Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hermits as neighbors

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
While cooking dinner for the kids tonight, I heard the chickadees and titmice engaging in some very enthusiastic scolding. I could not find what had gotten their dander up (was hoping to find a screech or saw-whet owl). Instead, I noticed two hermit thrushes in the mobbing flock of birds. Both gave that soft tchup! call as I approached the sumac and grape tangle where the flock was gathered. One confiding hermit thrush stopped to show me that he indeed had buffy rings around both eyes, and a rusty tail, too.

It's a warm afternoon here, but it won't stay that way for long. These thrushes just arrived on a huge weather front that hit us last night.

Our hermits will survive on sumac, dogwood, pokeberry and greenbrier fruits through the winter. It's such a treat to see them on our winter walks. Their warm brown colors seem cheery against the drab gray and dun of the leafless forest. I can say with confidence that these hermits make great neighbors.