Piebald : The mongrels thus raised were black or nearly black or….
Besides the points above enumerated, in which all the domestic races resemble C.
Livia and each other, there is one which deserves special notice.
The wild rock-pigeon is of a slaty-blue colour; the wings are crossed by two bars; the croup varies in colour, being generally white in the pigeon of Europe, and blue in that of India; the tail has a black bar close to the end, and the outer webs of the outer tail-feathers are edged with white, except near the tips.
These combined characters are not found in any wild pigeon besides C.
I have looked carefully through the great collections of pigeons in the British Museum, and I find that a dark bar at the end of the tail is common; that the white edging to the outer tail-feathers is not rare; but that the white croup is extremely rare, and the two black bars on the wings occur in no other pigeon, excepting the alpine C.
Leuconota and C.
Rupestris of Asia.
Now if we turn to the domestic races, it is highly remarkable, as an eminent fancier, Mr.
Wicking, observed to me, that, whenever a blue bird appears in any race, the wings almost invariably show the double black bars. (6/23.
There is one exception to the rule, namely, in a sub-variety of the Swallow of German origin, which is figured by Neumeister, and was shown to me by Mr.
This bird is blue, but has not the black wing-bars; for our object, however, in tracing the descent of the chief races, this exception signifies the less as the Swallow approaches closely in structure to C.
In many sub-varieties the black bars are replaced by bars of various colours.
The figures given by Neumeister are sufficient to show that, if the wings alone are blue, the black wing-bars appear.) The primary wing- feathers may be white or black, and the whole body may be of any colour, but if the wing-coverts are blue, the two black bars are sure to appear.
I have myself seen, or acquired trustworthy evidence, as given below (6/24.
I have observed blue birds with all the above-mentioned marks in the following races, which seemed to be perfectly pure, and were shown at various exhibitions.
Pouters, with the double black wing-bars, with white croup, dark bar to end of tail, and white edging to outer tail-feathers.
Turbits, with all these same characters.
Fantails with the same; but the croup in some was bluish or pure blue.
Wicking bred blue Fantails from two black birds.
Carriers (including the Bagadotten of Neumeister) with all the marks: two birds which I examined had white, and two had blue croups; the white edging to the outer tail-feathers was not present in all.
Corker, a great breeder, assures me that, if black carriers are matched for many successive generations, the offspring become first ash-coloured, and then blue with black wing-bars.
Runts of the elongated breed had the same marks, but the croup was pale blue; the outer tail-feathers had white edges.
Neumeister figures the great Florence Runt of a blue colour with black bars.
Jacobins are very rarely blue, but I have received authentic accounts of at least two instances of the blue variety with black bars having appeared in England; blue Jacobins were bred by Mr.
Brent from two black birds.
I have seen common Tumblers, both Indian and English, and Short-faced Tumblers, of a blue colour, with black wing-bars, with the black bar at the end of the tail, and with the outer tail-feathers edged with white; the croup in all was blue, or extremely pale blue, never absolutely white.
Blue Barbs and Trumpeters seem to be excessively rare; but Neumeister, who may be implicitly trusted, figures blue varieties of both, with black wing-bars.
Brent informs me that he has seen a blue Barb; and Mr.
Weir, as I am informed by Mr.
Tegetmeier, once bred a silver (which means very pale blue) Barb from two yellow birds.), of blue birds with black bars on the wing, with the croup either white or very pale or dark blue, with the tail having a terminal black bar, and with the outer feathers externally edged with white or very pale coloured, in the following races, which, as I carefully observed in each case, appeared to be perfectly true: namely, in Pouters, Fantails, Tumblers, Jacobins, Turbits, Barbs, Carriers, Runts of three distinct varieties, Trumpeters, Swallows, and in many other toy-pigeons, which as being closely allied to C.
Livia, are not worth enumerating.
Thus we see that, in purely-bred races of every kind known in Europe, blue birds occasionally appear having all the marks which characterise C.
Livia, and which concur in no other wild species.
Blyth, also, has made the same observation with respect to the various domestic races known in India. Certain variations in the plumage are equally common in the wild C.
Livia, in dovecote-pigeons, and in all the most highly modified races.
Thus, in all, the croup varies from white to blue, being most frequently white in Europe, and very generally blue in India. (6/25.
Blyth informs me that all the domestic races in India have the croup blue; but this is not invariable, for I possess a very pale blue Simmali pigeon with the croup perfectly white, sent to me by Sir W.
Elliot from Madras.
A slaty-blue and chequered Nakshi pigeon has some white feathers on the croup alone.
In some other Indian pigeons there were a few white feathers confined to the croup, and I have noticed the same fact in a carrier from Persia.
The Java Fantail (imported into Amoy, and thence sent me) has a perfectly white croup.) We have seen that the wild C.
Livia in Europe, and dovecotes in all parts of the world, often have the upper wing-coverts chequered with black; and all the most distinct races, when blue, are occasionally chequered in precisely the same manner.
