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its work above it, and proceeds thence upward, alternately tapping, to induce any hidden insect to change its place, pecking holes in a decayed branch, that it may be able to reach any insects that are lodged within, or protruding its long, extensible tongue to take up any insect on the surface; but the summit of the tree once obtained, the bird does not descend over the examined part, but flies off to another tree, or to another part of the same tree, to recommence its search lower down, nearer the ground." It is said by Bechstein that in winter it will take bees from the hive. In captivity it is fierce and untamable.
The Golden-winged Woodpecker is the most celebrated American variety. The enthusiastic Audubon thus describes some of its habits:
"No sooner has spring called these birds to the pleasant duty of making love than their voice, which, by the way, is not at all disagreeable to the ear of man, is heard from the tops of high, decayed trees, proclaiming with delight the opening of the welcome season. Their note at this period is merriment itself, as it
imitates a prolonged and jovial laugh, heard at a considerable distance. Several males pursue a female, reach her, and to prove the truth and force of their love, bow their heads, spread their tails, and move sideways, backward and for ward, performing such antics as might induce any one witnessing them, if not of a most morose temper, to join his laugh to theirs. The female flies to another tree, where she is instantly followed by one, two, or even half a dozen of these gay suitors, and where again the same ceremonials are gone through. No fighting occurs, no jealousies exist among these beaux, until a marked preference is shown to some individual, when the rejected proceed in search of some other female. In this manner all the golden-winged woodpeckers are soon happily mated. Each pair immediately proceed to excavate the trunk of a tree, and finish a hole in it, sufficient to contain themselves and their young. They both work with great industry and apparent pleasure. Should the male, for instance, be employed, the female is close to him, and congratulates him on the removal of every chip which his bill sends through the air. While he rests he appears to be speaking to her on the most tender subjects, and when fatigued is assisted by her. In this
manner, by the alternate exertions of each, the hole is dug and finished. They caress each other
on the branches, climb about and around the tree with apparent delight, rattle with their bills against the tops of the dead branches, chase all their cousins, the red-heads, defy the purple grackle to enter their nests, feed plentifully on beetles and larvæ, cackling at intervals, and, ere two weeks elapse, the female lays either four or six eggs, the transparency of which is doubtless the delight of her heart. They have two broods each season. Even in confinement the golden-winged woodpecker never suffers his lively spirit to droop. He feeds well, and, by way of amusement, will contrive to destroy as much furniture in a day as can well be mended by a different workman in two. Therefore, kind reader, do not any longer believe that woodpeckers-I mean those of America-are such stupid, forlorn, dejected, and unprovided-for beings, as they have been hitherto represented."
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is also a native of the United States, but seldom found north of Maryland. They are most plentiful in the lower parts of Georgia, in Louisiana, and Mississippi. According to Nuttall, when once paired, they
continue mated for life; and the same acute observer says they are never found near cultivated fields or the habitations of men. The scene of their dominion is the lowly forest, amid trees of the greatest magnitude. The reiterated trumpeting note of the male, somewhat similar to the high tones of the clarionet, is heard soon after daybreak, and until a late hour in the morning, echoing loudly from the recesses of the dark cypress swamp, where he dwells in domestic security, without showing any desire to quit his native solitary abode. Upon the giant trunk and moss-grown arms of this colossus of the forest, the high, rattling clarion, and repeated strokes of this noble bird, are often the only sounds which communicate an air of life to these dismal wilds. His noise may be heard for more than half a mile. This "industrious hermit," as Nuttall calls him, like a real carpenter, is frequently seen surrounded by cart loads of chips and broad flakes of bark. "The work of half a dozen men," we are toldbut this is probably an exaggeration 'felling trees for a whole morning, would scarcely exceed the pile he has produced in quest of a single breakfast upon these insect larvæ, which have already, perhaps, succeeded in deadening the tree preparatory to the repast." Sound and healthy trees he troubles not, and seeks his food where nature has provided it, thus rendering himself of incalculable service to man, who, in return, ungratefully seeks his destruction.
Our engraving (No. 34) is a striking representation of a variety of the Spotted Woodpecker, a native of Great Britain, and one which gives a good idea of this remarkable family.
We join heartily in the poet's good wishes for this industrious and useful bird:
"Live on and multiply, pursue your work
| With giant strength it drives its ivory bill
"Well may they value thee who know thy
The Parrots are found, in their different varieties, in almost every part of the world, with the exception of Europe, northern Asia, and the colder portions of America. They abound in Brazil, in Guiana, and especially on the African continent, from Senegal to the Cape of Good Hope. In plumage they vary greatly; but for the most part their colors are brilliant. Green is the most common; but blue, red, and yellow are frequent. They bear the same relation to the feathered tribes that the monkeys do to the mammalia; found in the same regions, and apparently possessed of greater intelligence than other birds, they are, like the monkeys, easily tamed, and readily imbibe
instruction. Like them, too, parrots feed upon fruits, and frequently carry their food to their mouth by means of their
Except during incubation, the parrots congregate in flocks; but they are said to be strictly monogamous, each bird being confined during life to one partner. They have been known, in a state of domestication, to attain the great age of ninety, and even a hundred years. They have much affection for those by whom they have been tamed, and very quickly discern a friend from an enemy. M. Viellot assures us, from his own experience, that the male birds attach themselves most readily to women, while with the females the reverse is the case. He had a male bird in his own possession which he could never approach without thick gloves, while he was perfectly kind and docile to Madame V., and showed great fondness for that lady; and, on the other hand, a female of the same species showed great attachment to the naturalist.
Many well-authenticated stories are told which show in a striking light the capacity of these birds to receive instruction. Even as early as A. D. 1500, we read of a parrot at Rome which had been taught to repeat, with clearness, and without a single mistake, the whole of the Apostles' Creed. It was purchased by a cardinal for one hundred gold pieces.
