skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. B. Tegetmeier   9 March 1868

Fortis Green | N.

March 9./68.

My dear Sir—

It would give me very great pleasure to come and take lunch with you,— Would Friday or Monday next suit you?—1

If you do not write I shall conclude the 1st day (Friday) will, and will come. (I make this suggestion to save you the trouble of writing)—

You were kind enough some time since to send me a photograph,— I do not know whether you care for such examples of variation but I have taken the liberty to enclose you one of myself.—2

I do not see my way clearly to a return of sexes of pigeons—3 As you know, the two eggs usually produce a pair cock and hen.— But it often happens that one receives most food in the first days of life and grows so much more rapidly that it stands up first for food and starves the other—

Now is it not likely that the stronger survivor may be generally a male? and may not this account for the fact that superfluous cocks are more frequent than extra hens— (Although this is not always the case as this spring on matching my birds for the season I had 4 extra hens out of twenty two small pigmy pouters—)—4

Odd males are however certainly more frequent than hens, as is proved by their being of less value in the market—

I have got some returns through the Field, which I am tabulating and will forward in due course5

Yours very truly | W B Tegetmeier

(C Darwin Esq)

CD annotations

1.1 It … myself.—3.3] QQQQ
End of letter: ‘Keep | Proportion of sexes—’ pencil, underl red crayon


See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, [5–9 March 1868]. The dates Tegetmeier refers to were 13 and 16 March 1868.
Tegetmeier’s photograph has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. CD may have sent a photograph of himself sometime in January 1868 after Tegetmeier mentioned that he wanted one (see letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, 8 January [1868?]).
CD had asked Tegetmeier whether he could provide information on the relative numbers of male and female domestic animals born, including pigeons (see letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 11 February [1868]).
The pigmy pouter is a breed of pigeon first developed by Tegetmeier (Tegetmeier 1868a, pp. 72–3).
Tegetmeier had published CD’s query on the proportion of sexes in the Field (see letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, [before 15 February 1868] and n. 8).


On proportion of sexes in birds.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 86: C11–12
Physical description
ALS 3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6000,” accessed on 30 March 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16