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With reference to the departure of birds, the owlet, too, is said to lie concealed for a few days. No birds of this last kind are to be found in the island of Crete, and if any are imported thither, they immediately die. Indeed, this is a remarkable distinction made by Nature; for she denies to certain places, as it were, certain kinds of fruits and shrubs, and of animals as well; it is singular that when introduced into these localities they will be no longer productive, but die immediately they are thus transplanted. What can it be that is thus fatal to the increase of one particular species, or whence this envy manifested against them by Nature? What, too, are the limits that have been marked out for the birds on the face of the earth?

Rhodes1 possesses no eagles. In Italy beyond the Padus, there is, near the Alps, a lake known by the name of Larius, beautifully situate amid a country covered with shrubs; and yet this lake is never visited by storks, nor, indeed, are they ever known to come within eight miles of it; while, on the other hand, in the neighbouring territory of the Insubres2 there are immense flocks of magpies and jackdaws, the only3 bird that is guilty of stealing gold and silver, a very singular propensity.

It is said that in the territory of Tarentum, the woodpecker of Mars is never found. It is only lately too, and that but very rarely, that various kinds of pies have begun to be seen in the districts that lie between the Apennines and the City; birds which are known by the name of "variæ,"4 and are remarkable for the length of the tail. It is a peculiarity of this bird, that it becomes bald every year at the time of sowing rape. The partridge does not fly beyond the frontiers of Bœotia, into Attica; nor does any bird, in the island5 in the Euxine in which Achilles was buried, enter the temple there consecrated to him. In the territory of Fidenæ, in the vicinity of the City, the storks have no young nor do they build nests: but vast numbers of ringdoves arrive from beyond sea every year in the district of Volaterræ. At Rome, neither flies nor dogs ever enter the temple of Hercules in the Cattle Market. There are numerous other instances of a similar nature in reference to all kinds of animals, which from time to time I feel myself prompted by prudent considerations to omit, lest I should only weary the reader. Theophrastus, for example, relates that even pigeons, as well as peacocks and ravens, have been introduced from other parts into Asia,6 as also croaking frogs7 into Cyrenaica.

1 Suetonius says, that when Tiberius was staying at Rhodes, an eagle perched on the roof of his house; such a bird having never been seen before on the island.

2 See B. iii. c. 21.

3 It is still noted for its thieving propensities; witness the English story of the Maid and the Magpie, and the Italian opera of "La Gazza Ladra." Cicero says, "They would no more trust gold with you, than with a jackdaw." See also Ovid's Met. B. vii. It is the Corvus pica of Linnæus.

4 "Mottled pics."

5 See B. iv. c. 12.

6 Asia Minor, most probably. The assertion, though supported by Theophrastus, is open to doubt.

7 Sec B. viii. c. 83.

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