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hour of the day. If you
away the eggs, and substitute those of magpies, the bird will hatch them, and rear the young ones with great care and affection.
The plumage of the jackdaw is black, with shining silvery grey behind the head, changing when exposed to the different rays of light. A jackdaw once appeared here with a remarkable portion of white in one of the wings : it tarried with us for two years, and then disappeared for ever. Probably the singularity of its wing had attracted the fatal notice of some experienced gunner, in its periginations beyond this vale of safety.
The jackdaw, like the rook, collects insects in its mouth, to feed its young; and this gives it the appearance of a pouch under the lower mandible.
I know not how far naturalists will agree with me in the speculation that these birds remain in pairs the year throughout. When November winds have stripped the sycamore of its every leaf, I see the daws, sitting in pairs, side by side, upon the naked branches. They seem fond of screening each other's heads; and, as they mostly leave the trees in pairs, and in pairs return, I am led to conjecture • that their union is not dissolved at the period when the young no longer need parental aid.
He who is fond of rural scenes, and loves to rove
“ On a mountain's lonely van,
Beyond the noise of busy man,
will never bring his mind to drive away this playful, merry bird, or allow his gardener to take its life for the value of a handful of cherries.
Cowper, whose spaniel dog “ Beau,” with notable sagacity, "plunging, left the shore,” or bank, of the river Ouse, to cross and bring from the stream a water-lily's
tended far,” take “unsuccessful pains” to reach, might well be excited to express himself thus :
“ Charm'd with the sight, the world, I cried,
Shall hear of this thy deed;
Of man's superior breed.” * Should the feat of Beau give umbrage to pride, the jackdaw may serve to soothe it; for Mr. Waterton's interesting information of this bird's defective sense of proportion, apprizes us that the degree of rationality possessed by it is not only far below the human degree, but even far below the degree of which Beau's unsolicited interpretation and fulfilment of his master's wish bespoke his possession. Interesting, however, as are both these instances of instinct capability, there is not sufficient parity in them to justify my coupling them together ; except as two separate facts, individually valuable in their lucid relation to that most interesting of natural subjects, the respective boundaries and capabilities of instinct and reason, the two faculties through which are actuated all the movements of all animals.
In relation to the habits of jackdaws, I have an incident (it can scarcely be called a habit) to report, which, I think, will show that the bird, like others of
“ The houseless rovers of the sylvan world,” has a just sense of the value of expediency. At Cambridge, then, there is good accommodation for jackdaws, in the numerous receptacles for their nests which the thirteen, or more, parish churches, and many college buildings, supply; and in the sufficiency (so one would suppose) of sticks for their nests, which the trees in the grounds of the colleges, and elsewhere around the town, afford. Jackdaws are, whether in consequence or not, comparatively numerous at Cambridge. The botanic garden there has three of its four sides enclosed by thickly-built parts of the town, and has five parish churches and five colleges within a short flight
The Dog and the Water-Lily.
