Today is Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Little East Of Lebanon

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Young Tom Turkey

We woke up to a very chilly morning where ice was formed over a small part of my heated birdbath. Birds from all over were shoulder to shoulder dipping their heads for a drink. My doves were not going to be bullied this morning and stood their ground with the rest of them.

I hope that many of you are feeding our feathered friends and enjoying the beauty of some of God's creatures. If you purchase even a small feeder, you will reap the many benefits of the beauty that abounds in nature. A 40 pound bag of black oil sunflower will last a good time if you dole it out in small quantities.

At the crack of dawn there is a large family of Northern Cardinals that are first on the scene for breakfast. They will return off and on all through the day and will be the last birds to feed when it starts getting dark.

It seems like my bird population had thinned out a bit since the people who own the house to my north have cut down the thick growing Rose of Sharon tree. This one had double flowers on it and made a good escape tower whenever a Coopers Hawk came swooping through. I wish that I had got some seeds from it before its demise. Birds leaving the scene now have to fly at least 75 feet before they can find any shelter.

The majority of my feeders are the steel mesh type that I hang on a double shepherds hook. I choose this type because they are tough and squirrels have a hard time chewing through them. I am thinking about trying out a steel slinky to see if they can really repel a squirrel trying to climb them. Anthony Gray has a feeder fixed up like that.

Besides having regular birds such as Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmouse, my other birds of greater numbers are the House Finch and Gold Finch. The House Finch male is a beautiful red in color and I have them by the dozens. The females are a streaked brown in color.

Many people have Goldfinch, but don't pay much attention to them since they are a drab greenish color during the winter months. Many people will ask me when the Goldfinches will return. They have really never left. They will not get the beautiful bright yellow unto spring gets a little closer.

I like to scatter my mixed seed on the ground for my ground scratchers. The Mourning Doves are one of my main feeders that will walk around and fill up on the millets and bits of corn underneath my feeders.

Other birds that eat from down under are my White-throated Sparrows. These birds fly down in late fall and will return back north to nest and rear their babies. There is a pair of Song Sparrows that nest in the yard across the street from me and they visit me quiet often for food. These birds will scratch just like chickens for their meal. The Song Sparrow is quiet this time of the year, but the closer to spring it gets, the more they will sing their song.

When Anthony picked me up this past Saturday morning, it was a bone chilling 21 degrees. We headed north on Highway 231 where we catch a right turn onto Rutledge Lane and on over to the Old Hartsville Pike. Headed north we take a left onto Beasley's Bend Road.

Over from the Church there we spot a Red-tailed Hark in the top of a large Juniper (Cedar) tree. Driving toward the end of the road we find a Northern Flicker flying over. Off to the right an Eastern Meadowlark flies up. On the way back a Coopers Hark darts overhead. Headed east od Ford Road, all we see are dang old starlings.

After a few twist and turns we wind up on Hiwassee Road headed into Smith County. Several Tom Turkeys are feeding on one of the hill sides next to the road. In one farm field, a Red-tailed Hawk flies up with a large mouse or vole in it's talons. It was not a large meal, but maybe just an appetizer for things to come.

We head east on Highway 70 through Elmwood and on up to Chestnut Mound where we take a left onto Highway 53 and drive out to Granville. Nothing there so we backtrack and head south on Highway 264. This has been a very Beautiful drive and with gas prices low, you should get out and drive it. We drive through Gordonsville and back to Carthage. A quick stop in Rock City to film our weekly video at the now closed Sampson Mineral Well. It has since gone dry, but many of us older crowd can still remember the terrible sulpher smell. Back in Lebanon, we stop at the Snow White for a delicious hamburger, fries and onion rings.

I would love to hear from you as to what's lurking about in your neighborhood and at your feeders. You can write me at, 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087, or e-mail me at, rpope15@bellsouth.net

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Anthony Gray, Ray Pope
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