Birds of a Feather

Ray Pope

Birds of a Feather | Anthony Gray, Ray Pope

Chestnut-sided Warbler

I was talking about the bird count in my article in last weeks story, and thought that many of you had never heard of the Wood Warblers, a species of birds, that pass through here in the spring. There are a few that live here during the summer months while others move into the northern part of America for the breeding season. These birds spend the winter months down in South America, which in reality is summer there, like our northern folks spending the winter in Florida. People in Florida enjoy having these people staying there, paying sales taxes in an off season. They are known down there as "Snow Birds".

Anthony Gray was with me early in the morning where we could hear these birds singing. Many birds do their migration at night and feed most of the day on the tiny green worms that dangle from the tops of trees, on little strands of silk. Out by the Little Cedar Creek, that passes under Beasley's Bend Road, I could hear the song of a Black-throated Green Warbler, off in the distance singing his buzzy song that sounds like it is saying, " sleep, sleep, pretty one, sleep ".  You will find them in northern Alberta to Newfoundland, Canada, eh! Looking at their photos, one might notice that they have a look that is befitting of a tropical species of bird, in which they really are.

Out at the Cedars of Lebanon State Park, we heard and also saw our largest Warbler, The Yellow-breasted Chat. If you ever heard this one singing, you would know why they are called Chats. His voice tears up the air with, whistles, mews, cackles, barks, gurgles, interspersed with a distinctive whoit or kook notes. He is one of my favorite birds of spring time.

Also here during the migration period is another of my favorites, I guess all of them would wind up on my favorites list, the Chestnut-sided Warbler. His voice, in phonics, would be, " Sweet, sweet, sweet, I'll switch you", one of the first calls that I was to learn. Not only a beautiful song, but a real pretty bird to boot.

As you drive out amongst the country roads, this Warbler has a shrill voice, and likes to sit atop a large weed stalk in an un-kept field. The Common Yellowthroat sings his " Witchity, witchity, witchity" which resounds loud enough to actually hear it from within a speeding car. Anthony has his ears set perfectly to hear this special singer. They will be here all summer long and then return to Panama and Puerto Rico for the winter.

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,