Naturalists may have concluded that for want of such information,
those Birds absent themselves in a different Manner. If the Immenseness
of the Globe be considered, and the vast Tracts of land remaining
unknown but to its barbarous Natives, 'tis no Wonder we are yet
unacquainted with the Retreats of these itinerant Birds.
The Reports of their lying, torpid in Caverns and hollow Trees,
and of their telling in the same State at the Bottom of deep Waters,
are Notions so ill attested and absurd in themselves, that they
deserve no farther Notice.
If with Submission I may offer my own Sentiments, I must join in
the general Opinion, with this additional Conjecture, viz.
that the Place to which they retire is probably in the same Latitude
of the southern Hemisphere, or where they may enjoy the like Temperature
of Air, as in the Country from whence they came: By this Change
they live in perpetual Summer, which seems absolutely neccessary
for their Preservation, because all Summer Birds of Passage subsist
on Insects only, and have tender Bills adapted to it, and consequently
are unable to subsist in a cold Country, particularly Swallows,
Martins, and a few others that feed only on the Wing.
Tho' the warm Parts of the World abound most with Animals in general,
Water Fowl may be excepted, there being of them a greater Number
and variety of Species in the northern Parts of the World, than
between the Tropicks, yet rigid Winters compell them to leave their
native frozen Country, and retire southward for Food, and tho' they
sometimes approach within a few Degrees of the northern Tropick,
very few are ever seen within it, and at the Return of the Spring,
they go back again to the North, and there breed: Why Water Fowl
particularly should abound most in cold Climates, I can no otherwise
attempt to account for, than that as Nature has endowed all Creatures
with a Sagacity for their Preservation, so these Birds to avoid
the Danger of voracious Animals (to which they are more exposed
than Land Birds) choose to inhabit where they least abound: All
Rivers and Watery Places in the southern Latitudes abound so with
ravenous Fish, Turtles, Aligators, Serpents, and other destructive
Creatures, that the extinction of Water Fowl would probably be in
Danger, were they wholly confined to these Latitudes: Yet there
are some Species of the Duck Kind, peculiar to these torrid Parts
of the World, which pearch and roost upon Trees for their greater
Security, of these are the Whistling Duck. Hist. Jam. p. 324. The
Ilathera Duck, Vol. I. p. 93, of this Work. The Summer Duck,
Vol. 1. p. 97. Besides some others observed by Margrave and
Land Birds which breed and abide in Carolina in the Summer, and
retire in Winter.
|The Cuckow of Carolina.
||The Blue Linnet.
|The Goat Sucker.
||The Painted Finch.
|The Summer red Bird.
||The Yellow Titmous.
||The Purple Martin.
|The Red Headed Woodpecker.
||The Humming Bird.
|The Blue Grossbeck.
||The Crested Flycatcher.
Land-Birds which come from the North, and abide in Virginia and
Carolina the Winter, and retire again to the North at the Approach
|The Pigeon of Passage.
|The Fieldfare of Carolina.
||The Snow Bird.
|The Chatterer of Carolina.
||The Purple Finch.
European Land-Birds inhabiting America.
|The Greater Butcher Bird.
||The Cole Titmouse.
|The Sand Martin.
||The Golden Crown Wren.
European Water-Fowls which I have observed to be also Inhabitants
of America, which tho' they abide the Winter in Carolina, most of
them retire North in the Spring to breed.
|The common Wild Duck.
||The Grey Heron.
||The Green Plover.
||The Grey Plover.
||Elk or Wild Swan.
|Snipes, both Kinds.