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AUG 20 1987 LIBRARIES

“WILLUGHBY SOCIETY.

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TO THE READER OF THIS VOLUME

indly handle this book with the utmost re on account of its fragile condition. ‘he binding has been done as well as pos- ble under existing conditions and will ive reasonable wear with proper opening d handling.

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6! 14830 THE WILLUGHBY SOCIETY.

R ie : aes

Poel ONS” HRAGMi NI Ss

OF THE

NATURAL HISTORY OF PENNSYLVANIA.

EDITED BY

OSBERT SALVIN, M.A., F.R.S., &c.

LONDON: MDCCCLXXXIII.

ALERE PLAMMAM,

PRINTED BY TAYLOR AND FRANCIS, RED LION COURT, FLEET STREET.

PAR Ae WA 1S abe

IT is to be regretted that the want of leisure Barron speaks of in the concluding page of this ‘Fragment’ prevented him from publishing at greater length on the Natural History of his native country; for the present work shows that its author was a man of no ordinary observation and intelligence. He wrote at a time when our knowledge of the ornithology of North America was quite in its infancy, and some years before Alexander Wilson published his ever-famous work,

which gave the impetus to the study, which has gone on increasing to the present time.

Barton in the present work introduced several new names for the birds upon which he wrote, but he seems never to have appreciated the importance of adding to these names definite descriptions. His titles therefore, like those of his friend and predecessor William Bartram, lack precision, rendering their meaning in some cases doubtful, and in others unintelligible. Dr. Coues, in the Bibliographical Appendix to ‘The Birds of the Colorado Valley,’ wherein he treats of faunal publications relating to North-American Ornithology, gives a full abstract of this work of Barton’s (p. 592), and collating his names with those of Bartram, gives their modern significance

so far as he can make them out.

‘The Fragments’ appears to be a very scarce book. Dr. Coues, when compiling his account of it, referred to a copy in the Congressional Library at Washington, which had formerly been in the possession of Barron’s son, Thomas Pennant Barton. That from which this reprint has been made is in Mr. Godman’s and my own library, and was formerly in that of the late Vicomte Du Bus.

Another copy is in the Banksian Library in the British Museum.

The work is dedicated to the Linnean Society,” of which Barron was a Foreign Member,

having been elected on 17th January, 1797.

OSBERT SALVIN.

Cambridge, January 1883.

FRAGMENTS

OF THE

NATURAL HISTORY

OF

JPA 1a) INTENSIVE SIN, ll 8.

BY BENJAMIN SMITH BARTON, M.D.

PAT EELS.

Pee ACD EEE PsHelpAs:

PRINTED, FOR THE AUTHOR, BY WAY & GROFF, AND SOLD, IN LONDON, BY MESSRS. G. J. & J. ROBINSON, BOOKSELLERS, PATER-NOSTER ROW.

Price Four Shillings.

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UNG)

PEE EYNNAAN SOCIETY,

THE FOLLOWING

FRAGMENTS (WHICH ARE INTENDED TO ILLUSTRATE, IN SOME DEGREE,

THE

NerseeleG Kk Ak JH) Sot Okey Avge Os ©) Wie Ne eta

EXTREMELY INTERESTING TO PHILOSOPHERS,

HITHERTO VERY IMPERFECTLY EXPLORED) ARE, WITH GREAT RESPECT, INSCRIBED BY THE SOCIETY’S FRIEND AND BROTHER-MEMBER,

BENJAMIN SMITH BARTON PHILADELPHIA, ) April 18th, 1799. f

PNT RO DU Cel T-ON.

