Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/265

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which all trace of the victim has disappeared. By the side of a path just inside the wood are the bodies of defunct cats, dry and mummy-like. One seems to recognise on their faces the innocent expression of the hearth-rug pet, slain during her first stalk, and the scowl of the hardened offender who died fighting hard, with teeth and claws in full play. Some of these cats, the progeny in the second or third generation of house-tabbies which have taken to the woods, reach a great size and revert in colour and markings so completely to those characteristic of the true wild cat as often to be mistaken for that species. In every collection such as the one which we have described, will be found the weather-beaten remains of several carrion-crows, while blue-barred wings serve to identify the jays even in the last stage of dilapidation.

Where game-preserving is carried on in the neighbourhood of wild hill-districts, there will probably be in addition the remains of ravens and buzzards. We shall rarely nowadays find the polecat, unless in Western Wales, where it is still common. Marten and wild-cat (the genuine Felis catus) are not likely to fall into the hands of any but a Highland keeper, and so scarce have they become that he is now more disposed to forward them to a taxidermist than to nail them up. The first named are the ordinary victims which constitute the holocaust, the great