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delayed in the very late spring of 1837. Its average arrival in the neighbourhood of Killaloe is said to take place in the first week of November;* about Wexford, at the end of October.t The redwing is stated to be more common than the fieldfare in Kerry; and in the north it likewise prevails numerically over that species. They often associate together: both were remarked by an observant friend to be unusally scarce in the north-east of Ireland and south-west of Scotland, in the winter of 1838-39. What has been said on the haunts and occasional migration of the fieldfare equally applies to the redwing. In the severe winter of 1813, these birds were so reduced about Youghal that several of both species were killed by my informant with a stick thrown from the hand. In the north, that winter was remarkably fatal to birds generally. I have never met with redwings roosting on the ground like fieldfares,, but instead, in hedge-rows and thick plantations. A favourite locality in which they in different years came under my observation, was a dense plantation of larch-firs of about fifteen years growth on a hill side, where their concerts, like those of grey-linnets, before going to roost were most agreeable. But' in the morning and forenoon likewise, during fine weather, chiefly towards the spring, a flock of redwings from a hedge or plantation will sometimes delight us with a most agreeable concert, and a single bird will occasionally utter a few melodious notes. A friend, who has frequently heard these notes at Cromac (Belfast), compares them to those of the grey-linnet [Fringilla cannabina), remarking at the same time, that they are always uttered in a low subdued tone. When we know that the melody of this species has obtained for it the name of the nightingale of Norway, J what is here mentioned should probably be regarded only as a mode of repeating its notes, called by birdfanciers "recording."
* Rev. T. Knox. t Mr. Poole.
% Mr. Hewitson who mentions its bearing this name remarks:—" In rour long rambles through the boundless forest scenery of Norway, or during our visits to some of its thousand isles, whether by night or by day, the loud, wild, and most delicious song of the redwing seldom failed to cheer us." Eggs Brit. Birds, p. 61. The same author informs us that "the nest of the redwing is placed, like those of the thrush and blackbird, in the centre of a thorn or other thick bush. It is similar to those of the blackbird, fieldfare, and ring ouzel." p. 62.
Of the stomachs of three redwings opened by me, one (in January) contained the remains of insects, two shells of HeUx cellaria, and one of H. radiata; two (in December) exhibited worms, vegetable food, chiefly bits of grass, remains of coleopterous insects, and several Limacelli; one had in addition two of the Buliwus lubricus, a Helix hispida, and three of H. rvfescens: some of these shells were perfect.
Turdus merula, Linn.
Is common and resident throughout the wooded districts of Ireland.
They likewise resort to the islands off the coasts. In the summer of 1827 I remarked them among the underwood sparingly scattered over the Lighthouse island (one of the Copelands), off the county of Down. Dr. J. D. Marshall mentions one or two being occasionally seen in the wild island of Eathlin, about a garden where they sometimes breed. The indigenous birds do not congregate with us, nor have I ever heard of flocks being seen in any part of this country on their migration from the north of Europe, as they have been in England.* They are indeed stated to be more numerous about Tralee (co. Kerry) in winter than in summer, but their comparative scarcity at the latter season is attributed to the want of woods and thickets wherein to build.
In the middle of June, I have heard the blackbird sing at Wolf-hill as early in the morning as a quarter past 2 o'clock. In 1832, it was noted as ceasing its song about the middle of June, soon after which time the thrush also ceased: so late as the 25th of July, 1845, the blackbird's song was heard near Belfast. Captain Walker of Belmont, Wexford, remarked in a letter to me, dated November, 1836, that "last year numbers of people went to Mr. Boxwell's of Lyngestown, to hear a blackbird in his shrubberies, that clapped his wings and crew like a bantam cock." In a letter from Edward Benn, Esq., dated Oakland, Broughshane (county of Antrim), August 31st, 1840, a bird possessed of the same ludicrous accomplishment, is thus noticed: "We have not yet done with our old friend the crowing blackbird. A man wishing to have some of his breed, robbed the nest, which contained four young; two he left, and the other two he put into a large cage, and removed to his house. The old cock came constantly with food for the young in the cage, going into it and feeding them; the man watching for such an opportunity, made a run at the cage and secured him, but when carrying it into the house, the bird made his escape through a hole in the wires. It was supposed he would not come back: he, however, returned to feed the young as usual; but instead of going into the cage, he went to the outside and put the worm through the wires. It may have been instinct that prompted him to find food for his young, though removed to a distance, and in an unusual place; but when he found there was danger in feeding them in the old way, it certainly showed calculation to find out a way of doing it equally well without running risk. It was also very curious to see him going to feed the young when any person was watching :—the cage was in a potato garden, and he would fly to the low end of the garden and creep up the furrow so that it was impossible to see him, until he had finished his duty, when he flew off with great noise. The hen never appeared, and it was supposed she had been killed. To all that is here stated, I was a witness, though not fortunate enough to hear him crow, as he entirely ceased early in summer."
