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My Life’s Birds: #23-29

November 14, 2007
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JUNE 2, 1993 – Christian Co, MO – The house I spent my formative years in was way out of town. We lived on top of a hill overlooking the Finley River valley. The old millpond at Lindenlure was a quick 10 minute walk away and as a kid I spent a lot of time there catching turtles and snakes, fishing for Goggle-eye and Pumpkinseeds (colloquial terms for Rock Bass and Long-eared Sunfish), and eventually looking for birds.

Red-bellied WoodpeckerWe only had a couple acres, but the owners of the surrounding properties didn’t use that land so by proxy it was essentially free for me to run around in. We had Ozarks cedar woods, and upland oak-hickory forest, and second growth fields with brambles and sumac… the point is that it was kinda awesome for birds. So it was on my second day of birding that I went afield around the house to pick up the stuff I missed the day before. Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Eastern Towhees came to the feeders occasionally, and though I had missed them the day before, I got them this day.

Eastern Wood-PeweeFurther back in the woods I was able to find some birds that didn’t come to the feeders at all. A Carolina Wren chattered away in the brush and an Eastern Wood-Pewee called from a Post Oak behind the old shed. I remember the Pewee being one of the first bird songs I learned, helped no doubt by the pair that called out backyard home.

It wasn’t all woods though. Looking south across the river valley was a field where our neighbors occasionally kept livestock. It was a rare time when the field wasn’t holding half a dozen horses or a small head of cattle. The fence was old and overgrown which made it a perfect place for sparrows to hide, but also a inefficient barrier between hungry cows and our vegetable garden. I can, in fact, remember more than a few instances where waving sticks and yelling, we had to chase several cows from the yard back through the hole in the fence. Nonetheless, the herds kept the grass short and because of that we had singing Indigo Buntings, and the odd Red-winged Blackbird. Less appreciated were the Brown-headed Cowbirds who sneaked by once in a while, despite my vigil with a BB gun. I only remember ever shooting one though, and then feeling bad about it. Perhaps the Cowbirds knew me better than I knew myself.

I was up to 29 now and rising fast.

photos from wikipedia

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3 Comments
  1. Greg permalink
    November 14, 2007 3:30 pm

    I learned in the last couple of days with our friend Maggie that you were raised in a home that practices “friluftsliv.” Do you know that concept from Sweden or Norway?

  2. November 14, 2007 3:41 pm

    It translates to “Fresh Air Life”, right? Is that just running around outside?

  3. Greg permalink
    November 14, 2007 7:46 pm

    Basically yes, I guess, but our friend Maggie just went to a conference of Experiential Educators that is advocating schools that embrace the concept to teach all areas: language arts, mathematics, science, arts, etc. That’s where her interest lies. She has helped set up a school on their lake in Minnesota. Pretty interesting….

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