A few birds always gather at dusk to find their last meal for the night, and there is always enough seed on the ground for them to feed, dangerous though it is. One little song sparrow balances on a branch near the ground to scout for the best spot before dropping down to eat. A male and female sparrow joined him in the gathering darkness.
I’ve always liked a song sparrow’s little round and striped body. Below is the same song sparrow in a view from the front.
Weeds to some, but not to me, nor this song sparrow—that’s green foxtail grass, or kitten tail as I call it since it resembles a happy kitten’s tail to me, a pesty non-native invasive but a welcome dinner for a migrating bird, and very beautiful to look at, spring, summer or winter. And what a handy perch is a tomato cage with three levels so the sparrow can nibble from several grasses in one stop. The evening was wearing on and the light was more dim than it appears, so the photo is a little blurry, but song sparrows, for all their stripes, are one of my favorite visiting birds.
The snowfall was so beautiful this morning it was difficult not to stand and watch it happen. This male cardinal hopped from branch to branch making commentary on the snowfall, here exploring the protective cave of grapevines which the backyard birds enjoy.
Even the birds seemed excited, which is a clue to the less-than-serious nature of this pretty snowfall and to the progress of the season. The cardinals were cavorting, the blue jays were jamming, and the song sparrows, their melody the very essence of spring for me, were singing from every direction during the snowfall. When the birds aren’t concerned, neither should we be; if the snowfall was heavier and would be more long-lasting they’d all be hidden in protected areas and we wouldn’t see a single one—except the mourning doves who find my deck a comfortable place to sit out any storm.
But the fact that the little striped song sparrows sang the whole time, and that they are singing their spring melody, two or three quick chirps then their own pattern of trills and chirps ending with a clear long trill, tells me more than the groundhog did—spring has sprung in nature. Click here to find recordings of song sparrows (and for a good laugh have a cat near to try to find the sparrow in your computer).