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many important instances, been very successful. We shall give a few examples.
FEU, fee; from the Saxon theudom, or theowdum, servitium, servitus; theudom niman, servitium exigere: theudom, when written in Latin, was changed to feudom.
SAUCHT, peace, quiet; Teutonic, saecht, tranquillus.
Under the article QUHA, Mr. Sibbald entirely confirms the conjecture of Lye, in his edition of the Gothic Gospels of Ulphilas, that the character used, of an O with a point in the centre, has the power and sound of the Scots quh. About thirty different words begin with this character in these Gospels, and a great proportion of them can be translated into Scottish, by no other words but such as begin with these three letters. If further arguments be still requisite to prove the Gothic origin of the Picts and their language, this is the strongest that can be produced in addition to the positive testimony of Tacitus.
We shall now dismiss this article, with a general recommen dation of the work, as an excellent repository of ancient Scottish poetry. Whoever wishes, moreover, to be intimate with the Scottish, will consult the glossary to advantage, as it is not confined to an explanation of the words in the preceding volumes, but appears to be rather a general glossary of the language.
ART. XI. Ornithological Dictionary; or, Alphabetical Synopsis of British Birds. By George Montagu, F.L.S. 2 Vols. 8vo. 16s. Boards. White. 1802.
We have repeatedly examined this work with satisfaction. Our British birds are described with accuracy; and the list seems, so far as we can discover, complete. The synonyms are numerous, well chosen, and accurate, Much useful information is occasionally scattered, so that the Dictionary merely descriptive,
The introduction is designed to contain some remarks which could not be so conveniently interwoven in the work itself, It chiefly relates to the laying, the incubation, and other functions of birds. Previous to Dr. Jenner's labours (bere strangely called Genner), colonel Montagu had paid some attention to the parental conduct of the cuckoo; and he supports, from his own authority, the account of the ungrateful behaviour of the young bird, seemingly received with so much kindness and hospitality by its supposititious parent. The cuckoo does not Lay her eggs without intermission. There appear to be succes
sive groups, but with some intervals; and this bird alone seems to have the power of keeping back her eggs-a faculty peculi arly requisite, as she might not always find a convenient nest; and a consequence is said by our author to be, that the time necessary for incubation is then lessened. The following remarks are judicious and correct.
Those who suppose a bird is capable of producing eggs at will, or that any bird is excited to lay more eggs than usual by daily robbing their [her] nest, are certainly mistaken. In a domesticated fowl it is probable the desire of incubation may be prolonged by leaving little or nothing in the nest to sit on. It will therefore lay the number allotted by nature, which is determined before the first egg is produced. If it is prevented from incubation by any means whatever, it may begin again to lay in five or six days; but there is always an interval of a few days, and sometimes as many weeks, which must wholly depend on the age and vigour of the bird. When it happens that a fresh lot of eggs is laid with only a few days interval, and that perhaps in the same nest, it is deemed a continuation, for want of nice observation; but we are not to look to domesticated animals for natural causes, for those are taken from their state of nature. Let us look to birds in their natural wild state, and see if any well-attested instances are to be found where they have laid more eggs successively by taking one from the nest daily for instance; the number laid by a hedge-sparrow is commonly five, sometimes only four, and rarely six; will the taking away the daily-laid egg produce a seventh or an eighth? No: we believe there never was an instance; at least we have never been for tunate enough to discover one in the great variety of experiments we have tried on various birds, amongst which was the swallow, which has been declared to lay as many as nineteen. A bird will only lay the usual number peculiar to the species; and if, at the period of incubation, it perceives the nest emptied, it is deserted. The link of nature having been broken, the female stimulates to love again, and soon brings forward by that stimulus, aided by the male fecundity, a new lot of eggs; never more than the former, and usually less, because this is properly a forced production, at the additional expence of the vigour of the bird, and loss of animal parts, which is the cause of great variation as to the number of eggs laid by domestic fowls, depending entirely on the strength of constitution, and the nourishment of the food. In all animals taken immediately under the care of man, the dictates of nature are partly suppressed, their food changed, habits and manners altered, and disease often ensues, which is the origin of the great variety of colours in reclaimed animals.' Vol. i. P. x.
