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more numerous by far than the males; many cells, therefore, would contain only a single bird. Still

, the aggregate would be considerable; and, when undisturbed, they might go on to increase, the structure increasing in

like ratio, till a storm, sweeping through the wood, laid the tree and the overwhelming edifice it sustained in one common ruin.


The Sparrows and Finches next claim a passing notice. In these we find the beak short, conical, convex on its sides, and somewhat arched along the ridge. Many closely approximate to the linnets in their food and manners.

The first example is that bold and familiar bird the Common SPARROW, (Pyrgita domestica, Cuv.) with which we are all acquainted. Wherever man erects his habitation, at least in Europe, there the Sparrow fixes its abode ; resigning woods and fields to others, it makes the house-top its home—the street, the farm-yard, the garden, and the lane its domain; where it travels in quest of food. In summer it lives in pairs ; in autumn and winter, flocks congregate together, and scatter themselves over the adjacent corn fields, often committing extensive depredations, which are however atoned for by the destruction it makes during summer among caterpillars and insects, upon which its young are largely fed. The nest of the Sparrow is a loose mass of mingled materials, put together with little art, and in any convenient situation ; the fork of a tree, a hole in the thatch, or a crevice in the brickwork of the house, or under the eaves, are all equally acceptable.

In Italy we find, it would appear, not our Sparrow, but a species distinguished by the head of the male being entirely chestnut; it is termed Pyrgita cisalpina, and is said to extend over the southern countries, but is never met with north of the Alps. In Spain, Sicily, the Archipelago, and Egypt, a third species (Pyrgita Hispaniolensis) occurs, distinguished by a darker plumage and by the black of the throat extending over the whole of the chest.

The Sparrow is one of the birds to which allusion is made more than once in the sacred Scriptures. The blessed Redeemer, by way of encouragement to his disciples, thus speaks of the goodness and providence of God. “ Are not two Sparrows sold for a farthing ? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.... Ye are of more value than 'many Sparrows,” Matt. x. 29–31.

The Psalmist notices the familiarity of this bird, and its places of resort, when, in Psalm lxxxiv. 3, he says, “ Yea, the Sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God;" and again, when complaining of his desolate condition in the days of his trouble, “ I watch, and am as a Sparrow alone

upon the house top.” Psalm cii. 7.

We shall not dilate further upon a bird, the description of which at all may be deemed somewhat superfluous, but proceed to another example. Among many others, America presents us with the CHIPPING SPARROW, (Fringilla socialis, Wils.) which seems to take there, in some degree, the same station as its European relative, inhabiting, as Wilson states, “ during summer, the city in common with man, building in the branches of the trees with which our streets and gardens are ornamented, and gleaning up crumbs from our yards, and even our doors, to feed his more advanced young with. I have known one of these birds attend regularly every day during a whole summer, while the family were at dinner, under a piazza fronting the garden, and pick up the crumbs that were thrown to him. This sociable habit, which continues chiefly during the summer, is a singular characteristic. Towards the end of summer he takes to the fields and hedges, until the weather becomes severe with snow, when he departs for the south.”

The Snow Finch (Fringilla nivalis, Lin.) has much the manners of the snow bunting, and, like that bird, is a native of the dreary regions of the north, migrating

66 from

southwards during the severities of winter. In Europe it is found in the higher range of the Alps and Pyrenees, on the very verge of the line of perpetual snow, whence it descends to the lower range of hills only when compelled by the season ; but its strong hold is within the arctic circle. In America its migrations are made upon an extensive scale, extending, as Wilson states, the arctic circle, and probably beyond it, to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, spreading over the whole breadth of the United States from the Atlantic Ocean to Louisiana ; how much farther I am unable to say. About the 20th of October they make their first appearance in those parts of Pennsylvania, east of the Alleghany mountains. At first they are most generally seen on the borders of woods, among the falling and decayed leaves, in loose flocks of thirty or forty together, always taking to the trees when disturbed. As the weather sets in colder, they approach nearer the farm-house and villages; and on the appearance of what is usually called falling weather assemble in larger flocks, and seem doubly diligent in searching for food: this increased activity is generally a sure prognostic of a storm. When deep snow covers the ground, they become almost half domesticated; they collect about the barn, stables, and other outhouses, spread over the yard, and even round the steps of the door, not only in the country and villages, but in the heart of our large cities, crowding round the threshold early in the morning, gleaning up the crumbs, appearing very lively and familiar. They have also recourse at this severe season, when the face of the earth is shut up from them, to the seeds of many kinds of weeds that still rise above the snow in corners of fields and low sheltered situations." They may now be seen associated with several species of their congeners, all engaged in the same assiduous search for food, pensioners upon the bounty of Providence. As spring approaches, these flocks of Snow Birds all return to the north, where, in realms little visited by man, they rear their progeny.

