Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

Twas The Week Before Christmas

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White-breasted Nuthatch by Kelly Townes Hall



Does it seem possible that Christmas is only a week and a day away? I hope you have finished your shopping by now and all you have left to do is wrap presents. Of course by now everything has already been picked over. One more item you should have on your list is birdseed. While browsing the aisles at our local Lowes store, I just happened to go by the sled department and one item caught my eye. It was one of those round plastic sleds where you get on your knees and push yourself down the hill. What I actually saw was going to be my new birdbath. I will dig out a small hole close by my feeding station and try to place it where it will be level to the ground. Not too bad a deal for under five dollars.

I will not have some bird story to tell you this week, as Anthony Gray and even myself are under the weather. He called me last night and I almost didn't recognize his voice. It sounded like Wolfman Jack. Maybe next week, we can get back on schedule with a good story.

Washing my breakfast dishes this past Thursday, I noticed that there was a different bird eating beneath my feeders in the backyard. There are so many different species that eat there, you can grow accustomed to their varied habits and when something new comes along, it sticks out like a sore thumb. I could see that it might be one of our Sparrow species, but was not sure of which one it might be. There were no streaks on it's breast, so it wasn't a Song Sparrow. At this time, I couldn't see it plain enough and was hoping that it would return where I could get a better look at it.

Two days later, it had returned and was in a better position where I could take a picture of it, (see photo). I racked my brains and finally came up with the answer. Most of the birds here in the winter that I have seen, are adult birds and wear the familiar pattern that I am used too. This one was an Immature and weighing the evidence I can safely say that it is a White-crowned Sparrow. I have seen the adults before and actually had them last year under my feeders. They are ground feeders and watching them remind me of the way a chicken scratches for its dinner. If it stays here long enough the brown and gray stripes on it's head will turn black and white just before it starts on its way back north during the spring migration.

My good friend, Kelly Townes Hall and her daughter Abigail sent me a photo of her newest favorite bird. It is a White-breasted Nuthatch, (see photo) which has located her black oil sunflower feeder. I used to have the Nuthatch here, but after the hack-berry tree in my backyard was removed because of the danger of it falling on my house, they have disappeared.

Now today, Sunday, there is an adult White-throated Sparrow feeding beneath my feeders in the backyard. There is a small patch of weeds that have grown up toward the back of my property that is suitable habitat for him. He should hang around here until spring arrives as long as the food source is good. I always scatter mixed seed on the ground to take care of my Mourning Doves and other ground scratchers.

I would love to hear from you as to that'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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Abigail, Anthony Gray, Kelly Townes Hall
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