Birds in the garden.
3i8 What Shall We Do Now?
to try and give them what they like best. Robins are quite content with bread crumbs only. They will eat sop if they can get nothing else ; but they prefer crumbs, and not too dry. For an especial treat they like fat bacon beyond everything: cooked bacon, that has been boiled, not fried. It should be mixed up very small, and the bread also crumbled into tiny morsels, for robins like to eat very nicely and daintily (and they do not seem able to hold their food in their claws as tom-tits can, but have to break it up with their beak). Robins are pleased to have crumbs given them all the seasons through, though in the autumn they can very well take care of themselves.
Each robin has his own special domain, which any other robin invades at his peril. The robins that come to the window for food are those that belong to that particular side of the house and no other. This means that there are other robins in different parts of the garden which will have to be fed in their own special localities. You will soon find out where these are, even if you have not already been guided to them by their songs. Robins like their food scattered always in the same place, or under the same tree, and, as nearly as you can, at the same time. Then you will find them on the look-out for you, and if you take always the same basket (a rather shallow fiat one which stands firmly) and, putting it on the ground, go a few steps away, you will see them hop into it. After a few days they will probably get tame enough to come into the basket while it is in your hand ; only you must have a little patience at first, and hold it very still, and of course you must not have previously scattered any food on the ground.
This brings us to the other garden birds which we have no wish to put in cages, but which it is well to be as kind to as possible. In winter, when there is a frost, to feed them is absolutely necessary ; but at all times it is well that they should know that you are not enemies (of which they have so many) but their friends. The following notes, together with the foregoing