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on the ground; among which are woodcocks, snipes, partridges, quails, field-fares, and several others. In the depth of winter, people sometimes take great numbers of larks by nooses of horse-hair. The method is this: take 100 or 200 yards of packthread; fasten at every six inches a noose made of double-horse hair; at every 20 yards the line is to be pegged down to the ground, and so left ready to take them. The time to use this is when the ground is covered with snow, and the larks are to be allured to it by some white oats, scattered among the mooses. They will soon fly to them, and, in eating, will be hung by the nooses. They must be taken away as soon as three or four are hung, otherwise the rest will be frightened; but though the others are scared away just where the sportsman comes, some will be feeding at the other end of the line, and the sport may be thus continued for a long time. As the sky-lark is a kind of mocking-bird, and apt to catch the note of any other which hangs near it, even after its own note is fixed, the birdfanciers often place it next to one which has not been long caught, in order to keep the caged sky-lark honest. Plate II. Aves, fig. 1. 2. A. arborea, wood-lark of English writers, is specifically characterised by a white annular belt, encircling its head. This bird is smaller than the sky-lark, and of a shorter thicker form; the colours of the plumage , are paler; the first feather of the wing is shorter than the second; the hind claw is very long and somewhat bent; it perches on trees; it haunts the uncultivated tracts near copses, without penetrating the woods, whence its name; its song resembles more the warble of the nightingale, or the whistling of the black-bird, than that of the sky-lark; its note being less sonorous and less varied, though not less sweet; and it is heard not only in the day, but in the night, both when it flies and when it sits on a bough. This bird builds on the ground, and forms its nest on the outside with moss, and on the inside with dried bents, lined with a few hairs, and conceals it with a turf; and the situation it selects is ground where the grass is rank, or become brown. It lays four or five eggs, which are dusky and blotched with deep brown; its fecundity is inferior to that of the sky-lark, and its numbers are not so great: it breeds earlier, since its young are sometimes flown in the middle of March, and therefore they pair in February, at which time, and not before, they part with their last year's brood; whereas the - common lark does not hatch before the
month of May. This is a very tender and delicate bird; so that it is impossible to rear the young taken out of the nest: but this is the case only in England and such cold climates, for in Italy they are removed from the nest, and reared at first like the nightingale, and afterwards fed upon panic and millet. The wood-lark feeds on beetles, caterpillars, and seeds: its tongue is forked; its stomach muscular and fleshy; and it has no craw, but a moderate dilatation of the lower part of the oesophagus, and its coeca are very small. It lives ten or twelve years. The males are distinguished from the females by their larger size; the crown of the head is also of a darker colour, and the hind mail longer; its breast is more spotted, and its great wing-quills edged with olive, which in the female is grey. The wood-lark mounts
high, warbling its notes, and hovering in the
air; it flies in flocks during the winter colds; it is found in Sweden and Italy, and is probably dispersed through the intervening countries, and consequently over the greatest part of Europe. It is also found in Siberia, as far as Kamtschatka, and likewise in the island of Madeira. The best time for taking this bird for the cage is July, or the preceding or following month. Those that are put into the cage at this time, sing presently, but their song-time is not lasting, for they soon fall to moulting, in which state many die ; but if they get over it, they commonly prove very healthful afterwards, become very tame and familiar, and sing sweetly. Those which are taken in the latter end of September are generally very strong and sprightly; but they do not sing till after Christmas. Those taken in January and February finally prove the best of all; they generally begin singing in two or three days, or at the utmost in a week after they are taken. The cock-bird of this kind is known from the hen by the loudness and length of his call, by his tallness as he walks about the cage, and by his doubling his notes in the evening, as if he were going with his mate to roost. A better rule than all others, however, is his singing strong; for the hen wood-lark sings but very weakly. Both the cock and hen of this kind are tender, and subject to many disorders; the principal of these are cramps, giddiness of the head, and breeding lice. Cleanliness is the best cure for the first and the last of these complaints; but we know of no cure for the other. A good strong bird will last very well for five or six years, and frequently improve during the whole of this time. The lark is not only a very agreeable bird for
the cage, but it will also live upon almost any food, so that it have once a week a
fresh tuft of three-leaved grass put into the .
