Food Habits of the Swallows: A Family of Valuable Native Birds

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1918 - Swallows - 28 pages
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Page 18 - Of the animal food he says beetles make up 14.39 percent, ants 6.37 percent, and that Diptera form the largest item of the tree swallow's food (40.54 percent). Minor items are grasshoppers, dragonflies, and spiders. He summarizes his findings thus : "In the food of the tree, or white-bellied, swallow one point is prominent — in its vegetable food it has no relation to man. Every item is wild and of no use. In its insect diet it destroys some parasitic Hymenoptera, some carnivorous Diptera, and...
Page 16 - In an examination of 343 stomachs, collected in every month of the year over a wide range, Professor Beal found that "the food divided into 80.54 per cent animal matter to 19.46 per cent vegetable," and he states: "The vegetable food is made up of a few varieties of seeds and berries, but more than nine-tenths of it consists of the fruit of a single shrub, the bayberry, or waxberry (Myrica carolinensis...
Page 12 - ... vegetable. The latter is considerably less than that eaten by the cliff swallow. All the vegetable matter found was contained in six stomachs, but it was real food in only four. One of these revealed seeds of the elderberry (Sambucus) and of Cornus sericea. Vegetable food in this stomach made up 75 per cent of the contents. The second stomach held a single kernel of buckwheat, the third a root or bulb, and the fourth two seeds of Croton texensis.
Page 9 - The remains of 35 honey bees (Apis mellifera) were identified in 13 stomachs. More were probably present but unidentifiable. All were males, or drones. To what extent birds select their food has long been a matter of conjecture. When it is considered that the worker bees in the hive far outnumber the drones, it is evident that the foraging birds must meet many workers where they encounter a single drone. Evidently the drones are deliberately selected by the eaves swallow, for not a trace of a worker...
Page 13 - Ants are eaten by the barn swallow to the extent of 9.89 per cent of the food, some stomachs being entirely filled with wingless species.
Page 20 - ... sticking in them.1 It would seem that conditions must have been very exceptional to cause such a destruction of honeybees, for the writer has never yet heard any complaints against the bird on this score and the stomachs contain no honeybees. Diptera (flies) are the largest item of this pewee's food. They are eaten in every month of the bird's stay in the north and form a high percentage in all but one. They amount to 44.25 per cent of the food, which is the highest record for this item in the...
Page 7 - ... 18— Bull. 019 2 The snout beetles, or weevils (Rhynchophora), are the most interesting insects eaten. They were taken nearly every month in fair quantities, but in September they constituted over 50 per cent of the food. This record, however, is probably due to the fact that special pains...
Page 1 - ... cent) . These were found in 129 stomachs, of which 7 contained no other food. Ants (3.52 per cent) were found in 30 of these and formed the sole contents of 2. As many ants have no wings, they are probably snapped from the tops of weeds as the martin darts past. Occasionally, however, the bird had evidently met a swarm of winged ants and made nearly a full meal of them. Among the Hymenoptera were some useful parasitic species. Ants, on the contrary, are annoying if not harmful, so that while...

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