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Our Feathered Friends - April 20

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There are several House Sparrows nesting in the poles holding up the protective netting that keeps the fans safe from foul balls. When a foul ball strikes the metal poles it makes a loud bang along with the sparrows taking off in all directions. If I could climb the pole, I’d fix their problem too.

After I got home, I checked my e-mails to find that Karen and Anna Franklin had spotted a female Ruby-throated at her feeders in Mt. Juliet. We have a bird trip planned for this Friday and I hope and pray that the weather will be in a good mood.

Also the following weekend, I will be presenting a field walk on birds in the morning and an Owl Prowl at about dark. I have prepared tapes to call some of our Woodpeckers hoping to get up close and personal with them. Several years ago, I called a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers right up to my campsite. I am in hopes that I will also be able to call the Red-headed Woodpecker.

This weekend I received a phone call from Lewis G. Scott and his wife Mildred asking me if I had ever heard of a Raincrow. There are many birds that have strange names given to them by our farm families. One that comes to mind is a Bullbat. My friend Logan (LT) Jenkins once asked me if I was familiar with this bird. As a kid, I was almost scared of the bullbat, not knowing what it was. In reality it is a member of the Goat Sucker family called the Nighthawk. In the fall before they migrate south, they will be in great numbers around the Lebanon High football night lights.

Getting back to the Raincrow, I wrote about this bird several articles ago, the Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus). The common folk name for the species is a rain crow, because of their habit of calling on hot days usually before a summer thunderstorm. Their vocals consist of a rapid “Ka ka ka ka ka kow kow kow.

Adults have a long tail with brown above and white below and a black curved bill with yellow on the bottom. There is a yellow ring around the eye with shades of cinnamon on the wings when in flight. If you can make it to my bird program at the Cedars of Lebanon State Park on April 30 at 7:00 a.m., I will try to locate one just for you.

I would love to hear from you as to what’s lurking about in your neighborhood and at your feeders. You can call me at 547-7371, or write me at 606 Fairview Ave. Lebanon, TN, 37087, or e-mail me at ourfeatheredfriends@yahoo.com

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