1 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 18

A Question of Wagtils What happens to the wagtails that

are apt to desert our lawns and gardens in autumn? One observer who has kept records notes that they usually disappear for about a month. In his garden a brood of four was successfully reared last year in a flower-pot, but after their temporary disappearance and return they were routed by a stiff December frost, one was killed, and the rest did not return. Wagtails, I think, though this is not their reputation, are apt to follow the example of linnets and finches, and many other non-migratory birds, and change their quarters by a comparatively short distance, after the young have reached full strength. They will on occasion roost together in considerable numbers in warm tussocks of grass. One such company was discovered in Merrion Square in Dublin. One oddity of habit that has puzzled many people is that they seem to isolate their young. How very often one sees a hen feeding one youngster and one only, though the family is known to consist of at least four.