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Recreation

  • This bird is nothing but a snake in the water
    The Anhinga is also known as “Snakebird” or “Water Turkey” because it usually swims with only its small head and slender neck above water, so there is a strong snake resemblance. There is also the habit of spreading its tail feathers, and these feathers somewhat resemble the tail feathers of a turkey. But, by any name this is an elegant water bird, with an S-shaped neck, that is found in South America from Uruguay and Southern Brazil to Ecuador, Colombia and Panama on North through Mexico to the Southeastern United States.
  • A different meadowlark
    The Western Meadowlark is the state bird for more states – six – than any other bird except the Northern Cardinal, which has seven. This bird is so similar to the Eastern Meadowlark that the only sure way to identify the Western Meadowlark is by its song, which is so different and has been described as "wee weetidleoo." The song is often heard on Hollywood soundtracks even when the movie setting is far from the bird's range.
  • Some cool visits in the winter
    The Short-Eared Owl has always been a winter resident of Kentucky, but beginning in the late 1980s, this species was found nesting on a large reclaimed mine site in Ohio and Muhlenberg Counties. This 15-inch long bird, with a 38-inch wingspan, often can be observed in a Central Kentucky on open land at dusk and dawn and is our most aerial owl. You will notice them flying back and forth, hunting over pastures, hayfields and other grassy or weedy areas and have a habit of hovering.
  • This sparrow is getting pretty rare
    One of the elder ornithologists by the name of Ridgeway described the song of the Lark Sparrow in the following manner: "One continued gush of sprightly music, now gay, now melodious and then tender beyond description – the very expression of emotion. At intervals, the singer falters, as if exhausted by exertion and his voice becomes scarcely audible; but suddenly reviving in his joy, it is resumed in all its vigor until he appears to be really overcome by the effort."
  • The Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher: A really rare find in Kentucky
    My current home, which is a small, wooded farm named “Wingspan,” located in the northeast corner of Shelby County, near where Franklin and Henry counties also come together, is a place as near to heaven as one could find. This lovable tract fronts on a road named Catwalk and backs up to an outstanding fishing lake with 6.5 miles of shoreline, named Trailwood.
  • Odd little Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers now carve their lives outside Kentucky
    The federally endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker became extinct in Kentucky in approximately 2001. The accompanying photograph was taken in Pulaski County in Eastern Kentucky, where  a few nesting colonies remained alive. However, because of the severe droughts in the late 1990s, which caused many of the Short-Leaf Pine Trees to die, an infestation of the Southern Pine beetle that further devastated the pine trees, plus probably too much logging in the Daniel Boone National Forest, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker had lost its habitat.
  • This little bug-lover holes in just about anywhere
    The Great Crested Flycatcher is the only flycatcher in the Eastern United States that builds its nest in cavities. An old woodpecker hole, a natural cavity or a manmade nest box is selected as the home, and it nearly always is decorated with a shed of snakeskin. In fact some call this bird the “Snakeskin Bird.” It builds that nest in a bulky mass of twigs, leaves, hair, feathers, bark fibers, rope and other trash, constructed anywhere from 3 to 75 feet above the ground.
  • This bird likes to dig in and stay if starlings will leave it alone
    Red-bellied Woodpeckers are known for the pounding cacophony caused by their excavation of cavities in tree trunks. They pound and dig a 1.75-2.25-inch-wide cavity that this about a foot deep, usually in a large branch or the trunk of a dead tree, but dead snags in health trees also are used. That’s where they make their homes and raise their broods. But it’s not as simple as it sounds.
  • If you build it, Tree Swallows will come
    I first encountered this beautiful little bird nesting in the mid-1970s along the northern boundary of Lake Shelby, in abandoned woodpecker cavities. I was so excited that Tree Swallows were expanding their nesting range southward to include Shelby County and Kentucky. Then, one spring, I found an unknowing park’s employee chain-sawing down these woodpecker cavities. Whether it was tree branches or tree trunks didn’t seem to matter. I guess this was being done because they were partially void of sap.
  • This little bird likes the wide-open spaces
    The Horned Lark lives in the open country, never a forest. As a matter of fact, a clod or stone is favorite perch, and these birds are rarely seen in a shrub or a tree. This bird may be observed the year around, and it tends to abound in flocks in the winter, again always in open country. Also drive with caution at night on open country roads whenever snow covers the land, because they will tend to roost at night on the cleared roads.