20 May 2024

Song sparrows

Sunday, March 31st, 2013
Song sparrow, Glen Cove, Rockport, Maine, 31 March 2013.

Song sparrow.

They’re not uncommon hereabouts. Abundant, even. But that first morning song I hear each spring thrills me nonetheless. Just something about the joyful trills and chimes of the aptly named song sparrow.

Tufted titmouse, Glen Cove, Rockport, Maine, 31 March 2013.

Tufted titmouse.

Heard two of them this sunny morning. Heard one at Beech Hill this cloudy afternoon. Saw one in my parking lot after Jack and I returned from our hike. They’re here now for maybe nine or ten months—even more for that handful that overwinters in warmish, sheltered areas near saltwater. One comforting thing about the species: an individual will return year after year to the same neighborhood, the same bush even. If you pay attention, you can recognize the bird from its song (they’re all unique). I’ll never forget the sinking feeling I felt one spring about this time over at the quarry when the bird that returned had a different voice than the bird that had nested there the previous year.

Next month (which starts tomorrow already), fox sparrows will move through. And soon Savannah sparrows will show up, and chippies. But there’s just something comforting and enduring about the presence of song sparrows in my life.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Black-capped chickadee** (v)
2. Northern cardinal* (v)
3. Song sparrow* (v)†
4. American crow* (v)
5. Dark-eyed junco* (v)
6. Downy woodpecker (booming)
7. Turkey vulture
8. Blue jay** (v)


9. Tufted titmouse
10. American woodcock (v)
11. House finch (v)
12. Herring gull
13. European starling
14. Mourning dove
15. White-breasted nuthatch (v)
16. House sparrow (v)

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

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Bird Report is a (sometimes intermittent) record of the birds I encounter while hiking, see while driving, or spy outside my window. —Brian Willson

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