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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. C. Eyton   11 October [1858]1

Down Bromley Kent

Oct. 11

Dear Eyton

Would you, when out shooting, observe one point for me: it would really cost you hardly any trouble & would greatly oblige me, who have no opportunities; viz, whether in muddy weather any dirt clings to feet of Partridges Pheasants or any birds whatever especially waders.— I have had one or two cases given me with a good deal of dirt; but I suppose it is very rare.— It concerns distribution of plants with small seeds.—2

If not asking too great a favour, I shd. so much like any dirt-clogged cut off feet sent in letter, that I might try with proper precautions, whether any such pellet included any live seed.— Pheasants must, I should think, sometimes have dirt on feet.—

Forgive me asking this favour & believe me | Yours very truly | C. Darwin


Dated by the relationship to the letter from T. C. Eyton, 16 October 1858.
CD was investigating the various natural means for the dispersal of seeds and ova. He had previously requested Eyton’s assistance with this topic (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter to T. C. Eyton, 31 August [1856]). See also letter to W. E. Darwin, 22 [September 1858].


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Asks about dirt clinging to feet of birds as means of seed distribution.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Campbell Eyton
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.159)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2338,” accessed on 24 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7