Thus I have seen Pouters, Fantails, Carriers, Turbits, Tumblers (Indian and English), Swallows, Bald-pates, and other toy-pigeons blue and chequered; and Mr.
Esquilant has seen a chequered Runt.
I bred from two pure blue Tumblers a chequered bird. The facts hitherto given refer to the occasional appearance in pure races of blue birds with black wing-bars, and likewise of blue and chequered birds; but it will now be seen that when two birds belonging to distinct races are crossed, neither of which have, nor probably have had during many generations, a trace of blue in their plumage, or a trace of wing-bars and the other characteristic marks, they very frequently produce mongrel offspring of a blue colour, sometimes chequered, with black wing-bars, etc.; or if not of a blue colour, yet with the several characteristic marks more or less plainly developed.
I was led to investigate this subject from MM.
Boitard and Corbie (6/26. ‘Les Pigeons’ etc.
Page 37.) having asserted that from crosses between certain breeds it is rare to get anything but bisets or dovecote pigeons, which, as we know, are blue birds with the usual characteristic marks.
We shall hereafter see that this subject possesses, independently of our present object, considerable interest, so that I will give the results of my own trials in full.
I selected for experiment races which, when pure, very seldom produce birds of a blue colour, or have bars on their wings and tail. The Nun is white, with the head, tail, and primary wing-feathers black; it is a breed which was established as long ago as the year 1600.
I crossed a male Nun with a female red common Tumbler, which latter variety generally breeds true.
Thus neither parent had a trace of blue in the plumage, or of bars on the wing and tail.
I should premise that common Tumblers are rarely blue in England.
From the above cross I reared several young: one was red over the whole back, but with the tail as blue as that of the rock-pigeon; the terminal bar, however, was absent, but the outer feathers were edged with white: a second and third nearly resembled the first, but the tail in both presented a trace of the bar at the end: a fourth was brownish, and the wings showed a trace of the double bar: a fifth was pale blue over the whole breast, back, croup, and tail, but the neck and primary wing-feathers were reddish; the wings presented two distinct bars of a red colour; the tail was not barred, but the outer feathers were edged with white.
I crossed this last curiously coloured bird with a black mongrel of complicated descent, namely, from a black Barb, a Spot, and Almond-tumbler, so that the two young birds produced from this cross included the blood of five varieties, none of which had a trace of blue or of wing and tail-bars: one of the two young birds was brownish-black, with black wing-bars; the other was reddish-dun, with reddish wing-bars, paler than the rest of the body, with the croup pale blue, the tail bluish with a trace of the terminal bar. Mr.
Eaton (6/27. ‘Treatise on Pigeons’ 1858 page 145.) matched two Short- faced Tumblers, namely, a splash cock and kite hen (neither of which are blue or barred), and from the first nest he got a perfect blue bird, and from the second a silver or pale blue bird, both of which, in accordance with all analogy, no doubt presented the usual characteristic marks. I crossed two male black Barbs with two female red Spots.
These latter have the whole body and wings white, with a spot on the forehead, the tail and tail-coverts red; the race existed at least as long ago as 1676, and now breeds perfectly true, as was known to be the case in the year 1735. (6/28.
Moore ‘Columbarium’ 1735; in J.M.
Eaton’s edition 1852 page 71.) Barbs are uniformly-coloured birds, with rarely even a trace of bars on the wing or tail; they are known to breed very true.
The mongrels thus raised were black or nearly black, or dark or pale brown, sometimes slightly piebald with white: of these birds no less than six presented double wing-bars; in two the bars were conspicuous and quite black; in seven some white feathers appeared on the croup; and in two or three there was a trace of the terminal bar to the tail, but in none were the outer tail-feathers edged with white. I crossed black Barbs (of two excellent strains) with purely-bred, snow- white Fantails.
The mongrels were generally quite black, with a few of the primary wing and tail feathers white: others were dark reddish-brown, and others snow-white: none had a trace of wing-bars or of the white croup.
I then paired together two of these mongrels, namely, a brown and black bird, and their offspring displayed wing-bars, faint, but of a darker brown than the rest of body.
In a second brood from the same parents a brown bird was produced, with several white feathers confined to the croup. I crossed a male dun Dragon belonging to a family which had been dun- coloured without wing-bars during several generations, with a uniform red Barb (bred from two black Barbs); and the offspring presented decided but faint traces of wing-bars.
I crossed a uniform red male Runt with a White trumpeter; and the offspring had a slaty-blue tail with a bar at the end, and with the outer feathers edged with white.
I also crossed a female black and white chequered Trumpeter (of a different strain from the last) with a male Almond-tumbler, neither of which exhibited a trace of blue, or of the white croup, or of the bar at end of tail: nor is it probable that the progenitors of these two birds had for many generations exhibited any of these characters, for I have never even heard of a blue Trumpeter in this country, and my Almond-tumbler was purely bred; yet the tail of this mongrel was bluish, with a broad black bar at the end, and the croup was perfectly white.
It may be observed in several of these cases, that the tail first shows a tendency to become by reversion blue; and this fact of the persistency of colour in the tail and tail-coverts (6/29.
