By Ray Pope
Believe it or not, I still have some Hummers hitting the juice here at home. There has been at least one each day. I have been busy doing other things, so my next door neighbor's niece was able to help me refill the feeders. Peggy Carver, who lives next door, has a sister, Kinnie Long, whose daughter Kelly Long was more than happy to fill my Hummingbird feeders for me. I enjoy some of the neighborhood children taking an interest in my avian friends. Kelly is an 11-year-old student at Carroll Oakland Elementary School on Highway 231 and has a soft spot in her heart for our feathered friends.
Many thanks to Karen Franklin for taking time out of her busy schedule to write an article for me as I was out of town, visiting old friends up in Seymour, Indiana. Dotty Kim went up with me, and I believe she might have a touch of German in her as Dotty really enjoyed the Oktoberfest celebration there. We had ringside seats for the annual parade up the main street of the town. Right in the middle of the parade, there came these four dudes with Alpenhorns, the big long horns, maybe 15 feet long, you see in movies about the Alps. I didn't realize how such good sounds could come from something that I had feared since a little child. Anyway, I have to be different from everyone else, so as they got through playing in front of us, I holler out, "Ricola," like in the commercial. The gentleman on the left, hollered back, "who said that?" I held my hand up and said that it was me. He reached into his pocket and tossed me a Ricola. I guess he gets that a lot.
In last weeks article, Karen mentioned the Yellow-rumped Warbler as one of her favorites. Most of all the other Warblers are here on a part time basic, spending the summer months here where they breed and then heading back south, mostly to South America. The Yellow-rump's are just the opposite, spending its winter months in the south while breeding way up into northern Canada.
The Yellow-rump Warbler (Dendroica coronata) are actually four closely-related bird forms that in the western area are known as the Audubon's Warbler and in the eastern part of the United States are known as the Myrtle Warbler. The other two are Mexican Black-fronted Warbler and the Guatemalan Goldman's Warbler. To see the former two, you would have to travel south of the Mexican border, but remember, don't drink the water.
As in most instances, the male of most species are more brightly colored than the females. The breeding males wear streaked backs of black on slate blue, with white wing patches and conspicuous yellow patches on the crown, flank and the rump. Audubon's Warbler also has a yellow throat patch, while the Myrtle has a white throat and eye stripe and a contrasting black cheek patch. The females of both forms are dull and have brown streaking, back and front, but still have a noticeable yellow rump.
The birds are mostly insect eaters, but during the winter here, they also have a taste for wax-myrtle berries, which gives the bird its name.
I would love to hear from you as to what's lurking about in your neighborhood and at your feeders. Can write me at 606 Fariview Ave., Lebanon, TN, call me at 547-7371, or e-mail me at email@example.com