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since the examination of twenty-six stomachs of this species failed to show even a trace of poison Rhus. This is the more remarkable because the stomachs did contain the seeds of many other fruits (including seeds of harmless sumachs), and it has been observed that fish crows seem to be much heartier fruit eaters than the common crows. Nevertheless the number of stomachs examined is far too small to base any argument upon, and it will not be strange if all the stomachs examined hereafter be found to contain large quantities of these seeds.

Similarly, it was at first believed that all the woodpeckers would be found to eat these poison berries in autumn and winter, but the recent examination of thirty stomachs of the yellow-bellied woodpecker (Sphyrapicus) failed to give any proof of it in this species, although the seeds of cherry, grape, sour-gum, and flowering dogwood were abundant.

One fact perhaps is worthy of note in connection with the fruiteating habits of birds. It has been assumed, and in some cases undoubtedly has been proved, that the bright colors of fruits have been developed or acquired because of their usefulness in attracting the attention of animals which feed upon them. Both Darwin and Wallace speak particularly of red, yellow, and white fruits in relation to this use. In the case of the genus Rhus, we have common, harmless species which bear very conspicuous, large, compact bunches of red berries, which certainly are edible, and which yet contain comparatively little nourishment. The berries of the poison species of Rhus, on the contrary, are greenish or yellowish-white, mostly in small and inconspicuous clusters, yet they contain a relatively larger amount of nourishment than the harmless species. Berries of all the species are sought for and eaten by birds of many species, and the fruit clings to the stems very tenaciously, so that unless torn off by birds or other animals it would persist all winter. Now, it has been noticed that about Washington, even in open winters, when bird food of most kinds is reasonably abundant, the berries of poison sumach (Rhus venenata) disappear almost entirely before midwinter, and those of the poison ivy (Rhus toxicodendron) become scarce soon afterward; while the more conspicuous berries of the harmless sumachs usually remain untouched until later in the season, and in many cases are never eaten at all. These facts would seem to indicate a nice power of discrimination on the part of birds, but I am not able to account satisfactorily for all the facts in this and similar cases.

I would also call attention to our lamentable ignorance as to the species of birds which have the habit already alluded to, of ejecting by the mouth seeds and other indigestible substances taken with food. What birds possess and exercise this power and what birds do not? Bluebirds swallow entire the large fruits of the sour-gum (Nyssa) and flowering dogwood (Cornus florida); do they eject the seeds, or is it possible that they pass entirely through the alimentary canal? Vireos feed on the large fruits of the sassafras and the even larger ones of some magnolias. In such cases what becomes of the seeds? These and scores of similar questions might be easily answered by any intelligent farmer or collector who would take the trouble to dissect a few specimens at the proper season, or to watch carefully caged specimens fed experimentally. Doubtless many already know just the points that others are wishing to know. Let me beg, then, that others may be given the benefit of your knowledge, and espe

cially let me ask that so far as possible no collector will throw away the skinned carcass of a bird without at least a glance at the contents of the stomach and a brief note on the label of the skin. And if at times anyone, sportsman, collector, or farmer, finds it convenient to preserve and forward to the Department of Agriculture the stom. achs of the specimens killed (no matter how common or well known they may be), the additional trouble taken will be acknowledged and fully appreciated by the Division of Ornithology, and may aid in the solution of economic questions of very great importance.

BIRDS WHICH FEED ON MULBERRIES.

By Dr. C. HART MERRIAM.

Groves of mulberry trees during the period of fruiting are thronged by hundreds if not thousands of birds, comprising many species and representing diverse groups. Such' insectivorous kinds as fly. catchers, warblers, vireos, and even cuckoos, form a part of the heterogeneous assemblage, departing from their customary diet long enough to join the multitude of blackbirds, orioles, finches, sparrows, tanagers, waxwings, catbirds, bluebirds, and thrushes, which from daylight until dark gorge themselves upon the tender berries. It seems incredible that such small birds as warblers, vireos, and the least flycatcher can open their tiny mouths wide enough to swallow such large berries as they really do gulp down with little effort.

I know of no better tree than the mulberry to plant in public and private grounds for the purpose of attracting our resident birds; but unfortunately it does not thrive, well north of the limits of the socalled Carolinian Life Zone. The black and the white mulberry (Morus nigra and M. alba) are the species here referred to.

The following list is incomplete, including such species only as have been actually observed, by Dr. A. K. Fisher and myself, in the act of feeding upon mulberries at Sing Sing, Westchester county, New York, and in the grounds of the Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. Several additional species seen in the trees with the others, but not noticed in the act of swallowing berries, are excluded.

Partial list of birds which feed on mulberries.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus ameri- Song Sparrow (Melospiza fasciata). canus).

English Sparrow (Passer domesticus). Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubes- Scarlet Tanager (Piranga erythromelas). cens).

Cedar Waxwing (Ampelis cedrorum). Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus).

Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus). Phæbe (Sayornis phoebe).

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus). Wood Pewee (Contopus virens).