of it. The jackdaws inhabiting (at least for a certain time in each year) these and other churches and colleges, had, in the years 1815 to 1818, and doubtless for years before, and have since, discovered that the wooden labels in the botanic garden would well enough serve the same purpose as twiggy sticks off trees, and that they had the greater convenience of being prepared ready for their use, and placed very near home. A large proportion of the labels used in this garden were made out of deal laths, and were about nine inches long, and an inch or more broad; and, although of this size, were, as they were thin, when dry, pretty light. To these the jackdaws would help themselves freely, whenever they could do so without molestation ; and the times at which they could do this were, early in the morning, before the gardeners commenced working for the day, and while they were absent from the garden at their meals; and the jackdaws would sometimes fetch away labels, during the gardeners' working hours, from one part of the garden, when they observed the gardeners occupied in another, as was often the case in their attending to the plants in the glass-houses, &c. To describe the mode of action in all by that of one: a jackdaw would grasp a label edgewise in its beak, and draw it out of the soil ; and, as this was pretty pliable and light, it could usually extract it with but little difficulty: but where the label happened to stand in a more cohesive soil, or to have been more deeply infixed, it would pull the label first to one side, then to the opposite one ; and, by persevering in this process of leverage, either effect the extraction of it, or tire itself and leave it. As soon as it had extracted one, it proceeded to balance it in its mouth; letting it fall, and picking it up again, until it had ascertained the place at which it could be held in equilibrium, when it flew off with it. Those who are aware how closely some species of the grasses, garlic, umbelliferous plants, &c., resemble each other, and who, consequently, know how needful it is to prefix labels to them as remembrancers of their names, will readily perceive that much inconvenience arose from the jackdaws' appropriation sometimes did, the labels from sown seeds, as the plants arising from these seeds must, in some species, grow for a year or more, before their names could be ascertained. I cannot give a probable idea of the number of labels which the jackdaws annually removed, but have more than once been told, by persons who had ascended the tower of Great St. Mary's church, and the towers or steeples of other churches, that wooden labels, bearing botanical inscriptions, were abounding in these places. The house of the late Dr. (I think a Dr.) Kerrich, in Free-School Lane, was close beside the botanic garden; and the shaft of one of the chimneys of his house was stopped up below, or otherwise rendered a fit place of resort for jackdaws. From this chimney-shaft Dr. Kerrich's man-servant got out, on one occasion, eighteen dozen of the said deal labels; and these he brought to Mr. Arthur Biggs, the curator of the botanic garden. I saw them delivered and received." This fact, however, gives very little information as to the number of labels annually removed from the garden by the jackdaws, as I am quite without a knowledge of the number of the years which intervened between thejackdaws' deposition of the first label into the chimney-shaft, and the withdrawal of the eighteen dozen. This number of labels, and the fact of the occurrence of plant-labels on other buildings about the town, prove that, in general terms, the aggregate of labels lost from time to time could not be an inconsiderable one. J. D.-Magazine of Natural History.
NOTICES OF ANIMATED AND VEGETABLE
And bids the chilling tempest blow;
Or buries the wide plains in snow:
Is wise and just when most severe,
And crowns with goodness all the year."— Beck.
21 Week.-Fieldfares and redwings are now numerous. The polyanthus sometimes shows a few flowers.
3d Week.—Whole companies of rooks, jackdaws, and starlings may be seen at this season feeding among the stubble. The wallflower and mezereon are sometimes partially in blow.
4th Week.—The redbreast cheers us with his sprightly song, although all the rest of the feathered warblers are mute. A few scattered snow-drops spring up in mild seasons: the common yellow crocus begins to present its leaves above the surface of the earth.
N.B. Hooker in his “ British Flora” mentions five species of Crocus. 1. Crocus sativus, or saffron crocus, which has been cultivated abundantly, and it still is, about Saffron Walden in Essex, for the sake of its fragrant stigmas, which constitute saffron : it flowers in September. 2. Crocus vernus, the purple spring crocus, which flowers in March. 3. Crocus minimus, the least purple crocus; and, 4. Crocus aureus, the golden crocus; both of which flower in March. 5. Crocus nudiflorus, the naked flowering crocus: this plant is found in fields in Nottinghamshire and other places, exhibiting its pale purple flowers in October, before the leaves appear. Greenwich.
BRIEF ASTRONOMICAL NOTICES,
FOR DECEMBER, 1833. Yon brilliant constellations of distant suns arrest the attention of every lover of astronomy, and exhibit in a very striking manner the wisdom and power of the great Creator.
“Watch with unmoving eye where Cepheus bends
Its triple crown, his sceptred hand extends;
Dance round the pole, pursuing and pursued." If our Sun were seen from a fixed star, he would only appear like a star among a thousand similar ones; but in consequence of his nearness to the Earth, his glories are exhibited to the advantage which we see; and therefore, in obedience to the divine will, the Sun is the fountain of light and heat to our world, and to various others that revolve around his radiant orb.
The Sun rises on the 1st at forty-five minutes past seven, and sets at fifty-three minutes after three : on the 14th he rises at a minute past eight, and sets at forty-nine minutes after three. The Sun enters the solstitial sign Capricorn on the 21st, when the winter quarter begins: he rises on the 31st at eight minutes after