Finally available, a high quality book of the original classic edition of Nests and Eggs of Familiar British Birds, Second Series - Described and Illustrated; with an Account of the Haunts and Habits of the Feathered Architects, and their Times and Modes of Building. It was previously published by other bona fide publishers, and is now, after many years, back in print.
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Look too at the difference in size, between the egg of the Humming Bird, no bigger than a pea, and that of the Ostrich, as large as a man's head nearly, or bigger still that of the Epyornis, of which fossil remains have been found in Madagascar, the contents of which must have been equal to six ostrichs', or one hundred and forty-eight common hens' eggs, that is about seventeen English pints; and yet in all these the germ, or as it would be called, the vital principle, that is, the principle of life, is but a tiny speck, or circle, which is attached to the membrane that surrounds the yellow portion, or yolk; it is from this that the animal in embryo derives nourishment, and the size of it, and consequently of the whole egg, is in proportion to the quantity that is required to sustain life, until the protection of the shell is no longer necessary. ...The more common kind is a migratory bird, coming in large flocks at very irregular intervals, and visiting more especially those parts of the country where there are woods and plantations of fir and pine, of the seeds of which they are very fond, extracting them with great dexterity from between the scales of the cones; for this operation, the projecting points of the bill appear to be well adapted, as well as for picking out the apple-pips, as they are called, and kernels of other fruits; hence the name shell-apple given to the bird, which was a not uncommon visitor to the English orchards in former times; thus in a curious old record we are told that 'In the yeere 1593 was a greate and exceeding yeere of apples; and there were greate plenty of strang birds, that shewed themselves at the tyme the apples were full rype, who fedd uppon the kernells onely of those apples, and haveing a bill with one beake wrythinge over the other, which would presently bore a greate hole in the apple, and make way to the kernells; they were of the bignesse of a bullfinch, the henne right like the henne of the bullfinch in coulour; the cocke a very glorious bird, in a manner al redde or yellowe on the brest, backe, and head.'