Birds of a Maryland farm


Material Information

Birds of a Maryland farm a local study of economic ornithology
Series Title:
Bulletin / U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Division of Biological Survey ;
Physical Description:
116 p., 17 leaves of plates : ill. ; 23 cm.
Judd, Sylvester Dwight, 1871-1905
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Division of Biological Survey
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Birds -- Maryland   ( lcsh )
Beneficial birds -- Maryland   ( lcsh )
federal government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references and index.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Sylvester D. Judd.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 030148400
oclc - 02422103
lccn - agr06000839
lcc - QL155 .A2 no.17
System ID:

Full Text


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Bull. 17, Biological Survey, U. S. Uept. of AgrLicultuie


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SijLVESTER 1). J-UDD, Ph.-D.
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Wash8dgt(m, D. C., July 5, 1902.
Sm: I have the honor to transmit herewith, for publication as Bul-
letin 17 of the Biological Survey, a report on the Birds of a Maryland
Farm, the same being a local study in economic ornithology by one
of my assistants, Dr. Sylvester D. Judd. Acknowledgment is made
to the Entomologist for assistance in the determination of some of the
insects, as well as for the use of certain illustrations.
Respectfully, C. HART MERRIAM,
Chief, Biological Survey.
Secretary of Agriculture.




L. I Introduction....................................................... 9
:',Topography of Bryan farm-----------------10
Topography of Bryan farm..................................... 10
Distribution of birds ........................................... 12
Birds that feed in open fields-------- ---------............ --.....--------. 12
Birds that depend on cover ................................. 15
Birds of less limited distribution-----------------.....-.....-------- 17
Birds of varied distribution .......--..........----................ 19
Topography of Hungerford farm ..-------------........................ ---------------20
II. Insect food------------------------------------------------........................................................21
Crane-flies ...................................................--------------------------------------------- 21
May-flies...................................................... ----------------------------------------------22
Infested crops.....----------------------....--------------------........................ 24
Infested trees and shrubs ---------------......--..-----------------................. 28
y.Certain destructive insects ...................................... 30
Useful insects -- -------------------------------------------36
SSummary ..-----..............--..................................... 41
Food of nestlings ...---------------...-----....---------..----------- 43
General remarks --..----------.-------........---------------------................. 48
SIII. Vertebrate food ----.-....--...--------.....------------------.............--..------ 50
I. iPoultry and game ..----------.---------...------.........---..-----------...... 50
Fish .......................................................... 53
SCarrion ..---...--....---...................-.....--....-......-..--.......... 53
SMammals ..-----. -----.---------------.....-----...------------- 54
5 IV. Fruit..............................................................---------------------------------------------------- 55
^1i 'Cultivated varieties --------------..................-.--- -. 55
I I :W ild fruit ..................................................... 58
V. Grain ............................................................. 65
VI. Weed seed------------------------------------------------......................................................... 70
Weed destruction by native sparrows............................ 72
SWeed destruction by other birds .--....--....-....--....-............... 75
VII. Species ............................................................ 79
W ater birds ................................................... 79
Grebes.................................................... --------------------------------------------79
Loons ----------------------------------------------- 80
M urres ..................................................... 80
SGulls and terns ............................................ 80
Ducks, geese, and other waterfowl ....---------------..................... 80
Herons .................................................... 81
Rail ...... ................................... ............ 81
Coots ..................................................... 81
I; Shore birds .................................................... 82
E.Gallinaceous birds ---------------- -----------------------83
Pigeons and doves --------------------85
: Vultures .............. .......... 85
LiVultures ... ............................................... 85


VII. Species-Continued. Page.
Hawks........................................................ -----------------------------------------------85
Owls..-------..-----------------------------------------............... 86
Cuckoos ..........----------------------------------------------............................................-. 87
Kingfishers.................................................... --------------------------------------------87
Woodpeckers-----------...........----..-..........-------------.-------------.............. 88
Whip-poor-wills, night-hawks, swifts, and hummingbirds -------- 91
Flycatchers.......------------------....--------------........------------... 91
Horned larks ......---------.-------- ------.. -------------------- 93
Blue jays and crows.....---------------..--------.................-------...-------- 93
Meadowlarks, bobolinks, and cowbirds ------------------------94
Blackbirds and orioles ----.------------------------------------...... 95
Finches and sparrows .......................................... 97
Tanagers ....---..-----.--------------------------------------............................ 98
Swallows..----..------.----...--------.................---------------------.... 98
Cedar birds..-----.-.-------...-----.---------.........---------------......... 99
Shrikes .....................................................----------------------------------------------.. 100
Vireos .......----------......--------.--------......------------------- ................. 102
Warblers..... --------------.---------------------------------- 103
Mockingbirds, catbirds, thrashers, and wrens ----------...-....-------- 104
Creepers and nuthatches .......-------------------.................---..----------- 107
Titmice ..----------------------------------------------..................................................... 107
Kinglets..........-------------------------------------.....................--------- 108
Gnatcatchers ....-----...----------------..-..--------------------......... .........108
Thrushes.......---------------------...........----.-------------...------- 108
VIII. Summary ........--------------------------..........----..----..------------ 110


^^H::: Pla
Ii.; Page.
11p v I. Fig. 1, Dwelling house on Bryan farm; Fig. 2, View of Potomac from
Bryan homestead, showing feeding places of gulls, ducks, and other
waterfowl ..-..---.-------..-------------------..------- Frontispiece.
.II. Map of Bryan farm, where the investigations were carried on ------ 12
III. Fig. 1, Bay and hill adjacent to calamus swamp; Fig. 2, Bryan farm
.. from the river, showing shore, bluff, alluvial plain, and forested
hills----......-----..---.-------.--------------....-------------- 16
ilt IV. Fig. 1, River bluff in winter, which shelters several native sparrows;
S Fig. 2, Hog-lot gully, which furnishes shelter, shade, and food for
many birds ----- -------------------------------------- 16
SV Fig. 1, Weedy old cornfield, lot 3; Fig. 2, Pasture, lot 1 ..----..---.----- 24
|f ~VI. Fig. 1, Trumpet creeper and other vines of river bluff; Fig. 2, Broom-
11i nsedge and briers in hog lot..-----...---..------..------------------....... 24
S VII. Fig. 1,. Calamus swamp, the haunt of several marsh-loving birds;
i Fig. 2, Calamus swamp in winter, showing hill tenanted by blue
1 jays; great horned owls, red-shouldered hawks, and ruffed grouse.. 32
S- VIII. Fig. 1, Tobacco field of lot 2, where the effect of birds upon an
j. uprising of tobacco worms was studied; Fig. 2, Sweet potatoes
Si and pear orchard, where various investigations were made ....... 32
S IX. Food of nestlings and adults of three common birds: Fig. 1, House
wren; Fig. 2, Bank swallow; Fig. 3, Catbird ...----------..--------- 48
X. Fig. 1, Red-tailed hawk; Fig. 2, Short-eared owl -----------------48
XI. Fig. 1, Sassafras as a weed in lot 5; Fig. 2, Corn injured by crows.. 64
XII. Fig. 1, Cornfield, lot 5; Fig. 2, Wheat stubble, lot 3. (The line of trees
in the middle ground marks the course of Persimmon Branch).... 64
XIII. Four common seed-destroying sparrows: 1, junco; 2, whfte-throated
":: sparrow; 3, fox sparrow; 4, tree sparrow ......---.............--- ..... --- 72
XIV. Fig. 1, Giant ragweed in garden; Fig. 2, Broom-sedge appropriating
land ................-----..--.....--................................... 72
S XV. Fig. 1, Bobwhite; Fig. 2, Woodcock .............................. so
XVI. Fig. 1, Broom-sedge of lot 2, frequented at night by bobwhites; Fig.
2, Partridge pea overspreading pasture of lot 4, eaten extensively
by bobwhites. (The pines in the background were defoliated by
Sthe pine saw-fly in the spring of 1900)........................... -----------------------80
XVII. Fig. 1, Bluebird at edge of nest; Fig. 2, Former nesting site of blue-
birds on lawn at Bryan farm................................... .96


FIG. 1. Meadowlark............................................... ... .12
2. Mourning dove...----------........----.-----.----..-- -----..........-----..... ---------13
3. Song sparrow---...-....---------------.----------------.......---..---------- 16
4. Catbird ---.....----..-----.-------.------------.----------------------...................... 18
5. May-fly............------------...-------.---.-------------------------------.. 22
6. Tobacco worm....---------------------------......----......---------------- 27
7. Pale-striped flea-beetle---------------........------....------.....------..------- 30
8. Rose-chafer ..............--------------------------.------..................----...----.....--------- 31
9. Kingbird-......................................................---------------------------------------------------.. 31
10. Grasshopper ----------........-------...-...----------..----------------------......... 32
11. Weevil.-------------......--..-......---------....---..---------.......------..---------- 34
12. Ground-beetle -.---.-------------------.---.....----------....-----------... 37
13. Ichneumon-fly ....-----------------------------------------------......................... 40
14. Cutworm and moth-------------------------------------------............................................... 42
15. Dung-beetle ------------......-..---------------.------..---------------......... 42
16. Barn swallow ------------..........-------.....-----..-..-----------------------............... 47
17. Diagram showing proportions of food of common crow ---------------........ 48
18. Diagram showing proportions of food of crow blackbird -.---....---------.... 49
19. Cooper hawk------..---.-----.............--------------------.-------------.................... 51
20. Great horned owl...----------.--------------........--..------------------- 52
21. Melons damaged by crows ...--------------------------------------........ 58
22. Pellet ejected by crow ..........................................-----------------------------------------.. 63
23. Some common seeds found in crow pellets.......................... -------------------------64
24. Common crow.... ------------------------------------------....--.------ 65
25. Crow blackbird------......-------..---....-------------------------------......................... 67
26. English sparrow ..------------------------------..................----......--..---------- 68
27. Weed seeds commonly eaten by birds -----..----......---.------....----.-------. 71
28. Field sparrow ...................................................------------------------------------------------ 74
29. Goldfinch........---------------------------------------------------.......... 75
30. Yellow-billed cuckoo ............................................. 87
31. Yellow-bellied sapsucker-----..--------.....---..-----------------------.................. 89
32. Flicker .......................................................... 90
33. Phoebe-----------------------................----........--............-----------..------..------- 93
34. Blue jay. .----....--------....-----.---------.---------.----------------- 94
35. Bobolink .......................................................---------------------------------------------------- 95
36. Red-winged blackbird ............................................ 96
37. Cedar bird .....................................................--------------------------------------------------.. 99
38. M ockingbirld ..................................................... 105
39. Brown thrasher .................................................. 106
40. House wren ------------------------------------------------ 107
41. Robin ......................--.........--............-....-............ 109



T.. The principal method used by the Biological Survey in investigat-
trg the food habits of birds is examination of the contents of stomachs.
the material for which is obtained from all parts of the United
8 w. ~In the case of each species the separate data accumulated by
I1I:OKOfining as many stomachs as possible are tabulated and show the
Food of the bird in question to consist of various proportions of cer-
1,. tain elements. This method, combining as it does data from many
|: parts of the country, gives results necessarily somewhat composite,
but certainly trustworthy, and shows to what extent a bird eats
fruit, grain, or insects, thus furnishing a comprehensive and detailed
knowledge of food habits that probably could not be obtained by any
l .other available means.
t; In a study of local conditions, however, general conclusions regard-
[:: ing the utility of a bird based on data from perhaps a score or more
of-States may sometimes require modification. For instance, from a
a study of the smaller herons from material collected from North, South,
East, and West the conclusion would be drawn that they live on food
Y| of no economic value and are therefore unimportant species. But
..- a study of these birds in the State of Louisiana alone shows them to
be highly useful, for here they prey on crayfish, which, by tunneling
l' through the levees, cause great damage to crops by flood. In similar
Sways the relations of birds to a certain locality or particular farm
can not always be exactly tested by conclusions drawn from a large
range of territory. The exact damage to crops is not revealed by
stomach examination. A bird may have punctured several grapes
J :in each of a hundred clusters and yet betray to the microscope no
+, sign of its vicious habit. On the other hand, a bird may be con-
Sdemned as injurious because it is found to have eaten berries or grain,
Although, as a matter of fact, it has taken the berries from wild plants
Sand gleaned the grain after harvest. Then, too, the material exam-
S ined at the Department is not usually accompanied by notes of the
Available supply of fruits, seeds, and' insects present at the places
Where the birds were collected. Such information would be a sig-
:7: nificant supplement to the results of stomach examination. The faults
Sof a fruit-eating bird might be condoned if it were found to rob the
)I.... garden and orchard only when the thicket and pasture were barren.
S And the value of birds is insect destroyers in any particular locality


can be understood only when one knows just what crops of the region
are infested, and the identity and importance of the pest by which
each is chiefly attacked; for only then can one learn which birds select
the worst pests and destroy them in the largest proportion.
With a view to ascertaining how far local conditions might modify
the details of general conclusions based on data from widely separated
regions, a study of the food habits of the birds on a particular farm
was undertaken. From July 30, 1895, to July 24, 1902, visits were
made at frequent intervals and including every month of the year
except January. To obtain an idea of the available food supply, the
insects, berries, and seeds found on the place were collected; the con-
dition of the crops and the insects infesting them were noted; detailed
observations of the birds' food habits were made in the field, and the
stomachs of 698 birds were collected and examined, 53 being those of
English sparrows and the remainder (645) those of native species.
One of the most serious disadvantages attending the work is that
from such a limited area one can not examine stomachs enough to get
a thorough knowledge of the food of each species, and is often com-
pelled to rely, for the general idea of the food, on conclusions drawn
from material collected elsewhere. Still, such information, supple-
mented by the knowledge gained from local stomach collections and
field notes, has made it possible in most cases to determine whether a
given species is, on the whole, helpful or harmful to the farm in
The farm chosen for this investigation is the Bryan farm, at Mar-
shall Hall, Md., on the south bank of the Potomac, 15 miles from
Washington, directly opposite Mount Vernon, Va. (see P1. 1, frontis-
piece, fig. 2). The former owner of the farm, Mr. 0. N. Bryan,
was an enthusiastic collector of birds, plants, and Indian imple-
ments, and was known to many Washington scientists. On his death,
in 1892, his collections were given to the National Museum. The
farm passed to his nephew, Mr. George R. Bryan, to whom the author
is indebted for permission to conduct these investigations on the place,
and for cordial cooperation and uniform courtesy throughout their
course. The farm contains about 230 acres, of which 150 is cultivated
and most of the remaining 80 covered with timber, principally hard-
wood interspersed with pine. The arable land, forming as it does
nearly two-thirds of the farm, is all in one tract (see map, Pl. II).
Its western limit is a straight line of fence separating it from the next
farm; its northern boundary, almost twice as long, is the nearly
straight shore of the Potonmac River, which here flows from east to
west. A small bay, formed by an indentation of the river shore (Pl.
IllI, fig. 1), a calamus swamp, 200 yards long (P1. VII, fig. 1), which
drains into the bay, and a tract of woodland (P1. XVI, fig. 2) form


'.nilstern and southern boundaries. The uncultivated part of the
B consists of timber tracts, level except about the swamp, where
|d rises on two sides, the eastern rise forming a little wooded
more than 100 feet above the river (PI. VII, fig. 2).
:.cultivated area is a level, alluvial bench extending back from
"river a half mile to. foothills (PI. III, fig. 2). It is divided into
appil roximately equal lots, two along the southern or woodland
ry and three along the northern or river boundary. A straight
H o0f fence parallel to the river separates the three river lots from
ietwo inland lots. The river tract is rectangular, about three times
ilong as broad, and extends east-that is, up river--several hundred
.. farther than the inland tract. A bushy draining ditch, which
Dbe designated throughout this paper by the local name Persimmon
ich, stretches lengthwise through the middle of this area from the
H us swamp to the lower or southwest corner of the farm, where
empties into the river by a swampy, timbered outlet. Persimmon
o-h is joined not far from its river mouth by a tributary-locally
own as Partridge Branch-that drains the western inland lot. The
ter inland lot has no ditch, and part of it is often wet; the side
it rd the swamp washes badly during heavy rains. It has been
Plimd convenient to designate these lots by numbers, the three along
mie river being numbered 1, 2, and 3 and the others 4 and 5 (see map,
'Pi. H).
The farm meets the river in a precipitous, tree-fringed bluff from
i0 to30 feet high, which at low tide has a strip of sandy shore (P!. IV,
fig. 1). All the buildings but one stand at intervals on a road running
WSlong the brink of the bluff. In the middle of the river front of lot 1
:%wre the house, surrounded by a yard with a paling fence and shaded by
Great locusts, and a horse barn with its corn house (see PI. I, frontis-
Spiece, fig. 1). In lot 2, touching the line dividing it from lot 1, is a
cow barn, and at the middle of lot 2 is a negro cabin. A storage barn
Stands several hundred yards south of the cabin, at the northwest cor-
ner of lot 4 (see map, PI. II).
|' The staple products of the farm are corn, wheat, and tobacco in
" irregular rotation with timothy, which furnishes the winter supply for
i some half dozen cows and about as many horses. In recent years
Market gardening has been attempted on a small scale, in the light,
sandy part of lot 3, between Persimmon Branch and the river. It is
:i seldom that even two-thirds of the five lots is under cultivation at once.
II Of the remaining third or more, 5 to 10 acres is usually devoted to
"i timothy, and the rest is worn-out mowing lands and weedy old corn-
11 fields (PI. V, fig. 1). Broom-sedge, which in spring makes good pas-
ii tuIrage but later is refused by stock, comes into these cornfields after
Sthe first year, and, in time, into the timothy fields (PI. XIV, fig. 3).
Of the cultivated area, as much as 30 acres is sometimes devoted to
w^corn. A smaller acreage is given to wheat, and still less to tobacco


(PI. VIII, fig. 1), which, however, is the most steady in price, and
during good years the most profitable crop. Vegetables, strawber-
ries, pears, grapes, and quinces are grown in an inclosed kitchen
garden adjoining the dooryard on its upper side. Beyond is a hog lot
of several acres, with a small wooded gully leading down to the riven
and affording shade to the dozen or more hogs that range there (P1
IV, fig. 2).
After this preliminary account of the topography and the products
of the farm we may consider the birds and their relation to the crops.
The whole farm with its arable land, river shore, steep bluff, and low
calamus swamp bordered on one side by the high hill and on another
by the extent of level forest, presents conditions so varied as to attract
many different kinds of birds. The actual distribution of the various
species is of great importance. Other things being equal, those that..
live on the arable land, and thus have the best opportunity to check#
the work of injurious plants and insects, may be expected todo the
greatest good, while such as frequent only the swamp or the remote
woodland have little effect on crops.
Meadowlark.-The meadowlark (fig. 1) is a good example of species

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Fi.;. 1.-Mendowlark.
of the former class. It was found breeding in all the lots, usually in a
timothy field or an old weedy cornfield (P1. V, fig. 1), and was present
in numbers sufficient to do much good. In late summer flocks of 20
were often seen, and in November usually more than twice that num-
her. These birds in their feeding completely covered the open parts
of the lots., and came fearlessly up to the barns and foraged within a
stone's throw of the house.


