THE CUTTING AWAY OF UNDER- BRUSH AND ITS RELATION TO
With the so great interest being shown at present concerning the protection and liberation of Game Birds we are led to sacrifice much time in the study of prevailing conditions that would benefit our exertions in this direction. It is really time that the states are awakening to the danger that beset the future existence of many of our most interesting and useful birds. One of the main causes of which I shall mention below. We spent large amounts yearly to breed Game Birds and liberate them in selected localities. Much greater amounts are also needed to maintain the forces of Game Wardens so urgently needed for the enforcement of the laws. After we reflect over all these matters we are led to draw a wise conclusion and find that the results are not what they should be. The passing of each successive year marks an ever-lessening number of the birds in almost every locality. Something is certainly lacking somewhere. The warden does his utmost, but ht alone cannot preserve the birds. Many other causes can also be mentioned but they are minor.
The main cause is the cutting away and clearing of the underbrush, that really are the only places in a locality that keeps, attracts, and shelters the birds. An example may be set from conditions in this neighborhood, and from observations conducted personally by me. Only a few years ago birds of all species, and also our two best game birds the Pheasant and Partridge were, ordinarily speaking, plentiful. The nests of the smaller birds, including the CatBird, Brown-Thrasher. Cedar-Waxwing, and many species of warblers, Sparrows, etc., were every summer found in abundance, in the thickets and bushes that existed at the borders of our fields and pastures. It is evident, and every Ornithologist will agree with me, that birds will remain in places only where there is sufficient underbrush to give them plenty of feeding and lurking grounds, and also satisfactory sites for them to build their nests and hide, them from their many enemies. However in 1918 work was commenced, and all the underbrush which bordered the side of the river, and the border of the woods was cut down. This marked the almost entire disappearance of the birds in this locality, only a few stragglers remaining. As for the Pheasant and Partridge they have vanished completely.
State officials and individual writers often scroll long articles concerning the scarcity of birds, and the methods applicable to remedy same, but the mention of the above cause is too seldom noted.
It would be desirable that all writers should do their utmost to spread the knowledge among those who have the power to help, to leave as much as possible the standing of all brush, wild vines, and small trees, and leave these places in a state as natural as possible.
Alban L. Leger.
Hunter-Trader-Trapper. October: 1921,
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