The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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Heart of the Blue Ridge

George DeHart - Friend of the Birds

By Ivalien Hylton Belcher © 1984

Issue: April, 1984

George DeHart of Floyd County is a man living close to nature. He has been interested in birds most of his life. How many of you remember the cards we used to get with the pictures of different kinds of birds on them? I remember them very well and wish I had kept the ones I collected. George studied these cards and learned a lot about birds. He loves their songs and thinks the world would be a sad place to live without birds.

On his farm, George has seen between 40 and 50 different types of birds. There’s a bird feeder for them to enjoy, especially in the cold, snowy weather. Around the bird feeder, there always seems to be a lot of Blue Jays.

About a year ago, an unusual bird was spotted on the DeHart farm. It was an evening Cross Beak, from the north. They are rarely seen in this area. The colors are very pretty - yellow, black head and white on their back.

Once when a “new ground” was cleared, George saw a lot of red headed Wood Peckers, Flickers and some Indian Hens; the latter being about the size of a crow and having a red top knot. I have seen three of these on my place in Meadows of Dan. They are very pretty. George tells me that he has seen lots of Grouse and gangs of Wild Turkeys around his place. He relates a story about a brown Thrush Mockingbird. One morning George was walking around and saw a brown Thrush. The bird just kept looking at him. All at once, that bird seemed to say, “Here George, Here George.” Knowing how this man loves birds, I’m sure it was really talking with George. I really believe all of God’s creatures know when man really loves them.

I was really impressed with a painting George did of the different kinds of birds observed on his farm. It was really beautiful and came alive before my eyes. The painting was done by a man who really loves birds and can make them come alive on canvas. I could talk for hours with George DeHart, because he, like myself, is a lover of nature, birds, animals and all of God’s great creations. Hopefully, I will be able to visit and talk with George DeHart many more times.