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|)osed of strychnine.

In the house I have been able to control the mice ; but in
the garden I must confess that, this year for the first time, I have
t>een discomfited, and am in despair. During the hard weather
in February, I suppose they ran short of food, for I caught a few
fn break-back traps. On two occasions, when I inspected the
traps in the morning, I found a mouse in a trap which had had
its whole skull and brains devoured by the survivors. Mice that
would do this would not hesitate to devour young birds in the
pest, and even small adults in sleeping shelters. I have no rats
here, nor any but the common house mouse, Mus musculus.



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CATCHING BIRDS IN THE AVIARY. - The mention
of traps leads us on to another thought, which it is to be
hoped may prove the last, at any rate for the present. As most
of us know, it is sometimes necessary to catch birds in the
aviary ; and the larger the aviary the more important it is that
the work should be carried out with our brains and not by means
of the unscientific and dangerous net. In olden days, I used the
net almost as a matter of course ; but I cannot too strongly
condemn this the most usual custom. Of course one must and
should use the net sometimes, but not as a general practice. Mr.
Wiener I am glad to see (p. 59) does not favour the net. His
plan of bringing the wanted bird down with the garden syringe is
excellent when only a stray bird is required ; but it would not
work well in a garden full of birds of many kinds when a number
is required, as is the case here every autumn when a few dozens
have to be transferred to their winter quarters. For some
years now I have used traps, much after the manner described
(Vol. VL. p. 75) by Miss Alderson, and with most satisfactory
results. I now rarely use any trap but those which act only when
I desire ; and more and more I have been discarding the very
large ones in favour of those which can be carried bodily into the
house with their prisoners, and readily carried back again and
reset. Sometimes I use one which works on the principle
described by Miss Alderson ; but I find that a modification of the
sieve trap of our boyhood is by far the best in every way, being
simple, handy, and easily made by oneself in some ten minutes.
Take a piece of wire netting, of suitable mesh of course, some
two feet square (it need not be square, but is best when nearly
so), fold down the four edges to the width of about six inches,
xnaking a cut at each corner to enable the fold to be eflfected,
interlace at each corner, and there you have in a minute a
rectangular cover of netting which, falling over a bird, would
make it a secure prisoner. Another piece of netting, fastened to
a slight frame to enable the whole to be carried into the
house, should be placed under the trap, and covered with sand
and seed or other food. When the whole affair is lifted, the sand,
seed, etc., slip through the ^yire and are left behind. Take a
piece of dead, natural looking; stick about six inches long, with
which prop up the side of the cover nearest to where you propose
stationing yourself, which should be out of the sight of the birds
if possible. If the ground be soft, place a stone under the end
of the stick to prevent it sinking into the ground. Fasten a piece
of thin dirty old string (but not rotten) to the lower end of the
stick, and carry the string moderately taut to your hiding-



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143

place. The trap should be set firmly, so that it may not fall
down except at your desire, and may be left for days until the*
birds regularly resort to it for their ordinary food. When you
mean business, sprinkle fresh food in the trap or traps (I usually
have at least two), and retire. When you see a goodly number
of the birds you want well under the uplifted ** sieve " or sieves
(for at first great numbers will go in), pull the string or strings
sharply and the birds are entrapped. I^ay a piece of dark baize
or cloth over each trap, to stop the prisoners from fluttering
about, and then carry each trap bodily away. I may finish
up by adding that, when you want to catch a bird in a
cage with your hand, the plan of darkening the cage by placing
something over it is very helpful. The bird in the dark will
crouch down in a corner, and you can lay your hand on it and
catch it without a flutter.



AVICULTURAL NOTES.
By Miss Hodgson.

