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[ .The San Francisco Sunday Call
John L. Cowan IF less known and less talked about than game preserves, the bird re serves are of greater economic im portance to the people of the United States, and will doubtless be productive of results more plainly beneficial. There are now 51 of these reservations for the , protection of native wild birds of all ppecles. Many of these are rocky or sandy Islands; some are nothing but marshes and half submerged delta lands and some are lakes and Irriga tion reservoirs, with the lands bor dering them. None are of present or prospective value for agriculture, so that the most captious fault finder can hardly* invent a reason for objecting to their permanent reservation for the Useful purpose that was in view when they were set aside by executive proc lamation. Florida leads In the number of bird sanctuaries "with ten, and Washington comes second with eight. Alaska has six, Louisiana four, Oregon and Wyom ing three each; North Dakota, Michi gan, California, Idaho and New Mexico two each, and South Dakota, Utah. Ari zona, Montana, Porto Rico and Hawaii . one each. This makes Just half a hun dred, the fifty-first, known as the Klamath Lake reserve, being partly in Oregon and partly in California. That these reserves have been set aside as breeding places and secure refuges for man's feathered friends may be attributed, first to^the activi ties of the National Association of Au iiubon Societies, and, second, to the en thusiasm wit£ which Theodore Roose velt, when president, came to the res rue of the birds with executive proc lamations isetting' aside these reserva tions. There has been criticism and fault finding with regard to the forest reserves established during President Roosevelt's administration; but no word has been heard in condemnation of the policy that dictated the estab lishment of the bird reserves, except ing from plume hunters and milliners. The principal cause for regret seems to be that such action was not taken many years sooner. It came too late to save from extinction the snowy heron of the Pacific coast,' the Labrador duck that used to migrate back 'and forth between its northern " breeding, places and its winter resort In the South' At lantic states In countless numbers; the passenger pigeon that used to roost In places in the northern states In such prodigious masses that forest trees were broken down by their weight; the heath hen of Martha's, vineyard; the parrakeet of the Carollnas; the masked qua.il of the southwest; the whooping crane, the trumpeter swan and 'the Ivory billed woodpecker. These are native wild birds of North America that • few of us will ever see alive. But if the establishment of bird sanc tuaries came too lat^to have some. ' epecies. It was probably in time to save from annihilation the eider duck, the terns, pelicans, mangascr, skimmer arid •wood duck. As It Is, .these birds, to gether with, gulls, grebes, wild ducks, wild geese and many others, are multi plying rapidly in numbers on the bird preserves, although hunted as remorse lessly as ever elsewhere. Moro refuges are badly needed, and there Is an ur gent necessity that the states and terri tories that have no laws for the pro tection of nongame birds should pass, such legislation immediately. These states and territories are Idaho, Mon tana, North Dakota, Nevada, Utah, Ne braska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona and New Mexico. With theso exceptions the states have all adopted the Audubon law for the protection of nongame . birds. On the whole, while there is still plenty of room for Improvement the outlook for the birds Is- brighter now than it has ever. been since that most merciless' of- all tyrants, fashion, de creed the slaughter of evfery winged creature that gladdened the eye with beautiful plumage. The first of the national bird , re serves waa'Pelican island, on the east Florida coast, established by* executive proclamation March 14, 1903. The Breton island reserve,^southeast of. Louisiana, was set' aside October i, 1904, and In 1905 four" reserves were created by proclamation , of the president — Stump lake, North Dakota; .Huron island and Siskiwit : island,; both in Lake Superior, belonging to ; and Passage key in Tampa ; bay, Florida, The year .1906 was an inactive one, only one bird reserve being proclaimed, Indian key, Tampa