Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/78

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their wings as they add to the uproar, until one, overbalancing, nutters to the ground, clutching and flapping. More than one brood appears to be reared, for the herons are still about their nests in July.

In parts of the country where the Raven still exists, as amongst the fells of the north and west or the cliffs of the south coast, the birds may be seen at the beginning of March, or even earlier, carrying sticks and other nesting materials to the favoured site, which is usually tenanted year after year. A hardy outlaw is the bird of Odin; in Wales we have often found the hen bird sitting while snow-drifts still lay in the hollows and icicles hung from the rocks. By the middle of the month the Common Buzzard ("common" no longer save in wild hill-districts beyond the limits of game preserving) begins to bring sticks and small branches to its nest.

Meanwhile, nearer home, in lanes, shrubbery and garden, nesting is in full progress. The Mistle Thrush places its large, untidy nest in a low fork of some orchard tree. Careless of concealment, it seems to trust to its powers of vituperation to guard its treasure, and great is the outcry if magpie or prowling cat approaches. In the laurels the Song Thrush is rounding off with a smooth lining of touchwood, cemented with cow-dung, the structure which we know so well, soon to contain four or five of the blue, black-spotted eggs, so common and yet so fair to see. The Robin