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The Teal, p.207.

[Three Hundred Animals Contents]

   IS the least of the duck kind, weighing only twelve ounces. The breast and belly are of a dirty white, inclining to a grey tint. The back and sides under the wings are curiously varied with lines of white and black; the wings are all over brown, and the tail of the same colour. This bird is common in England during the winter months, and it is still uncertain whether it does not breed here, as it does in France. The female makes her nest of reeds interwoven with grass, and, as it is reported, places it among the rushes, in order that it may rise and fall according to the accidental height of the water. They live commonly upon cresses, chervil, and some other weeds, as well as upon seeds and small animated beings that swarm in the water. The flesh of the Teal is a great delicacy in the winter season, and has less of the fishy flavour than any of the wild duck kind. 

“With spotted breast and webbed feet, the Teal, 

Dear to the sporting Naiads of the lakes, 

Swims gently on the crystal plain, and cleaves 

With steady thrusts, the yielding wave; but if, 

At eve, the neighbouring hills and woods resound, 

With dangerous noise; well-warn’d with fear, she dives 

And then, lost to the fowler’s watching eye 

She safely grazes on the green-leav’d weeds 

That stretch and flag along the stream, and seeks 

The wriggling insect in the turbid ooze.” 


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