xt7jh98zct60_24 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/mets.xml https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086.dao.xml Bevins, Martha 0.05 Cubic Feet 55 items archival material 2015ms086 English University of Kentucky The physical rights to the materials in this collection are held by the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.  Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Martha Bevins letters to Tom McCarthy Radio broadcasting. Agriculture -- Kentucky. Birds Women air pilots. 1957 June 11 text 1957 June 11 2016 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7jh98zct60/data/2015ms086/Box_ms_42/Folder_1/Item_24/1957_6_11_Bevins_Rattlesnake_p1.pdf 1957 June 11 1957 1957 June 11 section false xt7jh98zct60_24 xt7jh98zct60 7
Morning View Kentucky
11 June 1957
Hello Mr. McCarthy,
This is the season when events swirl to a peak in the tree patch, a
veritable Niagara of activity engulfing the area. As the little-
bird-protective-department, I work overtime, while nests launch
dozens of assorted fledglings upon their initial venture into the
perilous outside world. Very noisy, very young birds are everywhere.
Having concentrated the birds here, I feel responsible for their
at the moment I am keeping a careful watch over the progress of four
Orchard Orioles across the lawn to the shelter of the maple copse.
They are delightful fluffs of gold and grey, tumbling awkwardly
through the short grass, defenseless against hawk or snake or sterling.
Larger, but equally helpless, young Blue Jays from a neighboring
tree are traveling the Same route which conveneently enables me
to maintain a guardian observation over two families at one time.
Our chief enemies this spring are starlings and an unexpected
invasion of snakes. Starlings like to nest in holes in trees, but
cannot carve them. Hence, with amazing viciousness, they drive even
the hargest woodpeckers from nests they have built, and take over
the holes for themselves, first eating any woodpecker eggs or babies
that might be within. Whenever I hear a woodpecker distress call, I ‘
hurry to shoot the manauding sterling. Another evil sterling habit
is raiding nests of almost any song birds and eating the young.
Great clouds of starlings have moved into this area in the last few
years, keeping me busy battling them.
v Fortunately, I have considerable help in detecting the sudden snakes.
Blue Jays hate them, and have a special call for announcing the
- presence of a snake. Having learned it, I am always aware the moment
they find a snake. I think few people believe me when I abruptly
excuse myself and dash off, explaining that the Jays are saying snake.
I have a feeling that they suspect me of something akin to witchcraft
when I presently return followed by the eldest dog who is joyously
waving a large dead black snake.
I am well aware that a black snake on a farm is a useful creature.
But when he is in the tree patch, he is here for but one thing —- to
eat my birds or little animals, and I hunt him relentlessly. The dogs
welcome a snake with shrieks of glee, and, in an instant's activity
too rapid to follow, kill it without leaving a toothmark upon it.
*here-were many large blacksnakes here at first, but few since, until
this spring. Several weeks ago, as the young birds became audible in

the nests and the earlier ones Were spilling out all over the
landscape, black snakes arrived from somewhere. We killed one each
day for three consecutive days, and a fourth shortly thereafter, when
he was eating young flying Squirrels. None were huge black snakes,
only about four feet long, quite large enough, however, to swallow
any young bird.
There Was one grim surprise. Toward the back of the tree patch, the
Jays shouted snake, and off I hurried, surrounded by the excited dogs
who understand that particular call as well as I do. The Jays said the
snake Was on the ground in an area thick with foot-high seedlings from
a sugar maple near by. It Was not easy to see. I stood and looked and
looked for the dark glitter of a black snake without success, yet I
knew from the shouting Jays that I Was standing near a snake. l‘he dogs
had scattered and were shuffling hopefully in all directions.
Then I saw the snake, but it was not black. Despite the Warmth of the
day, I Was suddenly cold. I was looking at a young rattle snake. He
was too far away to endanger me, but one pup was approaching him
rapidly, obviously trailing him. It was no place for the dogs. I turned
and snouted and ran. Whenever I do that, the dogs come storming along,
although they do not know why. The last tine I did it was when I hoed
into a bumble bee nest while watching the nudubon Woodpecker.
I herded the degs into the house and left them weeping audibly while
I returned with a bush knife to the snake. Fortunately, he Was intent
upon something in that vicinity and had not moved far. He was only
about two feet long and had dust begun to show the first button on his
tail, which makes him about three years old, I think. Size was no
deterrent however. When I came near, he coiled to strike as though he
were a big fellow. With a stick, I enticed him into striking, then
beheaded him in the brief instant that he lay outstretched.
I am worried because he was a little rattle snake. If he had been a
big old fellow, I would assume that civilization had infringed upon
his habitat had he was migrating to more satisfactory quarters. But
this little fellow, Just old enough to be growing his first rattle,
could not have Journeyed far. Spmewhere in this area he must have
parents and perhaps many brothers and sisters. I know they are not in
the tree patch, but if he came here, others may follow. I am not too
happy about the.idea of stumbling upon another myself; but it is the
dogs I worry about. They amble through the tree patch for hours, digging
moles or meadow mice, or just simply enjoying themselves. They quite
naturally have no knowledge of poisonous snakes or the precautions to
be taken when dealing with them. I can only hope that, should more
rattlers come, the Blue Jays will find them before the dogs do.
G «Wm