Punch,  48 (1865), 228.

The Season for Sparrow Clubs





Ornithology, Cruelty, Breeding, Animal Behaviour, Hunting, Crime, Agriculture, Class

    Written from the perspective of a rustic, this poem begins by describing the mating, breeding and nurturing activities of 'little birds paired on St. Valentine's Day'. Calls on 'farmers, to sparrer clubs all who belong' to slaughter the newly bred birds and to sew 'pison'd grain' on the fields to 'silence the zingungbirds' strain'. Argues that 'Aitch pair as you kills you kills many moor by' and urges them to seek out the birds and 'try if you can't put your salt on their tails'. Explains that 'little birds' feed their young on such pests as caterpillars and that by killing the birds 'thousands o' palmers and weevles you spare'. Ironically asks farmers to kill birds to 'encourage' the breeding of pests who have done them no harm. Concludes by urging farmers to count the number of birds that they have killed, and the vermin that they have saved.

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