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About The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902 | View Entire Issue (April 11, 1901)
The Conservative * 11
them neath the surface , one in a place ,
expecting ere long to find its food , either
from an enclosed egg , which will in time
become a fat , luscious worm , or else the
meat of the acorn.
In Arizona the blue jays gather the
pine nuts and bury them singly at a
depth of an inch or more , in the arid
sands. Here they are preserved for
months , or until the snow has fallen and
melted , moistening the seeds. In this
manner the pinon is planted.
The wild cherry but for its tasty ,
juicy berries , as also the hackberry ,
would soon become extinct or at least
confined in narrow limits , but for the
birds. These seeds have no wings to be
borne by the winds ; they do not readily
float upon the stream ; they would
simply drop to the ground and spring up
in thickets directly beneath the parent
tree. But when devoured by birds they
are distributed far and wide , the seed
lings taking root wherever a tree or rook
or fence permits a bird to perch. Thus
they are perpetuated and extended to
various portions of the globe.
The aromatic seeds of the juniper or
cedar , will only germinate under con
ditions of heat and moisture such as are
found in the crop of fowls ; the shell
being too hard for the enclosed germ to
open ; hence would fall to the ground
and perish for want of moisture but for
The wild apple , pear and pulpy fruits
are similarly transferred to distant
points , thus ensuring the perpetual
propagation of such trees.
The beech with its savory nuts , as
also chestnuts , chinquapin and other
small nuts are borne to hiding places for
food by birds and squirrels , while an
ample share find their way to the
ground , forming new forests.
The cross-bill with its peculiar man
dibles , opens the cones of pine , extract
ing the seeds , of which it is fond , and
distributes many in flight.
Birds often practice the art of grafting.
The mistletoe of Christmas tide , living
as a parasite upon the branches of large
trees , has clusters of small white berries
which contain the seed. These are
transferred from branch to branch by
adhering to the bill ; tlie bird pecks into
the bark to remove the seed which thus
becomes engrafted into the tree.
Are the birds disturbed in the wood ?
So also the forest is constantly harrassed
by enemies which menace its destruc
Age and decrepitude are common to
trees as to animals ; their existence ter
minates in decay. Were it not for
nature's army of birds , aided by their
allies , the squirrels , many sorts of trees
and plants would become extinct.
Boring insects penetrate the bark and
wood , existing upon the sap of growing
trees , and unless held in check by hungry
birds , multiply rapidly and eventually
destroy the forest.
Destructive bark beetles become so
numerous as to completely girdle large
numbers of pine trees. They live upon
lie cambium which forms the conneot-
ng tissues of bark and wood ; their
mrrows encircle the trees and prevent
; he sap from ascending to support the
oliage which withers and dies.
Woodpeckers whose instinct excels the
marvelous X-rays , discover the beetle
beneath several inches of overlying bark
and boring through thrusts in his long
; ongue drawing out beetles and larvae.
In an official report , made to the com
missioner of the land office , of my visit
to the Black Hill forests , I stated that in
one tree 8 inches in diameter , we counted
and estimated 10,000 beetles and larvro.
Che bark came off in sections , having
been entirely separated from the wood
by the insects. There were no wood-
) eokers , and few other birds , while one-
ihird the entire forest was dead.
Aphides suck the juices from leaves
and tender stems ; a horde of worms
infest the buds , devouring the vital
organs of trees , birds are always on the
alert ; hungry they awake at early dawn
to breakfast upon these enemies of the
forest. Impelled by hunger they con-
; inue their labors all the day gathering
in the fliesmosquitoes , bugs and worms ,
thus keeping them in subjection.
One battalion hovers around the
conifers in search of beetles ; other scouts
seek those enemies which curl the leaves
and feed upon the juices ; a regiment is
kept on special service as snake and
vermin destroyers ; a large brigade is on
duty watching for mice in the open
fields by night , returning to the forest
during the day. In this way owls and
hawks earn that living which human
kind denies them , but shoot upon all
In return the forest affords shelter for
the birds ; their nests are built among
the branches , hidden by leafy canopies
from the intrusion of numerous enemies
and sheltered from storms.
It is natural for all animal kind to
seek seclusion at tunes ; nesting places
are sought , safe from view ; only in the
thick woods can perfect security be
found. Here insects abound , berries ,
fruits , nuts and oily seeds are in pro
fusion ; happy is their lot. Small birds
without the forest have little chance for
their lives , where animals of the cat
tribe or birds of prey have every ad
With the disappearance of the forests
bird food is insufficient ; they are driven
to the fields and slaughtered. The
balance in nature being destroyed , insects
increase immoderately and are driven to
feed upon orchard and domestic trees in
our gardens. So additional burdens are
placed upon the husbandman who un
wittingly contributes to his own mis
Fifty years ago the San Jose scale
codling moth , woolly aphis , plum
curoulio and a host of pests now so com
mon , were not known , or gave so little
rouble as not to attract attention while
fruits of all kinds were abundant where
there were trees.
Surely no one can imagine that these
pests were created during the past half
century ; not all of them were imported
: rom countries which had centuries ago
cleared away their forests. No ! they
were intended to be kept in subjection
by nature's laws , which invariably pre
serve a balance.
Destruction of forests reduces the
number of birds and quite naturally
insects multiply as a result.
Protect the birds ; increase the forests ,
and insect pests will gradually cease
; heir annoyance.
JOHN P. BROWN.
Connersville , Ind.
Evergreens , Shrubs , Etc.
Largest Stock in America , includ
ing Colorado Blue Spruce , and
Douglas Spruce of Colorado.
Wholesale and Retail
Price Lists on Application.
R. DOUGLAS' SONS ,
WAUKEGAN , ILL.
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