I could give numerous examples; two will suffice.
A mongrel, whose four grandparents were a white Turbit, white Trumpeter, white Fantail, and blue Pouter, was white all over, except a very few feathers about the head and on the wings, but the whole tail and tail-coverts were dark bluish-grey.
Another mongrel whose four grandparents were a red Runt, white Trumpeter, white Fantail, and the same blue Pouter, was pure white all over, except the tail and upper aill-coverts, which were pale fawn, and except the faintest trace of double wing-bars of the same pale fawn tint.) will surprise no one who has attended to the crossing of pigeons. The last case which I will give is the most curious.
I paired a mongrel female Barb-fantail with a mongrel male Barb-spot; neither of which mongrels had the least blue about them.
Let it be remembered that blue Barbs are excessively rare; that Spots, as has been already stated, were perfectly characterised in the year 1676, and breed perfectly true; this likewise is the case with white Fantails, so much so that I have never heard of white Fantails throwing any other colour.
Nevertheless the offspring from the above two mongrels was of exactly the same blue tint as that of the wild rock-pigeon from the Shetland Islands over the whole back and wings; the double black wing-bars were equally conspicuous; the tail was exactly alike in all its characters, and the croup was pure white; the head, however, was tinted with a shade of red, evidently derived from the Spot, and was of a paler blue than in the rock-pigeon, as was the stomach.
So that two black Barbs, a red Spot, and a white Fantail, as the four purely-bred grandparents, produced a bird exhibiting the general blue colour, together with every characteristic mark, the wild Columba livia. With respect to crossed breeds frequently producing blue birds chequered with black, and resembling in all respects both the dovecote-pigeon and the chequered wild variety of the rock-pigeon, the statement before referred to by MM.
Boitard and Corbie would almost suffice; but I will give three instances of the appearance of such birds from crosses in which one alone of the parents or great-grandparents was blue, but not chequered.
I crossed a male blue Turbit with a snow-white Trumpeter, and the following year with a dark, leaden-brown, Short-faced Tumbler; the offspring from the first cross were as perfectly chequered as any dovecote-pigeon; and from the second, so much so as to be nearly as black as the most darkly chequered rock-pigeon from Madeira.
Another bird, whose great-grandparents were a white Trumpeter, a white Fantail, a white Red-spot, a red Runt, and a blue Pouter, was slaty-blue and chequered exactly like a dovecote-pigeon.
I may here add a remark made to me by Mr.
Wicking, who has had more experience than any other person in England in breeding pigeons of various colours: namely, that when a blue, or a blue and chequered bird, having black wing- bars, once appears in any race and is allowed to breed, these characters are so strongly transmitted that it is extremely difficult to eradicate them. What, then, are we to conclude from this tendency in all the chief domestic races, both when purely bred and more especially when intercrossed, to produce offspring of a blue colour, with the same characteristic marks, varying in the same manner, as in Columbia livia? If we admit that these races are all descended from C.
Livia, no breeder will doubt that the occasional appearance of blue birds thus characterised is accounted for on the well-known principle of “throwing back” or reversion.
Why crossing should give so strong a tendency to reversion, we do not with certainty know; but abundant evidence of this fact will be given in the following chapters.
It is probable that I might have bred even for a century pure black Barbs, Spots, Nuns, white Fantails, Trumpeters, etc., without obtaining a single blue or barred bird; yet by crossing these breeds I reared in the first and second generation, during the course of only three or four years, a considerable number of young birds, more or less plainly coloured blue, and with most of the characteristic marks.
When black and white, or black and red birds, are crossed, it would appear that a slight tendency exists in both parents to produce blue offspring, and that this, when combined, overpowers the separate tendency in either parent to produce black, or white, or red offspring. If we reject the belief that all the races of the pigeon are the modified descendants of C.
Livia, and suppose that they are descended from several aboriginal stocks, then we must choose between the three following assumptions: firstly, that at least eight or nine species formerly existed which were aboriginally coloured in various ways, but have since varied in exactly the same manner so as to assume the colouring of C.
Livia; but this assumption throws not the least light on the appearance of such colours and marks when the races are crossed.
Or secondly, we may assume that the aboriginal species were all coloured blue, and had the wing-bars and other characteristic marks of C.
Livia,–a supposition which is highly improbable, as besides this one species no existing member of the Columbidae presents these combined characters; and it would not be possible to find any other instance of several species identical in plumage, yet as different in important points of structure as are Pouters, Fantails, Carriers, Tumblers, etc.
Or lastly, we may assume that all the races, whether descended from C.
Livia or from several aboriginal species, although they have been bred with so much care and are so highly valued by fanciers, have all been crossed within a dozen or score of generations with C.
Livia, and have thus acquired their tendency to produce blue birds with the several characteristic marks.
I have said that it must be assumed that each race has been crossed with C.
Livia within a dozen, or, at the utmost, within a score of generations; for there is no reason to believe that crossed offspring ever revert to one of their ancestors when removed by a greater number of generations.
