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THE WOODPECKER'S NEST
 WE were lying under the shade of the trees in the wood one
afternoon. All was very quiet, when suddenly we heard
such a strange cry. It was like someone laughing
"Yaffil, Yaffil, Yaffil." "That is the woodpecker,"
said Peggy. "Wait and see what he will do."
So we lay quite still under the tree. Soon the sound
came nearer, and a great heavy bird, bigger than a
large thrush, flew towards us. He was a beautiful bird.
His wings were green, and so was his breast. He had
yellow on his tail. His head was red, and he had a red
streak on his throat. His beak was long and grey.
WOODPECKERS: OLD COCK BIRD, BELOW; YOUNG FULLY-FLEDGED BIRD, ABOVE.
He came quite close to us, hopping along. Then he
stopped, and a long shining tongue came out of his
mouth, and went back so quickly that we could scarcely
"He is eating ants," said Peggy. "The tip of his tongue
is sticky and he draws them into his mouth."
Then he began to climb the tree so funnily. His tail is
quite stiff and wiry, and he bent it against the tree,
and pushed himself up, jump, jump, holding on with his
sharp hooked toes. He jumped first to the right, then
to the left. Then he ran round the tree and came out on
the other side.
 All the while he was trying the bark with his beak.
Tap, tap, tap. At last he found a soft spot. Then he
tore off the bark and ate the grubs, which had made the
tree rotten in that place. After this he came down the
It was so funny to see him. He came down backwards tail
first, using it to steady himself. Then he spread his
wings and flew slowly away.
We crept after him, and by-and-by he stopped at an old
elm tree and flew round it. Then we could see no more
"His nest must be in this tree," said Peter. "Give me a
back, Paul, and I will soon find it."
So Paul let Peter climb on his back till he could reach
the branches of the tree. Then Peter caught hold of the
boughs, and crept round the trunk.
"Here it is," he cried at last. "There is a small hole,
just big enough for a bird to creep in. But they have
made such a big hole inside the tree. I can only just
The Peter drew his hand back with the mother bird in
it. Her head was not so red as the father's, and she
had no red whiskers. He let her fly away and then
pulled out six white shining eggs.
 "I can feel a number of soft chips of wood at the
bottom of the hole," said he. "Shall I put the eggs
"Of course," said Paul; "then the mother will fly back
and sit on them, and we will come again and see the
little birds when they are hatched."
So we went away. But every day, as we came from school,
we turned aside to see if the little woodpeckers had
come out of their shells.
At last one day we saw the old woodpeckers carrying
insects into the hole. After some time we saw the young
birds out on the tree. They could not fly. But they ran
about the branches, and jumped so funnily with their
A WOODPECKER'S NEST.
 A week later we saw them flying about, and when we came
again they were all gone. Peter climbed up and found
the nest quite empty.