Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/264

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the extent to which the fortunes of our British birds are influenced by our British system of game-preserving. Everybody knows that the chief business of the gamekeeper is to promote the well-being and increase the numbers of pheasants, partridges and grouse, and to wage war upon certain feræ naturæ which are supposed to be prejudicial to their interests. Who does not know the "gamekeeper's museum" or "keeper's larder," which by its proportions attests his prowess with trap and gun? By the side of the plantation is a wooden frame-work, supporting five rails, placed one above the other and each nearly twenty yards in length. Hanging from these rails, is what we take at a distance to be a collection of tawny and parti-coloured rags. Draw nearer and one gets an unmistakable whiff of carrion, for upon the rails the remains of vermin, winged or four-footed, are nailed side by side as closely as they can be placed. There are whole regiments of stoats and weasels with their thin, dried-up bodies, rows of cats' tails and bunches of rats' tails, hedgehogs' heads, with here and there an owl, hawk or magpie, often the head only, time and the elements having dissipated the rest. For the collection has not been made in a day, but is the accumulation of years. Many of the specimens are very old, some of the weasels being only represented by their little white skulls, and weasels hold together for a long time. There are scores of rusty nails, from