Bull. 17, Biological Survey, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture.


F :AMarshall Hall
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Oliw hopper Sparrow.-The grasshopper sparrow is even more exclu-
a& bird of the open land than the meadowlark for it seldo'n
p from the fields to perch in trees. During the period of obser-
|it happened to breed for the most part in lots 1, 2, and 3,
o timothy fields or pastures (Pl. V, fig. 2), or weedy, briery
l It was often seen feeding in lot 5, but was seldom
.bmsved in lot 4, probably because the rotation of crops in that lot did
U happen to provide favorable grass land.
bbw1ite.-The bobwhite-the quail of the North and the partridge
th South-is also a bird of theopen, though it has the habit of flying
cover when alarmed. Bobwhites were frequently found in coveys
f a dosen or more in lots 4 and 5. On being flushed they sought
ter in the neighboring oak woods, where they spent much time,
elly in fall and winter. In summer they lived chiefly in the open
ts of the farm, where they nested. From the time that corn was
feethigh until it was cut, they used it for cover. They were not
Closely confined to grass land as the grasshopper sparrows, but
tiged in every lot, and appeared to come in closer contact with crops
tn did any other species on the farm.
SMouning Dove.-Among the birds of the first class may also be
included mourning doves (fig. 2) and crows, which, though not nest-


Ize. 2.-Mourning dove. (The background of this picture is typical of the Bryan farm.)

ing on the arable land, were always to be seen feeding there. The
doves nested in small pines in the more open parts of the adjacent
woods. As their food is weed seed and waste grain gleaned on stubble-


fields, they avoided fields of timothy and broom-sedge and areas under
actual cultivation and foraged in waste corn land and on wheat stub-
ble, where, for a time after harvest, they obtained wheat and, later,
abundant seeds of ragweed. They were often observed in lots 2 and
3 feeding on the seeds of oxalis, spurge, and other weeds that grew
among old cornstalks, and in fall worked among the rank weedy
growths that overran the truck land between Persimmon Branch and
the river; but they were more often seen in lot 4, which was near the
woods where they nested, and which furnished them wheat stubble or
new corn stubble with their favorite pigeon-grass. At harvest time
and later the flock of doves numbered a score or more. Their feed-
ing grounds changed from time to time according to the rotation of
crops. They did not approach the buildings with as much confidence
as did the meadowlarks and the bobwhites, and thus lost some effec-
tiveness as weed-seed destroyers.
Crows.-Both the fish crow and the common crow occurred on the farm,
but the latter species was much the more abundant. Crows nested in
the scrub pines (Pinus virginiana) which grow among the white oaks
and red oaks bounding lot 4, and bred also in the woods across the
calamus swamp, where, in addition to the trees just mentioned, there
is a sprinkling of cedar, sycamore, and holly. Their favorite feeding
grounds in spring were newly plowed fields where May-beetles and
cutworms were to be found. Even when such fields were close to
buildings the crows, though usually shyer than the doves, watched for
opportunities to visit them, and many times were noticed in the early
morning stalking along the furrows, sometimes within a few rods of
the cabin, cow barn, and storage barn. As they did not often enter
the timothy fields, which were tenanted by meadowlarks and grass-
hopper sparrows, and as these, on the other hand, were seldom seen
on plowed land and among the hoed crops where the crows constantly
foraged, the work of the latter was, in a measure, complementary to
that of the former.
Blackbirds.-The crow blackbird, although it did not nest on the
farm, was a frequent visitor. During the breeding season its favorite
haunt was the cherry trees along the river bluff, but in spring and fall
it foraged in flocks over all the lots of the farm. Sometimes with this
bird, but more often in separate flocks, the rusty grackle visited the
farm during migration. At this time also, the cowbird, often in large
flocks, appeared in the open fields and helped to reduce the weed-seed
harvest; but during the breeding season the species was limited to sev-
eral pairs, which were generally to be seen walking about the pastures
at the heels of the stock.
Other birds.-The robin, though not breeding at Marshall Hall, was
abundant in spring and fall, and might be found foraging out in the
centers of the largest fields. The goldfinch showed the same fondness



...r..the open and was often observed feeding far afield in flocks of
I,,? 100 to 300. Of the birds of the open, that fed far out in all the
:ij lots and did not depend on adjacent cover, there remain but two
ii~~be mentioned, the vesper sparrow and the savanna sparrow, which
iKylted the farm only during migration, but helped, nevertheless, in
e: valuable work of destroying weed seeds.
.owe fmniuhed by farm.-Other species, mainly sparrows, though
occurring on the arable area, fed less generally out in the centers
oft the fields, and depended on protecting cover. This was afforded in
part by an'osage orange hedge which bounds three sides of lot 2, and
by blackberry bushes and cedar and sassafras trees along fence rows.
Excellent cover was furnished, also, by a narrow belt of locusts, cedars,
and cultivated cherry trees along the edge of the river bluff, and by
a tangle of blackberry, honeysuckle, smilax, wild grape, bittersweet,
and trumpet creeper that grows under the trees and in many places
covers the face of the bluff (P1. VI, fig. 1). Other good cover, nesting
sites, and feeding grounds are afforded by the trees and bushes around
the house, by the forested gully of the hog lot (PI. IV, fig. 2), and by
the timbered outlets and bushy upper courses of Persimmon Branch
and Partridge Branch. .(The course of Persimmon Branch near the
outlet can be seen in P1. XII, fig. 2.) To the thickets of the hedge-
rows and streams is due the presence on the arable land of many
species that would not live on unwatered and wholly cleared farms.
Field Sparrow.-The field sparrow, which appears so often in the
open that it may almost be grouped with the preceding class, is found,
on observation, to be dependent on cover. But it is a bird of the
broom-sedge and briers, and its presence is not conditional on the
neighborhood of large trees, water, or buildings, as is that of some
other sparrows. Its nesting sites included each side of Persimmon
Branch, the broom-sedge and dewberry tangle of the high part of the
hog lot (PI. VI, fig. 2), and the crest of the bluff overlooking the swamp.
After the young were fledged small flocks of two or more families
followed the branches, hedgerows, brush piles, and fence rows all
about the arable part of the farm, even finding their way along a rail
fence to tobacco seed beds in the woods. The field sparrows avoided
timothy, but foraged far out in weedy old cornfields where the stalks
remained standing, and when new corn had tasseled they fed under its
shelter. They were found with most certainty, however, in waste
grounds bearing little but broom-sedge and briers.
Chipping Sparrow.-The chipping sparrow, the field sparrow's con-
gener, in conformity to its semidomestic habits, nested in the door
yard, the kitchen garden, the adjacent orchard, and cedar trees near
the storage barn. It was characteristic of roadside and rail fence and


foraged in cropped pastures and among hoed crops. Unlike the field
sparrow, it sought cover, not in bushes, but in trees isolated as in
orchards. On account of these habits its work is more or less com-
plementary to that of the field sparrow. Neither species was noticed
feeding to any important extent in standing timothy, the habitat of
the grasshopper sparrow, but they both destroyed weed seeds and
insects over a large part of the farm, even out in the center of lot 4
far from cover. In August and September they fed together in loose
flocks along fence rows. At this time there were nearly a hundred of
the two species, the chipping sparrow being the more numerous.
Song Sparrow.-The song sparrow (fig. 3) is a bush bird, which,
though feeding on the ground, is generally too cautious to venture far
afield. It is essentially a bird of the waterways, and bred in the
undergrowth along Persimmon Branch and the river, in the hog-lot
gully, and about the calamus swamp; yet, like the chipping sparrow,
it came with confi-
dence up to all the
buildings. It for-
aged over the gar-
rA den and dooryard
f I' and along a strip
'- several rods wide

/ extending from the
j Aht.- house to the mouth
of Persimmon
"W Branch. In feed- here it usually
'$4- avoided the open
""' parts of newly
,plowed fields, but
ran amid corn,
FIG. 3.-Song sparrow. wheat, tobacco,
wheat, tobacco,
truck, and timothy, and, as will appear later, did considerable good in
this way. It spent much time along the river shore, however, and
thus wasted opportunities for protecting crops. In summer it was
less abundant than the chipping sparrow or the field sparrow, but after
the breeding season it came down from the North in great flocks and
did good work among weeds.
Other native sparrows.-Fox sparrows, and many tree sparrows,
juncos, and white-throated sparrows also come down from the North
in the fall. The fox sparrows are cover-loving birds, and frequented
the tangle of the river front and Persimmon Branch, seldom venturing
more than a rod into the fields. The whitethroats usually associate
with song sparrows, and were found all along hedgerows and water-
ways. The tree sparrows associate with field sparrows, and like them
preferred broom-sedge fields, though they, too, often followed the


Bull. 17, Biological Survey, U. S. Dept. of Agricultuie.


.. .. .. ...
"W. ; '.. .,,. ... .
m.ill .: ";'' '.: "
r,.. 1 . :.. ". .
-%..:: ".,. -... . .::..:.. : ".
j... . :,1: E : .. .




Bull. 17, Biological Survey, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture.




w.Br courses. The juncoe are an independent species,
IMg'e trees as well as in bushes, and foraged far afield,
4.. |exposed p situations.
p triw.--In addition to the native sparrows, the English
n the farm. Its distribution depended solely on
tptig holes and available grain. A dozen pairs bred in the
o the house, in an old dovecote on the granary, and in the
oKaOosts. At harvest time the flock numbered 100 or more.
o: the far: was too remote for their forays if it yielded them
witih.Meir feeding grounds varied with the rotation of crops.
:-otn to be seen also, gleaning amid poultry and stock at
AIme7Md stealing into the corn crib. The presence of this
i..... bii .ected the distribution of other species, particularly such
bSi icavitiw. The bluebird had been driven from the farm, and
.i.. .f the Sise wrens that formerly bred about the buildings had
iM seek mere secluded places. A few pairs of wrens continued,
lWvrner, to nest near the house in cavities too small to admit the
pwn.. Others lived at both mouths of Persimmon Branch and the
S m ....a of the hog-lot gully (PI. IV, fig. 2).
H .... H .
2IqIrBmAnd Oriole.-About a dozen pairs of kingbirds and orchard
fo .s were also on the place. Neighbors at nesting time and often
Wcmtis. in their feeding range, they lived together in fruit trees by
.i..ouse, and were also noted at the negro cabin and on the shore by
he em ~us swamp.
!,inrever a kingbird's nest was discovered, a nest of the oriole was
bodlid in the same or an adjoining tree. It seemed odd that
iy l the kingbird should tolerate such close proximity.
kingbirds skimmed over all the five lots after insects, occasionally
Sing on weedstalks and often perching on the highest trees along
he river bluff and the hedgerows. The orioles, though not infre-
uently seen along fence rows, were generally confined to the trees of
he river front, whence, however, they flew out into the adjacent
owing land to pick up insects from the ground. DBird.-From a dozen to a score of cedar birds also frequented
he trees along the river, though they did not nest on the farm, and
boy were often noticed at the ends of Persimmon Branch and in the
tog-lot gully. Their distribution appeared to depend on the presence
vi: ripe fruit, such as mulberries, cherries, blackberries, or cedar
: iti -The most abundant summer bird was without question the
I"t(fig. 4). Its usual habitat was practically the same as the song's--thatis to say, the undergrowth of moist places. But while the
.... .222-No. 17-02- 2
E j i j: ::E:m .:".: .....: :. :


song sparrow preferred thickets of blackberry, elder, and alder,
somewhat open to the sun, the catbird chose tangles of catbrier deeply
shaded by overspreading trees. It was therefore numerous in the
swampy, forested dells at the extremities of Persimmon Branch (see
map, PI. II), and still more so in the hog-lot gully (PI. IV, fig. 2),


FPG. 4.-Catbird.
where it found attractive food, consisting of cherries, mulberries,
blackberries, and elderberries, besides May-flies, which were abun-
dant before the fruit ripened. Here, in one morning, fifteen cat-
birds were seen. Like the song sparrow, this species came up to nest
about the house. One pair built in a holly by the gate, another near
the horse tub, and two pairs in the garden. All these families fed
among the vegetables and moved about under the apple trees and in
the dooryard. The catbird is arboreal to the extent of securing prob-
ably three-fourths of its food in trees or bushes. Because of this fact,
and also because its feeding range does not extend out into fields, it
does not appear to have a close relation with crops.
Other birds.-One or two pail's of cardinal grosbeaks bred on the
river bluff, but more were noticed in the edge of the swamp bordering
the arable land. They built chiefly among catbriers, in stunted young
scrub pines, and in the tops of fallen oaks. Cardinals were also seen
along the wooded parts of Persimmon Branch, and may have bred
there. Two pairs of yellow-breasted chats nested close to crops, one
in the. thick undergrowth of Persimmon Branch and the other in a
similar shaded thicket at the northeast corner of lot 4. Indigo birds
and brown thrashers nested near the storage barn, phoebes in the cow
barn. and swifts in the chimneys of the house.



.i.bation of the birds remaining to be mentioned can not be
y limited. Various gulls and ducks were present in the
agthe colder months. The least bittern, great blue heron,
hieron, little green heron, and sora rail occurred in the cala-
h (P VII, fig. 1), and the little green heron was also noted
I. along the river (PI. 111, fig. 2). Woodcock were found
... i ....."... n Branch near the river, and were observed at dusk
-adjacent cornfields. Sandpipers, usually the spotted, but
.... ten the solitary, were to be seeq, particularly at the mouth%
N4-lt gully, teetering along the beach in twos and threes.
A lpDeie of hawks, including the broad-winged, red-tailed,
4.....h..d, marsh, Cooper, sharpshinned, and sparrow hawks,
.. ....on the farm. One pair of Cooper hawks bred in the scrub
uiimmo. the edge of lot 4. Broad-winged and red-shouldered hawks
aiten the slope of the wooded hill that rises from the calamus
wip (PL VII, fig. 2). Eagles -frequently came over from Virginia,
a0i oi"e established a post in a large tree on the bluff just below the
ni'. cabin. Ospreys sometimes passed the farm on fishing trips up
and. diwn the river. Several pairs of great horned owls and screech
..'.: built in the woods above the calamus swamp (PI. VII, fig. 2).
T yt buzzards soared over the fields and often fed along the shore:
soI... ..eed beyond the farm in the chestnut stumps of a deep,
MR .w guny.
/. :. : ......... : .. ......: .
f. gfis'hers, which bred in the sandy face of the bluff beyond the
fa, fished in the calamus swamp and along the river front. The
dyuy woodpecker foraged in all the fruit trees and nested in the
-hogot gully, at the river mouth of Persimmon Branch (see map,
PI. l), and also in some of the most remote woodland. Flickers,
though breeding at Marshall Hall, were most numerous in spring
and 1l, when they frequently fed in open fields with robins. Sap-
suckers were seen in various places during the colder half of the
year, very often in the apple orchard by the kitchen garden. The
red-headed woodpecker also occurred, but its distribution was very
erratic. Night-hawks sometimes appeared in tle 'late afternoon,
circling after insects, and whip-poor-wills were frequently heard,
though seldom seen. Hummingbirds were seen in various places
about the farm dipping into the flowers of the trumpet creeper,
persimmon, and tobacco. One nest was discovered on a horizontal
bough on a red oak beside Persimmon Branch. Another was found
fastened to the limb of a box elder in front of the farmhouse.
*Two pairs of wood pewees nested in the kitchen garden and the
do46ryard, and more than a dozen pairs bred in the recesses of the
woods. The great crested flycatcher habitually stayed in solitary



retreats and journeyed over to the hog-lot gully, the river front, and
even the dooryard. Several pairs of blue jays and scarlet tanagers fre-
quented the oaks bordering lot 4. Two or three pairs of red-winged
blackbirds, that sometimes fed on the cultivated land, nested in the
calamus swamp (Pl. VII, fig. 1). Purple finches were found during
the colder half of the year along the brink of the bluff. Barn swallows
nested in the cow barn one summer, but the individuals usually seen
were visitors from other farms, as were also the purple martins, white-
bellied swallows, and rough-winged swallows, that mingled with the
barn swallows, often in a flock of a hundred, and skimmed over the
'field in pursuit of insects.
The red-eyed vireo, in summer one of the most abundant species on
the farm, built in trees everywhere, but was most numerous in decid-
uous woodland. Having strictly arboreal habits, it did not feed among
field crops, but protected the foliage of orchard, shade trees, and woods.
The white-eyed vireo was found in moist places outside of the culti-
vated land and also in the woodland about the calamus swamp. The
last-named locality sheltered large numbers of migrating warblers in
spring and fall. Here at these seasons could be noted the black-
throated blue warbler, myrtle warbler, magnolia warbler, black-poll
warbler, black-throated green warbler, pine warbler, prairie warbler,
.oven-bird, the two species of water-thrushes, Wilson's blackcap, and the
Canadian warbler. The yellow warbler built near the house and also
in willow swamp land back from the arable area. The redstart nested
on the west side of the swamp. The Maryland yellow-throat, rivaling
the song sparrow in numbers, frequented all the moist, bushy regions,
but often came out into the five lots to feed along the fence rows, and
was sometimes seen scurrying among the leaves of tobacco. Half a
dozen or more pairs of long-billed marsh wrens had nests in the swamp
(PI. VII, fig. 1). Carolina chickadees nested near the swamp and in
the pin oaks of the woods near lots 4 and 5, and several were seen in
the orchard and the hog-lot gully. Tufted titmice were occasionally
observed in the neighborhood of the swamp and the same woods.
Kinglets of both species occurred in the apple orchards. The hermit
thrush, olive-backed thrush, gray-cheeked thrush, and Wilson's thrush
occurred during migration in the oaks bordering lot 4. The wood
thrush was found breeding in the forest east of the calamus swamp
(Pl. V1, fig.: 2), but never came out into the garden or house yard, as
it often does in more northern States.

