Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/172

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they are so fond. If surprised, the whole family squats and often escapes observation, but, if detected, the old birds tumble before us with trailing wings while the young run "cheeping" to hide. Much the same thing occurs if we happen to stumble across a brood of newly-hatched Grouse chicks on the moor. As the old bird flaps and scuffles on the ground, the young, one and all, become perfectly motionless, and seem to vanish before our eyes, so perfect is their harmony of tint with that of moss and lichen and heather. The Curlew, whose loud "trōō-ey, trōō-ey" betrays a world of anxiety for the safety of young crouching close in the sedge amongst the bog mosses, sometimes resorts to the same device as the hen partridge or grouse. Picking up one of the nestlings, we note that its bill, later so long and curved, is at present quite short and straight, under an inch in length.

By the lake side we come upon a brood of young Wild Ducks and, as the half-grown "flappers" cleverly gain cover, the old bird, in a frenzy of quacking and splashing, endeavours to cause a diversion in their favour. This trick, "shamming wounded" as it is called, is also a regular part of the stock-in-trade of some of the small birds, notably of the Reed Bunting, which will tumble off the nest—lame, broken-winged, in a hopeless state—recovering in direct proportion as danger to its nest grows less. In a hole in the steep clay bank which overlooks the quiet backwater of the