Posted by: atowhee | January 1, 2022


That pre-dawn junco was a First-of-the-Year bird.
747AM, Just before official sunrise on a day that promised cold sunshine, no rain or snow, the first bird feeding in our garden (like most mornings) was a male junco.

750 Now there are eight juncos, the first siskins of the day, a lone American Goldfinch, cleanijg up seeds left overnight by possum and co. I have not put out new food yet. 27 degrees.

830AM Tead up I venture weout to spread sunfloower chips. Crows are passig overhead, much calling. It is the first edition of the Corvid Morning Gazette. Do they have unkind things to say of my neighbors blasting away with fireworks in the dark as every crow tried to sleep in the new year? Also going across the sky one Glaucous-winged Gull, off to claim his favorite field or parking lot.

840AM Juncos abound now. Squirrels at peak number–eight. Far more juncos than that.

845 Frst scrub-jay arrives
855 First Mourning Dove of the day arrives. Later there will be four. We set a garden record yesterday with seven, not that many today. I throw out first helping of peanuts in shell–jays (both scrub and Steller) and crows will hoard them.

930 Flock of about 20 Bushtits cover one of our suet blocks and flutter around nearby bushes before their usual abrupt departure. Two doves in the garden now.

935 Among the score of juncos is a Spotted Towhee, pair of American Goldfinches. Squirrels racing around being squirrelly.

10AM Now a single crow strides through the small birds on the ground, ignores the nearby squirrels, and they return the favor.

1010AM At the foot of our driveway a robin is scratching among the needles, twigs and leaf litter deposited there by trees thanks to winds, rain, ice and snow. The robins never deign to use any of our feeders. In hot times they will relish a good bird bath. In the driveway hedge–a Song Sparrow flits under cover.

1015AM Busy crowd around seeds spread in sunny spot in driveway–both Golden-crowned and White-throated Sparrow next to their junco cousins. At least 20 juncos. American Goldfinches and TWO House Finch juvies, usually just one per diem. Crows, four doves.

1030 The dog takes me for a walk to the nearby city park. It is still below 30 degrees yet an Anna’s speeds by us, toward a nectar feeder. Lesser Goldfinches and juncos are along the street. Crows can be heard on all sides, discussing the morning gazette?

1035 At the park we immediately encounter a pair of Setller’s Jays, the same ones who yesterday greeted us with red-tail screams. Juncos, trio of Chestnut-backed Chickadees along Clark Creek, flicker, crows on all sides.

Noonish–Juncos predominate in our garden, no more siskins but at least half dozen of the bigger goldfinches. One lesser in the crowd. Quartet of Mourning Doves. No sign of local raptor today. I have begun feeding juncos under shrubs hidden from the sharpie’s favored perches. The juncs immediately tuck in…safely.

2PM Afternoon dog walk at Fairview Wetlands. Most of the water is covered by ice even though the sun is shining and the thermometer now says 36. Less than a quarter of the water is swimmable, meaning all ducks and coots are gathered at the northwest corner of the main marsh. I do see one yellow-rump fly onto the ice to pick edible tid-bits. I have seen sparrows and Black Phoebes feeding on pond ice before, this is my first warbler on ice.

Some species are ice tolerant, others perhaps not–zero pintails today while yesterday there were at least 20 right here. Only a single Mallard still around, a sleeping male. Two female Bufflehead diving and circling about. The other species seem to not mind the icy, confined pool–over 100 GW Teal, plenty of Gadwalls and Northern Shovelers. Coots? Oh yes. One red-wing sings, otherwise the bird sound is all the peeping of the teal who always freak out at the sight of a bipedal mammal. Far across the pond I see a Cooper’s Hawk high in a bare tree. In a marsh-side thicket I catch sight of a Hermit Thrush, also RC kinglet and more Song Sparrows.

Because of today’s cold, you could get your daily quota of art deco from the surface of any frozen puddle:

954 Ratcliff Drive SE, Marion, Oregon, US
Jan 1, 2022
16 species

Mourning Dove  4
Glaucous-winged Gull  1
Steller’s Jay  1
California Scrub-Jay  4
American Crow  X
Bushtit  20
American Robin  1
House Finch  2
Pine Siskin  10
Lesser Goldfinch  1
American Goldfinch  6
Dark-eyed Junco  40
Golden-crowned Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  1
Garden birds, the Fox Sparrow fromNew Year’s Eve day:

Fairview Wetlands, Marion, Oregon, US
Jan 1, 2022
13 species

Northern Shoveler  40
Gadwall  7
Mallard  1
Green-winged Teal  120
Bufflehead  2
American Coot  20
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
European Starling  2
Hermit Thrush  1
Song Sparrow  3
Red-winged Blackbird  3
Yellow-rumped Warbler  2


  1. I got brown creeper for my first-of-the-year bird on Summit Ave., which was quickly followed by some house sparrows and crows.

    Happy New Year!


    • HAPPY NEW YEAR…send me a redpoll pic, ok?

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