16 APRIL 1932, Page 15

I was lucky enough to sec the birds and the

building opera- tions this week ; and the quaint precision of the spectacle is worth some description. The cock is a fine fellow, especially in spring when (in spite of his change from one Antipodes to the other) he develops gorgeous patches of colour about his head, just as if he were a native pigeon with his" livelier iris" or"the wanton lapwing" with his second crest. He has the energy and in some measure the habit of the jenny wren. That is to say he is an inveterate, irrepressible nest-builder and relieves the hen of all trouble and responsibility. His methods are rather rough and wholesale. He makes the furnace for the eggs, as the rabbit makeshis hole, by scratching. The method is the old-fashioned haymaker's. The leaves and stuff are raked up and then vehemently scratched towards the heap or stack by successive journeys to and fro, On one side of the heap, for fifteen yards and more, the ground looks as if some active gardener had been at work with a small tooth rake ; and the mound of cleared material looks very much like the riffibishheap collected in a decent ly obscure corner by most human gardeners. It is as large a heap as a suburban gardener would be likely to gather if he left not a single leaf or atom of rubbish lying about. To be quite precise, for careful measurements have been taken, it is thirty-three feet in eir. eumference at the base and almost exactly u yard high at the centre. It will be higher yet.

▪ * * *