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OUR PEATHERED FAMILIES :

A POPULAR AND POETICAL DESCRIPTION OF

THE BIRDS OF SONG

AND THEIR CONGENERS

WHICH ARE FOUND IN BRITAIN.

WITI PRACTICAL HINTS FOR
THE BREEDING, REARING, AND GENERAL MANAGEMENT OF

SONG BIRDS IN CONFINEMENT

BY H. G. ADAMS,

Author of 'The Wild Flowers, Birds, and Insects of the Months' 'The Young Naturalist's

Library' 'Favourite Song-Birds' &c.

With upwards of Fifty Illustrations by Wm. Harvey, Luke Clennel,

and W. S. Coleman.

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PREFACE.

IT
T has been our endeavour to produce, within the

compass of three elegant and inexpensive volumes, of which the first is here offered, a complete account of the Feathered Families of Britain, written in a style which would be likely to interest the young,

and
yet

claim the attention of those of maturer years and riper judgement. We have thrown as much of the picturesque into our sketches as possible, and drawn largely upon those who have studied most closely the habits of the creatures described, in their homes and haunts. Of anecdotes, serving to illustrate traits of character, the manners, and morals, so to speak, of the members of the Bird-world around us, we have not been sparing, taking care, however, to select such only as bore the stamp of authenticity; and from the poets we have borrowed many sweet lyrics and graphic pictures, to set in the framework of our sober prose, and thus enrich, and lighten, and vivify the whole. We want our readers to understand what kind of lives the feathered creatures live, to study their habits, to love them, and to care for them, as their Heavenly Father does.

One word as to the plan of these volumes, cach of which

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it was thought desirable should be rendered to some extent complete in itself, and have a distinctive title ; hence the somewhat arbitrary arrangement of all the British Birds into three groups, or divisions, viz. : Birds of Song, Birds of Prey, Game and Water Birds, in each of which will be found species which may appear to be rather out of place; but these are so closely allied with others whose position is less questionable, that they could not have been well placed elsewhere.

But it may be asked – Why commence with Birds of Song, thus depriving the powerful and rapacious feathered monarchs of their right place of pre-eminence? Well, the only excuse we can offer for this is, that we love the sweet Songsters best, and desire first to present to our readers Bird-life in its most poetic and pleasing aspects. If the scientific naturalist finds fault with us for this reversal of his order of arrangement, we can only appeal to popular tastes and sympathies, and say that we do not claim for ours the character of a scientific text-book, but of an entertaining, yet at the same time, we hope, instructive companion for the lovers of nature, and especially of

The beautiful birds, that sing in our ears
The songs that bring visions of earlier years;
The blithe little songsters, that flit here and there,
Enjoying the sunshine without fear or care ;
The happy musicians, whose harmony flows,
Without any effort, like scent from the rose;
As glad and entrancing, as fresh and as free,
As the breeze that sets dancing the leaves on the tree.

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