11 FEBRUARY 1938, Page 17

International Birds Of course, the question is not chiefly insular

; and the great decrease in duck, of most sorts, is attributed in no small measure to the great efficiency of the duck decoys abroad, especially in Holland. At one time the decoy was very popular in England and very effective. Today the few that remain are used rather for the sake of the study of birds than for the size of the catch. One near Peterborough is still in partial use ; and another at Abbotsbury, which is by way of being a sanctuary. It is perhaps the most attractive haunt of birds within Britain, even if we include Hickling Broad. There are the thousand swans which nest there, as swans in like number have nested for at least four hundred years. The terns or sea swallows enjoy the conditions they most appreciate ; they like " one foot on sea and one on shore " ; and you may watch them fly in from the unseen sea on the yon side of the Chesil Bank and wash in the soft waters of the lagoon. The inner lagoon is beloved of duck and very great numbers could be trapped in the ingenious arm of the decoy. In general perhaps there is a greater advance in preservation in England than in destruction ; and numbers must be preserved by the great water reservoirs, such as Staines where the lake is dark with flocks of wigeon. We must do our small bit by a stricter close season and for the rest urge international co-operation.