Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/196

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



To recognise them by their several scolding or alarm notes is an education apart, though many know the Nightingale's croak or harsh "cur-r" and perhaps the Blackcap's "tack, tack," a type of alarm-note shared by the chat family with most of the warblers, and also with other birds as the shrike and ring-ouzel. But for the evidence of these notes, short remarks, exclamations and objurgations, the summer birds might be supposed to have left us, while in reality they are still present in their usual haunts and, in fact, in far larger numbers than was the case earlier in the season. For the birds which have not brought off the last of their young broods by this date are in the minority, though early in the month a nest of eggs of blackbird, thrush, robin, or any one of the smaller birds in fact, is no rarity. These belated nests represent in some cases a normal second or third brood, in others a forlorn hope where earlier attempts have resulted in failure.

The nests of birds which breed upon the ground are specially liable to disaster. Field-mice to a certainty, and ants we strongly suspect, destroy a large number of young of such low-building species as the pipit. When containing young, they are, moreover, readily scented by keen-nosed marauders. We have known a sporting dog to "point" unfailingly nests of the titlark and stonechat. Eggs of the Lapwing are not only diligently collected but are apt to be trodden