4 MARCH 1949, Page 20

A Land of Hawks How different the population of birds

in different parts of England! During a whole fortnight spent in the Cumberland Lakes some of us saw exactly four sorts of birds, after leaving the gulls and jackdaws of the coast: to wit a buzzard, a sparrow-hawk, a heron and a blackbird. Besides, the slate-pencil note of a great tit was heard ; it was the only song, so called. A peregrine also was reported. In migrant or im- migrant times birds and song are plentiful enough ; but there are, I should say, iotervals when some districts are almost deserted by the smaller fowl—though doubtless this particular experience was unlucky. It is possible that the prevalence of hawks is in some measure the cause of the paucity of small birds. It is almost certainly the cause of the extinction of the grouse, once fairly numerous.