|Our Feathered Friends|
|Wednesday, November 10, 2010|
By RAY POPE
In my last article, I talked about some of the winter birds that came to my feeders for lunch. It didn’t impress Karen Franklin too much as she was able to “Top” my poor little Slate-colored Junco, but this week, its a different story. Dotty Kim came over last Monday and we sat in her van watching the birds that were feeding on the ground.
Karen, are you ready for this? There were White-throated Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Song Sparrows, and the ever present Junco. Now that is a list of who’s who if you ask me. One might think that Karen and myself have some kind of a competition going on between us, and maybe we do, but its all in fun.
When you read this weeks story, I will have been returning from St. Augustine Florida, where Dotty Kim and I will be driving one of our former neighbors there to live close to her other daughter. Heaven forbid that we don’t take our binoculars and other birding paraphernalia with us on this pilgrimage.
Florida has always been my favorite haunt for doing some serious bird watching. The mild climate there draws more birds than you can shake a stick at and many northern people have been migrating there for the winter also. The most common name for the influx of yankees has been “Snowbirds”, now isn’t that a catchy phrase.
When I think of some of our winter visitors, my mind goes back in time where the late Reverend William (Bill) Senter and myself were counting birds for the Christmas bird count at Camp Boxwell in the late 1970’s. Three birds that I got to see were breeders from the far north. Around here I have a White-breasted Nuthatch which visits my peanut feeder. He has a habit of climbing down a tree searching for some small insect on the tree bark. My new found visitor, the Brown Creeper ( Certhia americana ) does just the opposite by landing on the bottom of a tree and circling the trunk in an upward fashion and once he has climbed to the top, he will fly downward to land on another tree and repeat the same procedure. They are only found here in the winter and I remember seeing one last year at my old place.
One of the other birds seen were Golden-crowned Kinglets, (Regulus satrapa). They seem to favor our cedar trees as that is where I usually find them. Their size is about the length of my thumb, 3 1/2 inches. The other bird is also in the Kinglet family. Ruby-crowned Kinglets, (Regulas calendula) is slightly larger than his cousin coming in at a whopping 3 3/4 inches. Many people would probably overlook such a small bird, but you must always keep your eyes and ears open for such bird species. They are here and all you have to do to see one is to get out and about in the county and look.
I hope to have some great pictures from Florida to share with all of you and maybe some interesting stories to go around. At least the weather should be a little more pleasant then here in Lebanon. Another thing I like to bring back beside pictures is Spanish Moss. Over at my old abode, I had quite a bit hanging in the trees behind the house. The birds loved to use it in their nest building and watching them try to get it was always good for a laugh, especially the smaller birds like the Chickadees and Titmouse.
On Tuesday of last week I ran into an old friend at the Walmart Bird seed aisle. It was great to see Kathy Brewster purchasing bird seed for her feathered friends. Walmart now sells Pennington Bird seed which has been running some cute comercials here lately.