I have had an Orange Bishop (JP, frandscantis) in my
possession for 12 years, and this winter he has remained in full
colour, though perhaps the orange is less vivid than it was in the
summer. Hitherto he has always assumed the coloured plumage
in July and lost it in November as the days became dark and
foggy. We have not enjoyed much sunshine during the past
winter, and early spring and November and December were
exceptionally foggy here in Kent, so it is curious the bird should
have preserved his brilliancy. My Napoleon Bishop (/^
melanogaster), which I have had for about the same number of
years, is in his usual brown winter dress. The birds are always
fed in the same way and no change has been made in their mode
of living. I believe some authorities say that the American
Nonpareil (^Fringilla ciris), goes ** out of colour " in the winter.
Mine moulted every feather in September, and has emerged from
the moult in the most vivid and lovely plumage. I have not
been so fortunate with Gouldians as Mr. Wiener and find them
the most delicate birds I have ever kept. In fact, I am now
trying to harden my heart against the temptation of their beauty
and to abjure the species. Tliey go on well during winter
spring and autumn, but the excessive heat of the last twa
summers has invariably proved fatal, and each year I have lost
my five or six lovely specimens in as many days. They mope
for a day or two and then comes the end for no apparent cause.
I have fed them most carefully with plenty of millet in the ear



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and flowering grass (never given in a wet state) and Mr.
Abrahams' seed mixture. They are not exposed to the sun
after the early morning, when they have their bath. Afterwards
my aviary cag^ is kept in a large cool drawing room with sun-
blinds down when necessary. I fancy two of my deceased birds
came from the same place where Mr. Wiener procured his stock.
I do not consider myself unlucky with birds as a rule, and am
able to keep the small rarer species of Waxbills successfully, and
also Tanagers, Zosterops and Sugar Birds. I have had a hen
Dacnis cayana for over two years in perfect condition. The only
drawback to the Tanagers (of which I have three, Scarlet,
Green-headed, and Blue-and-Black) is their occasional spiteful
fits. The late Mr. Abrahams told me this would occur at the
breeding season, and except with the Superb Tanagers, I find
that their peaceable disposition returns after a few weeks.
During their quarrelsome phases they drive the other birds about
the cage, but do no actual harm, with the exception of the
Superb Tanager, Calliste fasUiosa. One I had slew first a
Lavender Waxbill and then a Masked Grassfinch, after having
been perfectly peaceable for six months previously. I have found
the Violet Tanagers more delicate than the others. It is curious
how the Shdma delights in noise. I have had my bird
•* Drosselbart " for nearly seven years and he is a splendid
singer, combining every good quality of a pet bird. I always go
to London for a short time every spring ; ** Drosselbart" accom-
panies me and sings from morning till night. He revels in the
various street noises and especially loves to reply to a boy
whistling. The country seems now to strike him as rather dull,
and he is less disposed to favour me with his music, though he
likes to answer the thrushes in the rhododendron bushes on the^
lawn.



THE ILLUSTRATION.



We are glad to include in this number a picture of the
Demoiselle Cranes with young one, whose nesting was lately
related by their owner, the Honble. Gerald Lascelles. We
greatly regret to hear that the female has in the meanwhile
fallen a prey to a fox. after living happily in captivity for
years. O. E. C, Editor.



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145

CORRESPONDENCE.



BOOK ON ORNAMENTAL WATERFOWL.

Sir,— A short time ago one of our members wrote to me asking for a
book on Ornamental Waterfowl. I replied referring him to Mr. Finn's
articles in the " Feathered World.'* It may, however, be of interest to our
members generally to know that the articles by Mr. Finn are reprinted,
and may be had in book form, under the title " Fancy Waterfowl.'*

J. Lewis Bonhotk.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Sir,— I have read with very great interest Mr. R. Phillipps' notes in
the *• Avicultural Magazine " (February, p. 77) on a great favourite of mine,
the Black-headed Sibia {Malacias capistrata). Having observed the species in
a wild state— it is almost the most conspicuous bird at Darjeeling— I can
bear witness to the accuracy of his observations. But I have here to com-
plain of his objections to its name, and to those of other birds which have
not descriptive English appellations. Now I yield to nobody in my admira-
tion for our noble language, the more so as I am by early training a
classical man, although I have always been a bird-lover, and of late years a
professional naturalist.

Thus I do not like the pseudo-cla.ssical barbarisms with which
scientific ornithological literature is loaded, although one must use them
for the sake of accuracy of reference. And still less do I like the refusal to
enrich the English tongue by the adoption of foreign words— for how
otherwise is the language to grow? Of course one can use descriptive
vernacular names— which, by the way, not everyone is competent to
frame— but that is a clumsy way out of the difficulty, more suited to the
German language than to the English. But the English way of dealing
with a foreign bird has commonly been to adopt its native name, and I
must say I think with excellent results, granted that people don't know
what is meant at first ; let them know that the name given is what the
bird is called in its own country by its own human fellow-countrymen, and
if it is worth noticing at all they will take to the outlandish name readily
enough, if it be at all euphonious and possible of pronunciation.

