|Our Feathered Friends, Dec. 15|
|Wednesday, December 15, 2010|
By RAY POPE
As we walked out the door I happened to look in my back yard where I saw a huge pile of feathers. Right in the middle of the feathers was a Coopers Hawk feeding on one of my Eurasian Collared Doves. It was easy to walk up to about seven feet of him before he took flight with his prize clutched in his talons, only to land in the Black Cherry tree on the back property line to finish his meal.
I hate to lose one of my birds, especially when they seem like family to all of us birders. I woke up the next morning and checked to see what was feeding in the back yard. No birds in sight, so with binoculars in hand and with a quick search of the Cherry tree, I finally found the Hawk, back perched waiting for another bird to take his mind off his own safety. It would be great if the Hawks would develop a taste for starlings.
With the snow on the ground, there will be a plethora of hungry birds waiting on their human of choice to refill the feeders. Please remember to scatter some seed on the ground for the scratchers that will not feed on the feeders, such as the Doves, and many of the other Sparrows species.
Cheryl “Kitten” Bean was thankful for the offers to give her a new cat to replace her close friend that died a couple of weeks ago. Kitten has found a replacement, and I am sure that it is already spoiled as if she had it all along.
There are only a few specialized species of birds that sometimes makes our skin crawl when we think of the way they survive. I am talking about the Vultures that keep our countryside clean and disease free.
Around here we have two species, the Turkey and Black Vulture. Florida has the Crested Caracara, and California has the threatened California Condor.
Many people think about the western movies where the so called buzzards circled around some poor soul that had died on the desert. People here in Wilson County see the Vultures soaring in a huge circle and think that they are about to eat something dead. Most of the time the Vultures are flying on an updraft of warm rising air that gives them lift without wasting a lot of energy flapping their wings. Glider pilots use the same system of powerless flight.
Several years ago while camping at Tim’s Ford State Park we were walking the bicycle trail over to the end where it meets the lake. There was an old “Buzzard’s roost” there along the path. You could tell that they had been eating skunk because the smell was present in their droppings.
One of my readers, L. T. Jenkins, is a big fan of the Black Vulture and considers seeing one good luck.
Others have mixed feelings about this special bird, but disease is being controlled and the roadside is a little cleaner. God in all his wisdom knew what he was doing when He created the Vultures.
It was nice to run into Toots Willis at the Lebanon/Wilson County Library this past Saturday afternoon. Next week will be my 150th article on birds. Where has all the time gone?