corn-bunting defined in 1930 yearcorn-bunting - Corn-Bunting;
corn-bunting - Upper parts yellowish brown with dusky spots; under parts yellowish white spotted and streaked with dusky. Length, seven and a half inches.
The present species is the largest of our five buntings, and is the most generally diffused throughout the British Islands. It is often called the common bunting, but is scarcely deserving of the name, as in most places it is less common than the yellow bunting. It is certainly more local than that bird, although in some localities, both in the south and north of England, it is more numerous than any other bird of its genus. Nor is its other name of corn-bunting more strictly accurate, for though it is a frequenter of corn-fields in spring and summer, it is equally partial to hay-meadows, commons, and other open places. Like the skylark, it loves an open sky and a wide horizon; but, not being able to soar, it seeks an elevation of some kind to perch on - a hedge-top, or the summit of a bush, or a tall weed in the middle of a field of corn, will serve it; but, best of all, it loves a telegraph-wire, where it sits on high above the world, in sunshine and wind, and without the slightest exertion is able to experience agreeable sensations like those of the kestrel, lark, or tern, when suspended motionless in mid-air. On a telegraph-wire it will sit contentedly by the hour, delivering its song at regular intervals.
The buntings - all those included in the genus Emberiza - differ from other finches in their more sedentary habits and heavier motions. The present species is the heaviest and most sedentary of all, and on this account, and also on account of its dull plumage, and because its voice is not melodious, it has been usually described in somewhat depreciatory terms. Yarrell speaks of its droning, harsh, unmusical song; and Warde Fowler thus describes it in his delightful book, ' A Year with the Birds ': ' Look at the common corn-bunting, as he sits on the wires or the hedge-top: he is lumpy, loose-feathered, spiritless, and flies off with his legs hanging down, and without a trace of agility or vivacity; he is a dull bird, and seems to know it. Even his voice is half-hearted, and reminds me often of an old man in our village who used to tell us that he had a wheezing in his pipes.' This is a pretty description; but it makes the homely bunting a little too homely, and the critical remarks on its singing are not quite satisfactory: the song is not droning, and not half-hearted. Heard at intervals in the open, sunny fields and pasture-lands, it somehow has a pleasant effect. It is a peculiar sound, not easily describable. The song begins with two or three vigorous and musical chirps, then all at once the bird seems to lose himself as a musician, and throws out all that remains of his song in a burst of confused sound. In character it is somewhat like the sharp note of alarm, or excitement of some kind, often uttered in spring by the skylark as he flies low above the field, but id sharper and more prolonged. Robert Gray wrote: ' It puts you in mind of the jingling of a chain or the sound of breaking glass.' It is certainly like breaking glass. You can imitate it by tightly pressing a handful of polished pebbles together, which produce, as they slide over each other, a variety of sharp and scraping sounds. It is a peculiarity of the song that it is like several sounds emitted simultaneously, as of a note broken up into splinters, or issuing from a bundle of minute windpipes instead of out of one of larger size.
Of all the birds that remain with us throughout the year, the bunting is the latest to breed, the nest being usually built in May. It is placed among grass and herbage close to the ground, and formed of dry grass and fibrous roots, lined with horsehair and fine fibres. Four to six eggs are laid, dull purplish white or pale yellowish in ground-colour, blotched and streaked with dark brown, with some patches of a dull lavender hue.
The bunting feeds on seeds and grain and insects. In autumn it becomes gregarious, and visits the stubbles and rickyards, where it is seen associating with sparrows, greenfinches, and chaffinches.
near corn-bunting in Knolik
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