Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/295

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How many specific predilections and traits are exhibited by birds in their mode of feeding. This is well-shown in the case of the chaffinch and the bullfinch. While the chaffinch spends much of its time upon the ground, searching for the seeds of small cornfield weeds, the bullfinch is much more strictly arboreal. It seldom joins the other finches upon the stubbles, but finds most of its food in the hedge-rows, though it will sometimes drop down to the thistle-heads or to any seeding herbaceous plants, such as the willow-herb and nettle, which run to about the same height. Thus we have noted as included in its menu the seeds of the dandelion and sorrel, the seeds from the "keys" of the ash and the winged seeds of the birch. It also takes the clematis seeds, nipping off the feathery appendage, and is particularly fond of privet-berries. The goldfinch's proclivities, as is well known, lie in the direction of the thistle with all its kin such as ragwort, knapweed, and teasel, while the linnet's services in connection with such cruciferous weeds as the charlock and shepherd's purse scarcely need to be mentioned. The strong-billed hawfinch, on the other hand, need be looked for neither in field nor hedge-row. Its special taste is for the nutlets of the hornbeam and it is consequently a bird of woods and plantations, to be met with wherever that tree occurs in any quantity. This is particularly the case in the Home Counties, as