Mr. Scratchy January 21, 2009
Even a bad day at the bird feeder can turn up some great rewards. Yes, the thistle seed bag looks as though it had an explosion. Perhaps the flock of 30 or so American Goldfinches hanging out had irreconcilable differences, leading to over-vigorous activity. However it happened, my snow-covered lawn looks a bit heavy with the seed.
The ground feeders, Mourning Doves, Dark-eyed Juncos and the like have been making the most of it all morning, and have recently been joined by the arguably most glamorous of the sparrows: the Fox Sparrow. Mr. Scratchy is fully a quarter-size larger than his similar looking cousins, the Song Sparrows, and his russet-colored raiment pales the junco in comparison. His gia-normous size and two-step seed spreading kick-dance sets him apart from the other sparrows. Once you've seen this guy close up, you'll understand why birders bother to sort through the "little brown jobs."
No matter how much I enjoy the birds flocking to the feeders on these winter days, I am packing for a weekend at the Space Coast Birding Festival in Titusville, Florida. Yeah, it is a dirty job, but someone has to go look at those Florida birds too. I'll keep you posted.