Whatever this subject of the feathered kingdom may be, or may not be, in its relations to the insect world; or whatever insects, insects'eggs, or insect larvae it may destroy, or may not destroy, there is one characteristic, however, that must not be overlooked or forgotten; namely, it is a "Finch," and, normally, it possesses the tastes, habits, likes, and dislikes of a finch. There is a parallel line of comparison that runs through the entire classes of mammals and birds, wherein the feeding habits of the one are represented in the other. These analogies were long ago pointed out by Linnaeus, and, notwithstanding there are intermediate types, in which there are interruptions of the general rule, or deviations through necessity or domestication, yet, in the wild or normal states of these animals, they are true to their instinctive impulses. The fruit-eaters are represented by the monkeys and the parrots; the flesh eaters by the tigers and the falcons; the carrion eaters by the hyenas and the vultures; the insect-eaters by the ant-eaters and the swallows; the seed eaters by the field-mice and the sparrows: those that browse in the deserts are represented by the camels and the ostriches; and the fish-eaters, by the seals and the penguins.

This parallel of comparison might be carried out to an immense extent, even including the insect world, but the foregoing is sufficient for illustration. The sparrows then are seed-eaters, and belong to the great family Fringillidae, or "Finches," and normally are imbued with the qualities of finches. They all possess short, stout, pyramidical bills, suitable to plucking seeds and divesting them of their hulls. Their bills have not the form and flexibility of the " creepers," the " sylvias,"and the "musicapas," (fly-catchers) that so industriously canvass the branches of trees and shrubbery in pursuit of the smaller insects, their larvae, and their eggs; nor the straight boring bills of the "sap-suckers," that so instinctively detect insects under the bark of trees; nor yet the wide-gaping mouths of the swallows and the "goat-suckers" that so deftly capture their prey " on the wing." In short, they are finches; and, although under stress of circumstances they may occasionally appropriate insects, it is exceptional to their natural characters. The most prominent exhibition of the sparrows' willingness to feed on insects occurred during the advent of the seventeen-year-cicada, in the summer of 1885. In many cases they manifested a decided partiality for them.

But that was not a very extraordinary phenomenon, for the same partiality was manifested by chickens, ducks, turkeys, skunks, dogs, cats, pigs, and other animals. It only illustrates that there is something about the young cicada, when it first comes out of the ground that is very pleasant to the taste of these animals; and no intelligent person would class them with the specific insectivora on that account. This partiality of many animals for the young cicada no doubt led the ancient Greeks to make these insects an article of food, and Aristotle said: " When the larva is grown in the earth and becomes a pupa, it is the sweetest." In fact, the sparrow can't help that it is a finch any more than it can help that it was brought to America to eat up our " fuzzy " caterpillars. It was created a finch, and in the order of nature it no doubt performs all the functions and uses pertaining to the great family of finches. The "wisdom-chests" of our country have perpetrated a blunder in introducing the sparrow here, for the purpose they had in view. And now, since it is here, it has become more conspicuous for what it don't do as an insect scavenger, than for what it does do; and for this cause the tide of popular opinion is beginning to run against it.

Our native finches never created any special alarm. It is true they never had the impudence and pugnacity of the English Sparrow, but in proportion to their numbers they probably devoured about as much, whether seeds or insects, as their foreign congeners do.

In discussing the characteristics of the English Sparrow, we should "nothing extenuate or aught set down in malice," and in the spirit of this quotation it may be said, without much qualification, that it is of little or no use to us whatever; its place could be better - or at least as well - supplied by any of our native finches. If ever the English Sparrow had an insectivorous propensity, either acquired or inherited, before it reached America, that propensity has become obliterated through degeneration; that is, by a return to its normal condition; at least this is the case so far as they have become denizens of villages, towns, and cities. If they have become demoralized as insect scavengers, that demoralization is largely due to the reception they have met with by the citizens of those places. Notwithstanding an occasional moan of complaint against their debudding of fruit trees and shrubbery in the early spring, there has been a large amount of sympathy bestowed upon them. They remain with us all winter, when not another bird is to be seen; and with most people - especially children - such birds bear with them a cheerful presence. Hence, everybody feeds them, perhaps not always intentionally, but at least incidentally.

