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Letter 2421

Brewer, T. M. to Gould, A. A.

[Mar 1858]

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    Writes regarding CD's query on yellow-billed cuckoo and the laying of eggs in other birds' nests.

Transcription

My Dear Dr

In regard to the subject matter of Mr Darwins note to you I have to say that I have never known an instance in which <our> Yellow-billed Cuckoo has been known to drop an egg in the nest of any othe<r> bird. I have however seen anest (—it was exhibited so not found in the field—) of the Chipping Sparrow containing the egg of a Black-billed Cuckoo—but I have always supposed it was deposited there by human < >

<I know> of few birds more faithful apparently to their own young than both species of our cuckoos.

Very truly yrs | T M Brewer
Dr A. A. Gould

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2421.f1
    CD had asked Gould for information on the habits of the American cuckoo. Gould, in turn, had forwarded the queries to Thomas Mayo Brewer, an authority on birds' eggs, and then sent Brewer's reply to CD (see letter to A. A. Gould, 6 April [1858]).
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    f2 2421.f2
    For the basis of the date, see letter to A. A. Gould, 6 April [1858], n. 1.
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    f3 2421.f3
    See letter to A. A. Gould, 6 April [1858].
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    f4 2421.f4
    The annotation refers to chapter 10, on ‘Mental powers and instincts of animals’, where CD discussed the American cuckoo (Natural selection, pp. 506–7).
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