his monstrous carcase, our author was not a little surprised at seeing his hands covered and tinged with yellow dust. Upon turning him upon his belly, and examining the feathers of his back, they produced a brown dust, the colour of the feathers there. The dust was not in small quantities, for, upon striking his breast, the yellow powder flew in a greater quantity than
from a hair-dresser's powder-puff. The feathers of the belly and breast, which were of a gold colour, did not appear to have any thing extraordinary in their formation, but the large feathers in the shoulders and wings seemed apparently to be fine tubes, which, upon pressure, scattered the brown dust upon the finer part of the feathers. Upon the side of the wing, the ribs, or hard part of the feather, seemed to be bare, as if worn, or, in our author's opinion, were rather renewing themselves, having before failed in their function. What the reason is of this extraordinary provision of nature, Mr. Bruce does not attempt to determine. But as it is an unusual one, it is probably meant, he thinks, for a defence against the climate in favour of those birds, which live in those almost inaccessible heights of a country, doomed even in its lower parts to several months' of excessive rain.
This bird, from wing to wing, was eight feet four inches; and from the tip of his tail to the point of his beak, four feet seven inches. He was remarkably short in the legs, being only four inches from the foot to the junction of the leg with the thigh; and from that to the body six inches. The thickness of his thigh was little less than four inches; it was extremely muscular, and covered with flesh. His middle claw was about two inches and a half long, not very sharp at the point, but extremely strong. From the root of the bill to the point was three inches and a quarter, and one inch and three-quarters in breadth at the root. A forked brush of strong hair, divided at the point into two, proceeded from the cavity of his lowe. jaw at the beginning of his throat. His eye was remarkably small in proportion to his bulk, the aperture being scarcely half an inch. The crown of his head, and the front, where the bill and skull 'o'ned, were bald.
CURIOSITIES RESPECTING BIRDS.-Continued.)
The Cuckoo-The Cormorant-The Great Bustard-The AlarmBird-The Carrier, or Courier, Pigeon-The Wild Pigeon, its multiplying Power-Singular Bird, inhabiting a Volcan in Guadaloupe-Curious Adventure of an Owl-Curious Facts in Natural History-The Chick in the Egg.
THE CUCKOO.-We shall introduce this curious bird, with the following well-known beautiful piece of poetry :
HAIL, beauteous stranger of the wood,
Soon as the daisy decks the green,
Delightful visitant! with thee
The school-boy, wand'ring in the wood,
Soon as the pea puts on the b!com,
Sweet bird! thy bow'r is ever green
O could I fly, I'd fly with thee;
This bird is described, in natural history, as a genus of the order of Picæ. Generic character: bill smooth, somewhat bending and weak; nostrils surrounded by a small rim; tongue short and arrowed; toes, two forward and two backward; tail wedge-formed, of ten soft feathers. Gmelin enumerates fifty