Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. October 23, 1921. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 57(4): 8-E. A bird editorial.

The Dead Grackles.

On the ground beneath thickly planted trees in Fontenelle park and along the edges of the lake that graces that pretty public reserve, were recently found the dead bodies of hundreds of Bronzed Grackles, this during the "bunching" of one of the biggest migratory flocks of these blackbirds ever seen in this part of the country.

Scientific examination showed that many of the Grackles had dies from gunshot wounds, but that others showed no such wounds. It has been pretty well established that these expired from eating food tainted with poison, probably strychnine, judging from the fact that the birds immediately flew to water.

Whatever the case, great numbers of the Bronzed Grackles have been done to death practically in the heart of the city. Aside from the matter of sentiment, this killing is a gross outrage and a piece of the rankest folly.

The Grackles are harmless and very useful birds. They destroy immense numbers of harmful insects and bugs, besides being excellent housecleaners around parks and the outskirts of cities. The quantity of grain they eat is nothing compared with the protection they afford farmers' property by their feeding. This is also true of Redwing Blackbirds.

Farmers started poisoning blackbirds in this state more than a quarter of a century ago, because they eat grain, but the government demonstrated that their help in keeping down worms and insects that attack the fields more than repays for their depredations in the late summer and fall. So they as well as the Grackles are protected by state and federal laws.

Killing of any song or insectivorous migratory bird is forbidden by our treaty with Canada, as well as by our state laws. Common sense, however, if not humanitarianism, should prevent such slaughter.

These birds are our best friends. Let them alone.