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To describe, in adequate terms, the dazzling beauties of this elegant bird, would be a task of no small difficulty. Its head is adorned with a tuft, consisting of twenty-four feathers, whose slender shafts are furnished with webs only at the ends, painted with the most exquisite green, mixed with gold : the head, throat, neck, and breast, are of a deep blue, glossed with green and gold; the greater coverts and bastard wings are of a reddish brown, as are also the quills, some of which are variegated with black and green; the belly and vent are black, with a greenish hue : but the distinguishing character of this singular bird is its train, which rises just above the tail, and, when erected, forms a fan of the most resplendent hues : the two middle feathers are sometimes four feet and a half long, the others gradually diminishing on each
side: the shafts, white, and furnished from their origin nearly to the end with parted filaments of varying colours ending in a flat vane, which is decorated with what is called the eye. The real tail consists of short, stiff, brown feathers, wbich serve as a support to the train. When pleased or delighted, and in sight of his females, the Peacock erects bis train, and displays all the majesty of his beauty: all his movements are full of dignity; his head and neck bend nobly back; his pace is slow and solemn, and he frequently tarns slowly and gracefully round, as if to catch the sunbeams in every direction, and produce new colours of inconceivable richness and beauty, accompanied at the same time with a hollow murmuring voice expressive of desire. The cry of the Peacock, at other times, is often repeated and very disagreeable. The plumes are shed every year, and, while moulting them, the bird, as if humiliated, retires from view.
The Peahen is somewhat less than the cock, and though furnished both with a train and crest, is destitute of those dazzling beauties which distinguish the male. She lays five or six eggs, of a whitish colour: for this purpose she chooses some secret spot, where she can conceal them from the male, who is apt to break them : she sits from twenty-five or thirty days, according to the temperature of the climate, and the warmth of the season. These birds were originally brought from the distant provinces of India, and thence have been diffused over every part of the world.
The female of this species, like the pheasant, bave been known to assume the appearance of the male, by a total change of colour: this is said to take place after they have done laying.
White Peacocks are not uncommon in England ; the eyes of the train are barely visible, and may be traced by a different undulation of shade upon the pure white of the tail.
Peacocks are found wild in Africa and Asia; but the finest kind are found on the plains of India, and in the neighbourhood of the Ganges. They were highly esteemed by the Romans, and the Bible mentions them among Solomon's importations from the East. In the days of chivalry also, they were in such great request as to be the subject of a knightly oath.
TURKEYS were first introduced into England, from North America, in the reign of Henry VIII. and began to form an article in our Christmas feasts about the year 1585. When young, the Turkey is generally considered as one of the tenderest of birds; yet in its wild state it is found in great plenty in the forests of Canada, which are covered with snow above three parts of the year. It is there also much larger than in a state of captivity, as it sometimes weighs forty, and even sixty pounds; and its feathers are much more beautiful, being of a dark gray, bordered at the edges with a bright gold colour.
The hunting of these animals forms one of the principal diversions of the Canadian, as their flesh contributes to the support of his family. Having discovered their retreat, which is in general near fields of nettles, or where there is plenty of grain, he sends his dog into the midst of the flock; and though the Turkeys soon outstrip their pursuer by running, he continues to follow, tisl he at last forces them to take shelter in a tree, whence they are knocked down by a long pole, and easily taken.
Though extremely addicted to quarreling among themselves, they are, in general, weak and cowardly against other animals, and are seen to fly from almost every creature that will venture boldly to oppose
them. Even the domestic cock is often able to put them to flight. On the contrary, they pursue every thing that appears to dread them, particularly lap dogs and children: particularly if the latter have about their dress any thing of scarlet, to which they have the utmost antipathy. After having made these objects of their aversion scamper, they evince their pride and satisfaction by displaying their plumage, strutting among their female train, and uttering their peculiar note of self-approbation. Some instances, however, have occurred, in which the Turkey Cock has exhibited a considerable share of courage and prowess. In one instance, a Turkey Cock was known to attack and drive off a hawk, which was about to pounce on a bantam hen.
The female seems of a more gentle disposition than her consort. Rather querulous than bold, she hunts about in quest of grain and insects, and is particularly fond of the eggs of ants and caterpillars. She lays about eighteen or twenty eggs, and when her young begin to follow her in search of food, she rather warns them of danger than prepares to defend them. She lays her eggs in spring, and generally in some retired place, that they may not be found by the cock, who is apt to break them, in consequence of his being enraged by the necessary absence of his partner. Such is her perseverance in the duty of incubation, that she will often perish of hunger than leave the nest; and when the young ones are hatched, she treats them with great affection.
Turkeys are gregarious in their wild state, and are seen in flocks of inore than five hundred. They perch on the summits of the very loftiest trees, so as to be out of the reach of musket shot. In England, Norfolk, Suffolk, and a few other counties are the principal sources whence the metropolitan supply of this bird is derived, and they are reared in such numbers as to form a considerable article of commerce.
In chasteness and pare elegance of colouring there is, perhaps, no bird which surpasses the Pheasant, or, indeed, equals it. All is rich and beautiful, but nothing is gaudy. The top of the head and upper part of the neck are tinged with a darkish green, which shines like silk, and sometimes appears to change to blue, as it is differently presented to the eye of the