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shingle. Geldart told us he had seen no lesser terns about Foulney this spring, as in former years, and we found none when we were there; from some cause this species of tern is much diminished in numbers on Waluey Island, and has apparently ceased to breed on Foulney.
Note on the Nodule Bat.—The following observations on this bat have been mode in the parish of Northrepps:—On the 31st of July last about a score of large bats, apparently Noctules, were disturbed from a hole in an oak tree, where a pair of green woodpeckers nested in 1872, but none of the bats were captured. On the 17th of September the same hole was again examined, but no bats were in it; a hole in another oak, excavated by a pair of green woodpeckers in 1873, was next examined: this hole was found to contain nine noctules, which were all caught; of these eight were males and one a female, being the first instance which I have met with of both sexes of this bat being found in the same hole. On the 18th of September a hole in a beech tree, where a pair of starlings nested last spring, was examined, and two female noctules were taken from it, which appeared to be all that the hole contained, although from its shape this could not be ascertained with entire certainty. The actions of the noctules when awaking from their diurnal sleep at the approach of evening are curious and grotesque. They frequently open and shut their mouths for several consecutive seconds with an exceedingly rapid motion of the lower jaw; this action is succeeded by the tongue being protruded about the eighth of an inch, and the lips being thus thoroughly licked. When this is accomplished, a hearty yawn usually follows, the mouth being opened in the process to its utmost width, and the next employment undertaken is an attack on the small parasitic insects which infest the fur of these bats. The sides of the body are vigorously scratched by a rapid and continuous action of the hind claws, and the head is bent under the body whilst the mouth is employed in active investigation amongst the fur of the under surface. These bats when fully awake usually begin to crawl over one another, a process which generally evokes a stridulous chirping cry from the individuals which compose the lower strata of the cluster. I observe that the noctule when placed upon the level ground is able to take wing from thence apparently without difficulty.—J. H. Gurney; September, 1874.
Accident to a Weasel and to a Redbreast. — In the first week of September a singular accident occurred to a weasel at Keswick, near Norwich, in a garden surrounded by a fence of old split oak palings set on three courses of brickwork. Some men who were at work in the garden about four o'clock in the afternoon heard a singular cry, and on going to the spot found that it proceeded from a weasel, which, while endeavouring to force its way through a small opening between two of the pales, about fourteen inches from the ground, had stuck fast by its neck between the pales, and was there hanging when it was found and killed by the gardeners. It is curious that last winter I saw a redbreast which had been caught by its neck in a similar manner between two upright slates which formed a portion of a garden fence.—J. H. Gurney.
British Association for the Advancement of Science. Belfast; 1874.—
The Committee reappointed at Bradford to continue the investigation on the desirability of establishing a "close time" for the preservation of indigenous animals, beg leave to report as follows:—1. The Report of the Select Committee, appointed in 1873 by the House of Commons to consider the subject of the Protection of Wild Birds, which had not been published when your Committee agreed to their last Report, appeared shortly afterwards, and contained recommendations almost entirely identical with the anticipations of your Committee. 2. These recommendations were so fully considered by your Committee in their last Report, that they think it unnecessary to refer again to the subject beyond expressing their regret at finding, from the printed and published evidence taken by the Select Committee, that its recommendations were not at all in accordance with such parts of that evidence as your Committee deem the most trustworthy and valuable. 3. The delay in the meeting of Parliament, occasioned by the General Election and change of Ministry, made your Committee believe that it would be inexpedient for them to attempt any amendment of the Wild Birds Protection Act during the late Session. 4. In the House of Lords the Earl De la Warr introduced a Bill intituled "An Act for the more effectual Protection of Wild Birds during the Breeding Season," the principal feature of which was to render penal the taking of certain birds' eggs. This Bill was not based on any of the recommendations of the Select Committee of the House of Commons (1873), and still less on any suggestions which have ever proceeded from your Committee. 