In a breed which has been crossed only once, the tendency to reversion will naturally become less and less in the succeeding generations, as in each there will be less and less of the blood of the foreign breed; but when there has been no cross with a distinct breed, and there is a tendency in both parents to revert to some long-lost character, this tendency, for all that we can see to the contrary, may be transmitted undiminished for an indefinite number of generations.
These two distinct cases of reversion are often confounded together by those who have written on inheritance. Considering, on the one hand, the improbability of the three assumptions which have just been discussed, and, on the other hand, how simply the facts are explained on the principle of reversion, we may conclude that the occasional appearance in all the races, both when purely bred and more especially when crossed, of blue birds, sometimes chequered, with double wing-bars, with white or blue croups, with a bar at the end of the tail, and with the outer tail-feathers edged with white, affords an argument of the greatest weight in favour of the view that all are descended from Columba livia, including under this name the three or four wild varieties or sub-species before enumerated. — THE GOOSE. This bird deserves some notice, as hardly any other anciently domesticated bird or quadruped has varied so little.
That geese were anciently domesticated we know from certain verses in Homer; and from these birds having been kept (388 B.C.) in the Capitol at Rome as sacred to Juno, which sacredness implies great antiquity. (8/20. ‘Ceylon’ by Sir J.E.
Tennent 1859 volume 1 page 485; also J.
Crawfurd on the ‘Relation of Domest.
Animals to Civilisation’ read before Brit.
See also ‘Ornamental Poultry’ by Rev.
Dixon 1848 page 132.
The goose figured on the Egyptian monuments seems to have been the Red goose of Egypt.) That the goose has varied in some degree, we may infer from naturalists not being unanimous with respect to its wild parent-form; though the difficulty is chiefly due to the existence of three or four closely allied wild European species. (8/21.
Macgillivray’s ‘British Birds’ volume 4 page 593.) A large majority of capable judges are convinced that our geese are descended from the wild Grey-leg goose (Anser ferus); the young of which can easily be tamed. (8/22.
Strickland, ‘Annals and Mag.
Hist.’ 3rd series volume 3 1859 page 122, reared some young wild geese, and found them in habits and in all characters identical with the domestic goose.) This species, when crossed with the domestic goose, produced in the Zoological Gardens, as I was assured in 1849, perfectly fertile offspring. (8/23.
See also Hunter ‘Essays’ edited by Owen volume 2 page 322.) Yarrell (8/24.
Yarrell’s ‘British Birds’ volume 3 page 142.) has observed that the lower part of the trachea of the domestic goose is sometimes flattened, and that a ring of white feathers sometimes surrounds the base of the beak.
These characters seem at first sight good indications of a cross at some former period with the white-fronted goose (A.
Albifrons); but the white ring is variable in this latter species, and we must not overlook the law of analogous variation; that is, of one species assuming some of the characters of allied species. As the goose has proved so little flexible in its organisation under long- continued domestication, the amount of variation which it has undergone may be worth giving.
It has increased in size and in productiveness (8/25.
Lloyd ‘Scandinavian Adventures’ 1854 volume 2 page 413, says that the wild goose lays from five to eight eggs, which is a much fewer number than that laid by our domestic goose.); and varies from white to a dusky colour.
Several observers (8/26.
Jenyns (Blomefield) seems first to have made this observation in his ‘British Animals.’ See also Yarrell, and Dixon in his ‘Ornamental Poultry’ (page 139), and ‘Gardener’s Chronicle’ 1857 page 45.) have stated that the gander is more frequently white than the goose, and that when old it almost invariably becomes white; but this is not the case with the parent-form, the A.
Here, again, the law of analogous variation may have come into play, as the almost snow-white male of the Rock goose (Bernicla antarctica) standing on the sea-shore by his dusky partner is a sight well known to those who have traversed the sounds of Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands.
Some geese have top-knots; and the skull beneath, as before stated, is perforated.
A sub-breed has lately been formed with the feathers reversed at the back of the head and neck. (8/27.
Bartlet exhibited the head and neck of a bird thus characterised before the Zoological Soc.
February 1860.) The beak varies a little in size, and is of a yellower tint than in the wild species; but its colour and that of the legs are both slightly variable. (8/28.
Thompson ‘Natural Hist.
Of Ireland’ 1851 volume 3 page 31.
Dixon gave me some information on the varying colour of the beak and legs.) This latter fact deserves attention, because the colour of the legs and beak is highly serviceable in discriminating the several closely allied wild forms. (8/29.
Strickland in ‘Annals and Mag.
Hist.’ 3rd series volume 3 1859 page 122.) At our Shows two breeds are exhibited; viz., the Embden and Toulouse; but they differ in nothing except colour. (8/30. ‘Poultry Chronicle’ volume 1 1854 page 498; volume 3 page 210.) Recently a smaller and singular variety has been imported from Sebastopol (8/31. ‘The Cottage Gardener’ September 4, 1860 page 348.), with the scapular feathers (as I hear from Mr.
