A Golden-crowned Kinglet and a Bluebird Pair – Like Winter and Spring

Mid-February mornings begin with more and more birdsong. Though the morning chorus still is somewhat muted and easy-going – not the full-throated urgency of spring – Pine Warbler, Eastern Bluebird, Carolina Wren, Eastern Phoebe, Northern Cardinal, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse and House Finch all are singing and a few woodpeckers are drumming. At least one Brown Thrasher and one Northern Mockingbird have begun to sing in the neighborhood, though not those around our own yard. The Mockingbird was singing today from a perch low in a bush, almost hidden – like the Brown Thrasher. It sang a typically fast-paced, accomplished song, but kept it low and rather quiet.

The first thing I saw when I stepped out the front door this morning was a pair of Eastern Bluebirds sitting possessively on and near the bluebird box. The female sat on top of the box, and the male perched in low branches of a water oak very close by. It seems pretty early for nesting, but they looked as if they might at least be considering the spot.

Meanwhile, our winter birds remain – the Pine Siskins continue to call their breezy wintery zhreeees from the high bare branches of oaks and sweet gums, and to gobble up birdseed as fast as I can keep it in the feeder; Dark-eyed Juncos feeding in the grass burst up into the trees when startled, calling out in soft jingles of alarm.

Several Golden-crowned Kinglets seemed active this morning, including one with a yellow crown, held flat, calling ti-ti-ti, ti-ti-ti from low in some oaks near the roadside, where it was easy to see, moving quickly over the branches, spending a little time in a cluster of dry brown leaves, then flying.  Because I haven’t seen them often lately, I enjoyed just watching it, and listening to the high, small, almost whispered call that seems to fit so well with its flitting, sprite-like behavior, and its appearance – the crisp little shape, neat white and charcoal wing-bars against a pale gray body, and sharp white-and-black striped pattern of the face.

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