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.
This bird is not nearly so common as blue tomtits and does not hunt nearly so closely for insects, yet it is largely insectivorous, with a pronounced appetite for fruit, such as yew berries, kernels of beech-mast and hazel-nuts, and in gardens sometimes takes green peas, particularly in hot, dry weather and near a brood, and also harms pears and apples by pecking them near the stalk. It, like the blue titmouse, prefers sunflower seed to everything in the garden, though the aparian says bees, and the farmer avers grain when it pulls straws out of thatch. Possibly all are right in their deductions, but for keeping tomtits from pecking pears and apples we advise sunflowers to be grown so as to ripen the seed in advance of and along with the fruit. If the beekeeper must destroy the bird, a bait of a portion of sunflower head in seed on the table of a small bird-trap, or a bit of fat meat in winter time, if set near the hives will make end of the depredator. Fruit-growers may act in a similar manner if the bird becomes refractory, and recourse had to the gun where the numbers are so increased as to necessitate speedy relevance.