L. (Llewelyn) Lloyd.

The game birds and wild fowl of Sweden and Norway; with an account of the seals and salt-water fishes of those countries online

. (page 1 of 44)
Online LibraryL. (Llewelyn) LloydThe game birds and wild fowl of Sweden and Norway; with an account of the seals and salt-water fishes of those countries → online text (page 1 of 44)
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as also of the Scandinavian Salt-water Fishes, systema-
tically arranged according to Jenyns those pertaining
to the lakes and rivers of the interior having been
already treated of in " Scandinavian Adventures."

A chapter has been devoted to a description of
the monumental remains of the ancient Northmen ;
those very remarkable hieroglyphical figures (Htillrixt-
iiiityur) which seem, to be principally commemorative of
the exploits of the famous " Sea Kings," and which may
be seen in various parts of Scandinavia, carved on tho
face of precipitous rocks ; and of certain extraordinary
cavities (Elf-Grytor), supposed to have been formed by
the " Great Rolling Flood." These are subjects which,
critically speaking, may be considered beyond the scope
of the present work, but which are yet of sufficient
importance to the antiquary and the geologist, to
suggest their insertion.

Throughout these pages the reader will observe, that
in many instances I have entered considerably into
detail when describing the various devices some of a
rude, though efficacious nature adopted in thoe
Northern climes for the capture and destruction of
birds and four-footed animals ; but no apology on my
part is, I am sure, needful, as such particulars cannot
but be interesting to the British sportsman.

Nor can the latter or indeed the general reader, I
would remark in parenthesis be otherwise than grati-
lieil \\itli the very numerous and beautiful illustrations
adorning these pa-cs, the greater portion of which were


executed expressly for this work by the late M. KORNER,
one of the most celebrated of Swedish artists, and have
been here reproduced by the publishers in full fac-simile
as to colour and drawing by means of Chromolithography.
Several of the woodcuts are by Mr. WOLF, whose de-
lineations of wild animals can hardly be surpassed.

The reader will further notice, that in this, as in
my former works, quotations from Scandinavian writers
occur somewhat frequently. This may seem to require
explanation ; but it being my object to show how
matters relating to " flood and field " are managed
in Scandinavia, I have thought it best to allow the
Northern naturalist and sportsman to tell their stories
in their own way.

In conclusion, I would remark that, presuming the
reader to be acquainted with my former works, I have
not in the present volume so fully explained the mean-
ing of Sporting and other terms as I should otherwise
have done.


London, 20 Dec., 1866.

I, -2



THE CAPERCALI. Geographical Limits. Accidental Varieties.
SterileHens. Food. Roosting in the.Snow. Partial Migrations.
Bewilderment. Pugnacious Disposition. The Boy and Caper-
cali. Bewitched Bird ... ... ... ... ... page


Pairing-grounds. Breeding. Habits. The Harem. Pugnacity.
Curious Crosses. Anserine Predilections. Enemies. Value for
the Table. Domestication. Treatment when in Confinement.
Naturalization in Scotland 19


Shooting Capercali at the Pairing-ground. To the Pointer. Tragical
Event. Swedish Criminal Law. Shooting to the " Fogel-Hund."
Adventure with a Bear. Good Sport. How to make a Big 37



Stalking CapercalL Northern Forests. Shooting by " Lack." The
"Stick-Nat" The " Kasse." The "Lam." The "Fall-Stock."
The "Flaka," The "Bloss." The " Bloss och Hd" The
"Bulvan" ... ... page 53


The Black-Cock. Barren Hens. Habits. Food. Resorts.
Snowed-in. Migratory Birds. Cause of migration. The Pairing
Season. The Spel of the Black-Cock. Combative Propensities.
Cross Breeding. In Confinement ... ... ... ... 72


Shooting Black-Cock at the Pairing-ground With a Pointer With
a Fogel-Hund. Capture by Nets. Artificial Decoy Birds.
Stalking on Foot In a Sledge. Traps and Snares. The Orre-
Tratt The Orre-Benne 85


The Rackel-Fogel. Not a Separate Species. The Learned :it Fault.
Plumage of these Birds. Their Parentage. Opinions dili'er.
The Rackel-Fogel in Confinement. Their Habits. Pugnacity
of the Males. Their Sj K.] ... 103


'I'll.- Hazel ||,., i. Widely .Utilised. Description. Accidental
Varieties Haunts and Food. Breeding. Domestication. -
Natnrali/.atioii ill Knghind. The most delicious of Northern
<:,<me l!ir.]s. The Pointer. -The Fog.-1-Hund. Sagacity of the
!'_ The Iljer), 1'ipa. Tn.|.s and Snares .. Ill'



