Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/229

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All are agreed that the blackbird is in this respect a much greater offender than the thrush. The blackcap, garden-warbler and whitethroat have a special weakness for raspberries, while a magpie, gobbling furtively, will soon thin the produce of a gooseberry bush. Be it put to the credit of the cuckoo, upon the other hand, that it visits gardens in quest of the saw-fly grub,—a well-known pest which often clears the bushes of every leaf. Nightingales, too, often pay the garden a visit, tempted not so much by the fruit as by the "green fly" and other insects which are to be found amongst the peas and kidney-beans. But we fancy that many nightingales have left us, or at any rate withdrawn towards the coast, by the end of the month. For in August those of our summer birds which are the first to leave are already upon the move. Not only of the cuckoo is it true that "come August, go he must"; the incoming of the month brings to others their marching orders. While the House Martins congregate in the early mornings to bask on sunny roofs and the Swallows collect on the telegraph wires as if to choose leaders and make up travelling parties, the sickle-winged Swifts, which screamed round the eaves, have already disappeared, the twentieth of the month marking their average date of departure. Thus, almost the last to come, they are amongst the first to go. How different is the departure of the summer birds as, unmarked, they