This is not mere theory. Who would change the names of the
Dhyal and ShAnia, the Budgerigar and Lory, the Cockatoo and Cassowary ?
These names meant nothing at first, but people have now got used to them
more or less, according to the commonness of the birds in question. True
you may call a Budgerigar an ** Undulated Grass. Parrakeet," but you will
not find many people to follow you ; the name is too long for an essentially
practical language like ours.

Now as to the Sibia; Sibya is the name given to the bird by the
Nepalese, who know it as a native. It is not an ugly name, nor hard to
say; and as the bird represents a very distinct and recognizable genus, it
has surely a right to a name of its own. A Sibia is a Sibia, and there is an
end of the matter; you can call it a Black-headed Tree-babbler if you like
a descriptive name, but I would lay long odds on the real name winning in
the long run.



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The case of the Struthidea is different ; Stf^thidea is not a native
name, but one of those doggy Greek abominations which ornithologists
delight in, and therefore a name which is only known to a comparatively
small number of specialists, never having formed part of the vernacular
of any people. Were it possible to call the bird something else I should
much like to do so ; but what can you call it ? There is no bird I know of
near enough to the Struthidea to share names with it. I don*t happen to
know what the natives and the colonials call it, but if their name is at all
»• possible" it should, I think, be adopted (a). A colonial name may not be
correct, but it always expresses somethings like a dealer's or schoolboy's.
The Pekin Robin doesn't come from Pekin, and isn't a Robin ; but he looks
like one, and is found in China. Whereas his scientific title of Liothrix
means simply *' smooth hair," which is, I submit, merely silly — though I
must plead guilty to often using it, because it is rather a pretty word, and
a handy one.

The "descriptive name" naturalists give to this bird is the Red-
billed Hill-Tit. But the bird is not a Tit, but a small Babbler, and there are
plenty of real Tits in the Indian hills wliich form part of his wide range.
The native names are Nanachura and Rapchil-pho ; these, I submit, are not
pretty or easy to say, and so in this case I think the dealer and the producer
of modern scientific terms have a fair case against these particular speci-
mens. The best argument I know in favour of the adoption of native
names is the readiness of the outside public — i.e., non-birdy people, whom
we all want to help— to adopt them. I know several New Zealanders in
Calcutta, and I notice they all use Maori names in speaking of their native
birds, so that I take it these are well -rooted among English people in that
colony. So, in India, most people who use their eyes, know the black
Cuckoo as the Koel, and call the Bulbul and Mynah by the same names as
are used by the natives.

I have, I fear, written at what will seem to most of our members
needless length on this subject. But I admire a fine language as well as a
fine bird, and I should be sorry to see ours defaced, when it deals with
aviculture — I would rather say bird- fancying, but I daren't here— by un-
wieldly Teutonic compounds, or by the appalling productions of naturalists
who know, in most cases, as little of the classical languages as they do of
live birds. Frank Finn.



RED-FACED FINCH.

Sir,— I have a male Red-faced Finch in a large flight cage with about
fifteen other birds. He has been very bald on his back all the winter, and
even now the feathers are not coming in. I took him out of the cage to
see if I could do anything for him as I noticed one of the Zebra-finches
pecking his back. It is swollen and ver^' hot to touch and looks inflamed.
I painted it with a little sweet oil, but should be glad if you can g^ve me
any advice on the subject. The bird is quite well otherwise and in good
spirits, and I am most anxious to get him right, as he is a dear little bird
and very tame, and, of course, he is one of the best birds I have.

I feed all my birds on white millet and canary seed, brown millet and

(rt). Mr. A. J. Campbell, in his new book, calls the bird also the Grey Jumper, but
adds that it is more frequently called the "Apostle Bird."— K. P.



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147

spray millet. They have plenty of sand (Hyde's shell gravel), egg shells
crushed, cuttle fish bone and green food. One or two of them have taken a
long time to get through the moult, but I have uever had one lose all the
feathers on the back like this.

