The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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Everybody knows how fond birds are of building their nests in church, and if we come to think of it, it is a very reasonable and sensible proceeding. Churches are so quiet, and have so many dark out-of-the-way corners, where no one would dream of poking, certainly not the woman whose business it is to keep the church clean. So the birds have the satisfaction of feeling that their young are kept safe and warm while they are collecting food for them, and there is always some open door or window to enable the parents to fly in or out.
But all birds have not the wisdom of the robins, and swallows, and sparrows that have selected the church for a home, and some of them have chosen very odd places indeed wherein to build their nests and lay their eggs. Hinges of doors, turning lathes, even the body of a dead owl hung to a ring, have all been used as nurseries; but perhaps the oddest spot of all to fix upon for a nest is the outside of a railway carriage, especially when we remem­ber how often railway stations are the abode of cats, who move safely about the big wheels, and even travel by train when they think it necessary.
Yet, in spite of all the drawbacks, railway carriages remain a favourite place for nesting birds, and there is a curious story of a pair of water-wagtails which built a snug home underneath a third-class carriage attached to a train which ran four times daily between Cosham and Havant. The father does not seem to have cared about
1 From Jones' Glimpses of Animal Life.
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