cage with it. The wood-lark is one of the sweetest of our singing-birds, and is indeed very little inferior to the nightingale, when in good health; but we are not to judge by such as are made feeble by improper food, or want of cleanliness in their cages. ALBINOS, in zoology, a denomination given to the white negroes of Africa, who have light hair, blue eyes, and a white body, resembling that of the Europeans, when viewed at a distance; but, upon a nearer approach, the whiteness is pale and livid, like that of leprous persons, or of a dead body. Their eyes are so weak that they can hardly see any object in the day, or bear the rays of the sun, and yet, when the moon shines, they see as well, and run through the deepest shades of their forests, with as much ease and activity, as other men do in the brighest day-light. Their complexion is delicate; they are less robust and vigorous than other men; they generally sleep in the day, and go abroad in the night. The negroes regard them as monsters, and will not allow them to propagate their kind. In Africa this variety of the human species very frequently occurs. Wafer informs us, that there are white Indians of the same general characte: among the yellow or copper-coloured Indians of the isthmus of Darien. It has been a subject of inquiry, whether these men form a peculiar and distinct race, and a permanent variety of the human species, or are merely individuals who have aecidentally degenerated from their original stock. Buffon inclines to the latter opinion, and he alleges in proof of it, that in the isthmus of America a husband and wife, both of a copper colour, produced one of these white children; so that the singular colour and constitution of these white Indians must be a species of disease which they derive from their parents; and the production of whites by negro parents, which sometimes happens, confirms the same theory. According to this author, white appears to be the primitive colour of nature, which may be varied, by climate, food, and manners, to yellow, brown, and black; and which, in certain circumstances, returns, but so much altered, that it has no resemblance to the original whiteness, because it has been adulterated by the causes that are assigned. Nature, he says, in her most perfect exertions, made men white; and the same nature, after suf. fering every possible change, still renders
them white: but the natural or specific whiteness is very different from the individual or accidental. Of this we have examples in vegetables, as well as in men and other animals. A white rose is very different, even in the quality of whiteness, from a red rose, which has been rendered white by the autumnal frosts. He deduces a farther proof that these white men are merely degenerated individuals, from the comparative weakness of their constitution, and from the extreme feebleness of their eyes. This last fact, he says, will appear to be less singular, when it is considered that in Europe very fair men have generally weak eyes; and he has remarked that their organs of hearing are often dull: and it has been alleged by others, that dogs of a perfectly white colour are deaf. This is a subject which demands farther investigation. Buffon's Natural History.
ALBUCA, in botany, a genus of the Hexandria Monogynia class and order: corolla six-petalled; the inner ones connivent; outer ones spreading; style triangular: this genus is distinguished into those species, three of whose stamina are fertile; and into others in which all the stamina are fertile : of the former there are six species; of the latter eight. They are all found at the Cape. ALBUMEN, in chemistry, a term to denote the white of egg, and all glary, tasteless substances, which, like it, have the property of coagulating into a white, opaque, tough, solid substance, when heated a little under the boiling point. This substance forms a constituent of many of the fluids of animal bodies, and when coagulated, it constitutes also an important part of their solids. Substances analogous to it have been noticed in the vegetable kingdom. The essential characters of albumen are the following: 1. In its natural state it is soluble in water, and forms a glary, limpid liquid, having very little taste: in this state it may be employed as a paste and a-varnish. 2. The solusion is coagulated by acids, in the same way as milk is acted upon; and also by heat of the temperature of 170°, and by alcohol. 