SANITATION IS FOR THE BIRDS
In well-manicured forests of the Northwest, especially on tree farms, there has been practiced for several decades what is called "forest sanitation." This involves the removal of dead snags and limbs, the cutting away of thickets and the cleaning out of underbrush and unwanted tree species. In the end one has a "sanitary forest," which appears, on the surface, to be highly efficient.
Unfortunately, time has proved that a sanitary forest is very prone to insect-borne disease. Dirty forests are much healthier. The old-fashioned, cluttered forest is a fine habitat for birds. The new one offers them no shelter. Insects multiply to the maximum, and the forest grows sick. One swallow eats a minimum of 500 flying insects every day. A redstart pair feeds its young from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m., approximately every five minutes, for a minimum of 1,200 crawling and flying bugs a day.
The simple, modern way to get rid of the insects would be to spray the forests with insecticides, but the Washington State Department of Natural Resources never has believed, praise be, in large-scale use of sprays and now is helping the birds. It is an old idea in Europe, where the tidy forests of Bavaria have been kept disease-free for 40 years by encouraging birds to live in them. Now in Capitol Forest, southwest of Olympia, Hubert Hoffman, a German immigrant who has been a state forester for the past five years, is well launched on a four-year plan to bring the birds back to the forests. Inmates of the state's youth honor camps are busy building birdhouses from scrap wood.
"The whole project so far has cost less than the price of five pounds of spray," says Hoffman, who has been assisted by the Olympia Audubon Society, Boy Scouts and conservation groups. "This thing you say about 'eating like a bird!' They eat like wolves."
After all these years of Pinellis, Berras, Antonellis, Lazzeris, Crosettis, Colavitos and Amalfitanos—not to mention a couple of DiMaggios—it has at last occurred to the Cincinnati Reds that Italians can play baseball. While other teams plow the recruiting areas of the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada and to a trifling extent Japan, the Reds are going directly to the source of all these sons of Italy, to Italy itself. Reno DeBenedetti, who had a cup of instant coffee with Pittsburgh's Pirates in 1949 and since has been an insurance salesman and Cincy scout, is spending six weeks in Italy to establish what is intended to be the first of a series of baseball schools.
Italian kids will be told how much money Joe DiMaggio made. Using this as inspiration, the Reds expect that in five years, perhaps, they will start to bring their paisanos to the U.S. and may even change their name to the Cincinnati Romans.