18 JULY 1931, Page 14

In Warwick, though the deed was not done there, I

saw an unusual example of the restless activity of the grey squirrel. One animal was watched by an ardent forester peeling a fir tree ; and in two mornings completely bared about twelve feet of the trunk. He acted in this instance, it would seem, " merely for wantonness." The bark was little good to him, though he may have thought of using some of it for his nest, and on occasion a good deal of bark is peeled by squirrels for the sake of the tasty dampness underneath. I once saw jackdaws (in the gardens of New College, Oxford) peeling off immense strips of bark from, I think, the lime trees. They were busy gathering nesting sticks but most of the bark was wasted, so far as I could see, and the birds appeared to enjoy the new game they had discovered. They are, indeed, distinguished among birds for the same sort of half-aimless curiosity and morbid restlessness that marks the squirrel family, whether grey or brown, though more destructively in the grey than the brown. On the subject of the squirrel, which is a favourite in town and suburb, Birmingham has decided to extinguish its squirrel population on behalf of the birds.

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