Tegetmeier, who sent me specimens) greatly elongated, curled, and even spirally twisted.
The margins of these feathers are rendered plumose by the divergence of the barbs and barbules, so that they resemble in some degree those on the back of the black Australian swan.
These feathers are likewise remarkable from the central shaft, which is excessively thin and transparent, being split into fine filaments, which, after running for a space free, sometimes coalesce again.
It is a curious fact that these filaments are regularly clothed on each side with fine down or barbules, precisely like those on the proper barbs of the feather.
This structure of the feathers is transmitted to half-bred birds.
In Gallus sonneratii the barbs and barbules blend together, and form thin horny plates of the same nature with the shaft: in this variety of the goose, the shaft divides into filaments which acquire barbules, and thus resemble true barbs. Although the domestic goose certainly differs somewhat from any known wild species, yet the amount of variation which it has undergone, as compared with that of most domesticated animals, is singularly small.
This fact can be partially accounted for by selection not having come largely into play.
Birds of all kinds which present many distinct races are valued as pets or ornaments; no one makes a pet of the goose; the name, indeed, in more languages than one, is a term of reproach.
The goose is valued for its size and flavour, for the whiteness of its feathers which adds to their value, and for its prolificness and tameness.
In all these points the goose differs from the wild parent-form; and these are the points which have been selected.
Even in ancient times the Roman gourmands valued the liver of the WHITE goose; and Pierre Belon (8/32. ‘L’Hist.
De la Nature des Oiseaux’ par P.
Belon 1555 page 156.
With respect to the livers of white geese being preferred by the Romans see Isid.
Geoffroy St.-Hilaire ‘Hist.
Gen.’ tome 3 page 58.) in 1555 speaks of two varieties, one of which was larger, more fecund, and of a better colour than the other; and he expressly states that good managers attended to the colour of their goslings, so that they might know which to preserve and select for breeding. THE PEACOCK. This is another bird which has hardly varied under domestication, except in sometimes being white or piebald.
Waterhouse carefully compared, as he informs me, skins of the wild Indian and domestic bird, and they were identical in every respect, except that the plumage of the latter was perhaps rather thicker.
Whether our birds are descended from those introduced into Europe in the time of Alexander, or have been subsequently imported, is doubtful.
They do not breed very freely with us, and are seldom kept in large numbers,–circumstances which would greatly interfere with the gradual selection and formation of new breeds. There is one strange fact with respect to the peacock, namely, the occasional appearance in England of the “japanned” or “black-shouldered” kind.
This form has lately been named on the high authority of Mr.
Sclater as a distinct species, viz.
Pavo nigripennis, which he believes will hereafter be found wild in some country, but not in India, where it is certainly unknown.
The males of these japanned birds differ conspicuously from the common peacock in the colour of their secondary wing-feathers, scapulars, wing-coverts, and thighs, and are I think more beautiful; they are rather smaller than the common sort, and are always beaten by them in their battles, as I hear from the Hon.
The females are much paler coloured than those of the common kind.
Both sexes, as Mr.
Canning informs me, are white when they leave the egg, and they differ from the young of the white variety only in having a peculiar pinkish tinge on their wings.
These japanned birds, though appearing suddenly in flocks of the common kind, propagate their kind quite truly.
Although they do not resemble the hybrids which have been raised between P.
Cristatus and muticus, nevertheless they are in some respects intermediate in character between these two species; and this fact favours, as Mr.
Sclater believes, the view that they form a distinct and natural species. (8/33.
Sclater on the black-shouldered peacock of Latham ‘Proc.
Soc.’ April 24, 1860.
Swinhoe at one time believed, ‘Ibis’ July 1868, that this kind of peafowl was found wild in Cochin China, but he has since informed me that he feels very doubtful on this head.) On the other hand, Sir H.
Heron states (8/34. ‘Proc.
Soc.’ April 14, 1835.) that this breed suddenly appeared within his memory in Lord Brownlow’s large stock of pied, white, and common peacocks.
The same thing occurred in Sir J.
Trevelyan’s flock composed entirely of the common kind, and in Mr.
Thornton’s stock of common and pied peacocks.
It is remarkable that in these two latter instances the black-shouldered kind, though a smaller and weaker bird, increased, “to the extinction of the previously existing breed.” I have also received through Mr.
Sclater a statement from Mr.
Hudson Gurney that he reared many years ago a pair of black-shouldered peacocks from the common kind; and another ornithologist, Prof.
Newton, states that, five or six years ago, a female bird, in all respects similar to the female of the black-shouldered kind, was produced from a stock of common peacocks in his possession, which during more than twenty years had not been crossed with birds of any other strain.
Jenner Weir informs me that a peacock at Blackheath whilst young was white, but as it became older gradually assumed the characters of the black-shouldered variety; both its parents were common peacocks.
Canning has given a case of a female of this same variety appearing in Ireland in a flock of the ordinary kind. (8/35. ‘The Field’ May 6, 1871.
I am much indebted to Mr.
