The Lap-Wing, pp.188-190.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

   IS a bird well known in all countries, and nearly every where to be met with. He is of the bigness of a common pigeon. The female lays four or five eggs, of a dirty yellow, varied all over with great black spots and strokes. They build their nests on the ground in the middle of some field or heath, open and exposed to view, laying only some few straws under the eggs: as soon as the young are hatched they instantly forsake the nest, running away with the shell on their back, and following the mother, only covered with a kind of down like young ducks. The parents have been impressed by nature with the most attentive love and care for their offspring, for if the fowler or any other enemy comes near the nest, the female, panting with fear, lessens her call to make her enemies believe that she is much farther, and thereby estranges those that search for her covey. In some parts of this kingdom they are supposed to be migratory. This bird is really beautiful, although he does not exhibit that gaudiness of colours which other species of the feathered tribe can boast of: he weighs about half a pound. The head and crest which elegantly adorn it, are black; this crest, composed of unwebbed feathers, is about four inches in length. The back is of a dark green, glossed with blue shades, the throat is black, the hinder part of the neck, the breast, and belly are white. His voice on the swampy places along the sea shores, heard at night, resembles the sound of pewit, or tewit, and hence his name in several parts of Great Britain; he is also called the Great Plover by several ornithologists. This bird is one of those who attract the fowler’s attention in winter sports. 

“With slaught’ring gun th’ unweary’’ fowler roves, 

When frosts have whiten’d all the naked groves; 

Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o’ershade 

And lonely woodcocks haunt the wat’ry glade. 

He lifts his tube, and levels with his eye; 

Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky; 

Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath, 

The clam’rous Lapwings feel the leaden death: 

Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare, 

They fall, and leave their little lives in air. 

—————————————————–POPE’S WINDSOR FOREST. 

   Buffon, with his usual sagacity, observes, that this bird held a place between fish and fowl, in the bill of fare of the monks, who used to admit his flesh on their tables, in Lent, and other times of abstinence. When basted with vinegar at the spit, this bird becomes tolerable good eating, chiefly if young and fat. 

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