one

Tur first ten pages of the following Fragments will, probably, be thought the most interesting part of this little work. They exhibit a rude and imperfect sketch of the Natwral History-Pictwre in the neighbourhood of Phi- ladelphia: a picture which, if it were drawn by an able hand, could not fail to prove interesting to the lovers of science, in every part of the world. Each of these pages is divided into five columns. The first respects the day of the month when the birds mentioned in the second column arrived, or were first seen, in the vicinity of Philadel- phia. In the second column, I have given what may be called the scientific Latin name of each bird. In this part of my subject, I have always preferred the name of Linnzeus, when I could discover that the bird had been described by this great naturalist. But several of the birds, which are here mentioned, were not known to Linnieus: at least, I do not find that they have a place in any of the editions of his immortal work, the Systema Nature. I have, therefore, been obliged to adopt other names, and, in a few instances, to impose them myself. I have often adopted the names of Professor Gmelin, the laborious, and often successful, editor of the new edition of the Systema Nature.* When this is the case, I have affixed to the scientific name, the letter G, thus (G.) I have in this co- lumn, sometimes made use of the scientific names of my ingenious and good friend, Mr. William Bartram, a gentleman who has contributed much to our knowledge of the natural productions of North-America. To the names which I myself have imposed, I have affixed the word (mihi). But I by no means pretend to assert, that all the birds thus marked are new, or have not been described by naturalists.

§. II.

In the third column, I have given the English scientific and the English provincial names. The former are chiefly taken from the Aretic Zoology + of my excellent friend My. Pennant, because this is a work of such extensive merit, that I presume it is in the hands of almost every naturalist ; and because the names imposed by this gentleman are, with a very few exceptions, just and significant. By the English provincial names, I mean the names by which these birds are best known in Pennsylvania, and in various other parts of the United-States. These provincial names are always enclosed within a parenthesis, as in the instances (Pewe), (Turtle-Dove), &c. They are designated in the same manner in the list of Resident Birds, &c. in Section III. The greater number of these names are used in Pennsylvania.

§. II.

The fourth column relates to the “Progress of Vegetation.” The greater number of the vegetables which I have here enumerated are natives of Pennsylvania. Some, which are not natives of this state, are natives of other parts of the United-States; whilst others have not, hitherto, been found to grow spontaneously in any part of America. In general, the plants are designated by their Linnean names. In a few instances, I have adopted the names of the late Mr. Aiton, in his Hortus Kewensis; those of Marshall, and other botanists. All the plants which I have men- tioned are found, either wild, or growing in gardens, in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, where the remarks on the time of their flowering and leafing have been made.

§. IV.

The fifth and last column contains Miscellaneous Observations.” In this part of my Sketches, I have done but very little. Want of time has prevented me from throwing into this column, many interesting facts, some of which will be presented, perhaps to greater advantage, to the public, in my future publications. The few Ther-

* Printed at Leipsic, in 1788. + The second edition. London: 1792.

( vi )

mometrical and Barometrical observations, which occur under this head, are given on the authority of my ever- venerated maternal uncle, the late David Rittenhouse, Esq. These observations were made in Philadelphia.

§. V.

It must not be imagined, that I communicate these sketches to the public as exhibiting even the names of all the migratory birds of Pennsylvania. I am persuaded, that many of these birds have escaped my notice. This is, per- haps, especially the case with the birds of the genera Anas, Tringa, and of the extensive order of Passeres, Kc. which I suspect are constant in their migrations from the north to the south, and from the south to the north. A good many of the birds which are mentioned by Mr. Pennant as natives of New-York have not hitherto, to my knowledge, been observed in Pennsylvania: but it can hardly be supposed that those species which are common in New-York (if we except such as delight in the vicinity of the sea-coast) are wncommon, or never seen, in Pennsyl- vania. Here, however, I must observe, that I cannot but suspect, that My. Pennant, Mr. Latham, and other able ornithologists, haye sometimes described as distinct species, birds which merely differ in sex, or in age, and in their colouring, for which these animals, at different seasons of the year, are so remarkable.

§. VI.

Besides the constant migratory birds, there are others, which may be denominated occasional migratory, or yvisit- ant, birds of Pennsylvania. Such, not to mention several others, are the Columba passerina, or Ground-Pigeon, the Fringilla bicolor, or Bahama-Finch, and a species of Psittacus, or Parrot.

