This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The five species of Water Wagtails or "Dishwashers" found in this country are all beneficial to arboriculture, agriculture, and horticulture, because their food is for the most part of a "soft" character, comprising insects of many kinds and in their respective stages. For this reason alone, apart from their harmlessness to crops, they deserve the strictest protection. In the Wild Birds' Protection Act of 1880 they do not figure; but in several counties in England, Wales and Scotland some of the species have been added to the schedule. The eggs are protected, under the Act of 1894, in a few English counties. This should be extended to the whole of the British Islands, and also to the young and adult birds, so that their beneficial work of destroying beetles, flies, moths and aphides, as well as millipedes, snails and slugs, may not be impeded, particularly as by destroying fresh-water molluscs good service may be done to sheep farmers and breeders in respect of the liver-fluke.