Highways and Byways in Sussex - online book

An illustrated appreciation, of the most interesting districts in Sussex.

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226                              THE RESOLUTE TITMICE                    ch. xxiii
Rowfant was once the scene of one of the most determined struggles in history. The contestants were a series of Titmice and the G.P.O., and the account of the war may be read in the Natural History Museum at South Kensington:"In 1888, a pair of the Great Titmouse {Parus major) began to build their nest in the post-box which stood in the road at Rowfant, and into which letters, &c, were posted and taken out by the door daily. One of the birds was killed by a boy, and the nest was not finished. In 1889, a pair completed the nest, laid seven eggs, and began to sit; but one day, when an unusual number of post-cards were dropped into, and nearly filled, the box, the birds deserted the nest, which was afterwards removed with the eggs. In 1890, a pair built a new nest and laid seven eggs, and reared a brood of five young, although the letters posted were often found lying on the back of the sitting bird, which never left the nest when the door of the box was opened to take out the letters. The birds went in and out by the slit."
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