xt7jh98zct60_4 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. 1956 March 19 text 1956 March 19 2016 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086/Box_ms_42/Folder_1/Item_4/1956_3_19_Bevins_Sparrows_save_tree_p1.pdf 1956 March 19 1956 1956 March 19 section false xt7jh98zct60_4 xt7jh98zct60 '
Morning View Kentucky
. 19 March 1956
Hello Mr. McCarthy,
My apologies for the length of my letter on our little tornado.
Had I known you were going to read it aloud, I would have curtailed
it as much as possible. Thank you for the kind things you said
about it. Your reading enhanced it considerably -— sounded much
better in your reading than it looked in my writing. As to
keeping a scrap book -— I couldn't. I never make copies of anything
but business letters.
The other morning you were discussing the advisability of continuing
to feed the song birds on into spring. Few people realize that
laterWinter and early spring are the most difficult time of all
, .‘ for the birds to find sufficient food.
, It may be a beautiful day, and the ground bare of snow, but if
it is too cold for insects to be hatching or stirring from
' hibernation, the birds are close to starvation. Through the course
of the winter the little fellows have consumed all the available
seeds and berries, have searched out all insect eggs tucked in
tree bark wrinkles, have exhausted the supply of hibernating bugs
under leaves and in other hiding places, and have robbed every
cocoon and chrysalis of its dormant occupant. There is nothing
, If you Will consider the recommendation of a bird-feeder of
years’ standing, continue to supply food for the birds during
the summer. Not much —- Just a little in the morning, about noon,
and in the late afternoon. The reason is eminently practical.
You have supported the birds, more or less, all winter, Why
allow them to scatter and eat insects for some one else during
the summer.
Contrary to general belief, the birds will not confine their eating
to the feeder. There seems to be a definite dry food-insect ratio
in song bird feeding, whether they be seed-eaters such as the
cardinal or meat-eaters such as the chickadee. You will see them
eat a bit at the feeder, then abandon it for a lengthy scouring of
shrubs, garden, trees, and flowerbeds for insects.
When the female is on the nest and the male taking food to her
’35 so many species do, even the strictly seed—eating cardinal

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will make only several sunflower seed trips, then Wander off on
a dilXigent search for her insect rattan.
After young birds have hatched, it averages ten days before they
are fed anything but bugs, with the exception of the assorted
woodpeckers who haul lumps of suet to their youngsters immediately.
In due time most of the parents begin to occasionally take a
choice seed or bit of peanut to the fledglings, but even then
their diet remains predominantly insect.
A few years ago I was the fortunate and fascinated recipient of
the benefits derived from year-round bird feeding. at a former
residence, the four big silver maples across the yard, in full
leaf, in late May, were infested with aphids so heavily that a
fine, sticky mist constantly fell on everything beneath them.
The silly maples frequently suffered minor ailments, but they were
in real trouble this time.
Unequipped to Spray such big trees, I phoned the tree people and
was considerably taken aback both by the price they quoted and the
fact that they could not come for two weeks. I could only accept,
though, standing under the drizzling maples, I Wondered if two
weeks would be too Late.
For years a flock of white throated sparrows had made my yard a

' resting place in their spring and fall migration, staying from
several days to three weeks, depending on the weather at their
destination. Only a few birds at first, the flock had grown to
well over seventy-five in number.
“ate one afternoon several days after 1 had phoned about the
maples, I heard a new call-note and went out to see the white
throats, like little brown beans spilled from a torn bag, pelting
down into the yard. They were obviously glad to be there, which
is one of the things I like about them. They always seem glad
about something. I welcomed them with fresh grain, enjoying their
down-hill song and gentle chatter. They Jammed the bird bath so
tightly that when one little fellow spattered his wings, five or
six others were sprinkled by the flying drops. After bathing and
eating they swirled into the ancient matted honeysuckle mantling
the thickets behind the back fence and settled for the night, with
their customlgy, delightful going-to-bed conversation.
When I went out with their breakfast the next morning, I was
dismayed to see only two or three at the bird bath instead of
the big Waiting flock. Seemed incredible that they had resumed their
northward Journey so quickly.

_ Then I heard them. They had Joined the local birds and a few

itinerant pine Warblers in an attack on the maple tree aphids. :h

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Though definitly ground feeders, accustomed to spending flieir
time scratching busily in flowerbeds and under the shrubbery,
they filled the maples to the top and seemed to cope quite
adequately with this novel feeding area to the smallest twigs.
Whenever I sat on the porch steps to watch them, old friends in
the flock Game to my feet, softly announcing they would like a
bit of peanut. Occasionally they were accompanied by timorous
younger birds whom they coaxed fonward With the assurance that

I was not only harmless, but actually nice to have around because
of the ever-present peanuts.

All that day the maples were awiggle with the buSy little birds,
and the leafy branches echoed with amiable white throat talk.
On the second morning, the entire flock paused only long enough
for quick baths and a few gumped bits of grain before returning
directly to the delectable aphids. Sure of the ultimate result,
I phoned the tree people to cancel the spray appointment. 1hey
were peevishly unbelieving when I told them why I no longer
needed their services.

. The White throated sparrows remained nine days, but the aphids
were all gone long before their departure. lhe maples had been
rescued for the price of a few handfuls of grain.

The entertainment value of birds in summer is almost as great
as is their assistance in insect control. The adults' first
thought is to show the fhedglings the feeder as a source of
constant food. The little birds, suddenly aflutter in the
wide, exciting world, are so terrifically exhilarated that
they are harder to guide and control than so many soap bubbles.
Few things are more delightful than the spectacle of a pair
of chickadees struggling to aim half a dozen, fat, fuzzy, vocal
youngsters in the direction of the feeder.
Try it.



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