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Among British Birds in Their Nesting Haunts, Vol. 4

Among British Birds in Their Nesting Haunts, Vol. 4

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Excerpt from Among British Birds in Their Nesting Haunts, Vol. 4: Illustrated by the Camera

The Mistle Thrush sings throughout the winter, commencing in the early autumn after the young can take care Of themselves, and continuing till the breeding season commences in the following spring. Its song somewhat resembles that Of the Song Thrush and Blackbird, but is much louder and wilder in its refrain. Though rich and mellow in tone it is rather monotonous, but is very welcome, as it is heard at a season when most Of our songsters are silent. NO day seems too wild and stormy for the Mistle Thrush to sing; perched on some bare twig he pours forth his song in defiance Of the sleet and howling wind, probably receiving his name Of 'storm - cock' from this habit. The call-notes Of the Mistle Thrush are loud and harsh, and cannot be readily compared with those Of any other bird, though they resemble very slightly the chattering cry Of the Magpie.

Early in February the Mistle Thrushes pair, and Often frequent the vicinity of their nesting-site for weeks before they commence building Operations. They are very pugnacious at this season, and drive Off any unfortunate bird that comes too near their unfinished nest.

The Mistle Thrush is an early breeder, and rears two, sometimes even three, broods in the season. Its nest may be found on nearly all the forest trees, but is rarely, if ever, placed in a bush. Larch plantations, birch woods, and fruit-trees in plantations or orchards are favourite places, as also are single trees growing beside a road, and the nest is Often placed in some alder or mountain ash growing beside a stream, even among the moors. The nest is built at various heights from the ground - sometimes quite low down, at others among the topmost branches; it is seldom built among the twigs,and if the tree chosen be ivy-covered, the nest is almost certain to be built in some fork quite clear of the ivy.

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