25 MAY 1956, Page 38


Birds with leg injuries are a not uncommon sight. I had just been reading about a pheasant that was found to have survived in a wild state with both its feet off, when I came upon a blackbird feeding on a neighbour's lawn. It had a very badly mutilated foot and the joints of the leg were rigid, so that picking worms was a rather difficult business. The damaged leg never touched the grass and the bird hopped along with the foot sticking out in front like a pointer. I noticed that it was a most wary blackbird. No doubt it had been stalked on many occasions by cats. When it took off it did so without any difficulty, the position of the leg being unchanged. I was interested to sec that the bird was in first-class condition and that before it took off it made a pugnacious advance on another blackbird attempting to prospect the lawn for worms.