Saturday, March 22, 2008


Saturday, March 22, 2008
This morning dawned sunny and cool—almost springlike if you just looked and listened out the window. One step outside, however and the chill in the air was easily felt. The weather forecast was for winter to reassert itself this afternoon, so I decided to get a little outside time in before the arrival of the next weather front.

We've been having some fox sparrows around the yard. They always show up in earliest spring, hanging around for a few days on their way back north. Earlier this week, Julie counted seven fox sparrows at one point—nearly enough to make a fox sparrow fur coat—not that we'd actually DO that. But isn't that a good term of venery for this species? A fur of fox sparrows?

I spent the morning in the Doghouse. By that I mean the Doghouse photo blind I use to get close-up images of our flighty feeder birds. These visiting fox sparrows are a shy lot, so the blind worked its perfect magic. I am surprised each time at how quickly the birds seem to accept the blind's presence and return to their normal business.

Here are some of the images I captured this morning of our foxy-brown migrants.

At first the fox sparrows stuck to the brushy edges of the yard, unwilling to be the first visitors to the newly scattered corn.

Three birds kept to the shadows beneath the spruce on the north border. Their spot-breasted plumage must help them blend in under dappled light conditions on the woodland floor.

One of the fox sparrows finally came out into the light long enough to be photographed.

Classic fox sparrow pose: eating while scratching with its feet for more cracked corn.

I'm glad I got out to take some pix while the light and weather were in my favor. It's now snowing and sleeting and the wind is picking up—classic Easter weather for SE Ohio. Our kids wouldn't know HOW to look for their Eastern baskets if it were warm and sunny. They'd be completely lost without mud boots and down coats and mittens on Easter morning. They'd squint at the bright yellow light, flail their pasty-white arms, and run around in circles squealing confused squeals.

Happy holiday weekend everybody!


On March 22, 2008 at 6:04 PM Jayne said...

I want a Doghouse!! :c) Love your Fox Sparrows. If it's any consolation, it's supposed to be only 36 degrees here in the morning and we're in north GA. Happy Easter to you and yours Bill!

On March 22, 2008 at 8:57 PM Sassy1 said...

I love fox sparrows, they are so beautiful. Thanks for the great photos.

On March 22, 2008 at 10:17 PM Dea said...

So cool that a being so light and weightless as a bird casts such a substantial shadow. Good pics.

On March 22, 2008 at 10:28 PM Mary said...

I can't believe what I'm hearing. Snow in Minnesota, snow in Ohio... My God!

I saw two Fox Sparrows this week, doing their scraping and scooting, right under the brush. My photos were trash. I'll have a blind one day...

We had a warm day but also have had 31 degrees overnight this week and the forecast for Monday is COLD.

I wish you a wonderful Easter with a break in the clouds.

On March 23, 2008 at 7:18 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

It was sunny! And by afternoon it wasn't all that cold! Yes, we wore parkas, but the sun made all the difference. Kind of a rough year to have Easter come so early.

B, thanks for capturing this fox sparrow before it moves north. My pictures are all rotten, taken in the rain.It was pouring the day all seven were at the feeder. Glad we're sending them on with a bit more fat on their chests.

On March 24, 2008 at 12:50 PM dguzman said...

We got a lot of fox sparrows during the last two years, but I haven't even seen one yet this year.

On March 24, 2008 at 6:06 PM Bill of the Birds said...

This morning in the yard the following sparrows were singing: fox, song, chipping, field, white-throated, dark-eyed junco, eastern towhee.

It don't get no sparrow-y-er than that.

On January 7, 2009 at 11:45 AM Terri said...

Awe!!!! Great pictures & narrative about the Fox Sparrows you saw last year! They are my & my co-workers favorite bird. We have our own little cast of characters here at the office, so entertaining, we always say they should be cartoon or book characters! Fox Sparrows rule!!!!