Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. January 21, 1917. Legislation for the Birds [Dove Season and Sandhill Lake Preserves]. Omaha Sunday World-Herald 52(17): 4-E. A bird editorial.

Legislation for the Birds.

Were it not for the fact that Nebraska is chiefly an agricultural state, and that the department of agriculture of the United States government says that birds are the principal check upon insects which annually do more than one billion dollars of damage to the crops and orchards of this country, it might be useless to ask the Nebraska legislature to spend a bit of its valuable time in considering the conservation of the feathered tribes.

Most of the legislators at Lincoln were elected from strictly agricultural communities. The majority of the voters who sent them there are dependent upon crops for a livelihood. Uncle Sam says that the birds are the best possible protectors of the crops against the ravages of insects - so the legislators should be willing to do all in their power to protect the birds.

Two things should be done by the present Nebraska legislature - one of them without fail.

The present open season on mourning doves, sometimes known as turtle doves, is from July 15 to September 1. This is an outrage upon the commonest laws of nature, for in this very period the doves are brooding and raising their young. that anyone should care to regard this beautiful, harmless and companionable bird as game is ridiculous enough, in our opinion, but that the gunmen should be turned loose upon them at this particular season is simply barbaric.

Mourning doves have been found upon their eggs as late as the first of September, during which process the hunter doesn't need a gun - he can rap them on the head with a stick if he is starving. It must be added that these doves, up until the maturity of their young, feed almost exclusively upon the very insects which are most dangerous to grain. Thereafter, it is true, they consume some grain, but the farmer is much better off by their presence than by their destruction.

Another measure which should be considered by the Lincoln solons is the setting aside of certain lakes in the Nebraska sandhills as state preserves, where water and shore birds of many varieties may safely come to brood and multiply. This, it is understood, has been done by Minnesota with great success and Professor Robert H. Wolcott, of the Nebraska university, is sponsor for this progressive idea.

If Professor Wolcott's suggestion is heeded, there can be no doubt that game birds will become much more plentiful in Nebraska, and the sport all the better in the legal open seasons.