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selfish and ungrateful propensity-at the very head, and eyes, and heart that had nourished them, he would keep quiet until patience was utterly exhausted, and then turn about and give them a tremendous drubbing. I have seen the Song Thrush in many associations, but I never saw it fail to thrash the mocking bird, and every other bird of its family, when they had carried their aggressions up to a certain point. This bird will not fight if it can help it, but when it does, it fights like a desperado, and always wins. Both the American and English varieties are equally quiet in this respect, and never commit aggressions upon their neighbors, but resent them with the same fierceness.
There is a curious book called “The Natural History of Cage Birds, by J. M. Bechstein, M. D., &c., of Waltershausen, in Saxony,” which furnishes many interesting particulars in regard to the habits of the Song Thrush. We shall proceed to give them as being somewhat rare to American and general readers. He says: "we might with Brisson"_he speaks of the Song Thrush—"name this bird the small missel thrush, so much does it resemble the preceding in form, plumage, abode, manners and gait. Its length is only eight inches and a half, three and a half of which belong to the tail; the beak is three-quarters of an inch, horn brown, the under part yellowish at the base and yellow within; the iris is nut brown, and shanks are an inch high and of a dingy lead color. All of the upper part of the body is olive brown. The throat is yellowish white, with a black line on each side, the sides of the neck and breast are of a pale reddish white, variegated with dark brown spots shaped like a heart reversed; the belly is white, and covered with more oval spots."
Here we have the usual inaccuracy of old authors, but let us hear them :
“When wild, this species is spread all over Europe, frequenting woods near streams, and meadows. As soon as the autumnal fogs appear, they collect in large flights to seek a
warmer climate.* The principal time of passage is from the 15th of September to the 15th of October, and of return, about the middle or end of March; each pair then returns to its own district, and the male warbles his hymn to spring from the same tree where he had sung the preceding year.
"In confinement, this bird is lodged like the Missel Thrush, and is much more worthy of being kept, as its voice is more beautiful, its song more varied, and it being smaller it makes less dirt.
"This species generally build on the lower branches of trees, the nest being pretty large and formed of moss mixed with earth or cow-dung. The hen lays twice a year, from three to six green eggs, speckled with large and small dark brown spots. The first brood is ready to fly by the end of April. The upper part of the body in the young ones is speckled with white. By taking them from the nest when half-grown, they may be easily reared on white bread soaked in boiled milk, and they are easily taught to perform airs. As this thrush builds by preference in the neighborhood of water, the nest may be easily found by seeking it in the woods beside a stream, and near it the male will be heard singing.
"Of all the birds for which snares are laid, those for the thrush are most successful. A perch with a limed twig is the best method for catching a fine-toned male. In September and October, these birds may be caught in the water traps, where they repair at sunrise and sunset, and sometimes so late that they cannot be seen, and the ear is the only guide. When they enter the water, haste must be avoided, because they like to bathe in company, and assemble sometimes to the number of ten or twelve at once, by means of a particular call. The first which finds a convenient stream, and wishes to go to it, cries in a tone of surprise or joy—‘sik, sik, sik, siki, tsac, tsac, tsac'-immediately all the neighborhood reply together, and repair to the place. They enter the bath, however, with much circumspection, and seldom ven* In Britain they remain all the year.
ture till they have seen a red-breast bathe without danger; but the first which ventures is soon followed by the others, which begin to quarrel if the place is not large enough for all the bathers. In order to attract them, it is a good plan to have a tame bird running and fluttering on the banks of a stream."
So it is with the gentle and affectionate natures of humanity; they are easily caught by the “limed twigs” of pretence. But here is what the German says of the European bird :
“The Song Thrush is the great charm of our woods, which it enlivens by the beauty of its song. The rival of the Nightingale—it announces in varied accents the return of spring, and continues its delightful notes during all the summer months, particularly at morning and evening twilight.”
The habits of the English or European Song Thrush agree so perfectly with those of the American bird, that we are almost tempted to pronounce them identical, except that we have heard their songs. One is brilliant, keen and cold as hawthorn hedge rows and a systematized civilization could require; the other, wild, bold, liquid and free as the very breath of harmonious liberty could demand.
At all events, the English bird is true to sentiment, and that is all we demand. We cannot help, however, before leaving the subject of English and European song-birds, recurring to what this same European has said in regard to the famous Nightingale. Bechstein says:
“ The male is particularly endowed with so very striking a musical talent, that in this respect he surpasses all birds, and has acquired the name of the king of songsters. The strength of his vocal organ is indeed wonderful, and it has been found that the muscles of his lungs are much more powerful than those of any other bird. But it is less the strength, than the compass, flexibility, prodigious variety and harmony of his voice, which makes it so admired by all lovers of the beautiful. Sometimes dwelling for minutes on
a strain composed of only two or three melancholy tones, he begins in an under tone, and swelling it gradually by the most superb crescendo, to the highest point of strength, he ends it by a dying cadence; or it consists of a rapid succession of more brilliant sounds, terminated, like many other strains of his song, by some detached note. Twenty-four different strains or couplets may be reckoned in the song of a fine Nightingale, without including its delicate little variations, for among these, as among other musicians, there are some great performers and many middling ones. This song is so articulate, so speaking, that it may be very well written. The following is a trial which I have made on that of a Nightingale in my neighborhood, which passes for a very capital singer :
Spe, tiou, squa.
Tiô, tiô, tiô, tiô, tiô, tiô, tiô, tiô.
Coutio, coutio, coutio, coutio.
Squê, squê, squê, squê.
Tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tzu, tzi.
Corro, tiou, squa, pipiqui.
Dzorre, dzorre, dzorre, dzorre, hi.
Tzatu, tzatu, tzatu, tzatu, tzatu, tzatu, tzatu, dzi.
Dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo, dlo.
Quio, tr rrrrrrrr itz.
Lu, lu, lu, lu, ly, ly, ly, ly, liê, liê, liên liê. *
Quio, did li lulylie.
Hagurr, gurr guipio.
Coui, coui, coui, coui, qui, qui, qui, qui, gui, gui, gui, gui.†
Couiqui, horr, ha diadia dill si!
* I possess a nightingale which repeats these brawling, melancholy notes, often thirty or even fifty times. Many pronounce qu, quy, qui, and others, qu quy gui.
✦ These syllables are pronounced in a sharper, clearer manner than the preceding lu, lu, &c.-AUTHOR.
Hezezezezezezezezezezezezezezezeze couar ho dze hoi.
“If we could understand the sense of their words, we should doubtless discover the expression of the sensations of this delightful songster. It is true that the nightingale of all countries, the South as well as the North, appears to sing in this same manner; there is, however, as has been already observed, so great a difference in the degree of perfection, that we cannot help acknowledging the one has great superiority over another.”
Now if any one will take the trouble to whistle or hum over this song, they will find it to resemble, in all respects except intensity, the natural song of our mocking bird. The splendor and power of the new monarch cannot be expressed in syllables, its infinite variety is beyond the command of the gamut.
* However difficult or even impossible it may be to express this song upon an instrument, (excepting, however, the jay call, made of tin, on which is placed a piece of birch cut in a cross, and which is held between the tongue and palate,) yet it is very true that the accompaniment of a good piano produces the most agreeable effect.-AUTHOR.