In order to study the effect of birds on a greater variety of crops
than were grown on the Bryan farm alone, the next two farms, namely,
the Marshall farm and the Hungerford farm, which were conveniently
situated for the purpose and were kindly placed at miuy service by the


," IN8EO FOOD. 21
9 i: 11LP".. 13W? WOOD. ...
visited from time to time. A brief description of the
wk most of these subsidiary observations were made, is
.or clearer understanding of the results here set forth. It
jyr devoted to truck and fruit, though it produces also wheat,
obooo. A hedgerow of large cedars cuts it into two parts,
wt.h. its house and barn. The upper section has a swamp
b-hy brook and emptying into the river, while the lower
.. gained by two ditches merging into one at their river out-
is also a timbered dell, shallow and swampy, which extends
river back into the cultivated fields, and which harbored a
k&eeding crow blackbirds, more than a dozen catbirds, several
....and at least two pairs of cardinals. Along the Hungerford
M'ruf is seldom half so high as on the Bryan farm, and in
i... s entirely wanting.

:::: .:........

0in data derived from the examination of stomachs collected
s... widely diverse in latitude and longitude the investigator
b:I0ows" exactly what kinds of insects were available for selec-
.:t me the food in the stomachs was obtained, how abundant
.. the various species of insects were, and to what extent, if
,wereinjuring crops. He is therefore in some danger of
.Mtihng results, especially when he attempts to show how the
IKlinsectivorous habits relate to agriculture in specific cases. He
*...ito. inJstance, commend birds for having fed on a certain pest,
psamatter of fact, they had found no other food available, or he
g. condemn them for not having eaten injurious insects when the
Aict from which they came happened to be free from such plagues.
:or Wk, reason, therefore, a careful study was made of the relative
a "Mabsolute abundance of the different kinds of insects on the farm
at each visit. It may be mentioned here that in recording observa-
tons of this kind the calendar date should -be supplemented by the
biological date, which shows the advancement of the season and is best
determined by the condition of the vegetation; but this rule has not
always been followed in the present report.
, .. : "::. .
: .EE ." .

T.. B mont interesting visits were, naturally, those made when insects
wir.e most numerous. Crane-flies appeared every year, but during
iqO were unusually abundant. The farm was visited on April 22 of
tiat year when the forests were bare and the fields brown. Peach,
au d pear were in bloom, but the apple was not yet out. Crane-
wre seen everywhere, but were thickest in the grass land of lot
IN whre they fairly swarmed on the ground and flew into one's eyes,
. :.. '. :. :"
......:.:: ;:: i ;.. L .

nose, and mouth. No birds were collected, for it was evident that all
were feeding on crane-flies, which formed the only abundant supply of
insect food. Several species of sparrows, including song sparrows,
white-throated sparrows, and chipping sparrows, were observed greed-
ily eating them. A pair of kingbirds left their perch on an apple-tree
spray every now and then to snap up the insects, and a Maryland yel-
low-throat, several meadowlarks,.and a pair of bobwhites feasted on
the swarming prey. These insects fly feebly and are easily caught;
and since there is hardly an insectivorous bird that is not known to
take them, it seems safe to conclude that when they are abundant they
are eaten in great numbers. Coming as they do in the spring, when
other food is scarce, they are a boon to birds. They supply both the
newly arrived species and those that are about to journey to their
northern nesting grounds. The destruction of crane-flies by birds is a
benefit to the farmer, as they are injurious to grain and grass. Their
larvae, repulsive, leathery-looking objects, feed underground, largely
on roots. Crane-flies are said to do great damage in Europe, but are
much less important in this country.

Of all the insects on the farm, the May-fly (fig. 5), during the period
of its-aerial life, is undoubtedly the most abundant and the most con-
spicuous. The respective numbers of other spe-
Y cies fluctuate greatly from year to year, but the
myriads of this plague are nearly always constant.
Fortunately the life of the adult lasts only from a
few hours to two days. As a water nymph, how-
ever, the insect lives from one to three years.
When the locust trees are dropping their blos-
soms, usually about the middle of May, the
nymphs rise to the surface of the Potomac, trans-
FIG. 5.-May-fly (from form into adults, and flutter to the shore. The
Packard). suddenness with which they appear and their vex-
atious numbers may be understood from a description of the conditions
that prevailed at Marshall Hall from the 13th to the 15th of May, 1900.
On the morning of the 13th not a May-fly was to be seen. In the late
afternoon several Were noticed along the shore. On the 14th many
came up from the river and flew around the house, and on the morn-
ing of the 15th thousands were found clinging to the porch. They
soon spread all over the farm, or, more strictly speaking, were blown
over it. The air was full of them. After a walk of a hundred yards
along the bluff in lot 3, I found 67 clinging to me. They covered the
cedar trees beside the river, turning the dark green of the foliage to
a distinct gray. They frightened the horses so badly by alighting on
them that plowing was suspended for several days. They swarmed
into the house and made meal-times almost unendurable. This condition

INSECT FOOD. ..more than a week or two. Soon the dead bodies of the
.. cr:f.eatures are cast up all along the shore in windows several
i, and then there is a marked decrease in their abundance
*Vte farm. They occur, however, though in constantly dimin-
ubers, throughout June and even into July. flood tide they furnish most of the food of practically all
-bi 'i '.the farm, even including barnyard fowls. They are soft,
ib edible, and highly nutritious, owing to the fact that the
::e heavy with eggs. Any bird, no matter how clumsy, can
ithem as they make their aimless, blundering flights, or fall
f;I.rom contact with objects in their way. It was interesting
o ii*&imethods by which different birds procured them. A green
.three spotted sandpipers, several song sparrows, and a dozen
blekbirds frequented the beach, picking up insect after insect.
... o. packers and at times Carolina chickadees snapped them up from
H trnks in the apple orchard or the hog-lot gully. The parula
iWaler, the yellow warbler, and one or two other warblers, with the
wkte-eyed vireo and the red-eyed vireo. gathered them from among
leaf bouhs. The redstart darted out and caught its share of the
quarry on the wing. Some species fed in a lazy, sated manner. Thus
n the top of a cedar that was gray with the insects, five crows sat for
ialf anh-hour slowly choking them down. A pair of red-winged black-
birds and several blackpoll warblers later visited the same tree to feed.
Sc 4ycatchers as the phoebe, the wood pewee, the kingbird, and the
g crested flycatcher stood nervously at their sentry posts, every
o and then rising to hover and snap up a victim. The kingbird
d another, more interesting method of feeding. Perched in the dead
t'b of a tree, it would make a dash into one of the lateral boughs of
'an adjacent locust that was so heavily laden with May-flies that the tips
Sof the branchlets drooped under the weight, dislodge hundreds of
Sthe insects, snap up several as they fluttered out, and then return to
Sits perch. Over and over it played this game, apparently with keen
zest. I watched a similar, though less adroit, performance by a
female catbird that spent a long time gathering food for her young
from a maple in the dooryard. Every few minutes she would take a
short flight and drop on the end of a slender bough; then from the
scores of May-flies shaken out she would, by clumsy efforts, generally
I manage to catch one. A hen with her brood of eleven chicks derived
Sthe chief profit from the bird's industry, and remained for two hours
Gobbling up the manna that rained from the maple tree. English
sparrows also shook the insects from the branches and captured them
on the wing. A flock of a dozen cedar birds pursued them through
: the air, appearing to swim rather than fly, and reminding one of a
lazy sunfish dawdling after a baited hook. At other times, possibly
when they were more hungry, they caught their prey with an alert-


ness that would have been creditable in a flycatcher. Swifts and a
variety of swallows, including the tree swallow, the bank swallow, the
rough-winged swallow, the barn swallow, and the purple martin,
appeared to feed on May-flies exclusively. Whenever .a kingbird
dashed into a tree these birds would fly by the dozen to the spot and
seize the fluttering, helpless insects that had been dislodged. When,
however, a gust of wind drove the May-flies before it, the'swallows
were seen to best advantage as they circled gracefully after them.
Field observations and the examination of stomachs proved that 40
species had eaten May-flies, but this number probably represents only
about half the truth. Not many birds were collected at the height of
the insects' abundance, because even casual observation showed that
practically all the birds of the farm, not only the highly insectivorous
species, but also the species chiefly frugivorous or granivorous, turned
to them for food. The following is the list obtained:
List of birds knouz to have fed on May-flies.
Green heron. Red-winged blackbird. Yellow warbler.
Waodcock. Orchard oriole. Black-poll warbler.
Spotted sandpiper. Crow blackird. Water-thrush. *'
Yellow-billed cuckoo. English sparrow. Marylaid yellow-throat.
Black-billed cuckoo. Field sparrow. Yellow-breasted chat.
Downy woodpecker. Cardinal. Wilson warbler.
Chimney swift. Purple martin. Redstart.
Kingbird. Barn swallow. Catbird.
Great crested flycatcher. White-bellied swallow. House wren.
Phoebe. Bank swallow. Carolina chickadee.
Wood pewee. Rough-winged swallow. Blue-gray gnatcatcher.
Blue jay. Cedar bird. Gray-cheeked thrush.
Common crow. Red-eyed vireo.
Bobolink. Parula warbler.
Though May-flies furnish valuable food for fish and do no harm to
crops, they are of course a plague when they become so numerous.
Broadly considered, however, their consumption by birds is a misfor-
tune, for it suspends or prevents the destruction of really injurious
insects. At no other time do all birds eat so large a proportion of
insect food, for at no other time do they find such a scarcity of other
suitable food, and if their attention were not diverted by this easy and
palatable prey they might be expected to do the best of their work
against insect pests. This unfavorable condition is, however, strictly
local, lasts only a few days, and would not occur on areas remote from
large bodies of fresh water where the May-fly breeds.
At each visit the crops were inspected for pests, and whenever any
crop had suffered appreciably it was regularly watched to see whether
birds came to its relief. Stomachs were collected also around the
infested fields.

Bull. 17, Biologicg Survey, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture.





Bull. 17, Biological Survey, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture.




...y for: several days, but only three birds were seen in the of bobwhites, which are noted potato-beetle eaters,
wn ming from 50 to 100 at a single meal, and a cardinal,
Srelative of the rose-breasted grosbeak, probably the
*zble destroyer of the pest. Unfortunately neither spe-
he either observed feeding in the patch or subsequently col-
w- tel r birds were very abundant along Persimmon Branch
6er front, but appeared tp manifest no interest in potato
P_7om 0 May 28 to May 30, 1896, the potatoes in the kitchen
g in fair foliage, had from several to a dozen beetles on
IL Bir were about the garden all the time. Forty of
ly.catbirds, vireos, house wrens, chipping sparrows,
'wa`rblers, orchard orioles, and flycatchers were collected, but
ik44.. $ten the beetles. On the 16th of June, 1901, a large patch
......... "by the negro cabin in lot 2 was infested. Above it circled
..... swifts and swallows, mainly barn and bank swallows, with a
lemartins.. They did not touch the beetles, but caught caddis-
were numerous over the patch.
. . .. ..
S"dis'-fly, very abundant and regarded by birds as a choice mor-
ptay, like the Miy-fly, distract their attention from other insects.
|uaa!ujy appears about the last of May or the first of June, and it is
eedily'eten by many species, especially by arboreal and aerial
keder ., It is a harmless insect, whose larvae lead an aquatic exist-
pf. 4 too, like the May-fly, would be excessively abundant only
04larg rivers or lakes.
iFir bens.-At a time when potatoes were suffering in the
kitchen garden (May 28-30i 1896), a dozen rows of string beans beside
them were ravaged by thousands of bean flea-beetles (Cerotoma tri-
pnurta), but none of the 40 birds collected had preyed on them, a fact
possibly due to the presence of caddis-flies. Another uprising of
these beetles was observed May 17-20, 1899, but then May-flies were
mhmdant enough to engross the birds' attention. This beetle is sim-
Iar, however, to species that are eaten by many kinds of birds, and,
Ander other circumstances, might perhaps have been destroyed in
rge numbers.
nit potatoes.-Two tortoise beetles injure sweet potatoes (PI. VIII,
:g2) at Marshall Hall. The more common one (COoptocychi color)
r the power to change its color, and. at its brightest looks like a
h0pof molten gold, from which it is generally known as the 'gold
b During June, 1899, it was especially abundant. On the Mar-
u' Hall farm, near a small plot of sweet potatoes that it was inaur-


ing, 20 birds, principally kingbirds, wrens, and chipping sparrows
were collected. None of them had molested it. On the Bryan farm,
in lot 3, it was so abundant that it killed every plant in a patch of Aev-
eral acres. The lot was watched for an hour or two for three days, but
no birds were seen coming to the relief of the dying plants. On the
Hungerford farm, 24 birds, largely wrens, barn swallows, and cat-
birds, were collected near infested plots, and one bird, a catbird, was
found to have eaten a tortoise beetle. This fact appears to show that
the insect is not unpalatable to catbirds, which might therefore have
given some help to the potatoes if cherries had not been so plentiful.
Cabbages.-Three pests attacked cabbages-the wavy-striped flea-
beetle, the common cabbage worm, and the harlequin cabbage bug.
During the middle of June, 1899, the beetle was found in numbers
varying from a dozen to a score on each plant of a cabbage patch on
the Hungerford place, near the dell where the crow blackbirds breed.
No birds were observed among the cabbages. Ten catbirds were col-
lected in the dell, but they had fed mostly on May-flies. If these
tempting insects had not been present, and if birds had come into
the patch, doubtless they would have eaten the beetle, for it is closely
allied to other forms on the farm that are eaten with avidity. The
cabbage worm (Pieri.s rape) did considerable damage during June
and July of 1896 and 1899 inthe Bryan kitchen garden. From six
to a dozen worms could be found on every cabbage. A few stomachs
of catbirds, chipping sparrows, and other species numerous around
the garden were collected, but none contained the worms. The patch
was carefully watched for five days. Song sparrows, catbirds, and
chipping sparrows frequently hopped among the cabbages, but were
not seen to eat the worms. This was surprising in the case of the
chipping sparrow, for it is known to hop up into cabbage plants and
extract the larvawe. In one instance the kingbird fed on the butterfly
of the cabbage worm. The harlequin cabbage bug occurred only once
in injurious numbers, and then on the Marshall farm. From 20 to 50
bugs could be counted on each plant. Several field sparrows and grass-
hopper sparrows, the only species near the patch, were collected, but
had not taken the bugs. Other observations have shown that birds do
not like these insects, and consequently can not be depended on to
destroy them.
SLima beans.--During the last week of June, 1899, the 12-spotted
'ucim}ier )eettle (Dh brotui 12-.unctata) was very abundant on lima
beans, though not injuring them seriously. Twenty birds were col-
lected close by, half of them chipping sparrows and the others king-
birds, house wrens, and goldfinches. None had eaten the beetles.
The bobwhite and the white-eyed vireo, which feed on them, were not
at hand.

