Mrs Becher's Diary


Birds – Summer 1934

Many of us in Tylers Green deplore at this time the custom of shooting the birds while the cherry trees are in fruit.

In a certain garden there is a little nesting box made from a piece of the trunk of a silver birch; it has been nailed to a post over which trails a crimson rambler. A pair of wrens have made their nest inside. The entrance hole is the size of a penny, but afraid of draughts for her babies, or perhaps to keep out enemies, the little mother worked a layer of moss over two thirds of the aperture, till it seemed hardly possible that she herself could squeeze through. Now, quite unafraid and unperturbed by the very near presence of the owner of the garden (convalescent from mumps) who sits exactly under the nest, she busies herself satisfying the rapacious appetites of her brood. Backwards and forwards she flies, gone perhaps for 2 or 3 minutes and returning with a large caterpillar in her long beak, she hops slowly nearer and nearer through the surrounding branches of the tree, and then flies with a little rush on to the perch outside the hole and the little wide open mouths are satisfied for a brief moment. If it should be a moth, she waits patiently and then poking her head she reappears with the discarded wings which apparently are not to the taste of young wrens!

Some years ago a dweller in Tylers Green was working at his job in a yard. Suddenly there flew to him a robin who chirruped loudly and then returned towards a heap of stones. This happened once or twice and finally the little bird alighted on his shoulder. Laying down his tools, he followed where the robin led, and was just in time to see a rat disappearing from the direction of the nest. By this time only one egg remained and lifting the nest from the stones, he put it high up on a branch of a tree where the grateful bird immediately went to take possession of it in its newer and safer position.