3. Dissolved in water, it is precipitated by the infusion of tan; and also in the form of white powder by the salts of most of the white metals, as silver, mercury, lead, and tin. 4. When burnt it emits ammonia, and when treated with nitric acid, yields azotic gas. The juice of the papaw tree yields albumen; so also does the juice of the fruit of the hibiscus esculentus: that obtained from the latter has been used in the West Indies as a substitue for whites of eggs in clarifying sugar. ALBURNUM, denotes the white, soft substance that lies between the inner bark and the wood of trees, composed of layers of the former, which have not attained the solidity of the latter, Plants, after they have germinated, do not remain stationary, but are continually increasing in size. A tree, for instance, every season adds considerably to its bulk. The roots send forth new shoots, and the old ones become longer and thicker. The same increment takes place in the branches and the trunk. A new layer of wood, or rather of alburnum, is added annually to the tree in every part, just under the bark; and the former layer of alburnum assumes the appearance of perfect wood. The alburnum is found in largest quantities in trees that are vigorous; though in such as languish and are sickly there is a great number of beds. In an oak six inches in diameter the alburnum is said to be nearly equal in bulk to the wood. ALCA, auk, in ornithology a genus of the order of Anseres, in the Linnaean system, the characters of which are, that the bill is without teeth, short, compressed, convex, frequently furrowed transversely; the inferior mandible is gibbous before the base; the nostrils are behind the bill; and the feet have generally three toes. This genus comprehends 12 species, of which we shall notice the following: A. torda, with four furrows on the bill, and a white line on each side running from the bill to the eyes. This is the alca of Clusius and Brisson; the pinguin of Buffon; and the razor-bill, auk, or murre of Pennant, Ray, Willughby, Albinus, Edwards, and Latham. This species weighs about 22, ounces; its length is about 18 inches, and breadth 27. These birds, in company with the guillemot, appear in our seas in the beginning of February; but do not settle in their breeding-places till they begin to lay, about the beginning of May. When they take possession of the ledges of the highest rocks that hang over the sea, they sit close together, and in rows one above another, and form a very grotesque appearance. They lay only one egg at a time, which is of a large size, in proportion to that of the bird; being three inches long, either white or of a pale sea-green, irregularly spotted with black: if this egg be destroyed, both the auk and the guillemot will lay another, and if this be taken, a third; as they make no nest, they deposit the egg on the bare rock, poising it in such a manner
as no human art can effect, and fixing it by means of the viscous moisture that bedevs its surface on its exclusion; and though such multitudes of eggs are contiguous to each other, each bird distinguishes its own. These eggs serve as food to the inhabitants of the coasts which the birds frequent; and are procured with great hazard by persons let down with ropes, held by their companions, and who for want of stable footing are sometimes precipitated down the rocks, and perish together. They are found in the northern parts of America, Europe, and Asia. They come to breed on the Ferroe islands, along the west of England, and on the Isle of Wight, where they add to the multitude of sea-fowl that inhabit the great rocks called the Needles. Their winter residence is not positively ascertained. As they cannot remain on the sea in that season, and never appear on shore, nor retire to southern climates, Edwards supposes that they pass the winter in the caverns of rocks, which open under water, but rise internally as much above the level of the flood as to admit a recess, and here, as he apprehends, they remain torpid, and live upon their abundant fat. The pace of this bird is heavy and sluggish; and its ordinary posture is that of swimming or floating on the water, or lying stretched on the rocks or on the ice. A. impennis, A. major of Brisson, penguin of Ray, Martin, Edwards, &c. and great auk of Pennant and Latham, has its bill compressed and furrowed on both sides, and has an oval spot on each side before the eyes. Its length to the end of its toes is three feet; the bill to the corner of the mouth is 4; inches: the wings are so small as to be useless for flight; their length, from the tip of the longest quill-feathers to the first joint, being only 4, inches: and these birds are therefore observed by seamen never to wander beyond soundings, and by the sight of them they are able to ascertain the nearness of the land. They can scarcely even walk, and of course continue on the water, except in the time of breeding. According to Mr. Martin, they breed on the isle of St. Kilda, appearing there in the beginning of May, and retiring in the middle of June. They lay one egg, six inches long, of a white colour; and if the egg be taken away, no other is laid in the same season. Mr. Macaulay, in his history of St. Kilda, observes, that this bird does not visit that island annually, but sometimes keeps away for several years together; and that it lays its eggs close to the sea-mark, and is inca
