June in Pigeon Roost


june in pigeon roost

The 1974 Winter Edition of the Foxfire Magazine contains a compilation of newspaper articles written by Harvey Miller. At the time of the magazine’s publication Miller’s weekly column had been around for sixty years and was till being published in the Tri-County News located in Spruce Pine, North Carolina.


A white bird, observed a few weeks ago about one mile up Byrd Creek on Pigeon Roost, was identified as a robin. The bird, a female, is white except its breast, which is the color of all common robins. It associates with the robin family. Its song and hop are similar to the common robin. Harvey James Miller said he had learned there was a tendency among bird families to change color just as plants, insects and other living things do. Occasionally an albino bird can be found. Some birds, he said, have a tendency to be black, some melon color, and some red. He said there are also a few white quail, a few red and a few that are very dark in color. He said the changing of color also applies to other birds. The nest of the white robin has been found. It contained four eggs.


The Rev. J.H. Arrowood of Pigeon Roost area, recalls seeing and hearing a crowing red bird in the Pigeon Roost area about 60 years ago, but does not recall ever seeing a white robin, recently discovered inhabiting the area. Arrowood said the red bird would alight on a hill near his home and crow like a bantam rooster. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R.B. Bennett who lived only a few hours after bein born, was buried Thursday in the cemetery at Grove Byrd’s farm.




Some old timers said there is the heaviest poplar bloom that they had seen in several years and it is an old timey sign that when there is a big poplar bloom, there will be plenty of rain while the bloom stays on the trees. It did get real dry and no rain for several days until the poplars did begin to bloom. We had a heavy rain here last Friday and some tobacco patches were damaged by silt and washings. Mrs. Seth Hughes of Byrd Creek section at Pigeon Roost had the misfortune to have ten chickens killed in her chicken house Friday night by black rats. The chickens weighed about a pound apiece.




Lester Johnson, who lives on Pate Creek at Pigeon Roost, reported to the writer that he gave a white and blue colored pigeon that he owned to Loretta Johnson, a daughter of his brother Lennie Johnson, who lives in Erwin, Tenn. and it was took down there on May 15th. But to his great surprise the pigeon returned back home within about one week’s time. The exact direction the way the pigeon traveled back home from Erwin no one knows, but it’s about thirty miles anyway you can go as the saying goes, “as the crow flies.” After the pigeon came back home, it became a bigger pet than it ever was. It now follows Johnson to the mail box which is about a half mile. It flies along the country road and lights on the fence here and there and waits for him.



Always interesting to pay a visit to Pigeon Roost. Makes me wish I had a pigeon to follow me around everywhere I go and sure makes me glad I’ve never seen any black rats in the chicken coop-YIKES!

Jump over to the Foxfire website and visit. If you haven’t been there in a while, they have a brand new site that is great fun to poke around and they are still publishing the magazine and those wonderful Foxfire Books too.



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  • Reply
    June 22, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    I enjoyed all these stories, especially the white robin. Perhaps I should pay more attention to the crows. I find they are a great annoyance with their squawking and quite greedy. Sometimes we have ravens, too.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    I called Donna Lynn at our Christian Radio Station today and she asked what I’d like to hear, and I said something by The Pressley Girls. She immediately played “Working on a Building” by Chitter and Chatter and Paul. Then she played “River of Jordan” and after that she played a favorite by Ray and Pap, “Cabin by the Side of the Road.” Folks, you just can’t beat that!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 22, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Just yesterday I was outside and heard a new (to me) bird call coming from the woods behind my house. It started with a chuck-chuck-chuck sound kind of like a turkey might do. It ended with a coo-coo-coo sound something like a rain crow or dove but not close enough to identify it at that. It repeated the same sound over and over. I have heard both sounds it makes out in the woods but not together. I thought about maybe a grouse but all I can find about its sounds are the drumming sound the male makes.
    I hope you do revisit your crow theme. I have an interesting story about crows but I will have to look it up.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I love reading these stories of life in Pigeon Roost back in the 50’s and 60’s. I was old enough to relate to those times. Yesterday when I went home, crows were hollering everywhere. It had been years since I’d heard such a racket.
    When I was younger and was squirrel hunting above the house, I was in one of those Liquor trails and a bunch of Crows lit overhead. The leaves were just startin’ to color and I guess they didn’t see me. But a solid white one wasn’t far from me and he was giving all the orders. Instead of shooting him I tried to observe what their problem was and when I got back home I told mama and daddy about this. They never said a word. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 22, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Thank the Lord for those who lived, and are now living, a redeemed common life.
    Speaking of crows, for some years here I had kept hearing a crow-like call in summer. I asked my former boss, a long-time birder, about it. He sent me a range map for – would you believe it – the fish crow! Seems it ranges inland almost to the foothills of the Appalachians. I never see them, just hear them.
    There is a little (non-Appalachian) rhyme about crows;
    One crow sorrow,
    Two crows joy,
    Three crows a wedding,
    Four crows a boy,
    Five crows silver,
    Six crows gold,
    Seven crows a secret never to be told.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 22, 2017 at 8:42 am

    These articles are always interesting. Just shows sometimes what is old news comes around again and makes new news with maybe a few changes.
    Mom had an albino squirrel years ago and they would watch it cross the road on the electric wires to their bird feeder where he got some peanuts provided by my Dad…no large trees close enough for transportation…Then it happened…an explosion and the lights went out. The electric service found the little feller fried on the transformer across the street where he crossed a wire to come to their house….. Dad used to jest with a tear in his eye….”Guess he had made the wrong connection!”
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS….What you really, really want is a Raven….very smart birds and out talk parrots…just a bit smarter than crows…When I was a young girl, I once knew about and listened to a very talkative Raven, always thought it was a crow until the owner told me the difference…they really are amazing birds..

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 22, 2017 at 7:06 am

    That doesn’t seem so long ago, it was in my lifetime yet it is so very different from now. What do we have following us…..Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on our phones that go everywhere with us.
    We even have a mailbox on our phones.
    Thanks, Tip, for sharing these snippets from a very different era, a much more earth centered era!

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