« ZurückWeiter »
16, 17: She is hardened against the young ones, as though they were not hers: Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding.'
Soine accounts exonerate the ostrich from being the most stupid bird in the creation. This has been proved by the experiment of taking an egg away, or by putting one in addition. In either case she destroys the whole by smashing them with her feet. Although she does not attend to secrecy in selecting a situation for her nest, she will forsake it if the eggs have been handled. It is also said that she rolls a few eggs thirty yards from the nest, and cracks the shells, which, by the time her young come forth, being filled with maggots, and covered with insects, form the first repast of her infant brood. The male bird is said to take upon himself the rearing of the young. If two cock birds meet, each with a family, they fight for the supremacy over both; for which reason an ostrich has sometimes under his tutelage, broods of different ages.
Each of the ostrich's eggs, of which it lays about thirty, contains as much as twenty-four hen's eggs.
Why are young ostriches seldom domesticated,although they soon become attached to those who caress them?
Because they are troublesome inmates: for, stalking about the house, they will, when full grown, swallow coin, shirt-pins, and every small article of metal within their reach.
Why is the New Holland cassowary hunted? Because it abounds with oil, which is used for leather, &c. Its flesh, when cooked, more resembles beef than fowl. It is hunted with dogs, the scull, or the jaw of which, according to Wentworth, it sometimes fractures by a single kick. A fine pair of these
birds may be seen in the gardens of the Zoological Society.
Why is the spoonbill so called?
Because of its singular bill having the shape of a spoon. Its singularity does not, however, consist merely in its shape, but also in its structure: for it is not hard, like the beaks of other birds, but soft and flexible like leather. - Jennings.
Why has the horned screamer two spurs on each wing? Because it may defend itself against some noxious animals which infest the native regions of this bird the fenny and marshy parts of South America. Notwithstanding this armour it is said that this bird is the most gentle of all animals; that the male and female are always found in pairs, and that, if one dies, the other does not long survive.
Why does the great American bittern emit a strong light from its breast?
Because the light, which is equal to that of a common torch, may illuminate the water, so as to enable the bird to discover its prey. -American Naturalist.
Why was the ibis so famed among the ancient Egyptians?
Because it was the symbol of the overflowing of the Nile, from its arrival, breeding season, and departure, coinciding with the commencement, &c, of the fertilizing inundation of that river.
It has been frequently represented on their hieroglyphical monuments, and prepared, like the human bodies, in the form of mummies, great numbers being placed in certain vaults. At present it is rather uncommon, at least in Lower Egypt. — Blumenbach.
Why is the trumpeter so called?
Because of its harsh, uncommon cry, not unlike a child's trumpet, with which it follows people through the streets, in Brazil and Guinea, so that it is dificult to get rid of it. - Waterton.
Why is the darter of Brasil so called?
Because it has a very long neck, which the animal can roll up spirally, and by that means dart its head at the fish it wishes to seize.
Why is the tropic bird so called?
Because it lives in the open seas between the tropics, chiefly on the flying fish.
Why is the flesh of the Indian hornbill peculiarly aromatic?
Because it feeds on wild nutmegs, which grow abundantly in its native place, the Molucca Islands. Why is another species of the above-mentioned bird called the jealous hornbill?
Because he feeds the female during her incubation; and, during his absence in search of food, should he find on his return, the marks of another bird near the nest, he will, it is said, inclose the female in the nest, and leave her to perish. — Horsfield.
Why is the sociable grossbeak so called?
Because it lives in vast tribes, from 800 to 1000 at times,under one common roof,containing their several nests, which are built on a large species of mimosa.
Why is it popularly believed in India that the baya, or grossbeak lights the chambers of his nest with fire