§. VIL

The two first of these birds were seen in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, between thirty and forty years ago. The Psittacus, most probably the Psittacus pertinax, Illinois Parrot, or the Psittacus carolinensis, Carolina Parrot, has been occasionally observed in Shareman’s Valley, on Shareman’s Creek, a branch of the river Susquehanna, within twenty miles of the town of Carlisle.* This last fact seems to contradict the observation of Mr. William Bartram, who says, “The parakeet (Psittacus carolinensis) never reach so far north as Pennsylvania, which to me is unaccountable, considering they are a bird of such singular rapid flight, they could easily perform the jour- ney in ten or twelye hours from North-Carolina, where they are yery numerous, and we abound with all the fruits which they delight in.” + It is well known, that the late M. de Buffon had limited the range of the whole of the Parrot-kind to exactly twenty-five degrees on each side of the equator.{ Mr. Pennant has shown that the eloquent French naturalist was, in this instance, mistaken. § My observation is an additional objection to the hypothesis. I may add, that a very large flight of parakeets, which came from the westward, was seen, a few years ago, about twenty-five miles to the north-west of Albany, in the state of New-York. The arrival of these birds in the depth of winter || was, indeed, a very remarkable circumstance. The more ignorant Dutch settlers were exceedingly alarmed. They imagined, in dreadful consternation, that it portended nothing less calamitous than the destruction of the world. 4

§. VIII.

I suspect it will be found, that, in general, our southern birds migrate farther north in the tract of country west than in that east of the great ranges of our mountains. With respect to the birds, I hazard this merely as a con-

A friend of mine has informed me, that the Parakeet seen in this valley is the same species which is frequently met with in the neighbourhood of the river Ohio. This last is supposed to be Psittacus pertinax.

} Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, &c. P. 301. Philadelphia: 1791. I Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux. Tom, XI. P. 113 and 114. Duodecimo-edition. Paris: 1780. § Arctic Zoology. Vou. I. P. 285.

In January, 1780. This fact was communicated to me by Egbert Benson, Esq. of the State of New-York.

( vii )

jecture: but it is a conjecture which derives support from many interesting facts which I have collected, and which will be mentioned and explained in my Geographical View of the Trees and Shrubs of North-America. In that work, I shall show, that the southern trees and shrubs (that is, those vegetables which attain to their greatest perfection in the southern climates of our continent, particularly of the United-States) are, in general, found much farther north in the western than they are in the eastern parts of our country. This fact seems to show, and the point is put beyond any manner of doubt, by thermometrical observations, that the western climate, in the same lati- tudes, is more temperate than the eastern. Of course, it were natural to suppose, that the southern birds, to whom heat is so genial, would often be solicited farther north in the western than in the eastern district. This, with respect to some birds, is actually the case. My. Jefferson has observed, that ‘“ Perroquets even winter on the Sioto, in the 39th degree of latitude.” * I have certain information, that these birds winter still farther north than is here mentioned.

GR DX.

Birds, in migrating, are fond of following the courses of rivers, and other large streams of water. This circum- ? lo} tor] te) 2 to) stance, in my opinion, partly explains the reason, why some of the birds of the southern parts of the United-States

, yOF bp Sua aid) , and also some of the South-American birds, which have never, or very rarely, been discovered in the Atlantic coun-

? ? Py 7 tries of North-America, are not uncommon in the countries west of the Alleghaney-Mountains. These southern birds, following the courses of the Mississippi, and its branches (the Ohio, the Illinois, &e.) are spread or dispersed through the rich and extensive territories that are washed by these waters. Whether or not this explanation be admitted, the fact is certainly as I have stated; and to the naturalist it cannot but appear interesting. The Psittacus pertinax is one of the birds of Brazil; and the Muscicapa Tyrannus, which is held in so much esteem by the Nau- dowessies, and other western Indian tribes, is a native of Surinam, and of the country bordering on the river Plata. ? ? ? 5

xe

It is, I think, in general, a just observation, that our Spring and Summer birds of passage continue with us about six months, and are absent for the same length of time. Accordingly, those birds which arrive early in the spring disappear early in the autumn, and those which arrive late in the spring do not disappear until late in the au- tumn. Our late springs are commonly succeeded by late and warm autumns, which, by keeping alive the numerous species of insects, which are the favourite food of almost all our summer birds of passage, detain these birds for a considerable time among us.

§. XI.

