RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1883. [Letter to Baruch Jakob Placzek, 1880]. In Placzek, On ancient observations on the flight of pigeons. [Read 1 May 1883.] Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archæology 5 (1882-3): 111-13, p. 112.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe. RN2

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Baruch Jakob Placzek (1835-1922) was an Austrian rabbi. Darwin was writing in reply to a letter from B. J. Placzek1  19 November 1880. See Correspondence vol. 28. The same line from Darwin's letter, in German translation, was printed in Placzek, Absondere Flugart der Tauben im Alterthum. Neue Freie Presse no. 6889 (31 October): 4: "Es scheint für einen Vogel unmöglich zu sein, eine Schwinge allein zu gebrauchen, ohne sich umzudrehen (umzukippen) und ohne das Gleichgewicht zu verlieren." There are two entries for pamphlets by F3481 in Catalogue of Charles Robert Darwin's pamphlet collection: Quarto. CUL-DAR252.5 (transcribed in Darwin Online): "1625 w Placzek Bird song" "1835 Placzek Wieseland Katze".

[page] 111

[page] 112

It appears to be impossible for a bird to use only one wing, without tumbling over and without losing its balance.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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