Page:VCH Warwickshire 1.djvu/234

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

A HISTORY OF WARWICKSHIRE 67. Corn-Bunting. Emberiza mi/iana. Linn. A common though not by any means an abundant bird. Formerly it used to frequent fields of vetches, in which the nest was often placed ; but of late years, since fewer vetches have been planted, the nest is more frequently found in coarse herbage of any kind, but not often in the bottoms of hedges. 68. Yellow Hammer. Emberiza citrine/la, Linn. An abundant and resident bird. 69. Cirl Bunting. Emberiza cir/us, Linn. A very locally distributed bird even within the limits of the county, but nevertheless a resident one. It appears to be most frequent in some parts of the valley of the Avon, for in- stance near Stratford, while at Leamington, as I learn from Mr. Peter Spicer, it is of rare occurrence, only two having come into his hands during a period of more than twenty years. Although recorded by Mr. Aplin as occurring near Banbury there is no evidence of its presence in the near part of Warwick- shire. Around Birmingham and in the Tarn- worth district it is unknown. 70. Reed-Bunting. Emberiza schaenic/us, Linn. A resident bird, frequenting the sides of streams or pools. 7 1 . Snow - Bunting. Plectrophenax nivalis (Linn.) A rare winter straggler. One is recorded from Harborne near Birmingham, and Mr. T. Ground informs me of one that appeared at Haywood near that city in the winter of 1894-5. Near Stratford the snow-bunting has appeared on two or three occasions, always in the winter. 72. Starling. Sturnus vu/garis, Linn. Mr. O. V. Aplin, speaking of the starling as an Oxfordshire bird, says, 'An abundant and increasing resident,' which is precisely what may be said of it as a Warwickshire bird. Towards the end of summer great flocks visit the bean fields and feed on the aphides which sometimes abound there. 73. Rose-coloured Starling. Pastor roseus (Linn.) A male in nearly adult plumage was shot in a cherry orchard at Barton in the parish of Bidford in the summer of 1854 by a man engaged in keeping birds from the ripening cherries. A second, an adult male, which had been shot somewhere near that town, was brought to Mr. Hunt of Alcester for preservation. 196 74. Jay. Garrulus glandarius (Linn.) A common resident, frequenting woods and coppices. 75. Jackdaw. Corvus monedula, Linn. Common and resident wherever there are suitable nesting places. Three broods are sometimes reared by the same pair of birds, as the writer has determined by the observa- tion of a nest in the hole of a tree on his premises. Such was the case in the summer of 1900. 76. Magpie. Pica rustica (Scopoli) Much less abundant throughout the whole of the county than formerly. The nest of the magpie is well worth careful examination. Dead but not decayed thorns are largely, indeed almost exclusively, made use of as material, and they are so well put together that even when in the very top of a tall tree in an exposed place the nest is rarely if ever blown out. Fine flexible roots constitute its lining.

77. Raven. Corvus corax, Linn. It is many years since the raven last nested in Warwickshire or even made its appearance there. Between thirty and forty years ago the Rev. W. T. Bree of Allesley near Coventry, then a man advanced in years, informed the writer that he remembered the raven breeding in that neighbourhood in the early part of his life, but that no nests had been known for many years. An aged native of Snitterfield often spoke to the writer of the nesting of the raven in his boyhood in some great elms near that place, which he said had years before disappeared from age, hurricanes or the axe. Within the memory of the present writer the raven was an occasional visitor to the county, and it was no uncommon thing to see one or perhaps a pair pass over and betray their presence by their croaking. On one occasion the remains of one were seen nailed to the gable of a building with other so-called vermin at Coughton Court, the residence ot the Throckmorton family. In 1841 a raven frequented a rickyard at Clopton near Strat ford-on-Avon, where it fed on dead rats, which had been trapped in a rickyard and thrown out into an adjacent field. A raven which was shot by the keeper in the park at Warwick Castle some time in the ' fifties ' is now in the writer's collection. 78. Carrion-Crow. Corvus corone, Linn. The numbers of this handsome bird a miniature raven have greatly decreased with- in the last twenty or thirty years except in a