19 OCTOBER 1929, Page 14


Personally and by correspondence I have made this autumn a sort of census of the population of partridges in widely separated districts ; and some of the results seem to me curious. Generally speaking, it may be accepted as a mar- vellous year : coveys are numerous and very big. For example, on one Hampshire shoot the host shot sixty-three birds to his own gun in one drive. On the other hand, here and there on _very open land where there is a scarcity of cover partridges are almost non-existent. In one such district it is as good as proved that the nests were raided by magpies, probably the most destructive of all birds. But partridges and pheasants especially suffered this where there was little cover beyond the hedge-'row. In one parish almost destitute of game, I watched hedge-rows regularly patrolled by foxes and owls (though I do not think• the owls did any harm). Several magpies' nests were built in the " bullfinch " hedges ; further, an inquisitive • terrier dis- covered a surprising number of hedgehogs in the ditches. What a wealth of furtive skill a ground-nesting bird must need to dodge all these prowlers, not to mention _stoats, weasels, and—worse still—rats ! W. BEACH TnomAs.