Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/280

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

In 1830 the Carolina paroquet was so numerous that it was reported that Audubon killed a half barrel with two shots of a shot gun. In Carolina not a single one remains, and in the wilds of Florida but few can be found.

The prairie chicken was once so abundant, that in Kentucky, where the slave owners fed it to the negroes, they tired of it and begged their masters not to make them eat it. It was commonly known as "nigger bird." To find the prairie chicken now, one must tramp the isolated regions of the west. Even in Indian Territory, a hunter is considered lucky if he even gets a shot at one. I have heard the old settlers say that the prairie chicken was once more abundant than the English sparrow is now.

The game birds are so nearly depleted, that our song birds are being killed off as a result. The quest for game birds having failed, and the desire to "kill something" being still unabated, the "hunter" "takes it out" on the song birds. The blue bird is fast nearing extinction, and the larks and several other songsters are suffering a considerable depletion in numbers.

After reading the above reports of killing and depletion, one is apt to take a pessimistic view of the situation; but thanks to the Audubon Societies, which are pretty well established in every state, the appointment of game wardens, who are beginning to realize that they are personally responsible for the condition of bird and animal life in their region, the issuing of hunting licenses, which necessarily prevents a great many unscrupulous men from hunting, and the widespread interest which is being manifested in the cause, there is no reason why the great decrease should continue.