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suspended from the extremity of the top branch of an oak, was composed entirely of wool bound together with dried grass, and contained three eggs. Mr. Hulke, in 1851, also recorded (' Zoologist,' p. 3034) a third, of which he was told that it was found about ten years previously in Word Wood, near Sandwich, by a countryman, who took the young, and gave them to his ferrets; and Mr. More, on the authority of Mr. Charles Gordon, mentions one at Elmstead, adding that the bird appeared again in the same locality in 1861. Mr. Howard Saunders and Lord Lilford informed the editor that in the summer of 1871 they each observed, in Surrey and Northamptonshire respectively, a bird of this species, which probably had a nest. Messrs. Sheppard and Whitear speak of a nest said to have been found in a garden near Ormsby, in Norfolk; but the eggs formerly in Mr. Scales's collection, which it has been thought were taken in that county, were really brought from Holland, and the editor is not aware of any collector who can boast the
possession of eggs of this species laid in Britain."
The nest which I am now enabled to record was placed in a fork of a very thin bough of an elm tree, at a considerable height from the ground, and almost at the extremity of the branch, so that it was impossible to reach it except by cutting off the branch near the trunk. Happily, in this case there was no need to reach it, and the finder was enabled to ascertain when the young were hatched by sending a man up the tree high enough to look into the nest without disturbing it. A few days before his first ascent there had been a strong wind blowing for some time, and the slender branch was swayed to and fro to such an extent, that, notwithstanding the depth of the saucer-like nest, one of the eggs was jerked out upon the grass below and broken, though not irreparably so. When I saw it, it was in two pieces, but unmistakably the egg of an Oriole—in size equal to that of a Blackbird, but shining white, with black or rather dark claret-coloured spots at the larger end. It has been carefully preserved by Mr. Tomlin.
As long as his man remained in the tree the hen bird continued to fly round, uttering at intervals a loud flute-like note, and occasionally making a curious noise, such as a cat makes when angry.
It is perhaps scarcely necessary to remark that, as regards situation, form, and the materials of which it was composed, the nest did not differ from those which one is accustomed to see on the Continent. Invariably placed in, and suspended under, the fork of a horizontal bough, the sides of the nest are firmly bound to each branch of the fork with blades of dry grasses and fibrous roots. There is generally a good deal of sheep's wool in the nest itself, which, taken in connection with its peculiar shape, gives it a very singular and unique appearance.
On the 12th of July, as we approached the nest in question, the hen bird was sitting, but left as we advanced, and perched in a neighbouring elm, whence at intervals she uttered the peculiar noise to which I have referred. Not wishing to keep her too long from her young, we left the spot in about ten minutes, after carefully inspecting the nest with a binocular. Returning again in half-an-hour, and a third time two or three hours later, we saw the hen on each occasion quit the nest and take up her position, as before, at a little distance. Once only did I catch a glimpse of her more brightlycoloured mate as he darted between two trees. He was very shy, and silent too, being seldom heard, except very early in the morning, or at twilight. This, however, is the case with most song-birds after the young are hatched, for they are then so busy providing food for the little mouths that they have scarcely time to sit and sing. Mr. Tomlin, who had other and better opportunities for observing him, gave me to understand that he was not in the fully adult plumage,1 so that it seems the males of this
1 On this point the late Mr. Blyth, writing in the Natural History columns of " The Field," 17th August, 1872, under the signature "Z.," remarked that Orioles are amongst the
species breed before they have assumed their beautiful black and yellow colours.
On the 22nd of July the man again ascended the tree and peeped into the nest. The young had flown, but were subsequently discovered sitting about in the park with the old birds. As soon as the nest was no longer wanted, Mr. Tomlin had the branch which supported it cut off, and, writing to me on the subject the following day, he observed, that " upon examining the nest we found the corners tightly bound with long pieces of matting. One would almost imagine that a basketmaker had been at work."
Both the old and young birds continued to haunt the park until the 1st of August, after which date they were no longer seen. The young were, however, well feathered by that
few birds which breed before attaining the mature plumage, and the females acquire this later than the males, being always, however, of a greener shade. He had observed this in 0. melanocephalus, O. chinensis, 0. tenuirostris, and O. acrorhynchus, but thought that " the old females of O. galbula, and 0. kundoo, less frequently attain the male colouring than those of the other species mentioned."