30 January 2014

A Plea for Maryland Songbirds

The following article, taken from the Baltimore Sun, we commend to the special attention of those, who, in their great love of sport, deem everything with feathers "fair game," be it large or small. We think it would be conducive to the benefit of the entire community, if the country press throughout the State would unite in condemning this practice of shooting small birds.

"Some days ago in the local column of the Sun, there appeared an item giving and account of a "robin hunt" in Harford county, by some amateur sportsmen of the City of Baltimore, when three hundred and fifty of these little "red breasts" were slaughtered in one day. The doubtless, was considered by those engaged in it as a most delightful day's sport, but, to the intelligent and reflecting agriculturalist, who is aware of how fast increasing inroads that are now being made upon every vegetable production of the farm by the insidious attacks of insects, this wholesale destruction of insectivorous birds is a matter of deep and serious regret — in fact, of alarm!

When had these birds in abundance — robins, jay-birds, flickers, blue-birds, &c. — building their nests and rearing their young in our woods and orchard, we could raise fruit that was fair and smooth, and which would properly mature; but, now it is almost impossible to find a single specimen of any description, but what, through agency of some invisible insect, is rough, warty and wormy. It is not our orchards and fruit gardens alone that suffer from the increases of insect, through the thoughtless — using no stronger expression — destruction of our small birds, but our grain and vegetable crops of all description, are every year having some new enemy to encounter — either worm or fly.

It is to be hoped that public opinion, which, where well directed, is far better that legislative enactments, may hereafter be of such a character, that say notice of "small game" hunts, as the one above mentioned, may solely be for the purpose of reproof and condemnation.

June 26, 1869. A plea for the birds. Vancouver Register 4(37): 1.