Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/143

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is sure, before long, to start out from almost under one's feet, from a snugly hidden nest with its dark-coloured eggs. These are always of the same type, while those of the tree-pipit vary immensely, red, lilac or blotched like a reed-bunting's.

All the pipits have a pretty habit of chasing and playing, toying and kissing on the wing. How fond, too, the Cuckoo is of heaths and rough hill-sides. These abound in the insect food, such as hairy caterpillars, which cuckoos prefer, and offer a large selection of nests in which a cuckoo's egg, placed there "unbeknown," may be palmed off upon the unsuspecting proprietors. Is the imposture not sometimes detected, however? Certain it is that the cuckoo is always attended by small birds, which often appear to be mobbing it with indignant outcry. Country people will tell us that they take it for a hawk. Each cuckoo has his own domain, and great is the chasing and voluble the cuckooing when a rival intrudes upon it.

"In June he changes his tune," as the saw has it, but as a matter of fact by the middle of May many are already shouting their stammering "cuck-cuckoo!"

The observer of shore-birds is never more busy than in early May. As soon as the month comes in, we hear once more the clear, rippling call-note of the Whimbrel. The various plovers and sandpipers which paddle about the sand-banks and muddy estuaries, more especially of the east coast, are now