“A Labour of Love”


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A Labour of Love

by Archibald Thorburn

Hand Coloured Print

Paper Size: 11 x 16 ins / 29 x 40 cm

Image Size: 10 x 13 ins / 23 x 33 cm

The snipe breeds in moorland and is at home, too, in marshy areas. Birds have seldom been more acutely observed than by Gilbert White who in his Natural History of Selborne (1789) refers to the “piping and humming notes” of the snipe. A later commentator (in an edition of 1876) observes that “This peculiar sound, which is never heard except from a bird on the wing, has been variously termed “humming”, “drumming”, “neighing” and “bleating” … and nothing has puzzled naturalists more, perhaps, than to discover how this noise is produced”. The writer concludes that it is the result of a vibratory movement of the wing-feathers

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