A general history of humming-birds, or the Trochilidæ

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H. G. Bohn, 1852 - 232 pàgines
 

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Pàgina 80 - I could see the nest, not concealing myself, but remaining motionless, waiting for the petite bird's reappearance. I had not to wait long : a loud whirr, and there she was, suspended in the air before her nest: she soon espied me, and came within a foot of my eyes, hovering just in front of my face. I remained still, however, when I heard the whirring of another just above me, perhaps the mate, but I durst not look towards him lest the turning of my head should frighten the female. In a minute or...
Pàgina 80 - ... swiftly projected the tongue an inch and a half from the beak, continuing the same curve as that of the beak. When she arose, it was to perform a very interesting action ; for she flew to the face of the rock, which was thickly clothed with soft dry moss, and, hovering on the wing, as if before a flower, began to pluck the moss, until she had a large bunch of it in her beak. Then I saw her fly to the nest, and, having seated herself in it, proceed to place the new...
Pàgina 60 - ... but when intercepting the sun's rays transmit orange-coloured light, — added much to their beauty. A little Banana Quit, that was peeping among the blossoms in his own quiet way, seemed now and then to look with surprise on the combatants; but when the one had driven his rival to a longer distance than usual, the victor set upon the unoffending Quit, who soon yielded the point, and retired, humbly enough, to a neighbouring tree.
Pàgina 79 - I lingered in the romantic place, picking up some of the landshells which were scattered among the rocks, suddenly I heard the whirr of a Humming-bird, and, looking up, saw a female Polytmus hovering opposite the nest, with a mass of silk-cotton in her beak. Deterred by the sight of me, she presently retired to a twig, a few paces distant, on which she sat. I immediately sunk down among the rocks as quietly as possible, and remained perfectly still.
Pàgina 59 - ... fury upon the other, and then, with a loud rustling of their wings, they would twirl together round and round until they nearly came to the earth. It was some time before I could see with any distinctness what took place in these tussles ; their twirlings were so rapid as to baffle all attempts at discrimination. At length an encounter took place pretty close to me, and I perceived that the beak of the...
Pàgina 66 - They then separate, and each starts diagonally towards the ground like a ball from a rifle, and wheeling round comes up to the blossoms again, and sucks as if it had not moved away at all. Frequently one alone will mount in this manner, or dart on invisible wing diagonally upwards, looking exactly like a humble-bee.
Pàgina 59 - The genial influence of the spring rains had covered them with a profusion of beautiful blossoms, each consisting of a multitude of crimson stamens, with very minute petals, like bunches of crimson tassels.
Pàgina 67 - ... which point backward, somewhat like the vane of a feather ; these are not barbs, however, but simply soft and flexible points, such as might be produced by snipping diagonally the edge of a strip of paper. I conjecture that the nectar of flowers is pumped up the tubes, and that minute insects are caught, when in flowers, in these spoon-like tips, their minute limbs being perhaps entangled in the fimbriae, when the tongue is retracted into the beak, and the insects swallowed by the ordinary process,...
Pàgina 99 - I slipped the flower over the tube, so that the quill took the place of the nectary of the flower. The bird flew to it in a moment, clung to the bottle rim, and bringing his beak perpendicular, thrust it into the tube. It was at once evident that the repast was agreeable, for he continued pumping for several seconds, and on his flying off I found the quill emptied. As he had torn off the flower in his eagerness for more, and even followed the fragments of the corolla, as they lay on the table, to...
Pàgina 56 - They pass through the air in long undulations, raising themselves for some distance at an angle of about forty degrees, then falling in a curve ; but the smallness of their size precludes the possibility of following them with the eye farther than fifty or sixty yards without great difficulty, even with a good glass. A person standing in a garden by the side of a common...

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