Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

Our Feathered Friends - May 30

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If it wasn't for the Owls, I might not be a bird watcher. There is a special love for the species that goes all the way back to the early 1970s. The late William Senter loaned me a plastic record of bird calls which I transcribed onto an 8-track cassette. All four species of Owls were on a track by themselves. It seemed to take forever, picking up the needle while pausing the recorder and doing a total of 15 minutes for each track.

My old 1959 Pontiac Station Wagon had been attacked several nights by someone trying to break in and steal my Craig player. I removed the glove box and wired the player inside where it couldn't be seen. Out of sight, out of mind, was the way I looked at it.{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=20|imageid=283|displayname=0|float=right}

We started our first Owl Prowl behind Greenbriar Lake on Cedar Grove Road off Coles Ferry Pike. After playing the Barred Owl Call, all we could hear was Old Blue, barking off in the distance. Suddenly the dog got quiet and there was a sound that would put chills up and down our spine coming from the tall trees around the lake. "Who Who Who Who, Who Who Who Who-All". I was in love! The next day, Bill was on the radio with Coleman Walker telling everyone about our trip out in the woods.

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=20|imageid=285|displayname=0|float=left}A couple years later, we found ourselves up in the Great Smokey Mountains at the spring meeting of the Tennessee Ornithological Society. With all of our Owl Prowls under our belt, someone suggested that I lead one up at New-Found Gap to locate a Saw-whet Owl. One of the rangers there told us that a Saw-whet would not answer a tape, so we went up on old Smokey anyway. My wife, Margaret, was at the controls of my tape machine, so when I signaled her to turn it on, here came Three Dog Night singing, "Jeremiah was a Bullfrog" at full volume. There were about fifty people on the mountain, and every single one laughed so hard there were tears in our eyes. We found the right tape and before too long we had a Saw-whet Owl talking back to us. Of course, the ranger said that it was the first time for that.

Liz Rhoton and Terry Bottom stopped by my place last night to hash over old memories. I took them camping at Cedars of Lebanon a few years ago and had them cleaning the Dixon Merritt Trail where hikers could navigate the whole trail without short cuts. They had a ball.

We would love to hear from you as to whats lurking about in your neighborhood and at your feeders. You can e-mail Karen Franklin at and write me at 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087, or e-mail me at

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