There are infinite varieties of birds, and they differ very much among themselves, as regards size, color, beauty of plumage, and capacity for singing.
The ostrich is the largest of birds and the tiny humming-bird is the smallest. Some birds are distinguished because of their beautiful and variegated plumage.
It also happens that the prettiest birds are often the worst singers. The birds of Australia, for example, in spite of their gorgeous plumage, have a hoarse, monotonous note. On the other hand, the lark and the cuckoo, with their plain and sober outer appearance, have a marvelous gilt of song. The sweetest singing birds in this country are the the cuckoo and the magpie robin (doyel), while the chief songsters among foreign birds are the lark, the thrush and the nightingale.
One of the commonest birds is the little sparrow. It can only chirp, and therefore does not really possess a song. Quite different is the case of the crow, another coumon bird, having a plumage of dark black color and a voice, which is terribly hoarse and harsh. The pigeon does not sing, but it is a great favorite and is very tame.
Birds differ from quadrupeds in having their bodies covered with feathers instead of hair. These feathers are kept in good condition by means of a kind of oil with which lords are supplied. These creatures are often seen peeking at their feathers with their bills. In fact, they supply their feathers with oil when they do this.
Birds soothe us with their song and with their merry, lively ways. The world would often be very lonely and melancholy without their music.