Image from page 483 of "Reptiles and birds : a popular account of their various orders, with a description of the habits and economy of the most interesting" (1883)
Publisher: London : Cassell & Co.
Contributing Library: American Museum of Natural History Library
Digitizing Sponsor: Biodiversity Heritage Library
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, and aremost artistically interwoven, the crevices being closed up with thebirds saliva : the interior is padded with the silky fibres furnished byvarious plants. This pretty cradle is suspended to a leaf, sometimesto a small branch of rushes, or even to the straw roof of a hut. Thehen bird lays twice a year a pair of pure white eggs, about the size ofa pea. After an incubation of six days the young are hatched ; a weeklater they are capable of flight. During the breeding season themales are tender and demonstrative, and both parents show muchaffection for their progeny. These little creatures are universally admired for their eleganceand beauty, and the names given them are generally descriptive of 466 REPTILES AND BIRDS. their excessive minuteness. The Creoles of the Antilles call themMurmurers ; the Spaniards Pica/lores; the Brazilians Sliupaflores, orFlower-suckers ; finally, the Indians call these darlings Sunbeams.Humming-birds are much sought after—not for their flesh, which
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Nest of Rul)y and Topaz Humming-birJ. is valueless, from its minute quantity, but for their feathers; ladiesturn these to various uses, making from them collars, pendants for theears, &c. Some of the Indian races which have been converted toChristianity employ them to decorate the images of their favouritesaints. The Mexicans and Peruvians formerly trimmed mantles with CAPTURE OF HUMMING-BIRDS. 467 tliem. The French soldiers who shared in the Mexican expeditionreport that pictures made with the feathers of the Humming-bird arebrilHant and effective. Humming-birds cannot be preserved in captivity—not that they
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