Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/17

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his challenge and the Great-tit whets his saw, or with his brisk "vîtz-ski, vîtz-ski," calls to an acquaintance, apparently of Polish nationality. The brook is transformed into an inky drain, foul with the smell of bleach-works, but Whitethroat and Sedge-Warbler still nest amongst the briars and brambles which overhang it. The quiet field-pond in the hollow becomes the rubbishtip of neighbouring back-yards, but, as long as it has its fringe of willow and a few tufts of sedge and rushes, the Reed Bunting still makes it his home. Upon the first occasion when we listened to the note of the Quail, its voice came from a patch of rye-grass not two miles distant from Manchester City Hall. No farther from the same centre, but in another direction, the Cuckoo paid visits to surburban villadom and, sitting with open window on quiet nights, one might even hear a distant Corncrake. Migrants, such as the Willow Wren, Spotted Flycatcher, and even a pair of Lesser Whitethroats, returned each spring, undeterred by smoke-darkened skies and an atmosphere which soon robbed the young foliage of its freshness. In the suburbs birds are in fact less subject to the attacks of their natural enemies, such as hawks and weasels, than is the case in the country, though it is doubtful whether the advantage is not more than atoned for by the risk which they run from the all-pervading cat. The artful feline has been seen to stroll down the garden daily to inspect the progress of a nestful of young blackbirds, postponing attack until they had reached a reasonable size, while another brought the callow fledglings from a thrushes' nest and deposited them unharmed upon the drawing-room carpet. To the fact that most city parks possess a sheet of ornamental water we have owed more than once the delighted recognition of a vanishing streak of azure-blue as a