Tuesday, April 10, 2012


[Excerpted from a January 2012 Journal Entry]
After I finish my cigar, newspapers, and the last dregs of my now warm beer, I sit back and allow the sounds of the wild that are all around me to engulf my senses. Soon after a small cluster of chipping sparrows appear and alight on the nearby feeder that I recently topped off with a seed mix.

Ornithologist Edward Forbush once said “The chipping sparrow is the little brown-capped pensioner of the dooryard and lawn, that comes about farmhouse doors to glean crumbs shaken from the tablecloth by thrifty housewives.”

These energetic passerines spend the winter months here. They do nest in Texas, but a bit northeast of my area. I sit still and watch as they react with glee at the new found mound of grub. Each digging into the heap, pushing it side to side until each of them uncover the seed they’re looking for.

Their nickname “hairbird” was derived from the fact that they collect the hair of horses, humans, cattle, deer, and even raccoons to line their nest which also consists of rootlets and fine dead grasses. They’ve also been known to pluck hair from sleeping dogs.

You will very rarely ever see one by itself as they always journey in packs in search of crab and pigeon grass seed or an unawares spider, weevil, or caterpillar. They watch me intently at first, but eventually become accustomed to my motionless mass and feed to their heart’s content before flitting off into the field. Tonight they’ll sleep well with a full belly.

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