Wilson Post Blogs
Our Feathered Friends - May 9
I made another run out in the country to my friend Haskell Evans for some more feathers, or Swallow enticements. These were more of the downy type feathers, which will make a good lining for their nest. Now I know who rules the roost. The male sat on the top of a second nesting box while the female was sticking half way out of the main box. I took a small feather and held it aloft then let it catch a breeze right in front of the birds. The male sat and watched as the female took off and caught the feather in just a second. She returned to the hole, but the feather kept her from getting a grip. She then circled and flew straight to the hole and this time she went into the hole to place the feather in just the right place. I did this several times and she would always catch it. The male never gave chase, and sat there as if to say, yes dear, wherever you place it will work for me. You da' boss!
The birds put on a show for us early risers at Cedars of Lebanon State Park with over thirty species either seen or heard in our hour-and-a-half walk. My first bird for the spring migration was one of my favorites, the Indigo Bunting. This bright blue wonder has startled many a new birder as they sing from the tree tops, "sweet-sweet, where-where, here-here, see it-see it." Each pair of notes is on a different pitch. In poor light the species appear to be black, but when the sun shines directly on it, wow, how blue can you go.
Cave Creek, which flows from Jackson Cave in periods of hard rain, runs behind the Dixon Merritt Nature Center, or where the old swimming pool was located. You sometimes will become complacent when birding by finding certain species in an area that will repeat itself each year. The wooded fence row next to the creek has seen a bounty in White-throated Sparrows since the early days of the Wildflower Pilgramage. Other birds through the years wading in the shallow waters looking for insects are the Louisiana and Northern Waterthrush.
We didn't get a chance to locate the nest of the resident Red-shouldered Hawk. They were still there, but the leaf canopy was so thick that we couldn't find it. Usually, they are very vocal and announce their presence, by whistling, "Kee-Yar! Kee- Yar!," but maybe they thought all was safe since if they couldn't see us, we couldn't see them either. Every active nest of the Red Shouldered Hawk that I have seen has contained a sprig of greenery.
The call of the Pileated Woodpecker penetrated the thick foliage of the trees and then finally came flying out for some of the birders to see. We heard the call of the Red-bellied Woodpecker down around Jackson Cave, but couldn't locate him. It seems that with all of the warmer weather in March, it kind of tricked Mother Nature into jump starting the process of spring.
While at the dedication of the Pelican statue, I ran into an old friend by the name of Betsy Sellars Foutch. Betsy was the daughter of the late John W. Sellars, of whom the bird club was named. We were just like family in the old days and traveled from The Smoky Mountain in the east to Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee. Many of my friends remember her mother from school as the music teacher. When I look into Betsy's face, her mother Frances looks back into my eyes.
Tammye Whitaker sent me another picture of the baby Great Horned Owl in her backyard.