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and lichens, lined with feathers, with a small hole near the top; sometimes it has a second entrance door. Some nests have been found with sixteen eggs in them, and the young birds seem quite to distend their house by their movements. The Long-tailed Titmice are continually flitting about among bushes and trees during the day, and towards evening gather themselves into a compact mass, fighting for the inmost place, till they have established themselves for the night.
There are several species of these birds known in England, so called from their curious habit of jerking their tails while running along the ground. The PIED WAGTAIL (Motacilla Yarrellii) is constantly to be seen in the neighbourhood of a pond or brook, and Mr. Yarrell says it is a clever fisher, and snaps up the smaller minnows and fry when they come to the surface. It often runs about on the ground near horses and cattle at pasture, pecking at the insects which they disturb, and follows the ploughman in order to pick up the grubs turned up by the plough. It is a very pretty bird, and is so merry and lively, and so amusing in its rapid movements and darting flights, that several people have tried to keep it in confinement, and it is said to do very well in an aviary, especially if reared from the nest, when it may be taught to fly in and out of it, and to catch insects for itself. It must be fed upon ants' eggs, mealworms, and various insects, and will learn to eat the Nightingale's paste, and is fond of bread and meat occasionally. In winter it will often come close to the house, to pick up crumbs or other scraps, or perhaps the insects attracted to them; but in summer it generally frequents the banks of streams and ditches, and feeds a good deal upon aquatic insects. The country people often call it the “ Dish-washer," from its love of water, and the “Washerwoman," its habit of beating its tail on the ground resembling the process of beating the linen by the river-side, common in countries where the washing is done by the side of rivers and streams. The Pied Wagtail has a sweet and varied song, but does not sing so loudly as the GREY WAGTAIL (Motacilla campestris), or so sweetly as the YELLOW WAGTAIL (M. flava or sulphurea), sometimes called RAY'S WAGTAIL. The former is a very pretty bird, more slender and with a longer tail than the Pied Wagtail. It is grey, with a black throat and chin, black and white tail and wings, and the under part of the body is of a bright yellow, but during the winter months this colour fades into a very pale yellow, and the black on the throat becomes yellowish-white. This bird remains all the winter in the south of England, but is said to migrate from the northern counties. It is not such a familiar bird as the Pied Wagtail, but is said to have a peculiar fancy for flying against windows and pecking at the glass, either attracted by the flies crawling up the panes, or to see their own image reflected in it, which would seem most likely: many birds delight in the small mirrors which are sometimes placed in an aviary. The young birds may be reared on ants' eggs, and bread soaked in milk, and are very fond of hard-boiled egg, which, mixed with Nightingale's paste, should be the food of the adult birds. The Yellow Wagtail may be treated in the same manner. It is only a summer visitor to this country, and is known in some parts as the “ Oat-seed bird,” because it generally resorts to fields in which oats are grown, on its arrival in England; but it is wholly an insectivorous bird, and, with its relatives, renders us great service by its destruction of noxious insects.
Appear to be a link between the Wagtails and the Larks. They resemble the former in the movement of their tails, but their plumage is more of the colour of the Larks', and some of them have their long hind claws. There are three species of Pipits, called the MEADOW PIPIT, TREE PIPIT, and Rock or SHORE Pipit. The MEADOW PIPIT (Anthus pratensis), called also the “Titlark,” “Titling,” “Song-bird,” and “Moss Cheeper," is very common in stubble and turnip-fields, and will run about the sheep feeding in the latter, and pick up the insects and worms, They are gregarious birds, assembling in flocks, and roosting together on the ground at night. The female is said to cover her nest, which is generally on the ground, with dead grasses, when she leaves the eggs or young. This bird has a feeble plaintive song, and sings on the wing, but on the descent, instead of in ascending, as the Lark does.
The TREE PIPIT (Anthus arboreus) is a much better songster, and sings in a curious manner, rising from the topmost twig of a tree and fluttering onwards as it sings. It has a short hind claw.
Both these birds are kept in cages and aviaries. They feed chiefly on insects, grasshoppers, beetles, and small caterpillars, but seeds are sometimes found in their crops. They require a varied diet in confinement-mealworms, ants' eggs, the Nightingale's paste, crushed hemp-seed, etc. The Tree Pipit is the more delicate of the two, but both birds are subject to atrophy, and require great care and very nourishing food during the moulting season.
At other times, too, their feathers are apt to fall off. The young birds may be reared on ts' eggs and bread soaked in milk. They are very docile, and will learn to imitate the
songs of other birds. They are very clean birds, and require plenty of water for bathing.
The Rock or SHORE PIPIT (Anthus petrosus), sometimes called the Mudlark and Dusky Lark, is a common bird on the southern shores of England, feeding chiefly on aquatic insects and small shell-fish. It is a very sprightly bird, and has a very sweet musical song. Bechstein says it may be treated like the other Pipits, but it is not easily accustomed to the food of the aviary, He recommends a cage of the same description as that recommended for the true Larks, only with two perches in it, as most suitable for the Pipits.
The SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis).--I have had some doubt whether I should include this bird in my notices of cage birds, because I am unwilling even to think of him in imprisonment: his whole nature so unfits him for cage life, and his instinctive desire to soar into the air while singing is so great, that, if kept in a cage with a wooden top, he often hurts himself seriously by springing up against it. As, however, Skylarks are frequently caught and sold by bird-catchers, and occasionally a nest-full of young birds comes into the possession of those who are anxious to make them happy, it may be well to give some directions for making prison life less intolerable to them. And, first, the Skylark must have a roomy cage, long enough to allow him a run, the longer the better, and moderately high; the roof of the cage must be of green baize or cloth, and the back should be boarded. It should be without perches, and the floor must be covered with red gravelly sand and powdered chalk, with old mortar bruised. This he delights
to roll in and dust himself with. He should have a freshcut piece of turf every day if possible, or at least three times a week; this may be kept fresh by watering it and putting it in a saucer. The food and water should be put outside of the cage. The young nestlings are very difficult to rear: they should be old enough to have their tail-feathers nearly an inch long, before they are taken from the nest. The young males are nearly yellow, and the females greyish-brown. They must be fed from the early morning till it is dark at night, once in two hours, with scalded crumbs of bread, scalded rape-seed and crushed hemp-seed, and ants' cggs. When old enough to feed themselves, the yolk of egg hard-boiled and mixed with grated bread crumbs should be their chief diet, varied with a mealworm every day, ants' eggs, German paste, sponge cake, a little lean meat now and then, watercresses, lettuce, and cabbage. In a wild state the Skylark feeds on insects, seeds, and oats. The young birds should not be placed in the room with other birds when they begin to sing, or they will take their notes. They sing best in a cage, and this should be placed in the open air on every sunny, warm day, so that they may have plenty of fresh air. They are apt to get their feet dirty and clogged with hair, wool, or any loose substance of the kind in which they can entangle their long claws, if allowed to range the room or aviary; and if they are not very carefully cleansed, they will become lame or lose their claws. Larks are subject to all the ailments to which tame birds are liable, and especially to diarrhea, for which they should have some saffron put into the water-glass, and a little grated Cheshire cheese, old and dry, mixed with their food; or a little ground rice may be given them, and now and then a small spider. The Skylark has one malady peculiar to it: the skin at the root of the beak becomes yellow and scabby, and for this it should have cooling food - watercress or lettuce, and ants' eggs and mealworms.