Our Feathered Friends - June 6

I sat outside in the backyard this afternoon to take advantage of the cooler temperatures before the heat returns with a vengance. While I was snake proofing my bird house where the Tree Swallows live, they kept going in and out even while I was standing there. The female seems to trust me more than the male, but he only contributes half as much as the lady bird does. With a comfortable chair underneath me, I watched as the female made a trip averaging two minutes before she brought food back to the babies. She flew to within a foot of my head to grab a mosquito before it could take a bite of me. When winter migration starts, I am going to miss them so much.{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=20|imageid=319|displayname=0|float=right}

There is a special peanut feeder out behind the house where my small birds hang out. Other seed will be scattered on the ground for my ground scratchers, such as some of the cheap mixed seeds, which are not wasted. Mourning Doves along with some different "true" Sparrows feed there or underneath my Black-oil Sunflower seed feeder. After a few days, it seems like a vacuum cleaner has sucked up every single morsel of food. Most people will not feed during the hot months, but to me it is worth the price to have special birds showing up to teach their young how to fend for themselves.

One of my favorite birds coming to dinner is the Downy Woodpecker along with a hugh family of Carolina Chickadees. The male juvenile Downy is just now getting his red feathers on the top of his head. My little female sits on the feeder and watches me as she eats. Her head feathers look like she has applied some kind of a bird mousse.

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=20|imageid=317|displayname=0|float=left}Emily Smith, one of my librarian friends from the Lebanon, Wilson County Public Library stopped me the other day to show me a new book they had just received called "The Bluebird Effect", uncommon bonds with common birds. I am not much of a book critic, but I really got into it after reading just a few pages. The author, Julie Zickefoose, a bird rehabilitator had several unusual stories on helping save baby birds from cats and other preditors. It took a lot of her personal time to be able to help the fledglings get their start in life. Julie is not a photographer, but a great sketch artist that can turn her pages to life with a pencil and watercolor. If you can take the time to read this book, you can count it as time well spent.

We would love to hear from you as to whats lurking about in your neighborhood and at your feeders. You can e-mail Karen Franklin at karen.feathered@gmail.com and reach me at 606 Fairview, Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087 or e-mail me at ourfeatheredfriends@yahoo.com.