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TO THE EDITOR. Sir,—As the strength of a chaia ii measured by the weakness of its w^ak st link, so the number of sparrows m a <ihtnct is largoly measured by tho uum'n »■ fchafc cm over run tbo day of*the yeir when food 13 mos'- sc-ircp, and the bird is Wtjtuese. For this reasou, the wiutec is the pa-Lid wh-m tho most vigorous efforts should he uiaie to rednco tho number, and when the human effort has the greatest: eOfey. and efforts should be directed aob only afc destroying the birds, but also ia keop'ng t'oo-t away from them. .Destroying eggs m summer always seams to me to be labour aad money wasf« \ ' i i\. u.rh the eggs and nest be repeatedly de-.-trovoil, the sparrow repeatedly inakus ny« n virsfcs, had lay fiesh egg?, and ultimately iirth-.-horf i» brood. Bat few spirrow-* l>>-- [ lifinrr, nnd i\ kige proportion of nests are cuiv,-r ilimirb->d, but t'.ie ultimato eit'djt »1 r.bus h irn-jsiasj ch--m raiv, to a small f» •<•*■« it. ro-iuc3 tho number of birds ia a district, bur, to a much larger extent itenconrages a bird which is persistent by nature, to be stiil mo a pardistent, and the bird whtch is not persistent to die out, the result being Uiafc the raoro persistent breeders survive, and l.ha natural effect of in-breedingr is mways that any peculiarity is intensified, and therofot-o, this persistency becomes m time greater than ever, ;m i so vasfc that human agency can barely cope with it, and the last evil is worse than the first. Ia other words, it is the survival ol! the fittest from the sparrows' point of viow. Some nuy tbiub that this would take too long to develop, but a visitor to England will notice that the sparrow there is much darker m plumage than ours here, though ie is comparatively a few years since they were imported, this is accounted for by the light here being more powerful, bright days are more numerous and the ground generally drier and lighter, The effect is that dark sparrows are more easily seen and caught, and the lighter coloured ones have better chance* of escaping their natural enemies, and therefore by natural selection or survival of the fittest, and inbreeding, ours have always assumed a colour more m hircao.iy | with their surroundings. I notice the Mackenzie County Council are still to buy eggs. I might mention tba' a small boy bird-nester told me some time since that his father worked near Fairlie, and as the Levels were not buying he exported all the eggs he could get from Titnam to him and thus reaped his reward; but I considered that he did us more harm, for it would have beenjbetter to have allowad all the eggs to hatoh out, and the birds' natural enemies would have concurrently fattened aud prospered, and tho persistent habit would have dwindled away, and when the weak link m the chain came m the winter the birds would have fallen an easier prey to both starvation and their enemies, and m course of a few .seasons the pest would diminish.—l am, etc £0. Howahd Tuirr. Timarn, June 12,1905.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6594, 13 June 1905

Word Count

SMALL BIRDS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXII, Issue 6594, 13 June 1905