The greater number of the Spring and Summer birds of passage, which I have mentioned, build and breed in Pennsylvania.t Perhaps, they all breed in some part of this extensive state, with the exception of the Vultur Awa (Turkey-Buzzard), and a few others, which do not visit us until towards the close of the summer. It has lately been ascertained, that the Ampelis Garrulus, or Prib-Chatterer (Cedar-Bird) does breed in Pennsylvania; and I doubt not, that the same will, in time, be discovered to be the case with the Emberiza Oryzivora (Rice-Bird, Reed-Bird), and others whose nests have not hitherto been seen in Pennsylvania. It is not unlikely, however, that some of these birds of passage continue their migration farther northward, to New-York, New-England, Vermont, &c, and there breed and raise their young, returning southward, through Pennsylvania, in the fall.

§. XII.

It is an interesting fact, for which we are indebted to Mr. William Bartram, that very few of our birds of passage from the south “build or rear their young in the south or maritime parts of Virginia and Carolina, Georgia and

* Notes on the State of Virginia, Page 139. The original edition.

} See Appendix I. where I have designated with an asterisk (*) those birds which are known to breed in Pennsylvania, The greater number of them thus marked breed within a few miles of Philadelphia.

( vii)

Florida.”* This cireumstance leads to a suspicion, that the principal cause (I will not, out of complaisance to any one, call it a necessary instinct) which leads or impels these birds to migrate to the northward, is that they may make choice of a proper climate, abounding in their favourite food, to perform their amours, to build their nests, and to rear their young. Much light might be thrown upon this curious subject, if natural history were cultivated in the United-States, with a portion of that innocent and useful zeal with which it is cultivated in Europe: with only a small portion of that ardent zeal which so strongly characterizes the Americans in their pursuit of gain, But, as yet, little attention is paid to the study of nature in the United-States. In our colleges, it is not taught as an indispen- sable branch of polite or useful knowledge, but is obliged to yield its laurels to languages which are withered or dead,

and to studies which are useless or ignoble.t

§. XIII.

It has been supposed, that many of the birds which I have enumerated, pass, on their return to the south, during the autumnal months, through the countries which are situated to the west of the great ranges of our mountains. That this is sometimes the case, I do not doubt: but it is not the general order of the migration of our birds. My opinion, indeed, is opposed by the authority of some very respectable naturalists, whose sentiments deserve to be mentioned in this place. “The birds (says the late Mr. George Edwards), which pass through the country north- ward in the spring, being never observed to return the same way, Mr. Bartram supposes that they go to the southward in autumn by some other passage beyond their inland mountains.” { This notion is likewise adopted by Mr. Pennant. Speaking of the Motacilla vermivora, or Worm-eater, this able zoologist says, “It does not appear in Pennsylvania till July, in its passage northward. Does not return the same way; but is supposed to go beyond the mountains which lie to the west. This seems to be the case with all the transient vernal visitants of Pennsylvania.” § In the above quotation, Mr. Edwards says, the birds are “never” observed to return the same way that they went. This is, certainly, a mistake. Our swallows, which are migratory birds, as I think I have rendered very probable in the Appendix, || are generally seen on their return southward, in the autumn, far to the east of the first ranges of our mountains. But independently of the swallows, the same may be said of many other species of birds. Indeed, I believe it may confidently be said, that most of the passenger-birds, which pass by us, in the spring, return, in the autumn, southward, the same way they went. ‘This observation certainly applies to the Anas canadensis (Wild- ‘roose), the Columba migratoria (Wild-Pigeon), the Fringilla tristis (Yellow-Bird), Motacillia Sialis (Blue-Bird), Loxia Curvirostra (Crossbill), Fringilla ——— (Hemp-Bird), and at least fifty others, which are constantly observed on their migrations southward, in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia, These autumnal flocks sometimes consist of many thousands of individuals together; and it has been observed, that birds of different species sometimes mi-

grate in the same bodies.

§. XIV.

It must not be imagined, that the birds which I haye enumerated arrive uniformly, every year, at the times which are prefixed to their names, in the first column. I have long been persuaded, that the uniformity of the ar- vival of the migratory birds, in any given country, is not so great as many naturalists have imagined. The atten- tion which I have paid to this curious subject in Pennsylvania, has convinced me, that my suspicion was well founded. The migration of birds is not a “determinate instinct,§” but an act of volition, or will. Hence, the seasons and

* Travels, &c. Page 287.

