Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/103

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Bird Life in April.

Like March, April is a month of moods many and varied, many-sided as the aspects of bird-life with which it presents us. Popularly associated with showers, how often do the harsh, dry winds hold sway, so that only the closing days of the month bring the short-lived downpour, followed by the burst of sunshine, during which the buds seem to swell visibly, and the willow-wrens sing on every side. Who has not qualified the poet's "Oh, to be in England now that April's there!" with a strong desire to be somewhere else where the tooth of the east wind is less keen. Yet who would miss an April, though her frowns be more than tears or smiles? In virgin freshness of leaf and flower, and, when in happy mood, in clearness of her laughing skies, she remains the poet's month, and in the naturalist's memory every one of her thirty days is marked with a white stone. For now nesting is in full progress, bringing into play marvels of inherited instinct and showing varied traits of "the mind behind the feathers" which are little in evidence at other times of year. Now a crowd of returning songsters re-peoples copse and thicket, welcome as