Colonel Montagu pursues the subject; but his remarks are desultory, and not compacted with that precision which is necessary to give them their due advantage. The observations on the irregularity of the formation of eggs are written with equal carelessness, but are, on the whole, correct and judicious.
Incubation is the next subject of our author's attention; and his ideas, though not strikingly new, deserve notice. He thinks that the craw, in some of the carnivorous birds, is de
stined to secrete a milky liquor for the nourishment of the young.
Colonel Montagu complains, with great justice, of the litthe attention paid in general to the plumage of birds; and thinks, that, if the successive changes in the different periods of their growth were more attended to, there would be less difficulty in ascertaining the real species. The varied colours of the plumage are formed, he conceives, in the embryo state of the feather; for, when advanced, circulation ceases. It is preserved bright and brilliant, by frequent oiling-an operation generally performed after wetting, and before the feathers are quite dry.
Our author thinks that swallows and other birds migrate; and that their being accidentally discovered in a torpid state is owing to accidental cold benumbing some few stragglers previous to their being able to escape. Contrary to Mr. Daines Barrington's opinion, he conceives the song of birds to be the call of love; and endeavours to prove, contrary also to the same author's idea, that their notes are innate. Some ingenious remarks on the song of birds we shall select.
That confined birds will learn the song of others they are constantly kept with, there is no doubt; but then it is generally blended with that peculiar to the species. In the spring the very great exertion of the male birds in their vociferous notes are certainly the calls to love; and the peculiar notes of each is an unerring mark for each to discover its own species. If a confined bird had learned the song of another, without retaining any part of its natural notes, and was set at liberty, it is probable it would never find a mate of its own species; and even suppose it did, there is no reason to believe the young of that bird would be destitute of its native notes; for if nestling birds have no innate notes peculiar to the species, and that their song is only learned from the parent bird, how are we to account for the invariable note each species possess, when it happens two different species are bred up in the same bush or very contiguous, or when hatched and fostered by a different species *. There is every reason to believe it is necessary there should be native notes peculiar to each species, or the sexes might have some difficulty in discovering each other, the species be intermixed, and a variety of mules produced†; for we cannot suppose birds discriminate colours by which they know their species, because some distinct species are so exactly alike that a mixture might take place. The males of song birds, and many others, do not in general search for the female, but, on the contrary, their business in the spring is to perch on some conspicuous spot, breathing out their full and amorous notes, which by instinct the female knows, and repairs to the spot to choose her mate. This is particularly verified with respect to the summer birds of passage. The nightingale,
* A goldfinch hatched and fostered by a chaffinch retained its native notes.
+ This we believe never happens in a state of nature.
The rook and crow.
and most of its genus, although timid and shy to a great degree, mount aloft to pour forth their amorous strains incessant, each seemingly vicing in their love-laboured song before the females arrive No sooner do they make their appearance than dreadful battles ensue, and their notes are considerably changed; sometimes their song is hurried through without the usual grace and elegance; at other times modulated into a soothing melody. The first we conceive to be a provocation to battle on the sight of another male; the last an amorous ca❤ dence, a courting address. This variety of song lasts no longer than till the female is fixed in her choice, which is in general in a few days after her arrival; and, if the season is favourable, she soon begins the task allotted to her sex t.
