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( Originally Published 1894 )
The Thrush is one of the most popular of English native birds, as its song is one of the most beautiful of those of the bird kind. It is a herald of the English spring and summer, beginning to sing at the end of January and continuing until July. It builds its nest in a hedge or bush, and, as it breeds early in the year, lines it with a plaster of mud to protect its young from the cold winds. It is a bold bird and will vigorously defend its nest from the attacks of larger birds. It feeds on insects, snails and worms. "Watch an old thrush," says Dr. Stanley, "pounce down on a lawn, moistened with dew and rain. At first he stands motionless, apparently thinking of nothing at all, his eye vacant, or with an unmeaning gaze. Suddenly he cocks his ear on one side, makes a glancing sort of dart with his head and neck, gives perhaps one or two hops, and then stops, again listening attentively, and his eye glistening with attention and animation; his beak almost touches the ground,he draws back his head as if to make a determined peck.
Again he pauses; listens again; hops, perhaps once or twice, scarcely moving his position, and pecks smartly on the sod; then is once more motionless as a stuffed bird. But he knows well what he is about; for, after another moment's pause, having ascertained that all is right, he pecks away with might and main, and soon draws out a fine worm, which his fine sense of hearing had informed him was not far off, and which his hops and previous peckings had attracted to the surface, to escape the approach of what the poor worm thought might be his underground enemy, the mole."