5. Lord De la Warr's Bill was withdrawn; and your Committee take this opportunity of declaring their belief that the practice of birds'-nesting is and has been so much followed in England that no Act of Parliament, except one of the most severe character, could stop it; while any enactment of that kind would, by filling the gaols with boys (often of a tender age), excite a strong and uniform feeling of hostility against all measures for the protection of indigenous animals, even among many of those who are at present favourably disposed to it. 6. Your Committee believe that the effect of birds'-nesting on such kinds of birds as are known to be diminishing in numbers is altogether inappreciable, while its effect on those whose numbers are not decreasing may be safely disregarded, and consequently that there is no need of any legislative interference with the practice. They again repeat their conviction that the only practical mode of checking the diminution of such birds as have been proved to be decreasing is the effectual protection of the adults from destruction during the breeding-season. 7. Your Committee find that while the SeaBirds Preservation Act continues to work successfully, being not only popular but also effective in its operation, the Wild Birds Protection Act has done little if any thing towards attaining the objects for which it was passed, and in various quarters still gives considerable discontent. 8. Your Committee have once more to poiut out, as they have done in former Reports, that the birds commonly known as "Wild Fowl" are subject to very great persecution through the inadequacy of the present law to protect them, that they are rapidly decreasing in number, and that they are not only perfectly innocuous, but of great value as food. Consequently your Committee trust that the efforts they hope to make on behalf of "Wild Fowl" in the next Session of Parliament will obtain a very general support. 9. Representations as to the inordinate slaughter of seals which takes place every spring in the North-Atlantic Ocean have been made to some members of your Committee. There can be no doubt that such slaughter carried on at that season, and with increasing activity, will soon bring these animals to the verge of extermination, as has been the case in so many parts of the world; and, since their destruction will affect a very large trade, their proper protection seems to be a subject not at all unworthy of the consideration of Her Majesty's Government. Your Committee, however, are of opinion that the subject is one lying beyond the powers entrusted to them, since the seals of the North Atlantic can in no sense be termed " indigenous animals," and accordingly refrain from offering auy other remark upon it. 10. Your Committee respectfully request their reappointment.
Shore Birds on the Cley and Blakeucy Muds.—On September the 9th I was shooting with some friends on the Cley and Blakeney muds, and we obtained a little stint, a purple sandpiper, a Kentish plover, some pigmy curlews, besides godwits, whimbrel, 4c., and other waders which are always to be met with at this season of the year.—J. H. Gurney,jun.; Northrepps Hall, Norwich.
Arrival of Spring Birds in Nottinghamshire. — March 31st, chiffchaff, Rainworth. April 2nd, sand martin, Rainworth; 3rd, willow wren, Rainworth; 10th, yellow wagtail, Rainworth; 20th, swallow and wood wren, Rainworth; 21st, flycatcher, Mansfield; 24th, nightjar, Rainworth; 25th, cuckoo and corn crake, Mansfield; 20th, house martin and whitethroat, Blidworth; 27th, sedge warbler and whiuchat, Rainworth; 29th, wheatear, Rainworth; 30th, swift, Mansfield. May 1st, common sandpiper, Rainworth; 9th, blackcap, Rainworth.—J. Whitaker; Rainworth Lodge, near Mansfield, Notts.
Curious Nesting of the Flycatcher.—Some days ago I received a letter from a friend in which he gives the following account of the site chosen hy a pair of flycatchers for rearing their young: he writes, " In the spring of this year I discovered, in a fork of a plum tree trained to a wall in the front of my house, a last year's bird's nest—by what bird built I cannot say. I was surprised some time since (about July 1st) to discover four youug flycatchers fully fledged, and a few days after they left the nest. J could not perceive any addition to, or reconstruction of, the old bird's-nest."— John A. Dockray; Window, Bucks, September 14, 1874.
Chiffcuaff, Swift and Fieldfare.—On Friday, September 11th, when shooting at Calverton, near here, I was surprised to hear the notes of the chiffchaff; it was in a tall hedge. To make sure I went and saw the bird, and it repeated its call or song several times. I also saw a swift the same day. Are not both these late? When shooting at Blidworth the next day several of us saw a fieldfare; wo put it out of a high holly hedge, and it continued flying before us to the top of the field; this is very early.— J. Whitaker; September, 1874.
