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In 2007, it was reported that the whippoorwill population had declined by 57%. It's declining even more swiftly now. In years gone by, you could hear whippoorwills in the evening everywhere in this county. Then you could only hear them in certain areas. They were plentiful here until last year, when only a few distant calls echoed through the dusk.

A small miracle occurred as I worked in the greenhouse Monday night-I heard a whippoorwill close by! In fact, I thought that I knew where he was. I have a brushpile bordered by a briar patch that we leave alone to shelter various critters. I checked; he's there. 

I wonder if he's a descendant of the whippoorwill who used to sit on the gas tank outside my mom and step dad's window and keep them awake at night? Whippoorwills are really loud up close. My step dad would shine a flashlight the bird, and it would hush until the light was turned off. We had a lot of fun showing people what a whippoorwill looked like up close. This one never seemed to mind gawkers with flashlights and could always be found at the same place at the same time each evening. 

It's so neat that the birds whose calls give us such pleasure in the evening also eat pesky bugs. Try inventing an insecticide that can sing a lullaby. 
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We collect black walnuts in the fall and crack them over time in the winter. Momma thought that the kids were scattering the empty walnut shells across the yard until we caught a pilated woodpecker in the act. He  was after the bits of goody left in the shells. He flew up in the cherry tree and dropped an empty shell on Momma's head. Apparently, he prefers nuts to the nice cake of suet that we bought.

One of the gardening catalogs that I received offered something unique: roasted caterpillars for woodpeckers and other insect-eating birds. Roasted caterpillars-yum! Can you imagine working in a roasted caterpillar factory?

Black walnuts are supposed to ease arthritis symptoms. I eat a handful every day, and it seems to help my arthritic shoulder.

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