Date of this Version
Circular No. 11, October 10, 1908. INSECT PEST AND PLANT DISEASE BUREAU OF NEBRASKA, ENTOMOLOGY DIVISION, AND OFFICE OF STATE ENTOMOLOGIST
The fact that insect depredations are increasing in extent each succeeding year makes it plain to us that something must be done to prevent it, and that quickly. We have found to our sorrow that, although we are continually making increased efforts to destroy these pests, our efforts avail but little and the destruction of our crops goes on. What, then, is to be done? How can we be released from this ever-increasing struggle for existence? The answer is plain. Heed the advice of the Naturalist who has made a study of the life-histories of the various other living creatures in the world about us. Do not condemn what he says without at least examining into it a little. In his desire for bird protection the Naturalist is not prompted by sentiment alone—far from it! Although from the sentimental standpoint solely the friend of birds would have sufficient grounds for making such a request. Briefly told, the economic relation of birds to man lies in the services which they render in checking the undue increase of insects, the devouring of small rodents, in destroying the seeds of noxious weeds, and by acting as scavengers on land and water. A perusal of the various works that have been written on the economic relation of birds to man will support the statement that, if we were deprived of the services of birds, the earth would soon become uninhabitable. If, after ascertaining such truths as the above regarding birds, we continue to slaughter them, it is not due to thoughtlessness on our part. We do it wilfully and maliciously. The schoolboy may thoughtlessly rob a bird's nest or kill a bird or two. It is the duty of teacher and parent alike to teach him better, to show him how wrong it is to destroy life uselessly. It is especially their duty to prevent the destruction of birds. If each schoolboy in the State of Nebraska were to rob a nest of say five bird's eggs, what would be the result? Yet the making of bird-egg collections is getting to be such a "fad" that almost every boy enters into it more or less zealously at some time or other. Some single collectors in a single season take 500 or more eggs. This should be stopped. We can study birds and their nests without destroying either. A live bird is more interesting than a dead one. An egg left in a nest where it will in due time become a live creature is of more interest than an empty egg-shell.