Today is Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hot Tub for Birds

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Hot Tub for Birds

Northern Harrier or Marsh Hawk



This past Saturday seemed to be a mirror image of Saturday a week ago because of the few and in between bird sightings. It would have probably been more productive, if we had just watched out my kitchen window. Vultures and hawks were the norm for the day, also with a few unknown sparrow like birds thrown in for good measure. Most likely these were Field Sparrows. A plethora of Bluebird families were seen everywhere that we traveled.

Somewhere over the Smith County line we found an American Kestral, with a mouse or a vole in his talons. Our arrival seemed to put him off his feed, until he flew a couple of hundred feet away from where he was first perched. Right before we decided to call it a day, a male Northern Harrier flew off his perch and headed on across a stretch of grassland. This one was empty handed, or should I have said, empty taloned. You might have thought that there would be a few more birds out and about with the weather being sunny and the temperature climbing into the mid sixties.

Our path took us through the community of Rome, including the old Cumberland River Ferry boat launch area. The poor old "Jere Mitchell" was up on the bank, slowly rotting away, years from its glory days, when it was used to ferry automobiles and farm animals across the river. In days gone by, I can remember riding across the river on the ferry, and then returning back where I started.

There were many a days that stood out in my mind as we used to dig "Buzzard Worms" from the bluff there facing the river. These special earth worms were green in color and had a special stink to them. Fish surely enjoyed making a meal out of them. After a couple of days sitting in your hot car, the aroma would be most unbearable and the smell would last a few more days, even after you had tossed them to the side of the road. Do any of you fishermen remember digging these up? You can find a small story on Buzzard Worms in your search engine from some catfishing clubs here in the United States.

I was talking about getting me a heater for my bird bath in last weeks article since the weather has made a turn for colder temperatures. It finally arrived and after scrubbing out the nasties from my water source, I filled it with fresh water and placed the heating unit into the bath area, so I could plug it in if the weatherman told about freezing nights. Since Ron Howes made mention of it plunging down as low as 26 degrees, I figured that would be a good test. Checking it out first thing in the morning, I was pleasantly pleased with the overnight results. There was an ice-free zone right smack dab down in the center of my bath. A couple of hours later, one of my Mourning Doves was sitting in the area getting a good soaking. After watching the weather later that night, I will keep it unplugged until there is more reports of freezing temps, so as not to raise my electric bill any.

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 you can e-mail me at, rpope15@bellsouth.net

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