Wilson, Alexander, 1766-1813. / American ornithology; or The natural history of the birds of the United States
Species 3. Anas bernicla. The brant, pp. -291
SPECIES 3. SNAS BERNICL.z9. THE BRANT. [Plate LXXII.-Fig. 1.] Le Cravant, BRISS. VI, p. 304. 16. pl. S1 .--BUFF. ix, p. 87.--BF- WICK, 1I, P. 277. TLATH. (3yn- III, P. 461,- .- rct. Zool. JVo. 478. --PEALE'S Museum, Jio. 2704.* THE Brant, or as it is usually written Brent, is a bird well known on both continents, and celebrated in former times throughout Europe for the singularity of its origin, and the strange transformations it was supposed to undergo previous to its complete organization. Its first appearance was said to be in the form of a barnacle shell adhering to old water-soaked logs, trees, or other pieces of wood taken from the sea. Of this Goose- bearing tree Gerard, in his Herbal, published in 1597, has given -a formal account, and seems to have reserved it for the conclusion of his work as being the most wonderful of all he had to describe. The honest naturalist however, though his be- lief was fixed, acknowledges that his own personal information was derived from certain shells, which adhered to a rotten tree that he dragged out of the sea between Dover and Romney in England; in some of which he found " living things without forme or shape; in others which were nearer come to ripeness, living things that were very naked, in shape like a birde; in others the birds covered with soft downe, the shell half open and the birde readie to fall out, which no doubt were the foules called Barnakles."t Ridiculous and chimerical as this notion was, it had many advocates, and was at that time as generally believed, and with about as much reason too, as the present * Anas Bernicta, GmrE. Syst.i, T. 513, X0o. 13.-lnd. Ore. p. 844, Mo. 32- Le Cravaut, BUFF. I 1. Ent. 342. Oie Cravant, TIFMM. Man. ('Orn. p. 824. f See Gerard's Herbal, Art. Goose-bearing Tree.
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