Owl Watchers, L to R, J.C. Moreland, Jason and Tiffany Milliken with daughter Gracyn, Anthony and Linda Gray, and Diana Bright
I now remember what I was also going to add to my last weeks article. The rangers from Cedars of Lebanon State Park, had sent me a message last Sunday, wanting me to do another owl prowl. I did that, but forgot to remind my readers that I was going to do that. What can I do to make my memory better?
I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe 4th of July. We spent ours down in the Commerce community, enjoying a great backyard cookout, complete with fireworks after dark. It was reported to me that last years fireworks got over too soon, after a stray spark ignited the box full and sent everyone racing for cover.
Saturdays foray out into the bird world was mostly quiet with very little stirring about. Anthony Gray did hear one new bird out through Cedar Forest, while we were headed toward Norene. An Eastern Wood Peewee, another name-singing bird was going at it in the forestry section of the woods.
The Peewee, ( Contupos virens ), is a member of the Flycatcher family of birds and is found in deep woods here close to the park. The first time that I ever found one, was when I was with the Reverend William Senter out in the same area. Bill explained how he would whistle his name, "pee-a-wee" in a long drawn out fashion. Coleman Walker asked me one time, "how do you remember so much about birds"? When you learn things and see and hear them over and over, it is just second nature with your way of thinking. The Eastern Wood Peewee is very similar in looks to it's cousin, the Eastern Phoebe, but has noticeable wing bars and does not twitch his tail.
This past Saturday evening, we left to head out to Cedar Forest for my owl program, but decided to get out there early to see what other programs were going on. There was music in the air and after a selection of which bale of straw to sit on, someone told me that the red chairs belonged to the park and that I should park my carcass on them instead. The singer was playing an electric piano and then asked if there might be a request from the audience. "Hey Jude" came right out off my lips before I could think of anything else. He did a fair job of it , so I played the waiting game until time for my owl prowl to begin.
It needs to be right at dark before I try calling any of the owls, because of other birds throwing a hissy fit when they hear my cd's. Before we started our trek towards the old campgrounds, I gathered my prowlers and headed into the ever darkening canopy of over hanging trees. A quick count put us over twenty-five brave souls headed into owl country. It was just three weeks ago, that I was doing the same exact program, but this time, there was a different group of people. I started my taped recording of the Eastern Screech Owl, but for several minutes, only silence in the immediate vicinity. Off in the distance, one could still hear some music playing, coming from back where we started.
After explaining some of the facts about owls, something caught my eye in the trees above. My old friend did finally make his appearance, but kept mostly higher up in the tree tops. As we retraced our steps he finally decided to follow us back out by the restrooms there at campground number three. There were many children chomping at the bit, wanting to get a closer look at this small nocturnal creature. He flew to an old dead limb where the children circled him maybe ten feet below. He seemed to be as curious about the kids as they were about him.
After getting back to the car, we made a quick decision to run up by the swimming pool, to see if we could get the Barred Owl to put in an appearance. Several minutes later, just before the time that I was about to give up, came the eight notes of a Barred Owl. A few minutes more and it was joined by another pair of owls. They did not come out where they could be seen, but anytime you can get them to answer, is a big plus. Next time I will try to give you a heads up on my program, as soon as I can find where I left my memory pills.
I would love to hear from you as to what's lurking about in your neighborhood or at your feeders. You can write me at, 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087, or e-mail me at, firstname.lastname@example.org