Cape May Warbler (Dendroica tigrina). Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus). Yellow Warbler (Dendroica æstiva). Cowbird (Molothrus ater).

Bay-breasted Warbler (Dendroica casOrchard Oriole (Icterus spurius).

tanea).
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula). Catbird (Galeoscoptes carolinensis).
Purple Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula).

Wood Thrush (Turdus mustelinus).
Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus). Robin (Merula migratoria).
Goldfinch or Thistlebird (Spinus tristis). | Bluebird (Sialia sialis).
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella socialis).

REPORT OF THE STATISTICIAN.

SIR: I have the honor to submit my twenty-second annual report as Statistician of the Department of Agriculture.

The office is better equipped for efficient service than in any forper year. The clerical force is ample, and its morale high. There has always been a difficulty in obtaining efficient expert service for special investigation and for coördination of foreign statistics, from inability to pay what such service commands in unofficial station. In this respect there has been some amelioration, and further improvement is expected. But this branch of the service is ever handicapped by the existing clerical classification, which tends to reduce the civil list to a dead level of inediocrity.

Official exchanges are more extensive than ever before. Statistical documents are received directly from the principal governments of Europe, Asia, Australasia, South America, and from Canada and Mexico. Their diversity in language, denominations of money, and in weights and measures, as well as in methods and subjects of investigation, complicate and increase the labor of compilation and collaboration.

The crop-reporting service is more extended than at any former date, and the constant aim has been to increase its efficiency. It is duplicate in organization, one set of correspondents reporting directly to this office, the other to State agents, who consolidate their returns and report State averages for comparison with those produced by the tabulation of the regular returns. There are 2,338 counties, each represented by a chief correspondent, aided by at least three assistants, from which reports are regularly made to the Department. The corps of the State agents is also very large. Effort is made to obtain men of largest experience and best judgment for this service-men of ability and character, of promptness and reliability, of public spirit and esprit de corps as farmers. Some have been twenty years in the work. They have undoubtedly done more extensive and valuable service than any corps of voluntary correspondents in any line of organized effort in the history of the country-content with the compensation afforded by a consciousness of advancing the local and general interests of agriculture and promoting the public good. In both lists there are about thirteen thousand who regularly contribute to the preparation of the county estimates.

These correspondents are engaged in a grand work of primary statistical education. The masses of the people in this country are perhaps freer from ancient prejudices against the numbering of the people," the census of crop production,

and the publicity of information concerning current crop prospects than those of any other. Conscious of existence under free government and liberal institutions, they cower under no tyranny and fear no oppression. They seek only equitable compensation for their labor in production. To obtain this a knowledge of the amount and quality of products, not only of this country but of other countries competing in the same markets, is absolutely necessary; and this can not be obtained in any other way so fully as by the Government in coöperation with other governments. Were it possible, as it is not, for American farmers to obtain this information without Government aid, and keep it a secret of their own, they would be at the mercy of speculators more than'ever, as the great advantage and benefaction of national crop reports consists in their regulation of the wild movements of speculative trade, which does not hesitate to exaggerate conditions, misrepresent facts, invent misstatements, and circulate all this misinformation in newspapers of the largest circulation. This causes constant fluctuation in the market, not only facilitating speculating movements, but giving opportunity for largest actual buying of farmers when prices are most depressed. The tenor of best commercial opinion sustains the authoritative character of the national crop report.

The demand for agricultural statistics as a basis for legislation and for intelligent action in business, has never been more eager and general than in the past year. Representatives and citizens

of foreign governments have been supplied with data in response to requests for information. Associations, industrial and commercial as well as agricultural, have sought statistics of production and distribution, and editors and authors are constantly requiring and receiving systematic collations of facts required in supplementing their own investigations.

The warmest expression of popular appreciation of the work of this office during the past year has been in commendation of the agricultural graphics extensively distributed to associations, commercial exchanges, schools, and libraries, especially the “Album of Agricultural Statistics.” The edition is now practically exhausted, but a series under the name of "Album of Agricultural Graphics" is nearly ready for distribution, presenting the value per acre of each of the ten principal crops which are annually estimated. No small part of its utility comes from the fact that it gives, not the value for a single year, but the average of ten years, thus immensely increasing its value as a fair comparison of the averages of the different States. Another series, now ready for distribution, is a set of six large chromolithographic maps for the use of schools and agricultural institutes, showing the yield of wheat per acre, the distribution of oats and corn, the values of cows and other cattle, and the distribution of rural population.

Investigations are in progress to show the development of the agricultural resources of the Rocky Mountain States and Territories, and bulletins presenting such statistical surveys will be issued from time to time as rapidly as practicable.

Special investigation of the statistics and technology of the vegetable fibers, and those promising future development as sources of new industries, is in progress under an expert, and one report has been issued during the year. Others are in progress.

The office force at present consists of sixty persons, to whom acknowledgment is made of efficient service and willing coöperation in the work of the year.

J. R. DODGE, Hon. J. M. RUSE,

Statistician. Secretary.

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