Today is Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Thank Goodness For Hawks

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Red-tailed Hawk

For those of you that was wishing for colder weather, you got your wish. My bird bath was frozen over and I will have to get me a de-icer to keep fresh water available during the winter. Birds are like us humans and need fresh water to survive.

Traffic at my feeders and birdbath has really picked up. Last week, I had a Cedar Waxwing drinking and bathing. White-throated Sparrows have already made the trip south and you will find them mostly in thick underbrush. I'm not sure where all of the House Finches have come from.

Anthony Gray is back on schedule and is pecking on my door at about five minutes to eight. We are debating where to go and I said again, lets go somewhere that we have never been. Anthony took this to heart and away we went. I will greatly miss having my parabolic mic with us this morning as the two wires from the headphone was somehow severed. It has since been replaced and ready for next week.

Looking around town on our way out to 231 south, we find thousands of starlings moving about in large flocks. It's a shame that some of our Hawks don't target them as a food source. Just maybe they have an terrible taste. Many years ago, the massive roost of the starlings out by the airport were sprayed with Tergital, a detergent that would strip them of their protective oils and they would freeze to death. These giant flocks can be dangerous to aircraft and their droppings are detrimental to our health. I know that first hand as I was in a coma for two weeks and almost died because of a disease called Psittacosis that was caused by inhaling some spores from starling droppings. I still am not totally over that.

During the cold weather months, I will keep me a bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid to pour into some mudhole where starlings are found to use as a bath. If they don't freeze to death, at least they will be clean.

We take a right on Highway 452 in the Vine community. This road is named Bill France Blvd in hopes of receiving a cup race from Nascar. What a kissoff. Birdlife is scarce here and just about the only thing stirring is a funnel of Turkey Vultures. It seems that with cold weather here most of the smaller birds have hunkered down.

We run out a ways on I-840 and turn off towards Smyrna and then hit Highway 41, an old road that was heavily traveled back before the interstate system came into being. Heading back through Murfreesboro we head out into the beautiful countryside and rolling hills of Rutherford County. At one point we find a large Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a telephone line surveying the open field beneath her. I say "her" because the females are larger than males in our birds of prey.

We finally come over into Coffee County at Beechgrove and then head south on Highway 64, headed toward Wartrace. More Vultures, Turkey and Black have spotted a road kill deer off in the edge of a field. After a couple of warm days, the tissue softens up and the deceased animal puts off a smell that draws the Vultures to the dinner table.

The last time that I was in Wartrace was when I helped to place a fence around "Yell Cave" to help keep people out of the cave while the Indiana Grey Bat was raising their young. Now, our bats are endangered because of the Grey-nosed Syndrom, where bats come out of hibernation during the winter and actually starve to death.

We take a right turn onto Highway 269 and head toward Bell Buckle. Up on some of the overhead wires, we find several American Kestrals. We used to call this bird, a Sparrow Hawk. This is the first time to go through Bell Buckle and not stop in for dinner. Usually, I will make this trip with the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center. Time to head back toward Lebanon and our Peking Chinese dinner. With all of this new colder weather, a bowl of Hot and Sour Soup will work fine. I don't want to get too filled us because we have to go out to the Outback Steakhouse tonight to celebrate Tiffany Milliken's birthday.

Getting back to my house, Anthony and I try to shoot our weekly video which aires on our Facebook pages. After our first try with no video, the second time is the charm. It is so much easier to shoot with Diana Bright behind the camera.

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, rpope15@bellsouth.net

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Our Feathered Friends
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Anthony Gray, Diana Bright, Ray Pope
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