12 SEPTEMBER 1940, Page 14

Fewer Birds From an eminent scholar comes to me an

ode, in Latin alcaics, on Daedalus, and a query about birds. The air-raids suggested the ode, and the continued brilliance of the rowan berries the question. The berries have usually been devoured long before this date by starlings. This year there are no starlings to speak of and the fruit remains untouched. There is perhaps some evidence that these birds, especially in the North, whence many immigrants come, suffered severely from the frosts of last winter. " Murmurations of stares," in the idiom insisted upon by the great Juliana of St. Albans, are fewer and smaller than usual. They will not be missed, at any rate by those who provide bird-tables.