12 SEPTEMBER 1940, Page 14


Sensitive Ducks The manager of a home farm got into trouble because the ducks made so much noise that they kept the household awake! His apology was that the birds could not endure the searchlights. It was true. Not in one place, but in many, the ducks have protested violently, though other poultry have roosted quietly enough, and even that most sensitive of gallinaceous birds, the pheasant, has not responded to siren or searchlight as he is wont to answer an approaching thunder. storm. The duck, of course, is more nocturnal, or at least crepuscular than the fowl. In the wild state most of our ducks are mallards, which delight to fly at twilight and are then particularly restless. It seems to be a general opinion among those who have of late frequented the sea coast that the gulls show by their cackling that they have a fore- knowledge of the coming of many aeroplanes. They are conspicuous for long sight, but probably feel the approach of the many by a different, perhaps by a non-human sense ; or, if human, the sort of sense that is trained and evoked by piano-tuners only.