The D<il-l!ipa. Where found. Description. Plumage. Moulting.
Resembles the Scotch Grouse Resorts. Food. Feeds at
Night. Habits. " Trees." Roosts in the Snow. Its Lek.
Breeding. Parental Affection. Enemies. Naturalization in
England. In request for the Table. The Rip-Orre ... page 121


The Fjall-Ripa. Soxithem limits in Scandinavia. Plumage.
Moulting. Habits. Resorts. Food. Feeding at Night. The
Lek. Breeding. The Male a Truant. Enemies. For the
Table . 138


Shooting Ripa at the Lek-stiille To the Pointer. Migrations to
the Coast How Caused. Enormous Packs. Tracking. Shot
when " Treed." By Bloss at Night. Traps and Snares. The
Rip-Hag. Anecdote. Large Captures. The Snar-gang -... 145


The Common Partridge. Scandinavian and Northern. Their Habits
and Sufferings. Curious Incubation. The Partridge-pipe.
Sportsmen's Expedients. The Klafve. Training the Pointer.
Partridge-shooting. Daring of the Goshawk. The Tirass. The
Hog-Nat The Ryssja. Stock Birds. A Church-goer ... 1G1


The Common Quail. Its Habits. Migrations. The Bishop of
Quails.- The Great Bustard. Their Love-Season. Mode of
Capture. The Little and the Ruffed Bustard ... ... 177



The Common Plaice. The Flounder. The Common and other Dabs.
The Pole. The Holibut. The Turbot. The Brill. The
Topknots. The Whiff. The Sole. The Bimaculated and other
Suckers. The Conger Eel. The Launces. The Pipe-Fishes.
The Short Sun-Fish. The Common Sturgeon. The Sea Monster.
The Dog-Fishes. The Sharks. The Skates. The Rays. The
Sea Lamprey. The Myxine. The Lancelot And other
Malacopterygious and Plagiostomous Fishes allied to them...?>oy "'-7


The Swedish Herring-Fisheries, Past and Present. Superstitions.
Enormous Takes. The Herrings desert the Coast. Reasons
assigned for their Disappearance. These Reasons gainsaid l>y
the Fishermen. Speculations on the Subject. Loss attendant
on the Absence of the Fish. Demoralized State of the Fishermen ;">7i i


Page 53, line 3 (heading of clmpter), for " aeh Hiit'," read " iich llaf."
442, line 1, far "plat" read "]>a//."
4C3, line 1, after tfa word "fish," insert " and to take out the liver."



Capercali ... ... ... ... ... ... facing Title-page.

Capercali Hen (singular variety) ... ... ... facing page 3

Sterile Capercali Hen ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 4

The Duel ... 16

The Harem 23

Stalking Capercali in Winter ... ... ... ... ... ... 53

The Stick-Nat 61

Black-Cock 72

Sterile Grey-Hen ... 74

The Black-Cock Lek ... 85

Stalking Black-Cock in Winter 96

Rackel-Fogel ... 103

TheHazel-Hen ... ... 112

Dal-Ripa in Summer Plumage ... ... ... ... ... 121

The Rip-Orre 136

Fjall-Ripa in Summer Plumage ... ... ... ... ... 138

Shooting Fjiill-Ripa in Winter 148

Dal-Ripa ... 152

Partridges ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 161

Daring of the Goshawk ... ... ... ... ... ... 170

Mode of Capturing Partridges in Scania ... ... ... ... 172

Quails ... 177

The Woodcock 185

x \ i isi (>l ll.I.rsii: \TIONS.

TheSkal-Sten ... /'""' "_'

The Stand-Nat...

The Ldgg-Nat ...


The Seal-hook ...

The Skriickta .

Ti.r SkalJern . . .

LiiiiuiMis' Skal Ji-rn


Walrus aud Polar Bear /"""' W

The Bervx borwifa ... '""''' "''"

i *'
The Lophius euryptents

The Chironectes arcticus

Swedish Fishermen


THE CAPEROALI. Geographical Limits. Accidental Varieties. Sterile
Hens. Food. Roosting in the Snow. Partial Migrations.
Bewilderment. Pugnacious Disposition. The Boy and Capercali.
Bewitched Bird.

OF the Scandinavian game-birds, the Capercali, or
Capercailzie, the largest of the European Gallinao
(Tjiider, Sw. ; Tlur (male), Rol (female), Norw. ; Tetrao
Urogallm, Linn.), which is to the forests of Northern
Europe and Asia what the wild turkey is to those of North
America, takes undoubtedly the first place. Part of what
follows respecting this noble bird appeared, I should
remark, in a former work of mine, " Field Sports of
the North of Europe ;" but as it has lately been intro-
duced into Scotland, and with every prospect of success, I
feel fully assured, that all the details I can give in regard
to its habits, &c., cannot but interest the reader.

