The Project Gutenberg eBook of History of Birds

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Title: History of Birds

Author: Unknown

Release date: April 22, 2021 [eBook #65139]

Language: English

Credits: hekula03 and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This book was produced from images made available by the HathiTrust Digital Library.)



Cover image



Printed by Knight and Bagster,
14, Bartholomew Close.

FOR J. DAVIS, No. 56,



Two ostriches, in desert surroundings

The Ostrich leaves its eggs in the desert, and if it goes far away, it cannot find them again. In the Bible, cruel and forgetful people are compared to the Ostrich. It is a large bird, and runs very swiftly when pursued, and if it finds a bush it hides its head, and thinks that because it does not see its pursuers, they cannot see it. The Ostrich may remind us of ourselves, as we are by nature inclined to be unkind and forgetful, and to act as if we thought God did not see us.


An eagle feeding on the carcass of a sheep

The Eagle is a bird of prey; it is violent and strong, yet we read that it obeys the command of God, (Job xxxix. 27.) and that he uses it to punish those who disobey him. (Prov. xxx. 17.) Thus God often makes use of wicked people, to punish others who despise his word. The text in Proverbs, mentioned above, teaches us that God will punish those who are disobedient to their parents: I hope my little readers will remember this.


A peacock, a girl in finery, and a boy

The Peacock is very vain, and proud of its fine feathers. I suppose that little girl is proud of her finery, and the little boy tells her she is like the Peacock. In the book of Job, we are reminded that it was God who gave the Peacock its beautiful feathers, (c. xxxix. v. 13.) Children should remember that they have nothing of their own to be proud of, that every thing they possess is given them by God, and they should be thankful to him for all his mercies.


A flock of horrible geese

The Goose is generally thought a silly bird, but I am sure that little boy and girl who are so mischievous as to frighten the geese, are much more silly. Any person who observes geese closely, will find that they shew many proofs of being wiser than they are supposed to be; so you will often find among your little companions, that those who appear to be dull, are superior in many things to others who seem to be very sharp and clever.


A swallow carrying a piece of paper

The Swallow is a bird of passage. It is part of the year in one country, and the other part in another country. In the Bible, we read that the Swallow observes the time of its coming, but man knows not the judgment of the Lord. The Swallows go from one country to another exactly at the time which God has appointed as best for them, but although we are told in the Bible what is the will of God, and find that nothing else can make us happy, yet we continually forget it, and so fall into sin, and meet with many troubles.


People looking up at a flock of quail in flight

The Quail is a small bird, and very pleasant to eat. The Israelites were tired of the manna which God sent them for food, and desired flesh without remembering that he knew what was best for them. But though their request was granted, we read that the wrath of the Lord was kindled against them, and he smote them with a great plague, so that many died. When you pray for what you desire to have, always remember that God knows what is better for you than you do yourself, and intreat him not to give it, unless it is right for you to have it.


A caged parrot

The Parrot is a chattering bird; it can say many words, but cannot at all understand the meaning of what it says. I have often seen Parrots without feathers that talked a great deal of nonsense, I dare say you know that I mean little boys and girls. We read that “in all labor there is profit, but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.” People that talk a great deal are not wise. In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.


A stork on the opposite bank of a river from some pyramids

The Stork is called in the Bible, by a name which also means pity or mercy. It is supposed to be so called, because it is said never to forsake its parents, but to feed them and take care of them as long as they live. I hope you will not forget this. The fifth commandment is this, “Honour thy father and mother that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” Undutiful children are not happy when they grow up.


A person watches sparrows in flight

The Sparrow is of less value than most other birds, yet we are told that God takes care even of them. (Matt. x. 29.) This should lead us to say, if he takes care of the Sparrows, surely he will not overlook children; and we should pray to God to direct us and to watch over us, and that he would enable us to love him for his goodness towards us. But above all, we should praise him for the greatness of his mercy in sending his only and well-beloved son to die for us, that we might be brought nigh to him.


A woman feeding doves outside a cottage

The Dove is said to signify to us what Christ is—meek, lowly, and kind, bringing us the good tidings of salvation, as the Dove brought to Noah a proof that the waters were gone from off the face of the earth. Also, when he causes his people to love him, they are made kind, gentle, and harmless, and partakers of his Holy Spirit. Let us remember this, and pray that we may love him, and have our hearts changed, so that we may delight in doing his will, and be “harmless as doves.”


A hen and her brood of chickens

The Hen watches over her chickens, and takes care of them; she gathers them under her wings, and guards them from the hawk, or any other danger. When Jesus was upon earth, he said, “O Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” Jesus is now in heaven, but he invites us to call upon him by prayer. “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” Ps. cxlv. 18.


A woman and child feed chickens in their run

The Chickens run to the Hen when they are in danger or distress. My dear children, do you desire to go to the Saviour and to love him. You are in a world where danger threatens both your bodies and your souls, but he has said he will fulfil the desire of them that fear him; he also will hear their cry, and will save them. (Ps. cxlv. 19.) Do not refuse to listen to him, for “How shall you escape if you neglect so great salvation?”


A raven and a dove

The Raven was the first bird sent out of the ark by Noah, and though the waters still covered the earth, it did not return again, but continued to fly about, while the Dove returned to the ark, because she found no rest for the sole of her foot. When children are grown up, and are tempted by the pleasures of the world, some, like the Raven, continue to go from one vanity to another, though they cannot find real happiness in any; while others fly to the Saviour as the only rest and comfort. My dear child, are you like the Raven or like the Dove?


Two swans in water

The Swan appears very beautiful when in the water, but is very awkward when on the land. The Swan is said to sing when it is dying, perhaps this is not true, but many dear little children, whom Christ has taken to himself when young, have been singing his praises when they died. You may read about some of them in that pretty book “Janeway’s Token for Children.”