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But since, when we were talking of partridges, we mentioned that they were exceedingly amorous birds, we ought also to add, that the cock of the common poultry fowl is a very amorous bird too; at all events Aristotle says, that when cocks are kept in the temples as being dedicated to the Gods, the cocks who were there before treat any new comer as a hen until another is dedicated in a similar manner. And if none are dedicated, then they fight together, and the one which has defeated the other works his will on the one which he has defeated. It is related, also, that a cock, whenever he goes in at any door whatever, always stoops his crest, and that [p. 617] one cock never yields to another without a battle; but Theophrastus says, that the wild cocks are still more amorous than the tame ones. He says, also, that the cocks are most inclined to pursue the hens the moment they leave their perch in the morning, but the hens prefer it as the day advances. Sparrows, also, are very amorous birds; on which account Terpsicles says, that those who eat sparrows are rendered exceedingly prone to amorous indulgences; and perhaps it is from such an idea that Sappho represents Venus as being drawn by sparrows yoked in her chariot; for they are very amorous birds, and very prolific. The sparrow has about eight young ones at one hatching, according to the statement of Aristotle. And Alexander the Myndian says that there are two kinds of sparrows, the one a tame species, and the other a wild one; and he adds that the hen-sparrow is weaker in other respects, and also that their beaks are of a more horny colour, and that their faces are not very white, nor very black; but Aristotle says that the cock-sparrow never appears in the winter, but that the hen-sparrows remain, drawing his conclusions as to what he thinks probable from their colour; for their colour changes, as the colour of blackbirds and of coots does, who get whiter at certain seasons. But the people of Elis call sparrows δείρηται, as Nicander the Colophonian tells us in the third book of his treatise on Different Dialects.
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