I shall be very much obliged if you can help me. I gave him
Parrisirs food in the water, and have now put him by himself in a cage so
that the others cannot annoy him. I am also trying to get some sea sand
for my birds as, perhaps, they require a change; but all the others, with
the exception of one Spice-bird, are in very good feather.

I hope some of the members of the Society may be able to tell me
what I should do. I do not know the age of my Red-faced Finch, but I
bought him in Madeira three years ago, and he has never had anything
wrong until this winter. E. W. Robertson.



The following reply has been sent to Mrs. Robertson:

The drawback to keeping the Ornamental Finches together in a
cage is that they almost always peck one another's feathers out. I think it
highly probable that the Red-faced Finch has suffered simply from the lack
of other occupation on the part of the Zebra-finch.

Should he not recover his feathers when isolated, you will have to
treat him for * Surfeit' so-called, with four grains of Epsom salts and the
same quantity of chlorate of potash in his drinking water for one day, but
I do not think he will require this.

I prefer vaseline to sweet oil ; it does not run into the feathers and
disfigure the bird to the same extent.

Shell-sand is dangerous, on account of the sharp-edged chips of
shell, which are apt to perforate the crop and so cause death : you will do
well to use sea-sand. Do not wash the sand, as the salt in it is most bene-
ficial to all birds. A. G. BuTi^KR.



*' INTELLIGENT PETS."

Sir, — The article in last month's Magazine on "Intelligent Pets"
was, in my opinion, most interesting, as no doubt nearly every member has
his favourites. Among my birds the Grey Parrot holds premier position.
It is a most accomplished talker, and values itself by repeating "Fifty
pounds for pretty Polly." When I purchased this bird three years ago I
was told it had been fed on *'sop,'' and that its breast was bare because it
was moulting. I knew better, hovever, and now that it gets no sop it is
in splendid plumage. Among the "smaller fry" our greatest pet is a
Shdnia, which spends a great deal of its time out of the cage, and is so
tame that it will readily fly and take mealworms from our fingers. It is
very jealous of a Blue Robin which also feeds from our hands. The Shdma
I consider a most interesting cage bird and I should be sorry to be without
one. Why is it that hen Shdmas are so rarely advertized?

I trust that some of the weaUhier members of the Society will favour
us with photos and descriptions of their aviaries, as I am sure these articles
would greatly enhance the value of the Magazine.

Hedlky Speed.



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148

THE SATIN BOWER-BIRD.

Sir, — I note in issue of Magazine just to hand (p. 123) Mr. Phillipps
says: "I am surprised that Mr. Page should give the height of the Satin-
birds* bower as 12 inches." In my article (p. 69) I stated clearly that most
of the information it contained was culled from an article by Mr. A. J.
Campbell, of Melbourne, in " Bird Lore," October issue, 1900, so that it is
not really I that give the height as 12 inches but Mr. A. J. Campbell. I
will now quote the passage in extenso : "The curious play house, or lovers*
arbour is built upon the ground. It has apparently no connection with
the nests, which may be any distance away. One of these bowers I collected
in Xnias.-tide 1884. It was situated amongst bracken in open forest.
There was a cleared circular space about 26 inches across, in the ferns,
floored with twigs well trodden down. In the centre were erected two
parallel walls of pliable twigs, tapering and arching towards the top, which
was 12 inches in height. The walls were about 10 inches long and 6 inches
apart. In the avenue and round about were placed gay feathers of
Parrots."

It would appear from Mr. Phillipps* experience that the Satin Bower-
bird, in a state of nature, frequently changes the site of bower, or else,
being at full liberty, it is otherwise engaged than in continuous building*
For it would appear from Mr. Phillipps* facts that, even in a large aviary,
they get hold of all the available material and go on building in the same
place (I presume from lack of choice) till ultimately a huge structure is
raised; which is not customary in their native haunts. If this is so, it
points to the necessity of the aviculturist comparing his data with those
of the field naturalist, to arrive at a correct conclusion.

I myself am convinced that the birds we keep, even in large outdoor
aviaries, vary considerably in their habits and demeanour under such con-
ditions from what they do when in full liberty. Though at the same time, as
we know from experience, that valuable knowledge has been gained by the
aviculturist,especially concerning song, method of courting, moulting, nidifi^^
cation, &c. For myself, I am sure that if a pair of Satin Bower-birds had an
enclosure of sufficient size, they would construct a bower similar to that
described by Mr. Campbell, and that given a plenitude of material, they
would choose the shorter in lieu of the ** 2—3 foot poplar rod,'* which given
plenty of choice is probably the last they would choose.

