Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/261

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readiness to turn to pupæ. When the rooks are seen visiting the same meadow day after day and busily pulling up the grass-tufts, it is probable that they are well aware of the feast which is offered. In fact, September spreads a well-filled board for all comers. The wood-pigeons bustle sleepily out of the oaks, so gorged with acorns that they can scarcely fly. For thrush and blackbird, when they have stripped the mountain-ashes, there are the elder-berries. Tits may be seen pecking at the seeds of the sunflower-heads, so attractive, when they have fallen, to the partridges as sometimes to lure these shy birds into country gardens. Nuthatches are most musical and lively, as they vie with the squirrels in despoiling the hazels. Fixing the nut into a crevice of the rough bark, the bird fairly hews out a part of the shell, making a jagged hole through which the kernel is extracted in fragments, the bristles at the end of the tongue forming a useful brush for this purpose. The squirrel's ivory chisels make a far neater job to the same end.

The calm and mellow days of a sunny September see much insect life upon the wing. Sometimes the air is filled with aphides or "green blight," on their way to seek winter quarters or to lay their eggs before they die. And the swarming of the ants, when myriads of them emerge from the nest to take a single short flight upon gauzy wings, though it frequently takes place earlier in the summer, may be continued