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Our Feathered Friends - May 11

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While out in my back yard this past Sunday, I was serenaded by a couple dozen Cedar Waxwings enjoying the ripe Mulberries in the back yard tree line. These beautiful birds will soon be headed north where they will begin the breeding process and rear their young then return here in the late fall.

There are times that I mention city birds and country birds. Maybe since many people are leaving the city and setting up residence out in the country, it’s no wonder that some of the country birds are moving to the city, maybe to get away from them.

The country bird that I’m talking about is the Eastern Meadowlark. There was one singing in the hay field behind my Fairview residence and most likely will raise a family there. The Eastern Meadowlark, (Sturnella magna) is a medium-sized icterid bird. I don’t like to get too technical when writing my bird articles, but an icterid bird is in a group of small to medium-sized, often colorful passerine birds restricted to the new world. Most species have black as a predominant color often mingled with bright colors of yellow, orange or red.

Adult Meadowlarks have yellow underparts with a black “V” on the breast and white flanks with black streaks. The upper parts are mainly brown with black streaks. They have a long pointed bill.

Its vocals are hard to describe except that it is very pleasant to listen to. I don’t know of any other way to describe it. Breeding habitat consists of grasslands and prairie, pastureland or hayfields, which is what is behind my house.

The female constructs the nest of grasses, pine needles and in the past, horse hair. usually with a dome-shaped roof of growing grass stems. She lays from three to seven white eggs splotched with brown and lavender which hatches in two weeks. After hatching she will take the old pieces of egg shells far away from the nest so as not to alert some predator to their whereabouts. Many of these beautiful birds meet their doom when the pastures are mowed during the spring.

I would love to hear from you as to what’s lurking about in your neighborhood or at your feeders. You can write me at 606 Fairview Ave., Lebanon, TN, 37087, or call me at 547-7371 or e-mail me at ourfeatheredfriends@yahoo.com

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