|Our Feathered Friends - Feb. 15|
|Wednesday, February 15, 2012|
By RAY POPE
I heard from one of my good birding friends, Tammye Whitaker, this past weekend with news that her Great-Horned Owls have returned with mama sitting on eggs. She said that two Red-tailed Hawks also came and rebuilt the nest. They probably were the ones that built it in the first place. Great-Horned Owls will take a crow or hawk nest to use as a nursery.
That will come in handy as crows and hawks build the nest in the spring, and the G.H. Owl do their brooding and chick rearing during the winter months when the lack of leaves on the trees permits the silent hunter to be able to catch plenty of food for their family. The poor fowl-smelling skunk can be a special target for the Owl as the smell doesn't bother him and can be a delicacy. Yuck! Another good friend of mine, Carole Young, has finally punched the time clock for the last time and can quit setting her alarm clock to wake her in the morning since she retired this past week. That should give her a little more time for bird watching. Carole, I wish the best for you in the future.
I can't believe that we didn’t have any Snowbirds came for a quick meal since there was snow on the ground. Maybe they found a better feeding opportunity elsewhere. I have had to limit what I can purchase in the way of bird seed. There is plenty of Black-oil Sunflower seed, but that doesn't help feed the Mourning Doves and all my ground scratchers that show up on a regular basis. Mixed seed, mostly millet with other grain is best for the bottom feeders.
This coming Saturday, Feb. 18, I will be doing a talk on bird seed and what will be feeding on what at the Gardens on Main with my friend Jason Moles, located at 2515 Lebanon Road or out West Main Street. For more info call 547-4900 and ask for Genny. We will also talk about the Eastern Bluebirds, and other cavity nesters. Hope to see you there.
It is still winter and we should concentrate on our northern visitors that will hang around for a couple more months. There are two winter visitors that should be plentiful, but I haven't seen them in several years. Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Golden-crowned Kinglets should be here at this point and time, just waiting to be discovered. They are small birds similar in size to a Carolina Chickadee, with a beautiful head dress, and they love to inhabit evergreen trees. In fact that is the only place where I have seen them here in Tennessee, in what we call Cedar Trees, which is a misnomer, as our trees here are actually Junipers. Our little friends nest from Alaska east all the way to Newfoundland, south to Baja California and the Gulf Coast. These birds are friendly and may even let you get close enough to actually touch them. The Ruby-crowned has a white eye ring, while the Golden-crowned Kinglet's eye ring is broken toward the back.