Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Can Winter be Far Behind?

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Coopers Hawk

Relief is on the way, no, I don't mean the kind you get with " plop plop fizz fizz", save that for stomach ailments. I am talking about the coolness in the air. Sure, it will probably get back to being stuffy hot in the afternoons, but I am going to enjoy the cooler temperatures while we have them.

Anthony Gray and me did our regular Saturday morning excursion out toward the southern part of Wilson County and then headed for points east. There were times that the chill made us raise our windows until we felt stuffy and then we had to roll them back down. Because of the cooler weather, we did not see a single member of the Swallow family. Up through last week there were plenty Barn Swallows flying about for us to take notice of them. This week, it looked like a ghost town in the sky, none, nada, and gone. Swallows are another species that rely solely on the flying insect population for their meals. As the weather changes and the temperatures start dropping, it triggers a part of the brain in birds to migrate south where there is plenty for them to eat.

Headed towards Norene from the Cedars of Lebanon State Park, we heard the song of a White-eyed Vireo echoing through the stillness of the surrounding forest. This bird is a member of the Warbler clan, which migrates here in the spring time to mate, nest, and rear their young. Before it gets too cool, it will also head south where the weather is a little warmer and the food supply makes for easy picking.

Also on Norene Road, in the large deciduous tract, one lonely Summer Tanager was calling. His favorite food is "waspers", or to be politically correct, Wasp. There have been many a time that I would desire to have a nesting pair here close to my home because of the red wasp that frequent my yard. I did figure a way to rid myself of the pesky bug. They would land in my birdbath and being so lite, they could walk on water, where they would not break the surface tension. An old gold panning trick would help me find a way to defeat that situation. Add a drop of Dawn dish-washing detergent to the bath and any wasp that landed on it would sink and drown. That really works.

I would surmise that the one bird that was most heard today was the Carolina Wren. We did hear it singing in at least eight of our stops today, especially around the Watertown area. At one place, along a creek, a pair of Mockingbirds were seen chasing off a Belted Kingfisher. We could hear his protests all along the small creek until he was finally out of earshot. I couldn't figure out why the Mockers were fussing so much, because the Kingfisher doesn't eat what the Mockingbirds desire.

With the sudden influx of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, I placed out four more, two in the front yard and two more out in the back. I took a chair so I could see how long it would be before one of the Hummers found it. By the time, just a few seconds, almost by the time it took to move twenty feet to have a seat, there was one drinking from it and another trying to remove him from the premises. Within another three weeks, most of the Hummers here in my yard should be history.

This past Wednesday, while I was doing my breakfast dishes, I looked out the kitchen window at a very young Mourning Dove, just sitting close to where he was eating the seeds on the ground. I thought of how later in life, he would one day be producing offspring's of his own. I looked away for only a couple of seconds and when my gaze returned, my baby dove was in the clutches of a Coopers Hawk. I could see his tiny body jerking in the Hawks talons as from my point of view, they were only about five feet in front of the window. The young Dove was doomed from the instant it was grabbed as the Hawk's claws would be like getting stabbed by a dagger. I felt a sudden surge of sadness that is still with me even today. Why couldn't it have been a starling, no such luck.

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,

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Our Feathered Friends
Anthony Gray, Coopers Hawk, Ray Pope
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