Today is Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Birds and the Bees

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Birds and the Bees | Ray Pope, Anthony Gray, Angela Hankins, Raymond Hankins, Mattie Hankins, Jason Pope

Mama Mourning Dove and Junior



It's spring time and love is really in the air. This reminds me of a song back in 1965 by Jewel Akens, called the "Birds and the Bees". A cute little song about "love in the air", it went all the way up to #2 on the cashbox charts here in the United States. I guess that I am probably qualified to talk on either subject, since my Dad, Vernon Pope, and I had fifty bee hives back in the 70's. In the bird world the number on the avian chart would have to be at #1. Birds take on a different attitude this time of the year and we will notice these changes all the way through the rearing of their offspring's.

The American Robin is maybe the first bird that many people discover nesting in their yard. My son, Jason Pope has had a nesting family in the same spot for as many years back as I can remember. This baby Robins photo is by my son, Jason. There are three Robins nesting within a seventy-five foot radius of nest #1 which is under his carport. Gutter downspouts seem to be the favored choice of most of the Robins. Maybe, I could come up with a Robin nest holder that fastens onto a down spout by using a long cable tie. I am full of ideas.

Several years ago, I fashioned a Robin nesting thingy that I constructed of scrap lumber. This went unused for many years and finally one day there was nest building going on and baby Robins were finally fledged from this device. One common thought is that all birds will nest inside a closed container like a Bluebird box. Only cavity dwellers will do this. This Robin box, had a bottom, four corner supports, and a roof to protect the birds from the elements. It is still underneath the back deck over on West Forrest Avenue, where I used to live, unless it got to be an eyesore for the new owners of the property.

Back to the thoughts on nesting birds. Jason was cleaning up his backyard and was trimming some of his shrubbery when he just happened to see a Mourning Dove on her nest. He sent me a photo of the birds, but I wanted to go over and take a photo that I might be able to share with my readers. Mama Dove was taking up most of the room with her two babies clinging to the nest to keep from being ant fodder.  We marveled at her resistance to sit still while we were just about a foot from her. Maybe she thought that if she didn't move, we wouldn't be able to see her, like the T-Rex syndrome in the movies. She sat still and I got a few good shots, (see photo with this article).

I was checking on the progress of my two birdhouses. Nest building continues with my Eastern Bluebird while My Carolina Chickadee has started her egg laying. I couldn't tell how many egg she has laid, but I could feel at least one, down in the soft mat of dog hair she has used over the green moss. I did see a pair of Tree Swallows flying around in the large hay bield behind my house.

This past Saturday, Anthony Gray and myself got off to a slow start after lunch. A good friend, Angela Hankins asked us it we would pay a visit out to visit her husband, Randys folks. They were curious to see what kinds of birds there were at the feeders. When we arrived, it surprised me a little to find a Chipping Sparrow eating from up on the black-oil sunflower feeder. The ones here are always eating on the ground. Maybe her birds have more manners than mine. My favorite of all the birds that showed up was a White-breasted Nuthatch. Raymond and Mattie Hankins has a lovely home situated beneath large mixed deciduous trees which covers most of their property.

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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Angela Hankins, Anthony Gray, Jason Pope, Mattie Hankins, Ray Pope, Raymond Hankins
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