+ Lever have been a friend to the study of the two ancient languages, the Greek and the Latin, which are taught in our schools. They are absolutely necessary to the complete attainment of some sciences, such as natural history (including botany), and medicine; and I think with Erasmus, that a physician should be ashamed not to know them. But too much time is dissipated in the acquisition of these languages. If I do not greatly mistake, this truth begins to be acknowledged among us. Video meliora. If only one-sixth part of the time which is consumed in acquiring the Greek and Latin languages (particularly the former), were appropriated to the study of natural history, in less than twenty years, the animal, the vegetable, and the mineral productions of the United-States, would be pretty well investigated. But what, in the cultivation of a science so extensive, and so difficult, can be expected from the labours of two or three individuals, unaided by the public, and tramelled by professional engagements and pursuits ?

| Gleanings of Natural History, Part II. P. 202. § Arctic Zoology. Vow. II. P. 100, 101. | See Page 16. § Dr. Adam Ferguson.

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other circumstances will greatly regulate the arrival of birds in, and their flight or removal from, a particular

country. Sometimes, there is a difference of three weeks or a month between the arrival, or appearance, of the same species, in two different years. This will appear from the following instances, which are selected from many others.

§. XV.

From an inspection of these Tables, it will appear, that the Alauda alpestris, or Shore-Lark, the Alauda rubra, or Red-Lark, the Fringilla tristis, or Golden Finch, and some others, were not observed, in the vicinity of Phila- delphia, earlier than the twelfth of March, 1791: whereas the same birds were seen, in the same neighbourhood, as early as the twenty-eighth of February, the following year, on their passage northward.

I have placed the Anas canadensis (Wild-Goose) between the 15th and the 18th of April, 1791, but in the year 1794, these birds were observed, on their migration from the south, as early as the 3d of March. In the first men- tioned year the Ardea Herodias, or Great Heron, was not observed before the rsth or 16th of April; but in the latter year, numbers of these birds were seen as early as the rst of April. Many other instances might be mentioned.

§. XVI.

How much the movements of birds from one country to another depend upon the state of the seasons, will ap- pear from different parts of this little work; particularly from the Third Section. Here we find, that during our mild winters, several of those species of birds which, in general, are undoubtedly migratory, continue the winter through in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia. Such, which I have denominated the Occasronan, or Acct- DENTAL, RESIDENT Birps, are the Ardea Herodias, or Great Heron, Columba carolinensis, or Turtle-Dove, the Fringilla melodia, and several others: I doubt not many more than I have mentioned. The Columba migratoria, Passenger-Pigeon, commonly returns from the northward late in the fall, and continues with us a few days, or weeks, feeding in our fields upon the seed of the buckwheat,* or in the woods upon acorns. But if the season be a very mild one, they continue with us for a much longer time. This was the case in the winter of 1792—1793, when immense flocks of these birds continued about the city, and did not migrate farther southward, until the weather became more severe in the month of January. The winter of 1792—1793, was one of the mildest that had ever been remembered in Pennsylvania. It is a common observation in some parts of this state, that when the Pi- geons continue with us all the winter, we shall have a sickly summer and autumn. There is, perhaps, some foun- dation for this notion. Large bodies + of these birds seldom do winter among us unless the winter be very mild; and the experience of some years has taught us, that such winters are often followed by malignant epidemics. The mild winter of 1792—1793, was succeeded by a dreadful malignant fever, which destroyed between four and five thousand people in Philadelphia; and I am assured, that the same fever in 1762 was preceded by an extremely open winter, during which the pigeons remained about Philadelphia, and in other parts of the state. In the hands of a poet, a Lucretius, or a Virgil, this coincidence between the accidental hiemation of the pigeons and the appearance of the yellow-fever might be wrought up into a system of beautiful extravagance.

§. XVII.

If birds, in their migration from one country to another, were impelled by a “determinate,” or necessary instinct, the periods of their arrival and departure would be more uniform and fixed. But we have seen, that there is a considerable difference in these respects, even in two years immediately in succession. Such great regularity in the migrations of these animals by no means accords with those accommodating habits, which the naturalist discovers in his investigation of the manners of all animals; those habits which have been given to them, as to us, by a Cre-

* Polygonum Fagopyrum. } Isay large bodies,” for I believe individuals of these birds continue with us almost every winter.