The nest is said to be placed on the ground among the grass, several being clustered together within a little distance of each other. Head bluish ash-colour; back slaty brown; wing-coverts and secondaries, except the two next the body, white. Quillfeathers black; as are also the two middle tail-feathers ; the rest being white, tipped with black; the whole of the under surface pure white. The beak becomes yellowish in winter, but is black during summer.

That beautiful but common bird the CHAFFINCH (Fringilla celebs ) belongs to the present section. We mention it only on account of its elegant nest, which is a choice specimen of felt-making, as practised by a bird whose ingenuity is not only seen in the work itself, but in the adaptation of the structure to the locality chosen so as to elude observation. The exterior is composed either of green moss or lichens, and is merely a thin coating round a well felted mass of wool, hairs, vegetable fibres, and moss, the lining being hairs. Some time since, the writer found a Chaffinch's nest against the main stem of a large old holly tree, supported by the prongs of the twigs or branches which diverge from the stem. The outside was composed of green lichen, so smooth and so closely resembling the colour of the bark and leaves, that it was difficult to believe it was a nest. It was left untouched ;—why, indeed, destroy for no purpose so exquisite and laborious a piece of workmanship?

In the present section may be placed that diminutive and pretty bird the AMADUVADE, (Fringilla amandava,) brought in such numbers from Bengal, and other parts of the east, to linger a few months in captivity beneath an uncongenial sky. In size this little Finch is scarcely so large as our wren: it has all the manners of its race, being lively and alert, uttering continually a soft twitter, which can however hardly be called a song. The bill is dull red; the general plumage is brown, with a mixture of red, the feathers of the wings, breast, and sides having each a dot of white at the tip. In the female the under surface inclines to dull white.

The next section is that of the Tanagers, ( Tanagra,) a numerous race of birds peculiar to America, and richly painted, at least most of them, with the most brilliant tints, scarlet, and green, and blue, being profusely lavished on their livery. In their general manners they much resemble the sparrows and finches; in some respects, however, they exhibit a relationship to the flycatchers, their food not only consisting of berries and soft fruits, but of insects also, such as bees, wasps, beetles, &c. which are pursued and taken upon the wing. The form of the bill is somewhat conical, but inflated at the sides, the edge of the upper mandible being irregular as if slightly toothed.


As one of the most richly coloured may be noticed the PARADISE TANAGER, of Guiana, (Tanagra Tatao.) In length it is about six inches. The top and sides of the head are yellowish green, the feathers having a distinct scaly appearance; the back of the neck and the back are bright fire colour; the fore part of the neck is glossy vio the breast and under surface sea-green; the lesser wingcoverts green gold; the middle ones blue; the greater violet blue; the tail and quills black, the latter having blue margins. The plumage of the female is much duller and more obscure than that of the male.

This gaudy bird associates in flocks, and may sidered to a certain degree as migratory, appearing at Cayenne in September: after a short stay it departs, but is seen again in April and May. Waterton states that a species of wild fig-tree in Guiana is frequented by Tanagers, and that wherever one is found, with ripe fruit upon it, numbers of these birds are sure to be there. This state

with Latham's remark upon the present species : he

says it frequents a “ large tree,” which flowers in September, the fruit soon setting, when it is attacked by the Paradise Tanager; it then departs, and returns in May, when the fruit is ripe.

be con

ment agrees

Among the most beautiful may be reckoned the Spotted Green Tanager, (T.punctata; the Bishop Tanager, (T. episcopus ;) the Crested Tanager, ( T. cristata,)

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