|Our Feathered Friends - May 18|
|Wednesday, May 18, 2011|
By RAY POPE
I finally got my vegetable garden put in just before the rain started. This year will see a few more varities of pepper plants and no more German Queens. While working on my planting, there were several families of Goldfinch that would feed not too far from me. This is the time they are most beautiful and will raise their brood later in the summer.
It was nice to get a letter from Judy Murray this past week and also a few pictures she made at her feeders. Judy has been fussing and putting the blame on the squirrels for raiding her suet feeder. Finally she found the masked culprit red-handed and got his picture for proof positive. Judy has Rose-breasted Grosbeaks also feasting on the Black-oil Sunflower feeders. This is a very beautiful bird which makes it's way through Tennessee on the way north. I had a female this past week, but no male.
Judy also mentioned that she has fewer birds at her feeders this year than last year. There is one thing that may be the problem. Where most of our spring migrants live in the winter months is in South America. Many of the South American countries have been clearing land for agricultural usage. You hear every now and then about protecting the rain forrest. I used to not pay that much attention to that, but it might be true. Here in Wilson County, there is a lot of people moving out to the country where whole farms have been sold and divided up for parcels. I'm not against progress, but before too long there might not be any room for our good feathered friends. Of course this will not deter the house sparrows and starlings, as they are right comfortable in any nook or cranny. Just check out the street light fixtures on the by-pass.
I received an e-mail last month from Mike Bates on the subject of White Pelicans over at J. Percy Priest lake. This is one of the stop-overs they make on their way north. I remember several years ago at Reelfoot Lake a huge flock of maybe 100 flying north along the Mississippi River.
About ten days ago I received an e-mail from Susan Dismukes who lives in Cherry Valley, about a Ruby-throated Hummingbird trapped in her garage. Remember that their metabolism is so quick that they might starve to death in a mater of hours or even minutes. She did the right thing by supplying it with a Hummer feeder. These birds are like Honeybees. Put them in a jar and take the bottom off and they will try to fly upward when escape is at their feet. If this happens to you, have a feeder handy and open the door all the way and turn off the lights where it should finally make its way out. Susan also has a Summer Tanager which delight her each and every time she sees it. I should be so lucky.
My Cumberland Bulldogs baseball season is over for the 2011 year, coming up one game short of returning to the NAIA national championship playoffs. I have met a lot of good friends there, especially Woody Hunt. Many of the players will soon be leaving, headed to other phases of their lives. I wish them well and will truly miss each and every one of them. They are like family to me. GO DAWGS!!