Nesting in a Letter-box

While no other bird has taken more readily to nesting-boxes, the blue tit nests in many other situations. It is almost as fond of odd nesting sites as the robin. Many a time it has been known to make a nest in old pumps, while a letter-box without a flap is a nesting site exactly to its liking. I once found a nest in an old-fashioned oil-lamp, which overhung the entrance to a country churchyard. The two blue tits looked quite at home in their glass-house.

In the northern parts of England, as well as in Wales and Scotland, where garden walls are often made of unmortared stones, the blue tit frequently nests in the heart of these enduring structures, entering by some little opening and making tha nest in a roomier niche inside. The Harvest of the Quiet Eye VNE winter I had a pleasant encounter with a blue tit in the corner of a field not far from my garden. I was sitting on a stile, in the afternoon, when everything was quiet. It was a delightfully mild day, although the month was December, one of those perfect, quiet winter days when the sun shines with a pearly light right up till evening. It was throwing the shadows of the tall trees across a field, where the tender green of young wheat was showing above the moist earth.

Suddenly a blue tit came flying along the hedge-side in my direction. It alighted on a bramble thicket in the corner of the field, within five feet from where I was sitting. It did not appear to see me. Unrecognized

The bird flitted about in a dainty manner, exploring the whole surface of the blackberry bush and every curled-up leaf. It clung to twigs and even to grass stems. It was looking for insects.

The little blue tit remained close to me for quite five minutes, then it flew between my ankles, and went onwards along the hedge at my back. Even to the last, I do not think the bird recognized me as a human being.

Every now and again I look into the domestic bread-pan, and if there are any old pieces of crust, I carry them to the back door and throw them on the lawn. Two or three house sparrows come down at once, and within a few minutes a flook of about a dozen starlings appear and make the whole place lively with their boisterous greediness and their sham fights over the food.

None of these birds has ever nested in my garden or about my premises, and yet I do not suppose there is a day in the year that they do not appear, generally to make a systematic search of the lawn for grubs. If there is any stale bread available, no matter how hard it may be, the starlings will peck at it, one after the other taking a turn, until the thinnest shell of crust is left.

The Unfriendly Starling THESE birds are easily startled, and they show not the slightest friendliness towards human beings. They seem to keep to the grass almost exclusively; it is there they seek for food, using their own distinctive method of doing so – namely, probing the turf with the bill partly open, so that you can see daylight between the upper half and the lower half. Thoy have a very old-fashioned look as they walk about, stepping out like a man or woman, instead of hopping as most birds do.

The starling is one of the most abundant birds in this country. It is a little smaller than a song thrush, and of a black colour, but is so spotted and speckled that when the sun is shining on the bird, it often looks as if it were covered with glittering spangles of a greenish or blue-black hue. Where Starlings Nest

The starlings that visit my garden have their nests in some old ash trees not far away, trees that are partly decayed and full of holes at the top. This bird nearly always nests in a hole of some kind. In the woods, I very frequently see old wood-peckers holes in the trunks of trees which are now occupied by starlings, at least in the nesting season.

A crevice or hole in a sea cliff or in a building is just as acceptable to a starling looking for a nesting-site. A great friend of mine and an excellent naturalist, who is a schoolmaster in Cornwall, told me that one day he noticed a starling cleaning out a hole in the wall of a building so that it could make a nest there.

The hole happened to be partially filled with sand and dusty mortar. The starling was seen to go repeatedly into the hole, take a mouthful of the dust in its bill, and then come out to the entrance and literally blow the rubbish out of its mouth.

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