The Hedge Accentor or Hedge-Sparrow (Accentor modularis), Fig. 27, sometimes called the Hedge-warbler, belongs to the family of the Sylviadae, and is found over the British Islands. The length of the bird is rather more than 5 in., and the plumage, liable to vary in colour, is generally of a reddish brown, streaked with dark brown: the song of the male is short and plaintive, and, though sweet in tone, deficient in variety and power.

The Hedge Sparrow or Accentor.

Fig. 27. - The Hedge-Sparrow or Accentor.

The habits of the hedge-sparrow are solitary. It frequents hedges, thickets and woods, its nest, built of green moss, roots, and wool, lined with hair, being finished early in March. The eggs, four or five in number, are of a delicate and spotless bluish-green colour, and the first brood of birds is hatched in April, and a second brood further on in the season. The cuckoo often places, not lays, her eggs in the second brood nest of the hedge-sparrow. The food consists of worms, insects, the young being entirely fed with caterpillars, and other larvae, also small seeds, but not any cultivated fruit. In winter it visits homesteads and is very confiding, grateful for crumbs and other food scattered about dwellings. Alas! for its benign services, schoolboys rob the nest, and many adult birds are shot on "seed trails," or captured beneath baited, propped-up sieves pulled down by a string during severe weather.