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_.-.—+ The extent of the mischief wrought by the introduction into the colony of sparrows, green linnets, and other grain and fruit-devouring small birds can scarcely be over-estimated, inasmuch as whatever repressive and remedial,.measures may be used the pest will never be wholly exterminated, and our farmers andorchardists must suffer, more or less, for all time to come frqm the depredations of these winged destroyers. Already the evil has attained a magnitude which has [rendered necessary special legislation on the subject, and the expenditure of I many thousand pounds in the purchase of poisoned grain and other means of desti-uction, and still the birds multiply so rapidly that many farmers and fruit-growers suffer very severely, indeed we notice that at the annual meeting of the ratepayers of the Wakanui district held on Saturday the Chairman declared that the question was rapidly becoming too large for either County Council or Road Boards, and that "sooner or later the whole rates of the Board would be required to defray the cost of trying to keep clown the pest." He urged, therefore, that "the matter was one for the Government to take in;hand," presumably by-, the passing of anfXct .which ; will compel • united action throughout the colony. Something of this sort is undoubtedly required, as the efforts of a few farmers or of a few Roard Boards are rendered nugatory by the inaction of others. j\s was pointed out at the meeting, the towns and townships are hatching places for' the sparrows, and so are the plantations of -private" individuals, and public bodies, -who have no cultivations to cause them anxiety, and if the' hjrds, /ire to be kept down they. must be harried and destroyed in these places as well as out in the open I country. That this will involve very considerable expenditure there is no doubt—this is shown very clearly by the fact that the Wakanuj Board alone expended no less that .£l6O last year for the destruction of small birds—but united ;md'systematic oiled, though costly, will pay better in the long run than cither neglect or spasmodic and j partial eflbrts limited, to particular

localities. Pending the consideration by the Legislature of,how best to deal with the subject by statutory provision, the ratepayers of Wakanui took the right course in bringing the matter under the notice of the County Council, affirming, that '• all payments for the destruction, of small birds should 1 be made out of the general fund of the County." The County Council, indeed, can alone bring into operation general measures haying-effect throughout the county, and this, would be accompanied by uniformity, whereas under the ex-, isting, state of.things one Road Board gives a higher price for eggs and heads | of birds than another, with the natural result of being called upon to pay more, than its fair share, as, of course, the tendency, is for them to be brought in to the best market. So far the only, attempt to deal with the pest has been, by the distribution, of poisoned grain; and the suggestion of- Mr Megson and' others, that in addition to this there should be a- price set on the heads %6f birds all the year round, is a good one.: "AVere this carried out large numbers could, and would, be taken by mean of what are termed bat-folding nets: andother devices, and hy united ' and thorough measures we believe it would be quite possible to reduce the evil with manageable limits. The vhole matter is one of very large r importance to our farmers, and we jhop e that it will, be taken up earnestly byi the County Council/ 1 whose duty it should be to devise the best possible means for putting down the pest, and &> indicate, if. further legislation berrequired, the foral ,and direction which- it should take. ■*„-.

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THE SMALL BIRDS PEST., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2422, 6 May 1890

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THE SMALL BIRDS PEST. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2422, 6 May 1890

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