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without assistance. I therefore marked the spot, and determined to get a long ladder a little later and try and take it. The keeper informed me that it was early yet for Orioles' eggs, and so I left the nest for the last day of my stay here. In the afternoon I went with the keeper to the Pare de Marolles. We could hear the Orioles, or Loriots, as the French call them from their notes, singing loudly in the recesses of the woods; but the foliage was so thick, and they kept so much to the tops of the trees, that it was almost impossible to catch sight of them. Their greenish-yellow feathers, too, harmonized so well with the leaves, that it rendered them still more difficult to see.
"Following the direction of the notes, I continued to make my way through the underwood as noiselessly as possible, peering through the branches, and striving in vain to catch sight of a bird. For a long time the sound seemed to be as far away as ever, or, as I advanced it receded. The sun was broiling hot, and the exertion of forcing my way through the underwood, and straining my neck forward in my endeavours to get a sight of the bird, put me in a profuse perspiration. The result of about three hours' work was, that I finally succeeded in getting three shots at long intervals, and secured a pair of Orioles, a young male and an old female. Subsequently, however, I got others. I found the stomachs of these birds crammed with caterpillars of various species, and can well understand the good they do in young plantations, by ridding the trees of these pests.
"The colours of the soft parts in these birds, as noted by me at the time, were as follows:— Iris, reddish hazel; bill, brownish flesh colour; legs and toes, pale lead colour.
"On June 3rd, after breakfast, I went to the wood near the house to take a Golden Oriole's nest, and a difficult matter it was. The nest was placed in a slender fork at the extremity of a thin bough of an oak tree, and almost at the top.
"The oaks here are not, as in England, sturdy
and short, with wide-spreading heads, but tall and slender, running up for a great height without any branches, and very tiring to climb. I was obliged to saw off the branch before I could look into the nest, and after a great deal of trouble, when I at length got it down safely, I found, to my disappointment, that it contained three young birds instead of eggs. Could I have ascertained this without cutting off the branch, I should certainly have left them where they were; as it was, there was no help for it but to take them. They were apparently about three days old, and almost naked, the skin of an orange or yellowish flesh-colour very sparsely flecked with yellow down. I fed them on maggots, and covered them with cotton wool to keep them warm, and in this way I kept them alive until I reached Paris, where they died, and were entrusted to a skilful taxidermist for preservation."
Although the discovery of a Golden Oriole's nest in England is not unprecedented, it is of sufficiently rare occurrence to attract the atten
tion of naturalists, more especially when the finder (as in the case to which I am about to allude) has the humanity and good sense to permit the young to be reared, instead of shooting the parent birds the moment they are discovered, and thus effectually putting a stop to all attempts at nidification.
It is a pleasure to be able to record the fact, that during the summer of 1874, a pair of Golden Orioles took up their quarters in Dumpton Park, Isle of Thanet, where—the proprietor, Mr. Bankes Tomlin, having given strict injunctions that they should not be disturbed— they built a nest, and successfully reared their young, ultimately leading them away in safety.
They must have commenced building somewhat later than usual, for it was not until the 6th of July that I first heard of the nest, and the young were then just hatched. Mr. Bankes Tomlin having kindly invited me to come and see it, I lost no time in availing myself of his invitation, and a few days later, namely, on July 12th, I found myself at Dumpton Park, standing under the very tree in which the nest was placed. The reader may smile at the idea of journeying from London to Ramsgate merely to look at a nest; but if he be an ornithologist, he will know that Golden Orioles' nests are not to be seen in this country every day, and that when found they are worth "making a note of." Often as I had seen the bird and its nest on the Continent, it had never been my good fortune until then to meet with it in England. Indeed, the instances in which nests of the Oriole have been found here and recorded are so few that they may be easily enumerated. According to the concise account given by Professor Newton in his new edition of "Yarrell's British Birds," one was discovered in June, 1836, in an ash plantation near Ord, from which the young were taken; but, though every care was shown them, they did not long survive their captivity. "Mr. J. B. Ellman says ('Zoologist,' p. 2496) that at the end of May, 1849, a nest was, with the owners, obtained near Elmstone. It was