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Page 114 - With tireless industry do the warblers befriend the human race ; their unconscious zeal plays due part in the nice adjustment of Nature's forces, helping to bring about that balance of vegetable and insect life without which agriculture would be in vain. They visit the orchard when the apple and pear, the peach, plum, and cherry are in bloom, seeming to revel carelessly amid the sweet-scented and delicately-tinted blossoms, but never faltering in their good work.
Page 115 - In the air Swallows and Swifts are coursing rapidly to and fro, ever in pursuit of the insects which constitute their sole food. When they retire, the Nighthawks and "Whip-poor-wills will take up the chase, catching moths and other nocturnal insects which would escape day -flying birds.
Page 115 - Creepers attend to the tree trunks and limbs, examining carefully each inch of bark for insects' eggs and larvae, or excavating for the ants and borers they hear at work within. On the ground the hunt is continued by the Thrushes, Sparrows, and other birds, who feed upon the innumerable forms of terrestrial insects. Few places in which insects exist are neglected ; even some species which pass their earlier stages or entire lives in the water are preyed upon...
Page 115 - In the air swallows and swifts are coursing rapidly to and fro, ever in pursuit of the insects which constitute their sole food. When they retire, the nighthawks and whippoorwills will take up the chase, catching moths and other nocturnal insects which would escape day-flying birds.
Page 116 - The woodpeckers, nuthatches, and creepers attend to the trunks and limbs, examining carefully each inch of bark for insects' eggs and larvae, or excavating for the ants and borers they hear within. On the ground the hunt is continued by the thrushes, sparrows, and other birds that feed upon the innumerable forms of terrestrial insects.
Page 114 - ... blossoms, but never faltering in their good work. They peer into the crevices of the bark, scrutinize each leaf, and explore the very heart of the buds, to detect, drag forth, and destroy those tiny creatures, singly insignificant, collectively a scourge, which prey upon the hopes of the fruit-grower, and which, if undisturbed, would bring his care to nought.
Page 116 - In nearly every case where the food habits of our birds have been carefully studied, do we find that the good done far exceeds the possible harm that might be inflicted by our birds. Allowing twenty-five insects per day as an average diet for each individual bird, and estimating that we have about one and onehalf birds to the acre, or in round numbers 75,000,000 birds in Nebraska, there would be required 1,875,000,000 insects for each day's rations. Again, estimating the number of insects required...
Page 114 - ... hide-and-seek with all comers ; others more humble still descend to the ground, where they glide with pretty mincing steps and affected turning of the head this way and that, their delicate flesh-tinted feet just stirring the layer of withered leaves with which a past season carpeted the ground. We may seek warblers everywhere in their season ; we shall find them a continual surprise ; all mood and circumstance is theirs.
Page 109 - but all winter through it scratches among the fallen leaves and other rubbish that accumulates about its haunts seeking for hibernating insects of various kinds. Being a timid little creature, the Quail seldom leaves cover to feed openly in the fields, and therefore does but little actual harm in the way of destroying grain. In fact it only takes stray kernels that otherwise might be lost...