Even though they are still present and feeding all over my yard, I will try not to mention the "H" word. This time of the year, when cold snaps happen to our northern states, it's time to be preparing for an influx of those feathered friends that call Tennessee home for the winter months.
Some of our local stores have purchased bird seed in bulk where at the same time last year black oil sunflower seed was selling for right at $25 for a 40-pound bag. This year I have noticed a drop in prices where you can purchase it for just under $19. I will not be second guessing the reason why, but will try to keep a couple bags in reserve.
Another thought is planting the right types of trees and bushes that will attract our feathered friends. There are pluses and minuses when planning to do this. Check with our local nurseries on the correct ones to choose. Right now, there are plenty of plants growing in my own backyard to keep my birds happy. Polk Salad is one that usually turns people off because of all the purple blobs that just happen to wind up on your automobile. Even back in the old days before we had electric dryers, it was always a chance that clothes hanging on the clothesline might have to be rewashed.
There are many different species of holly bushes that provide many meals for our berry eating friends. Mockingbirds will take up residence in a yard with a holly bush and then guard it with his life if he has to, to keep others birds from partaking of the berries. When the Cedar Waxwings come down from the northern states, berries are the chosen dish in the neighborhood. Waxwings really get on a Mockers last nerve. A down-side of this is he may think he, the Mockingbird, owns the whole yard and not allow other bird species to eat at your bird feeder, even though he does not eat the seed in them. I had a Mocker try to do that early this past spring. A Titmouse or Chickadee would land to eat, and then here came the bully and run them off their feed.
When I was talking to the Lebanon Village Woman's Club this past week, I mentioned that Safflower seed would not be touched by squirrels, but one lady in the group said that the squirrels in her yard really enjoyed the seeds. Here in my many years of feeding them, I never had a problem like that with the Safflower seed, but there are always exceptions to the rules.
We should see the return of the Yellow-rumped Warblers, formerly known as a Myrtle Warbler here in the winter months. I have seen several small flocks taking cover at the Long Hunter State Park on Percy Priest Lake. Of course other species that come down will be flocking to the waterfowl preserves north of Lebanon. Many different types of ducks spend the winter here and duck hunters will be out and about trying to bag their limits from the many blinds on our lake system. You will not find a more dedicated person as these special people paying fees that help promote the upkeep of our wildlife refuges.
I am including another picture in this week’s article, taken by my good friend Liz Franklin of a Northern Mockingbird eating a Holly Berry. I love this photo.
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 e-mail me at, email@example.com.