Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/18

This page has been validated.



Kingfisher, who, more venturesome than his fellows, has followed up the stream by which the lake finds outlet. Few would suspect into what close proximity to industrial centres the Heron's fishing excursions will sometimes lead him in the grey of early morning. Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, and Yellow Wagtails delight in the short grass of suburban football-fields and the well-kept sward of cricket-grounds. The invariable occurrence of the Magpie and Carrion Crow in the immediate vicinity of large towns is no doubt accounted for by the absence of their natural enemy, the gamekeeper. A Birmingham naturalist stated some time since, that crow, kestrel, and green-woodpecker all nest within the borough boundaries, while in some well-wooded private grounds within two miles of the heart of the midland metropolis we are told that eighty-six species of birds have been noted, and that thirty-six have bred. This is a truly wonderful record, only to be accounted for by the fact that there is here direct communication with open country, and that for years a family of naturalists has devoted to it the keenest observation. To this bird-sanctuary come from time to time the three woodpeckers, the kingfisher, the common-sandpiper, the barn and tawny owl, even the woodcock and partridge, while the list of those which have nested includes the jay, hawfinch, stock and turtle doves, and quite a number of the summer migrants. The reed-warbler, in default of reeds, has been known to place its nest in a clump of fern or at the top of a tall arbor-vitæ, and the chiffchaff, perhaps with a view to cats, has nested fully five feet from the ground.

The Londoner is no less well situated, for he has the parks, where Wood Pigeons, in conscious enjoyment of the pax britannica, have so far forgotten their