The orchard oriole is a bird that has always fascinated me. The black and burnt orange
color combinations of the male balanced with the olive green and yellow of the female make for an extremely attractive pair.
The song, a lilting melody usually sung from the highest branch of a tall tree is appealing. The nest is an unusual swinging basket that can withstand the most violent summer storm; most impressive.
That’s why to this day, I still don’t know what possessed me as a youngster of eight to
take aim with my BB gun at the beautiful male oriole singing from the top branch of a big oak in my grandma’s yard.
It was a quick, careless shot; I even shot left-handed to assure I’d miss. Maybe it was the curiosity and impulsiveness of a typical eight year old boy that made me do it. Maybe I thought there is no way I could hit that bird with my Daisy Red Rider, it being up so high and my shooting left handed. But I did. My heart sank as the oriole tumbled from the branch to land fluttering at my feet. I never told anyone about it; I was too ashamed at what I’d done.
I grew up during an age when if you lived out in the country and you were a boy, you
bird hunted. Starting out with a double-barreled sling shot made from a forked branch, two strips of rubber cut from an inner tube and a square of leather cut from a shoe tongue to hold a rock, we spent long summer days bird hunting. There were very few species that were off-limits to us.
Orioles, however, were.
We didn’t decimate bird populations because those old sling shots weren’t very accurate. However, when we graduated to Red Riders, that was a different story.
Looking through the eyes of age and experience, I feel pangs of guilt about my bird
killing as a youngster. Regular readers of my columns will attest to my fascination with
watching, feeding and identifying birds today.
Back then, I didn’t know any better; that’s what we all did. Most boys growing up today
have traded their BB guns for video games and such electronic gadgets but for those still clinging to their BB guns, all I can offer them a plea to pass up shots at song birds. One reason is that song birds are protected and you break the law when you shoot a song bird.
Here it gets difficult to try and impress youngsters to hold off on shooting song birds
when their dads did it, their granddads did it and this writer did it.
We as parents need to feed these young minds, these inquisitive and curious minds, with positive ethically correct teaching about shooting and hunting. Things such as shooting safety and marksmanship are important. So are ethics and teaching about when to hold back and let something go.
Although I have wished many times that I could give that little oriole its life back but
that’s impossible. The only thing I might hope to accomplish by sharing my story is that after reading it, some youngster might think twice before drawing a bead on a song bird.
I still get flashbacks today every time I see or hear an oriole.
CANEY LAKE –Crappie are best on shiners around the lights. The bream are bedded and hitting crickets and worms Deep diving crank baits and Carolina rigged worms are picking up some nice-sized bass on the deeper drops while swim baits are working fairly well along the grass lines. Crappie fishing has been best at night on. No report on catfish. For information contact Caney Lake Landing at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Bream are on the beds and hitting worms and crickets. Crappie and bass are around the trees. Bass hitting spinner baits. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
BUSSEY BRAKE –Big bass are being caught flipping the brush along with spinners and square billed crank bits. Topwater lures working best early mornings. Crappie are scattered; bream are on the beds and hitting worms and crickets. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole at 323-8707.
OUACHITA RIVER – Crappie fishing has been good in the river lakes on jigs and shiners. Bream are on the beds in the woods. Bass are fair on crank baits. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – The Majestic Big Bass classic was a big hit with lots of big bass, topped off by one over 11 pounds caught during the event. Bass have been best on spinners and crank baits along shallow grass lines. Crappie are on the edge of the flats. Bream are on the beds and hitting worms and crickets. Catfish continue to be caught fishing cold worms and night crawlers off the banks. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bass have been good on swim baits with good fishing for them at night with soft plastics and spinners. Bream fishing has been best up Isaac Creek on crickets and worms. Crappie fishing has been best up the creeks on shiners or jigs. No report on catfish or stripers. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfish and bream are biting. Bass and crappie slow to fair. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is on a slow fall and fishing is good for barfish, bass, catfish and crappie. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.