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Quaintest Bird On Earth

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When, some eighty years ago, Capt. Barclay brought to England in the good ship Providence the first specimen of an unknown extraordinary bird, the bird men of the day, were very sorely puzzled, says London Sketch. The natives of New Zealand called it the kiwi, but the British scientist called it the apteryx, because it had no wings, or, at any rate, only little flappers not worth calling wings. Most of them thought it some kind of penguin, but some years later Yarrell, who was a great authority on birds, showed that it belonged to the ostrich and emu tribe. It is a small fellow, being about the size of a not very large ordinary fowl, but lays an egg that in point of size an ostrich need not be ashamed of. It has the thick, ecaly, clumsy legs of che ostrich tribe, and in defense uses them, with their large claws, in exactly the same forward-thrusting manner as struthious birds. lts feathers, too, which look more like hair than feathers, give it another point of agreement with the tribe of birds to which it belongs. Th" use of the long, Bnipelike beak was a puzzle for naturalists until Sir W. J. Bulier made a study of a kiwi he captured and kept captive while in New Zealand. During the daytime the bird hid itself away and went into a sound sleep, from whioh it could be only ily roused by vigorous pokirg, but hen darkness came on it woke up and ipparently became iiuile liveJy. but aven Sir W. J. Bulier could not see what it was doing until he devised a very cunning experiment. He took one jf the larger glowworms that abound j in New Zealand, a worm measuring fif; teen inches in length and covered with i glowing phosphorescent slime, and threw it to the captive kiwi. By the light of its own lamp the glowworm was seen to pass frpm head to tail inside the portals of the kiwi's beak and leave behind it enough of its slime to ■ set off the blrd's beak in a phosphores; cent glow, eo that the head of the bird i was visible in the darkness. The khvi was torpid and lazy during the daytime, but at nlght it was seen to dart about, thrusting its illuminated beak in every worm-burrow it came across, gently feeling for the inhabitant of the burrow and dragging it forth little by little, taking the greatest care not to break its prey. It made captive after ;aptive disappear with the greatest celerity. There is always a specimen of this bird In the zoo. I In Spain the theaters do not Issue programs.


Old News
Ann Arbor Register