bay, Florida,' but this was made up for in 1007,* with a total of seven. The next year was still -better,, with 11, and 1909 was the banner year of all, "26 bird reserves^beins set; aside, Including those in Alaska^ Port*' Rico and Hawaii, and several large irrigation projects in Wyoming, South ' Dakota, "Arizona, New : Mexico . and Idaho. The national- re clamation service .by the making "of ;\u25a0 great artificial la,kes in which '"-. water "is impounded for -irrigation purposes, hag' produced Ideal? conditions for. the.nat ural" breeding of water fowl "and many other migratory birds, s t o that blrd vpro REFUGES FOR THE WILD BIRDS tectlon in the^neighborhood of. the res ervoirs Is of the very* highest import ance.. 1 " ,-*;*-. .'"* ". * ."'. \u25a0 :':: ': 'All of\-th"se .refuges "for ; the birds were ; provided" during the two admin istrations, of President Roosevelt. In future: years,-- it 'is safe' to; predict, this fact will be "\u25a0.recalled* as constituting not the least" of ; his claims to; grateful remembrance. No 'bird reserves have yet been., set aside : during President Taft's admihlstfation. " : Nevertheless, BomeUime when ;the "benefits and ad vantages of those" now.in existence; be come, more apparent and •'their -utility better understood by the public at large it is ? inevitable ' that the i 'number will be - largely Increased . a.nd"^ there will .be an insistent \ demand thatfebn gress. make adequate ." provision for their '-.'maintenance and . : t custodianship. •. By, far,' the largest \u25a0 of ' the > bird -re serves is the delta of the Yukon river. Fire island, as the main .body lot (the delta lands -is called,. Is about-; as .'large as the entire Btate \u25a0 of.. Massachusetts. It is a yast-bfeedlng; ground 'for wild ducks, wild \r geese other ';?. water fowl.\ ._ Incidentally/ moose and 'other mammals' of the" far north • are^ afforded 5 1 Kss^rvss tlavs ussn jsi* Asids ' ' 1 ' Infill '•'\u25a0' \u25a0\u25a0•\u25a0"\u25a0" #m '- :-': -'' '-- n\iiy*A \u25a0 '" I ' and Ut hsrs mr? i/sclsr§di WScessary protection by the ; terms of the presi dent's proclamation. Int spite of the fact that 'this is an; island it has lons been the. favorite breeding: place of the rapidly " disappearing. Alaska ; moose, which . swim \u25a0 across from"/ the mainland in order to take care, of themselves. But although safe from" four footed foes the moose were» far from safe from human hunters ' until after the proclamation 'of ; the Yukon? delta bird reserve, with incidental' protection for 'mammals. •• s , Walrus and Otter.- islands .in. the Pribiloff \u25a0> reserve, in • Bering .sea; \u25a0 are favorite breeding, places' of the horned. puffins, gulls and others/water fowl. In evitably, the egg hunters and feather hunters found ;>themi out .- and - carried off the eggs literally, by the ton, also slaughtering tens of thousands of the birds.; The Bering, Tuxedni, St." Laza ria and Bogoslof reserves are the four other bird refuges of, the far north, and are the nesting ground- of millions of cormorants, auks, gulls and other wa ter, fowl. Many people think that pol- icans,/ terns. ; gulls, auks and other, birds 'seen so abundantly along the .sea. coasts are of little value and that their,-: extermination :would V be., only ; a '\u25a0 sentimental loss. In reality they; are of very great economic importance as the universal scavengers >of our coasts.. It Is not improbable that their " extef- \u25a0 rninatiori.^or a very, great- reduction in . their j-numbers.^would be . followed by . ; pestilences in many of our seaports, \ fishing^ylllages and other points 'along;' our t coasts: Invariably -.they collect \u25a0in : '. greatest • abundance '.Just ;. where r they ,. ; • are^ most .needed— that Is, z where offal V .and:;refuse (their supply) v are> - most ; abundant. ' Thirty-flye ', miles' \west "; ;of I Sari \ Francisco ; are ; the ) Farallon ''•\u25a0 ial - : * ands,^, proclaimed a bird reserve Feb ruary ;27, 1909* They ; : are" the^breeding? ; piace } for; pigeons, -gulls,- auks,', petrels, '•- murres,^ cormorants " and -puffins. •_; Prior: } to/ the .president's " \u25a0 proclamation " more ''\u25a0 than /a .'million :_ eggs we're ttaken. f rorri "\u25a0': the'islands. every ;season by 'the^ Greeks^ and ' Italians of - San Francisco. ; -.:;'' i \u25a0'.; /. -Inf August, -'l 9oß; ; .thV; Key West reser-^ yationS. was r set; aside for;, bird protec tion, including; the Marquesas .keys and v \u25a0'numerous: otheV : small; islands; south' of • Florida.