(Turdus pilaris, Linn.—La Litorne, ou Tourdelle, Buff.)
THIS is somewhat less than the Missel Thrush; length ten inches. The bill is yellow; each corner of the mouth is furnished with a few black bristly hairs; eye light brown; the top of the head, hinder part of the neck, the lower part of the back and the rump are light bluish ash, the former spotted with black; the back and coverts of the wings are deep hoary brown; the throat and breast yellow, regularly spotted with black; the belly and thighs yellowish white; tail brown, inclining to black; the legs dusky yellowish brown; in young birds yellow.
We have seen a variety of this bird, of which the head and neck were yellowish white; the rest of the body nearly of the same colour, mixed with a few brown feathers; the spots on the breast were faint and indistinct; the quill feathers perfectly white, except one or two on each side, which were brown; the tail was marked in a similar manner.
The Fieldfare is only a visitant in this island, making its appearance about the beginning of October, in order to avoid the rigorous winters of the north, whence it sometimes comes in great flocks, according to the severity of the season, and leaves us about the latter end of February or the beginning of March, and retires to Russia, Sweden, Norway, and as far as Siberia and Kamtschatka. Buffon observes that they do not arrive in France till the beginning of December, that they assemble in flocks of two or three thousand, and feed on haws and other berries; they likewise eat worms, of various kinds.
Fieldfares seem of a more sociable disposition than the Throstles or the Missels: they are sometimes seen singly, but in general form very numerous flocks, and fly in a body; and though they often spread themselves through the fields in search of food, they seldom lose sight of each other, but, when alarmed, fly off, and collect together upon the same tree.
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