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?             317
bread crumbs could also be put on the window-sill to attract them. Or, if you have a verandah, they could be hung up there, if you could make them safe from the cat. Mrs. Earle, in her book More Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, gives elaborate directions for an arrangement in a verandah or balcony of cocoa-nuts, etc., for the birds. Lumps of fat will do as well as cocoa-nut. Some tits also greatly love a bone to pick at—an uncooked one with plenty of fat on it, which the butcher will probably be glad to give you if you ask him and explain its purpose. It can be hung up in a tree or merely laid on the window-sill.
In the ordinary way one would not keep robins at all. They are so tame and fond of the company of human beings that they will come regularly to the door for crumbs every morning and never be far off at any time. But if a wounded robin is found or a nest is abandoned (probably owing to the death of the mother at the cat's hands) just before the young birds are ready to fly, you might pop them in a cage. They do not often thrive long in captivity, even if the confinement does not seem irksome, but to keep one until it was strong enough to be let loose would be a kindness. Still there have been many cases of happy tame robins. The best food for them is bread crumbs, grated carrot, yoke of egg and sponge-cake mixed together, the carrot making the mixture moist enough. A few insects daily are advisable. Robins are such quarrelsome birds that it is impossible to keep two of them in an aviary, or even to keep one robin with birds weaker than himself. Perhaps the best way to treat a pet robin is to let him fly all over the house in the winter. He may one day fly away altogether in the spring, but if he is alive he is almost certain to come back again when the cold weather begins.
Robins in the garden are so pretty, so cheeky so sweetly musical, and are so friendly to man (in spite of their arrogance and selfishness among birds) that they ought to be encouraged. As the only way of encouraging wild birds is to feed them, we have
The robin.
Garden robins.
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