The Memories article that ran two weeks ago entitled, “when the whippoorwill calls”, stirred a few readers’ memories of their own encounters with the sounds of nature. I was reminded by a reader with the passing of time the call of the bobwhite along with the whippoorwill is fading with time.

In my search for data on the birds I read a scientist ‘s announcement a few years ago that the bobwhite quail population has dropped dramatically across the south. This may not surprise many folks who live on farms or rural areas. The shortage of bobwhite quail is most likely well known to those who enjoy the idea of hunting. It is beyond me how anyone could shoot one. 

How long has it been since you heard the lonesome call of a bobwhite?

Living in Louisville city limits I miss hearing those precious sounds of nature once taken for granted. My first encounter with the bobwhite was as a child. I was thrilled to hear the answer of a bobwhite returning my attempt to imitate those whistled by the bird “bob-white.” A favorite pastime in the lazy days of childhood was to hide in the tall field grass of Uncle

Bill McCormick’s cow pasture listening for the call of a bobwhite. 

We were lucky to have a covey of quail take residence near the garden that backed up to the old cow pasture. Uncle Tom had much better luck in getting the bobwhite to respond, he was a better whistler than me. As I travel back in time Ifeel lucky to have memory of the sounds of

nature that lured me to explore. The lonesome call of the bobwhite and other sounds of nature treasured sounds I haven’t heard in too many years. I read the bobwhite survived many heavy snows and bitter winters, but they are no match for bulldozers, subdivisions, cement and asphalt, chemicals and natural predators. “If I close my eyes I can almost hear the bobwhite’s soft whistle fading with the evening light as the moon comes up over the mountains.

Dear reader, when have you last heard the wonderful sad lonesome call of the bobwhite?

My thought for today: “I am inclined to think that the flowers we most love are those we knew when we were very young.

My quote: Psalm, 23:2 (TLB) He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He gives me strength. He helps me do what honors him the most. 


Mildred Hammons Higgins

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