The Wren, pp.178-179.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

   IS a very small bird, and indeed the smallest in Europe; but, as if nature had intended to compensate the want of size and bulk in the individuals by multiplying them to a greater amount, this little bird is perhaps one of the most prolific; for the nest, which is of the shape and bigness of the egg of a common hen, contains often upwards of eighteen eggs of a whitish colour, and not much bigger than a pea. The male and female enter this repository by a hole contrived in the middle of the nest, and which, by its situation and size is accessible to none besides themselves. The Wren weighs no more than three drachms. The notes of this bird are very sweet and rival the songs of the Robin Red-Breasts, in the middle of winter, when the coldness of the weather has condemned the other songsters to silence. Let us remark how astonishing it is that so small a bird should be able to hatch so many eggs under the confined space of her little breast, and what attention, what care is wanted to bring up so large a family. А modern author has said, speaking of this bird, and pointing especially to the golden-crested kind: 

“- least of all, 

Yet kingly crown’d, the brisk and sprightly Wren, 

When th’ icy hand of winter sternly spreads 

His ermine mantle on the wither’d lawn, 

And on the hoary banks of frozen brooks, 

Salutes with melody thc chfiling breeze 

And chirps and sings amidst the silent grief 

Of half-expiring Nature.” 


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