B

( =)

ator whose works so loudly proclaim his wisdom, and the extent of his benevolence and attention to the innume-

rable living objects which he has formed.

§. XVIII.

It is highly probable, that the periods of the migrations of birds will be found to be more or less uniform in pro- portion as the climates of the countries to which they migrate are more or less variable in their temperature. It is, perhaps, upon this principle, that we are to explain the difference of the times of the arrival and departure of the birds of Pennsylvania, and other parts of North-America. The climates of these countries are extremely variable ; I suppose more so than most other countries that are known tous. If, as has been supposed by many writers, the hand of man, by clearing and by cultivating the surface of the earth, contributes essentially to the greater uniformity in the temperature of climates, it is reasonable to conjecture, that the time will come, when the periods of the migrations of our birds will be more constant and fixed. For in North-America, especially the United-States, the progress of population, and of clearing and cultivating the earth, is more rapid and immense than in any other

portion of the world.

§. XIX.

It would be a very curious subject of inquiry,—What changes have taken place in the periods of the arrival and disappearance of the passenger-birds, in those countries in which observations haye long been made by the ancient poets, and by naturalists? Perhaps, an investigation of this question would, in some degree, illustrate the changes which climates are said to have undergone. Thus, the time of the Swallow's coming into Italy, is particularly mentioned both by Columella and by Pliny,* and it may be gathered also from a beautiful passage in the Georgies of Virgil.t Do the periods mentioned by these writers correspond with the periods of the arrival of this bird, in the same country, at present? If the climate of Italy, within the last seventeen or eighteen hundred years, has altered as much as it is, by many ingenious men, thought to have done, it is not likely that the Swallow now visits that country at the same time it did formerly, in the days of Virgil, and the naturalists whom I haye mentioned. I

am sorry that I cannot, without some trouble, ascertain the question.

0.0.8

The fourth column of the tables will enable the curious naturalist to form some idea of the temperature of our climate (by showing the time of leafing, flowering, planting, &c. of a considerable number of vegetables, both native and foreign); at the same time, that it will point out, in a number of instances, the coincidence between this progress in vegetation and the arrival and disappearance of the migratory birds. This last has long been deemed an interesting subject by naturalists, though I am inclined to think, that they have often imagined, that this coinci- dence is greater than it really is.

ip.0.4

I will not deny, that there is a very remarkable conformity between the vegetation of some plants and the arrival of certain birds of passage. This, perhaps, is especially the case in those countries the climates of which are the most regular in their seasons, Linneus has observed, that the Wood-Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) blows in Sweden on the arrival of the Common Swallow, f and that the Marsh-Marygold (Caltha palustris) blows when the

* Columella says, the Swallow visits Italy about the twentieth or twenty-third of February. The following are his own words: ‘‘ Decimo Calendas Martii leo definit occidere, venti septentrionales, qui vocantur ornithis, per dies triginta esse solent, tum et hirundo advenit.” In another place, he says, Septimo Calendas Martii yentosa tempestas, hirundo conspicitur.” De Re Rustica. Pliny says, this bird appeared on the twenty-second of February : * Octavo calendas Martii hirundinis visus.”

+ Georgic. IV. 305—307. ] Hirundo urbica,

( xi)

Cuckoo sings.* The amiable Mr. Stillingfleet remarked nearly the same coincidence in England. Dr. Darwin ob- serves, that the “word Coccux in Greek signifies both a young fig and a cuckoo, which is supposed to have arisen from the coincidence of their appearance in Greece.” + Many instances of a similar coincidence might be pointed out between the flowering of our Pennsylvanian vegetables and the arrival of certain birds. Thus it is observed, that the Wood-Cock (Seolopax Gallinago) commonly visits us when the American Elm (Ulmus americana) is in full blossom: that is between the 8th and 18th of March.

§. XXII

It is well known, that the ancients were of opinion, that the arrival of certain birds of passage afforded one of the best and safest directions for the planting of different kinds of vegetables, and for other agricultural purposes. Thus Virgil, who was at once a naturalist and poet, tells us, that the best time for planting vineyards (in Italy) is when the White bird, or Storck, appears :

Optima vinetis satio, cum vere rubenti

Candida venit avis longis invisa colubris. Georgie. Lib. II. 319—320.

