My friend Ellen Blackstone from BirdNote tells me the American Robins are starting to scold out there in the garden...they're gearing up for the nesting season ahead. I love how ruffled up they look this time of year, keeping warm as they hop about, collecting materials for their nests (less-than-tidy gardeners are a nesting bird's best friend...they use the fluff off spent ornamental grasses, and bits and pieces of not yet composted perennials).
Did you know there's one bird that sings all year long? Ellen describes Song Sparrows as "drab and furtive litte things." But how amazing to hear them sing in the dead of winter, and continue on into spring when they're joined by a chorus of different birds welcoming longer, warmer days.
"Interesting, too, that male Song Sparrows take almost a full year to learn the songs that will serve them for the rest of their lives," writes Ellen (That's from a study by local Sievert Rohwer http://birdnote.org/show/song-sparrows-learn-sing). Learn more about Song Sparrows on BirdNote
You can see the difference between the Fox Sparrow (top photo) which is more spotted, while the Song Sparrow (below) is more clearly streaked.
Thanks to Mike Hamilton and Tom Grey for the photos.. and Ellen for sharing her knowledge and love of our local birds...
An alert Fox Sparrow
And a Song Sparrow in full-throated song (I have to admit I dont' see much difference between the spots and stripes. I guess I'm more of a bird appreciator than a bird distinguisher...)
And a juvenile Song Sparrow, looking slightly bewildered...