A young girl keeps her expectations low, grateful for what little she has, yet aware that she resembles a bird which in a more abundant season wouldn’t be so humble.
… yet I was glad of what I had, as a winter bird is, that will come to your hand for a little crumb, though in plenteous times she would be mock you from the topmost bough.
See another reference to a winter bird, as a simile for silence.
Source: Mary Webb, Precious Bane (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1981), p. 115
Photo credit: etheldith at pixabay