Our eyes are on the sparrows

swamp sparrowThe recent cold snap that began two days ago followed several days of warmth that had brought out daffodils, trailing arbutus (as mentioned in the previous post), spicebush, and the first hepatica. None of these flowers should be damaged by a freeze. And Steve spotted another major new spring arrival in the hollow, the Louisiana waterthrush: right on schedule. The cold may have had the effect of bottling up some migrants, though. Swamp sparrows often show up here on migration, touching down briefly in the boggy corner of the field, but this is the first we’ve ever had one at the birdfeeding area below the back porch of the main house (photo). It has been spending much of its time there for the past three days. At least one tree sparrow is still coming, too, along with a fox sparrow — both species that should have been on their way north by now. The latter has even been singing from time to time — a rare treat. At the same time, the field sparrows and chipping sparrows have come back from their winter homes in the south. Rounding out the roster are song sparrows, slate-colored juncos* and white-throated sparrows, for a total of eight sparrow species at one time.

*Currently classed as a form or subspecies of the dark-eyed junco. I refuse to change my usage of common names every time the American Ornithological Union changes a classification; that’s what Latin names are for. As far as I am concerned, the solitary vireo is still the solitary vireo, the Baltimore oriole never stopped being the Baltimore oriole, and unless you’re a life-lister or a taxonomist you have no reason to care about any of this.



About Dave Bonta

I'm the author of several books of poetry, including Ice Mountain: An Elegy, Breakdown: Banjo Poems, and Odes to Tools, but my real work is at my long-running literary blog Via Negativa, where I'm currently creating erasure poems from every entry of the Diary of Samuel Pepys. I'm also the editor and publisher of Moving Poems, a blog showcasing the best poetry videos on the web.

Posted on April 7, 2007, in birds, spring arrivals, swamp sparrow, weather. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s