Had a flock of evening grosbeaks here today. Have seen just a few in past
years and never for more than a few minutes. Also, within the last few
days, a male and female cardinal and a tufted titmouse. Not common here.
Several families in this hollow put out feeders for the birds, so perhaps
the grosbeaks will stay for a while. I remember that when I was just a kid
in Brattleboro (60 years ago) evening grosbeaks appeared at our feeders in
the winter fairly often and would stay all winter devouring all the
sunflower seeds we could afford to buy.
A couple of weeks ago, I encountered something truly bizarre. Upon arriving
at a neighbor's house, I saw a woodpecker on the side of their above ground
pool. A cute joke, I thought. Perhaps a wooden silhouette. As I got closer,
I realized that the bird was a very real flicker and there was a tiny
trickle of water running down the wall of the pool. Sadly, this story does
not end well. The wall of the pool was a sky blue color. Apparently, the
flicker had flown into the side of the pool and its beak had pierced the
pool wall. The flicker had been unable to withdraw its beak because the
plastic had broken inward and would have pinched together had the flicker
tried to pull back. It had died there with its wings splayed out on either
side. The plastic pool wall would have provided no grip for its feet to aid
in pushing against the pool. It could only have pushed against the wall
with its wings. Had it struggled to remove itself? It appeared that way to
me. Was its neck or skull broken on impact? Did it drown? Its beak was
below water after all. I don't know, but I observed the beautiful and
complex pattern of colors in its plumage for a while as I mourned its
untimely and strange demise.
Also, plenty of chickadees here now along with blue jays, juncos, and both
nuthatches. A few MODOs appeared today, too.
Charlie La Rosa