BIRDS (BRITISH)

Blackbird.

Male, body a glossy black and bill yellow. Female, a brownish black body, and a dirty brown bill. Eight to ten inches extreme length when full grown. Found all the year round, but mostly between March and August. Has no particular haunts.

Blackcap.

Grey body and a black head, though the female is not so grey but more brown. Bill a dark putty colour. About six inches long. Nests from May to July. Lives in bushes and shrubs.

Bullfinch.

Head black, wings grey tipped with white. Under part white and breast reddish, but browner in the female. About six inches long. Nests from April to midsummer. Haunts bushes and lower branches of trees. Common.

Chaffinch.

Head bluish-grey. Back reddish, with white and black patches. Underneath white. Chest reddish. Other parts of the body, olive brown. Female duller and less white. About six inches long. Nests from late spring to midsummer. Found all through the year. Lives in hedges, bushes, &c. Common.

Chiff chaff.

General colour, olive, but yellowish white on chest and a streak of yellow above the eyes. Body about four inches in length. Lives near the ground, in tall grass, low shrubs, etc. Nests from April to early July. A shy bird.

Cuckoo .

Dark grey-brown body. Bars of white on body. Beak short, curved, and black. Feet yellow. Body about a foot in length. Nests in early summer or late spring, or deposits egg in the nest of another bird. No special haunts. Flies like a hawk.

Flycatcher (Spotted) .

Head and back brown, the former with darker brown spots or streaks. Breast and underpart a dirty white, but flecked with brown. About six inches long. Nests in summer. Lives among trees and creepers growing against walls.

Goldfinch.

Front of head a bright red; crown, black; neck, white; back and breast, brownish yellow; patches of white, yellow and black on wings; underneath, white; beak, black at tip. About five inches long. Nests from May to early August. Found in fruit-trees, thick shrubs, etc.

Greenfinch.

Yellowish-green the predominating colour, yellower on wing-tips, but with patches of grey. Legs a pinkish yellow. About six inches long. Nests from April to early August in thick bush and shrub.

Gull (Seagull) .

Head and throat white. Other parts of body white-grey. Wings tipped with black. Yellow beak. About fifteen inches long. Nests in summer. Found all through the year. Lives on the shore, but travels inland along waterways.

Hawk (Sparrow -Hawk).

General colour, a bluish-grey, but with a dull red mottling. Tail grey and black. Breast reddish with horizontal stripes of orange-brown. Beak, short and curved. Length about a foot. Nests in early summer in deep forests; has a partiality for conifer trees.

Jackdaw.

Head a purple-black, merging into grey on the neck in adults. Black legs and beak. About a foot long. Nests in May and June. Lives in cracks and corners of buildings and on the sides of cliffs.

Kingfisher.

A beautiful blue-green, with sheen. Patches of sky-blue on head and neck and some, wings tipped with red. Distinguished by its loong, straight beak and large head. About six inches long. Nests throughout spring and early summer, near inland water.

Linnet .

Brownish-grey in general, though somewhat reddish in the crown and chest. Wings edged with white. Legs brown. About six inches long. Nests in spring on commons, in furze bushes and gardens.

Magpie.

Mostly black, but white underneath and is patched on the wings. Black legs. Very long tail. About a foot and a half long. Nests in early spring in woods.

Missel Thrush.

Prettily marked. Mostly a medium brown, but crown light brown. Breast and underneath yellowish-white, but spotted with small triangles of dark brown. About ten to twelve inches long. Nests from late winter to end of summer in tree tops.

Nightingale. —

Mostly brown, but wings tipped with dull red. Underneath, a dirty white. Chest brown-white. About six inches long. Nests in late spring in the low parts of hedgerows.

Nuthatch.

Mostly a blue-grey. A black line runs from the beak, round the eye and a little beyond. White on either side of the head. Tail barred with black. Buff underneath. Legs almost yellow. About six inches long. Nests during spring and early summer in holes in tree-trunks.

Reed Warbler .

Mostly a light brown. Note the yellow patch over each eye. Throat, chest and under parts, white. Legs slate-brown. About six inches long. Nests in early summer in and around inland water.

Rook.

A glossy black all over, including beak and legs. No feathers at the base of the beak. About a fpot and a half to two feet in length. Nests from Feb- ruary to May in tree tops, in colonies.

