Page:Bird Life Throughout the Year (Salter, 1913).djvu/55

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



the early dawnings of an aesthetic appreciation of colour. But the snowdrops are sometimes ill-used in the same fashion, so that further data seem to be needed before we can reach a conclusion.

Bird-song gathers strength and volume as the month proceeds. The Blackbird, Chaffinch, and Skylark, whose voices were only occasionally heard in January, now come into full song. The blackbird's notes, quiet, leisurely and mellow, have none of the quick, eager change of phrase characteristic of the thrush, but we have known one individual to be constant to a curious variation, much like the piping of the ring ouzel. Many a dripping February morning is enlivened by the skylarks, which sing madly as the sun gets through the fog. The Yellow-hammers now begin to join in from the hedge-tops, and the Corn Bunting grinds out his monotonous refrain, like the jingling of a bunch of keys. Starlings collect in the tops of the elms and warble in concert. On sunny days the short, shrill song of the Tree Creeper is heard everywhere amongst the old timber, whence also comes the Nuthatch's loud spring whistle.

Meanwhile the Stonechat sings as he flits, all animation, about the tops of the furze, sometimes hovering for a moment like a whitethroat, then perching again as he scolds, with quick, nervous movement of wings and tail. In parts of the country where it occurs, the Woodlark flutes a soft, musical accompaniment to the