The Woodcock, pp.203-204.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

   IS somewhat less than a partridge. The upper side of the body is partly coloured of red, black, and grey very beautiful to the sight. From the bill almost to the middle of the head, he is of a reddish ash-colour. The breast and belly are grey, with transverse brown lines; under the tail the colour is somewhat yellowish; the chin is white with a tincture of yellow. They are migatory birds, coming over into Britain in Autumn and departing again in the beginning of spring; yet they pair before they go, and are seen flying two together. 

   The colours of this timid bird make him apparently like the withered stalks and leaves of fern, sticks, moss, and grass, which form the back ground of the scenery by which he is sheltered in his moist and solitary retreats. The sportsman only, by being accustomed to it, is enabled to discover him, and his leading marks are the full eye and glossy silver white-tipped tail of the bird. The flesh is held in high estimation, and hence he is eagerly sought after by the sportsmen. It is hardly necessary to notice, that in dressing it for the spit the entrails are not to be drawn, as, dropping upon slices of toasted bread, they are relished as a delicious kind of sauce. By some late observations it appears that several individuals of the species remain with us the whole year. They frequent especially moist and swampy woods, the thick hedges near rivulets, and places affording them their allotted food, which consists in very small insects found in the mud. 

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