25 NOVEMBER 1932, Page 13


The history of the quail has recently been given some Publicity in the North African Press. Mr. R. E. Moreau con- tributed, in October, two learned and charming articles to the Egyptian Gazette ; but even he is not sure of the answer to his own question : "Where do quails go ? " They nest north of the Mediterranean, return south in the autumn, and winter presumably somewhere south of the Sahara, but details arc lacking ; and this is not a little surprising. The netting of quail, in a cornfield at harvest time, is depicted on a tomb of the Fifth Dynasty ; and the species has had more students than any other bird ever since. The ornithologists of the British Empire are the only people who can easily solve this question; and it is one of the Empire's titles to fame that its depth allows every sort of migration to be studied, so to say, at home. It is as much our duty to preserve the quail from modern nets as the wild beast of Kenya from the modern rifle and the motoring sportsman—if n, with all its worst implications, IS not a better word. It will be a slur on Egypt if something is not done, at any rate to regulate the business. The best waY perhaps would be to ordain certain corridor-sanctuaries ar coastal frontages where nets and traps would be totally forbidden. It will be as great a slur on European countries, if they are content, on behalf of a few gourmets to receive these loads of Maimed and living birds.