About 3 weeks ago my friend and fellow Fortean Bob Skinner passed on the following story of a cinnamon coloured black bird in 1898.
A “ Cinnamon” Blackbird. – One of the most interesting creatures presented to the Zoological Society for a long time past is a beautiful and strangely coloured blackbird, just given by Mr. A.J. Lawford-Jones, of the Post Office Savings Bank. “The bird”, says Mr. Jones, “is of course, the ordinary English blackbird (Turdus merula), but is an exceedingly rare variation in colour. It is of the albino type, and has the pink eye of the albino, but is much rarer than the white blackbird of which we here so much. “ The colour is practically self-cinnamon, the breast being cream spotted with brown. The bird was taken not long after it had left the nest, on the Wigmore Estate, Holmwood, Dorking, having been entangled in the nets put to protect the cherry-trees. Kept in Mr Jones`s aviary it has moulted its body-feathers, and has reproduced them in in identical colours The little creature, which is a cock,is now in the large western aviary at the Zoological Gardens, the giver believing that with birds of its own or cognate family it would be better off than in his smaller indoor aviaries. Bird-lovers will be very grateful to Mr Jones for the opportunity of observing this rare specimen, which, as he remarks, he has “by caging saved from the trap or gun of that class of lunatic that makes a practice of potting everything which is rare, or which its limited experience has failed to notice. “ It is hoped that a hen of a similar character may be found, in order to preserve the variety. (1)
1. Nature Notes: the Selbourne Society`s Magazine vol. 9 No. 102 pp 117 8 June 1898
AN ENTOMBED NEWT,MACCLESFIELD, 2002
A taxi driver told me about an entombed newt, somewhere in Macclesfield
silent and struggling in a dusty brick`s cavity,
reluctant to meet the air and a thousand yards from water, a centimetre or two from despair.
Its home, rapidly receding –
Snatched up by a blackbird seconds after its historic appearance.
© Richard Muirhead