Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/31

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gatherings appears in no amiable light, but as a pugnacious stickler for first place. The sparrows, though greedy, are caution itself, anxious to make the best of the good things, though wholly mistrusting the motives of the purveyor. Now and then there is a scattering and rush of wings as a jackdaw drops down from the roof, grabs the largest available morsel and hastily carries it off. If Nuthatches can be induced to come they are always an addition, their odd, jerky movements giving them a character which is all their own. Nuts will often prove an attraction; they will toss away those which are without a kernel, not troubling to open them. For tits there is the suspended coco-nut sawn in half, or the denuded framework of goose or turkey, forming a sort of magic cave in which they will sit and peck their fill. Watch the fussy indignation of a little blue-tit, as, a regular spitfire, he relieves his mind when a great-tit has driven him from his favourite lump of suet. These two species are regular comers; the coal-tit is so to a much less extent, while the marsh-tit appears more rarely still. If walnut shells, filled with fat or chopped nut-kernels, are threaded on a stretched string, the tits will perform on the tight-rope for our benefit.

When there is a pond in the neighbourhood, a Moorhen will sometimes join the pensioners at feeding-time, jerking his tail and showing his white undertail-coverts as he leaves the shelter of the sedges. At the