pable, by the shortness of its wings, of mounting higher. Birds of this species are said not to be numerous; they seldom appear on the coasts of Norway. They are met with near Newfoundland and Iceland. They do not resort annually to the Ferroe islands, and they rarely descend more to the south in the European seas. They feed on the cyclopterus and such fish, and on the rose-root and other plants. The skins are used by the Esquimaux for garments. These birds live in flocks at sea, and never approach the land except in very severe cold; and in this case they are so numerous, that they cover the water like a thick dark fog. The Greenlanders drive them on the coast, and catch them with the hand, as they can neither run nor fly. At the mouth of the Ball river they afford subsistence to the inhabitants in the months of February and March, and their down serves to line winter garments. Plate II. Aves, fig. 2. A. psittacula, or perroquetauk of Pennant and Latham, is found in the sea that lies between the northern parts of Asia and America, sometimes by day in flocks swimming on the water, though not very far from land, mnless driven out by storms, and in the night harbouring in the crevices of rocks. About the middle of June they lay upon the rocks or sand a single egg, about the size of that of a hen, and of a dirty white or yellowish colour, spotted with brown, which is esteemed good. These birds, like others of the same class, are stupid, and are mostly taken by the natives, who place themselves in the evening among the rocks, dressed in garments of fur with large open sleeves, into which the birds fly for shelter as the night comes on, and thus they become an easy prey. They sometimes at sea mistake a ship for a roosting place, and thus warn navigators of their being near the land at the access of night, or on the approach of storms. A. cirrhata, tufted auk of Pennant and Latham, is entirely black, nearly 18 inches long; swimming about for whole days in the sea, where it dives well, and occasionally flies swiftly, but never departing far from the rocks and islands; and feeding on shrimps, crabs, and other shell-fish, which it forces from the rocks with its strong bill; in the night it comes to shore, burrows about a yard deep under ground, and makes a nest with feathers and sea-weed, in which it iodges with its mate, being monogamous. It lays one egg in May or June, which is fit to be eaten and used for food, but the flesh
of the bird is hard and insipid. This species inhabits the shores of Kamtschatka, the Kurile islands, and those that lie between Kamtschatka and America. A. arctica, or puffin, found on the coasts of England; and particularly in Priestholm isle, where they are seen in flocks almost innumerable. They come in the beginning of April, and depart in August. Fig. 3. ALCEA, hollyhock, in botany, a genus of the Monadelphia Polyandria class of plants, the calyx of which is a double perianthium; the exterior one, which is permanent, consists of a single patent leaf, divided into six segments; the interior is also permanent, and consists of a single leaf divided into five segments: the corolla consists of five very large patent and emarginated petals, growing together at the base: the fruit is composed of numerous capsules, each containing a single compressed kidney-shaped seed. There are five species. The hollyhock grows wild in the country of Nice. The colour of the flowers is accidental, and the double flowers are only varieties proceeding from culture. These varieties are not constant; but the greatest number of plants, produced from seeds carefully saved from the most double flowers, will arise nearly the same with the plants from which they are taken, provided they are kept separate from single or bad coloured flowers. The A. rosea grows naturally in China: a dwarf sort,with beautiful double variegated flowers, has been some years in great esteem under the name of the Chinese hollyhock. Hollyhocks are propagated from seeds, sown half an inch deep in a bed of light earth, about the middle of April. When the plants have put out six or eight leaves, they are to be transplanted into nursery beds, and in October they are to be removed to the situation where they are to remain. ALCEDO, kingsfisher, in ornithology, a genus of the order of Picas. The characters are, that the bill is three-sided, thick, straight, long, and pointed; the tongue is fleshy, very short, flat, and sharp, and the feet are for the most part gressory. There are 41 species. These birds are dispersed over the whole globe; inhabiting chiefly the water, and living upon fish, which they catch with surprising alertness, and swallow whole, rejecting afterwards the undigested parts; though their wings are short, they fly swiftly; their prevailing colour is sky blue; their nostrils are small, and generally covered. A. ispida, ispida of Gesner, Ray, European kingsfisher of Pennant, and common kingsfisher of Latham, is the only one we shall netice: it is short-tailed, sky-blue