Today is Friday, August 18, 2017

An Eager Eater

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Red-tailed Hawk in my backyard

What a beautiful Sunday we have had this past weekend. I am hoping to get out in the dirt in my front yard and finish my flower bed. I have purchased several beautiful daffodils and even a few tulips. This might be the last time this year to get a little dirt underneath my fingernails. Daffodils can be a first source of nectar for our returning Hummingbirds.

Anthony Gray and me headed out toward the south trying to find a few of our returning migrants from the north. Headed out the Old Murfreesboro Road, we catch a left onto Hobbs Lane. There is a small ditch that feeds water into a small branch where many birds use for their water supply.

Usually, you will find Field Sparrows and Eastern Bluebirds, and of course the regular birds here. Goodness gracious, where did all of these Robins come from? The American Robin has returned from up north with a vengence. Everwhere we went on Saturday, we found huge flocks of Robins, I mean thousands of them.

Everyone up north considers a Robin to be the harbinger of spring. Here in Wilson County, we have them year round, at least I do. Underneath my bird feeders, there is maybe two to three inches of hulled black oil sunflower seeds. Lots of things that sit and decays like this puts off heat. Heat and the rich soil combines to make this a hot spot for earthworms and other edible insects.

Robins are what is called an omnivore. In the Latin language, "Omni" is translated into "All." This means that this bird eats insects when available and seeds the rest of the time. Most of the time, during harsh winter months, when the ground is frozen, they will consume seeds produced by wild plants. Our cedar trees produce a small bluish colored berry that makes a great meal. This seed is digested by the bird and then passed on through to maybe germinate and then grow another cedar tree.

Headed over Highway 231, we turn into Rocky Valley Road. This is an area that during spring time is full of different birds. Sometimes we have large flocks of Wild Turkeys. Anthony has a small cedar turkey call, that he loves to agrivate me with. Once or twice is fine, but he will keep on going like the energizer bunny. The comercial can be cute, but after you have heard it over and over, it can be downright annoying.

Headed through the Cedars of Lebanon State Park, we have to make a pass through the campground. I do believe that every campsite has a campfire going. Some campers really know how to build a fire, while others depend on a good size container of charcoal starter. You can actually smell the difference. A plethora of Robins are here also. That beats seeing nothing at all.

Headed out Cedar Forest Road, we find another vehicle parked in our favorite spot where the Sue Warren Trail crosses over. This is a great spot to get out and walk over to the cedarglade. This is where, during spring, you will usually find White-eyed Vireos and Prairie Warblers. If you want to find birds, you should get out and beat the bushes.

From Sue Warren Trail, we cross over to Dude Trail and then on over to Hurricane Creek Road. On the way, Anthony caught the white rump of some Woodpecker species flying across the road. Heading down Jenning's Pond Road, we come out back on 231, where we cross over to Vesta Road. This is a great place to spot several different species of Hawks.

Taking a right on Flat Woods Road, we find even more Robins. Here we find a large family of Eastern Bluebirds. Bluebirds are a close knit family that will stick together during the winter months and then only seperate during nesting season. For many years, I have planned on building a Bluebird roosting box. Maybe this will be the year.

Cooking my breakfast this past Sunday, I was looking out my window where I watched a Red-tailed Hawk grab a Common Grackle. Birds, here around the feeders are usually more aware of their surroundings, this one was caught napping. I did manage to capture the action on a video camera.

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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