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Some Observations on the Migration of Birds 1


WHILE showing some friends the astronomical observatory and accessories connected with the College of New Jersey at Princeton, on the night of October 19, 1880, after looking at a number of objects through the 9½-inch equatorial, we were shown the moon, then a few days past its full phase. While viewing this object my attention was at once arrested by numbers of small birds more or less plainly seen passing across the field of observation. They were in many cases very clearly defined against the bright background; the movements of the wings were plainly to be seen, as well as the entire action of flight. In the same way the shape of the head and the tail were conspicuous, when the bird was well focussed. As the moon had not been very long above the horizon the direction of observation was consequently toward the east, and the majority of the birds observed were flying almost at right angles to the direction in which the glass was pointed.


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SCOTT, W. Some Observations on the Migration of Birds 1 . Nature 24, 274 (1881).

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