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C18

Link: linnaeus.c18.net/Letter/L5421 • Hans Gustaf Hiort af Ornäs to Carl Linnaeus, 12 January 1769 n.s.
Dated 12 Januari 1769. Sent from Ornäs (Sweden) to Uppsala (Sweden). Written in Swedish.

upSUMMARY

Hans Gustaf Hjort af OrnäsHiort af Ornäs, Hans Gustaf
(1725-1791). Swedish. Nobleman. Civil
servant. Correspondent of Linnaeus.
thanks Linnaeus for this letter [12 January 1769Letter L4145] decides to be cautious with regard to the birch tree and considers that if it had been any other tree than birch then Linnaeus would have preferred to see it with his own eyes in order to avoid deceit. Additionally, the tree has suffered considerably as a result of branches being harvested to be used as brooms. Not only that, moving the tree to another type of soil might lead to the leaves changing shape. God willing, Hjort will send fresh leaves during the summer and write more about the tree then. However, he is worried that somebody might fell the tree despite the wood being of little use and in a garden the soil would probably be too rich for it.

Hjort then relates that a neighbour had shot a bird that was completely unknown to Hjort despite him being more knowledgeable about birds than about plants. A brief description was given. The size was that of a blackcock, the head and beak were similar to the blackcock and the dove, feet and legs were more feathered than a ptarmigan, almost like a hare’s leg. Claws were similar to those of a bird of prey rather than to other claws, the colour was speckled with snow-white and black feathers. Its stomach was found to contain juniper berries. Hjort suggested that the hunter should preserve the skin. Hjort guesses that it is a mixture of blackcock and ptarmigan or dove, perhaps also with a bird of prey. He does not know the gender of the bird.

At the end of the letter Hjort provides further information: There was no red tuft on the head as found on blackcock, whereas it had the eyebrows of the blackcock, the claws were somewhat larger but slightly concave underneath, such as Hjort believed a bird of prey to have. The stomach also contained cowberries and cowberry twigs or, more correctly, these were found in the bird’s crop.

Hjort eagerly awaits Linnaeus’s reply.

upMANUSCRIPTS

a. (LS, VII, 37-38). [1] [2] [3]

upEDITIONS

1. Bref och skrifvelser (1917), vol. I:7, p. 108-109   p.108  p.109.