Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Roads Slicker Than Owl Grease

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Fox Sparrow

I am not sure of what went wrong, but I am having to write my bird story all over again. My new computer must have a mind all to itself. The weatherman was right on for this past weeks snow and ice storm. I know that even with the sub zero temperatures my birdbath had a clear patch of open water just above where my birdbath heater was submersed.

With all of my feeders filled up the night before, Monday morning broke with several hundred individuals on and beneath my feeders. Freezing rain was falling and sticking to every inanimate object in my yard. Even the telephone line going to the house across the street had broken and was stretched crossed the road, where someone must have hit it with their car.

Anthony Gray had called to tell me about the plethora of Dark-eyed Juncos in his yard. This of course makes me jealous because I only have one or two that visits my feeders, never a bunch. I did manage to capture one in my own backyard with my camera, (see photo). Juncos are also called "Snow Birds", as in the famous song by Anne Murray. Anthony also told me that he believed that he had seen the Red-tailed Hawk that we released a couple weeks ago, not too far from where we had found him in the first place. I wish that we had banded the Hawk before he was released.

Looking out, day three of the storm, there was a Fox Sparrow, (Passerella iliaca) scratching around in the snow. This is our largest Sparrow in the area. They scratch with both feet at the same time, which to me makes them easy to identify. Of course the reddish tail and reddish streaks on the belly also helps. Their head is pretty plain for such a painted up bird, (see photo).

I have a plastic dome feeder that hangs right in front of my kitchen window that I fill with black oil sunflower seed. As an extra added treat, I also place raw peanuts in the shell, especially for the Tufted Titmouse to enjoy. Add a few dry roasted peanuts, and you can expect my Carolina Wren and Downy Woodpecker to make the scene. It's funny that my House Finch will hull and eat the sunflower seed and not touch the peanuts. They don't know what they are missing.

Another of my favorite winter birds were quite busy scratching under the feeders. I can count on the White-throated Sparrows to make an appearance. As we get closer to spring time, their colors get even brighter. When they first arrived here, you couldn't even see what are called, "lores", a yellow spot of feathers in front of both eyes, (see Photo).

I did manage to get a picture of my Carolina Wren on the snow. He was feeding on my up-side-down suet feeder, and flew down on the snow to eat bits of suet that had fallen.

Maybe next week, Anthony and myself will get back into our normal Saturday ritual. I really missed eating at Peking.

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,




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Our Feathered Friends
Anthony Gray, Ray Pope
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