English Sparrows in Philadelphia.—I was in Philadelphia yesterday, and in passing down Walnut Street I was pleased to see a flock of at least two dozen English sparrows feeding in the street, and perfectly fearless of the passers by. Amongst the flock was one little fellow nearly white, and forming a very singular contrast with the other birds. I stood looking at them for several minutes, and left them in the full enjoyment of their meal. The sparrows in Philadelphia and in other American cities are made quite pets of, and are fed regularly by the inhabitants, consequently they become very tame. — Edward Sweetapple; Public Ledger Paper Mills, Elkton, Maryland, U.S., September 5, 1874.
Memorandum on the Crowned Pigeon.—Having been long accustomed to see the domestic pigeon emerge from its nest-pan full-grown and in all respecta similar to its parents, except some small critical distinctions of beak and feathers and the tendency to sport in colour which is common to nearly all domestic animals, I was somewhat surprised to see at the Zoo a specimen of the crowned pigeon (Columba coronata of Linneus) leaving its nest when it had not acquired a third part of the magnitude of its parents, yet was in other respects precisely similar to them. Looking back a very long time into the past, I think it must be twenty years, I recollect a similar instance of this bird breeding in the Gardens, and of its producing a single chick. On inquiring of Mr. Travis, the very intelligent and obliging keeper who has the charge of the Western Aviary, I learned two or three other particulars respecting these grand birds which may interest some of my readers as much as they do myself. The time of incubation is exactly one calendar month, and the additional period spent in the nest while receiving pigeon's
SECOND SERIES—VOL. IX. 3 E
milk rather more than a month. On leaving the nest the young bird flew steadily and vigorously. I cannot speak too highly of the state of this Western Aviary; its cleanliness and bright appearance are above all praise.—Edward Newman.
The Apteryi its Mode of Feeding.—While serving in New Zealand, a few years ago, I one day, in visiting a Maori's hut, found on the premises a tame kiwi, and the proprietor about to feed his pet. A small earthen vessel, capable of containing about half-a-pint, was produced, full of ordiuary earthworms, and was placed before the kiwi; but, to my surprise, although the living mass of food was wriggling and crawling about, as worms are wont, before the bird, he did not in the least appear to comprehend that a sumptuous feast was straight before him, and within six inches of his beak. This stage of the proceedings appeared to me rather incomprehensible, as of course I had concluded that the worms were intended to be eaten by the bird. I began to conclude that the kiwi was blind, and I further could not well make out why it was that my noble host—in concert with his wife and the little ones—was all this time much amused, evidently at my expense. Well, when the whole family had had a good laugh at my visible surprise and innocence on the subject, the Maori placed one of his fingers against the back of the kiwi's head (as the bird stood stupidly and vacantly looking about in front of the vessel full of worms), and gently pressed it forwards and downwards until the beak touched the worms. Instantly the most fearful gobbling, gulping, and swallowing of worms .took place. The heretofore dreamy-looking bird in the most marvellous manner woke up, and truly great were his powers and exertions in the worm-devouring line. Having allowed him to indulge his voracity for a few seconds, his feeder withdrew the vessel an inch or two, and, strange to say, the bird was immediately unconscious of the whereabouts of his food. It was only while his beak was in actual contact with the worms that he had the slightest knowledge of their presence. This fact I tested, as above described, several times. I next asked the Maori to let me see the bird finding its food in its own natural way, and he took it out to the adjoining little garden. Here, under some little Indian corn plants, the kiwi set to work in the most vigorous manner—albeit in the most promiscuous and hap-hazard way as regards the selection of ground—driving his long beak up to its very base into the soft soil. Every now and again, however, a delay in withdrawing the beak, and great excitement, and evidently the employment of some subterrannean dexterity on the part of the director of the said beak, resulted in a worm being brought to the surface and quickly devoured.
[Although this is published in the ' Field' without the voucher of a real name, it is perfectly reliable.—E. Newman.]
Ostriches hatching their Eggs.—It may interest some of your readers to know that I have just received news that one hundred ostrich eggs were