IS in weight about fourteen ounces. The shape of this bird is peculiar to himself and the quail, having both a very short tail; his plumage, although it cannot boast of gaudiness, is very pleasing to the eye, being altogether a mixture of brown and fawn colour interspersed with grey and ash colour tints. The head is small and pretty, the beak strong, yet not long, and resembling that of all other granivorous birds. The female lays fifteen or eighteen eggs, and leads her brood in the corn fields with the utmost care. It is even told that when she finds that the pointer is at hand, she turns out, affecting lameness, to decoy the dog, and thereby gives her brood time to escape the enemy’s search. Partridges fly in companies, the young never leaving the old ones till after February, when they pair together and fly by two and two.
The shooting of Partridges, Quails, and other innocent inhabitants of the fields, where they live at no body’s expence, upon what the last gleaners have left behind, is well described in the following lines:
– Now mark
The fowler, as he stands and meditates
The cruel deed! See how, with steady grasp,
He holds the thund’ring messenger of death;
His eye fix’d, – levell’d on the fatal tube;
His forward leg. – Amidst the bristling corn
His dog, as if by skilful Flaxman cut
In Parian stone, or cast in lasting bronze
By far-fam’d Westmacott, stands forth unmov’d,
Ready to give the deadly signal – Hark!
‘Tis done – shot through the heart, she reels, she falls,
Far from her nest; whilst th’ unsuspecting mate
Still leads the flutt’ring covey through the field.