Posted by: atowhee | March 16, 2022


“Sure sign of spring” is a well-worn cliche. Equinox. Easter vacation. First plum blossoms. Crocus and daffodils. Returning swallows. Income tax deadline. University spring break (see cadets on fentanyl). Forsythia blooming. Fawn lilies blooming. Robins singing. Flickers drumming. Longer days. Squirrels eating the heart of camellia blooms. Bumblebees in flight. Mosquito bites. Daylight savings time. First day of baseball season. NCAA basketball play-offs. Dogs and cats shedding winter fur. All signs…sorta. For this Oregon birder there is one sign that nature ignores much of we remark, cares not for the calender, the temperature at noon, the school schedule. I know it’s now spring because today I saw two Bushtits, a mated pair of Bushtits, future parents of the next generation of these long-tailed tits, that generation maybe already gestating inside the Bushtit with the dark eyes. Bushtits are no longer flocked, family life will dominate. Soon there’ll be that foot-long woven and pendular nest hanging in a tree near our house, then in about two weeks there’ll be twitching young inside, convulsing the thin-walled nest. Then ten dyas later a gang for four or so out on the limbs, fed by mom and dad. That’s the true meaning of spring hereabouts, right?

Nest is the elongated fuzzy sock on the left. Builder on upper right. Below are groups of Bushtits often seen this way from August to March, a sight postponed now until the new Bushtits are out and about.

Update: Just before 6PM I was working in our garden, so was a pair of Bushtits. They were in our forsythia, apparently eating pollen from inside the flowers. Proteinaceous (“Pollen contains 22,7% of protein on average, including 10,4% of essential amino acids such as methionine, lysine, threonine, histidine, leucine, isoleucine, valine, phenylalanine, and tryptophan.” says Google.)

Today a lone tom turkey in our garden. Second consecutive singleton turkey count, likely same individual.

Update: around 5PM a tol with a lone hen came into our garden, fed, napped and ignored me as I did garden chores.

A male Lesser Goldfinch sang this morning, high in a shrub. I could see his his tiny throat pulse with the passage or air, working of the larnyx. The finch’s song is high-pitched, rapid, a thrilling trilling so rapid our brain cannot separate the notes during a single song.

Click here for update on the poultry epidemic in mid-America. Could chicken meat become more expensive than gasoline or Ukrainian vodka?

At Deepwood, Mill Creek is deep water:

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