Starlings.

Prettily marked. Black with a sheen of green and steel-blue. Feathers on body tipped with light brown. Speckled appearance. Legs a reddish-brown. Beak yellow. About ten inches long. Nests in spring in trees and masonry.

Swift.

Mostly a dull black, but a patch of light grey under the beak. Tail curiously forked and long. About nine inches long. Nests in May and June in holes on cliffs or buildings.

Wagtail.

Several kinds, but all have long tails which are perpetually throbbing when on the ground. Usually found near water. Nests in late spring or early summer.

Warbler (Garden Warbler).

Mostly an olive-brown but under parts a grey-white. Legs a purple-brown. About six inches long. Nests near the ground in grass or low bush in May or June.

Wren (Common Wren).

Head and back, red-brown with waves of darker brown on the back. Chest and underneath, ashy white with waves of grey. A white patch runs around the eyes. About four inches long. Nests in spring and early summer in trees and hedge banks.

Wryneck.

The underparts all whitish. Everywhere else brownish-buff, speckled, spotted, barred, etc. Some of the marks are dice-shaped, others triangular. About six inches long. Lives in trees.

Yellow Hammer.

Y e 11 o w everywhere. On the head, there are a few lines of broken brown. On back, much brown, the heaviest colouring being in continuous lines. Beak, short, but pointed. About six inches long. Lives in hedges.

BIRDS’ EGGS AND NESTS.

Never meddle with a bird’s nest; an examination from quarters not too close will prove sufficiently interesting. Nests which are built in hedges can be discovered with fair ease if the seeker crouches down and views the bushes with isn the sky above them. In this way, a nest becomes a blot on a light background.

The following is a list of the nests and eggs of the commoner English birds: Blackbird.

Four to six eggs; pale bluish green, mottled with brown and grey. Nests made of grass, twigs, and any material having a similar use, all held together by clay and earth. Lined with soft grass, and, perhaps, twigs. Found any time in late spring and throughout the summer.

Bullfinch.

Four or five eggs; greenish blue, spotted with purple to reddish brown. Nests made of twigs and lined with soft material such as moss, down and wool. Found between April and early August.

Bunting. Corn or Common Bunting.

Four, five or six eggs; white or cream with blotches of purple. Nests made of coarse grass, straw, etc., and lined with soft grass. Found in late spring.

Reed Bunting.

Five eggs as a rule; grey, tinted with green or brown, and spotted with deep brown. Nests made of grass. Found between March and July.

Buzzard, Common.

Usually three eggs, the colour of which varies considerably, sometimes pinkish white, mottled and spotted with brown. Nests made of rough twigs lined with finer twigs, grass, wool, etc. Found in May.

Chaffinch.

Four to six eggs; greenish blue, covered with pink and brown spots. Nests carefully made, often in the forks of trees, of anything from cobwebs to small pieces of grass. Found between late April and mid-July.

Chiffchaff.

Five, six or seven eggs, rarely more; white in colour with brownish-purple spots. Nests made of small twigs and grass, lined with small feathers and hair. Found in late spring and early summer.

Crow. Carrion Crow.

Usually four or five eggs; pale bluish green, mottled with a dull, blackish brown. Nests made of coarse twigs, plastered together with mud, and lined with grass, hair, etc.

Found in late spring and early summer.

Hooded Crow.

Usually four or five eggs, but six are fairly common; bluish-green, mottled with brown and greenish-brown. Nests made of coarse twigs or any similar material, lined with feathers, hair, etc. Found between March and June.

Dove. Ring Dove.

Two eggs; shiny white in colour. Nests badly made of twigs and sticks, and liable to fall to pieces. Found in all months but the coldest.

Rock Dove.

Two eggs; white in colour; smaller than those of the Ring Dove. Nests made of twigs, seaweed, etc. Found as in the case of above.

Turtle Dove.

Two eggs; white, but slightly creamy and shiny, Nests as for Ring Dove. Found in the summer months.

Duck.

Eider Duck.

Four or five eggs, usually grey-green in colour. Nests made of coarse grass, straw, seaweed, etc., lined with down plucked from the breast of the mother. Found in May or June.

Wild Duck or Mallard.