At a sea-port town in England a parrot, hanging in his cage by a window, and observing a horse and cart near the edge of the dock, called out lustily, in tones resembling those of the carter, "Back! back! back!" The horse, obedient to the voice, continued backing until he was precipitated into the water and drowned. At the request of a celebrated naturalist in England, the following account of one of these singular birds was written by a lady. Its entire truthfulness may be relied upon.
"As you wished me to write down whatever I could collect about my sister's wonderful parrot, I proceed to do so, only promising that I will tell you nothing but what I can vouch for having myself heard. Her laugh is quite extraordinary, and it is impossible not to help joining in it one's self, more especially when in the midst of it she cries out, Don't make me laugh so; I shall die, I shall die;' and then continues laughing more violently than before. Her crying and sobbing are curious; and if you say, 'Poor Poll, what is the matter?' she says, 'So bad, so bad; got such a cold;' and after
crying for some time, will gradually cease, and, making a noise, like drawing a long breath, say, Better now,' and begin to laugh.
"The first time I ever heard her speak was one day when I was talking to the maid at the bottom of the stairs, and heard what I then considered to be a child call out, 'Payne,' (the maid's name,) 'I am not well, I am not well:' and on my saying, 'What is the matter with that child?' she replied, 'It is only the parrot; she always does so, when I leave her alone, to make me come back;' and so it proved, for on her going into the room the parrot stopped, and then began laughing quite in a jeering way.
"It is singular enough that, whenever she is affronted in any way, she begins to cry, and when pleased to laugh. If any one happens to 'What a bad cold.' cough or sneeze, she says, her, the maid came into the room, and on their One day, when the children were playing with repeating to her several times things which the parrot had said, Poll looked up and said quite plainly, 'No, I didn't.' Sometimes, when she is inclined to be mischievous, the maid threatens to beat her, and she often says, 'No you won't.' She calls the cat very plainly, saying, 'Puss, puss,' and then answers, Mew;' but the most amusing part is, that whenever I want to make her call it, and to that purpose say, 'Puss, puss,' myself, she always answers, Mew,' till I begin mewing; and then she begins calling 'Puss' as quick as possible. She imitates every kind of noise, and barks so naturally that have known her to set all the dogs on the parade at Hampton Court barking; and I dare say, if the truth was known, wondering what was barking at them; and the consternation I have seen her cause in a party of cocks and hens, by her crowing and chuckling, has been the most ludicrous thing possible. She sings just like a child; and I have more than once thought it was a human being; and it is most ludicrous to hear her make what one should call a false note, and then say, 'O la,' and burst out laughing at herself, beginning again quite in another key. She is very fond of singing, Buy a Broom,' which she says quite plainly; but in the same spirit as in calling the cat, if we say, with a view to make her repeat it, Buy a broom,' she always says, 'Buy a brush,' and then laughs as a child might do when mischievous. She often performs a kind of exercise, which I do not know how to describe, except by saying, that it is like the lance exercise. She puts her claw behind her, first on one side and then on the other, then in front, and round over her head, and while doing so keeps saying, 'Come on, come on;' and when finished, says, 'Bravo, beautiful!' and draws herself up. Before I was as well acquainted with her as I am now, she would stare in my face, and then say, 'How d'ye do, ma'am?' This she invariably does to strangers. One day I went into the room where she was, and said, to try her, Poll, where is Payne gone?' and to my astonishment, and almost dismay, she said, 'Down stairs.' I cannot at this moment recollect anything more that I can vouch for myself, and I do not choose to trust to what I am told; but from what I have myself seen and heard, she has almost made me a believer in transmigration."
cages. Of its habits, in a wild state, it is said that one nest suffices for a great many females, each laying two eggs, which, by some mutual agreement, of which we know nothing, are brooded over and hatched by one, who assumes to be the mother of the whole.
Of the same general habits as the par- | disagreeable scream, is seldom found in rots, properly so called, are the Parrakeets, Lories, and Lorikeets. They are, however, unable to articulate human sounds. The most noteworthy is the Carolina parrakeet, of which both Wilson and Audubon give interesting accounts. The former, on one of his excursions, slightly wounded a bird of this species, which he carried a great distance in his pocket. It soon became familiarized to confinement, learned to know its name, to come when called, to sit on his shoulder, to climb up his clothes, and even to eat from his mouth. It is a bird of exceedingly rich plumage; but, owing to its inability to articulate, and its loud and
Of the Macaw, the two most striking varieties are the Great Scarlet, a native of South America, and the Blue and Yellow, found most plentifully on the banks of the Amazon, in Guiana, and in Surinam. The former, when in full plumage, is one of the most gorgeous of the feathered tribes. It measures, including the tail,
about three feet in length.
pearance, and a trifle smaller in size, is
Its prevailing the eggs, and are equally assiduous in cherishing and conveying food to their young. When taken at an early age they are easily tamed, and are sometimes ena
of this beautiful bird. It is a native of Australia and the Indian islands, feeds upon fruits and seeds, and is easily tamed when taken young. Its imitative powers are not equal to those of the parrot, although in many other respects there is a very great similarity. "It is," says Cassell, "particularly fond of making a noise, and assuming a variety of antic pos
Nearly allied to the Parrots are the Cockatoos. Our engraving (No. 35) represents a group of the rose-crested variety
Of the Toucan there are found, in Demerara, three varieties, and as many of a smaller species, to which have been given the name of Toucanets. They are remarkable for the enormously disproportioned size of their bills. Mr. Jesse, who has paid much attention to this class of birds, in endeavoring to ascertain the utility of their large beaks, refers to the enemies it has to encounter, and the pecu