29 OCTOBER 1937, Page 17

Increasing Birds In the annals of our game few derails

are more remarkable than the re-emergence of these birds. They were very common in old days when men shot over dogs, but diminished very rapidly when driving became the common habit. The reasons were obvious. They flew straighter, slower and by ones and twos or threes. Many an indifferent shot has gone home delighted at his unusual prowess when he has been lucky enough to have a good proportion of French birds for his target. Driving is now almost universal; and yet in some districts the French birds now considerably out- number the English. This predominance is very strongly marked in the neighbourhood of Sandy in Bedfordshire and near Royston in Cambridge and Hertfordshire. The chief reason probably is that they are singularly immune to the disease that this year has played havoc with the English coveys in Cambridgeshire and some other districts. The old belief that the French species was more pugnacious than the English and drove it off the ground has been quite shattered by the research students of the I.C.I. The English cock is much the more aggressive of the two.