Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/582

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was "no road that way." It leaped over the smaller obstacles that lay in its path, and ran round the larger, reaching the mother in as nearly a straight line as the nature of the ground would permit. Thus it would seem that, prior to experience, the eye—at least the eye of the chicken—perceives the primary qualities of the external world, all arguments of the purely analytical school of psychology to the contrary, notwithstanding.

Not less decisive were experiments on hearing. Chickens hatched and kept in the dark for a day or two, on being placed in the light nine or ten feet from a box in which a brooding hen was concealed, after standing chirping for a minute or two, uniformly set off straight to the box in answer to the call of the hen which they had never seen and never before heard. This they did struggling through grass and over rough ground, when not able to stand steadily on their legs. Again, chickens that from the first had been denied the use of their eyes, by having hoods drawn over their heads while yet in the shell, were, while thus blind, made the subject of experiment. These, when left to themselves, seldom made a forward step, their movements were round and round and backward; but, when placed within five or six feet of the hen-mother, they, in answer to her call, became much more lively, began to make little forward journeys, and soon followed her by sound alone, though of course blindly. Another experiment consisted in rendering chickens deaf for a time by sealing their ears with several folds of gum-paper before they had escaped from the shell. These, on having their ears opened when two or three days old, and being placed within call of the mother, concealed in a box or on the other side of a door, after turning round a few times ran straight to the spot whence came the first sound they had ever heard. Clearly, of these chickens it cannot be said that sounds were to them at first but meaningless sensations.

One or two observations favorable to the opinion that animals have an instinctive knowledge of their enemies may be taken for what they are worth. When twelve days old, one of my little protégés, running about beside me, gave the peculiar chirp whereby they announce the approach of danger. On looking up, a sparrow-hawk was seen hovering at a great height overhead. Again, a young hawk was made to fly over a hen with her first brood of chickens, then about a week old. In the twinkling of an eye, most of the chickens were hid among grass and bushes. And scarcely had the hawk touched the ground, about twelve yards from where the hen had been sitting, when she fell upon it, and would soon have killed it outright. A young turkey gave even more striking evidence. When ten days old it heard the voice of a. hawk for the first time, and just beside it. Like an arrow from the bow it darted off in the opposite direction, and, crouched in a corner, remained for ten minutes motionless and dumb with fear. Out of a vast number of experiments with chickens and bees, though the