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What Farmers Should Know

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K.irly in July, 18S5, a Circular was propared, explainlng the objocii of the inquiry and asking for iuformation in reply to a nunilierof questions conct-rning the food-habits of severa) of onrwelUciiown birds. At the sume time a oollectlon of tilt' crups, gJcMNla and rtOBWOtll 'f hinls was boun, for it was clear that a comprehensivo Investlgatlon of this kind the study of a bird's habits in the field iiiu.-l be suppkniented by a ciitical exauiination f its gtoniach-contcnts in the labr.itory. u lliis undertakini; the department bus been aidcd by ornitlioloj:Uts throughoat ie country, m:my ot trliODl have made nrgc and valuable contrlbutlntn, thus oubly utiliJDg Ijirds Killed fox purely clentlflc purpo-es. Circulars were also prepared and malled to the various grlcultural societtet brongbout the country, and to a lure amber of ornicbolofteti uklag fot in'oimntion on the subject, and the followng was received : HÏRODUCTION OK THE ENGLISII Sl'AUKOW The English Sparrow was i'rst bronght n this country u 1S")O, when tlie Bon. s colas I'iko and otlicr members of the Jrooklyn Instituto liuported ei;ht pairs nto Brooklyn, X. V. Tlicy were artlflcially boused over winter and liberáted early the following year; but tlicy did ot thrlve. In 1852 a lurger celony was nported. These birds are said to have lultlplled and sprpad over Lnns IsUnd and adjacent part of New York and New Jersey. In 1S.8, and at subscqtient dates, independent bnportationl were ïade, and colonies were plantod in Portand, Me.; Peaccdale, II I.j New York, 'hiladelphia, and other eastern cities. n most cases the biida did well. Tbey mltiplied and spread gradually to netgh)oring towns. Hut the process of diffusion 'tl j-low at flrst, and it was not until 1870 lat the specieücan bc said to have firmly stablishcd itself tlir.iughout the eaitern tates, and to have begun In earucst its estward inarcli. From this Unie In tin n-iiit, the marveloua rapidity ot ils nultiplication, the lurpoMlng Mrlftnett I ts extensión, and the prodlgioaa slze f the area it bas overspread are without larallel in the history of any bird. Llke DOXlnua weed transplanled to a fertile til, It has taken root aml dluemlnated tself over half a continent before the i;nili:ance of Itl prosence has come to je understood. The explanation of this ibenotuenal invasión must bu found in nut in the peculiar Ímpetus usually fíiveii irolitic species when carricd to a MW nintry wbere the conditlons for existtice are in every way favorable; and in rt to its excc[itioual adaptability to a version of physical and cliinatiral ditions. Tliis adaptubillty has cuablcd it not only to endure alike the tropical heat of Australia and the frigid winter , of Canada, but to thrive and beeome ¦ lnirdcnsome pest 111 both these widely separaled lands. The Knglisli Sparrow is abardy, proüfic, and aggressive bird, possessed of nnicli intclligence and more tban ordinary cunning. It is domestic and gregarious In habit ana tukes advantage of the protection afforded by proximlty to man, tnns cscaping nearly alt oftbeenemies wlllch check the abnndance of our native birds. Moreorer, for many years it was looked npon wilh favor, and both food and shelter vere provided it. It feeundity is amnzjng. In the latitade of New York and snuthward it h atibes, as a rule, five or slx brood; in a season, with froni four to eix }'oung in a brood. Aatumtng the average annual product of a pair to be21 young, of whleh half are femule and half are males, and assnminu furtner for the saku of compiitatk) thntall live, together with their off. iprlng, it will be seen that in ten years the progeny of a singlo pair would be 375,7188,098. MBTHOD OF DIPFüSION OF THE Sl'ARUOW. "As the towns and villages beeome fillod to repletlon the overtlow moves off into the country, and theeparrow's range is tlms gradually extended. Occasionally, uo wever, it is suddenly transponed to considerable distances by going to roost u eiiipty box-cars and travelling