Cannot supply a case of atavism in canaries.
Will lend CD back issues of Cottage Gardener.
Cites case of bird (tumbler hen) laying egg in another's nest.
I have to apolo<gise for> not answering your enquiry <about> Canaries, throwing back, I <am> sorry I cannot furnish yo<u> any authentic case, thoug<h I> do not doubt but such of<ten> do occur.
You express a wish to see some of the latter volu<m>es of The Cottage Gardener. I have < >s by me < > <w>hich < > lend you < > but < > not bound. Should you <wish it> I would ta<ke o>ff the <adver>tisment sheets, and forward < > as you may direct.
<I ha>ve just read your work on <the> Origin of Species
through a second time, in your chapter on instinct you refer to the
Cuck<oo> laying in other birds nest I thought
< > Pige<on> < > interested < > notice that when a
< > lays only a single egg, <and> the first has been broken, or
she <has> been much disturbed, she <w>ill frequently lay in
another's nest, a case in Point. A Scotch house Tumbler hen was about to lay having
built and the cock was driving her to nest;
I am | Dear Sir | Yours respectfully | B P Brent
To C Darwin Esq
- f1 2778.f1The date is suggested by the publication of Brent's articles on canaries (see nn. 2 and 3, below).
- f2 2778.f2Brent was an expert on canaries and on poultry. CD had consulted him about canaries on several occasions (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter from B. P. Brent, 23 October 1857; and vol. 7, Supplement, letter from B. P. Brent, [after August 1856]). Between April and September 1860, Brent published a series of articles in the Cottage Gardener describing the different canary breeds. CD may have inquired about reversion in canaries in response to these articles.
- f3 2778.f3In the 10 April issue of the Cottage Gardener 24 (1860): 25--6, Brent discussed the citril finch, supposed by some authorities to be the ancestral form of the European canary. On 17 April (ibid., p. 43), he discussed the wild canary of Madeira, referring to a specimen lent to him by CD.
- f4 2778.f4Origin, pp. 216--19. CD used the example of the cuckoo laying its eggs in the nest of another species as an illustration of an instinct being modified by natural selection. He also cited instances of other birds that occasionally laid their eggs in the nests of other species.