Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/43

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overhang the pool have been treated in the same way by the water-voles.

This year of disaster has left its mark upon the numbers of almost all resident birds; all in fact have paid more or less heavy toll, excepting the grain-feeders, such as greenfinches and yellow-hammers, which have tided over the evil times by hanging round the barn-doors and rick-yards. How few the thrushes and blackbirds are the coming spring will show when one scarcely finds a nest in their favourite hedges. But few stonechats remain. Goldfinches have become scarcer. Some of our well-known robins are absent from their wonted haunts. The smallest birds—long-tailed tits, tree-creepers, wrens, goldcrests—though relatively to their size they appear to stand the cold so well—are fewer than formerly. Some species are practically wiped out for the time being. After the frost of 1895, nine months elapsed before we saw a single mistle-thrush. A succession of open winters was needed to bring their numbers once more to the normal. The bird-stuffer reports thirty-five kingfishers, mostly frozen, brought to him within three days. While the cold kept the small rodents from stirring abroad, the owls suffered badly. No large bags of partridges will be made in the autumn; some are picked up all skin and bone. The farmers remark that few hares are left. Woodpeckers are decimated; herons much thinned in numbers. Even the buzzards suffer, the frost driving