Day 68 – Tsk, Tsk

February 15, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

There are around 630 million of them across the United States, some in my backyard, a type of slate-colored sparrow with pinkish beaks. Although they usually live for about three years, the oldest known wild one lived for more than eleven years.  Sometimes called “snowbirds,” they retreat northward in the spring. Surprisingly, they nest on or near the ground, which I would think to be a habit leading to the elimination of great numbers. But apparently, they are not in danger of extinction.  Sometimes I hear “Tsk, tsk, tsk” outside my window of this Dark-eyed Junco, seeming to say, “Tsk, tsk. Where is my food?”

Yesterday I bought myself a freestanding bird feeder stand for my back porch. This way I could move the feeder to a better place for photos right outside my door. It makes for great bird-a-vision, often better than television. Today I saw cardinals, nuthatches, chickadees, finches and titmice. Or is it titmouses?  Like mongooses and mongeese, I have found both plurals used for the titmouse. The first part of the name has nothing to do with female anatomy and the second part has nothing to do with rodents. The mouse part comes from an Old English word mase, meaning small bird. Upon further research, I found that the high authority of Webster’s claims titmice is correct.

Blue jays, which were so common in our yard ten years ago, seem to have all but disappeared around here. I have to wonder why. Today I also saw a woodpecker, most likely a Downy Woodpecker, on my newly hung suet sack. Unlike cardinals and other types of wild birds where the male is the most colorful, the male and female Red-headed Woodpeckers look alike.

Sometimes I answer the Dark-eyed Junco’s “Tsk, tsk” with “Click, click” of my camera.

Today’s gift is a Dark-eyed Junco feasting outside my door.

> DAY 69 Naked Beauty

You can read my other posts on this project here:

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