The Capercali has a wide geographical range, extend-
ing at least from the vicinity of the Frozen Ocean to the
Spanish Pyrenees. Temminck says, indeed, it has been
met with in some of the Islands of the Grecian Archi-
pelago, in Siberia, and throughout a large portion of the
llussian Empire in Europe (including Poland and Livonia).
In the mountainous and wooded districts of Hungary,
Germany, and Switzerland, it is met with more or less


frequently. It is also found in parts of France, though
perhaps rather sparingly.

Throughout all the wooded parts of Scandinavia, from
Altengaard in Norway, 70 N. lat., where the northernmost
pine forests in Europe exist, to the northern portion of
Scania, in short, wherever the pine-tree flourishes, it is
pretty common. As high up, indeed, as Muonioniska, in
Swedish, or rather Russian, Lapland, 08 lat., I myself
once shot a brace of old birds ; but beyond that place it is
said to become scarcer and scarcer.

The male and female vary very greatly in plumage,
the predominant colour of the former being black or dark-
brown, whereas that of the female is reddish-brown with
black bars.

In size also the sexes greatly differ, the female being
fully one-third less than the male, which, when full-
grown, measures some three feet in length, and four
from tip to tip of wing. Its size, however, much
depends on the latitude it inhabits. In Lapland, at
least in the northern parts, it seldom exceeds eight to
nine pounds in weight, whilst in the more southern portion
of Sweden it has not unfrequently been met with weighing
as much as fourteen or sixteen pounds, or even more.

The Capercali is supposed to attain a considerable age,
which may be partly inferred from its not bein'g fully
grown until its third or fourth year. The old male birds
may readily be distinguished from the younger, not only
by their superior size, but also by their greater length of
tail, their more eagle-like beak, and the more beautiful
lustre of the plumage on the breast.

Accidental varieties of both sexes are not of imlYequcnt
occurrence. Nilsson makes mention of as many as four
such varieties, viz. :

Kl. A male killed in Daleearlia and preserved in the
museum of the Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. The


upper part of the back white, with rust-coloured, fine,
brown, wavy spots ; lower part of the back black, inter-
spersed with white feathers ; belly and tail spotted with
white ; legs dirty-white.

2nd. A male taken in Lapland, and now in the Thun-
borg collection at Upsala, under the name of Tetrao
Eremita. Less than ordinary size; colour ash-grey, with
head and neck somewhat darker.

3rd. A female in the same collection. Very pale ;
upper part of the body grey, with yellowish and white
bars ; under part white with rusty-red bars ; and the breast

4th. A female from Enontekis in Lapland, and at
present in the Stockholm museum. Colour dirty-white,
here and there shaded with brownish spots.

The Professor, when speaking of the varieties in ques-
tion, says, " One finds that all these belong to the high
north, that their colour is faded, and that they are most
commonly of a less size than usual, two circumstances
which may easily be the consequence of a severe and
uncongenial climate."

There may be some truth in the above remarks ; but if
Nilsson imagines that accidental varieties amongst Caper-
cali are confined to the northern parts of Scandinavia, he
would seem somewhat in error, as they are sometimes
met with in the more southern provinces of Sweden. Of
such a variety of a female, I subjoin the portrait kindly sent
me by the late Count Carl Piper, with the following note
in his own handwriting appended :

" This bird was killed in the beginning of September,
1828, in the province of Smaland. She had a brood of
young ones with her, one of which, a female, was also
shot ; and this young one, nearly full-grown, had the
usual colour of a capercali hen."

At times one meets with Barren Hens (Gall-Honor,

B 2


S\v.), which assume in great measure the plumage of
the young male, together with its thick, crooked, and
white heak, and its longer tail ; hut they are always readily
distinguishahle by their inferior size.

"Their sterility," says Nilsson, when speaking of the
birds in question, "is not always a consequence of old
a^e ; for those that I have dissected were in their first
year, but in all of them the ovary and the oviduct wen- in
a diseased state and more or less destroyed. The younger
they were," the Professor proceeds to say, "the less they
resembled the male, and the older the closer resemblance
they bore to him."

The chosen haunts of the Capercali are mountainous
and hilly districts, where Barr-Skogar, or pine woods,
abound, particularly such as are of mature growth and
studded with lakes and morasses. Sometimes, however.
it is met with in woods interspersed with deciduous trees
(L&f-Skogar), more especially the oak; as it feeds Creel \
on acorns. Excepting in the autumn, and when the
young are small and follow their mother, these birds are
seldom seen in brushwood or even in woods of young
growth, and then only when in the vicinity of great woods.