The male now no more exposes himself to sing as before, nor are his songs heard so frequent, or so lond; but while she is searching for a secure place to nidificate in, he is no less assiduous in attending her with ridiculous gestures, accompanied with notes peculiarly soft When the female his chosen a spot for nidification, the male constant ly attends her flight to and from the place, and sits upon some branch near, while his instinctive mate places the small portion of material she each time brings to rear a commodious fabric for her intended brood. When the building is complete, and she has laid her portion of eggs, incubation immediately takes place. The male is now heard loud again, but not near so frequent as at first; he never rambles from her hearing, and seldom from her sight; if she leaves her nest he soen perceives it, and pursues her, sometimes accompanied with soft notes of love. When the callow brood appears he is instantly apprised of it, either by instinct, or by the female carrying away the fragment shells to some distant place. The male is now no more heard in tuneful glee (unless a second brood should force the amorous song again); his whole care and attention is now taken up in satisfying the nutrimental calls of his tender infant race, which he does with no lets assiduity than his mate, carrying them food, and returning frequently with the muting of the young in his beak, which is dropped at'a distance from the nest §.' Vol. i. P. xxviii.
The song is learnt from instinct chiefly; since, according to our author, many birds of the later brood could never have heard the parent note. Colonel Montagu induced the mother, a golden-crested wren, to feed the young ones in his room, and even in his hand, if he did not move; but the male could never be enticed to come within the window; and, probably from the want of his assistance, two of ten died. The female returned to feed them about thirty-six times an hour, during sixteen-of
The females of the migrative part of this genus come to us later than the males; some indeed not till three weeks after.
The females make their nest without much assistance from the males, with few exceptions.
When we have disturbed their courting, and separated the sexes from the sight of each other, the male assumes his usual vociferous notes.
The sagacity of this, as also the disposal of the egg-shells, is a providential instinctive power implanted in these little creatures for the security of their young'; to assist which nature has given a skin, or covering, in which the faces is enveloped.'
every twenty-four hours. Each feed seemed to consist of about a quarter of a grain, so that every young one received eighteen. grains daily. They were not, however, fed regularly the strongest, who could reach the furthest, had a larger share; for the parent did not seem to discriminate. She waited, however, to observe if the young ones muted-discharged their fæces, for they seldom do, except after feeding-and she then carefully carried them away. Various remarks on the external formation of some birds, so admirably adapted to their mode of life, follow; and these observations, which we cannot abridge, with his acknowledgements to his numerous friends, conclude the introduction.
We cannot pursue a Dictionary, consisting chiefly of descriptions and references. We have already given a general character of the work, and shall add only one or two specimens. In doing this, we shall select some of the most interesting articles; so that, while we give an example of our author's labours, we shall add to the amusement, perhaps to the instruction, of our readers.
As we have already noticed the dun diver,' we shall first transcribe the present account of this bird, which has occasioned some difference among ornithologists.
• Mergus castor. Lin. Syst. i. p. 209. 4 Gmel. Syst. ii.
Mergus cirratus longiroster. Kaii Syn. p. 134, A. 2. Will.
Merganser cinereus. Bris. vi. p. 254. 7. t. 25.
Le Harle femelle. Buf. viii. p. 236.
Ib. 8vo. ii.
Dun-diver, or Sparkling Fowl. Br. Zool. ii. No. 260. t. 92. f. 2. Arct. Zool. ii. No. 465. Albin, i. t. 87. Will. Angl. p. 333. t. 64. Lath. Syn. vi. p. 420, 421. A. Lewin, Br. Birds, t. 232. Pult. Cat. Dorset. p. 19. Walc. Syn. i. t. 80. Don. Br. Birds, iii. t. 65.
This species of merganser weighs about thirty-eight ounces; length twenty-five inches.
The bill near three inches long, narrow, of a dull purplish red; the upper mandible hooked at the end; nail black; the edges finely serrated; irides purplish. The upper part of the head ferruginous brown; the rest of the head and upper part of the neck bright ferru ginous; the feathers on the nape much elongated, chin and throat white; the lower part of the neck before, and sides of the breast, ashcolour and white mixed; the lower part of the neck behind, the back, wing coverts, scapulars, and tail, fine ash-colour; greater quills black; six of the secondaries are white at their ends; the greater coverts im mediately impending them marked the same; the rest of the quills are pale ash-colour; breast and belly fine yellowish buff; the tail consists of twenty feathers; legs and feet red orange.