Gesner describes a four-footed duck, which he says is like the English
puffin, except in the number of its feet: but Aldrovandus "out-Herods
Herod" when he gives us "A monstrous Cock with Serpent's tail."
If we can believe Pliny, there are places where certain birds are never
found:--"With reference to the departure of birds, the owlet, too, is
said to lie concealed for a few days. No birds of this last kind are to
be found in the island of Crete, and if any are imported thither, they
immediately die. Indeed, this is a remarkable distinction made by
Nature; for she denies to certain places, as it were, certain kinds of
fruits and shrubs, and of animals as well;...
"Rhodes possesses no Eagles. In Italy, beyond the Padus, there is, near
the Alps, a lake known by the name of Larius, beautifully situate amid a
country covered with shrubs; and yet this lake is never visited by
storks, nor, indeed, are they ever known to come within eight miles of
it; whilst on the other hand, in the neighbouring territory of the
Montres, there are immense flocks of magpies and jackdaws, the only bird
that is guilty of stealing gold and silver, a very singular propensity.
"It is said that in the territory of Tarentum, the woodpecker of Mars is
never found. It is only lately, too, and that but very rarely, that
various kinds of pies have begun to be seen in the districts that lie
between the Apennines, and the City; birds which are known by the name
of Variae, and are remarkable for the length of the tail. It is a
peculiarity of this bird, that it becomes bald every year at the time of
sowing rape. The partridge does not fly beyond the frontiers of Boeotia,
into Attica; nor does any bird, in the island in the Euxine in which
Achilles was buried, enter the temple there consecrated to him.
"In the territory of Fidenae, in the vicinity of the City, the storks
have no young, nor do they build nests; but vast numbers of ring-doves
arrive from beyond sea every year in the district of Volaterrae. At Rome,
neither flies, nor dogs ever enter the temple of Hercules in the Cattle