;.... chipping sparrow. It was somewhat surprising to find
n the various species of plant-lice are seldom utilized by
d but later it was learned that the chipping sparrow had
Peen found preying on the pea plant-louse. This insect has
Become known to science. It suddenly made its appear-
e Atlantic coast and occasioned a loss of $3,000,000 in

Mr elons at times suffered badly from insects. In lot 4, not
to woods, a patch of watermelons in the critical stage of
when the first leaf had appeared between the thick, nutritious
... was ravaged by three species of leaf-beetles-Diabrotica
i tW D. vittata, and Systena elongata. There were from six
........ . ,' ..... ... .
.i....doe. beetles on each 'plant, and they ate so many of the cotyle- practically the whole piece had to be replanted. When they
..xMOet abundant the patch was watched for several hours on June
: :.:..... ... !....
Nj|iifl and again on June 16, but no birds came to its aid. Birds
y a iE^i:.S..:. ". :: :"*' '.:. '"" "
niu .a.wn to eat these three insects at times, but the remoteness of
461i ~field from water courses, hedgerows, and other cover
Ia.e to the most abundant species may explain their failure to do
Sl~case. At the same date (June 15, 1899) Diabrotica vittata
I6und-::, on canteloupes in blossom on the Hungerford farm, but
Miogh there were from 12 to 20 insects on each plant, they appeared
.i... t.. ag little harm. The patch was observed for an hour in the
,4 afternoon and three field sparrows, the only birds near it, were
Ot.:d, bat none of these insects were found in their stomachs.
i'tebtl0a-During the last of August and first of September, 1899,
Ibmcwoeas grown on the Bryan farm in lot 2 near the negro cabin
.: ...* .. :. ^
P ;VU, fig. 1), and also on the other two farms. The entire crop was

i: .^ fE B~ aieu ^

I:. 3l. 6.-Tobacco-worm (after Howard; loaned by Division of Entomology).
k. aged by worms (fig. 6) to the extent of 50 percent of its value,
* spiteof the fact that men, women, and children turned out to pick
koms- every day for two weeks. When the pests were most abund-
iut'(August 28-31) an effort was made to learn whether birds were
onig in the war against them. Field sparrows and chipping spar-
owepent considerable time hopping among the plants, a song sparrow
a,. Circular 43 (2d. series), Div. Entomology, Dept. Agr., p. 3, 1901.
... .. .. ....
S ,.,:

and several wrens went into the field often, and two Maryland yellow-1
throats scurried among the leaves. Forty birds were killed in thee
vicinity of tobacco fields. They comprised, for the most part, the
several species of native sparrows that breed on the farm, including
also a few wrens, meadowlarks, flycatchers, and others. Not one of
the 40 had fed on tobacco worms, although observations on the farm
at other times had shown that birds eat them as well as other sphinx
caterpillars. Bobwhites and vireos take them, but were not repre-
sented in the collection. The chipping sparrow had eaten them at
other times, the English sparrow had been seen picking them from
the plants, and the crow is known to be an habitual 'wormer.' In
June, 1900, an old crow and five young stayed near tobacco in lot 1
for ten days. In the early morning and late afternoon the youngsters
would sit clamoring on the fence, while the mother bird brought them
worms from the field.
By way of summary it may be stated that while the observations
made to determine whether or not the birds of the farm were protect- i
ing field crops from insects yielded in the main negative results, they
do not lead to the conclusion that birds are of no service. They do
indicate, however, that birds. are not to be depended on to check ;
uprisings of insect pests, and that insecticides should be used freely
and repeatedly. In case of this farm it is probable that the super-
abundance of May-flies and caddis-flies diverted the birds' attention
from pests to the hordes of harmless insects. The pea plant-louse
is a new species, unfamiliar to birds, which, however, seldom eat
plant-lice. The potato beetle, though unpalatable and avoided by
many birds, is eaten with relish by the bobwhite. Had an especial
effort been made to collect this bird in infested fields, it would probably
have been found to be doing much to reduce the numbers of the pest.
Tobacco worms have also been attacked by the bobwhite as well as by
the crow, English sparrow, and chipping sparrow; and it is likely that
when these worms are small many species of birds feed on them.
Fall webworm.-The next group of observations concerns insects
that attack trees and shrubs. The fall webworm occurred regularly
at Marshall Hall. It was most often found on willow, black walnut,
mulberry, apple, and pear trees. At a time when it was not especially
abundant 62 birds, largely catbirds, sparrows, orioles, warblers, and
flycatchers, were collected. One of the orioles, a male Baltimore, had
eaten webworms. During the middle of June, 1899, webworms defoli-
ated parts of apple and pear trees. A number of stomachs were col-
lected and the trees were closely watched, but nothing gave evidence
that the pest was being destroyed. During the last of August,
1896, it was so abundant that it defoliated all the willows of the hog-
lot gully and fairly festooned the branches with webs. The trees were

.....: three hours, August 23. Catbirds and vireos, though
did ot molest the larva, but a pair of yellow-billed cuckoos
*zI|tracted them from the webs. The destruction of this
m habitual practice with the cuckoo. In a single stomach of
examined by Professor Beal there were 325 of the larvae.
a1n August, 1896, also, the willow saw-tly (Pteronus)
.g .the willows farther up the gully. No birds were
yikF ng on it, though the cuckoo is known to relish saw-fly
of which were found in a cuckoo's stomach examined by
dea. The cornel bushes of the same gully were almost
Wt :stripped by the larvae of another saw-fly (Harpiphorm
On July 30, 1895, they covered every large bush, and
I!hi 'devoured all the foliage. A dozen catbirds and several
IM itother species were constantly near the bushes, but evidently
n^ touch the insects. A repetition of these circumstances was
01 :August 2, 1896. An interesting outbreak of the pine saw-fly
H r.) occurred May 17,. 1900, in which hardly a dozen pine
ii the woods adjoining lot 4 escaped attack. In the areas of
sDed where the& insects had finished their work the trees cast no
.....m. appeared to be dead. .In places where the larvae were
ttit dropping excreta made a continuous patter like that of
maff i; From the infested district 34 birds were collected, corn-
a .the following species: Great crested flycatcher, wood pewee,
* jlyi crow, scarlet tanager, red-eyed vireo, white-eyed vireo,
ols warbler, black-poll warbler, oven-bird, chat, Canadian war-
restart, gray-cheeked thrush, and olive-backed thrush. Seven
%, including the black-poll warbler, the red-eyed vireo, and the
r-cheked thrush, had eaterithe insect. Since it has not yet been
foud practicable to protect forest trees by means of insecticides, such
Bres birds render among these pests ought to be appreciated.
| ?luat.I--The fact that plant-lice are not selected by birds has
been mentioned in the notes on the pea plant-louse. It was illus-
tWed in the case of a large plant-louse (Lachnu) that was noticed
nm an old willow in the hog-lot gully August 23, 1896. The tree
Iraa infested by so many of the insects that its, limbs were more
. less covered with the honeydew that exuded from their honey
tubesa, but none of the numerous birds of the neighborhood manifested
"e: slightest interest in the matter.
%&m st Leaf-mining Beetle.-In the summer of 1895 a destructive out-
h*ek of the locust leaf-mining beetles (Odontota dorsalis) turned all
h locusts of the farm as brown as if they had been scorched by fire,
uMinlg the verdure of the river bluff. On July 30, 1895, when adult
beetles were swarming on the locusts of the hog-lot gully, catbirds
observed to be spending a good deal of time amid the browned
Thirteen were collected and nine were found to have eaten
,, .:.. ,i' ...


the destructive beetles. One bird contained no fewer than 18. From
1896 to 1902, inclusive, the beetles did not again ruin the foliage, though
they were present every year, and at times in early summer were so
numerous that a scourge was feared. In 1896 the trees farther up the
river, however, were turned brown, showing that the escape of those
at Marshall Hall was not due to climatic conditions unfavorable to the
insects; therefore it is possible that the birds were, at least to some
extent, responsible for it. Forty-six birds from the following 21
species, taken during different years, had eaten the locust leaf-mining
Li.qt of birds w.-hose stonmachs contained locust leqf-mining beetles.

Catbird. Red-eyed vireo. Great crested flycatcher.
Chipping sparrow. Warbling vireo. Wood pewee.
Field sparrow. Yellow warbler. Phoebe.
Song sparrow. Orchard oriole. Yellow-billed cuckoo.
Towhee. Baltimore oriole. Cedar bird.
Cardinal. Scarlet tanager. Carolina wren.
English sparrow. Kingbird. Junco.

Moreover, when most of these birds were collected, the beetles were
not numerous. All the common species, especially the arboreal feed-
ers, ate them eagerly whenever they were to be had.


Flea-beetles.-Reference has already been made to the injury done
to melons by the flea-beetle (Systena elongata). Its congener, the pale-
striped flea-beetle (Systena blanda-fig. 7) is also
/ ~abundant on the farm and one or the other has been
Found harmful to corn, melons, and beans. Else-
Swhere they have attacked fruit trees and tomatoes.
Fortunately, however, they appeared to.form the
\ natural beetle food of several ground-feeding spe-
Scies of birds and were sought for even when they
SH were very scarce. They were seen in the stomachs
of 28 birds, including the savanna, the grasshop-
St per, the chipping, the song, the field, and the white-
FIG. 7.-Pale-striped flea- throated sparrows, the crow, the crow blackbird,
beetle (Syusta blact/a) the bobolink the meadowlark, the house wren, and
rafter Chit tenden; ;
loaned by Division of the Maryland yellow-throat. Systena bland was
Entomology). found on ragweed in a field of ripe standing
wheat, June 16, 189S. Eleven chipping sparrows that had been flying
into the field were shot. None had taken wheat and eight had fed on
the beetles, destroying in all 73. The smallest number found in a
single stomach was 5, the largest 14.

Ir.-During the last week of May, 1896, the rose-chafer
present in such numbers that 100 individuals were counted
bush and three times that number on an adjacent blossom-

, ', A ... ., .: : ..., ... : ." .,., .. ..
.. ..... ... ...
L .. .... ..i.: . .. : ..: : :...... .., .
..:,:: ..::' : .:: ...... .." .. ......".... .

ii ." .. ',::-] :::: ": ...:"' '
..... .. . ". .. .

Ad. 8.-Rose-hafer (after Riley; loaned by the Division of Entomology).
... t

g elder. Of 62 birds collected during this outbreak, only 3-2 king-
Li.ds and a. cardinal-had destroyed rose-chafers. This result was not
prcted; because May-flies and other tempting insects were not corn-
s' ': "cria--a etoe oecaes hsrsl a o



FiG. 9.-Kingbird.
an then, and because rose-chafers have no disagreeable secretions
those of potato-beetles and the two diabroticas, but are relatives

f the May-beetle and the dung-beetles, which are highly relished by



many Jnrds. The Kingiras ing. v) naa, however, snowna great limng'
for rose-chafers, as these two, the only ones collected, had eaten 15(
and 20 of the insects respectively.
Xay-beetle.-May-beetles attract only the larger species; their hard'
shells offer too much resistance to small birds. During their season-
May and June-292 bird stomachs Wefe examined, but May-beetles
were found in only 16. These stomachs were from birds of the fol-1
lowing ten species: Brown thrasher, orchard oriole, phrbe, catbird,,
gray-cheeked thrush, blue jay, crow, crow blackbird, screech owl, and
broad-winged hawk. This record is far below a fair average, for at
the time it was made the beetles were rare; moreover, the two famous
beetle-eaters, the crow and the crow blackbird, were represented only
by a single individual of each kind.
Cutworms.-Similarly unfavorable conditions attended the destruc-
tion of cutworms (fig. 14), though these insects are obtainable for a
longer period and are edible for small as well as large birds. No seri-
ous outbreak of this pest occurred. Had there been one, birds would
have been found combating it, for all species that are in the slightest
degree insectivorous and feed at all on the ground show a marked
liking for cutworms.
Grasshoppers.-Grasshoppers (fig. 10) when abundant are to the bird
what bread is to man. They were, however, comparatively rare at

FrIG. 10.-Grasshopper (after Riley;
loaned by Division of Entomology).
Marshall Hall; therefore only 71 of the 645 native birds collected had
eaten them, though most of these had made them the major part of
their fopd. The list of species eating them is as follows:
List of birds examined whose stimach.s contained grasshoppers.
Bobwhite. Orchard oriole. Cardinal
Kingbird. Crow blackbird. Maryland yellow-throat.
Great crested flycatcher. Savanna sparrow. Catbird.
Blue jay. Grasshopper sparrow. Carolina wren.
Common crow. Henslow sparrow. House wren.
Cowbird. Chipping sparrow. Brown creeper.
Red-winged blackbird. Field sparrow. Robin.
Meadowlark. Song sparrow. Bluebird.
Had grass-hoppers been abundant the birds would undoubtedly have
destroyed them in large numbers. Their scarcity may possibly be
due to the abundance of birds at Marshall Hall.
Ants.-Whenever temperature allowed any insects to occur in appre-
ciable numbers, ants were abundant, and at times they were the most

Bull. 17, Biological Survey. U. S. Dept of Agriculture.




Bull. 17, Biological Survey, U. S Dept of Agiiculture




UWWr WD. 33

Df of insect life. Of the 645 native birds collected,
on them. Woodpeckers, Aycatchers, night-hawks, 8wal-
a, and white-throated sparrows geemed to have the most
ant very frequently eaten is a black species, Campotwtw
which during the warmer half of the year is very
t on tree trunks. Its habits expose it to attack by several
of birds. The owny woodpecker was constantly making spirals
the trunks of trees at Marshall Hall in vigilant search for these
The catbird was seen feeding on them as they journeyed on
ground from tree to tree. These two birds probably destroy
than any other species, though the sapsucker also appears to
h thein. The small species of ants are eaten much oftener than
larger ones, especially at their swarming time. For several days
ng the middle of April, 1899, great swarms of corn-louse ants
were taking their marriage flight, and of the 55 birds collected
mostly native sparrows, 3 had joined in the work of destroying
This was a valuable service, for destruction of the corn-louse
t is the only effective means of combating the corn Iciuse, which
ant protects and disseminates. Swallows, also, often attack the
-lous e ant. On July 8, 1898, six out of seven rough-winged
ows collected on the farm had fed on it and on little else, one bird
ning 40 ants and another 50. At the same time kingbirds, house
ens, marsh wrens, yellow warblers, song sparrows, and chipping-
rrows were making inroads on it, though it was -much less numer-
than during April, 1899. In the late afternoon of July 18, 1898,
ing ants of the species Xyrmica 8eaWnvdes, which, as Prof. S. A.
rbes has shown, injure corn both when it is sprouting and when it
'in milk and also foster the corn louse, were so -abundant over lots
and 2 that their gauzy wings in the level sun rays filled the air with
immering rainbow'colors. Bank swallows were circling among
em, close to the ground, making a hearty supper. By crouching
w one could see them catch the insects, sometimes within a few feet
one's head. While the flock were feeding, four birds were collected,
had consumed practically nothing but ants and contained, all
ther, just 200. At this rate, 250 swallows-a fair estimate of the
mber present-would consume in a single afternoon 12,500 ants.
y other birds were feeding on them, including night-hawks, a
e one of which has been known to eat 1,000 at a meal. A house
n, a yellow warbler, a chipping sparrow, and a phcebe, which were
earlier,,,had all taken them, but three swifts collected after
had not.
August 5, 18989 Aoleiwpig molmta, an ant in *urious to corn and
a household pest, was swarming, and a number of birds were prey-
on it In a newly mown timothy field near the cow barn a dozen
222-No. 17-02-3


chipping sparrows hopped about, springing a foot or two into the air
every few minutes to obtain a mouthful. Two strayed off by them-
selves and made good subjects for observation. In twenty minutes
they had eaten 21 ants. Song sparrows and English sparrows were
feeding in a similar manner. A kingbird now and then left his station
on an apple tree to snap up the prey, and bank swallows and barn swal-
lows skimmed over the fields, gathering in large numbers. Undoubt-
edly other species were also doing good service.
The total number of native species engaged in the destruction of
ants was 39 and included the following list:
List of birds examined whose stomachs contained ants.
Spotted sandpiper. Towhee. Worm-eating warbler.
Downy woodpecker. Chat. Yellow warbler.
Flicker. Canadian warbler. Magnolia warbler.
Kingbird. Mockingbird. Black-poll warbler.
Great crested flycatcher. Catbird. Prairie warbler.
Ph'ebe. House wren. Oven-bird.
Wood pewee. Long-billed marsh wren. Water-thrush.
Orchard oriole. Cardinal. Maryland yellow-throat.
VWhite-throated sparrow. Barn swallow. Brown creeper.
Chipping sparrow. Bank swallow. Carolina chickadee.
Field sparrow. Rough-winged swallow. Blue-gray gnatcatcher.
Junco. Red-eyed vireo. Gray-cheeked thrush.
Song sparrow. White-eyed vireo. Olive-backed thrush.
On August 3 there was a large flight of termites (Termesfiavipes),
commonly known as white ants, pests that tunnel into woodwork.
At the lower end of lot 3 fully 200 swallows, mainly bank swallows,
with a few barn swallows and white-bellied swallows, were very busy
among them. Two birds of each of the first two species and three of
the third were found to have eaten together 320.
Weevils.-Sparrows, blackbirds, orioles, and meadowlarks appeared
to be the worst enemies of weevils. The orchard oriole had a useful
habit of feeding in plum orchards of the Hun-
rf gerford farm on the plum curculio, which usu-
ally ruins seven-eighths of the crop at Marshall
Hall. A score of bobolinks feeding (May 17 and
/ lH 18, 1899) in a wheat field that was just coming
into milk were suspected of injuring the grain,
iand six were shot. None of them had eaten
1 wheat, but all had fed chiefly on a very injurious
weevil- the imbricated snout-beetle (Epiceris
a Ohuricatus). A dozen bobolinks were observed
Fi,. 1 .-Weevil (afterChit- (May 15, 1900) in plants of red clover securing
tendon; loaned by Divis- the clover-leaf weevil (Phytonomus punctatus).
io. of Entomology). These two weevils are also relished by blackbirds,
meadowlarks, crows, catbirds, and other species. Bill bugs (Sphenw-


jirmke) also are often taken, but the small clover weevil
",MyidAfu^) is destroyed most frequently of all. The spar-
oa.ther terrestrial-feeding species and all the aerial feeders
"ti little pest in great numbers. The rice weevil (Calandra
was found in the stomachs of two marsh wrens collected in
is of the swamp September 7, 1896, and the injurious cab-
t(Ceutorkyncks rapa) had been eaten by three rough-
gOL.d wullows taken July 9, 1898. Among other weevils destroyed
WitlnhlshI Hall birds may be mentioned Apion, Barbi, Centrinus,
Muwy, Tanyrnecus, and Tyloderma.
q i. weevil-eating birds numbered 166 of the 645 collected, and were
Irr...d among the subjoined 44 species:
S.. .List of birds examined whose stomachs& contained weetil&s.
lwny woodpecker. Henslow sparrow. Yellow warbler.
)hkney swift. White-throated sparrow. Magnolia warbler.
gWt crestdad flycatcher. Chipping sparrow. Black-poll warbler.
Wood pewee. Field sparrow. Oven-bird.
oe jay. Junco. Water-thrush.
=pmas row. Song sparrow. Maryland yellow-throat.
Bek .Towhee. Chat.
owb*&r Cardinal. Catbird.
1eI-wifmd blackbird. Barn swallow. House wren.
eUWiIrk. White-bellied swallow. Long-billed marsh wren.
b d oriole. Bank swallow. Brown creeper.
bird. Rough-winged swallow. Carolina chickadee.
Pow blackbird. Red-eyed vireo. Gray-cheeked thrush.
Sparrow. Warbling vireo. Robin.
ppm sparrow. White-eyed vireo.
Iit. seems strange that so many birds should have eaten weevils, for
he insects were never sufficiently abundant to be conspicuous, seldom,
a:deed, affording the collector a dozen specimens without diligent use
f the sweep net. Moreover, they harmonize so admirably with their
surroundings that birds do well to find them at all. Many aerial
ers, it is true, capture them on the wing, but a large number of
nd-feeding species take them from the ground despite their pro-
etive coloration. The inference is that birds find them dainty mor-
which pay for close seeking. Such a relish is not easily explained,
(weevils appear scarcely more edible than little stones; but it is a
unate circumstance, for they are dangerous pests, not easily con-
by insecticides.
mea sle.-An unexpected and somewhat suggestive habit dis-
r at Marshall Hall was the feeding of certain species on scale
-s Of the 22 vireos and arboreal warblers collected during the
.saw-fly invasion previously referred to, 10 had preyed on an oak
J(K.ermes). This insect does not occur on fruit trees, but its
mtion suggested desirable possibilities in cases where scales of


the orchard were present, notably in the case of the San Jos6 scale,
which in many places has threatened to ruin certain horticultural
Unobtainable insects.-There are several insects that would probably
be palatable to birds if their habits did not render them unobtainable.
During the summer of 1898 a grain moth caused a loss of 50 percent
of the corn in the crib. The only birds that entered the building were
English sparrows, which prefer grain to insects, and therefore prob-
ably did not destroy the larvae. In 1900 tobacco was affected by a
stalk-borer, the larva of a crambid moth, an'd in 1898 corn suffered
severely from the corn stalk-borer (Diatrea saccharalis), but the
seclusive habits of these two larve prevented the possibility of their
destruction by birds. Certain kinds of flies, though palatable, aire too
alert to be caught. This proved to be the case with house-flies, stable-
flies, bluebottle blow-flies, and horse-flies, particularly the banded-
winged form (Chrysops). The last-mentioned flies were so numerous
that they greatly annoyed both man and beast. The kingbird, the
barn swallow, and the bank swallow, frequently caught them, and in
single instances Acadian flycatchers, catbirds, song sparrows, and
chipping sparrows had eaten them.


