This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The New Haven Palladium has the following striking article:
It takes mankind a great while to learn the ways of Providence, and to understand that things are better contrived for him than he can contrive them himself. Of late the people are beginning to learn that they have mistaken the character of most of the little birds, and have not understood the object of the Almighty in creating them. They are looked upon as the friends, and very great friends, of those who sow and reap. It has been seen that they live mostly on insects, which are among the worst enemies of the agriculturist, and that, if they take now and then a grain of wheat, they levy but a small tax for the immense services rendered. In this altered state of things Legislatures are passing laws for the protection of little birds and increasing the penalties to be enforced upon the bird killers. An illustration of the value of some of the winged tribe is now before us in a paragraph from a paper in Binghampton, (New York.) A farmer in that vicinity wished to borrow a gun of a neighbor for the purpose of killing some yellow birds in his fields of wheat eating up the grain.
His neighbor declined to loan the gun, for he thought the birds useful In order, however, to gratify his curiosity, he shot one of them, opened its crop, and found in it two hundred weevils and but four grains of wheat; and in these four grains the weevil had burrowed 1 This was a most instructive lesson, and worth the life of the poor bird, valuable as it was. This bird is said to resemble the canary and to sing finely. One of our citizens, a careful observer and owner of many farms, called our attention to this paragraph, and wished us to use it as a text for sermonising, for the benefit of the farmers and others who may look upon little birds as inimical to their interests. He says he has studied this subject as a lover of natural history, as well as a hunter and a farmer, and he knows that there is hardly a bird that flies that is not a friend of the farmer and the gardener. We think the gentleman is right, and hope his suggestions will have their due weight.