Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/35

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claw. Little parties of them—quite a picture of hard times—with their feathers puffed out on account of the cold, crowd every spot where the wind has swept away the snow, or search disconsolately for traces of turnip-tops here and there breaking its surface. A note, soft as the twitter of a goldfinch, calls attention to a Woodlark amongst them—no mistaking its short, stumpy figure and conspicuous eye-streak. Fieldfares are snatching greedily at the few remaining haws. Every stackyard has its hungry host of finches and yellow-hammers. Only the Snow Buntings seem to be in their element, as if fancying themselves back in their far northern home. The glass shows that some, no doubt the old birds, are whiter than others, and that, on the ground, they take short, quick runs, more after the fashion of mice than birds. With clatter of wings a great flock of Wood Pigeons takes flight, already so hungry that they will return to fill their crops with turnip-tops although repeatedly fired at. A striking figure is that of an old hare as he sits bolt upright just on the sky-line in the middle of a perfectly white snow-field. Bad times are these for game of all sorts, as the partridges experience, for the snow renders them plainly visible to their enemies.

Next day the tide of migration has slackened; by the third day it has spent itself. Yet, doubtful as is the fate of those birds which have fled, the compara-