In addition to injurious and neutral insects, certain species that are
useful to man contribute to the food of birds. They consist for the
most part of various kinds of bees, and numerous species of wasps and
beetles that prey on insect pests.
Honey bee.-Birds are often accused of eating honey bees. The
kingbird is most frequently mentioned in this complaint, and his nick-
name of 'bee bird' or 'bee martin' attests the common belief about
him. It is true that he is often guilty of the charge, but as he selects
the worthless drones and does not molest the workers, his habit is
not injurious to bee keepers. During 1895 and 1896 two hives of
bees within 30 feet of two kingbirds' nests were not meddled with
at all.
A good deal has been written about the destruction by birds of use-
fuli predaceous and parasitic insects that serve to keep insect pests in
check, and the assertion has been made that even though birds feed on
pests, they destroy so many of these useful species that they over-
balance by this injury the good which they accomplish. Special
attention was given to this subject. Whenever any useful insect
was abundant at Marshall Hall the relation of the birds to it was
particularly noted.
Soldier-beetles.-W ith the exception of rose-chafers the useful soldier-
beetle (Chauliogn athus p)ennsylvanictus) was the most conspicuous



Vprsefnt May 28-80,1896, after May-flies had become compara-
asrce. The soldier-beetles were in the grass, on blossoms, on
of bushes and trees, and in the air, yet of the 62 birds
....i : -representing 19 species, only 3, namely, 2 wood pewees and
.md eaten them. At other times (June, 1898 and 1899), when
.. were abundant, more than a hundred birds, including nearly
.. . ..... : ...
6oimmon species on the farm, were collected, and only a chat, 2
.i and 2 kingbirds (June, 1898) had eaten them. Experiments
.... several kinds of caged birds have shown that the species is dis-
oi, probably on account of its pungent and disagreeable flavor.
i :. ,:.. ::.:.!i .. .... ....
|i|;..f.l. --Another useful predaceous beetle of the same family,
ik$uga similarly repulsive taste, is a firefly, Photinum. In June it
metimes, even during daylight, outnumbered the soldier-beetle, but
Itws never found in stomachs of Marshall Hall birds.
IT.....sbetlea.-The useful tiger-beetle, a ferocious predatory insect,
presented at Marshall Hall by several species, was never so numer-
ou as the soldier-beetle or the firefly, but was often seen by the dozen,
pipecialy about the middle of April, in the sandy road along the bluff.
t has no unpleasant flavor and must rely on its alertness to save it
tow enemies. When danger threatens, it springs into the air and
flies swiftly away. Only the quickest birds have any chance of catch-
rig it. A few birds, mainly swallows and flycatchers, secure it occa-
sionally. Of the 645 birds examined only a phoebe, a kingbird, a
great crested flycatcher, and a crow blackbird had eaten it.
mround-beetles.-With ground-beetles (Carabidae, fig. 12), which as a
class are regarded as predatory, the case was differ-
ent Most birds eat them, some species largely.
V Ground-beetles are numerous in spring, then be- t
come less conspicuous, but appear later in large
numbers. Their period of greatest abundance in 'T
the five years was April 10-14, 1899, when, with I
the exception of ants, they were the most noticeable
insects on the farm. The smaller kinds (Anisodac-
tylus agicola, A. rwsticus, Casnonia, Aimaraj and a
small Harpalus) predominated. Most of the birds FIG. 12.-Ground-beetle
(after Riley; loaned
collected th were sparrows, which had eaten very by Division of Ento-
ew of the beetles. At the same time the larva of mology).
largee ground-beetle (Ifarpalus caliginoswus) were fairly abundant,
d 4 of the 8 robins collected had destroyed them. During mid-
er (especially 1898 and 1899) the large Carabidw (Harpalm
Ugino and H. pennsylvanicus) fairly swarmed after dark and were
ttated to lights in hosts. They were seldom seen during the day,
at crows, blackbirds, catbirds, meadowlarks, and others frequently
treated them from their hiding places. Three meadowlarks (August


29, 1898) had made the bulk of their food of them. The genus is
not exclusively carnivorous, for it has been known to feed on seeds
of grasses and weeds, and recently (1900) has been discovered eating
strawberry seeds to a harmful extent. One grower at Leechburg,
Pa., lost on a quarter-acre patch $350 in three nights through their
depredations." The nature of the injury has so far made remedial
methods impracticable; consequently the predatory habit of birds is
valuable in this case.
There is an increasing tendency to doubt the utility of ground-
beetles as a class. A European species (Zabrus gibbus) is a notorious
grain pest, and an American species (Agonoderus pallipes) has recently
been ascertained to feed sometimes on newly planted corn. Professor
Forbes has shown that the food habits of ground-beetles vary with
the structure of their jaws, species with sharp-curved jaws being
carnivorous, while those with blunt jaws are decidedly vegetarian.
Only a few-probably less than half a dozen-of the Marshall Hall
birds examined had destroyed the more carnivorous species. It is
probable, therefore, that birds do no appreciable harm in their rela-
tion to ground-beetles, but may even do some good by reducing the
numbers of such species as have vegetarian habits and occasionally
become pests. The following is a list of the different ground-beetles
found in the stomachs collected: Amara, Anisodactylus agricola, A.
rusticus, Bemnbidium, C ratacanthus du(bius, Chlaenius wstivus, IIaypalus
caliqinosusf, IL pen nsylvanicus, and several smaller species of ilar-
palids. These had been eaten by 82 birds of the following 35 different
List of birds examined whose stomachs contained ground-beetles.
Woodcock. Rusty blackbird. Louisiana water-thrush.
Spotted sandpiper. Crow blackbird. Maryland yellow-throat.
Bobwhite. Savanna sparrow. Chat.
Downy woodpecker. Grasshopper sparrow. Mockingbird.
Flicker. Henslow sparrow. Catbird.
Kingbird. White-throated sparrow. Brown thrasher.
Great crested flycatcher. Chipping sparrow. House wren.
Phwbe. Junco. Gray-cheeked thrush.
Blue jay. Song sparrow. Olive-backed thrush.
Crow. Towhee. Robin.
Red-winged blackbird. Cardinal. Bluebird.
Meadowlark. Water-thrush.

Ladybirds.-The most useful of all beetles are the members of the
family Coccinellida-, commonly known as ladybirds, which with their
larvte arc voracious feeders on insect pests. Only three of the Mar-
shall Hall birds-a long-billed marsh wren, a song sparrow, and an
English sparrow-were found to have destroyed these valuable insects.
"Bull. Cornell Univ. Agric. Expt. Sta., p. 150, 1901.

Jtar species eaten was in each case Hippodamia macuata.
noticeably abundant at the time it was taken, but during
i'896 it was the most conspicuous insect on the farm. Then,
it was not molested. Ladybirds of another species (Cbcci-
a....a. ) werevery numerous when the pea plant-louse was mak-
i and appeared on every pea vine greedily devouring the
It was, fortunately, quite free from attack by birds.
kla dybirds appear to be distasteful to birds. I have offered
a dozen different caged birds, and they have always been

-en.............. eficial diptera, such as the predatory robber-flies and the
ciitachinid. and syrphid flies, are too alert to be caught by any
Vqx oept flycatchers and swallows, and even these secure them
: y. During June and July, when robber-flies were plentiful,
:were not found disturbing them. Syrphid flies were so numer-
tduring the last of August, 1899, that several would alight on my
niier whenever it was set down, but a score of birds collected then
.'not made use of them as food.
Rik.. and wapse.-The most abundant and conspicuous of the useful
*, are bees and the flower-fertilizing species of wasps. Of the
1 native birds collected only 31, representing 20 species, had eaten
|e It is interesting to note that the offenders were largely either
ableers or aerial feeders. The list is appended:
I, List of birds examined whose stomachs contained bees and wasps.
himey swift. Song sparrow. Yellow warbler.
by-throated humming- Scarlet tanager. Black-poll warbler.
bitd. Purple martin. Water-thrush.
Itngbird. White-bellied swallow. Maryland yellow-throat.
lusty blackbird. Bank swallow. Canadian warbler.
lenslow sparrow. Rough-winged swallow. Catbird.
ihipping sparrow. Red-eyed vireo. Carolina chickadee.
' Practically all the bees eaten were small species of the family
Lndrenide, mainly An iena and Italictus; the larger species are
ildom taken. During May, 1900, bumblebees and carpenter bees con-
regated in such numbers around locust trees white with grape-like
busters that from sunrise to sunset a deep, continued hum arose as
a hive; and when fruit trees were in blossom bees swarmed about
T also: but in both cases observation failed to discover any con-
ption of the insects by birds. Blossoming persimmon trees alive
th bees were watched for several hours, but only one bird, a hum-
lngbird, visited them.
11' arculate wasps, except certain species of the family Scoliide,
0ome food for birds; indeed, less than half a dozen of all the birds
'fExclusive of the honey bee, which is considered separately (see p. 36).


collected had taken these species. Others, such as Vespa, Polites,
Pompilus, Pelopeus, Jfonobia, and Ammophila, were collectively-
abundant on frequent occasions, but so far as observation went no
birds preyed on them.
That birds feed extensively on parasitic wasps is indisputable; but:
the harm thus done is less than might be supposed, for the usefulness
of such wasps is in inverse ratio to their size, and birds seldom select"
the smallest forms, such as Braconidse and Chalcididfe. Ninety-seven*
of the Marshall Hall birds, representing the following 36 species, had.
eaten parasitic Hymenoptera.

List of birds examined whose stomachs contained parasitic wasps.
Bobwhite Baltimore oriole. Warbling vireo.
Downy woodpecker Grasshopper sparrow. White-eyed vireo.
Chimney swift. Chipping sparrow. Yellow warbler.
Kingbird. Field sparrow. Magnolia warbler.
Great crested flycatcher Song sparrow.' Black-poll warbler.
Phoebe. Scarlet tanager. Louisiana water-thrush.
Wood pewee. Summer tanager. Maryland yellow-throat.
Blue jay. Purple martin. Chat.
Bobolink. Barn swallow. -Redstart.
Red-winged blackbird. White-bellied swallow. Catbird.
Meadowlark. Bank swallow. Long-billed marsh wren.
Orchard oriole. Red-eyed vireo. Olive-backed thrush.
In this mischief the flycatchers are Dy all means the greatest
offenders, the swallows next, and, less generally but still noticeably,
the warblers next. Of all the flycatchers the wood pewee appeared
to be the most active and per-
^ tsistent in this destruction.
Parasitic wasps are not usu-
:I ~ally so alert and swift as
_- many other insects; there-
----__ fore they are easy victims.
S NMIost of the class are ichneu-
Sy-----moh flies (Ichneumonidte-
fig. 13). Somewhat more
than a fifth of the birds that
had taken parasitic wasps,
however, had fed on a cer-
/ tain black wasp, Tiphia inor-
nata, which, is a vigorous
Fi.. 13.-Irhnenn,,, fly (after Howard; loaned by enemy of the larva of the
Division of Entomology). a-eetle These wasps
May -bteetle. 1These wasps|
are so commlnon in May and June that it is not unnatural that a
good many should fall prey to birds. The only other noticeably
abundant parasitic Hymenoptera were some very large bracomds

i ), of which at any time during the first part ot september,
A .,I, could have been collected within a few minutes. Field
Probably other birds consumed them freely, though as
p,,_itic Hymenoptera are eaten only in small numbers.
"Ei .. .i!~ :: E ........
ofthseuseful species appear too late in the season to be of
.....ln. An attempt was made to measure the evil effects of their
-I by observing how far they were parasitizing abundant
st, ~but conditions were unfavorable and adequate results
1ot "obtained. The white grub of the May-beetle was not present
..... sufficientt to furnish evidence. The tobacco worm was par- braconis to some extent, but even at the time of greatest
Biyl,(August, 1898) only one-tenth of 1 percent of the worms were
......... The question, then, of the degree to which birds offend by
....g on these Hymenoptera remains, so far as Marshall Hall is
..scet.ed, k doubtful one, especially since most of the species
l ryed are not known to be effective parasites.
!i:.ii- :!i: ::"i *n * A T

S iConsidering the insect food of the 645 native birds collectively, we
nd that the birds were most insectivorous in May, when somewhat
. than 90 percent of their food was insects, and that naturally they
... the fewest insects in the coldest weather. During the blizzard of
Februay, 1900, however, insects constituted 12 percent of the diet
i the 37 birds collected. Throughout the entire time of observation
Inuwf and their allies, including a small percentage Qf spiders and
.other invertebrates, amounted to 60.41 percent of the total volume of
64 4. They are distributed as follows:
I J Firo of insects and their allies in food of birds examined.
White ants.---------........----------------.......---..------------.......... 1.07
B gs ...------------------------------- ----. ------------ --- -------- 3. 3 63
May-flies -----.------.-----..---...---------.....---...----------.. 6.51
i Ants and other Hymenoptera -------.....---------....---.......--------- 9.64
Caterpillars, with a few adult Lepidoptera --...-----...----..------- 7.80
Grasshoppers and a few crickets--..-....--..---------....------------... 4.11
Beetles .....................................................--- 18.62
Miscellaneous insects ..-------------.............----------..---..--..------ 3.72
SSpiders----------------..----------............-...--------...--------... 4.48
t Miscellaneous invertebrates, mainly crustacea, snails, and myria-
pods.------------------------------------- .83
Total ................................................--- .. 60.41

The bugs consisted both of Heteroptera and Homoptera. The
Heteroptera included such forms as Podiaw, Euschitus, Trichapepla
wminittata, Sinea diaderna, Thyanta cwtator, Hymenarcy8 nervosa,
ekpodius femoratus, IVezara hilari, Corkizus, Coriocus, Cotimelna,
idtnidsu., Alydus piloslus, and Alydus eurinus. The Homoptera


included leaf-hoppers, scale insects, and an occasional plant-louse and.
giant water-bug. Of the Hymenoptera the insignificant proportion of
1.89 percent consisted of parasitic wasps, while, the remainder was
almost entirely ants. The Lepidoptera were very nearly all caterpil-
lars, though moths were occasionally eaten. The caterpillars corn-
prised the smooth forms, oftenest cutworms (fig. 14) and others
of the family Noctuida, together with some Geometride and occa-
sionally an arctiid or a sphingid.
The grasshoppers were long-
horned grasshoppers (Locustidfe)
and short-horned grasshoppers
(Acrididte), the latter consisting of
such forms as Ilyp iscu., fMelano-
1plels atlan is, Jielanoplus .fern ur-
rubrimn, and Dessosteira carolina,
Sthe former largely of such meadow
grasshoppers as Xiph/idium and
&Scudderia, with an occasional'
katydid. Beetles formed twice as
FIG. 14.-Cutworm and moth (after Howard; large an element of food as any
loaned by Division of Entomology), other order of insects. Ground-
other order of insects. Gjround-
beetles (Carabidte), generally considered useful, formed 2.10 percent of
the food; injurious species, largely weevils (Rhynchophora) and leaf-
beetles (Chrysomelid8e), and, to a smaller extent, lamellicorn and longi-
corn beetles, leaf-chafers, click-beetles, and metallic wood-borers
(Buprestidce), amounted to 13.25 percent; while miscellaneous beetles,
largely dung-beetles of the genera Aphodius (fig. 15), Atamnius, and
OntWIitagus, and beetles of a number
of other families, such as the Anthicide,
Bruchidae, Byrrhidw, Histeridve, Staphy-
- linidEe, and Tenebrionidwe, completed the
remaining 3.27 percent of the beetle food.
The spiders were largely the ground- *
spiders of the family Lycosidwe. Spiders
are said to do about as much good as
harm, and are usually regarded as of no
economic importance.
Beneficial insects (predaceous beetles FIG. 15.-Dung-beetle (.Aphodius) (after
and' parasitic wasps) formed 3.97 per- Prof. S. A. Forbes).
cent of the food, while injurious insects, principally caterpillars,
grasshoppers, and harmful beetles, amounted to 26.80 percent. It
will be remembered, however, that what has already been said about
the destruction of useful species shows that but a small fraction of the
percentage of these insects should really be counted against the birds.


