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Belonging to the genus of birds known as the " vitiparræ," there is one1 whose nest is formed of dried moss,2 and is in shape so exactly like a ball, that it is impossible to discover the mouth of it. The bird, also, that is known as the acanthyllis,3 makes its nest of a similar shape, and interweaves it with pieces of flax. The nest of one of the woodpeckers, very much like a cup in shape, is suspended by a twig from the end of the branch of a tree, so that no quadruped may be able to reach it. It is strongly asserted, that the witwall4 sleeps suspended by its feet, because it fancies that by doing so it is in greater safety. A thing, indeed, that is well-known of them all, is the fact that, in a spirit of foresight, they select the projecting branches of trees that are sufficiently strong, for the purpose of supporting their nests, and then arch them over to protect them from the rain, or else shield them by means of the thickness of the foliage.

In Arabia there is a bird known as the "cinnamolgus."5 It builds its nest with sprigs of cinnamon; and the natives knock them down with arrows loaded with lead, in order to sell them. In Scythia there is a bird, the size of the otis, which produces two young ones always, in a hare's skin suspended6 from the top branches of a tree. Pies, when they have observed a person steadily gazing at their nest, will immediately remove their eggs to another place. This is said to be accomplished in a truly wonderful manner, by such birds as have not toes adapted for holding and removing their eggs. They lay a twig upon two eggs, and then solder them to it by means of a glutinous matter secreted from their body; after which, they pass their neck between the eggs, and so forming an equipoise, convey them to another place.

1 Cuvier thinks that this is either the remiz, the Parus pendulinus of Linnæus, or else the moustache, the Parus biarmicus of Linnæus.

2 Not moss, Cuvier says, but blades of grass, and the silken fibres of the poplar and other aquatic trees.

3 Cuvier thinks that it is the same bird as the vitiparra of Pliny.

4 Galulus.

5 This story, in all its extravagance, is related first by Herodotus, and then by Aristotle, who has reduced it to its present dimensions, as given by Pliny.

6 Cuvier suggests that, if at all based upon truth, this may have been the case in one instance, and then ascribed to the whole species.

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