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Birds in Town and Village   By: (1841-1922)

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First Page:

BIRDS IN TOWN & VILLAGE

BY

W. H. HUDSON,

F.Z.S.

AUTHOR OF "THE PURPLE LAND," "IDLE DAYS IN PATAGONIA," "FAR AWAY AND LONG AGO," ETC.

1920

PREFACE

This book is more than a mere reprint of Birds in a Village first published in 1893. That was my first book about bird life, with some impressions of rural scenes, in England; and, as is often the case with a first book, its author has continued to cherish a certain affection for it. On this account it pleased me when its turn came to be reissued, since this gave me the opportunity of mending some faults in the portions retained and of throwing out a good deal of matter which appeared to me not worth keeping.

The first portion, "Birds in a Village," has been mostly rewritten with some fresh matter added, mainly later observations and incidents introduced in illustration of the various subjects discussed. For the concluding portion of the old book, which has been discarded, I have substituted entirely new matter the part entitled "Birds in a Cornish Village."

Between these two long parts there are five shorter essays which I have retained with little alteration, and these in one or two instances are consequently out of date, especially in what was said with bitterness in the essay on "Exotic Birds for Britain" anent the feather wearing fashion and of the London trade in dead birds and the refusal of women at that time to help us in trying to save the beautiful wild bird life of this country and of the world generally from extermination. Happily, the last twenty years of the life and work of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds have changed all that, and it would not now be too much to say that all right thinking persons in this country, men and women, are anxious to see the end of this iniquitous traffic.

W. H. H.

September, 1919.

CONTENTS

PAGE

BIRDS IN A VILLAGE:

I

II

III

IV

V

VI

VII

VIII

IX

X

XI

EXOTIC BIRDS FOR BRITAIN

MOOR HENS IN HYDE PARK

THE EAGLE AND THE CANARY

CHANTICLEER

IN AN OLD GARDEN

BIRDS IN A CORNISH VILLAGE:

I. TAKING STOCK OF THE BIRDS

II. DO STARLINGS PAIR FOR LIFE?

III. VILLAGE BIRDS IN WINTER

IV. INCREASING BIRDS IN BRITAIN

V. THE DAW SENTIMENT

VI. STORY OF A JACKDAW

BIRDS IN TOWN & VILLAGE

BIRDS IN A VILLAGE I

About the middle of last May, after a rough and cold period, there came a spell of brilliant weather, reviving in me the old spring feeling, the passion for wild nature, the desire for the companionship of birds; and I betook myself to St. James's Park for the sake of such satisfaction as may be had from watching and feeding the fowls, wild and semi wild, found gathered at that favored spot.

I was glad to observe a couple of those new colonists of the ornamental water, the dabchicks, and to renew my acquaintance with the familiar, long established moorhens. One of them was engaged in building its nest in an elm tree growing at the water's edge. I saw it make two journeys with large wisps of dry grass in its beak, running up the rough, slanting trunk to a height of sixteen to seventeen feet, and disappearing within the "brushwood sheaf" that springs from the bole at that distance from the roots. The wood pigeons were much more numerous, also more eager to be fed. They seemed to understand very quickly that my bread and grain was for them and not the sparrows; but although they stationed themselves close to me, the little robbers we were jointly trying to outwit managed to get some pieces of bread by flying up and catching them before they touched the sward. This little comedy over, I visited the water fowl, ducks of many kinds, sheldrakes, geese from many lands, swans black, and swans white. To see birds in prison during the spring mood of which I have spoken is not only no satisfaction but a positive pain; here albeit without that large liberty that nature gives, they are free in a measure; and swimming and diving or dozing in the sunshine, with the blue sky above them, they are perhaps unconscious of any restraint... Continue reading book >>




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