During the summer, the food of the Capercali consists
chiefly of several kinds of plants, ferns, and buds of certain
trees and hushes, such as the alder, birch, and hazel ; of
acorns, where procurable ; of almost all sorts of berries
found in the northern forests, as, for example, the
cranberry (Oxycocciu palvstris, L'crs. ; 1'ncrini/itt/ o.rycoc-
., Linn.), the red whortleberry, or cowberry* (

* The Kerry of tliis plant. whieh in the London market often ;.'oes
tlie erroneous nninc of ( 'ranKerry. is not of sn line a flavour, when
piv-'i < i'l. as tin- latter; Imt. owinj: to Kein^ ], s> aei<l, il is pn d mil l.y thrifty
liousew i\rs in Swe.len. MS reiplirin^ :i smaller i|iiant il\ ofsii^'ar. 1'eeently
I nt a ijiHMl uian\ li\ in^; sjieeimens of (he ( Ymiliern to Sir Tlionia^ Maryoli
\\'il.son. which :n-c- now flourishing at his s,.',t. ( 'harlton l|..iise. in Kent.


FOOD. -,

Vitits /</'(/), the common bilberry or bleaberry (Vaccinium
Myrtillus), the wild strawberry (Fragaria vescii), and
raspberry (Ritbus Idccus), the juniper-berry (Juniper us
communiti), and of insects, etc. It also feeds on the
leaves of the Scotch fir (Pinus sylvestris, Linn.), and of
the spruce pine* (Pinus Abies), though of the latter, so
far as my own observation goes, very sparingly. In the
winter time, when the ground is deeply covered with
snow, and berries, &c., not readily procurable, the Caper-
cali would seem to subsist almost altogether on the leaves
of the trees named, large portions of which, indeed, may
always be seen in its droppings.

The young Capercali feed, at first, on insects, larvae,
ant-eggs, and small worms ; but they soon learn to eat
the several kinds of berries specified, as also by degrees
acorns and pine leaves.

According to Swedish naturalists, the Capercali flies
heavily and with much noise, and seldom high or to a
distance. But in this matter I am somewhat at variance
with them ; because, taking the large size of the bird
into consideration, its flight appears to me rather light
than otherwise ; and I have not only seen it at a con-
siderable height, but known it to fly for several miles at
a stretch.

The learned tell us, moreover, that the Capercali
seldom sits on the tops of trees. This is also rather
contrary to my own experience, certainly so far as regards
the winter ; for at that season one often sees the male
bird perched on the very topmost branches of a pine.

During daytime, in the summer and autumn, the
Capercali is for the most part on the ground, feeding on

' The Larch (Abies Larix, Rich. ; Pinus Larix, Linn.), excepting
in ornamental plantations, is unknown in Sweden. But the late Lord
Breadalbane told me recently, that at Taymouth Castle, where that tree
itlxiuuds, the < 'apereali i'eed on its leaves with avidity.


the numerous berries with which the northern forests
ahound. Very often, however, it then sits in the trees,
and commonly in their most umbrageous parts ; but in
the winter, when snow covers the ground, it is rarely
met with elsewhere than on the pines, the leaves of which,
as said, then constitute its chief sustenance.

In summer and autumn one finds these birds alone
or in families ; but during the winter the males for t lie
most part pack, and often, as will presently be shown, in
very large numbers.

The Capercali generally roosts on trees, though not
always, as stated by Swedish ornithologists ; for in the
winter, more especially if the weather be very severe, it
not un frequently passes the night, and it may be the
day also, in the snow. It usually burrows into it at
dusk, and thus snugly ensconced remains until morning,
when, leaving its warm and comfortable quarters, it flies
up into the adjacent pines to feed.

The Capercali burrows into the snow horizontally, so
that the spot whence it emerges is somewhat distant from
that where it enters. The depth of the burrow is
said to be regulated by the temperature; for if very
cold, it is proportionately greater. Some writers assert,
that when the bird is thus embedded in the snow, its bill
protrudes above the surface ; but this I much doubt; for,
excepting the aperture by which it entered rendered,
however, hardly perceptible by the collapse of the snow
nothing whatever makes its presence known, at least to
the casual observer. But it is only when the snow is in
a Iwme state that it can burrow in the manner spoken
of; for if there is a crust upon the surface, it would
lie dillicult, if not impossible, for the bird to force its
\\a_v through the obstruction.

