Today is Wednesday, August 23, 2017

They're Back

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Imature Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Another weekend has come and gone without my best friend, Anthony Gray. It wasn't a total washout, as I was visiting some of my Native American friends at this years Pow Wow at the Mundy park in Mt. Juliet. Thank goodness I had the foresight to take a baseball cap with me to protect my noggin from the sun. I have been in situations where my brain got fried, especially down in Daytona Beach, Florida. It may come as a double guarantee since I was around a large crowd of "Indians" and there was not a single hair on my head to worry about.

Some of you that have kept out your feeders through the summer might have noticed the return of some of our spring migrants. Later this past week, I noticed an immature Rose-breasted Grosbeak having lunch at my large black oil sunflower feeder. He looked almost like his mom, except where you could notice a tinge of red on his breast. Next spring when he returns, he will be almost like his dad with his tri-colors of black, white, and red. By his second year, he will have all of his colors like the familiar bird that we are used to seeing. I recon that most people do not care to feed some of our undesirable birds, such as Grackles and Cowbirds, so they stop until winter gets here.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak, ( Pheucticus ludovicianos ) is a member of the Cardinal family. Just about the only familiarity between the two species would be the heavy bill. This bird winters down in the island of Cuba and other points south. The only breeding territory will be up into Canada and the New England states where after mating the female lays her eggs in a flimsy constructed nest where you may be able to see the eggs through the bottom of the nest. After fledging, September marks the time for them to head south toward their winter home. I, for one am tickled to have watched them for over forty years as they migrated back and forth, with their path in my own back yard.

Some of the other species that should be headed our way are the White-throated Sparrow, which has a sad sounding song that it sings just before the weather starts warming up. The sound, in phonics, would sound like " Poor, Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody". Of course our friends to the north hear it in a different sound, " pure sweet, Canada, Canada, Canada". I will not begrudge our Canadian friends for their thought on the matter, eh!

Another of our soon to arrive birds will be the one made famous by Ann Murray, as she sang about the Snow Bird. In reality it is the Dark-eyed Junco. This small sparrow like bird does most of it's eating by scratching out a living on the ground. I always keep my eyes open hoping to see an Oregon Junco, which might have got blown off course by some winter storm blowing out of the north-west.

My Hummingbird population has really thinned out a bit as just last week, there was more than twenty of them in my front yard alone. There was most likely that amount in the back yard as well, some could have been counted twice. I will keep out at least one feeder till the end of October in case of stragglers. As of this past Sunday, there has been only one solitary Hummer visiting my feeders. Soon it will be time to wash them all up and store them until next spring.

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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