THE WILD BIRDS' ACT.
[TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPEOTATOlt."1
SIR,—I was glad to see your suggestion that the Government would do well to supplement by a short Act the "Wild Birds'' Protection Act" of last year. I imagine that in drawing up the-
schedule for that Act those birds were excluded whieh are con- sidered injurious to the garden, to game, or to the farmer's crops. This would account for the omission of chaffinches and linnets,-.. an omission doubtless to be regretted, if it were only that it affords a pretext to bird-catchers to continue their depredations. There are, however, two classes of birds whose claims to be protected I would especially advocate, and which the Act has not duly considered.
1. Birds; which are, if the truth were only known, more useful than harmful to man, but which have been condemned by vulgar superstition. I will only instance the Kestrel, a bird surely well nigh as deserving of protection as the owl, which is included in the Act. To prove this it will be enough to quote Mr. Groom Napier's statement of the food of the kestrel throughout the year._ Mr. Napier's facts are based upon examinations of the stomachs of birds during seven years :—
" Europe : .Tan., mice, shrews. Britain: Feb., March, mice, shrews. France : April, beetles, lizards. Britain: May, cockchafers, blind- worms. .Tune, insects, mice. July, mice, reptiles, young partridges rarely; small birds rarely throughout the year."
Unfortunately, this useful bird belongs to the condemned tribe of hawks, which we have in most places done our best to extirpate.
2. The other class of birds specially deserving of the considera- tion of the Legislature are those rare and often very beautiful birds which occasionally visit us, but which have no chance of establishing themselves amongst us during any portion of the year, from our abominable practice of shooting them all as soon as we see- them. Such are the golden oriole, remarkable both for its beauty and for its song, the hoopoe, and others, now known merely as " occasional visitants." I am sure the bird-loving public will join with me in an earnest wish that this subject may receive the- attention of Parliament before the close of the Session.—I am,.