Recently I saw on Facebook where someone said they heard the first Whippoorwill of the season. Smiling, I thought, it’s probably not a Whippoorwill. Now I am no “Birder” like my Daddy was and my sister Cathy is, but I do know that the bird in question was perhaps a Chuck’s Will Widow.
For years before Daddy died, he and Cathy shared bird sightings and discussed at length what bird might be making a certain call. Apparently, they loved birds and were not happy unless they could identify the bird by sight, sound or both. On the other hand, I watch birds, but have no idea what they are.
During my time in Extension, I worked with Dr. Mickey Hall, Clemson’s Poultry Specialist who supported the 4-H Program. Mickey loved her feathered friends and was known to spend at least $150.00 a month (twenty years ago) on feeding birds at her home. Micky also missed an important district meeting in Ashville one day because a baby owl she was caring for, flew out of her house as she was leaving for the meeting. Micky spent all day looking for the owl, but never found the little fellow. One week while at camp a group of us were sitting out by the dock and could hear the night calls of a Whippoorwill when someone said it was their favorite bird. Always the teacher, Micky said its not a Whippoorwill, it’s a Chuck’s Will Widow. Apparently both birds are found in South Carolina, but they make a different call. And now even a non-birder like me can tell the difference. Oh, by the way when I got back from camp and told Cathy what I learned from Mickey, she said “I knew that.”
On another topic, April 22 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and Palmetto Pride was sponsoring a Statewide litter cleanup April 20- 25th. Even though Palmetto Pride does not want large groups picking up together, they are still encouraging individuals or families to pick up in their community. Choose a street in your neighborhood or the road in front of your house. Litter pickup could be counted as exercise or could also be an activity for a home school project. No doubt, there is plenty of litter for everyone. And just think, by participating you could be part of a positive activity during this time of social distancing. If your family participates in litter cleanup during this time, please email the number of participates and the number of bags of trash to martha@williamsburg sc.org. Remember, no big groups and practice social distancing.
Finally, as our county remains home because of COVID- 19, businesses and residents continue to support local restaurants, blood drives, and first responders as a means of goodwill. Volunteers have made and given away masks to friends and medical personnel. Neighbors are getting supplies for older residents and those with illnesses. Easter Sunday the spirit of community was evident with families singing Amazing Grace around town and in other parts of the county. And then there are countless stories how the church continues to meet not in buildings but rather through the power of technology. All the good that is being done is because of the American Spirit that lives within us all. Soon the government will attempt to reopen the economy, but it will not be just because Washington has passed an enormous stimulus bill, or Governors open their states, rather it will be due to the hard work and dedication of the American People. Authority is necessary, but the people are the real power behind our Country. In a strange sort of way, this column will go full circle as it turns back to the birds. Check on your nest egg and trust your advisor in these uncertain times. Enjoy the baby birds while they are still in the nest, they will leave soon enough. While you are sitting in your nest, make your time count. Don’t let your stimulus funds fly away on nonessential purchases. Most importantly, make sure the wild birds in Washington have your best interest at heart as they convey constant alarm, begging, or contact calls. Know the birds and their sounds before you sit back and are deceived by the music they make.
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