31 OCTOBER 1947, Page 17

Thirsty Birds

The dryness has had a surprising influence on the local migrations of birds. Many people in many parts of the country have noted the almost unprecedented absence of starlings ; and the reason probably is that these usually unwanted birds are among the ardent bathers ; certainly no other birds splash the bird-bath about so abundantly. The stares are one example only. Almost all the small birds have fled. For example: a confirmed feeder of birds in the neighbourhood of Tunbridge Wells, whose bird-tray is usually mobbed by finches and tits, has failed to attract any birds at all. On the other hand the room of our home birds has in places been filled at odd moments by drifting migrants and, surprisingly, these have been unusually tuneful. I do not remember to have heard so many almost spring-time notes from the warblers. As for the buntings, they always seem to hail dusty days and places with their plaintive dirges.