Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/298

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Then there is the matter of the Dipper or Water Ouzel, whose food, it is more than hinted, includes trout-spawn amongst other items, so that upon some carefully-preserved waters it is shot off. When one has the rare opportunity of looking down upon a dipper at work at the bottom of a pool, it is seen to maintain itself there by vigorous movement of its wings as it searches the bed of pebbles or gravel. It may safely be surmised that the pursuit of water insects and their larvae is its primary object; possibly some small amount of spawn may be disturbed or even eaten.

Even the diet of the birds of prey may be more varied than one ordinarily supposes. The Buzzard, though a noble-looking hawk, does not disdain earthworms and beetles. A farmer remarked to us that a pair of buzzards, which nested on the rocks above his house, had entirely cleared his fields of moles. A friend, holiday-making in Wales, saw a buzzard rise from the bushy cliff-slope with a writhing snake hanging from its talons, and a gentleman who inadvertently wounded a female Brown Owl and turned her into an old pheasantry to recover tells us that her disconsolate mate nightly brought, not only mice and birds, but also numerous frogs and toads. But a general discussion of so large a subject as the food of birds would lead us too far from the berried hedges of October.