Wesi^ey T. Page.

P.S.— If Mr. Phillipps would care to have a look at the illustrations
and peruse Mr. Campbell's article I shall be pleased to post it on to him —
he can return same at his convenience, as I have only one copy {b).

W. T. P.



(3.) I am very much obliged, but I now have Mr. A. J. CampbeU's ezcelleut book.— R.P.



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Hvicultural ^agasine,

BEINQ THE JOURNAL OF THE

AVICULTURAL SOCIETY.



VOL. VII.— No. 8. All rights reserved. JUNE, 1901.



THE SHAMA.
By E. W. Harpbr, M.B.O.U., F.Z.S.

The Shima is found generally throughout the greater
part of India, from the base of the Himalayas to Ceylon ; it
also extends to Burmah. Its home is in the dense jungles, away
from the haunts of men. The Dayal, on the other hand, which
is first cousin to the Shima, even at times courts human society ;
a pair of these birds has taken up its abode in a garden in the
centre of Calcutta, and I have seen the cock bird approach to
within six yards of the house. The Shima lays four eggs in a
nest composed of dry grass and leaves, generally in a bank or
hole of a tree near the ground. Although shy and retiring in
its habits, it has the pluck of a game Bantam cock. A hen
Shima, which is now in my possession, quickly asserted her
authority over a cock White-capped Redstart and a cock Niltava
Flycatcher, which were in the same aviary. Even larger birds,
such as Orioles, have to keep their distance, owing to the
pugilistic attitude of the lady Shima, when a dainty morsel of
food is oflFered ; for she opens her long tail like a fan and spreads
her wings forward and downward in a most threatening
manner.

Sli^mas are caught wild and also reared by hand in fairly
large numbers, but I never heard of their having been bred in
captivity in India; although Mr. Phillipps has done so in
England. This is chiefly owing to the fact that there are so few
aviculturists in India. Amongst Europeans, I doubt if there
are a dozen enthusiastic aviculturists in the whole peninsula.
Natives would not take the necessary trouble ; especially when
young birds can be purchased for three shillings or four shillings
each in the towns, and probably much less up-country. The
hen Shima is rarely seen in captivity ; but her lord and master
is one of the most favourite cage-birds amongst the natives. He



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ranks with the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo as being the finest
songster in the East.

The Shima has a "regulation" cage in India— just as
Larks, Thrushes, and Linnets have in England. It is shaped
like a gipsy's waggon ; round at the top, and entirely open— top,
sides, end, and bottom. The bars are of cane, wire, or brass ;
according to the pocket of the owner. There is no false bottom ;
a piece of <:loth being placed upon the floor of the cage, which
is scraped occasionally. The cage is about i8 inches long, 8
inches high, and 8 inches wide, with the door in the middle.
Two perches are placed across the cage, about 2 inches from
the bottom and 3 inches from each end. Food and water
are always put inside the cage, and the whole is wrapped up
tightly in a cotton cloth. The size of the cage and the position
of the perches prevent the poor bird from flicking its magnifi-
cent tail without damaging it.

The cruel practice of covering up the cage night and day
with a cloth is universal amongst natives, without exception.
I have frequently asked a man's reason for doing so, and have
been informed that it is '* the custom " ; another man will tell
you that the bird will catch cold, if uncovered ; others say that
the wind will ruffle the bird's feathers and make him look less
sleek. The general belief is that the bird, seeing nothing to
attract its attention, has more leisure for singing. One man,
who tried to be very eloquent, stated that by covering up the
cage the bird sang both day and night! that man was a veritable
Shylock, and demanded his •* pound of flesh " even from the
poor Shima.

The size of a Shima's body is about equal to that of an
English Robin ; its tail measures about 6 inches. The colour-
ing of the male bird is well described in Dr. Butler's " Foreign
Bird Keeping," part I. The female has the white rump as in
the male ; but the upper parts of the body which are black in
the male are slaty brown in the female ; and the rich chesnut
breast of the male is replaced by a rufous one in the female.


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