Four-footed Duck





Gesner describes a four-footed duck, which he says is like the English

puffin, except in the number of its feet: but Aldrovandus "out-Herods

Herod" when he gives us "A monstrous Cock with Serpent's tail."



If we can believe Pliny, there are places where certain birds are never

found:--"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;...



"Rhodes 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; whilst on the other hand, in the neighbouring territory of the

Montres, there are immense flocks of magpies and jackdaws, the only 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 Variae, 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 Boeotia,

into Attica; nor does any bird, in the island in the Euxine in which

Achilles was buried, enter the temple there consecrated to him.






"In the territory of Fidenae, in the vicinity of the City, the storks

have no young, nor do they build nests; but vast numbers of ring-doves

arrive from beyond sea every year in the district of Volaterrae. At Rome,

neither flies, nor dogs ever enter the temple of Hercules in the Cattle

Market."...





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