Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind

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Red-tailed Hawk is Back Among the Clouds

This past Saturday was bright and sunny, but the temperatures kind of stayed on the chilly side. It seems like every week that I give my opinion about the weather, good or bad. That does seem to have some kind of bearing on seeing birds.

After eating our fill at Pekings, Anthony Gray and myself take off on some country back roads hoping to find something to write about. We kind of did our bird route in reverse this week. First we traveled down Trousdale Ferry Pike past my favorite radio station, WANT fm and WCOR am.

Looking at the guy wires, I mentioned to Anthony that when spring migration is at its peak, we should, first get permission to look around on the grounds there for any bird that may have flown into the wires and died. Many of our spring Warblers migrate after dark and stop to feed during the daylight hours. These guy wires are almost invisible to the swift flying birds and I'm sure that we might make some amazing discoveries during this time.

Turning right onto North Commerce Road we stop at each and every small bridge where small branches flow underneath. As you remember, water is required for life to exist, and these small streams usually have a plethora of birds hanging around, especially during the warmer months. As soon as we traveled under Interstate 40, the road is then called, South Commerce Road. Making our way toward the big city of Watertown, we finally come out on Pearl Street and then take a left on Highway 70 toward Smith County.

This is a backward drive from where we had gone during last springs travel. Holmes Gap Road will lead us back into Watertown. The sides of the road was still littered and even at certain places, looked like a dump. We stopped next to a stretch of trees looking for a Red-headed Woodpecker, that we had found earlier last year. This time around, Woodpeckers were scarce until we came back to one of the creeks that snake their way thru the county. Off in the distance we did manage to find a Common Flicker, flying back and forth. We did scare up a small flock of Dark-eyed Juncos on one of the side roads.

Turning onto Norene Road, we took the back entrance into the Cedars of Lebanon State Park, hoping to run into Wayne, (Buddy) Ingram, who is the acting park manager there. We did find him at the park office, so I could give him the progress report of the Red-tailed Hawk which was released back into the wild after he was found on the ground where he had suffered some unknown injury.

I need to let you know about the large Red-tailed Hawk that was found in the vicinity of Winwood Drive and Woodside Drive. I received several Facebook messages from Beverly Ramsey, asking about the condition of the Hawk and when would he be released.

Buddy called me last Wednesday and told me that the "bird" was ready to be picked up and released. I managed to run out to the park on Thursday at around 10 in the morning. Park Ranger, Shauna Bridgers, (see last weeks article), got him to eat a rat on Wednesday and he seemed to be in very good shape.

Several people had gathered to watch the Hawk being released, some of which had found the injured bird to start with. With the cage flat on the ground, I opened the door and as soon as I walked behind the cage, The Hawk took off and landed in a tall Cedar tree, up at about forty feet from the ground. After swaying back and forth in the wind for about a minute, probably to get his bearings, he took off once again, flying just over our heads to be once more free as a breeze. I do believe this flyover was to say thanks for our helping him out in a bad situation. Having played a part in his rescue, I did have to wipe a tear from my eye. Such a magnificent bird as he, deserved to be in the skies over Lebanon. I was proud to have played a part.

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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Our Feathered Friends
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Anthony Gray, Beverly Ramsey, Ray Pope, Wayne Ingram
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