The Virginia redbird is at once beautiful in plumage and a favorite for its loud and 458 almost constant song. It is hardy, and if properly fed is liable to few ailments. It needs to be fed with seeds, soft food, and insects. A little cuttle-fish bone should hang in the cage, and a red pepper-pod.
Others of our native birds kept as cage birds are the beautiful oriole, the merry bobolink, with its canary-like song, the handsome goldfinch, with its sweet warble, the brown thrush, and others of more or less powers of song.
Of foreign birds may be named the European starling, a handsome fellow, of beautiful black plumage speckled with a yellowish white, and with a song of great sweetness. It sings summer and winter, and can be taught to sing and whistle tunes. It needs soft food, doing well on bread and milk, with a little animal food and sweet and ripe fruit. It is fond of bathing, plenty of water being essential to its health. It must have a deep saucer of gravel or a large turf to dig its beak in, which otherwise will grow deformed.
There are several other European birds of good voice, chief among them, of course, the nightingale, which, however, does not thrive in a cage. The green linnet is a pretty fellow, and, mated with the canary, produces the finest of singing birds. Other handsome foreign birds are the Java sparrow, a quarrelsome little fellow; the Japanese robin, a good songster and ready imitator, and the beautiful South American troopial, a lovely pet with excellent powers of song.