Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/288

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their winter bird-population, ready to share with us all the hazard of winter and rough weather unless an exceptionally severe spell of frost should send them still further south.


As the autumn runs its course a hundred crops are garnered which do not affect the world's food supply, and regarding which no reports emanate from Mark Lane. Furred and feathered harvesters alike are keenly alive to the fact that this is the time of year of the ripening and perfection of grain arid seed, nut and berry—of crops which are all their own to garner or to glean. The birds have naught to think of but the moment's enjoyment of this "feast of fat things," but the small rodents, squirrel, vole and field-mouse, have in addition to make provision for a time of sleep or of drowsy inactivity. From a hole in a sandy bank beside a field-path protrude some ends of straw which a dog has uncovered in scratching. On opening up the miniature granary, it is found to contain just over two hundred ears of corn, each neatly cut off close to the top of the stalk. The proprietor, whose "best-laid schemes" have thus gone "agley," is no doubt a short-tailed field-vole. The same little animal, or possibly a long-tailed field-mouse, has filled this old blackbirds' nest full of alder-cones and seeds,