Monday, July 14, 2008

Oklahoma Birds

We are listening to a Bobwhite quail as I write this. They have a very distinctive song of course and it sounds exactly like "bob white" with better diction than most of us Okies.

The one we heard was sitting out on top of a fence post near the propane tank. But he left before I got the camera so I borrowed.

Revised 714/2008: (I had used images from the site, Birds of Oklahoma, and I really do like those a lot. But I was afraid I was in violation of the copyright restrictions on the site and substituted from Wiki Commons)

I think they are just magnificent birds and I do enjoy hearing their song although I admit it becomes a bit annoying after the first few dozen repetitions.

Still they are just marvelous creatures.

Hunters love them, too, of course. We have this Grand National Quail Club that sponsors the annual Grand National Quail Hunt (what else). A lot of famous people have participated. There are quail hunts and hunters though all over Oklahoma. Selling hunting leases is quite a business in fact. I've thought about doing it on some land we have near Marlow. It pays pretty good actually.

I was talking to a friend about it the other day and he does it on his land. They have guided hunts though. The guides take the quails and put them in a sack and twirl the sack around in a circle overhead. Then when the birds are removed from the sack they plant them and the birds just stay there. Then the guide kind of takes the hunters around in the general area.

One time I was at a quail hunt like that in Mississippi. It was at the Longleaf Plantation not too far from New Orleans and very close to Hattiesburg. The first evening I was there was the day that Operation Desert Storm began so it must have been January 16, 1991. We all gathered around the TV in the lodge and watched CNN report live from Baghdad. That was the first time I had actually seen CNN. I was so impressed that when I returned home I bought a satellite system just so I could get CNN myself.

I was really afraid for us entering that war. I felt like we had to do something when Iraq invaded Kuwait. But after my experience with the army in the early 1970's I just didn't have much confidence in our ability to conduct a war. I was certainly wrong.

By the way I didn't shoot any quail.

When I was a small boy one Christmas I got a BB gun. Of course I had to go hunting with it. It was cold and had snowed that day. I saw this beautiful yellow bird. I don't know what it was. I aimed and didn't really expect to hit it because I was pretty far away. But my pellet hit it square on and the bird died right there in front of me. I thought my heart was going to break within my chest. I've never killed anything since with a gun and have not wanted to.

I did enjoy eating some quail though at Longleaf.

This is a Roadrunner.

One crossed the street in front of me when I was driving home on Friday, July 11th, 2008. I was so surprised that I stopped in hopes of getting a picture but he was way too fast for me.

This is out near Judy's where it is still pretty country.

He (or she - and I don't know the difference) was going across the road FAST. Head was down so that the tail and body was just about horizontal to the ground. They move really fast.

I used to see Roadrunner fairly often especially down around our old place at Marlow. But it has been years since I've seen one. I was so happy!! Down there near Marlow they'd race along in front of you on the sandy roads.

This is a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. It is our state bird. Some people are offended that we'd have a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher for our state bird. Honestly I have no idea why they are offended. I know they say it seems really too "hicky" and makes them kind of ashamed of us. I guess for some reason they think it is unsophisticated and simple to have a state bird like this.

But I think they are just beautiful birds. I don't know exactly why we need a state bird but this choice seems pretty good to me.

Doesn't seem any reason for shame for sure - but maybe it is because I am unsophisticated.

1 comment:

Lori1955 said...

As I read your post, all I could think of was the movie "The Birds". I'm afraid that Hitchcock ruined any enjoyment of birds I ever may have had. :(