Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/36

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tively few which remain are still more to be pitied as day by day passes and the frost still holds. True the snow vanishes from southern slopes in slowly trickling streams which are turned to ice again each night. It is sad to see the Lapwings, miserably tame, on the frozen meadows, listening in vain for upward movement of earthworm responsive to their tread. In the woods, where evergreens have kept off much of the snow, the Redwings, weak and dejected, hop about under shelter of the thick holly clumps, feebly searching for food amongst the dead leaves. On the lake Coots and other wild fowl by constant movement manage to keep open a hole in the ice. The gamekeeper almost tires of shooting the Jays which come to the pheasants' corn. But the turnips are now the last resort of the destitute; rooks, jackdaws and wood-pigeons peck holes in the bulbs; fieldfares, thrushes and blackbirds follow or betake themselves to the folds where the sheep are hand-fed and where, consequently, fragments of turnip may be picked up. Upon the coast many thrushes frequent the rocks which are uncovered at low tide and feed upon shell-fish, breaking their hard shells with difficulty. Soon want does its woeful work and we begin to pick up dead birds—redwings are likely to be the first. Birds have however, such a habit of getting away into holes and crevices to die, that the real rate of mortality is never known.