-,o Pelican- island (the urst of thl bird reserves - T to be established). Passage key,\lndianf key, Mosquito ,in let; and Island -bay, . all off the coast of Florida,: 1 ; and Islands,; Tern (slands^ShftliVkeysfarid^ast'Tirribaiier, Island,'? south ?of I Louisiana, are r impor tant .as ; secure i refuges '" for of egrets, cormorants, iherons.^terns.pel!^ sans, guiisfandi other-. waterfowl of : the grulf coast.' \u25a0*-"•..'\u25a0"\u25a0. *•'"\u25a0. ~. -; " - "; island is 'one of the most' Im portant "of , (the :bird~reserves.' : ,*lt; 1b; In the "extreme "C west -\ of £ the = \u25a0 Hawaiian archipelago -and is : the world's , greatest 1 resort tqrf, the ; albatross and ; is ffe auehted - ; by.;" numerous other /birds/ of the -, seas. - For"; years f Japanese ; plume hunters /have .^laughtered^the^birds In Incredible -numbers, shipping 'th.e 'wings and feathers to Europe./ After the an nexation of Hawaii the United States forbade -this, but the had TO KEEP POLLY HAPPY PARROTS, always popular, are now quite the rage,~and any girl acquir ing one ; : for * the first time will find him' almost . interesting - pet. Mr. Poll need not screech or be otherwise objec tionable; to Hhose r who :do not admire him, and, Indeed i neverT will be noisy unless he *is unhappy hungry, "thirsty, ill or lonely..;" ~ -Under any. of ; these conditions vwe humans cry ; out until relieved, and Polly will 'do 'the same. He is a most sociable, fellow and though sometimes a great talker he is a good listener as little effect. Even sln.ee the proclama tion of the bird reserve an American war. vessel captured a band of Japanese poachers with a vast quantity of skins, estimated to represent the slaughter of a "thousand million birds. One small speck of an island, rarely visited by the whites or by the native Hawaiian?, was found to be yielding to Japanese plume hunters for the Parisian . trade no less than half a million skins an nually. This slaughter has not been entirely stopped, but it is believed that it has been materially lessened. The establishment of these bird re serves must be credited to the efforts of the Audubon societies, seconded by the foresight of President Roosevelt. That the Audubon societies have been able to accomplish so much with the scanty funds at their command is truly amazing. Each bird reserve is in charge of a warden, who is an officer of the United States -government, al though the salary he receives from the public treasury is purely nominal, in some cases but $1 a month. His wages are paid by the Audubon societies, but he gets his authority from the govern ment, and is thus in position to protect his. feathered charges from poachers and hunters. It would appear that the government of the United States is big enoagh and rich enough to pay the salaries of its own officials, particularly when they are engaged In a work so necessary as the protection of man's feathered friends. It is claimed by some authorities that if wild birds were exterminated, within seven years in sects and worms would multiply to such an extent that all vegetation would be .destroyed and human life would be impossible. So it -would ap pear that the burden laid upon a few private citizens constituting the Au dubon societies of providing for the custodianship of the national bird re serves is really a national disgrace. Our legislative sotons Have often em ployed their time -to worse advantage than they would be doing were they to give proner consideration to the status of the bird reserves, and they quite frequently put the public funds to worse uses than would be the ca3e were they to enact needed laws for th« I-roper custodianship of the 51 btr^ refuges now in existence, and the raanj others that c^tght to be provided. well, cocking his little head on one side when. conversed, with, and seeming to take it 'all in in a most Intelligent and often most comical way. If left too much alone he gets very unhappy and i. mopes so that unless you under-,, stood the cause you might think him seriously ill. Music in any form he^adorea and It will. always brighten him when .he Is grumpy. Another of his peculiarities la that he dislikes to be disturbed when y asleep, and as, like humans, he is sus ceptible to drafts when slumbering it is wise aa well as kind to cover bis cage at night with a cloth.