Many families habitually shake their table linen three times a day in their back yards and gardens, and the sparrows soon detect who are the most liberal in this respect. A large number live on the street, and eke out a livelihood by exploring the faeces of animals, and also appropriating a multitude of "tid-bits" that they incidentally find elsewhere.

I do not think, however, that the absence of our native birds in this community is altogether due to the presence of the sparrows. That opinion needs a special qualification, even if it is true in some respects. According to my own personal observation, within the past ten or twelve years, the wren, the social-sparrow, the song-sparrow, the blue-bird, the cat-bird, the king-bird, and even the swift, or chimney-swallow, have all, or nearly all, dis-peared from the northern portion of Lancaster city; but this may be as much due to the expansion of the city and building improvements - the tearing down of old frame buildings and rearing up new brick ones - as to the presence of the English Sparrow. The swifts, for instance, are in the habit of building their nests and raising their broods in old disused chimneys, but the new chimneys that are constructed are mere narrow flues, for a draught to carry off the corrosive gas and dust of a coal fire; elements by no means healthful to young birds. Still, a member of the Horticultural Society stated at a meeting, about a month or more ago, that he had not seen a swallow or a blackbird on his premises during the months of August and September; and another member stated to me that there was not a barn-swallow on his premises the present year; but plenty of sparrows.

So-far as concerns the feeding habits of these birds, it is difficult to see how a conflict could take place between them. Swallows are purely insectivorous, and take their prey on the wing, a feat that no sparrow would probably attempt.

When I said that our native species of sparrows would answer our purpose better as insect scavengers, than the English species, I based that assertion upon the fact that many of our sparrows, if not all of them - although partial to seeds - do, to a greater or less extent, feed on insects at certain periods, doubtless in spring or early summer, before seeds have yet been developed. But these insects they procure in the fields, the woods, and the meadows, where the English Sparrows might also procure them, but they prefer to "hang around " the villages and towns.

Last summer, from the 4th of July until the 10th of September, I had under observation a colony of " scale-insects" (Coccidae), that infested a cucur-bitaceous plant on our premises; also a colony of herbiverous "lady-birds" (Coccinellidae), both of which increased largely from very small beginnings; and these I permitted to increase without molestation, for the sake of experiment, the plant being of no special value. We had also a colony of sparrows, roosting in a Wistaria, not ten feet from the infested vines; but the sparrows allowed the insects to destroy them without attempting to molest them. Perhaps no other bird would have touched them, because there are some insects that must be repulsive to birds of any species. These insects would have been easy to capture because they make no attempt to escape. I have known them also to keep just as shy of the " elm-leaf beetles," when the city was swarming with them. Thousands were trodden under foot on the pavements, but the sparrows "let them severely alone." As an evidence that the sparrows do not, in any special sense, feed on the eggs of insects, caterpillars of all kinds - especially the "fall web-worms " - were very numerous, and very destructive to the foliage of trees last summer.

Some of the eggs-of these insects remain on the trees all winter, and others are only deposited when the trees begin to foliate; but, from the fact that the caterpillars were here in abundance, we have a right to infer that the sparrows did not destroy the eggs, and that there were no other birds to do it for them. Indeed I don't think they would bother with such microscopic game; they want something larger and more substantial. Just opposite my window, I saw one some days ago, on a kitchen roof, wrestling most vigorously with about 2 inches of pretzel, and he never relinquished it until he had reduced it to moieties small enough to swallow; nor would he share it with others.

A citizen of Chicago stated some days ago that the sparrows were doing a " good thing " for that city - they were eating up the spiders. That's bad. Spiders are carnivorous, and feed on various kinds of flies, wasps (some wasps "turn the tables" and feed on spiders), butterflies, moths, aphids, bark lice, and various other noxious insects.

To sum up then, the English Sparrow is doing about all,as a destroyer of insects, that his nature will permit him to do; or, as we can reasonably expect him to do. And unless he is detected in the perpetration of some* positive evil, we may afford to tolerate him as a gastronomical contribution to the table. Lancaster, Pa.