Canning for information with respect to his birds.) Here, then, we have seven well authenticated cases in Great Britain of japanned birds, having suddenly appeared within recent times in flocks of the common peafowl.
This variety must also have formerly appeared in Europe, for Mr.
Canning has seen an old picture, and another is referred to in the ‘Field,’ with this variety represented.
These facts seem to me to indicate that the japanned peacock is a strongly marked variety or “sport,” which tends at all times and in many places to reappear.
This view is supported by the young being at first white like the young of the white breed, which is undoubtedly a variation.
If, on the other hand, we believe the japanned peacock to be a distinct species, we must suppose that in all the above cases the common breed had at some former period been crossed by it, but had lost every trace of the cross; yet that the offspring of these birds suddenly and completely reacquired through reversion the characters of P.
I have heard of no other such case in the animal or vegetable kingdom.
To perceive the full improbability of such an occurrence, we may suppose that a breed of dogs had been crossed at some former period with a wolf, but had lost every trace of the wolf-like character, yet that the breed gave birth in seven instances in the same country, within no great length of time, to a wolf perfect in every character; and we must further suppose that in two of the cases, the newly produced wolves afterwards spontaneously increased to such an extent as to lead to the extinction of the parent breed of dogs.
So remarkable a bird as the P.
Nigripennis, when first imported, would have realised a large price; it is therefore improbable that it should have been silently introduced and its history subsequently lost.
On the whole the evidence seems to me, as it did to Sir R.
Heron, to be decisive in favour of the japanned or black-shouldered breed being a variation, induced by some unknown cause.
On this view, the case is the most remarkable one ever recorded of the abrupt appearance of a new form, which so closely resembles a true species that it has deceived one of the most experienced of living ornithologists. THE TURKEY. It seems fairly well established by Mr.
Gould (8/36. ‘Proc.
Soc.’ April 8, 1856 page 61.
Baird believes (as quoted in Tegetmeier ‘Poultry Book’ 1866 page 269) that our turkeys are descended from a West Indian species now extinct.
But besides the improbability of a bird having long ago become extinct in these large and luxuriant islands, it appears (as we shall presently see) that the turkey degenerates in India, and this fact indicates that it was not aboriginally an inhabitant of the lowlands of the tropics.), that the turkey, in accordance with the history of its first introduction, is descended from a wild Mexican form, which had been domesticated by the natives before the discovery of America, and which is now generally ranked as a local race, and not as a distinct species.
However this may be, the case deserves notice because in the United States wild male turkeys sometimes court the domestic hens, which are descended from the Mexican form, “and are generally received by them with great pleasure.” (8/37.
Audubon ‘Ornithological Biography’ volume 1 1831 pages 4- 13; and ‘Naturalist’s Library’ volume 14 ‘Birds’ page 138.) Several accounts have likewise been published of young birds, reared in the United States from the eggs of the wild species, crossing and commingling with the common breed.
In England, also, this same species has been kept in several parks; from two of which the Rev.
Fox procured birds, and they crossed freely with the common domestic kind, and during many years afterwards, as he informs me, the turkeys in his neighbourhood clearly showed traces of their crossed parentage.
We here have an instance of a domestic race being modified by a cross with a distinct wild race or species.
Michaux ‘Travels in N.
America’ 1802 English translation page 217.) suspected in 1802 that the common domestic turkey was not descended from the United States species alone, but likewise from a southern form, and he went so far as to believe that English and French turkeys differed from having different proportions of the blood of the two parent-forms. English turkeys are smaller than either wild form.
They have not varied in any great degree; but there are some breeds which can be distinguished as Norfolks, Suffolks, Whites, and Copper-coloured (or Cambridge), all of which, if precluded from crossing with other breeds propagate their kind truly.
Of these kinds, the most distinct is the small, hardy, dull-black Norfolk turkey, of which the chickens are black, occasionally with white patches about the head.
The other breeds scarcely differ except in colour, and their chickens are generally mottled all over with brownish-grey. (8/39. ‘Ornamental Poetry’ by the Rev.
Dixon 1848 page 34.) The inferior tail-coverts vary in number, and according to a German superstition the hen lays as many eggs as the cock has feathers of this kind. (8/40.
Deutschlands’ b. 3 1793 s. 309.) Albin in 1738, and Temminck within a much later period, describe a beautiful breed, dusky-yellowish, brown above and white beneath, with a large top- knot of soft plumose feather.
The spurs of the male were rudimentary.
This breed has been for a long time extinct in Europe; but a living specimen has lately been imported from the east coast of Africa, which still retains the top-knot and the same general colouring and rudimentary spurs. (8/41.
Bartlett in ‘Land and Water’ October 31, 1868 page 233; and Mr.
Tegetmeier in the ‘Field’ July 17, 1869 page 46.) Mr.
Wilmot has described (8/42. ‘Gardener’s Chronicle’ 1852 page 699.) a white turkey-cock having a crest formed of “feathers about four inches long, with bare quills, and a tuft of soft white down growing at the end.” Many of the young birds inherited this kind of crest, but afterwards it fell off or was pecked out by the other birds.
