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THE OSTRICH. The Ostrich seems to unite in itself the class of quad-rupeds with that of birds. In ap-pear-ance it re-sem-bles the camel; it is cov-er-ed with plumage more like hair than feathers. It is gen-er-al-ly seven feet high, from the top of the head to the ground, but from the back it is only four. One of the wings, when stretched out, is about three feet.

The plumage is much alike in all; that is, gen-er-al-ly black and white ; though some of them are said to be grey. The greatest feathers are at the ex-trem-i-ties of the wings and tail, and the largest are gen-er-al-ly white. The next row is black and white ; and of the small feathers, on the back and belly, some are white, and others black.

These an-i-mals seem formed to live among the sandy and arid deserts of the torrid zone; and in these for-mi-dable re-gi-ons, they are seen in large flocks, which, to the distant spec-ta-tor, appear like a re-gi-ment of cav-al-ry, and have often a-larm-ed a whole car-a-van.

It has been gen-er-al-ly im-a-gin-ed that the female de-posits her eggs in the sand, and, cov-er-ing them up, leaves them to be hatched by the heat of the climate. It is known, how-e-ver, that they sit on their eggs like other birds, and that the male and female take this office al-ter-nate-ly.

When hunted, the ostrich uses his wings like two arms, and in this sit-u-a-ti-on somewhat re-sem-bles a man running. His speed would soon carry him beyond the reach of his pur-su-ers, though mounted on the fleetest horses, were it not that he takes his course in circles. At length, finding it im-pos-si-ble to escape, he en-dea-vours to hide himself from those en-e-mies he cannot avoid, and covers his head in the sand, or in the first thicket he meets. The in-hab-it-ants of Libya breed up whole flocks of these an-i-mals; and in their do-mes-tic state, they are often ridden upon, and used as horses ; and will, at times, go faster than the best English


Those in con-fine-ment subsist prin-ci-pal-ly upon barley, greens, and raw meat; in their native deserts, however, they are sup-po-sed to live prin-ci-pal-ly on ve-ge-ta-bles. Though the most gentle an-i-mal in nature, when driven to des-per-ation, he defends himself with his beak, his wings, and his feet.

THE EAGLE. The Golden Eagle is about three feet in length; and the extent of its wings exceeds seven feet. This fierce an-i-mal may be con-sid-er-ed among bịrds, as the lion among quad-rupeds; and in many respects they ex-hib-it a strong si-mil-itude. Equally mag-nan-i-mous, they contemn petty plunder, and only pursue an an-i-mal worthy the conquest: the eagle also disdains to share the plunder of a-no-ther bird: nor does he ever stoop to car-ri-on, but leaves it for an-i-mals more rapa-ci-ous and less del-i-cate than himself.

Of all creatures, the eagle flies highest. He is gen-er-al-ly found in moun-tain-ous countries, where he not only feeds on the wild game of the forests, but fre-quent-ly carries off hares, lambs, and kids ; and often destroys fawns and calves to regale upon their blood.

The nest of this bird is u-su-al-ly built in the most in-ac-ces-si-ble cliff of a rock, and gen-er-al-ly shielded from the weather by some jutting crag that hangs over it. The pe-ri-od of in-cu-ba-tion is said to be thirty days; and when the young are hatched, both the male and female exert all their in-dus-try to provide for their wants. They are e-qual-ly re-mark-a-ble for their lon-gev-i-ty, and for their power of sus-tain-ing a long ab-sti-nence from food.

The Bearded Eagle of the Alps is a bird of immense size, mea-sur-ing sometimes nearly ten feet from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. Below the throat is a beard-like ap-pen-dage, con-sist-ing of very narrow feathers ; and the legs are fea-ther-ed down to the toes.


This bird is somewhat larger than a common pigeon. Its dis-po-si-tion is bold and cou-rage-ous, and its de-pre-dations among young poultry are sometimes very con-sid-er-a-ble.

In a do-mes-tic state, how-e-ver, the sparrow-hawk is very docile and ca-pa-ble of great at-tach-ment.

“When a boy,” says a re-spect-a-ble writer, “I had one of these birds, which used to ac-com-pa-ny me through the fields, catch his game, devour it at his leisure, and af-ter-wards find me out wher-e-ver I went: nor was I at all afraid after the first or second ad-ven-ture of this kind, of losing him. One day, how-e-ver, to my great mor-ti-fi-ca-tion, a peasant shot him, for having made too free with some of his poultry. Though he was only about the size of a wood-pigeon, I have seen him fly at a turkey-cock, and, when beaten, return to the charge with un-daunted in-tre-pid-i-ty."


All birds of the owl kind may be con-sid-er-ed as noctur-nal robbers, who, un-fit-ted for taking their prey while it is light, surprise it at those hours of rest when the tribes of Nature are least in ex-pec-ta-tion of an en-e-my. It is not, how-e-ver, in the darkest nights, but in the dusk of e-ven-ing, or the dawn of morning, that they are best fitted for seeing. It is then they come abroad in quest of plunder, and they care-ful-ly return to their retreats before the broad daylight begins to dazzle them with its splendour.

The larger an-i-mals of this tribe are called horned onls, from the cir-cum-stance of two or three feathers standing up on each side of the head over the ear, and re-sem-bling horns.

The largest of these birds, without horns, is the owlet, with dusky plumes and black eyes : to which may be added, the screech owl, with blue eyes, and plumage of an iron grey ; the white owl, with yellow eyes, and about as large as the former; the brown owl, so called from the colour of its beak and plumage; and the little brown owl, with yel-lowish eyes, and

an orange co-lour-ed bill. The cavern of a rock, the darkest part of a hollow tree, the bat-tle-ments of a di-lap-i-dat-ed castle, or some obscure hole in a farmer's outhouse, are the places where these an-i-mals are u-su-al-ly found.

The 'ap-pear-ance of an owl by daylight is enough to set the whole grove into kind of uproar : all the small birds, conscious of their own se-cu-ri-ty, pursue him without ceasing, till he has taken refuge in his ivy-mantled tower, or other retreat.

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