Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/282

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rather fanciful term of cœlebs, the bachelor, to our dapper and light-hearted finch. It by no means follows that all the chaffinches, yellow-hammers or skylarks which we see on the fields have been reared in our own particular neighbourhood, indeed they are often so numerous that this cannot possibly be the case. The tendency of almost all birds in seeking their winter quarters is to move south, be it only by a couple of degrees of latitude. One may even feel a doubt whether the robin which "eyes the delver's toil," ready to drop on to a worm or to sing perched on the handle of his spade if he leaves his work for a moment, is our own familiar robin which nested on a shelf of the garden tool-house. Some of our own thrushes are still with us, piping their rather inferior autumn song, but there are others which go about in small parties and whose want of familiarity with our shrubberies and shyness in venturing on to our lawns stamp them as aliens. At times we may surprise so many blackbirds in a hedge-row as to feel a moral certainty that they are a migratory party.

Meadow-pipits and pied-wagtails continue to be on the move all through the month. Whether the various bands of roving free-booters are merely from the northern part of the kingdom or are invaders from over sea is not always easy to determine, but the voracious hordes of wood-pigeons, which of late years have driven farmers to exasperated and organized reprisals,