7 eat consumption of insects is to be credited, not to adult
to young ones in the nest. All land birds at Marshall Hall
b M of prey and doves, whatever be their own diet, feed
chiefly on insects from the time they are hatched until
the nest. Many species rear every season two or three
Nt from 3 to 5 each, and so voracious are these wide-mouthed
X... that the parents can supply their wants only by unrein it-
.. ~Meals often begin before sunrise and continue till after
:I k fequently occurring every two minutes. At first nestlings
Mu.iderably more than their own weight of food in a day, and
b1.... in weight daily from 20 to 50 percent. The number of
g required to supply a season's host of nestlings must be almost

........"kf other investigators.-One can best study the food of young
l by field observations. Such studies have been pursued by Mrs.
lock, Dr. Francis H. Herrick,0 and Prof. Clarence M. Weed.6
tien..or Weed's bulletin on the feeding habits of nestling chipping
nows has already been cited at length in Bulletin 15 of the
SIdgivl Survey. Dr. Herrick found young cedar birds fed by
.. parents on grasshoppers, cicadas, chokecherries, raspberries,
1In blueberries. A brood of red-eyed vireos were given blackberries,
r aspberries, bugs, beetles, larvae, katydids, and grasshoppers.
dealing catbirds were nourished with red cherries, strawberries,
.Mv, moth millers, beetles, and dragon-flies (.Eschna heroes and Libel-
puchlc a). Young bluebirds were fed robber-flies (Asilits), larvae,
tickets, grasshoppers, and katydids. Mrs. Wheelock states that she
served nestling redheaded woodpeckers eating black beetles; that
narsh wrens bring May-beetles to their broods; that young robins are
Fed moths and dragon-flies, and that crows give frogs and nestling
birds (English sparrows, song sparrows, and meadowlarks) to their
Fo ug.
* Methods of investigation.-Mrs. Wheelock's excellent results were
c.btained in the field by observing the nests in vitu, and Dr. Herrick's by
cutting the nests down and placing them in a favorable situation for
observation. Both of these methods have been employed at Marshall
li. The choice of glasses is important. Mrs. Wheelock used binoc-
Idrs in studying her subjects. These were used at Marshall Hall
tth the best success in the case of very active shy birds or those in
shadow. A Zeiss monocular 12-power was tried, but was found to
be useless unless there was an abundance of strong sunlight, and
f'a Nestlings of Forest and Marsh, 1902.
b Home Life of Wild Birds, 1901.
cBull. 55, N. H. Agr. Expt. Sta., 1898.


under any circumstances not so desirable as had been anticipated. A
2-inch telescope with a single draw tube proved much more service-
able. Working with it, however, is very slow and arduous on account
of its limited field and the difficulty of changing the focus quickly.
Grasshopper Sparrow.-The difficulties encountered in the use of the
telescope in field work may be well shown by a somewhat detailed
account of its use in the following instance: On July 9, 1898, a
grasshopper sparrow's nest containing four naked young birds was
found in a bunch of rabbit-foot clover in a timothy field of lot 1,
several rods from the cow barn. The male parent was poised on a
weed stalk at no great distance, rattling out his dry ditty, never once
stopping to help the mother bird, which was making frequent jour-
neys for food. The latter, on seeing me, perched on a dead mullein
stalk 20 to 30 feet away, instead of carrying to her little ones the
mouthful she held. The telescope was immediately focused. It
enlarged the mother bird so much that she appeared to be peering in
at the end of the instrument. The object in her bill was seen to be of
a delicate green color, but before further observation could be made
she flew to the top of a blackberry bush: Here, by fragmentary
glimpses, during which it was necessary to change the focus several
times, a narrow wing cover and a long, slim leg were discerned, which
showed that the insect belonged to the order Orthoptera (grasshop--
pers, crickets, etc.). The bird next returned to her perch on the mul-
lein stalk, where she remained long enough to enable the telescope to
reveal, projecting from the beak on the side opposite the leg and wing,
two filiform antenna which exceeded the body in length and furnished
the necessary clew to the insect's identity as a meadow grasshopper.
Further observations were made, with the same interruptions and'
demands upon the patience. In the next two trips she brought the
same insects. She next came with a cutworm, then with a chrysalis,
and later with two short-horned grasshoppers (3elanopluw and Disso-
teira). The meagerniess of these results, considering the time required:
for obtaining the information, was due to the restless uneasiness of
the grasshopper sparrow and the location of the nest in an open field
where no cover for the observer was available to reduce the bird's
apprehension. Observation of a house wren (see p. 45) was conducted
under more favorable conditions and was much more satisfactory. No
nestling grasshopper sparrows were collected at Marshall Hall, but 14
from other localities have been examined, and diagrams that were made
of their food and of that of 10 adults taken at the same time show the
great importance of insects in the food of nestlings.a
Orchard Oriole.-A few observations were made of a brood of well-
feathered orchard orioles in a black-walnut tree near the negro cabin,
"These (liagramnis were published in an article entitled The Food of Nestling Birds,
which appeared in the Yearbook of the Dept. of Agriculture for 1900.


%- 1898. The male parent, a bird in greenish plumage, did not
provide for the young, but appeared to think that his sole duty
.in coming to the tree occasionally and singing. The mother
ieautly. It was difficult to identify what-she brought,
sh.lq.. was so shy and remained at the nest so brief a time. I
tw.aA close to the tree and focus the glass on her when she was
shopping from branch to branch. Working under these
... I was able to identify but 2 caterpillars, 3 May-flies, 2 short-
ed rasshoppers, and 3 meadow grasshoppers.
1wm Wrfa.-The most satisfactory and continued observations were
o:imae 17, 1899, of some young house wrens that were about
eim'foh s grown. In this case it was found desirable to remove
ini which.was in a cavity in a'locust tree, transfer it to a baking-
ier can, and nail the can to the trunk of the tree about 4 feet
. the ground. The following is a detailed account of the feeding:

Feeding of a brood of house wrens.

Green caterpillar (Heliothis dipsa-
.. Undetermined.
W e is dipsaceus.
suspended till 7.20 a. m.)
'i, Undstefrmlined.
:a..i hay-fly.
bnOwatlos suspended till 7.45 a. m.)
S"Harvestman (Phalangidae).
?. Na.y! -fly.
.4. Undetermined insect.
749.. JUdetermined.
.51.. Undetermined.
J57. Undetermined.
V7.5. Undetermined.
1.57. Undetermined.
1.57?. Undetermined.
.LO7 Undetermined.
&.01. Undetermined.
I908. Undetermined.
6 50N. Undetermined.
Heliothis dipsaceus.
08. mUndetermined insect.
Undetermined insect.
i.180. Brown caterpillar.
V9:10. Undetermined insect.
lit. Undetermined insect.
L20. Undetermined insect.
8.22. Undetermined insect.
S2O. Two May-flies.

A. M.
8.24. May-fly.
8.29. Brown orthopterous insect.
8.30. Heliothis dipsaces.
8 35. Undetermined.
8.38. Caterpillar.
8.414. May-fly.
8.43. May-fly.
8.45. Brown caterpillar (cutworm?).
8.46. Heliothis dipsaceus.
8.47. Undetermined insect.
8.48. Undetermined insect.
8.49. Undetermined insect.
8.50. Undetermined insect.
8.524. Cutworm (?).
8.55. Heliothis dipsaceus.
8.56. Undetermined insect.
8.59. Pentatomid bug (Nezara?).
9.03. Cutworm (?).
9.05. Cutworm.
9.10. Caterpillar (Acronycta oblinita)
9.13. Brown soldier bug.
9.17. Green caterpillar (noctuid).
9.20. White grub.
9.25. Clay-colored grasshopper.
9.254. Grasshopper.
9.30. Undetermined insect.
9.37. (Two cabbage worms placed
edge of tin can.)
9.38. Acronycta oblinita.
9.39. Heliothis dipsacus. (Refused ca
bage worm.)
9.394. May-fly.




M :



Feeding of a brood of house Treni-Continued.
A. 3. A. M.
9.45. Grasshopper. 11.02. May-fly.
9.46. Cutworm. 11.02j. May-fly.
9.50. Grasshopper (Melanoplus). 11.15. Green .aterpillar.
9.52. Saw-fly larva (?). 11.20. Miller (noctuid).
9.54. Miller (noctuid). 11.21. Black chrysalis.
9.55. !feliothi.s dipsaceus. 11.22. Saw-fly larva (?).
9.57. Heliothis dipsaceus. 11.25. Spider.
10.00. Spider. 11.26. Grasshopper (Mfelanoplus).
10.01. Heliothis dipsaceus. 11.30. Heliothis dipsaceus.
10.05. Black chrysalis. 11.30j. May-fly.
10.08. Cutworm. 11.32. Spider.
10.15.. Spider. 11.34. Grasshopper (Melanoplus).
10.16. Caterpillar. 11.34j. Saw-fly larva (7).
10.20. May-fly. 11.36. Acronycta oblinita.
10.23. Spider. 11.391. May-fly.
10.26. Clay-colored grasshopper. 11.47. Cutworm.
10.29. Clay-colored grasshopper nymph. 11.48. May-fly.
10.30. Acronycta oblinita. 11.50. Cutworm.
10.35. Green caterpillar. 11.51. Ifeliothis dipsaceus (2).
10.38. Heliothis dipsaceus. 11.59. HIeliothis dipsaceus.
10.41. Heliothis dipsaceus. P. M.
10.46. Clay-colored grasshopper. 12.02. Heliothis dipsaceus.
10.48. Spider. 12.06. Spider.
10.50. Miller (noctuid). 12.07. Heliothis dipsaceus.
10.52. Clay-colored grasshopper nymph. 12.09. Cutworm.
10.54. Miller (noctuid). 12.11. Spider.
The mother wren thus made 110 visits to her little ones in four
nours and thirty-seven minutes, and fed them 111 insects and spiders.
Among these were identified 1 white grub, 1 soldier bug, 3 millers
(Noctuide), 9 spiders, 9 grasshoppers, 15 May-flies, and 34 caterpil-
lars. On the following day similar observations were made from 9.35
a. m. till 12.40 p. mi., and in the three hours and five minutes the young
were fed 67 times. Spiders were identified in 4 instances, grasshop-
pers in 5, May-flies in 17, and caterpillars in 20.
Previous to the observation of this brood of wrens a collection of
adult and nestling wrens was made. Their food is shown in diagrams
(PI. IX, fig. 1).
Barn Swallow.-The food of seven nestling barn swallows (fig. 16)
collected June 17, 1899, consisted of beetles (Onthophagus penmyl-
vandcus, Aphodiux i&nqunttUI Agrilus sp., and Rhynchophora), para-
sitic wasps (Ch/acid., sp., Ichneumonidie and Tiph binornata) and flies
(Leptida, Chrysop. sp., Lucwilia c-w*r and other Musci&de), bugs
(Capsidte), May-flies, and snails. The vertebrae of some small fish,
which may have been taken to aid the gizzard in digesting the food,
were also found in the stomachs.
Bank Swallow.-An examination was made of the stomachs of 83
young bank swallows collected a few miles above Marshall Hall from

PI .... the face of the river bluff. They were probably the prog-
.... .ifbe swallows that frequently circled over the farm. The food
nstiings and that of adults collected during the nesting season
A in diagrams (PI. IX, fig. 2).
.....martins, which came from a colony of somewhat more than
irs nesting in boxes on poles at Bryan's Point, a mile above
..... were often seen circling about the farm. On June 28, 1902,
ii ed the colony and found the parent birds feeding the young sol-
bIug ants, fig-eaters (Allorhina nitida), and dragon-flies (Libellula
p4r Agrionids).

noG. 16.-Bar swallow.
a . ." ."..
.. *e... ...t

Pie. 8.-Brn.swllow

Three young downy woodpeckers which were collected May 28,
1896, had fed principally on ants, but had also eaten spiders, ground
beetles, and caterpillars.
Catbird.-The difference between the food of adults and young
belonging to a highly frugivorous species is well illustrated in the
wse of the catbird, and is shown in diagrams (P1. IX, fig. 3), which
were made principally from results obtained at Marshall Hall.
Crow and Crow Blackbird.-Such granivorous birds as crows and
Wrow blackbirds feed their young mainly insects. Sufficient material
I -i. .
*: "

to illustrate this habit was not available at Marshall Hall, but the:'
diagrams here given (figs. 17 and 18), based on results obtained .:i
elsewhere,a will serve to show it. By the time the young are ready
to leave the nest, however, they are fed to a large extent on either
grain or fruit, according to locality. In the Middle West they take
grain and in the East generally fruit. Both crows and crow black-


L- :"".^- .'::;.




BEETLES VERTEBRATES .:... .. ....... .....

.:" .;. : ........................ .

...,....... ..
FIG. 17.-Diagram showing proportions of food of American crow (Corvus imericanus), youngand adult.
birds do great service by feeding to their young not only cutworinms
and grasshoppers, but also large numbers of weevils and May-beetles.
Consumption of caterpillars and grasshoppers is the largest benefit
derived from the presence of nestlings on the farm. The parent birds
a Most of the stomachs of young and adult crows used in the investigation on
which the results shown in the diagram are based were obtained at Sandy Spring,
Md.; and most of those of young and adult crow blackbirds came from Onaga, Kans.


Bull. 17, Biological Survey, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture.

[1, Cutworm; 2, spider 3, stink-bug; 4, May-fly; 5, weevil, 6, grasshopper.]

[1, Weevil; 2, ichneumon fly; 3, winged ant; 4, fly; 5, dragon-fly; 6, stink-bug.]

[1, Ground-beetle; 2, cutworm; 3, ant; 4, grasshopper ; 5, spider.]

[The diagrams show the proportions of the various orders of insects in the food, each order
being represented by the insect belonging to it that is most commonly eaten by the bird whose
food is shown. (In the case of the Hymenoptera a division is sometimes made between the
parasitic members of the order, which are very useful, and those that are neutral or injurious.
The figures of insects are reduced from cuts kindly loaned by Dr. L. 0. Howard.)]

Bull. 17, Biological Survey, U. S. Dept. of Agticulture.




646inaets wheix they are not abundant ana even when they
4AA the time of the foregoing observations of orchard orioles,
.110a11 grasshopper sparrows, caterpillars and grasshoppers
0xparatively scarce; yet the parent birds, though they chose
lot their own eating from more abundant species, hunted far
* for these rare ones to feed their young. At Marshall Hall








./^ *, "< SNAILS '''' *'''*/
:: OR N::::: 'C 0 R N:'.

F. 18.-Diagram showing proportions of food of crow blackbird (Quisralus quiscula xneus), young
and adult.
it protection and encouragement of birds at nesting time is of prime
aportance. Adults of the most numerous species on the farm are
ther highly frugivorous or highly granivorous, hence the insectiv-
?ous habits of nestlings help considerably to establish the beneficent
Station of birds to the farm economy.
7222-No. 17-02-4



Crows.-Certain species of the larger birds were found to take ver-
tebrate food. Crows and some of the hawks and owls destroyed useful
small birds and also game and poultry. On the Hungerford farm
crows were observed killing newly-hatched turkeys, and on the BryanI
farm they were not uncommonly seen carrying off little chickens.r
The most serious offense against the poultry interest, however, was
the habitual stealing of eggs. During April, 1900, a crow came every
day and robbed a hen's nest in the side of a hayrick at a little distance
from buildings. Often he would be seen waiting on a fence near by
until the hen announced that the egg had been laid, when he would
dash down and make off with his booty. Such depredations could be
avoided by furnishing the hens with such facilities that they would no
longer lay in exposed situations. As it is, incessant war upon the;
crow is necessary to prevent heavy loss to poultry on this farm. Game
birds also suffer. On May 15,1900, a crow was caught on the forested
,.lope beyond the swamp (Pl. VII, fig. 2) in the act of pillaging the
nest of a ruffed grouse. Crows also despoiled the nest of a bobwhite,
a species which probably suffers oftener than the ruffed grouse.
Eagle.-The bald eagles that are frequently seen at Marshall Hall'
do not disdain to pick up a little game now and then. Early in March,
1897, a crippled scaup duck was seen in the river a hundred yards'
from the house chased by an eagle and diving every time its pursuer
swooped down on it. When the quarry was almost tired out the eagle i
was shot, and fell into the river with a broken wing, but it had suffi-
cient strength left to lacerate a pointer that attempted to retrieve it.
On November 15,1900, an eagle was seen flying over the house gripping
in its talons a live coot, which turned its head rapidly from side to. side
in its struggles to escape. During the hunting season eagles get a
good part of their food by picking up wounded ducks. They also
prey on domesticated ducks. In the first week of August, 1896, they
carried off several ducklings that went down to the swamp. The
royal brigands relish chicken, and in the nest of one pair thac came to
the farm was the carcass of a recently kbled Plymouth Rock hen.
Cooper Hawk.-With the exception of the English sparrow, the
Cooper hawk (fig. 19) probably does the least good and the most harm
of all the birds of the farm, for it subsists almost entirely on wild
bir'dls and poultry. It very frequently steals little chickens, and con-
stantly preys on the bobwhite and useful insectivorous or seed-eating
small birds. During November, 19010, the bobwhites were so perse-
cuted that thev were slcdoln found far from cover. In one instance a
hawk was seen to swoop to the ground and rise with a victim, the

of which was afterwards made sure by the discovery of the
at.i, a cock bobwhite on the spot where the hawk had struck.
.... OH ied Kawk.-The sharpshinned hawk, congener of the
wk, is also a harmful species. It was frequently observed
native sparrows, and on November 15, 1900, was seen tearing
I nbird pieces. The smaller birds suffer most in autumn.
*"e:5th .of November, 1899, I was observing a score of cardinals,
,i white-throated sparrows, fox sparrows, and song sparrows

I I -^ ^

, "(

[!FiG. 19.-Cooper hawk.

|).at were eating ragweed seed in wheat stubble by the negro cabin.
!Wh .. . "

.S.ddenly the whole flock sprang into the air and flew straight toward
pie and into the bashes behind me, twittering with fright. Their
kwiftness" just saved them from a sharpshinned hawk, which swooped
kad struck the ground where they had been feeding. It was two
hours before they dared to leave their shelter and feed again on weed
reeds of the stubble-field. These two species of hawks patrol the farm


so vigilantly in autumn and winter that birds which eat weed seed are
kept in constant terror, and are unable to do all the good they might
accomplish were it not for their tireless enemies. Owing to the
depredations of these two hawks, all hawks without distinction have
been relentlessly persecuted by man, although very few are actually
detrimental to agriculture.
Great Horned Owl.-Only one of the several species of owls occur-
ring at Marshall Hall is harmful, namely, the great horned owl (fig. 20).

