Today is Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ah, Migration At Last

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Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak on Left

What a difference one week can make weather wise. Last weeks we had flash flood warnings while this week we were headed back to a normal spring time weather. The only rain was in the forecast for later in the week.

This weeks bird action was what I was waiting for. It's kind of funny when you think of a certain bird visiting your feeders and then, "bang", there it is within a few minutes of your first thoughts. Mine was about having a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at my feeders. I just happened to look up and there was a female eating from my feeder.

Time to grab the old Nikon, slap the 300mm lenses on it, raise the window for a clear shot. Right after the female made her appearance, a ragged looking male showed up. He was not the best dressed, so thank goodness that a sharper dressed male showed up for a photographic take. See Photo.

A couple of days earlier as I was gazing out the kitchen window, my eyes were riveted to a male Indigo Bunting. This bird sports a solid blue coat of feathers, especially when the sun is shinning bright. This bird winters from southern Florida on down to South America. When spring arrives, it makes its way north, sometimes navigating at night by using the stars. It's vocals sound like a buzzy sounding "sweet sweet, chew chew, sweet sweet." Most of the times you will find them in a more rural setting, but sometimes they make their home in the city.

Anthony Gray was a pecking on my door at almost eight in the morning. He asked me where we wanted to go and I told him to head toward the Cedars of Lebanon State Park. We go there every several weeks, but since there were a few migrants at my home, it must be a good sign that summer birds have returned there. More bang for our buck, so to speak.

We head south down the Old Murfreesboro Road and take a left onto Hobbs Lane where we put the truck in park and turn off the engine for a good listen to. We hear some of the more common birds like Field Sparrows and Northern Cardinals. American Crows seem to be everywhere.

Over to our left, an old familiar song come to us on the wind. "Witchity witchity witchity" the call of a Common Yellow-throat, a song that we heard last fall. This is a member of the Wood Warbler family and looks like a little thief with his black mask against a yellow body. Over to our right, the song of our largest Warbler is heard, a Yellow-breasted Chat. Also singing here is an Indigo Bunting. What a busy morning we have already had and this is all within the first twenty minutes.

Crossing over Highway 231 we turn onto Rocky Valley Road. There is nothing special here but some of the more common birds that we have seen all winter long. Tufted Titmouse seems to be singing right over our truck while a family of Eastern Bluebirds hunt for insects to feed their fledging youngsters. American Robins are probing the yards for earthworms to take back to their nests made from grasses and mud.

Close to a large pond, we find a pair of Canada Geese eating in the grasses that surrounds the waters edge. Chipping Sparrows seem to be everywhere today. We find the most of them on the road side feasting on something or other. We saw so many things that I will make this into two articles. Check back again next week for the conclusion of our adventure.

This past Saturday afternoon, I was sitting on my front porch, enjoying the warmth of true spring when I spotted several Common Grackles chasing an American Crow. The Crow flew straight to a Robins nest and plucked a half grown baby from the nest. Birds were going crazy against this large intruder. It had flown up to a tree branch, still with all the neighborhood birds dive-bombing it to no avail. I stood all I could until I ran to the tree and screamed at the Crow, which finally let go of the baby. The baby seemed to be shaken up, but it was moving. Unfortunately, someone who said they wanted to put the baby out of its misery stomped on it. It's my belief the baby would have survived. It was in a couple of days of flying. I have no respect for such action.

You can write me at 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087, or e-mail me at

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Our Feathered Friends
Anthony Gray, Ray Pope
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