20 JANUARY 1950, Page 18


WHEN the weather is warm in January, when the prunus, viburnum and iris are in flower, when thrush, tit, robin and hedge-sparrow sing gaily, when .rooks obviously pair and begin to build, when in general the winter world enjoys " that spring feeling "—then the birds and per- haps bees are often most surely in want of food. The new vitality is not answered by a corresponding increase in food. At the slightest frost the worms go down, and there is no grub to take their place. In a cold winter birds are more or less in the same case as hibernators— they can live to some. extent on their own fat—but that spring feeling entails greater consumption, so "feed the birds" is a not less urgent imperative on behalf, at any rate, of the more carnivorous, such as the robin. An exception is the partridge, which has learnt to live on salad at this season ; but few birds are more certainly moved to early pairing by warm weather. Shooting should cease long before February 1st in an open winter.