Great Nebraska

Naturalists and Scientists

1920, May 17

John S. Marsh & Sons
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Guide Rock, Nebraska May 17th,1920. 19

Secretary of Neb, State Horticultural Society.
Dear Sir, Lincoln, Neb.
Enclosed plese find sample of weed of the lettuce order that seems to take the country also a narrow leaved plant that has appeared in my lawn. What are they? The narrow leaved dock is gaining great headway especially in hog pastures. Is there any law to compel the owners to cut these dock patches? I have noticed in the last week or ten days that the Baltimore Oriole or Yellow robins have returned & that they work on our cherry tree blossoms continuously hopping from spray to spray of blossoms & seem to peck or eat from each blossom. what is the condition?& are they doing any damage-I have lived at this place over 40 years & this is the first time I have observed these birds doing this thing. Refer you to Geo, A. Loveland of the Weather bureau; Let me hear from you .
Yours Truly
John S. Marsh

1920, May 25

May 28, 1920.

Mr. John S. Marsh,
Guide Rock, Nebraska.

Dear Sir:
Your letter of May 17, addressed to the Secretary of the Nebraska State Horticultural Society, has been referred by that gentleman to the College of Agriculture at the University Farm. Professor Faris of the Department of Botany has written you concerning that portion of your letter dealing with the identification of weeds, and has referred that portion pretaining to the habits of birds to me for reply.
I note your statement that you have noticed during the last week or ten days that the Baltimore Orioles are frequenting your blossoming cherry trees, where they continuously hop from spray to spray of blossoms, and seem to peck or eat from each blossom. You state that this is the first time you have observed the birds doing this though you have lived on your present place for over forty years. I must say that this habit is not general with the Baltimore Oriole but has been repeatedly observed by others. Their decision is that the birds are sucking the nectar from the fruit blossoms, as would a bee, and that they do little if any damage to the blossoms. However, I should not be surprised if a small percentage of the blossoms are damaged, but in that case I feel that the bird may be excused in view of its otherwise good record. About 83 percent of this bird’s food is insects, mostly caterpillars, snapping beetles and May beetles ( which are the parents of wireworms and white-grubs) cucumber beetles, snout beetles, plant bugs, scale insects, plant lice etc., making it a very useful species.
Yours very truly,
State Entomologist.