New Year’s Day was chilly and gloomy, until the sun came out early in the afternoon and I was compelled to see what birds were in the yard. My FOY (first of year) bird was a Downy Woodpecker when I went out to fill the feeders earlier. But in the afternoon, the new yardbirds for the year were two American Tree Sparrows.
Tree Sparrows have visited the yard before in previous winters, but they are always a welcome surprise after the usual cavalcade of House Sparrows. This pair started out taking cover in the dogwood but then became rather relaxed and started foraging about on the snow.
Others in attendance and photographable were four Downy Woodpeckers, the White-Breasted Nuthatch, a Black-Capped Chickadee, and four Dark-Eyed Juncos. The lack of light became a bit of a problem, though, especially with the Juncos.
Then yesterday morning I decided it was time to see what was happening at the Chicago Portage. If nothing else, the sun was shining brightly, eventually even taking the chill away temporarily when the breeze subsided. I could not help but be a noisy presence as the snow on the path covered a substantial layer of frozen ice, so I crunched my way through every step. In spite of my intrusion, the Northern Cardinal males were more than happy to pose in the bright sunshine as long as they felt sufficiently obstructed by a few twigs here and there.
There were also plenty of American Tree Sparrows and Dark-Eyed Juncos, plus a good representation of American Goldfinches. Although geese and mallards flew overhead there were no waterfowl in the mostly frozen water.
I headed out to the Palos area afterward to see if I could find any ducks but the entrances to parking weren’t even open and there were no water birds to be seen.
When I got home I noticed this Mourning Dove sitting on the neighbor’s ham radio antenna across the street.
Today is gray and chilly, so maybe I can start working on the leftover resolutions I’ve been carrying with me for the past year…
Happy New Year to all from me and my bird friends. Savor the present, relish your memories wisely and do not fear the future but embrace possibility. Just a thought! I’ll let you know when we write a song about it. 🙂