Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 3 (1899).djvu/51

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Climbing Powers of the Long-tailed Field Mouse.— During autumn and early winter Long-tailed Field Mice (Mus sylvaticus) eat the kernels of wild rose seeds in large numbers. To obtain the hips, the Mice climb among the briers, often travelling to the extremities of slender twigs in order to reach the fruit. The hips are nipped off with about a quarter of an inch of stalk attached, and if there be a bird's nest within easy reach are invariably taken to it. A search in the leafless hedgerows will result in the finding of many nests which the Mice have used. A Thrush's or Blackbird's is perhaps the favourite, but, failing this, a Hedge-Sparrow's or Greenfinch's, or even the fragile structure of a Whitethroat will serve. The Mice do not eat the fruit itself, but extract the seeds through a hole nibbled in the side, and, gnawing these with their chisel-like teeth, obtain the kernels. The empty seeds are left with the red pulp of the fruit, and I have seen piled up in a Thrush's nest as much of this débris as would fill a quart measure. In the neighbourhood of Alderley Edge I trapped several Longtailed Field Mice in birds' nests last November—one of them in a Greenfinch's nest more than seven feet from the ground. The stomachs of those I examined were filled with a whitish mass of finely comminuted kernels, one containing in addition a small fragment of red fruit. It would appear that birds' nests are resorted to not merely on account of their convenient proximity to the growing fruit, for husks of acorns which must have been carried from the ground are sometimes present among the hips. A further reason may be that the Mice, when feeding in the nests, are comparatively secure from the attacks of their many enemies. —Charles Oldham (Alderley Edge).


Flock of Crossbills at Yeovil, Somerset.—I received on Dec. 17th, from Mr. E. Little, gun manufacturer, of Yeovil, six Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra), shot from a large flock on Dec. 15th by a local farmer. Three of them were too much damaged to allow of preservation. —Stanley Lewis (Wells, Somerset).