I could point out, in the happy compositions of this great poet, other instances of a similar kind. The following is too beautiful to be omitted. The poet of Mantua is here describing the method and the time for killing a steer for the purpose of obtaining from its putrid gore a stock of bees, as was practised by the ancient Egyptians.{ He tells us this must be done early in the spring, before the meadows are painted with the colours of flowers, and be- fore the Swallow builds its nest upon the rafters.

Hoc geritur, zephyris primum impellentibus undas,

Ante novis rubeant quam prata coloribus, ante

Garrula quam tignis nidum suspendat hirundo. Georgie. Lib. IV. 305—307.

/

6, XXII.

Although in Pennsylvania, and many other parts of the United-States, the arrival of our birds does not appear to be as uniform as it is in many of the countries of the old world; § the arrival of several species is, nevertheless, so regular, that it may be considered as the signal for commencing certain agricultural operations. Thus, the Muscicapa fusca, which we call Pewe, is one of the earliest Spring birds of passage, visiting the neighbourhood of Philadel- phia about the middle of March. We have seldom hard frosts after the arrival of this bird, which seems to give a pretty confident assurance to the farmer, that he may very soon begin to open the ground and plant. It is an old ob- servation, in Pennsylvania, that when the Whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus virginianus) arrives, it is time to go bare- footed; that is, the spring season is pretty far advanced, and sufficiently warm to admit of laying aside the use of shoes, without much inconvenience. This adage originated in the days of greater simplicity than the present. Some of our Indians believe, that this bird is a messenger sent to call their attention to the planting of the ground. Accordingly upon the arrival of the Whip-poor-will, they say to one another, “the MWeecolis || is come: it is planting

* Amenitates Academice. Vou. IV. + Botanic Garden. Part II. Canto I. note.

] It appears to have been a very general opinion among the ancients, that Bees were produced from the putrid bodies of animals. A very curious passage in the 14th chapter of the book of Judges shows the high antiquity of this notion. After Sampson had killed the young Lion, “he turned aside to see the carcase of the lion: and behold there was a swarm of Bees and honey in the carcase of the lion.” The Greeks believed, that these insects arose from putrid bullocks, and hence they gave them a name expressive of this supposed origin. According to Archelaus, bees proceed from bullocks, and wasps from horses. So rude were the opinions of the ancients respecting the origin of these insects. It is certain, however, that putrid carcases are often visited by bees, and it is not unlikely that from these carcases, they may be able to procure honey. It was, doubtless, from observing, that swarms of bees frequent the dead bodies of animals, that the ancient Egyptians had recourse to such bodies for the purpose of repairing the total loss of their honey-making insects, The manner of doing this is beautifully related by Virgil, who traces back the practice to its first source. See Georgie. Lib. IV. beginning at line 281.

§ See Page to. | This is the Delaware-Indian name for this bird.

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time;” and while the bird is uttering the sound of whip-poor-will, or weecolis, they will repeat the word /Zacki- beek,” which is plant the ground.”

Sexhiva

I am of opinion, that all the birds which are mentioned in the tables, with the exception of the Alauda magna (Meadow-Lark), Tetrao virginianus (Partridge), and a very few others, are migratory birds, or birds of passage. But I do not expect that this opinion will be universally received by naturalists. In almost every country in which natu- yal history has been cultivated, the places of retreat of birds at the times of their disappearance has been a matter of dispute. The question concerning the Swallows is not yet settled; and in this country the notion which I deem an erroneous one with respect to these birds is gaining ground.* The sportsmen find still greater difficulty in disco- vering the place of retreat of their favourite Rail,” the Rallus virginianus;+ whilst some of the Indians assure us, that the Vultur aura (Turkey-Buzzard) passes its winters in the hollows of trees, Xe.

