Hirundo Marina Minor Capite Albo: The Noddy.

Weighs four ounces. The Bill black, long and sharp: the Eyes above and below are edged with white. The Crown of the Head white, which grows gradually dusky towards the back part of the Head. All the rest of these Birds are brown, their Tails and Quill-feathers being darkest. Their Wings and Tails are of an equal length. They lay their Eggs on bare Rocks on many of the Bahama Islands, where they breed in company with Boobies. It is pleasant to see them fishing, accompanied with variety of other Sea-Birds in numerous flights, flying on the surface of the water, and continually dropping to snatch up the little fish drove in sholes by larger ones to the surface of the water. This seems to be done with great pleasure and merriment, if we may judge from the various Notes and great noise they make, which is heard some miles off. The sholes of fish they follow, cause a ripling and whiteness in the water, which is a plain direction for the Birds to follow them, and may be seen from the Hills several miles off. Where the ripling appears most there the Birds swarm thickest. This is done in breeding time, but that being past, these Noddies roam the 0cean over separately, and are seen several hundred leagues from any land, but are seldom met with without the Tropicks. They are stupid Birds, and like the Booby will suffer themselves to be laid hands on and taken from off the yards or parts of the Ships on which they alight. The Cocks and Hens differ very little in colour.

88
next page previous page