xt7jh98zct60_22 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086.dao.xml Bevins, Martha 0.05 Cubic Feet 55 items archival material 2015ms086 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Martha Bevins letters to Tom McCarthy Radio broadcasting. Agriculture -- Kentucky. Birds Women air pilots. 1957 May 23 text 1957 May 23 2016 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086/Box_ms_42/Folder_1/Item_22/1957_5_23_Bevins_Woodpecker_gymnastics_p1.pdf 1957 May 23 1957 1957 May 23 section false xt7jh98zct60_22 xt7jh98zct60 #5
Morning View Kentuk y
23 May 1957

Hello Mr. McCarthy,
I was inordinately startled during your program earlier this
morning. Some months ago my favorite radio had a pup -- a little
7 transistor fellow which goes everywherevwith me. EVen fixed
a clip for it on the steering post of the tractor. *his morning,
rather than turn it off, I put it on a rock near the pond while
* went quietly down to inspect the duck nests. Upon my return I
was dismayed to find the tiny radio sounding like a mildly hysterical
machine gun. I was sure it was in the last stages of disintegration.
It was with considerable relief that I learned it Was only Rome
burning on a nickelodeon.
tast week, by fortunate coincidence, I Was within a few feet of
a Cardinal nest when your cardinal sang so nicely. Mr. Reddy was a
flicker of flame through the fliick green leaves as he rushed to
drive the intruder from his nesting area. He skittered about on a
nearby branch, his crest flattened upon his head, his feathers
tight and sleek against his body, ready to do furious battle with

' the stranger. It took maiy minutes to quiet him dOWn and send him
peacefully home with a peanut, finally convinced that his territory
uas as yet inviolate.
All unknowingly, my birds are repaying me now for feeding them. The
caterpillars which have been defoliating many trees and shrubs
in Northern Kentucky appeared in the tree patch in great numbers,
ample to heavily damage flue big trees. I considered contacting an
aerial crop dusting outfit.
I had forgotten the birds. Hour'by hour, day by day, they ate worms.
Warblers, among others, delayed their northWard migration to
systematically scour each tree to the very top. Habitual ground-
feeders such as Chewinks, Cardinals and Chipping Sparrows, worked
along high branches and twigs as though accustomed to dining in
such areas. For two days 1 puzzled over one confusing warbler clan
before I recognized them as merelymmisplaced Chipping Sparrows.
Everyone worked with the exception of the oblivious Robins which
stalked about the ground catching earthworms. It was more than a
little amusing to watch a big Blue Jay dangling up side down from
a bending twig, while he stretched far to pluck one of the
caterpillars from the outermost leaves. I had assumed that the
woodpeckers' peculiar construction would preclude their Joining in
the fray, but they were as enthusiastic about the caterpillars as
the most agile warbler.

 V _
N - 2 - ‘
The Downy Woodpeckers, being small, had no great difficulty; but
the Hairy and Red Bellied ones had a terrible time. Their feet
will not close around a twig as do those of an ordinary perching
bird, with the result that when the twigs were slender, they could
not sit upon them, but were forced to hang upside down using their
front toes as loose hooks. More often than not, they slipped off
before they captured they desired caterpillar, but they never
gave up. I finally became accustomed to the unuSual spectacle of
big woodpeckers plummeting, inverted, from the trees, frequently
falling many feet before righting themselves and flying back
up to try again.
A few caterpillars are left nm , but not enough to be a threat to
the trees, and their number is diminishing hourly. Many leaves
are chewed and ragged, but to so little extent that it takes
close inspection to notice the damage at all.
I do not know what it would cost to have an aerial dusting Job
done on the tree patch, but I am sure it would be far more than
the price of five hundred pounds of raw peanuts, the slightly
larger amount of small grains, and the lumps of suet which the ,
birds consume in a year s time. The pleasure derived from watching
them is sheer profit.
’ I - ' Sincerely,
. gimme