Eight to ten or more eggs; much lighter grey-green than those of the Eider Duck. Nests made of grass, straw, rushes, etc., lined with down. Found in spring, as a rule, but the period may begin in February and run on to the middle of summer.

Goldfinch.

Four to six eggs; greenish white, with spots of purple and brown. Nests made of straw, grass and twigs woven together with spiders’ webs, and lined with soft down, moss, hairs, etc. Found in late spring or early summer.

Greenfinch.

Four, five or six eggs; bluish white, with a few spots of brown. Nests made of twigs , sticks, straw, etc., lined with feathers. Found from mid-spring to well on in the summer.

Grouse, Black.

Six to nine eggs; a rich yellowish-brown, spotted and slightly flecked with red-brown. Nests made of gras3, bracken, stalks and twigs of heather, placed in a depression of the ground. Found between April and June.

Gull (Seagull).

Usually three, sometimes two or four; medium brown with a tinge of olive, considerably flecked with reddish-brown, deep brown, or grey-black. Found a little later than that of the black-headed gull.

Jay.

About five eggs; bluish-green of a light shade, speckled all over with a yellowish olive. Nests made of twigs, etc., plastered lightly in places with mud. Found between April and the beginning of July.

Kingfisher.

Five to eight eggs; a transparent pinkish white; less pointed than most eggs. Nests made on holes in river banks, containing the debris of fishes. Found at any time between the end of the winter and early summer.

Linnet.

Four, five or six eggs; white, with a trace of green or blue, spotted with red or purple. Nests made of twigs, dead grasses, &c, and lined with any fluffy material. Found in late spring and early summer.

Nightingale.

Four, five or six eggs of an olive or dull brown colour. Nests made of grass, straw, leaves, etc., lined with soft grass; is an untidy nest. Found in May and June.

Nuthatch.

Five to nine eggs; white, with a few small spots of red or brown. Nests made of twigs grass, leaves, etc., with portions plastered with mud. Found in the late spring and most of the summer. Owl. Bam Owl.

Three to six eggs usually; dull white. Nests consist of small heaps of bones. Found in spring and early summer. Tawny Owl.

Usually four eggs; dull white, probably the largest of all owls’ eggs. Nests made in holes. Found in late spring, throughout the summer, and early days of autumn.

Plover, Kentish.

Three eggs; drab, with grey-black spots of small and medium size; eggs more pointed than most others. No nests, eggs placed amongst stones, etc. Found in May.

Robin.

Between five and eight eggs; white, grey or light yellow, speckled with rust colour. Nests made of soft twigs and moss, then lined with small feathers and leaves.

Skylark.

Four of five eggs; drab-white, plentifully spotted and mottled with olive-brown. Nests made on the ground, of grass, roots, stems, etc. Found in early and midsummer.

Starling.

Usually five eggs; pale blue. Nests made of stems, grass, roots, and lined with moss, wool, etc. Found in spring.

Swallow.

Usually five eggs; white with a slight sprinkling of small red spots. Nests made of straw and mud. Found in summer.

Thrush .

Missel Thrush.

Usually four or five eggs; greenish-blue, with fair sprinkling of red-brown spots. Nests made of grass, twigs, straw and wool. Found in spring and summer.

Song Thrush.

Usually four or five eggs; bluish-green, rather deep, with a few spots of black. Nests made of sticks, grass, etc., and lined with mud and manure. Found in spring and summer.

Wagtail. Grey Wagtail.

Usually four or five eggs; buff-white, with light brown spots. Nests made of grass, moss, hairs. Found in spring.

Pied Wagtail.

Four, five or six eggs; greyish-white, covered with grey or brown spots. Nests made of grass, small stalks, moss and lined with down and hairs. Found in spring.

Woodpecker. Great Spoiled Woodpecker.

Four or more eggs; pinkish white. Nests made in holes of trees. Found in May or June.

Green Woodpecker.

Five or six eggs; glazed white. Nests as before. Found a little earlier than the above.

Wren.

Usually five to seven, but sometimes as many as ten; light blue-white, speckled with red-brown. Nests made of almost any suitable material. Found from late spring to end of July.

Yellow – Hammer. —

Usually four or five; grey-white, streaked and slightly spotted with purple-brown. Nests made of roots and grass, lined with grass and hairs. Found in late spring and most of the summer.

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