The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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formed of sea plants chewed by the birds into a jelly; but, whatever it may be, the Chinese infinitely prefer nests
to oysters or anything else, and are
willing to pay highly for them.
The nests, which take about two months to build, are al­ways found to be of two sorts: an oblong one just fitted to the body of the male bird, and a rounder one for the mother and her eggs. The most valuable nests are those which are whitest, and these generally belong to the male; they are very thin, and finely worked. The birds are small and feed chiefly on insects, which are abundant on these islands; their colour is grey, and they are wonder­fully quick in their movements, like the humming birds, which are about their own size. They are sociable, and build in swarms, but they seldom lay more than two eggs, which take about a fortnight to hatch.
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