Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/30

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of the thrushes, are the first to lose heart. They may be seen hopping about, tame and disconsolate, on the frozen grass-fields, or turning over the dead leaves in the woods. Soon there is downright want, and the weakest begin to go to the wall. An outcry from under the hedge-side calls attention to two magpies who are bullying a distressed starling which has fallen into their evil clutches. Another note of feebler protest comes from a thrush in reduced circumstances which is being attacked by one of its stronger brethren. How little reck the merry hares of the weather, as they play about the frosty grass by a cover-side.

Now is the time for those charitably disposed towards the feathered folk to come to their assistance, to open a soup-kitchen, or its equivalent, for the starving and unemployed. Restrict not the dole to crumbs—all too Spartan fare—but with kitchen-scraps of every kind, shreds of meat, potatoes, suet—even if a few raisins and kernels of nuts chopped fine be considered too lavish an addition—we may prepare a banquet worthy of the attention of an avian Lucullus. There is no need to spread the invitation; a crowd will be waiting every day at the wonted hour. Nor must we forget a pan of tepid water, for in times of frost birds often suffer as much from thirst as from hunger. And right well are we repaid for our trouble by the amusement which the bird-table affords, and by the traits and eccentricities of the various guests. The robin at these