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streak passing from the bill through the eye and ear coverts, the back reddish chestnut, chin white, under parts pale salmon colour, and the wings and tail black, the latter broadly marked with white at the base.
The hen bird is much plainer in appearance, being of a dull and somewhat mottled brown above, and buffy white beneath, with crescentic brown markings on the breast and flanks.
The bill in both is short and thick, the upper mandible hooked at the point and prominently notched or toothed, as in a hawk. The feet are strong, with sharp and curved claws, and well adapted for seizing and holding a struggling prey.
Both birds assist in the construction of the nest, which is a substantial well-built structure of twigs, dry grass, and moss, lined with fibrous roots and horsehair, and is usually placed at some height from the ground in the middle of a whitethorn bush, or thick hedgerow. The eggs, five and sometimes six in number, vary a good deal in colour, being yellowish or greyish
white with lilac or pale brown markings disposed in a zone at the larger end, or pale salmon colour, with dull red markings distributed in the same way.
The distribution of this bird in the British Islands is very partial, for it is unknown in Ireland, of rare occurrence in Scotland, and in England is found chiefly in the midland and southern counties. During the summer months it is generally dispersed throughout Europe and the temperate parts of Siberia, and as autumn approaches, it crosses the Mediterranean into Africa, where it travels down the east coast through Egypt, Nubia, and Abyssinia, to Natal, and on the west coast has been met with in Great Namaqua Land, Damara Land, and the Okavango region, where, according to Andersson, it breeds.
Breeding in its winter quarters ? Well, that is the question. Can the birds which Andersson found nesting in South-west Africa in our
1 * The Birds of Damara Land,” p. 136.
winter, have been the same birds which reared a brood in Europe the previous summer ? He says it is migratory in Damara Land. Is the same species, then, found on both sides of the equator, migrating north and south on both sides of it, but never crossing it?
The late Mr. Blyth thought that, with one exception, our summer migratory birds do not breed in their winter quarters, but from what has been recorded of the Swallow, the Sandmartin, the Wryneck, the Turtle-Dove and the present species, there seems room to doubt the correctness of this view. · Another species of Shrike, the Woodchat (Lanius rutilus), has been met with in this country during the summer months, and has been reported even to have nested here. It is of extremely rare occurrence, however, and cannot with propriety be included, at least for the present, amongst our annual summer migrants.
(Turtur auritus.) AMIDST the general harmony of the grove
in spring, there are few prettier sounds than the gentle cooing of the Turtle-Dove. Perched upon a bough at no great height from the ground, it pours forth its soft murmurings with a delightful crescendo and diminuendo, while close at hand, upon a mere frame-work of a nest, the mate sits brooding upon her two milk-white Arriving in this country towards the end of April or beginning of May, the Turtle-Dove is seen only in pairs until the young are able to fly. Young and old then unite in flocks, and ten or a dozen may often be found together in the pea-fields and on the stubble, where they pick up the fallen grain. They are very partial also to vetches, rape, and wild mustard, and do some service to farmers by ridding the cultivated lands of the seeds of numerous weeds, such as the Corn Spurrey (Spergula arvensis), which is common in corn-fields, and the Silver-weed (Potentilla anserina), which they find upon the fallows.
When Partridge shooting in September I have frequently found Turtle-Doves feeding amongst the root crops as well as on the bare stubble, but notwithstanding the cover afforded by the turnip-leaves I have generally found them so exceedingly wary, that it required a good deal of manæuvring before I could get a sufficient number to make a pie. In point of flavour, and of course in size, they are not to be