Wilson Post Blogs
Our Feathered Friends-March 14
By RAY POPE
I received a message from my first cousin, Traci Walker, updating me on her Mockingbird and her cat. Since last year the Mockers have tormented Oreo, her cat, dive-bombing and pecking it on its head. I believe the cat would love to turn the tables on the Mocker and invite it to lunch.
We had a very good time at Garr’s this past Saturday as we talked about Bluebirds, Purple Martins and even Bats. I myself would love to get a Bat house where the winged creature of nocturnal bliss could work on eating the insects that escape my daytime favorites. That was a mouthful. It was also nice to have Sheila Smith show up with a friend, whose name I can’t remember, to learn about the birds. Memory loss seems to run rampant in my life since last October's close call with death.
Within this next week, we should be seeing the return of our Purple Martins, weather permitting. Martins are similar to our Hummingbirds, since they follow the hatching of insects, and Hummers follow the blooming of the flowers. My Martin condo is ready for some bird action this season since I ran off the pair of starlings that tried to take over. My neighbors to the north by two houses had a tree that had been topped a few years ago and the limb stumps had rotted out leaving a hole for the starlings to build their nest in.
This past week the tree trimmers had returned to keep the high wires free from limbs. I talked to the foreman and he agreed to cut those stumps below the hollowed out limbs. Starlings seemed to come out of the woodwork trying to find out where their homes were. Makes my heart bleed… not really!
When our “muskeeters” (Southern slang) start hatching and the females of the species hunt their favorite meal, us, you will be glad that God in all his wisdom placed birds and bats here to help turn the tide. Now that we have the Asian Tiger Mosquito here that feeds all day long, its time for our Purple Martins to declare war on them. The regular Mosquito only comes out after dark where the Bat takes over the night shift.
Now would be the time to place out a Bat house. One old wise tale about bats is they can get tangled up in your hair and they will lay eggs in your hair, which will drive you mad. Well, to tell you the truth, Bats are the only flying mammal there is. They will mate and then store the sperm until they are ready to get pregnant. We have three main species of Bats that hibernate or that lives here year-round. The Little Brown Bat, Big Brown Bat and the Indiana Gray Bat are unleashed on the Bug world here in our state. The Indiana Bat is on the federal endangered species list. I worked with The Nature Conservancy back in September of 1998 to build a fence around the entrance of Yell Cave in Bedford County to protect the Indiana Gray Bat. You can find Bat houses at Garr’s rental and feed store in Mt. Juliet.
Bats are having a bad time now with the introduction of the White Nose Syndrome which has killed over five and a half million North American Bats. The condition shows up as a fungal growth on the face and wings of Bats. This will cause a Bat to come out of hibernation every two to three days and fly around without insects to eat in the winter months which lead to starvation. It would be a kind gesture to place out a Bat house to give them a helping hand and let them eat your overabundance of insect activity.