Today is Thursday, July 20, 2017

Our Feathered Friends - May 9

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The birds put on a show for us early risers at Cedars of Lebanon State Park with over thirty species either seen or heard in our hour-and-a-half walk. My first bird for the spring migration was one of my favorites, the Indigo Bunting. This bright blue wonder has startled many a new birder as they sing from the tree tops, "sweet-sweet, where-where, here-here, see it-see it." Each pair of notes is on a different pitch. In poor light the species appear to be black, but when the sun shines directly on it, wow, how blue can you go.

Cave Creek, which flows from Jackson Cave in periods of hard rain, runs behind the Dixon Merritt Nature Center, or where the old swimming pool was located. You sometimes will become complacent when birding by finding certain species in an area that will repeat itself each year. The wooded fence row next to the creek has seen a bounty in White-throated Sparrows since the early days of the Wildflower Pilgramage. Other birds through the years wading in the shallow waters looking for insects are the Louisiana and Northern Waterthrush.{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=20|imageid=196|displayname=0|float=right}

We didn't get a chance to locate the nest of the resident Red-shouldered Hawk. They were still there, but the leaf canopy was so thick that we couldn't find it. Usually, they are very vocal and announce their presence, by whistling, "Kee-Yar! Kee- Yar!," but maybe they thought all was safe since if they couldn't see us, we couldn't see them either. Every active nest of the Red Shouldered Hawk that I have seen has contained a sprig of greenery.

The call of the Pileated Woodpecker penetrated the thick foliage of the trees and then finally came flying out for some of the birders to see. We heard the call of the Red-bellied Woodpecker down around Jackson Cave, but couldn't locate him. It seems that with all of the warmer weather in March, it kind of tricked Mother Nature into jump starting the process of spring.

While at the dedication of the Pelican statue, I ran into an old friend by the name of Betsy Sellars Foutch. Betsy was the daughter of the late John W. Sellars, of whom the bird club was named. We were just like family in the old days and traveled from The Smoky Mountain in the east to Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee. Many of my friends remember her mother from school as the music teacher. When I look into Betsy's face, her mother Frances looks back into my eyes.

Tammye Whitaker sent me another picture of the baby Great Horned Owl in her backyard.

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 you can write me at 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087 and e-mail me at

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