Even before dawn, when the sky is just lightening around four o’clock, a few birds begin turning up. I don’t know which birds they are — from the timbre they might be robins, but this is not daylight robin song. Just a kind of quiet noodling around. Lovely to lie there in the dark listening then drift back down into sleep.
On the dog walk this morning I think I heard a cardinal, but I didn’t see it. A couple of robins on the lawn. Mallards on the river. A woodpecker beating on a transformer cover up the road and making a hell of a racket. (A couple of years ago a hairy woodpecker discovered that the tin roof of our tool shed makes a great drum, but he hasn’t been back recently.)
The first Canada geese came back about ten days ago and more have now established themselves on the island in the river near the bridge. A couple of days ago the red wing blackbirds came back en masse, filling the still-bare maple trees and setting up a huge racket. Just now, I watched a bald eagle circle several times out over the water, then turn and fly over our house toward the woods.
The national winter bird count is coming up soon, in which I will be participating from the comfort of my panoramic bedroom window, with its view of the feeders in my yard. My most common visitors this winter have been goldfinches & chickadees in large numbers, along with quite a few juncos and jays and woodpeckers (downey & hairy); there have also been a pair of starlings hanging around, as well as some nuthatches. I’ve noticed a group of crows down by the river, but they have kept their distance. A couple of days ago I saw a solitary grosbeak, though I’ve seen a group of them up the road when we walk the dogs — we had all kinds of grosbeaks last winter.