hnndreda of miles. Whcn let out agaln il s quite as much at home as in its nativo town. In tli is way it reached St. John, New Brunswick, in 18ö3, on board the railroad trains lroin the west. In 18S6 the BnflUh Sparrow was found to have established itself in ;i. states and live territories. THE Sl'AliltOW AN BNBMT. (if all the native birds whlch liabitually inike their homes near tlie abodes ot man, the martin is the only species which isabletobdld its own agaiust the sparrows, and niimerous instauces are on record where the martin bu been besten and forci'd to abandon ils former nesUnj:placea by these belllgereot allen. It sometimee bappeni that a martin is killed outrlgbt. Tlie birds wblch have suffèred moet trom tlie EnjrlUh Sparrow are the robln, catblrd, blueblrd, wren, sonjr sparrow, chlppinf sparrow, yellow bird, oriole, vireo and pha'be. Not only does the sparrow drive away and sometimes kill the adult birds, but when it linds their nests it tbrow8 out the cgs and young, and n t infrequently feasts upon them. In addition to tlie indirect injury tlius brought about by deprivinji our girdeoi and orchanls of the protectton afforded by our native insectiverous birds, the spamnvs cause a positivo and direct low to our agricultural industrieá amounting in the ajrgrcgate fo several millions of dollars per aunura. They afl'ect almost every erop produced by the farmer, fruit grower, and truck gardener, and extend over the eutire year. In the early spring it prevente the growtb of vast quantilies of (ruit by eatin? the genns lrom the tuiils oí trees, busbes and vines, of whicli the peach, peur, plum, oherry, apple, aprieot, ciinant and grape suffer most. tuce, peas, beets, radlsbea, cabbagea and caulinower are attacked in turn, and devoured as soon as they show thi'ir heads aboye tbe trrouml, and iu many cases the seed is taken out of the eaith before the ¦eed has germinated. In addilion to tho disflpciiiciiient of buildings hy the neataand excrementa of the aparfowa, and the injnry to ornamental trees and shrubs resulting from tbe sume cante, t sliould be meutioned that they trcijnciitly damage and eometinips destroy the vy and voodline cov( rinii Ilie wulla of churches and other edlfloea, FAILDRE A8 AN 1NSECT-DESTK0YKR Tbe Engllsb Sparrow was brought to tli it country in the belief that it as an insectiverous bird, and with the expectaL i i 1 1 that it would lid our cities of tbe caterpillars which destroy the foliare of the ellas aml other shnde trees in t'ie streets and parks. The utter futility of this hope has been deuionstrated over and over !ir;iin in hundreds of our cities and lurer towns wblch are overrun witli sparrows, and where tlo tree3 have been repeatedly detoltated and dUflgoreJ by tlie wiirms. It is true they deetroy ome Insects, particularly wheu feeding their young, but it would be presumptooi to s.y that tbe nuniber thus destroycd II greater than thu onniber cooiumed by the tiuly inscctiverous birils whluh the s;iiirrows have driven away. Prof. Liatnei advises a relentless war upon tbe Bngltsh Bparrows. Ha layi the iparrow is a cunolng, wary blra, and foon learn to avold the meana devltéd by man for its destruction. Henee iiiuch Mgactty be displayed in the variare BKalnsl ''- Ii the wlnter-tlioe, If lood is placed In sonie convenient spot at the ¦aine houreach ilay for a week, tbe aparrowa will gather in deu-e flocks to feed, a large nuubcr may be killed at one time by Hl'Ing upon tbem uilh flneshot. LargC numbera may be destroyed and Incrmae prevented by the ayatematic deatraotlon of their ne6ts, eggs and younjr, by tbe aid of an iron rod and hook, set u the end of a long pole, most of their nests ean be reached and brougfet down. This method promises most satisfactory results. In this coiinrctinii it shoulil not be forgot that tlie KnglUli Sparrow is au excellent article of food, eqaalllng many of the smaller fíame birds. In fact, at restaurants it is commonly sold under the name of "Riceblrd," even at times of the year when Hiere are no ricebirds in the eountty.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News