10 MAY 1935, Page 23

The Eccentric Thrush

The robin, with its passion for building in kettles, gate-posts, the pockets of ancient smocks, letter boxes, and such odd places, has generally been considered the most eccentric of common nesters. But more and closer observation, especially

this year, is beginning to convince me that the thrush is a far more amusing and irresponsible builder. Within a radius of two fields from my own house I have discovered thrushes building in situations which make the robins' kettle seem altogether tame and prosaic. In my own garden a thrush has built on a precarious ledge inside the trunk of a willow tree, on bark and fibre that crumbles at a touch ; in the lane another has nested in a stack of hurdles and another in a mud bank, virtually on the ground ; lower down the lane, and over in It field, stands a forgotten muck-fork, and a thrush has eggs in the cup-shape of the handle ; lower still there is one blue egg in a nest that sits in a bucket as though it had been set there by hand ; and across the fields again, in a disused Ford, still another thrush has built on the crest of

the flat back tyre, under the mud-guard. The thrush and the robin, however, have one notable characteristic in common : as nesters they are both extremely courageous. They sit with fearless immobility. They return one's stare with a bold bright- ness of eye that is wonderfully fascinating. They have none of the excited squawking of the blackbird or the mad volatility of the starling.