Three Hundred Games & Pastimes - complete online book

A Book Of Suggestions For Children's Games And Employments.

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What Shall We Do Now?              165
to peer into a wood-stack and see a hedge-sparrow's greeny-blue eggs as it is to the true collector to find a really rare nest; and therefore you will be quite satisfied if you keep only to the commonest kinds, such as thrushes and blackbirds, hedge-sparrows and chaffinches, robins and wrens. Thrushes and blackbirds make large nests in all sorts of bushes, a few feet from the ground. The thrush's egg is about an inch long, and blue with bold black specklings ; its nest is lined with mud. A blackbird's nest is unlined except with hay, and its egg is a pale bluey-green, much freckled and of the same size as the thrush's. The hedge-sparrow makes a much smaller nest, usually in the midst of a thick hedge or a wood-pile. It is lined with hair, and the eggs are about three-quarters of an inch long, and a beautiful pale greeny-blue. The chaffinch's nest is made most comfortably of moss and hair and wool, and its eggs are about the same size as the hedge-sparrow's, and creamy-pink, with fierce little dark-brown markings. These nests are all easy to find. Robins' and wrens' are more difficult. The robin takes a hole in a bank and lines it, and lays four or five creamy eggs with pink spots. The wren fits a very elaborate nest of moss and twigs into the corner made by a branch and the tree trunk, or the roots in a hedge, and does it so naturally that you may stare right at it twenty times before you see it. The wrens' eggs are very small—white with pink spots—and she lays sometimes as many as a dozen. You have to be very careful when putting your fingers in not to break down the side of the nest and cause the bird to desert, for the hole is very tiny and a long way above the bottom of the nest. Some people who do not mind taking other eggs will not touch a wren's or a robin's at all. They believe it to be unlucky. An old country rhyme says—
The wren and the redbreast,
The robin and the wren ; If ye take out o' their nest,
Ye'll never thrive agen !
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