I his rather peculiar habit of roosting in the snow
which, however, is aK<> eoiiinmn to the IJlack-Cock, the


Hazel-hen, the Ripa (a species of grouse, to be spoken of
presently), and other forest birds is, as will hereafter be
shown, often taken advantage of by the fowler in certain
parts of Scandinavia.

The fact of the Capercali thus burying itself in the
snow is perfectly well known to all the northern chasseurs.
More than once, indeed, when I have been traversing
the forest soon after daybreak, a whole pack of these
birds has suddenly risen near me from out of the snow.
And even in the middle of the day, single birds have
frequently flown up at my very feet ; but whether
these had been in the snow over-night, or had recently
dived into it, I cannot say.

When thus snugly buried in the snow, in fancied
security, it often falls a victim to the fox, or others of its
numerous enemies, who, guided by their unfailing scent,
find out its hiding-place and pounce upon it.

Though the Capercali comes under the category of
St&nd-Foglar,* it happens during certain years, espe-
cially in the northern portions of the peninsula, that
numbers of these birds strdcka, or partially migrate ;
so that districts where they previously abounded, become
almost denuded of them ; whilst in other districts where
they had before been very scarce, they suddenly appear
in large packs, consisting generally of males alone. This
will be better understood from the following quotations :

" One day in October, 1807, when I was doing duty
in the parish of Sveimevad, in the province of Nerike,"
writes the Rev. J. "VVulf, " a peasant came to me and

* The learned in Sweden class the birds belonging to their fauna under
three several heads, viz.: 1. St&nd-Foglar, that is, such birds as remain
all the year round in the district where they are bred. 2. StrdcJc-Foglar,
or those that at times wander far away from the place of their birth, but
do not leave the peninsula. 3. Flytt-Foglar, or such as migrate to other
countries on tin- approach of winter.


reported, that an extraordinarily great number of Capereali
had for several consecutive days been seen in a certain
wooded eminence near the village, and that they every
morning alighted in a newly-sown rye-field close by, and
either devoured the young grain or trampled it under
foot. As. during my four years' residence in the parish, I
well know that in the isolated little wood in question,
which was not a (English) mile in length, and less than
half a one in breadth, there was seldom even a black-cock
to be seen, much less a Capereali, I considered the story
as fabulous, or at all events greatly exaggerated ; hut as
my informant persisted in his statement, I made up my
mind to visit the spot indicated the following morninir.

" But although I was there at dawn of day, I arrived
somewhat too late ; for the birds were already in motion,
and part of them had settled in the fields. l'>\ con-
cealing myself in a ditch, however, I fortunately succeeded
in killing one, which on inspection proved an old cock.

" I hastened now to the place pointed out by my
guide. A quarter of an hour had hardly elapsed before the
birds, a few at a time, returned and alighted close about
me. Being well out of sight, I was in no hurry to fire,
but took time to watch their proceedings. All remained
quite passive, and not one moved from the very sppt on
which it had settled ; neither could I observe that any of
them ate of the young rye. As the daylight increased, I
east ray eyes over the whole paek, which 1 judged to
number from seventy to eighty ; but amongst them 1
could not discover a single female, one and all hein^
nnles a fact previously observed by the peasant. Seeing
at length that some few of the more distant birds wen-
taking wing fur tlie uooded bill in question, 1 thought
no time was to be lost, and therefore discharged my
unn into the nearest and densest mass, and with such
good effect that three more fell (had on the spot.


" The remainder now moved off, and in the same
direction their comrades had taken ; but still I perceived
they flew beyond the wooded hill. In anticipation of
their return, I remained in my hiding-place until broad
daylight, but saw no more of them.

" I now returned home for my dogs, and for several
hours carefully searched all the woods in the vicinity ;
though without avail, for not a single Capercali was to
be found anywhere. To judge from the quantity of
droppings on the wooded hill named, their numbers,
supposing they had only been there for a few days, as
stated, must have been very much greater than just men-
tioned. And though I renewed the search on the two
following days, as also a short time afterwards, it was
with no better success. The birds were never again seen
there, nor could I learn that they had been observed else-
where in the parish. During the succeeding spring,
moreover, not more Capercali were met with thereabouts
than usual.

" From their plumage, and the strength of their lower
mandibles, I came to the conclusion that the four Caper-
cali I had shot were all old birds, at least not bred that
year. Not one of them exceeded nine pounds in weight,
and they could not therefore have been natives of our

Online LibraryL. (Llewelyn) LloydThe game birds and wild fowl of Sweden and Norway; with an account of the seals and salt-water fishes of those countries → online text (page 1 of 44)