/ -ii. p;g4ttttm~n

-IV :,

FIG. 20.-Great horned owl.

It occasionally nakes inroads ot poultry that is not housed. In
December, 1897, a great horned owl carried off a full-grown hen from
her roost in a tree beside the negro cabin, and on five of the first ten
nights of May ,one came and took hens from the cedar trees behind the
house. On the night of the sixth visit a steel trap baited with a hen
secured the robber. A year seldom passes without losses from this
fierce and powerful bird of prey.






Si species of birds on the farm are known to feed on fish, but
.* few in number and take food fishes so seldom that as far
ben learned they cause no material injury to fishing interests,
H -t this point on the river are of considerable importance. A
..... kingfishers were often seen fishing along the shore in front of
..... pn house (PI. Ill, fig. 2),,and five nestlings taken from the bluff
7lt:e Hungerford place had been fed wholly on fish. Herons, includ-
ij the, night heron, the green heron, and the great blue heron, were
ftently seen wading in shallow water, spearing fish with their long,
pited beaks. Two green herons that were collected had eaten sil-
weridles (Menidia nowtata) and mummichogs (Funduls /leteroclitu.8).
Dcks, particularly the mergansers, feed to some extent on fish. Two
hooded mergansers, collected November 15, 1900, had eaten respect-
tray 12 and 20 tiny fish. Gulls are decidedly more piscivorous than
ducks. During November the herring gull and the ring-billed gull
fihed by the dozen out in the 'river between the farmhouse and Mount
Vernon (see P1. 1, frontispiece fig. 2). In the same place the osprey
was once in a while seen plunging after his prey. The bald eagle was
observed catching fish, but more often it feeds on those that it finds
Some birds, notably eagles, crows, and buzzards, feed at times
largely on dead fish. Eagles may be seen along the river scanning the
uhore for those cast up by the tide. May 19, 1899, an eagle flying
over the farm dropped an eel 26 inches long that had evidently been
taken as carrion. Gulls, also, undoubtedly pick up a good deal of
such food. Crows and buzzards are valuable scavengers of dead fish
cast up at low tide during the last of April and the first of May, when
Sthe fishing season is at its height. These fish are small, principally
Ssun-fish, white perch, and shad, that were fatally injured by nets.
Observations on May 5, 1901, showed the whole river front of the
Sfarm strewn with decaying fish, which gave out such a stench that one
could not sit comfortably within several hundred yards of the beach.
SSome 40 buzzards were feeding on the carrion all day. On close
inspection they were seen to be selecting that which was most badly
decomposed. Crows in almost as large numbers and several crow
Sblackbirds were also feeding, but they commonly took that which was
less decayed. Several brows came repeatedly to the shore of lot 1,
Picked up fish, and carried them to their nests in the woods. By
abating this nuisance crows and buzzards do a service that is appre-
i. elated by the occupants of the farmhouse.
SBuzzards are also useful in removing other carrion. Stock that
dies on the farm is never buried, but is left for them. November 16,


1899, some notes were made on the manner in which a carcass was -
disposed of. On the edge of lot 1, near the mouth of Persimmon
Branch, lay a horse that had died two weeks before. Fully 30 buz-
zards closely attended it, and some were to be found at work on it at
any hour of the day, while the others, tired of gorging, sat around
on a rail fence, stretching their wings and preening. At night they
all roosted together in oak trees within a hundred yards of the horse,
as if they wished to keep near the food. A year later another horse was
given over to the buzzards. The buzzards did not in either case tear
open the skin to expose the large muscles, but if the weather had been
hot they might have eaten these as well as viscera. Crows are seldom
known to feed on dead stock, but during the March blizzard of 1898
they were almost starved, and resorted with buzzards to a dead cow.
Buzzards dispose of the entrails and other refuse of pigs, fish, and
chickens, which are thrown to them in a certain place where they
have learned to expect it.
Mice.-The crow and several other birds of 'the farm do some good
by destroying injurious mammals. In the vicinity of the storage barn
a loggerhead shrike was often to be seen. Here it impaled its prey on
thorns of the osage orange hedge and on the barbs of a wire fence. In
one instance a house mouse was found spitted on the fence. If extended
observations could have been made it is probable that mice would often
have been found in the larder of this useful little shrike. The crow
takes mice at every opportunity. On February 21. 1900, signs of its
work appeared near the runways of meadow mice in a wheat-stubble
patch of lot 5, in the form of crow tracks in the light snow. holes
pecked in the earth, and at one place spatters of blood and tufts of
mouse hair. Hawks feed habitually on these mice. In January,
1898, when there were several inches of snow on the ground, a red-
tailed hawk (PI. X, fig. 1) shot in the road by the negro cabin held in
its talons the warm body of a meadow mouse. November 15, 1900, a
marsh hawk skimming over lot 2 suddenly dived into the brown broom-
sedge. As it rose it was killed and a meadow mouse dropped from its
clutch. In its stomach the head and hind quarters of another were
found. This species of hawk is undoubtedly the most useful mouser
on the farm and should have due credit, for mice cause much injury
there to fruit trees, sweet potatoes, and grain. The short-eared owl
(PI. X, fig-. 2) has several times been observed preying upon meadow
mice. This bird, the marsh hawk, and the red-shouldered hawk, which
are all excellent mousers and rarely attack poultry or birds, are con-
tinually made to pay with their lives for the depredations of the real
poultry thieves of the hawk and owl tribe-the Cooper and sharp-
shinned hawks and the great horned owl. The illustration of a short-

4w! here given is of a bird that had just made vicarious atonement
flredstions on the poultry by the great horned owl.
-The marsh hawk and other large species prey on rabbits.
*e hut week of December, 1897, a marsh hawk was shot which had
1 4 one of unusual size. The crow regularly feeds on young
O ..O March 27, 1901., several crows that were congregated in
gm u land at a point 150 yards behind the house were frightened
"' An empty rabbit's nest found on the spot and stains of blood
he broom-sedge told what they had been doing. The rabbit is a
aeu on the farm. It often ruins hotbeds of sweet potatoes, cuts.
.... i paths through wheat fields, and nibbles cabbages and turnips.
iitonre than 20 miles from Marshall Hall rabbits girdled and killed
.90G1oung pear trees in an orchard of 4.000 within two months.
le food of the 645 birds examined shows only 1.72 percent of ver-
bte food. The reason for so small a proportion is the fact that
collection included only 19 birds that could be expected to feed on

iiuit forms with many common birds an important element of
od. Of the 645 stomachs of native birds collected at Marshall Hall
Scontained either wild or cultivated fruit. The greatest interest
lturaly centers in the cultivated varieties.
'eris.-The earliest fruit on the farm is the strawberry. It
usly ripens about the middle of May and would naturally be
ieted to tempt the birds. With a view to measuring their depre-
..ons on the crop, two visits were made to Marshall Hall between
le 13th and the 20th of May of 1899 and 1900. A strawberry patch
r the Bryan kitchen garden was watched for several days in the
early morning, when birds were feeding most busily, but although
atbirds, orchard orioles, and other notably frugivorous species were
11 around the patch, not one of the birds entered it for berries. On
he Hungerford place, adjacent to the wooded dell tenanted by the
colony of crow blackbirds already referred to, there was a large
trawberry patch, from around which were collected 13 blackbirds, 13
itbirds, and 2 orchard orioles, but only one of them, a catbird, had
Men strawberries. On the previous day the patch was watched for
several hours. Only a solitary catbird entered it and he did not take
. berry. These and other observations showed that birds at Marshall
1all did not harm the strawberry crop, but, on the other hand, pro-
beted it by destroying ground-beetles, which, as has been said, injure
he fruit. If catbirds were fond of strawberries, they would have
Oade sad havoc on these farms, for they fairly swarmed amid the


tangled vegetation on the river front (PI. IV, fig. 1). Their lii
for fruit is well known, and it seems strange that they should p
fer winter-cured smilax berries to strawberries; yet of 13 individual
collected at this time 5 had eaten smilax berries that had hung o
the bushes all winter.
Cherries.-During cherry time 227 birds were collected, 23 of which.
comprising crows, crow blackbirds, catbirds, cedar birds, brown thrash
ers, and kingbirds, had fed on cherries and little else. Cherries ripe-
from the 30th of May to the 15th of June and remain on the trees o
about a month. Some interesting field observations corroborated th|
results of the examination. On the Bryan farm cherry trees are s
numerous that an observer can not keep track of the birds that fly td
them, but on the Hungerford farm, where the trees are few, there is n
difficulty in taking notes. One large black ox-heart tree in a hedge
row several hundred yards from the river was watched June 15, 1899|:
From sunrise till sunset there was seldom an interval of ten minute
when it was empty. Catbirds flew up to it from the matted vinea
on the river front; thrashers camine from inland thickets; and king
birds flew over from apple and pear orchards. A flock of half a
dozen cedar birds every now and then came to it and fed eagerly, and
a crow made it a base of supplies for her greedy brood in a neighbor^)
ing sycamore. The colony of crow blackbirds that had nested in the
adjacent dell were, however, the most regular and frequent visitorsi
They had taken their recently fledged young to a swamp a quarter of a9
mile away, and all day long flew back and forth in a bee line' between
that and the cherry tree, often meeting one another in the journey and
sometimes numbering three or four in the tree at one time.
As an experiment looking toward the possible protection of cherries1
a screech owl with a clipped wing was placed in a cherry tree near the
Bryan farmhouse. Several catbirds that came to pillage made an out-
cry at first, but soon attacked the cherries, regardless of the owl. Al
English sparrow, a red-eyed vireo, and two orchard orioles that entered
the tree were at first much disturbed, but were all eating cherries
within fifteen minutes. Since the screech owl does not feed on birds
to a considerable extent, they probably did not recognize in him a
dangerous enemy. The presence of a great horned owl or a Cooperl
hawk would doubtless have had a completely deterrent effect. The
cherry crop at Marshall Hall is not marketed, nor is one hundredth
of it ever picked; the proportion consumed by birds is, consequently,
of no economic importance.
Other orchard fruit.-When the cherry season was over the birds that
had shown themselves notably frugivorous were expected to turn their
attention to the orchards of plums, peaches, pears, and apples. While
these fruits were ripe 161 birds were collected, but not one appeared

w lested them. Many had taken fruit, but had drawn on
iu pply instead of man's. All the trees in the orchard were
.but birds apparently did not rob them, a fact in striking
'th the notorious pillaging by birds in the fruit-growing
.of California. In California birds also do much damage in
ty eating the buds and blossoms of fruit trees, but at Marshall
.:.Nfwitppreciable loss is caused in this way. White-throated spar-
...,, oasionally feed on buds and blossoms, and on one occasion
Sy 95,1901) three of these birds were seen mutilating pear blos-
ithe kitchen garden, but beyond this no example of such
olbns was observed.
... : u .." ..: .." .." [ .... : .:.E.ii i" : ': .: i! ".....
p--Grapes are not raised for market at Marshall Hall. In the
n kitchen garden there is a trellis for family use, but birds did no
viable injury to the grapes that grew on it.
I rin'atoes.-Catbirds were reported to be ruining the tomato .crop
On the Hungerford farm during the third week of June, 1899. The
se was visited and every tomato that had reddened at all was found
to have been pecked. The injury was causing heavy loss to the farm,
for the fruit at that time brought a high price. The patch was watched
r several hours, but not a catbird entered it. Nine chickens, how-
'two;.: stole up from a small house on the shore and went from plant
to^plant, eating greedily. To make doubly sure that catbirds had
o:: sare in the mischief, 15 individuals were collected from the neigh-
boring dell and the bushes about the patch, and examination was made
ref.the stomach contents. No trace of tomatoes was found.
SXelns.-The only fruit grown for market that suffered from the
i[depredations of native birds was the melon, and it was attacked by
1:'only one species-the crow. In numbers .from three or four to a
Dozen at a time crows began to injure melons about August 1 and con-
tinued for three weeks, attacking both watermelons and cantaloupes,
but preferring the former. Each crow would peck at a melon a dozen
times or so and then pass on to another. If no protective measures
had been taken, the crop would often have been a total loss, and in
spite of all efforts from 5 to 20 percent of the melons grown at all
distant from buildings were punctured (fig. 21). Carcasses of crows,
i strings with long white streamers attached, an improvised miniature
Swindmill that revolved and struck noisily against a piece of metal, and
:a bit of bright tin suspended from a string so that it turned with
Every breath of air and reflected the sun about the field were some of
the devices used to frighten the wary and suspicious marauders. In
1878, 1874, and 1875, when the melon crop was so important that 4 or
5 acres, containing from 3,000 to 4,000 hills, were given up to it, the
method of protection used in the rice fields of the South was adopted:
from sunrise to sunset a negro with an old musket and plenty of pow-



der watched from a brush shelter in the middle of the field and, when-
ever a crow appeared, frightened it away with a thundering report.
If the field was left unguarded for any length of time, the crows were
sure to make havoc among the melons. Since they would never come
within gunshot if they knew anybody was watching, attempts were
made to destroy them by a stratagem; two men would enter the brush
house and one of them would soon leave, hoping to delude the crows
into thinking that the house was empty, so that they would venture
within range of the second man's gun. The plan worked only in the
first few trials, however. The farmers at Marshall Hall maintain that
crows can count up to three, for they could not be hoodwinked unless
three men left the house and a fourth remained to shoot.

FIo. 21.-Melons damaged by crows.

Wild fruit formed 10.12 percent of the food of the 645 birds col-
lected, and had been eaten by 120. Both examination of stomachs and
notes of field work showed how important an element it is in the food
supply of many .species.
Smilax.-The catbird, which, with the possible exception of the cedar
bird, is the most conspicuous frugivorous species on the farm, ate in
May, when it arrived from the South, the winter-cured berries of
s.milax. Out of 13 individuals collected May 17-20, 1899, 5 had made
from 15 to 40 percent of their diet on these husks in preference, as
has already been said, to the feast spread in the strawberry patch.


,May cedar birds and crow blackbirds also relished themin, and
.Mii'!hen hard pressed on its arrival, during the last of Feb-
Sseen to eat them eagerly.
H .-The first wild fruit that offers a freshly ripened supply
Hall is the mulberry, and it lasts from the end of May
end of June. On May 29, 1896, observations were made of
ip ding in a large mulberry tree in the wooded gully of the hog
plir of downy woodpeckers that bred in a willow stub near
Y "sre twice noted eating the berries. A Baltimore oriole, probalmbly
li grant, fed on them eagerly. Several pairs of orchard orioles
tn.idigabirds which nested together near the house came to the tree
Lisepeunt intervals. The kingbirds would balance themselves on the
EIuaat: sprays and pluck the berries as gingerly as if they had been
ll Two pairs of red-eyed vireos and a pair of white-eyed vireos
iinted the mulberry and adjacent trees, now and then taking a berry,
Nt most of the time apparently eating insects. A cardinal that
pted on the shore of the calamus swamp, 200 yards distant, made one
ip to the tree, but was accidentally frightened out of any subsequent
bs....ts. Crows came from the woods 25 rods away and three blue jays
p eyedR at least a quarter of a mile for the fruit. Song sparrows
yquently hopped about on the ground beneath the tree and picked
tab o fruit. A flock of eight cedar birds fairly gorged themselves.
Lt atervals they would repair to cedar trees on the brink of the
lly*and sit as motionless as if they were literally stuffed, until diges-
oi relieved their repletion. Then they would apparently wake up,
nen their pretty plumage, and, regaining activity one after another,
rold presently with one accord fly back to the berries with renewed
appetite. They appeared to spend their whole time alternately feast-
ag and napping. The catbirds were about as gluttonous, but not-so
may. They came to the tree from the neighborhood, from the house,
nd from the river bluff. Hardly a period of five minutes passed in
rhich not one was among the branches, and three or four were often
resent at once. They were so tame that it was possible to see just
ow they fed. One would pluck a berry, sometimes an inch long, bolt
L whole, and then stand almost choking, with mouth wide open, while
be berry, which made a great lump in its gullet, slowly passed into its
stomach. Then with evident relief it would hop about and perhaps
lng a few bars of song. There was no luxurious Idleness among
he catbirds. As soon as they had eaten they either sang or flew
way to resume nest building, incubation, or the feeding of their
roung. Mulberries formed at this season the greater part of their
A list follows of the birds that were observed feeding on this fruit
i.r that were found by examination to have eaten it.


List of birds feeding on mulberries.
Blue jay. Cardinal. Downy woodpecker.
Crow. Carolina chickadee. Cedar bird.
Crow blackbird. Song sparrow. Catbird.
Orchard oriole. Red-eyed vireo. Kingbird.
Baltimore oriole. White-eyed vireo. Bobwhite.

Raspberries and blackberries.-The black raspberry, the dewberry,
and the blackberry, which are the wild fruits that, in the order given,
ripen next, are too plentiful and too widely distributed for much
remunerative field observation. The following list of birds that ate
them was prepared chiefly from stomach examination:

List of birds feeding on raspberries and blackberries.
Bobwhite. Brown thrasher. Kingbird.
Summer redbird. Catbird. Red-headed woodpecker.
Cardinal. Orchard oriole. Cedar bird.
Song sparrow. Bluebird.
Field.sparrow. Crow.

