Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I'm not working!


(click on image for larger version)

It's my day off. But between getting ready for the Midwest Birding Symposium coming up this weekend, I've also been running errands, raking leaves, tearing out drywall from our bathroom renovation project and other miscellaneous household chores.

I decided to take a break and watch the White-throated Sparrows in our backyard. There are about a dozen of them kick-scratch foraging, chasing one another around and holding micro-territorial disputes below the maple tree where I've sprinkled some birdseed on the rocks. Some of the sparrows are even singing, but I especially love the low "churp" calls they make.

Then there is a noise - suddenly they all flee to the cover of the spruce trees. But within moments, the bravest (or hungriest?) of them perch out to probe the situation. And then by ones and twos they return. They're hilarious and a joy to watch...but clearly they're working much harder than I was.

Though the thought crossed my mind that I might try taking pictures of them, I don't think I'll ever be able to improve upon the essence and character of a White-throated Sparrow as this image does. Well, for backyard portraiture anyway!

To a Sparrow - William Carlos Williams

Your perch is the branch
and your boudoir the branch also.
The branch, the rough branch!
evergreen boughs closing you about
like ironed curtains
to complete the d├ęcor.

White-throated Sparrow image © Michael Allen McDowell

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