birds eating pests.

Hilary Nightingale
Sat, 07 Jan 2006 01:24:43 PST
Hi John
Many birds eat what we consider to be 'pests'. The tit family time the
arrival of their chicks to coincide with gluts of small caterpillars and
also eat aphids and other small insects. Starlings poke around in lawns and
eat leatherjackets (the larvae of crane flies). My perspective is still of
European birds, but different species of the same family often fulfil the
same roles on a different continent.
There are flycatchers that specialise in catching flying insects by watching
from a vantage point and then swooping out to catch what is passing.
Wagtails chase and eat small insects too. I have seen a Lesser Spotted
Woodpecker drilling to get larvae out of the stems of Scotch Thistle
(Onopordon acanthum) and the woodpeckers in general account for a vast
number of beetle and other larvae. Starling, seagulls and other birds
predate the swarms of flying ants when they appear. There must be many more

Hilary Nightingale in SW France, where there are definite signs of spring

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Bryan" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, January 01, 1990 8:13 AM
Subject: [pbs] birds eating pests.

> Dear All:
> Have any members noticed any birds eating pests? I have seen sparrows
> eating aphids, and know chickens will eat small slugs, and in England,
> the thrushes, one of the best song birds, will smash snails against a
> rock or stone to get at the flesh, do any  North American birds do this?
> Of course worms are eaten and grubs, but are there other birds that help
> us? Cheers, John E. Bryan
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