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The pectoral muscles of birds, which give motion to the wings, are more strong than those, either in man or quadrupeds. The blow of a swan's wing would break the leg of a man: and that of an eagle has been known to occasion in stant death.
Birds possess a perfection of sight, far superior to that of either man or brute, which is necessary for their safety and support. Were it less perfect, birds of rapid flight would strike against every object in their way; and be unable to discover their
food at a distance. The kite darts on its prey from the greatest heights to which it ascends : and the hawk will discover a lark at a distance too great for human perception.
The ears of birds, though destitute of any external appendage, except feathers, (being only · two holes) are nevertheless in as great perfection
as their sight. Their sense of smelling is also not less acute, (the nostrils being placed in the upper mandible of the bill) both of which are evident from observation.
Aquatic birds have webbed feet, or membranes between their toes, to assist them in swimming; other birds have their toes disjoined, the better to enable them to catch their prey, or cling to the branches of trees. Birds, with long legs, have also long necks, to enable them to pick up their food; but some aquatic birds, as the swan and goose, have long necks and short legs.
The greater number of birds pair at the approach of spring; and the compact entered into is inviolably observed, for that season at least : but some species enter into this connection for years,
and even for life. All birds are oviparous; and the hens of some species will lay eggs, though they be not accom. panied by the male; as the common domestic hen : but eggs of this kind are always sterile, never producing a live animal. Every bird builds its nest in such a manner, and with such materials, as best to answer its own purpose and situation : thus the wren, which lays a great number of eggs, requires a very warm nest; as her body is not sufficiently large to cover the whole of them : but the crow and eagle are less solicitous in the warmth of their nest, as the small number of eggs they lay, and the largeness and heat of their bodies, afford the eggs sufficient warmth. The same bird also, when in a cold climate, lines its nest with more care and warmer materials than when in a warmer climate. The male likewise of most birds, during the season of incubation, supplies the place of the female in her absence from the eggs: and supplies her with food during the time of her sitting.
Those birds which are hatched early in the season, always prove more vigorous and strong, than such as have been delayed till the middle of
The number of eggs which a bird will lay is not exactly ascertained: but it is well known, that a female bird, which would have lain but two or three eggs at most, will, on her eggs being removed, lay above ten or a dozen. A common hen, if properly fed, will produce above a hundred eggs, from the beginning of spring to the end of autumn. Nature has wisely ordered it, that the smallest and weakest birds, and, in general, all those which are most serviceable to man, are the most prolific; while the strong and rapacious kinds are marked with sterility.
The greatest singularity in the habitudes of birds is their peregrinations from one country to
another, which many of the species are known to perform. The chief motives which induce birds to change their residence are, want of proper subsistence; the alteration in the temperature of the air; or to find a place of greater security for the purpose of breeding. The places of their emigration, and the times of the departure, and return of many species of birds are exactly known; while those of other species remain yet undiscovered.
Birds, in general, are less than quadrupeds : the ostrich, which is the biggest bird with which we are acquainted, is considerably less than the elephant, the largest quadruped ; and the mouse, the least of this tribe, greatly exceeds the humming bird, which is not bigger than a common bee. Birds 'are, however, in all countries, longer lived than the brute creation : the linnet will often live fourteen or fifteen years; the bullfinch twenty; the goose fourscore ; while swans, eagles, and some others, have been known to live two, or even three hundred years.
The number of species of birds, which man, kind has rendered domestic, are but few, as the peacock, turkey, common hen, guinea-hen, pigeon, swan, goose, duck, and guinea-duck, being only nine, while the number of all the species known exceeds fifteen hundred.
Birds are principally divided into two classes, distinguished by their legs and toes ; namely, those which live on the land, and in the water; the former have their toes divided, without any membrane between them, and adapted for the purposes of grasping, running, and climbing': the latter have membranes between the toes : and the legs of those that wade in the water, without swimming, are usually long and naked.
Dict. of Nat. Hist.
The Burial of Sir John Moore.
Not a drum was heard, nor a funeral-note,
As his corpse to the ramparts we hurried ; Not a soldier discharged his farewell-shot
O'er the grave where our hero we buried. We buried him darkly by dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning; By the struggling moonbeams misty light,
And the lantern dimly burning. No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Nor in sheet nor in shroud we bound him; But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.
Few and short were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow; But we stedfastly gazed on the face of the dead, And we bitterly
thought of the morrow. We thought, as we hollow'd his narrow bed,
And smooth'd down his lonely pillow,
away on the billow !
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him,But nothing he'll reck, if they let him sleep on
In the grave where a Briton has laid him. But half of our heavy task was done,
When the clock tolld the hour for retiring; And we heard by the distant and random gun
That the foe was suddenly firing.
Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory; We carved not a line, we raised not a stone
But we left him alone with his glory.-Wolfe.
39. The Bat.
Singʻular ; remarkable. Viviparous ; producing young alive. Resem'blance; likeness. Characteristic; distinguishing mark. Imaʼgined; supposed. Exactly; precisely. Membrane ; a film, gauze-like texture. Connect'ing; joining. Flex'ible; that can be bent. Seldom ; rarely. Suspend'; hang. Adhe'ring ; cleaving, sticking. Lib'erty; freedom ; Remains'; continues. Dormant ; sleeping, torpid. Pleas'ant; agreeable. Excursions; expeditions, goings out. The bat is a singular genus of animals, as it
partakes of the nature of both quadrupeds and birds, and seems to be the link which unites these two kingdoms together. Like the former it is viviparous; has teats wherewith it suckles its young; bears a striking resemblance to the quadruped creation in the form of its lungs, and in the general skeleton of its bones; but like birds, it is furnished with a kind of wings, whereby it can support itself in the air for nearly an hour, and which is the only characteristic in which it resembles the feathered tribe; consequently it is now ranked by all naturalists with quadrupeds, though ancient writers imagined it to be a genus of birds.
The common English bat is about the size of a mouse; its body is covered with a short mousecoloured fur, tinged with red ; its eyes are small, and its ears exactly resemble those of a mouse.
The wings of the bat are nothing more than a thin membrane, of a deep dusky colour, connect