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قراءة كتاب The Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds, Volume 1

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The Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds, Volume 1

The Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds, Volume 1

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 7

had fallen over into the street. And thus ended one of the most persevering attempts on record to overcome a difficulty insurmountable from the first. The old birds thought it time now to stop operations, and frequented the office no more.

"I am told by a gentleman in the 'Mail' office that the Crows have built in that verandah regularly for five or six years past, but nobody seems to have watched the nests. I am, therefore, hopeful that the attempt will be repeated this year, in which case I will keep a diary of all that takes place."

He writes subsequently:—"I sent you a long story in my last batch of notes about two eccentric Crows that succeeded in building a nest upon the narrow ledge of a pillar in the verandah of my office, several months after all well-conducted Crows had sent out their progeny to battle with the world. I mentioned to you that they were said to build in that unnatural place every year, and I said that I would watch them this year.

"Well, would you believe it? on the 26th July, when every other Crow's nest in Madras had hard-set eggs, or newly-hatched young ones, these two indefatigable birds set methodically to work to construct a nest on the south pillar—the one where all their earlier efforts were made last year, but not the one on which they succeeded in fixing their nest. They worked all the 26th and 27th, putting up sticks as fast as they fell down, and then desisted till the 4th August, when they began operations on the opposite (north) pillar with redoubled energy. Meeting with no better success they left off operations after a couple of days' fruitless labour. Yesterday (after a delay of five weeks) they set to work on the south pillar again and succeeded in raising a great pile, which, however, was ignominiously blown down in the afternoon. To-day they are continuing their work indefatigably."

Mr. J.E. Cripps has the following note in his list of birds of Furreedpore, Eastern Bengal:—"Very common, and a permanent resident, affecting the haunts of man. They build and lay in May. The Koel lays its eggs in this bird's nest. In April, 1876, I saw two nests in the compound of the house in which I lived at Howrah, which were made entirely of galvanized wire, the thickest piece of which was as thick as a slate pencil. How the birds managed to bend these thick pieces of wire was a marvel to us; not a stick was incorporated with the wires, and the lining of the nest (which was of the ordinary size) was jute and a few feathers. The railway goods-yard, which was alongside the house, supplied the wire, of which there was ever so much lying about there."

Typically the eggs may, I think, be said to be rather broad ovals, a good deal pointed towards the small end; but really the eggs vary so much in shape that, even with nearly two hundred before me, it is difficult to decide what is really the most typical form. Pyriform, elongated, and globular varieties are common; long Cormorant-shaped eggs and perfect ovals are not uncommon. As regards the colour of the ground, and colour, character, and extent of marking, all that I have above said of the Raven's eggs applies to those of this species, but varieties occur amongst those of the latter which I have not observed in those of the former. In some the ground is a very pale pure bluish green, in others it is dingier and greener. All are blotched, speckled, and streaked more or less with somewhat pale sepia markings; but in some the spots and specks are a darker brown and, as a rule, well defined, and there is very little streaking, while in others the brown is pale and muddy, the markings ill-defined, and nearly the whole surface of the egg is freckled over with smudgy streaks. Sometimes the markings are most numerous at the large end, sometimes at the small; no two eggs are exactly alike, and yet they have so strong a family resemblance that there is no possibility of mistaking them. Generally the markings as a whole are less bold, and the general colour of a large body of them laid together is bluer and brighter than that of a similar drawer-full of Ravens' eggs. As a whole, too, they are more glossy. I have one egg before me bright blue and almost as glossy as a Mynah's, thickly blotched and speckled at the broad end, and thinly spotted elsewhere with olive-green, blackish-brown, and pale purple. Another egg, a pale pure blue, is spotless, except at the large end, where there is a conspicuous cap of olive-brown and olive-green spots and speckles, and there are numerous other abnormal varieties which I have not observed amongst the Ravens.

On the whole the eggs do not vary much in size; out of one hundred and ninety-seven, one hundred and ninety-five varied between 1·28 and 1·65 in length, and 0·98 and 1·15 in breadth. One egg measures only 1·2 in length, and one is only 0·96 in breadth; but the average of the whole is 1·44 by 1·06.

8. Corvus insolens, Hume. The Burmese House-Crow.

Corvus insolens; Hume; Hume, Cat. no. 663 bis.

The Burmese House-Crow breeds pretty well over the whole of Burma.

Mr. Oates, writing from Pegu, says:—"Nesting operations are commenced about the 20th March. The nest and eggs require no separate description, for both appear to be similar to those of C. splendens."

When large series of the eggs of both these species are compared, those of the Burmese Crow strike one as averaging somewhat brighter coloured, otherwise they are precisely alike and need no separate description.

9. Corvus monedula, Linn. The Jackdaw.

Colaeus monedula (Linn.), Jerd. B. Ind. ii, p. 302.
Corvus monedula, Linn., Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 665.

I only know positively of Jackdaws breeding in one district within our limits, viz. Cashmere; but I have seen it in the hills in summer, as far east as the Valley of the Beas, and it must breed everywhere in suitable localities between the two.

In the cold season of course the Jackdaw descends into the plains of the North-west Punjaub, is very numerous near the foot of the hills, and has been found in cis-Indus as far east as Umballa, and south at Ferozpoor, Jhelum, and Kalabagh. In Trans-Indus it extends unto the Dehra Ghazi Khan district.

I have never taken its eggs myself.

Mr. W. Theobald makes the following remarks on its nidification in the
Valley of Cashmere:—

"Lays in the first week of May; eggs four, five, and six in number, ovato-pyriform and long ovato-pyriform, measuring from 1·26, 1·45, to 1·60 in length, and from 0·9 to 1·00 in breadth; colour pale, clear bluish green, dotted and spotted with brownish black; valley generally; in holes of rocks, beneath roofs, and in tall trees."

Dr. Jerdon says:—"It builds in Cashmere in old ruined palaces, holes in rocks, beneath roofs of houses, and also in tall trees, laying four to six eggs, pale bluish green, clotted and spotted with brownish black."

Mr. Brookes writes:—"The Jackdaw breeds in Cashmere in all suitable places: holes in old Chinar (Plane) trees, and in house-walls, under the eaves of houses, &c. I did not note the materials of the nests, but these will be the same as in England."

The eggs of this species are typically rather elongated ovals, somewhat compressed towards one end. The shell is fine, but has only a faint gloss. The ground-colour is a pale greenish white, but in some eggs there is very little green, while in a very few the ground is quite a bright green. The markings, sometimes very fine and close, sometimes rather bold and thinly set, consist of specks or spots of deep blackish brown, olive-brown, and pale inky purple. In most eggs all these