Sunrise Birds

At 7:00 this morning, the sun just up, the temperature was 48 degrees and the day looked clear and crisp, with multi-colored leaves shimmering against a pale blue sky, and birds calling and singing. Yellow-rumped Warblers flew here and there, scattering chip notes. A White-throated Sparrow sang its high, sweet song. Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and a Downy Woodpecker were coming and going from our two newly-filled bird feeders.

Two or three dozen American Robins were spread out through the trees around the front yard, chortling and chuckling their morning calls. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet flitted its way through the wax myrtles, calling its dry jidit-jidit. Some Brown-headed Nuthatches chattered in the pines, and I heard the whistling wings of Mourning Doves in flight, the distant cries of a Red-shouldered Hawk, the chucking of a Red-bellied Woodpecker, the chur-whee of an Eastern Towhee, and the peeping of several Northern Cardinals.

On a large, thick branch of the pecan tree closest to the house, a White-breasted Nuthatch crept down the branch in shallow curves, searching the bark and what looked like moss or fungi growing on the limb, and making the small, quiet, intimate calls that are some of the sweetest bird sounds I know. I think these soft, short little murmurs are contact calls between a pair, and it always feels a special privilege to be close enough to hear them. 

A White-throated Sparrow flew to the rim of the birdbath, not far at all from where I stood on the porch. It took several sips of the water – then it moved to the far rim and sat with its back to the water. From that perch, it took several sips from sparkling drops of water that had collected on needles of the yews that surround the birdbath, where it must have splashed out.

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