Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/355

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337
THE BIRDS AT DINNER.

arithmetical standpoint, but that it grants discounts on sound principles, and that the discounted paper held by it is good. In the United States there are national bank examiners, but their duties do not embrace a thorough and rigid scrutiny of the soundness of notes discounted.


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THE BIRDS AT DINNER.

By HARRIET E. RICHARDS.

WE think of the birds as dainty creatures, fit for poetry, song, and airy flights; but if we faithfully watch them a little, we shall discover that nearly their whole time and energy are devoted to securing their "daily bread."

Our familiar song birds begin their day about three in the morning; from that time until seven or eight in the evening the hours are mainly occupied in searching for food. Certainly they spend some time in making love, in building nests, in singing songs, but intermingled with it all is the constant demand for something to eat. Some fruit-eating birds are said to consume three times their own weight every day. Prof. Treadwell proved by experiment that a young robin will eat every day, and require

PSM V49 D355 Head of swallow and crested flycatcher.jpg
Head of Swallow. Natural size. Chested Flycatcher. Natural size.

it too for perfect development, more than his own weight of animal food. Think of human beings eating at that rate! Gormandizers, indeed! Think, too, of the labor of providing for, say, four such hungry, greedy little ones!

Scientific investigation has proved that nearly all birds feed their young on insects, worms, or some form of animal food, and also depend mainly on such food for themselves at that busy period of their lives, although at other seasons their favorite food may be grains and berries. Dr. Brewer says a pair of jays feed their young five hundred thousand caterpillars in a season, and that they will destroy one million eggs each winter; and that a chickadee will largely exceed these figures.