The Stare, or Starling, pp.147-148.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

IS of the bigness and shape of a black-bird; the tips of the feathers on the neck and back are yellow; the feathers under the tail of an ash-colour; the other parts of the plumage are black, with a purple or deep blue gloss, changing as it is variously exposed to the light. In the hen, the tips of the feathers on the breast and belly, to the very throat, are white, which constitutes a material point in the choice of the bird, as the female is no singer. She lays four or five eggs, lightly tinctured with a greenish cast of blue. They build in hollow trees and clefts of rocks, are very easily tamed, and can add to their natural notes any words or modulation they are taught to learn. They are subject to epileptic fits; but they are easily cured if, at the moment of the paroxism, their nails are cut to the quick. They live long, and seem happy in servitude, mimicking the voice of other birds and other noise in the reach of their hearing. 

“Oft in the wicker-prison doom’d to live 

And sing, suspended at the cottage door, 

Or gently swinging o’er the cobler’s stall, 

The lively, restless Starling, all the day, 

Chattering and loud, calls to the passing clown, 

And whistles to his brothers of the grove, 

Unmindful of lost liberty – that boon 

Which they, for all his troughs of chosen seed, 

And daily dainties, and the cares of man, 

Would never barter, truly wise.” 


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