A few field notes on the destruction of these fruits were made, how-
ever. Catbirds were seen, May 30, 1896, in black raspberry bushes
near the house, eating half a dozen berries apiece. During June, 1899,
lot 2 was overrun with a network of dewberry vines. Here, on the
17th, bobwhites were observed walking from vine to vine, picking the
berries in a systematic fashion. During 1896 blackberries fruited
heavily, and birds were not slow to take advantage of the generous
food supply. July 12 a red-headed woodpecker was observed to come
and feed on the berries with catbirds and orchard orioles, and a king-
bird was seen to fly down to a bush, hover beside it, and pluck a
berry. In early August, 1898, two field sparrows were seen in several
instances selecting fruit which had dried on the bushes in preference
to that which was fresh and juicy. They may have done this to obtain
the seeds of the berry and extract their meat. A number of song
sparrows picked up blackberries from the ground as they had mul-
berries. Since this species is often very abundant in cultivated patches
of blackberries and takes 10 percent of its food from this fruit in its
season, the habit of feeding on fallen berries may be fortunate for the
horticulturist. Rubus fruits are not raised for market at Marshall
Hall, hence it is unimportant whether the birds eat them or not; if
they were, and if there were no other fruit available, the abundant
frugivorous birds would probably decrease the profits considerably.
Elderberries.-Elderberries ripen next, usually during the latter half
of July. There are so few of them on the farm that the record is
scanty, but field notes made August 5, 1898, show how much they are


g A large elder bush was watched from 1.40 to 2.54) p. ni.
o....bservations may be thus summarized:
Detailed account of birds feeding on elderberries.
Aeemg sparrow hopped along under the bush and picked up a fallen berry.
Siwy~ woodpecker alighted on the main stalk and, ascending within reach
t.i qlter, ate 2 berries.
: i &. i orchard oriole came and fed.
.i.rZcatbIrd ate several berries.
Aiii n eed vireo took 1 berry.
*lA Wiic ate 3 berries.
*..A pW-.of red-eyed vireos flew into the bush; one took a berry and scurried
.away, but the other remained long enough to eat 4 berries.
i A male redbird dashed in, took a berry, and dashed out.
l.: A crow dropped clumsily into the bush, but after one peck at the fruit espied
w me and flew away with loud clamor.
4:M A catbird took 1 berry.
|: A white-eyed vireo took 3 berries.
LG: A catbird took a berry.
|l3: A female summer redbird came shyly and hurriedly ate several berries.
|4: A catbird took a berry.
W: Another catbird picked at a cluster rapidly for one minute, swallowing in that
l. time 20 berries.
JH A red-eyed vireo, poised in the air like a humming bird, ate several berries
| from the same cluster.
M9 A female cardinal ate a berry.
;-.A catbird ate 10 berries in a minute, rested, and
: Took several more.
.I6: A female summer redbird, bending a berry stalk under her weight, leisurely
plucked 5 berries from the drooping cluster.
M7T: A catbird ate 4 berries, sat and preened its feathers, and
Wt: Ate 17 more.

SWild cherries.-The wild black cherry (Prunus serotina) is plentiful
t Marshall Hall, but as a rule birds did not congregate about it as they
Io in more northern States. The following species were found
seding on it:
List of birds feeding on wild cherries.

Song sparrow.
English sparrow.

Orchard oriole.
Red-headed woodpecker.

SIsueberries.-Blueberries, though a staple article of birds' diet, are so
scarce at Marshall Hall as to be unimportant. Tufted titmice and cat-
wirds have been noted feeding on them at the southern corner of lot 4.
Other wild fruits.-With the waning of summer there comes such an
bundance and variety of wild fruit that birds scatter over wide areas
If the farm, and observation of their feeding habits yields only desul-
ory results. There are, altogether, more than a score of wild fruit-
ng plants at Marshall Hall, which furnish food to at least 30 kinds of



birds. Some of them, such as sassafras, blackberry, elder, and wil
cheir-, drop their berries shortly after ripening them, while other
such as hackberry, catbrier, and sumac, keep theirs well into win:
ter and even until spring. The bountiful supply of late fruit is mos
noticeable just after the failing of the leaves. Then one may see large
trees festooned with the burdened vines of bittersweet, woodbine, cat
brier, and wild grape. Besides the climbing plants, many shrubs an
trees are laden with fruit. The low horse-nettle is bright with yellow
berries; the rank pokeweed bends under long grape-like bunches o
dark purple fruit; and the persimmon is hung with yellow globes.
The sour gum has dropped its deep-blue berries and light-red leaves.
together, but the holly is set thick with scarlet clusters that will glow
all winter amid its shining green.
Some of the tastes exhibited by birds in their selection of fruit are
interesting and singular. Catbirds and vireos have been known to
pass by ripe blackberries and elderberries and choose green wild cher-
ries and sassafras berries. Many birds eat sumac berries, which are
practically all seeds and would seem to be about as satisfactory food
as so much gravel. Fully a dozen species select the berries of black
alder, which are as bitter as quinine. Cedar berries, a favorite food
with birds, have an effect on the human system like cantharides, while:
the berries of pokeweed, night-hade, and poison ivy contain danger-
ous poisons. If birds are not immune from the toxic effects of these.
berries, one may question whether they do not take them for stimu-
lation, as man takes tobacco and alcoholic beverages.
Poison ivy is eaten by practically all the frugivorous birds of the
farm. A crow that was shot November 15, 1900, had 144 poison-
ivy seeds in its stomach. The pokeberry is also a favorite fruit.
Mockingbirds and catbirds that were collected had fed on it so freely
that their intestines were discolored by its juice. During February,
1900, the snow was stained in several places by bright red spots with
a hole in the center an inch or more deep, at the bottom of which was
at mass of fruit pulpl) and pokeberry seeds. These deposits proved to
be excreta of cardinal grosbeaks that had eaten the berries, the heat
from the droppings having sufficed to melt the hole in the snow.
Nightshade berries (Solanuim nigrrum) were eaten by several birds of
the farm, especially by the bobwhite. During February and Novem-
ber, 1900, a few sapsuckers, downy woodpeckers, bluebirds, and
myrtle warblers, together with dozens of flickers and robins, and
scores of cedar birds and purple finches, fed on the spicy, stimulating
berries of the red cedar.
Distribution of seeds by birds.-The large consumption of wild fruit
results in a wide distribution of seeds, which arc voided by birds and
germinate where they are dropped. Some observations on crows will


this dispersion. On November 17, 1899, a large flock on the
iu noticed in the distance, at a point opposite Fort Washing-
semveral miles above Marshall Hall. They came on down the river
That at times stretched almost from one bank to the other.
..tbhey neared Marshall Hall they circled several times and finally
on the shore of the Bryan farm, at the mouth of Persimmon
... The flock numbered at least a thousand, and hoarse caws
roaks gave evidence that it was made up to some extent of fish
After the birds had remained on the shore fifteen minutes
7 were put to flight by a farmer's boy, and flew on down the river,
ieng to specks and finally disappearing on the horizon. Going
itie place where they had alighted, 1 found the sandy beach cut up
-more than a hundred yards with their tracks. Many led out to
i.water, and floating black feathers here and there showed where
ths had been taken. The most interesting trace of their sojourn,
oreor, was several hundred pellets of fruit material, which they
Pd ejected through their mouths and dropped on the
*iQ urd. These pellets (fig. 22) were about an inch in
ngth and half an inch in diameter. They were of
deep purplish color, due to the fruit of woodbine,
Grape, and pokeberry, of which they were -
ymlny composed. In 50 pellets collected there were
,y 11 seeds of other plants-namely, holly, bitter-
e, and poison ivy. Pokeberry seeds were by far
most numerous. Mr. A. J. Pieters, of the
tanical Division of the Department of Agriculture,
ryminated home of them, thus demonstrating the io. 22.-Pelletejected
S that they were distributed uninjured, by crow.
!' Examination of the pellets showed the interesting fact that they
:.,were made up not only of seeds (fig. 23) and skin, but largely of fruit
I pulp in in undigested state; indeed, many pellets appeared to be com-
Ipacted masses of mashed or squeezed berries. It seems strange that
Sthe birds should have rid themselves of a substance that still contained
ta good deal of nutriment.
SLittle is known of the distribution of fruit seeds by crows during
Immigration, but it is certain that they do this work effectively while
I they fly to and from the roosts where they congregate in winter, for
"their feeding grounds often cover an area stretching out on all sides
i from the roost for 50 miles or more. It appears highly probable that
Sthe crows which are found in winter at Marshall Hall roost at Wood-
ridge, D. C., some 15 miles distant. There, in the midst of several
f.;Lores of woodland, a crow dormitory is established, in which prob-
ably 100,000 crows sleep every winter night. It was visited in Febru-
:ary, 1901, and the ground was found to be strewn with disgorged

pellets containing the seeds of poison ivy, poison sumac and other
sumacs, smilax, cedar, sour gum, and flowering dogwood. Some pel-
lets, also, were made up of the hulls of corn and oats.
The distribution of fruiting plants illustrated by the crow is effected,
though usually in a slighter degree, by all other frugivorous birds.
Areas from which such plants and shrubs have been removed are in a
short time replanted by birds. At Marshall Hall such plants thus
assisted are constantly striving to secure a foothold on the arable
land. This scattering of fruit seeds is illustrated by some observations
made March 27, 1901. Under a large black walnut tree, remote from
other woody vegetation and near the negro cabin, a two hours' search
brought to view 172 fruit seeds, including mulberry, cultivated cherry,

* ar ,t ,
*p J Smooth Suntane
RCg-lev Coretbre ( Rhus g lbrr)
(Cornu.s aspaerLfoLtac) C Ocuxtbterfo )
[S -mtLax r otundLujou ao)

Pols on, Sumn
0** (Rhu.sL ve n.e n.tas)

Flowering Dogwood.
(Corius JtorioLcL) 0 Q4

Potson Ivy
(Rt.=s toxicodLtn.ctron.)
p *

Sour G&umn Red Cedar"
(Nysscz alotUccx) (Jumperus virgtmianus)
FIG. 23.-Some common seeds found in crow pellets.
wild black cherry, wild grape, woodbine, pokeberry, cedar, sassafras,
blackberry, and sumac. Under a large cedar in the middle of lot 2
seeds of the following additional fruiting plants were collected: Elder,
hackberry, bittersweet, sour gum, smilax, blueberry, flowering dog-
wood, and poison ivy.
The most striking examples of trees planted by birds at Marshall
Hall are the ox-heart cherry trees that extend along the river front
for half a mile. Almost as notable, perhaps, are the tall cedar trees
which stand in long rows between adjacent fields (see P1. XII, fig. 1).
Scattered over the old pastures, also, little cedar trees, like fox brushes,
attest the work of the winged planters, but in the arable land the
rotation of crops kills all except such as may start along fence rows.|

17, Biological Survey, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture.




Bull. 17, Biological Survey, U. S. Dept of Agricutlufa.


The liute if trees in thle imidlle-Krouiid marks the (.-iure if l'ersimmr n Branih.


" ~~~ 41., ",

**.by -Dbirds had to be similarly eradicated.


had entered into the food of 38 out of the 645 birds examined.
S.......... had picked up waste kernels and 17 had secured valuable
... 4 however, amounted to but 1.25 per cent of the food of

?tW.--The'crow (fig. 24) is by
Ir.. the worst pilferer of the !
ietAh* Every year at Marshall" i
elsewhere, -o a part of the
ust be replanted because of
Iw. "pikings and stealings.' In
11* the replanting was more e-
ruie than usual, requiring on
iWA-soe field 1 bushel 2t pecks,
parent ogf the 81 bushels origi- "
ily planted. This unusual ratio
me =rbably. caused by the fail- ,,r- ,an7
oiwehe cherry crop, which left wi w
18 crw short of food. The pro-
OMve device of tarring seed cornso-- t or o-
i played toWsome eisint on the oh
[unger$qM farm. In June, 1899,
pnted :'otiw rows of corn, one
ined, on the" edge of lot 4, near
pest of young crows. When the FIG. 24.-Common crow.
ed "sprouted 3 kernels were pulled from the untarred row, and 7
|were uprooted from the tarred row, -the kernels of which were
On' May 0, 1901, a field of sprouting tarred corn on the
.. 1j pgh1iwas visited. In spite of the fact that a field of
corn adjoined it, crows came to this field, perhaps because
y Nearer woods. After three of them had walked about among
.... h ~is trfifteen minutes the place was inspected. Only three
:%Id been pulled up, but in each case the grain had been
S ed0.0 It may be mentioned here that at Wayland, Mass., during.
e, 1. 01,crows pulled a large quantity of tarred corn, but did not eat
* Thttrn there had been coated with wood ashes after the tarring
i 17-..02 5
b. 1 :
"if :, ++
C"~:.+ +:i t+ t.ti :+:
.tt tEE ::b-i ::+tt : '



and dropped by a corn planter. Some farmers object to tarring for
fear of clogging the planter. At Marshall Hall lime is used instead
of ashes, but most farmers who tar their corn discard the machine and
plant in hills.
The injury to corn by crows at other seasons than sprouting time is,
as a general thing, comparatively insignificant, but in some years it
has been important when the ears were in the milk. Unfortunately
at the worst times no observations were made, though crows were
seen each summer feeding on corn in this stage of development, tear-
ing open the ears and picking out the kernels in rapid succession
(PI. XI, fig. 2). In the National Zoological Park at Washington dur-
ing the summer of 1896, their depredations on an acre of corn in the
milk were watched and 50 percent of the crop was found to have been
ruined. The only scarecrows that proved effective at Marshall Hall
were dead crows and strings stretched on poles around the field and hung
with long white streamers. Although in fall the number of marauders
is greatly increased by reinforcements from the North, ripe corn sus-"
tains less injury than roasting ears. One reason is the fact that the
extracting of a few kernels from a ripe ear does not cause the rest
to rot, as is the case with roasting ears. Another reason is the abun-
dance of fall fruit. Wheat also suffers comparatively little. When
it is ripening, cherries and sprouting corn divert the crows' attention.
After it is cut and gathered into the shock, however, they often join the
English sparrows in removing the kernels from the cap sheaves. In
November, 1899, they attacked newly sown wheat also, cleaning every
kernel off a patch of wet ground where the drill had failed to cover
the seed. They were also observed in several instances pulling up
sprouting wheat. Oats are injured even less than wheat, though
crows have been noticed feeding on them at harvest time.
Crow Blackbird.-The crow blackbird (fig. 25) takes grain to the
extent of 45 percent of its food, as Professor Beal has shown, and is
a bird that needs watching. The farmers at Marshall Hall complained
that it injured sprouting corn, but observations did not show the
damage to be serious. The only birds concerned in this work were those
in the breeding colony in the dell on the Hungerford farm. Except in
rare instances, they were not seen visiting the Bryan farm at sprouting
time; consequently they could not be held responsible for serious
injury there. On May 18, 1899, they were watched in their dell. The
parent birds kept going to and from their nests, which held eggs or
newly hatched young, and many foraged in an adjacent field of sprout-
ing corn. Nine old birds and four nestlings were collected, but only
one, an adult, had taken corn, and that one in trifling proportion. On
May 30, 1901, the colony was again visited. The young were then
feathered and old enough to eat vegetable food. The most available
supply was a field of sprouting corn unprotected by tar, that lay within

'.... yads. of the dell. It was watched from 1 p. m. till 6 p. m.,
l gh the birds often flew over it and in two cases alighted in
splyairently did it no injury, and a careful search for pulled
.......... not a plant disturbed. Blackbirds probably did sonic
t corn in the milk, however, and were often seen stealing
l het.: ehoek, but these offenses were trivial in comparison with
$tmoks on sprouting winter wheat. During November, 1900, a
Sfrom 2,000 to 3,000 pulled wheat on the Bryan farm, and only
.... ..Une of the shotgun saved the crop. At each report they would
toii oak woods bordering lot 5, where they fed on acorns. Nine
.: iKb.e had eaten acorns and wheat in about equal proportions.
Ifif*lrmust have taken daily at least half an ounce of food apiece,

A -A

::::::::::: :::::::::


FIG. 2"5.-Crow blackbird.
Ad therefore, if the specimens examined were representative, must in
week have made away with 217 pounds of sprouting wheat, a loss
it would entail at harvest time a shortage of at least ten times as
u .ch. When wheat and oats were harvested no appreciable loss was
:; iiii:.. ,i. .

SMuible, as only a few blackbirds remained on the farm, and, in fact,
Aie few appeared to be feeding on fruit or insects, or, when they did
k grain, to be taking chiefly waste kernels. During June of 1898,
*, 1900, and 1901, when wheat was ripening or being harvested,
a.ckbirds came from their nesting dell to the Bryan farm, but only in
Mw instances were they seen in the wheat fields. On June 15 and 16,
bentoats and wheat were ready to cut on the Hungerford farm, the
lkMy was closely watched. The young were on the wing and the


whole flock was expected to resort to the grain fields, but none were
seen to enter them. On June 18, however, when oats were being cut,
several birds were noted feeding on them in two instances.
English Sparrow.-The English sparrow (fig. 26) is the most highly
granivorous bird on the farm. The stomachs of 53 birds-17 nest-
lings and 36 adults-were collected. Grain had been eaten by 8 of the
young-a large proportion, for nearly all nestlings are almost exclu-
sively insectivorous. It formed 86 percent of the food of the adults,
all but two having taken it. Six had selected oats, 14 wheat, and 15
corn. The number of English sparrows on the two farms varied from
200 to 1,000. They fed on grain whenever and wherever it was attain-
able. They did not appear to hurt sprouting fields, but did con-
siderable harm to standing crops. In 1898 lot 4 was in wheat, and

U -- s -

Fi... 26.-English sparrow.

about the middle of June, when it was nearly ready for cutting, a strip
200 yards long beside the fence near the storage barn was found
broken down by sparrows. The loss by this mischief was even greater
than that by their continual thefts from the rest of the field. A year
later they ruined in the same way a strip of wheat several yards wide,
extending from the negro cabin to Persiimmon Branch, and also sec-
tions of oat fields on the upper part of the Hungerford farm. They
attacked both wheat and oats in the shock, and stole much of the
grain in the cap sheaves. They were seen feeding on corn in the
milk, but probably selected ears that had already been torn open by
crows; Dr. A. K. Fisher. however, has observed English sparrows at
Chevw Chase, Md., opening and eating the tip ends of ears of corn