Our Fine-Feathered Friends

By Dudley Wooten - Contributing Columnist



When we’re out in the woods deer hunting, we may see squirrel, fox, skunk, or coyote but most likely

we will see birds. They were not our primary objective

but they come with the territory.

If you see solitary birds, they will most likely be woodpeckers, grouse, thrush, or cardinal. When you

see flocks, the chickadee, junco, starling, robin, house finch, sparrow, black bird, or kinglet.

On occasion, you m

ay see a tanager, bunting, or goldfinch, due to their vivid color but the catbird,

mockingbird and jay you will probably hear first.

The bobolink, siskin, towhee, chat, vireo, and waxwing are there too, just not as often.

The bluebird’s fate is in our ha

nds, it would seem. As we cleared the forests, they left the small tree

trunk nests and moved into the 6 inch wooden fence posts. As the metal fence posts became so

popular, the birds lost out. As farming dwindles, the bluebirds are scrambling to find a


I’ve made hundreds of bluebird boxes to hang at about 4 feet on metal fence posts. This is a natural

height for them to nest and a fairly cat

proof location.

The hole fits the bluebird and not the starling and if you place this box near water, yo

u may attract tree

swallows. This is a very beneficial insect eating bird also. Instead of a little round orange


blue ball, you get metallic green acrobats over the water. They are easier to attract than purple martins

and they perform the same

aerial maneuvers.

The dimensions of a bluebird box is 5 inches high, 5 inches wide, and 9 inches deep with the 1 ½ inch

diameter hole 6 inches above the floor.

We mentioned water earlier and we must see a few black duck, wood duck, mallard, teal, or m


on local ponds and lakes. You will also come to realize that the Canada goose gave up on that round

trip ticket and has decided to become a resident and nuisance now throughout Ohio.

When we spoke of woodpeckers, we didn’t go into much detail.

Around the house feeders, you will see

mostly the downy and red

bellied woodpeckers. The flickers and yellow

bellied sapsucker will be

doing just that

sucking sap out of thin

barked trees,

Nobody, but nobody, beats the pileated (Woody Woodpecker) woodp

ecker for size and woodland

entertainment. When you’re getting far enough away from people to find the pileated woodpecker, you

may also see an owl. Since they’re nocturnal, they won’t show you much unless they fly away.

The big owl (25 inches) is the g

reat horned owl (with the “ears”) the small owl (9 inches) is the Eastern

screech owl and it will have the “ear” tufts also. The barred owl is mid

size at 18 inches and has no ear

tufts. This is the “hoot” owl and it has a “barred” white check pattern on

the gray feathers. The call is





Another round

faced owl is the “monkey

faced owl” (aka

barn owl). They are white and brown and

found in barns.

As you know, owls are great rodent control predators and are protected from hunting by

the state.

The same can be said for hawks. They’re diurnal, great rodent predators and protected. The various

hawks would be the sharp

shined coopers, red shouldered and broad

winged in general. The smallest

is the kestrel (sparrow hawk) and the large

st and most common is the red

tailed hawk (aka


hawk). As cartoons go, Woody is the pileated woodpecker and Foghorn Leghorn is the chicken hawk.

Some other protected members of the supporting cast in Southern Ohio would be the turkey vulture in

charge of road kill and bald eagle, the best fisherman on the river along with the osprey, who passes

through here but nests in Florida.

I think we’ve covered most of the fine

feathered friends you’re likely to see locally and many you’re not

likely to se


May the forest be with you.


By Dudley Wooten

Contributing Columnist

Dudley Wooten is the owner/operator of Wooten’s Landscaping and Nursery and can be contacted at 740-820-8210.

Dudley Wooten is the owner/operator of Wooten’s Landscaping and Nursery and can be contacted at 740-820-8210.