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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/219

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LAND-BIRDS IN MID-OCEAN.

limit themselves to a lunch and a good dinner, drink a liberal quantum of fresh, cold spring-water, but no fermented beverage, and strictly abstain from indigestible food, especially cheese, sour rye-bread, sauerkraut, archaic sausages, pickles, and hard-boiled eggs. Light bread, cream, and grapes (or baked apples), should constitute the staple of the diet. A two-weeks grape-cure can do harm. An occasional fast-day will insure the elimination of undigested food-deposits. Pin-worms that have escaped the day of wrath may now and then betray their presence, but they have ceased to multiply, and, after the current of the organic circulation has once been fairly re-established, intestinal parasites will disappear like the wrigglers of a drained river-pool.

 

LAND-BIRDS IN MID-OCEAN.
By GEORGE W. GRIM.

THE appearance of some of the smaller varieties of migratory birds, such as sparrows, swallows, doves, etc., several hundred miles away from the nearest land is by no means an unusual occurrence on the ocean. About these little erratic visitors there are some curious and interesting facts. Their appearance is almost always one at a time, though I have known a considerable number, representing, perhaps, as many different varieties, to accumulate in the course of a day. It is usually, though not always, in stormy or unsettled weather.

The first curious fact about these birds is, that they never appear to be tired out; whereas birds are often met with near the land with their strength quite exhausted. A second curious fact about them is their preternatural tameness where there is no cat or dog on board, and the crew show no disposition to molest them, as exhibited by their apparently seeking rather than avoiding the presence of man.

Another curious fact about them is the recovery of all their native wildness and their instinctive avoidance of man's presence on approaching the land. The first time I noticed this fact was with a pair of olive-colored ring-doves, which, from their remarkable tameness and familiarity, I was led to believe had been bred in a domestic state and perhaps on shipboard. I kept them in the skylight in the cabin, where they seemed to be quite contented; but on approaching the land they became the wildest of the wild. One of them escaped and flew away. I succeeded in taking the other into port, where I gave it its liberty. Now, I am certain that these birds could not have been apprised of the approach to the land through the medium of any of their ordinary senses. This curious circumstance led me to notice more particularly the conduct of other varieties of these little