The Comeback Bird

Ray Pope

The Comeback Bird | Anthony Gray, Ray Pope, Northern Bob White Quail, Yellow Bill Cuckoo, Rain Crow

Yellow Billed Cuckoo or Rain Crow

After finding a quiet spell with the birds singing last weekend, Anthony Gray and myself decided to take a different approach to our Saturday morning trips into the country side. Instead of the 11am meals and then birding till later in the afternoon,we started at 7:30am, and what a difference it made.

We headed down 231 south and hung a left down by Rocky Valley Baptist Church onto, Rocky Valley Road, then came back out on Walnut Grove Road. This was really a new spot for us as we charted new birding territory. One has to be quick with a pair of binoculars or my electronic listening device, or the birds will be gone before you realize it. Knowing what  "field marks" to look for is also a big plus. Just out of the corner of my eyes, I see a white spot of feathers in flight and by knowing the woodpecker species as well as I do, it tells me that I am looking at a Red-headed Woodpecker. In true woodpecker fashion, it lands on a vertical limb in a dead snag high up in a tree. Knowing their habits, really helps with identification of the various species of our feathered friends.

It was also great to hear the sound of the Northern Bob White Quail back on some of the overgrown pasture land. This was only one of the four that we heard that morning. With a lot of folks moving out in the country, it was good to see so many working farms there on the circle.

Headed back south, we cut through Cedars of Lebanon State Park, and circled through the campgrounds. The early smell of bacon cooking was enough to get my taste buds a watering, and a wishing that I, myself had been out camping in my old spot. Tree top singing on toward Norene consisted of the Northern, ( Baltimore) Oriole and the Red-eyed Vireo, with his rapid fire signature song.

Headed south on Cainsville Road, we turned to the left at Florida Creek, onto Greenvale Road, and headed toward Milton Road. It seemed to be either Eastern Bluebirds or Indigo Buntings sitting on the power lines at about every other electric poles in the area. Slow down Bubba, here is another creek coming up, as I would don the headphones and listen to what ever was in the area. There always seems to be a concentration of bird life where the small streams cross the road. Trees and shrubs are abundant and it is usually a safe haven for them. Slow down again, I hear a White-eyed Vireo singing his, (chick, per chick a ria chick) song. Every now and then, a juvenile will try it's hand at a song. Patience little one, you'll soon have the tune down pat.

Before you know it, we are coming through Statesville, and did that road sign say, "Hoot Owl Holler"? I wonder where that name might have come from? The weather couldn't have been any better than it was today for our southern excursion through Rutherford and Cannon Counties. Finally, Watertown in sight.

Turning east on Linwood Road, another of our Bob White calls could be heard in the distance, along with a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. I'll bet some farmer working in his field was wondering if the rain crow was announcing the next up-coming shower for the area. Maybe they hear them often, but don't think much about it until the weather turns hot and humid.

We could hear a different sound today in the skies above Lebanon. There was a Ford Tri Motor airplane taking many on a trip above the town and out in the country. This was one of the first commercial flights offered and I believe it topped out at a fast ninety miles an hour, very slow for today's standards, especially if you consider a Peregrine Falcon, in a dive can reach speeds approaching 200 miles an hour. Now that's fast!

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,