This is an interesting case, as with care a new breed might probably have been formed; and a top-knot of this nature would have been to a certain extent analogous to that borne by the males in several allied genera, such as Euplocomus, Lophophorus, and Pavo. Wild turkeys, believed in every instance to have been imported from the United States, have been kept in the parks of Lords Powis, Leicester, Hill, and Derby.
Fox procured birds from the two first-named parks, and he informs me that they certainly differed a little from each other in the shape of their bodies and in the barred plumage on their wings.
These birds likewise differed from Lord Hill’s stock.
Some of the latter kept at Oulton by Sir P.
Egerton, though precluded from crossing with common turkeys, occasionally produced much paler-coloured birds, and one that was almost white, but not an albino.
These half-wild turkeys, in thus differing slightly from each other, present an analogous case with the wild cattle kept in the several British parks.
We must suppose that such differences have resulted from the prevention of free intercrossing between birds ranging over a wide area, and from the changed conditions to which they have been exposed in England.
In India the climate has apparently wrought a still greater change in the turkey, for it is described by Mr.
Blyth ‘Annals and Mag.
Hist.’ 1847 volume 20 page 391.) as being much degenerated in size, “utterly incapable of rising on the wing,” of a black colour, and “with the long pendulous appendages over the beak enormously developed.” THE GUINEA FOWL. — Gartner (11/106. ‘Bastarderzeugung’ s. 619.) quotes two separate accounts of branches of dark and white-fruited vines which had been united in various ways, such as being split longitudinally, and then joined, etc.; and these branches produced distinct bunches of grapes of the two colours, and other bunches with berries, either striped, or of an intermediate and new tint.
Even the leaves in one case were variegated.
These facts are the more remarkable because Andrew Knight never succeeded in raising variegated grapes by fertilising white kinds by pollen of dark kinds; though, as we have seen, he obtained seedlings with variegated fruits and leaves, by fertilising a white variety by the already variegated dark Aleppo grape.
Gartner attributes the above-quoted cases merely to bud-variation; but it is a strange coincidence that the branches which had been grafted in a peculiar manner should alone thus have varied; and H.
Adorne de Tscharner positively asserts that he produced the described result more than once, and could do so at will, by splitting and uniting the branches in the manner described by him. I should not have quoted the following case had not the author of ‘Des Jacinthes’ (11/107.
Amsterdam 1768 page 124.) impressed me with the belief not only of his extensive knowledge, but of his truthfulness: he says that bulbs of blue and red hyacinths may be cut in two, and that they will grow together and throw up a united stem (and this I have myself seen) with flowers of the two colours on the opposite sides.
But the remarkable point is, that flowers are sometimes produced with the two colours blended together, which makes the case closely analogous with that of the blended colours of the grapes on the united vine branches. In the case of roses it is supposed that several graft-hybrids have been formed, but there is much doubt about these cases, owing to the frequency of ordinary bud-variations.
The most trustworthy instance known to me is one, recorded by Mr.
Poynter (11/108. ‘Gardener’s Chron.’ 1860 page 672 with a woodcut.) who assures me in a letter of the entire accuracy of the statement.
Rosa devoniensis had been budded some years previously on a white Banksian rose; and from the much enlarged point of junction, whence the Devoniensis and Banksian still continued to grow, a third branch issued, which was neither pure Banksian nor pure Devoniensis, but partook of the character of both; the flowers resembled, but were superior in character to those of the variety called Lamarque (one of the Noisettes), while the shoots were similar in their manner of growth to those of the Banksian rose, with the exception that the longer and more robust shoots were furnished with prickles.
This rose was exhibited before the Floral Committee of the Horticultural Society of London.
Lindley examined it and concluded that it had certainly been produced by the mingling of R.
Banksiae with some rose like R.
Devoniensis, “for while it was very greatly increased in vigour and in size of all the parts, the leaves were half-way between a Banksian and Tea-scented rose.” It appears that rose-growers were previously aware that the Banksian rose sometimes affects other roses.
Poynter’s new variety is intermediate in its fruit and foliage between the stock and scion, and as it arose from the point of junction between the two, it is very improbable that it owes its origin to mere bud-variation, independently of the mutual influence of the stock and scion. Lastly, with respect to potatoes.
Trail stated in 1867 before the Botanical Society of Edinburgh (and has since given me fuller information), that several years ago he cut about sixty blue and white potatoes into halves through the eyes or buds, and then carefully joined them, destroying at the same time the other eyes.
Some of these united tubers produced white, and others blue tubers; some, however, produced tubers partly white and partly blue; and the tubers from about four or five were regularly mottled with the two colours.
In these latter cases we may conclude that a stem had been formed by the union of the bisected buds, that is, by graft- hybridisation. In the ‘Botanische Zeitung’ (May 16, 1868), Professor Hildebrand gives an account with a coloured figure, of his experiments on two varieties which were found during the same season to be constant in character, namely, a somewhat elongated rough-skinned red potato and a rounded smooth white one.
He inserted buds reciprocally into both kinds, destroying the other buds.
