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destroyed the poor flycatcher's nest, “because he knowed how all small birds ate his peas.

In the United States there is a kind of flycatcher, called the king-bird, possessing some remarkable qualities: we will transcribe a few lines from the description given by the eloquent and indefatigable Wilson, who has so well illustrated the birds of those vast countries. We should premise, that the king-bird is much larger than our little familiar friend, being eight inches long, and fourteen from wing to wing:“ In the breeding season his extreme affection for his mate, and for his nest and young, makes him suspicious of every bird that happens to pass near his residence, so that he attacks without discrimination every intruder. In the months of May, June, and part of July, his life is one continued scene of broils and battles, in which, however, he generally comes off conqueror. Hawks and crows, and even the bald eagle, and the great black eagle, all equally dread a rencontre with this dauntless little champion, who, as soon as he perceives one of these last approaching, lanches into the air to meet him, mounts to a considerable height above him, and darts down on his back, sometimes fixing there, to the great annoyance of his sovereign. He teases the eagle incessantly, sweeps upon him from right and left, remounts that he may descend on his back with the greater violence, all the time keeping up a shrill and rapid twittering; and continuing the attack for more than a mile, till he is relieved by some other of his tribe, equally eager for the contest.” “ In fields of pasture," continues Wilson, “ he often takes his stand, on the tops of the mullein and other rank weeds, near the cattle, and makes occasional sweeps after passing insects, particularly the large black gadfly, so terrifying to horses and cattle. His eye moves restlessly around him, traces the flight of an insect for a moment or two, then that of second, and even a third, until he perceives one to his liking; when with a shrill scream he pursues it, seizes it, and returns to the same spot again to look for more. This habit is so conspicuous, that several intelligent farmers of my acquaintance are of opinion that he picks out only the drones, and never injures the working bees.”*

Another family of summer visiters, the SwalLOWS, well deserves our attention and protection. Every one thinks he knows the common swallow, yet many do not know we have four kinds perfectly distinct in their plumage and habits.

* Wilson's American Ornithology. Duodee - KingBird.

The sand martin, who makes his nest deepdelved in some banging bank, is not more different from our twittering blue-backed chimney swallow, than the latter from the loved

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tenant of the jutting roof, the house martin; and all easily known from the long-winged active swifts, dark in plumage, circling in calm evenings at a great height, and screaming to each other in their airy race: from their frequenting church steeples and towers, their sombre look, and harsh boding voice, the latter birds have been ominously called in some places “ devilings.” The whole tribe live, and move, and have their being, in the air, and seem less indebted to the earth and the waters than any other of the feathered race. Their lives (for sleep is only “tired nature's sweet restorer”)

are spent upon the wing, chasing and destroying the insect enemies of man.

Shall we grudge them a nook beneath our projecting roof, and not remember Shakspeare's words?

“ This guest of summer,
The temple-haunting martlet, does approve
By his loved mansionry, that the heaven's breath
Smells wooingly here; no jutty, frieze, buttress,
Nor coigne of vantage, but this bird hath made
His pendent bed, and procreant cradle ;—where they
Most breed and haunt, I have observed the air
Is delicate.”

Mr. White gives a very interesting account of each of this tribe to which we refer: he says :

66 The CHIMNEY SWALLOW* is the first comer; making its nest five or six feet down the chimney, a crust of mud or dirt, mixed with short pieces of straw to render it tough and permanent; the nest is open at the top, and lined with fine grasses and feathers which are often collected as they float in the air. The swallow lays from four to six white eggs, dotted with red specks; and brings out her first brood about the last week in June, or first week in July. The progressive method by which the young are introduced into life, is very amusing; first they emerge from the shaft with difficulty enough; and often fall down into the rooms below: for a day or so they are fed on the chimney top, and then are conducted to the dead leafless bough of some tree; where, sitting in a row, they are attended with great assiduity, and may be called perchers. In a day or two more they become fliers, but are still unable to take their own food; therefore they play about near the place where the young are, hawking for flies; and when a mouthful is collected, at a certain signal given, the dam and nestling advance, rising towards each other, and meeting at an angle; the young one all the while uttering a little quick note of gratitude and complacency, that a person must have paid very little regard to the wonders of nature, who has not often remarked this feat."*

* The song of the swallow consists of a strain, about one minute in continuance, prettily enough modulated, and repeated at intervals, and always ending with a shrill note rapidly shaken.” – Loudon's Mag. of Nat. Hist.

All the summer long is the swallow a most instructive pattern of unwearied industry and affection; for, from morning to night, while there is a family to be supported, she spends the whole day in skimming close to the ground, and executing the most sudden turns and quick evolutions.

Wilson, in his account of the American barn swallow, gives nearly the same relation respecting that bird.


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