2 JANUARY 1932, Page 18

Among many instances of a bird's absence of fear of

men a soldier (who possesses a marvellous store of personal obser- vation) has two instances of birds seeking protection among his men. In the barrack square at Athlone, where the men were doing the old " standing gun drill," a sparrow taking refuge front a sparrow hawk dived into one of the field guns ; and the hawk had to be beaten off by the men before it would give up the hunt. On another occasion, after a fall of snow, a woodcock took shelter among the field guns in the shed and sat so close that the gunner officer could have touched him with the hand. Whether it was pursued, and by what enemy, was not ascertained ; but the experience shares the attributes common to such tales : the bird for the time being cast off all

fear of man. There is perhaps little natural shyness. Were not recent visitors to the Galapagos islands of the Pacific able to distinguish the native from the immigrant birds by their relative friendliness ? The natives, previously un- acquainted with men, were as tame as those who had experience of man in America were shy. What a rebuke is there

W. BE car Thomas.