Notes

Published on 01 July 1908 in Notes

THEOBALD, vice-principal of the S. E. Agricultural College, contributes to ” Science Progress” for October a long article on the subject of ” Economic Ornithology in Relation to Agriculture, Horticulture, and Forestry,” which should be carefully read by all who are interested in the very difficult problem of bird-protection. Though Mr. Theobald puzzles us more than once by contradictory statements, and though in effect he tells us that our actual knowledge of the problems of economic ornithology is miserably small, there are many extremely interesting points in his paper. He insists, for example, that but for Rooks, Jackdaws, Starlings, Plovers, and Gulls, the white grubs, wireworms, leather-jackets, etc., would increase in such enormous numbers that our pasture-lands would be destroyed wholesale. That no man has devised, or is likely to devise, any method of dealing with these insect pests, whereby the services of these birds may be dispensed with. Such harm as these birds may do at certain times of the year is, in short, more than paid for by the benefits they confer at other times. A ruthless war has been urged by some against Titmice, yet Mr. Theobald contends that the good these birds do in devouring the mussel-scale, codling-moth, woolly-aphis, etc., is incalculable. The attacks of Blue Tits on the buds of the monarch plum are, he says, instigated by their desire to get at the mites, Eriophytes pruni, which hibernate therein. The bunches of unopened apple and pear blossom which these birds peck contain insect

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