| Birds of the Air|
|by Arabella Buckley|
|Fourth volume in the Eyes and No Eyes series, introduces the youthful reader to bird life, beginning with birds of home and garden and ending with water birds and birds of prey. Children learn how to identify birds, why birds sing songs, how they build nests, lay eggs, and raise their young, where they sleep, and how they feed in summer, migrate in autumn, and survive the winter. Eight color illustrations and numerous black and white drawings complement the text. 5.5 x 8.5 inches. Ages 8-10 |
MIGRATING IN AUTUMN
WHEN the summer is over, there is not so much food for the
birds, and some begin to go away. Those which live on
flying insects go first. The cuckoo is generally gone
by the end of July. The swifts start off in August,
and about the middle of September the swallows begin to
find very few flies, gnats, or moths, and get ready for
their long journey.
If you keep a sharp look-out you may see the Swallows
and Martins collecting, about the 15th of September, on
some church tower, or perhaps on the roof of a barn,
and flying off together to roost in the trees. This
they never do in the summer. Then they sleep on the
rafters of some barn, or under the eaves of a roof,
always keeping near buildings. But before they fly
away for the winter they gather together in the trees,
or on the willows in the osier beds.
MARTIN; AND SWALLOW FEEDING HER YOUNG.
Then some morning very early they all
dis-  appear. They have started to fly steadily in large
flocks, for hundreds of miles, to Africa, where they
will have warm weather, and insects to eat, all the
winter. You will not see them again till next April.
FLIGHT OF SWALLOWS.
The little Fly-catchers and the Nightingales go away
about the same time as the swallows, and the
Chiff-chaff goes in October. Some of the Wagtails and
Robins go too, but not nearly all.
 A great many birds shift from place to place in England
during the autumn, for food begins to be scarce, and
they wander in search of it. Many thrushes and
redwings come to us from Norway and Germany, and
robins, finches, and other birds come from the north of
England to the south. They leave the cold moors and
mountains of Cumberland and Yorkshire to feed in
Hampshire and Devonshire, where they can find more
berries, such as hips and haws, holly-berries,
juniper-berries, sloes, and the red berries of the
mountain ash. So if you live in the south of England,
you may see more robins, thrushes, chaffinches, and
yellow-hammers in the winter than you did in the
You will find it very interesting to watch for the
different birds, and see when they come and go, and
whether you see many or few of any one kind.
You will notice that in winter the little birds move
about in flocks, instead of alone, or in pairs, as they
do in the summer, when they have their nests and
families. In November you will see a great many larks
together. The cock-chaffinches sometimes fly in one
flock, and the hen-chaffinches in another. The
Finches, too, fly in parties; yellow-hammers,
greenfinches, and goldfinches all together. They hunt
about for seeds, and sleep on the ground, or in the ivy
bushes. But the Bullfinches, with their lovely
blue-black wings and bright red breasts, keep together
in small flocks, flying in a line one after the other
along the hedges.
These flocks of different birds flit about from
 one field to another, keeping together, and scattering
over one place at a time, looking for food.
When many of our summer birds have gone to the sunny
south, other birds come to us from still colder
countries. The Fieldfares fly over from Norway and
Sweden. You may see them, in parties of about forty or
fifty, wheeling round in the air, and settling down on
a field to look for grubs and seeds. They are pretty
grey birds with brown-red wings and buff speckled
breasts. But you cannot often get near enough to see
them, for they are very shy. If they hear a noise they
are off in a moment, and over the hedge into the next
field, where they drop down again to feed. They sleep
on the ground; and go back to Norway to build their
nests in the spring.
A great many Starlings come from Norway and Germany in
the winter, and join those which live with us always.
They often fly about with the rooks, but sometimes in
flocks by themselves peeking in the fields and
chattering one to another.
So when the song-birds are silent in the winter, you
can look out for all these other birds and find out
where they feed and sleep; when you first see them
come, and when you see the last one go. But the thrush
and the robin will sing all the year through, when the
weather is mild.
Make a list of summer birds which you do not see in
the winter. Make a list of winter birds which go away
in the spring. Make another list of birds you see all
the year round.
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