BIRD LIFE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
may be done by artful blending of moss, wool and lichens, that of the bullfinch shows what a high level may be attained by the use of such unpromising material as fine twigs and slender roots. The willow wren and chiffchaff build the dome-shaped structures which have led country boys to name them "oven birds," with the advantage that a roof shelters the feather-bed upon which repose their fragile pink eggs. Then what various tastes are shown in choice of site. The flycatcher builds on the horizontal branch of the pear-tree trained along the garden wall, the nightingale in the drift of dead oak-leaves at the foot of the honeysuckle, while the tree-creeper has found that there is just room to squeeze in its nest between the old ivy-stem and the tree-trunk to which it clings. The great-tit has a weakness for disused pumps and country letter-boxes; the marsh-tit excavates in the touch-wood of the willow stump, while the blue-tit, sitting deep in the hollow gate-post, when investigated, hisses in a series of explosive puffs, but refuses to budge.
But for variety of small birds commend us to some quiet nook in the West Midlands where, by grassy lane, past hop-yard and bluebell copse, one reaches some sequestered orchard of old fruit-trees, their gnarled limbs green with moss or grey with lichen, and abounding in those holes so dear to many birds when on nesting bent. A nightingale hops out from the hedge,