MOOR-HEN, Gallinulla chloropus – Common resident.
Numerous everywhere in the county by the side of streams, ponds, &c.
At Stone Hall we had numbers, semi-domesticated, that fed on the lawns, and nested by the fishponds. By one of our ponds we counted seven nests one summer. As soon as the young birds can take care of themselves, the old birds evidently drive them away, as no increase was observable in the number usually frequenting the grounds, as must have been the case had all the broods remained. Occasionally we noted a nest in a tree over-hanging the water five or six feet from the surface, but the usual site would be among the grasses and rushes at the edge of the ponds. Rhododendron bushes were often selected, and for several years in succession there was a nest in the boat house.
When snow has been on the ground we always found that the banks of the Cleddy had numerous tracks of foxes, and supposed the “varmints” were after the Moor-Hens and rats. The Moor-Hen appears to have been scarce in the part of the county with which Mr. Dix was acquainted, and he expresses his surprise at their rareness, as the country was so well suited to them.
A single Moor-Hen was noticed at the lantern of the South Bishop’s Lighthouse at 1 a.m., on October 9th, 1884, indicating that it was then migrating. We should have thought the Moor-Hen an unlikely species to be affected by the migrating impulse.