* Selby's Illustr. of Brit. Orn. vol. i. p. 167, second edition.
A crowing blackbird is particularly noticed in the 4th volume of Loudon's Magazine of Natural History, p. 433.
The blackbird builds early in the north of Ireland, often commencing about the middle of March and occasionally sooner. In the unusually early spring of 1846, the following occurred in the neighbourhood of Belfast.* On the 22nd of February a nest with three eggs was seen; on the 1st of April, the young made their appearance in a nest at the Falls; on the 14th of this month a nest containing three young birds some time "out," was discovered at Cromac House. Three broods were produced in this nest, the last of which made their appearance on the 3rd of July. The three broods followed immediately after each other, and were all seen by Mr. J. E. Garrett, to whom the nest itself from first to last, did not seem in the least degree altered.t The nest is generally placed in low situations, J as in small shrubs, whitethorn hedges, among ivy on the stem of a tree or on a wall, &c: —the obvious difference between it and that of the thrush, as remarked by my friend at the Falls, is, the latter being lined with clay or cow-dung only, the former with grasses, &c, although either of the two substances just named is also used in its construction. Mr. Macgillivray describes the blackbird's nest very particularly (B. B. vol. ii. p. 90). This species, like the missel thrush, has the good taste, when an opportunity presents itself, of lining its nest with lace. A valuable piece of this material, which had been laid out to bleach in a garden at Larne, belonging to a lady of my acquaintance, was carried off, and the servant was blamed for the theft; but when winter came, the missing article was found lining a blackbird's nest. A correspondent mentions a nest of this species having for its foundation the nest of a ring-dove of the preceding year.
In the north of Ireland, blackbirds are very destructive to fruits of almost every kind; in many gardens around Belfast, even apples and pears suffer much from them: as they are likewise said to do in the county of Wexford. To the earlier fruits in a friend's garden near Belfast, these birds were so injurious in the summer of 1833, when they were particularly abundant, that he had recourse to the common rat-trap for their destruction. It was baited with currants, cherries, and early peas; and although exposed to view,* forty of these birds soon fell victims to it, three thrushes at the same time sharing a similar fate. When a cherry and pear were placed on the trap, the former was always preferred. All of these birds but one were caught by the neck, thus proving that they were secured when in the act of pecking at the fruit.
* A brief " Comparison of the Periods of Flowering of certain Plants in the early spring of 1846, in the Botanic Garden of Belfast, and the Jardin des Plantes at Paris," drawn up by the author, will be found in the 19th volume of the Annals of Natural History, p. 223-226.
t My informant surmised that the first and secondbroods had, on leaving the nest, fallen victims to cats, which were in the habit of visiting the locality.
% Professor Wilson is aware of this, and treating of the bird in his own eloquent manner, places the nest at the foot of a silver fir, from the top of which the male pours forth Ms song.—Kecbeat: Chr. North, vol. iii. p, 14.
The large amount of good which the blackbird does, in the destruction of snails and insects injurious to vegetation, is rarely considered as counterbalancing its frugivorous propensity. Nets to protect the fruit are certainly allowable; but I should be sorry to bear evil intent against this handsome and lively bird, which renders us essential service, and is, besides, so sweet a songster.
The whole truth, however, respecting its proceedings, be they good or bad, must be told. On observing some plants in the Belfast Botanic Garden in January, 1837, that had been much injured by birds, I learned from the curator, that even in mild weather, he had seen blackbirds tearing up different species of saxifrage; hardly a fragment remained of plants of Saxifraga pedatifida and S. trifurcata, though each had formed a round clump at least a yard in diameter. Beside these, a similarly large patch of S. hypnoides appeared untouched; but this species had been attacked in another part of the garden. In the present instance it was uninjured, apparently in consequence of forming a more compact mass, and its green surface foliage was, besides, so dense, that insects, &c, could hardly lodge beneath. Moss, covering the roots of trees here, was likewise much torn away, doubtless in the search for living objects.
In our mountain glens, I observed, many years ago, during winter, tufts of the rein-deer lichen (Cladonia rangiferina) lying
* For many species, such as the magpie, hooded crow, &c, the trap requires to be concealed, the bait only being visible,
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