He thus raised two plants, and each of these produced a tuber intermediate in character between the two parent-forms.
That from the red bud grafted into the white tuber, was at one end red and rough, as the whole tuber ought to have been if not affected; in the middle it was smooth with red stripes, and at the other end smooth and altogether white like that of the stock. Mr.
Taylor, who had received several accounts of potatoes having been grafted by wedge-shaped pieces of one variety inserted into another, though sceptical on the subject, made twenty-four experiments which he described in detail before the Horticultural Society. (11/109. ‘Gardener’s Chronicle’ 1869 page 220.) He thus raised many new varieties, some like the graft or like the stock; others having an intermediate character.
Several persons witnessed the digging up of the tubers from these graft-hybrids; and one of them, Mr.
Jameson, a large dealer in potatoes, writes thus, “They were such a mixed lot, as I have never before or since seen.
They were of all colours and shapes, some very ugly and some very handsome.” Another witness says “some were round, some kidney, pink-eyed kidney, piebald, and mottled red and purple, of all shapes and sizes.” Some of these varieties have been found valuable, and have been extensively propagated.
Jameson took away a large piebald potato which he cut into five sets and propagated; these yielded round, white, red, and piebald potatoes. Mr.
Fitzpatrick followed a different plan (11/110. ‘Gard.
Chronicle’ 1869 page 335.); he grafted together not the tubers but the young stems of varieties producing black, white, and red potatoes.
The tubers borne by three of these twin or united plants were coloured in an extraordinary manner; one was almost exactly half black and half white, so that some persons on seeing it thought that two potatoes had been divided and rejoined; other tubers were half red and half white, or curiously mottled with red and white, or with red and black, according to the colours of the graft and stock. The testimony of Mr.
Fenn is of much value, as he is “a well known potato- grower” who has raised many new varieties by crossing different kinds in the ordinary manner.
He considers it “demonstrated” that new, intermediate varieties can be produced by grafting the tubers, though he doubts whether such will prove valuable. (11/111. ‘Gardener’s Chronicle’ 1869 page 1018 with remarks by Dr.
Masters on the adhesion of the united wedges.
See also ibid 1870 pages 1277, 1283.) He made many trials and laid the results, exhibiting specimens, before the Horticultural Society.
Not only were the tubers affected, some being smooth and white at one end and rough and red at the other, but the stems and leaves were modified in their manner of growth, colour and precocity.
Some of these graft-hybrids after being propagated for three years still showed in their haulms their new character, different from that of the kind from which the eyes had been taken.
Fenn gave twelve of the tubers of the third generation to Mr.
Dean, who grew them, and was thus converted into a believer in graft- hybridisation, having previously been a complete sceptic.
For comparison he planted the pure parent-forms alongside the twelve tubers; and found that many of the plants from the latter (11/112. ‘Gard.
Chronicle’ 1871 page 837.) were intermediate between the two parent-forms in precocity, in the tallness, uprightness, jointing, and robustness of the stems, and in the size and colour of the leaves. Another experimentalist, Mr.
Rintoul, grafted no less than fifty-nine tubers, which differed in shape (some being kidneys) in smoothness and colour (11/113. ‘Gardener’s Chronicle’ 1870 page 1506.) and many of the plants thus raised “were intermediate in the tubers as well as in the haulms.” He describes the more striking cases. In 1871 I received a letter from Mr.
Merrick, of Boston, U.S.A., who states that, “Mr.
Fearing Burr, a very careful experimenter and author of a much valued book, ‘The Garden Vegetables of America’ has succeeded in producing distinctly mottled and most curious potatoes–evidently graft-hybrids, by inserting eyes from blue or red potatoes into the substance of white ones, after removing the eyes of the latter.
I have seen the potatoes, and they are very curious.” We will now turn to the experiments made in Germany, since the publication of Prof.
Herr Magnus relates (11/114. ‘Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin’ October 17, 1871.) the results of numerous trials made by Herren Reuter and Lindemuth, both attached to the Royal Gardens of Berlin.
They inserted the eyes of red potatoes into white ones, and vice versa.
Many different forms partaking of the characters of the inserted bud and of the stock were thus obtained; for instance, some of the tubers were white with red eyes. Herr Magnus also exhibited in the following year before the same Society (November 19, 1872), the produce of grafts between black, white, and red potatoes, made by Dr.
These were made by uniting not the tubers but the young stems, as was done by Mr.
The result was remarkable, inasmuch as all the tubers thus produced were intermediate in character, though in a variable degree.
Those between the black and the white or the red were the most striking in appearance.
Some from between the white and red had one half of one colour and the other half of the other colour. At the next meeting of the society Herr Magnus communicated the results of Dr.
Heimann’s experiments in grafting together the tubers of red Saxon, blue, and elongated white potatoes.
The eyes were removed by a cylindrical instrument, and inserted into corresponding holes in other varieties.
The plants thus produced yielded a great number of tubers, which were intermediate between the two parent-forms in shape, and in the colour both of the flesh and skin.
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