The Feeder Feed: ancient Greek edition

I picked this up from the Laudator today, somewhat rearranged.

The Laudator is a great tree lover, by the way.

The text in question is Aristophanes, Birds 1058-1071.

ἤδη ᾽μοὶ τῷ παντόπτᾳ
καὶ παντάρχᾳ θνητοὶ πάντες
θύσουσ᾽ εὐκταίαις εὐχαῖς.
πᾶσαν μὲν γὰρ γᾶν ὀπτεύω,
σῴζω δ᾽ εὐθαλεῖς καρποὺς
κτείνων παμφύλων γένναν
θηρῶν, ἃ πάν τ᾽ ἐν γαίᾳ
ἐκ κάλυκος αὐξανόμενον γένυσι παμφάγοις
δένδρεσί τ᾽ ἐφημένα καρπὸν ἀποβόσκεται.
κτείνω δ᾽ οἳ κήπους εὐώδεις
φθείρουσιν λύμαις ἐχθίσταις·
ἑρπετά τε καὶ δάκετα < πάνθ᾽> ὅσαπερ
ἔστιν, ὑπ᾽ ἐμᾶς πτέρυγος
ἐν φοναῖς ὄλλυται.

Aristophanes, Birds 1058-1071 (sung by the birds, tr. Jeffrey Henderson):

To me, the omniscient
and omnipotent, shall all mortals
now sacrifice with pious prayers.
For I keep watch over all the earth,
and keep safe the blooming crops
by slaying the brood of all species
of critters, who with omnivorous jaws
devour all that in soil sprouts from the pod
and the fruit of the trees where they perch;
and I slay those who spoil fragrant gardens
with defilements most offensive;
and upon creepers and biters every one
from the force of my wing
comes murderous destruction.

The same, tr. Benjamin Bickley Rogers:

Unto me, the All-controlling,
Now will men, at every altar,
Prayers be praying;
Me who watch the land, protecting
Fruit and flower,
Slay the myriad-swarming insects
Who the tender buds devour
In the earth and on the branches with a never-satiate malice,
Nipping off the blossom as it widens from the chalice.
And I slay the noisome creatures
Which consume
And pollute the garden’s freshly scented bloom;
And every little biter, and every creeping thing
Perish in destruction at the onset of my wing.

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962), chapter 8 (And No Birds Sing):

The feeding habits of all these birds not only make them especially vulnerable to insect sprays but also make their loss a deplorable one for economic as well as less tangible reasons. The summer food of the white-breasted nuthatch and the brown creeper, for example, includes the eggs, larvae, and adults of a very large number of insects injurious to trees. About three quarters of the food of the chickadee is animal, including all stages of the life cycle of many insects. The chickadee’s method of feeding is described in Bent’s monumental Life Histories of North American birds: “As the flock moves along each bird examines minutely bark, twigs, and branches, searching for tiny bits of food (spiders’ eggs, cocoons, or other dormant insect life).”

Various scientific studies have established the critical role of birds in insect control in various situations. Thus, woodpeckers are the primary control of the Engelmann spruce beetle, reducing its populations from 45 to 98 percent and are important in the control of the codling moth in apple orchards. Chickadees and other winter-resident birds can protect orchards against the cankerworm.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. benedetta says:

    The silent spring. Epic work. What pollutes the ecosystem and do we have the will to resist the use of toxic poisons. I wonder.

  2. Luvadoxi says:

    I wonder, while reading the section from Silent Spring, whether there is a species of bird(s) who preys on American cockroaches (Palmetto bugs). If so, I want to attract a lot of those birds!

  3. Tom in NY says:

    Check in with the PC experts at the Phrontisterion.

    Salutationes omnibus.

  4. EWTN Rocks says:

    Rachel Carson’s classic Silent Spring (1962) raised awareness of the misuse of DDT and other pesticides. She also wrote: “It was a spring without voices. On the mornings that had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of robins, catbirds, doves, jays, wrens, and scores of other bird voices there was now no sound; only silence lay over the fields and woods and marsh.”

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states on their website that DDT was first used early in World War II to combat malaria, typhus, and other insect-borne human diseases, and later used as a pesticide to control insects on crops, in forests, around homes and gardens, and for industrial and commercial purposes.

    Fortunately, the U.S. EPA banned use of DDT in 1972. Unfortunately, misuse of pesticides continues to threaten human health in communities in the U.S., as well as harm birds.

  5. Luvadoxi says:

    Tom in NY: I have no idea what you are talking about. ???

  6. Luvadoxi says:

    Apologies Tom–it was just confusing googling this…do you mean the University of Sydney’s forum? Thanks for the tip….I may check that out.

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