OOF

Some ingenious gentlemen, with whom I have conversed on the subject, are even of opinion, that but a very few of our birds are, strictly speaking, birds of passage. They imagine, that some of these birds, at the coming on of cold weather, pass into a torpid state, whilst others merely take shelter from the inclemency of the wea- ther, in close thickets, in the hollows of trees, rocks, &c. without becoming torpid. This opinion may be sup- ported by plausible arguments. Some species of Swallows have occasionally been found in a torpid state. In mild winters, several of those birds which are thought to be commonly migratory, are seen among us; and eyen after the disappearance of some species, such as the Motacilla Sialis, or Blue-Bird, one or two warm days in the winter time will bring them back again. This notion is likewise favoured by the torpid state into which so many of our ani- mals pass, and continue, during the winter season; such as different species of Lizards, Tortoises, Frogs, Serpents, and Insects. Nor is it merely the animals with cold blood (Sanguis frigidus) that become torpid. Some of our quadrupeds fall into a similar state. Such are the Arctomys Monax, or Maryland Marmot (best known in the United- States by the names of Ground-Hog, and Wood-chuck), and some of the smaller animals of the order Glires, par- ticularly some species of Dipus, or Jerboa. Other species, again, that do not become torpid, keep themselves con- fined in close quarters, during the greater part of the winter-season. Such are some of the species of Squirrel, the Didelphis Opossum (Opossum), and others.

§. XXVI.

These various facts, it must be confessed, seem to give some degree of plausibility to the notion, that our birds hiemate,{ or take up their winter-quarters among us, and that they do not migrate to a distance. Still, however, I cannot but adopt the latter notion. The complete disclosure of ‘the fact, that the serpents, frogs, some quadrupeds, Xe. become torpid, is rather an argument against the torpid state of our birds. Why should it be so much more difficult to discover the /atter than the former in a torpid state, if they actually went into this state? Ten thousand serpents may be found in the torpid state as readily as a single Swallow, or Humming-Bird.§ It is recorded in some part of My. Bos- well’s ponderous Life of the late Dr, Samuel Johnson, that in a conversation which took place on the subject of the an- nual disappearance of Woodcocks, in England, the doctor observed, that the discovery of a few of these birds, in the summer time, only proved that the species does, in general, emigrate from the country. Exceptio probat regulam,” said the literary Hercules. I must confess, that to me this seems good sense. In like manner, the discovery of a few Swallows, a few Turkey-Buzzards, a single Humming-Bird, or a few birds of any other species, deemed migratory, in a tor-

* See Appendix I. P, 16. t See Appendix I. P. 17.

] Naturalists, if not minute critics, will perhaps excuse the use of this word, which is at least significant, and is certainly not far-forced: a word

derived from the Latin verb Hiemo or Hyemo, which is used by Cesar and by Cicero, and which was defended by Erasmus, in an epistle to Tonstall.

§ See Appendix I, P. 18,

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pid or other state, during the winter-season, seems rather to strengthen, than to weaken, the argument, that these birds are, in general, migratory birds. If all these birds continued among us, many of them would be found. The labours of one century, or more, in cutting down the timber of the forest, in blowing rocks, in draining mill- ponds, and marshes, would furnish more than five or six instances (and they not always quite so well authenti- cated as we could wish) of Swallows, &c. being found during the winter-season, in a benumbed state.

§. XXVII.

The argument derived from the torpid state into which so many of our animals are observed to fall upon the ap- proach of winter, is of less weight than may, at first sight, be imagined. These animals are much less capable of migrating than the birds. If they were capable of making long journies to more favourable climates, I do not doubt they would make them. For I am persuaded, by a variety of experiments and observations which I have made, and may, perhaps, be induced to communicate to the public at some future period, that most of our hybernating ani- mals go with reluctance into this state. Iam even of opinion, that the state of torpidity of many animals is a state of pain and sufferance. This observation, at least, seems to hold good with respect to those animals (and I believe they constitute the greater number of the hybernating animals) which divide the winter between sleeping and wak- ing: which, in other words, under the influence of cold and other causes, fall into a kind of profound sleep, during which the functions of the heart and the lungs are constantly performed ; and even that of the stomach and intes- tines, in some measure, goes on: and during all which time, such animals are sensible to the influence of mecha- nical and other stimuli. This class of hybernating quadrupeds often, during the course of the winter, spontaneously awake from their slumber, take food, and fall into slumber, again. I do not, however, imagine, that animals, which are so torpid as to be incapable of being roused by the application of the most powerful stimuli, can be said to be in a state of pain and sufferance. But I believe, that the number of these continual sleepers is very small, even in the

coldest climates.

§. XXVIIL

We are certain, that the torpid state of many