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THE GARDEN WARBLER.
TO those who are unacquainted with the bird, the Garden Warbler may be best described as equal in size to the female Blackcap, resembling it in colour without the chestnut crown, having the belly pure white instead of greyish white, and the legs lighter in colour. It appears much later than the Blackcap, seldom arriving before the end of April. Both sexes are alike in outward appearance; but it has been ascertained, by careful observers who have dissected the birds, that the males invariably arrive in this country before the females. Pennant, Montagu, and other old authors, called this bird the Greater Pettychaps, while they bestowed the name of Lesser Pettychaps—presumably from its resemblance in miniature—upon the Chiffchaff.
Throughout England the Garden Warbler appears to be pretty generally distributed. Mr. A. G. More, however, in his essay on the Distribution of Birds in Great Britain during the nesting season (" Ibis," 1865, p. 25), speaks of it as scarce in Cornwall and Pembrokeshire, and absent from Wales. Mr. Rodd, on the other hand, characterizes the Garden Warbler as a summer visitant to East Cornwall, and says it "breeds annually in the woods at Trebartha, in North Hill, from whence specimens of its nest and eggs have been received."' He adds also that it has once been met with near Penzance; and that in the autumn of 1849 several specimens were obtained from Scilly. Dr. Bullmore, in his "Cornish Fauna" (p. 17), confirms Mr. Rodd's statement that it is a summer visitant to East Cornwall.
1 See " List of British Birds, as a Guide to the Ornithology of Cornwall," 2nd edition, 1869, p. 15.
It will be remarkable if this bird is not found to be common in some parts of Wales, since it not only occurs in Ireland, but is not nearly so scarce there as the observations of Mr. Thompson would lead us to suppose. In his "Natural History of Ireland" (Birds, vol. i. p. 185), this naturalist refers to the Garden Warbler as extremely rare in Ireland, and notices its occurrence only in the counties of Cork and Tipperary. If I mistake not, Mr. Blake-Knox has met with it in the county of Dublin; I have myself observed it in Wicklow; and Sir Victor Brooke has lately assured me that in the county of Fermanagh, about Lough Erne, it is common in summer, and nests regularly in the neighbourhood of Castle Caldwell, to the northwest of that county. In the same neighbourhood, he added, the Blackcap is unknown. When we remember the number of naturalists with whom Mr. Thompson was in correspondence in all parts of Ireland, it is singular that so few of them should have been able to report the presence of this bird in their respective districts. I have already referred to the changes which have taken place in the local distribution of many species of birds within the last twenty or thirty years, and there is no reason for doubting that the statements published by Mr. Thompson in 1849, and the observations of naturalists of the present day, are both perfectly correct, and that the Garden Warbler, like many other birds, is now common in localities where formerly it was unknown. The number of resident naturalists in Wales is very small as compared with England; nevertheless, it is to be hoped that those who have the opportunity will examine into the truth of the alleged absence from Wales of this bird, and publish the result of their investigations.
The limit of the Garden Warbler's range northwards in the British Islands has not been satisfactorily ascertained. That it is found in many parts of the south of Scotland we know from the observations of Macgillivray and the late Sir William jardine; but we have yet to learn whether it penetrates to the Highlands or visits the Hebrides. According to Selby, it is found throughout the greater part of Scotland; but Mr. Robert Gray, in his recently published "Birds of the West of Scotland," is disposed to think that it is not commonly distributed. It is, as he says, very difficult to judge of the comparative numbers of so shy a bird, as it is even less frequently noticed, save by the patient observer, than some other species of greater rarity. "In the sheltered and wooded districts of the midland and southern counties," he adds, "it is one of the most attractive songsters, tuning its loud and gleeful pipe on the top of some fruit tree an hour or two after daybreak, and again about the dusk of the evening. These love notes, however, are not of long continuance, for the bird becomes silent after the young are hatched, unless a second brood is reared, when the same wild yet mellow black