above, fulvous below, and its straps are rufous. This bird is 7 inches long and 11 broad, of a clumsy shape, the head and bill being very large, and the legs disproportionately small. The kingsfisher frequents the banks of rivers, and feeds on fish. It takes its prey somewhat in the manner of the osprey, balancing itself at a certain distance over the water for some time, and then darting below the surface brings the prey up in its feet. When it remains suspended in the air, in a bright day, the plumage exhibits a most beautiful variety of the most dazzling and brilliant colours. It makes its nest in holes in the sides of the cliffs, which it scoops to the depth of three feet, and lays from five to nine eggs, of a very beautiful semi-transparent white. The nest is very fetid, on account of the refuse of fish with which the young are fed. It begins to hatch its young early in the season, and excludes the first brood in the beginning of April. Whilst the female is thus employed, the male is unremitting in his attention, supplying his mate with fish in such abundance, that she is found at this season plump and fat. He ceases to twitter at this time, and enters the mest as quietly and privately as possible. The young are hatched in about 20 days; but differ both in size and beauty. Some have even doubted, whether the kingsfisher of the moderms and the alcyon of the ancients are the same bird. But the description of Aristotle sufficiently identifies them. The alcyon, says that philosopher, is not much larger than a sparrow; its plumage is painted with blue and green, and lightly tinged with purple; these colours are not distinct, but melted together, and shining variously over the whole body, the wings, and the neck: its bill is yellowish, long, and slender. The habits of these birds also resemble one another. The alcyon was solitary and pensive; and the kingsfisher is almost always seen alone, and the pairing season is of short duration. The former was not only an inhabitant of the sea shore, but haunted the banks of rivers; and the latter has also been found to seek shell-fish and large worms, that abound on the shore of the sea, and in rivulets that flow into it. The alcyon was seldom seen, and rapid in its flight; it wheeled swiftly round ships, and instantly retired into its little grot on the shore. The same character belongs also to the kingsfisher. The alcyon and the kingsfisher have the same mode of taking their
prey, by diving vertically upon it. The kingsfisher is the most beautiful bird in our climates, as to the richness and luxuriance of the colours of its plumage. It has, says Buffon, all the shades of the rainbow, the brilliancy of enamel, and the glossy softness of silk; and Gesner compares the glowing yellow red, which colours the breast, to the red glare of a burning coal; and yet the kingsfisher has strayed from those climates where its resplendent and glowing colours would appear to the greatest advantage. There is a species that is common in all the islands of the South Sea; and Forster, in his observations in Captain Cook's second voyage, has remarked, that its plumage is much more brilliant between the tropics than in the regions situated beyond the temperate zone, in New Zealand. In the language of the Society Islands, the kingsfisher is called Erooro, and at Otaheite it is accounted sacred, and not allowed to be taken or killed. Kingsfishers were found, not only at Otaheite, but in Huaheine and Ulietea, and in the islands that are scattered over the South Sea, though they are more than 1500 leagues distant from any continent. These kings. fishers are of a dull green, with a collar of the same about their neck. The islanders entertain a superstitious veneration for them. The chief at Ulietea intreated Capt. Cook's companions, in a very serious tone, to spare the kingsfishers and herons of his island, giving permission to kill all the other birds. There are 20 species in Africa and Asia, and eight more that are known in the warm parts of America. The European kingsfisher is scattered through Asia and Africa: many of those sent from China and Egypt are found to be the same with ours, and Belon has met with them in Greece and in Thrace. This bird, though it derives its
origin from the hottest climates, bears the
rigour of our seasons. It is seen in the win. ter along the brooks, diving under the ice, and emerging with its prey. The Germans have called it eissvogel, or ice-bird; and it has been found even among the Tartars and Siberians. The Tartars and Ostiacs use the feathers of these birds for many superstitious purposes. The former use them as loveamulets; pretending that those which float on water will induce a woman who is touched with them to fall in love with the person who thus applies it. The Ostiacs take the skin, the bill, and the claws of this bird, and enclose them in a purse; and whilst they preserve this amulet, they think they have no ill to fear. Credulity has ad